Martial law was met with the heroic resistance of the Filipino workers and people which climaxed in the ouster of the US-Marcos dictatorship in 1986. The national-democratic movement – which very early on foresaw and warned of Marcos’s trajectory towards declaring Martial Law and prepared accordingly – contributed significantly to weakening and later on bringing down the dictatorship. Countless martyrs from the ranks of workers, peasants and other sectors of society offered their lives in the struggle against the dictatorship and for genuine national liberation and democracy. The US was only forced to drop Marcos like a hot potato because of the expanding and intensifying protests and resistance of the Filipino workers and people, especially after the assassination of Sen. Ninoy Aquino in 1983.
The rotten reactionary system ruled by imperialists and the big comprador bourgeoisie and landlord classes which brought about Martial Law persists to this day. The 1986 People Power uprising did not bring about genuine social change but merely brought back the economic, social and political order that existed before Martial Law. It merely restored the so-called “democratic” form of rule but retained the most undemocratic economic and political structure from which the US-Marcos dictatorship sprang. The US and the exploiting classes which supported Martial Law remain in power and are ready to unleash wholesale fascist repression against the workers and people should they feel that the ruling system is being seriously threatened by protests and resistance.
Even under the so-called “democratic” regimes which succeeded the US-Marcos dictatorship, Martial Law has persisted in various forms. The Marcos ruling clique was merely replaced by different factions of the ruling classes that it displaced. As far as the workers’ and people’s right to form unions and launch strikes, Martial Law continues in the country. As far as the right of farmers to struggle to own the lands that they have been tilling for decades, if not centuries, Martial Law persists in the country. Martial Law-type violations of human rights have persisted and are have been made worse by succeeding regimes in various acts of state repression. The big elite-owned mass media and regular elections have been restored, only to impose upon the people pro-imperialist, pro-elite and anti-people views, attitudes and candidates.
On the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, we call on the Filipino workers and people to continue to unite and fight for the overthrow of the rotten and reactionary system which brought about Martial Law and is now led by the US-backed regime of Pres. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III. The exploitation and repression that characterized Martial Law continues under the so-called “democratic” regimes that replaced the US-Marcos dictatorship. We have every reason and right to continue to fight for our immediate interests and for a Philippines that is truly free and democratic under a government of the people.