The tasks of Filipino socialists after the Edsa II and III uprisings - Part One

In the last fifteen years the Philippines have seen several mass movements that could have led to the overthrow of capitalism. Unfortunately for a long period the Stalinist theory of two stages (first the democratic, then later the socialist revolution) has led to the derailment of the movement. Now we are moving to a new phase of struggle. This time genuine Marxism has a chance to make its voice heard among the Filipino working class and youth.

While writing the first words of this article, the bus I was travelling on stopped in front of the PLDT telephone company building, somewhere in Cavite, Philippines. The PLDT workers are currently involved in a bitter strike against massive layoffs. It’s December 21 and there are drivers, also on strike, raising solidarity funds at the bus stop. Behind them are many militant banners hanging over the PLDT company gate. One of them says... Merry Strike-Mas!

Two years after the Edsa II uprising

The main issue in the Philippines in these last few days of 2002 is an investigation into the Justice Secretary about a case of corruption. One might be justified in thinking that this isn’t big news in a country whose state apparatus is well known for both its monstrous bureaucracy and organic corruption. Nevertheless, the importance of this question can be understood better if one remembers that the last president, Josep ‘Erap’ Estrada, was forced to resign two years ago by a mass revolt… because he had been involved as the main organiser and collector in a big network of illegal gambling racket known as ‘Jueteng’.

Shortly after Estrada had fled from the Malacañang presidential palace, under the pressure of the mass demonstrations, Gloria Magapagal Arroyo (GMA) took his place, since she was the vice-president. She then personally appointed the new ministers of her government, including the Justice Secretary. Now people can clearly see that the director has changed but the music has remained the same. They see that they were used by the bourgeoisie as the heavy battalions to remove Estrada; but since then they have been forgotten. This is why the number of workers and urban poor who realize they have been betrayed is destined to grow further this year (2003). The people are understanding from their own experience what it means to have a pro-IMF president and also why the ruling class wanted her so much to be there instead of Estrada. It has led to more privatisations, a hike in water and electricity charges, tough anti labour laws… and the same old corrupt state.

The last two years have been very important for the development of the consciousness of the Filipino working class. Big events, both nationally and internationally are teaching more lessons than in the whole previous decade. The Secretary of Labour declared on December 28, that the year 2002 has been a peaceful year on his front. He told big investors, through the Manila Bulletin newspaper, that "Workers and employers of the Philippines have learnt to understand each other and tend to solve their questions walking the way of dialogue. We expect the number of strikes to decrease even more next year 2003." But if we were to base ourselves solely on this figure we would be led to making a complete misreading of the situation. There is plenty of combustible material accumulated under the surface, and it wouldn’t be difficult at all to set it alight. Many people are beginning to think, to unionise, and to draw conclusions from the process of the 1999-2001 struggles.

We are fully aware of the fact that Estrada was just a populist liar. He used a populist style of speech when talking to the masses of the poorest layers of society in order to consolidate his base. The point, however, is that he came into contradiction with the interests and plans of big business and imperialism. Both the Filipino and the international bourgeoisie had become worried about the fact that Erap was not as friendly as he should have been towards US-backed Taiwan, he did not accept all the orders of the IMF and preferred to spend his time in consolidating his network of gangsters, rather than taking care of all the sacred needs of the ruling class. At the same time, however, he also attacked the workers’ living standards (by increasing the price of fuel) in order to raise money to service the debt owed to the imperialist lenders.

All this, together with a tuloy-tuloy repressive regime in the workplaces, proved to be too much for the patience of the workers. So at the end of 1999 the movement of the working class against Estrada started. This movement of strikes and demonstrations had actually started long before any accusations of corruption against the president had been made and it had already weakened the ‘Erap’ government to a great degree. The bourgeoisie of course has a great interest in hiding this truth, so as to make the people forget the decisive role of the working class in bringing him down.

Of course, the mass demonstrations known as "Edsa II" or "People’s Power II" were decisive for ousting the president, as we pointed out in the article Philippines - mass revolt forces president Estrada to resign. In the absence of any independent working class alternative, the ruling clique represented by the Makati Business Club, the Church Hierarchy and the TraPos (as people on the left call the traditional politicians of the bourgeoisie), basing themselves on the Constitution, managed to quickly install in power vice-president GMA.

The failure of the bourgeois government of Miss GMA

GMA failed to deliver her promises. Her popularity dropped so much that a few days ago she announced that she will not be running for the next presidential elections in May 2004. She had promised to build a "strong republic", instead she is selling the Philippines by the kilo, privatising everything she can. She had promised to fight corruption, but now she has had make changes to her cabinet because of corruption charges against more than one secretary. She had promised to fight poverty, instead she is using the so-called "war on terror" laws against the peaceful workers´ strikes.

Filipinos had been led to believe that GMA’s knowledge of economics would have made a difference (she was at university with Bill Clinton). The workers and poor have had to discover that all she knows is how to privatise public utilities and make the workers pay for this. Last December the government approved the fourth increase of water charges since the public water company was sold off to Maynilad Water Services Inc. This time the increase was of 47%!

This time, however, the workers and the BMP union confederation (a new socialist grouping created out of the splits in the Maoist movement in the 1990s) launched a big protest that seems to have stopped this increase in water charges. The owners of the water utility have been forced to hand it back to the government. This demonstrates quite clearly that the workers are much stronger than the government if they organise and fight back. The position of the BMP is quite correct: they are demanding nationalisation under workers’ control.

Now GMA is accepting more loans from the ADB (Asian Development Bank) in order to finance the deregulation of the electricity supply. Within a few years no public utility will remain in government hands, and this will have important economic and social repercussions. Private bank executives hegemonise even the CEOs of the Central Bank of the Philippines. Many workers are aware of what this led to in Argentina.

The 10% richest sector of the Filipino population consumes 40% of the national income while the poorest 10% of the society only gets 1.2% (from CIA Factbook 2001). The situation in agriculture is getting worse. Food prices are increasing relentlessly. The country has lost its self-sufficiency in food production. The government is doing nothing about the shortfall in rice production and the permanent recession in the agricultural sector. This affects first and foremost the production of rice, which is the staple food of 85 million Filipinos. The loss in the rice harvest is more than 15% due to a lack of infrastructure, delays and the "disappearing" of government funds (according to Luis P. Lorenzo, Secretary of Department of Agriculture, Manila Bulletin Dec. 26, 2002). Only 14.5% of the total cultivable land is irrigated (compared with 47% in Vietnam, despite two wars). The ridiculous agrarian "reforms" of the last four presidents, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Gloria Magapagal Arroyo, have resulted in the distribution of a few property certificates, without really tackling the question of the centres of power in the countryside.

During the last two years the workers and the poor, and even the petty bourgeoisie, have not seen any improvement in their living conditions. The anti-labour legislation has remained the same. Only 500,000 workers out of a workforce of 32 million are affected by the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). However, as usual, the majority of the capitalists don’t even respect this. Just to give an example: SM, the biggest mall chain of Metro Manila, reached an agreement with the Iglesia Ni Christo Church (a big and wealthy sect which is comparable to the Jehovah’s Witnesses) to hire a large number of its fellows after having fired hundreds of non Iglesia workers. The agreement involved an anti-union education programme provided by Iglesia Ni Christo to its fellows who needed those jobs. GMA and her government had nothing to say about this. Instead, the state apparatus had no hesitation in spreading the false rumour about a terrorist presence among the workers of Toyota in the Philippines when the local TMCPWA union started its struggle this winter against a number of sackings. GMA is the natural ally of the Japanese bosses against the strong presence of the AIWA union in the car industry.

GMA is the most genuine representative of the national bourgeoisie of the Philippines. The Stalinist bloc (Maoist CPP, Bayan party and KMU) welcomed her two years ago as the "progressive" alternative to Estrada, despite the fact that since the late 1980s she has been widely known as the perfect puppet of the IMF, the World Bank and US imperialism. The problem of GMA is that in today’s conditions of a deep crisis of capitalism, this kind of stooge has no margin for peacefully applying the policies their masters want because every action they take to please imperialism is a direct attack on the working class. This has been shown by GMA with the way she has used Bush’s "war on terror" in order to push through anti-labour legislation.

The Filipino ruling clique is completely incapable of developing the economy. The inevitable integration of the Philippines into the world globalisation process of capitalism caused the local currency, the Peso (PhP), to be devalued by 35% over the last three years. During the latest boom in the capitalist cycle, after the financial and productive collapse of all the ‘Asian Tigers’ in 1997-98, the Philippines experienced some modest growth in GDP until 2002. This growth has been sustained by remittances from Filipinos working overseas and the super-exploitation of the local working class, within the context of expanding world trade. At the same time, the cost of living for workers (synonymous for poor people) kept on going up with no wage increases to compensate for this.

This meant that two things were happening at the same time. There was a worsening of the working conditions and at the same time a new fresh layer of workers was coming into the factories. This was the explosive mixture that caused the mass movements known as Edsa II and Edsa III. And they will cause even bigger movements in the future.

The failure of Reformism and Stalinism: the CPP splits

Before going into the lessons of the Edsa II and the Edsa III uprisings of 2001 (the latter is almost unknown internationally), it is necessary to explain the developments inside the Filipino left that took place after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our Marxist tendency wrote a document in 1987, which analysed the revolutionary process that led to the defeat of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and also the role played by the Maoist Communist Party (CPP). We suggest that every internationalist worker or student should read this in order to better understand the impressive history of the Filipino proletariat: Perspectives for the Philippine Revolution.

The "protracted guerrilla warfare" strategy of the CPP has always been the other side of the coin of the two-stages theory. During the last 35 years this policy consisted of waging a guerrilla war in the countryside against the government’s army, with the perspective of, little by little, strengthening the grip of the guerrillas over the cities and thus finally provoking the collapse of the whole system.

This strategy never worked, although it did play an important role in weakening the dictatorship, especially during the 1980s. The reason for this failure is to be found in the fact that this policy consciously ignored the essential role of the working class in the revolution. The industrial workers struck the biggest blows against the Marcos regime and it was their uprising that played the major role in the overthrowing of the dictatorship.

However, the Edsa Insurrection of 1986 (Edsa is the name of the most important avenue of Metro Manila) saw the CPP, its 25,000 strong guerrilla army, the NPA, and its 500,000 strong union, the KMU standing to one side and just watching the events without intervening.

The absurd theory of two stages, along the lines of the international policy of Stalinism and Maoism and defended by the CPP since it was founded, sees the native bourgeoisie as the class that will develop the former colonial countries such as the Philippines and carry out the tasks of the national democratic revolution. After this, in a nebulous distant future, the time would come for the proletarian revolution.

This theory has been proven false not only in the Philippines, but throughout the entire ex-colonial (or ‘Third’) world. The CPP leaders still consider their country a predominantly feudal country in which the working class cannot play any independent role in the revolution. That is why they assign such a glorious future to the national bourgeoisie. They still refuse to see the simple truth that 70% of the 32 million strong Philippines labour force is made up of wage workers.

The year 2001 put all the old and new organizations through a hard test. The movement that ended with the Edsa II and Edsa III mass mobilisations saw once more betrayal on the part of the CPP, just like during the Edsa revolution of 1986. During the last quarter of 2000, while the BMP and SanLakas (a multi component organization, allied with the BMP) campaigned not only against Estrada but also against GMA and the TraPos, the CPP were supporting the bourgeoisie with their "critical support" for the former vice president GMA.

The historic failure of the CPP-NPA-KMU policy lead to several splits starting in the early 1990s. These events are of great importance for the future development of a genuine Bolshevik party in the Philippines. For the first time the vanguard of the Filipino working class is now in a position to seek out a revolutionary alternative to Stalinism and Maoism. Even if the CPP still remains the biggest left party, it has splintered in almost all the regions of the country. New organizations and workers’ unions have been built out of those splits. The CPP and the KMU no longer hegemonise Metro Manila and Luzon, the most developed and industrialised regions of the country. The Maoist KMU union federation has lost the majority of its members (and it is losing the confidence of those who remain) in Rizal and in the National Capital Region and, after the split, it is the BMP union confederation that has picked up most of its membership (BMP means Solidarity of Filipino Workers). In the party’s front organisation, the CPP lost most of its members that now seem to be with the PMP (Workers’ Party of the Philippines) and the PMLP (Philippines Marxist Leninist Party). It should be noted that the comrades of the PMP and PMLP are the ones that, in the past, built the bulk of the original BMP forces. The important element is that both parties declared their refusal to follow the narrow nationalist perspective of the CPP, the two stage theory and the protracted guerrilla warfare strategy. This is like a breath of fresh air for the lungs of the young working class.

On the union front, the BMP and the other unions and federations that broke with the KMU have correctly turned to the task of permanently organising workers inside the factories instead of driving them to the mountains as the CPP used to do.

The comrades of the BMP played the important role of bringing many single unions together into one federation. This is a difficult but fundamental task in the Philippines. In this country, many worker organisers are killed every year by the death squads of the bosses, both in the cities and the countryside. The anti-labour legislation also gives every kind of assistance to the bosses. Justice is always on their side. This work of the BMP strengthens the working class and should be highly appreciated by every socialist around the world. They have changed the methods they were used to using when they were part of the KMU before the splits took place. They realised that it was foolishness to drive the best and most committed cadres out of the factories, in order to make guerrillas out of them. Now those comrades are playing an important role in the struggle against the privatisation of the utilities and are supporting the PLDT workers’ strikes against massive layoffs. Apart from these, new organizations of urban poor, fishermen, union federations and students are now developing. The working class has already started to organise on a far healthier basis than before.

The Stalinists did not like this new course of events and tried hard to stop it by using their savage methods: the assassination of dozens, if not hundreds, of their former comrades during the purges unleashed by the CPP-NPA during and after the split in the party. But this has proven useless. They just could not stop the march of history.

Lessons of Edsa II and the question of the general Strike

Between October 2000 and January 2001, one could easily grasp the fighting mood of the working class at the rallies organised by the BMP. Tens of thousands of workers were listening to the speeches of Popoy Lagman and other leaders. The BMP and other political parties that had broken away from the CPP were rightly campaigning for a general strike (welgang bayan) against the government and the bourgeoisie. At the famous rally at Ayala against Estrada (in early January), in the city of Makati, the workers were the majority. The bosses in 450 factories with between 70 and 1200 workers had to let their workforce out and go to the rally otherwise they feared they would be provoking a strike. The platform at the front of the rally was crowded with old politicians, actors, priests, big businessmen, Bayan representatives (the legal organisation of the CPP). All of them got very nervous when the BMP leader Popoy Lagman stated, "We have to change the system, down with capitalism and imperialism! Down with the capitalist politicians! Neither Erap, nor Gloria (GMA) but change the system!" But they could do nothing to stop him and they had to let him talk and raise the banners of the BMP on the platform!

As the crisis of the Government was deepening day by day, all the bourgeois state functions were paralysed, from the legislative to the judiciary. The BMP correctly raised the question of a political general strike around the slogan of "resign all". The BMP raised this demand publicly in front of the other union federations: the KMU, NCL, and TUCP. Of course the reformist (and in some cases corrupt) leaders of these three federations did not want a general strike, because they feared they might lose control of their own rank and file. Their role is to support the capitalist system. In order for this to be effective, they need to be able to keep the workers under control and channel their forces only to support GMA for president. The comrades of the BMP had carried out a huge campaign of propaganda and agitation up until that moment. "Welgang bayan para sa resign all!" The mistake they made was not to follow through their campaigning work with a call for a general strike on their own. They could have done this by aiming their agitation at the ranks of the other union federations and at the individual unions that belonged to no federation. It is of course true that they did not represent the majority of the organised workers. However, it is also true that: 1) no other confederation holds the majority of the unionised working class either, and none have more than the BMP; 2) they had many thousands of workers who were ready to spread the agitation that could have reached hundreds of thousands and no other confederation has the same real power of mobilisation; 3) the effect of a Welgang Bayan (general strike) would have been like a catalyst and would have had an impressive impact and the proof of this could be seen in the growing kaleidoscope of daily mass rallies, meetings and mobilisations that were taking place at the time.

The fact of being a minority should never be an excuse for a wrong policy. The mood of the working class was favourable. During the 1917 revolution the Bolsheviks, from their initial minority position inside the soviets, would never have conquered the majority of the workers without a constant and patient campaign for their ideas.

True, no soviets were present in Metro Manila. But the method of a revolutionary organization should be the same as that of the Bolsheviks. The general strike could have given the BMP leaders the opportunity to spread the slogan of building soviets, (or whatever you want to call their Filipino equivalent: factory committees, street and barangay parliaments, urban poor parliaments, university committees and so on).

The general strike, even if only a part of the workers of Metro Manila had taken part in it, would have strengthened the confidence of the working class vanguard and vastly increased the influence of the BMP. Such an independent mobilization of the proletariat would have set a clear line of demarcation between the workers, the poor and the students on the one side and the bosses, actors and cardinals on the other.

That line of demarcation was clearly needed, but nobody was prepared to draw it, not even the BMP leadership. There is a reason for this: a well-trained Marxist leadership can only be shaped during years of theoretical struggle, of party building and with a correct analysis of the experiences of the past. And this can only be done starting from an internationalist point of view.

A Constituent Convention…

The abandoning of the idea of a general strike led the BMP, PM (Lagman’s party) and Sanlakas bloc to make another error. During the month of January, as the end of president Estrada seemed nearer everyday, the whole bourgeois state entered into a complete impasse. The toiling masses lost any kind of respect for the establishment, with only one exception: the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. Davide, who was considered "different" and "honest".

Despite the fact that the BMP political leaders knew this individual to be just another representative of the bourgeois state, they decided to base themselves on this weakness in the consciousness of the masses, because they were afraid of being isolated, of being a minority in such an important process.

So they abandoned the slogan of the general strike and shifted their emphasis to the following: "Resign all! All the power to the Chief Justice! For a Caretaker Government! This Provisional Government must make economic, social, and electoral reforms through a decree! Then he should call for a Constituent Convention and we will elect our representatives from the urban poor and the workers!"

In this way the BMP wanted to further deepen the crisis. The idea was that this would give them time to organize the soviets, win the majority of the workers and lead the revolution. Of course we are not questioning the good will of the political leadership of the BMP. We believe them when they said they wanted to draw an independent class line. The question now is to understand why they did not do this .

First, let us look at the actual development of the events themselves. The BMP leaders explained to the masses (they could reach) that a caretaker government was the only real solution to the problems facing the working class and the poor. The bourgeoisie however did not agree with the BMP leader Popoy and the others. They called for GMA to be made president and for everyone to be sent home. They did not want the masses on the streets. They were afraid of the masses. Cardinal Sin called for the rallies to be transformed into quiet "prayer sit-ins". The bourgeoisie was in a difficult position and really did not know what to do. The majority of the senators did not want to withdraw their support for Estrada. Big business circles only succeeded in their plans because from January 17 to 20 hundreds of thousands of people spontaneously marched to the Edsa shrine and forced Estrada to resign.

In spite of the intervention of the masses, those backing GMA were able to hijack the "People’s power II" movement , but only thanks to the lack of an independent and strong leadership of the working class. The masses practically took over Metro Manila, reaching the number of 1.4 million during the night of January 19! Estrada was forced to flee because he couldn’t even control the Army which he had intended to use for a military coup.

Using the Constitution, and backed by former presidents Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, the Makati Business Club and the Church, vice president GMA was quickly pronounced president. When everybody knew that GMA was finally in power, the BMP leaders told their activists and supporters that the bourgeoisie had betrayed them. Real events themselves had thus shown that the slogan of a Caretaker Government was dead before it was even born.

Did the BMP leaders have any other choice other than to support Chief Justice Davide and the Constituent Convention? We believe they did. If they had called for a general strike at the right moment - after the Ayala rally two weeks earlier - even on their own, Mr. Davide would soon have come out against it. Thus it would have been possible to expose his class nature during the Edsa II mass mobilisation. The mistake of the BMP leaders was not purely of a tactical nature; it was due to the lack of firmness on principles.

The main principles of a Marxist organization are to support and spread every idea and struggle that helps to raise the working class understanding of its own revolutionary tasks and to fight every idea and manoeuvre that serve only to confuse the workers and stop them from reaching a clear independent class point of view.

The central task of a revolutionary organisation is always to campaign for the principles of workers’ democracy, basing itself on the influence that the workers’ vanguard has on the rest of the class. This must not to be done solely on a theoretical plane, by confining it to the written words of the ‘maximum programme’ of a party. Workers’ democracy must be brought to the fore of the party’s propaganda. The only way of doing this is to adapt the political agitation and the revolutionary tactics of the party to the real needs of the working class and the poor. This is necessary to show them the urgency of achieving workers’ democracy.

The slogans and tactics of the revolutionary leadership should be based on the concrete experience of the workers and poor, in order to help them, stage by stage, to draw the lessons from events and increase their revolutionary determination and consciousness

… or a revolutionary policy?

A socialist activist should ask himself two questions. What did the Filipino masses really need from any government change in 2001? Which tactics in that given situation could have lead them to the seizure of power? To answer these questions is to start to answer many of the questions that the future will pose again and again before the Filipino revolution and its vanguard.

Let us try and answer the first question. On the one hand, the workers don’t need another bourgeois president and government. Therefore the first of the BMP’s slogans, ‘Resign All’, was correct.

On the other hand, it was wrong to expect any serious reform from what amounts to simply another arm of the bourgeois State, the Chief Justice. Therefore, the second of the BMP’s slogans was clearly wrong. What were (and still are) the immediate demands that the Filipino workers and poor needed to be implemented by a provisional government? They were, and are, the following:

The abolition of every anti-labour and anti-union law. Complete freedom of expression and association. Increase and respect of the minimum wage, according to the increases in the cost of living. Fair standards of working conditions. The end of the contractualisation and casualisation of labour. Every union should have the right to enter the CBA. No worker involved in a dispute to be arrested. No overtime until all the unemployed are hired. Equal pay for equal work in order to improve women workers’ conditions. Prohibition of child labour. Prohibition of the bosses’ lockout and every other similar action against the unions. Workers’ councils and union tribunals to be set up to make sure the bosses respect all the laws.

A welfare system that allows each and every worker to retire with dignity and have access to free social and hospital care. Free education for children of all ages (nationalisation of the schools and nurseries). The establishment of a network of public laundries and the provision of canteens in the workplaces and barangays, to free women from their slavery at home. The price of these services should be minimal and in any case based on the minimum wage. A house building program should be started together with the immediate expropriation of every apartment and building that is unjustifiably kept empty.

Nationalisation without compensation and under democratic workers’ control of all the banks, multinational industries and assets, plantations and landlord possessions. Together with the collectivisation of agriculture, this is the only way of getting millions of urban poor back to their land. Provide machinery and technical assistance to the collective plantations and cheap financial credits to the small planters on condition that they respect the new labour laws of the revolutionary government.

In order to find the financial resources that these urgent measures require, the following would be needed: repudiation of the external debt and any obligations to the IMF, World Bank and ADB. Strict monopoly of foreign trade and the introduction of a planned economy.

We are sure that any real socialist would agree with this programme. But to agree isn’t enough. One should ask oneself if any worker could expect something like this to be carried out by a democratic (but bourgeois) Constituent Convention? Could any Filipino poor imagine the Caretaker Chief Justice proclaiming such decrees?

Let us try and find the answer to the second question. After having experienced every kind of government and traditional bourgeois politician, what can the Filipino working class expect from another bourgeois parliament? Only manoeuvres, false promises and lies. We suggest that every committed socialist who does not agree with this reads Alan Woods’ extensive article on the slogan of the Constituent Assembly (or Convention), On the constituent assembly slogan:
Is it applicable to Argentina?
  It was written for the Argentine revolution but it can be equally applied to the Filipino experience.

Filipino workers and students that heard the slogan of the caretaker government raised by the BMP and SanLakas during the 2001 movement did not find it qualitatively different from those raised by the CPP and the KMU. What difference can seriously be found between the idea of a Caretaker Government and the GMA Government? Both are bourgeois executives with no direct participation on the part of the working class and the poor. The wealth of the ruling class is not touched in any way. The banks, the bosses and landowners keep their privileged positions. Nobody really believed that Chief Justice Mr. Davide would go so far as to actually introduce an electoral reform that would transform the nature of the representation of the working class in the Congress or in the Senate.

It is true that that section of the workers, students and the petty bourgeoisie that wanted Mr.Davide to take provisional power had naive illusions in him, and saw him as someone who would fight against corruption and would implement at least some reforms. But it is also true that no political force explained to them in clear terms that there is no way of getting rid of corruption under a capitalist system. No single politician can change such a political system, no matter how honest he might be. Corruption is the political expression of rotten capitalism in the Philippines and throughout the whole world. It is a method of the capitalist class to buy its slavish politicians and State apparatus. This is the essence of corruption.

The task of even a small revolutionary vanguard is precisely to fight any illusions the masses may have in the capitalist system and its state. This is the task not only during a pre-revolutionary period, but in all periods of the struggle. That is the essence of Bolshevism. The revolutionary leadership must show that only workers’ democracy can really put an end to capitalist bureaucracy and corruption.

Writing on the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871, Engels concluded: "The working class must…safeguard itself against its own deputies and officials by declaring them all, without exception, subject to recall at any moment." He added that in order to ensure that the organs of the state would not be transformed "from servants of society to masters of society - an inevitable transformation in all previous states - the Commune used two infallible means. In the first place, it filled all posts - administrative, judicial and educational - by election on the basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, subject to the right of recall at any time by the electors. And in the second place, it paid all officials, high or low, only the wages received by other workers…In this way an effective barrier to place-hunting and careerism was set up, even apart from binding mandates to delegates to representative bodies which were added besides." (Civil War in France, our emphasis)

So we could ask the following questions. What is the salary of Mr. Davide? And who made him Chief Justice?

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