Imperialism means war. Merciless, profit-driven, and, in its most blatant form, genocidal war. In no other year in recent history as in 2023 has this truth been so violently unmasked to hundreds of millions the world over.
Yet on the opposite side of imperialist war is the people’s struggle, in all its forms — including the highest form of struggle in people’s war. And in no other year in recent history as in 2023 have the masses in their millions begun to embrace their roles in the people’s struggle against imperialism: as activists, strikers, artists, educators, health workers, people of faith, and more. Significantly, many more millions have begun to accept that the people have a right to self defense by any means necessary in the face of an enemy that prioritizes its wealth over the lives and history of an entire population.
Now tied down in both cold and hot wars in every corner of the world, the people’s number one enemy, US imperialism, is being stretched to its limits. In 2024, let us commit to agitating, organizing, and mobilizing the masses — to learn from them and teach them so as to strike together at US imperialism’s chains with ever greater force and determination to break free.
Palestine forges ahead
The Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation against the Zionist state of Israel has taken center stage in the world struggle against imperialism. “Israel” — despite being backed by every major Western imperialist power, most especially the US — has made little headway into strategic victory over the Unified Palestinian Resistance. But this resistance has not come without tremendous loss. Over 25,000 have been martyred by the Israeli Occupation Forces, two-thirds of whom have been women and children. That the US continues to send billions of dollars in military aid to Israel to fund its genocide of the Palestinian people exposes just how rotten and inhumane imperialism really is.
States and parties in power are beginning to take a more decisive stance in siding with Palestine. Yemen’s blockade against ships carrying arms and war materiel to the Zionist entity has already forced major multinational corporations — such as Maersk, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and BP — to suspend transit through the Red Sea. In response, the US has shamelessly formed a coalition of 10 states under the pretext of protecting maritime navigation. In reality, it is a blatant move to protect Israel and its own geopolitical and economic interests in the region. The US has already sunk three Yemeni ships en route to prevent a ship’s passage through its waters. Now, Iran has sent in its own warship to the Red Sea in defiance to the US’ attempts to dominate the waters, while Lebanon continues to strike at “Israel” from its southern border.
At the grassroots, millions around the world are joining the mass movement mobilizing in solidarity with Palestine. This global upsurge is tearing away at the “legitimacy” of Zionism and imperialism, creating a political, economic, and even cultural crisis for the ruling elite that has spent decades trying to normalize ethnic cleansing and genocide. Even the Zionist entity is resorting to desperate moves, most recently attacking Beirut — the capital of Lebanon — directly for the first time since 2006. The drone strike, which assassinated a Palestinian leader, does little to cover up the failures of its ground war against the Unified Palestinian Resistance. If anything, this brazen act of terror provokes the region one step closer to wholesale war, one that the US will be strapped to engage in as it battles its main rivals on other fronts.
The long tentacles of US imperialism had already been pinned down in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific even before the Palestinian people changed the world’s landscape on October 7. In just about two years, the US has spent a massive $75 billion in assistance to Ukraine — more than half of which has been military aid — in its proxy war against Russia. Along with its lackeys in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the US aims to weaken Russia as an imperialist rival, while at the same time allowing its manufacturers of death like Lockheed Martin and Boeing to make superprofits.
After its strategic “pivot to Asia” in the 2010s, the US has also aggressively ramped up its political, economic, and military meddling in the Asia-Pacific region to contain its other imperialist rival China. The US is encircling China by deploying massive warships in the Pacific; establishing military bases in places like South Korea, Okinawa, and the Philippines; and strengthening bilateral and multilateral military alliances with countries in the region, not to mention conducting joint war exercises with them. Alarmingly, the US is brazenly provoking China by egging on Taiwanese independence from the latter. Economically, the Biden administration seeks to preserve its leverage in the region through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a US-led neoliberal free trade agreement that was discussed at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last year.
And while US imperialism by far remains the people’s number one enemy, Russia’s and China’s actions cannot go without criticism. Russia’s military aggression only brings harm to the Russian and Ukrainian masses, while China’s territorial aggression in the West Philippine Sea has placed some of the most vulnerable — such as Filipino fisherfolk — in danger.
The strengthening of economic and military alliances led by Russia and China, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), poses a huge threat to the US dominance in the hemisphere. And now with its concentration split between Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and increasingly West Asia in the face of Palestinian and Arab resistance, US imperialism’s cracks are being pried wide open.
Struggle for Philippine sovereignty
The rivalry between the US and China has put the Filipino masses in its crosshairs. At the same time, the people’s movement is pressing on this inter-imperialist contradiction to gain strength.
Under Bongbong Marcos’ leadership, the Philippines remains a stronghold for US imperialism in the Asia-Pacific. Marcos has eagerly opened the doors for more US military presence with the addition of four more military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), bringing the total to nine.The bases allow the US to stockpile missiles and additional weapons to be ready for deployment to other countries in the “first island chain.” Additionally, the US and Philippine militaries hope to conduct more than 500 bilateral engagements in 2024, including large-scale exercises and joint patrols. Instigated by the US, the Philippines signed additional “visiting forces agreements” to allow military presence from the US’ allies, Japan and France. The expansion of US militarism in the Philippines will only bring more of the same: displacement for the peasant masses, fisherfolk, and Indigenous peoples; violence against women and children; environmental destruction; counterinsurgency; and human rights abuses.
In the economic field, the tension between the US and China has also caused cracks within the Philippines’ ruling elite, particularly for the once touted “unity team” of the Marcos and Duterte dynasties. The US-backed Marcos regime announced the decision to drop all China-funded government loans, contracts, and the three railway projects that were secured under former president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Faced with the political and economic crisis caused by the imperialists and their puppets in the Philippines, the mass movement dares to struggle forward and defend the people’s right to land, life, and sovereignty. Last month, Metro Manila erupted in a strike movement of thousands of jeepney drivers, operators, and supporters demanding an end to neoliberal “modernization” policies threatening their livelihood, while workers all over demand higher wages and lower prices.
The armed resistance in the countryside and revolutionary movement rooted across the country also forges ahead, waging people’s war to end imperialist war. Increasingly threatened by China, the US has been pushing the Marcos regime to end the civil war with the Philippine revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines so that the military can focus on “external defense.” However, as long as the crisis remains and the masses desire change, the people’s resistance shall prevail. In the words of the late Jose Maria Sison, the Filipino People’s Democratic Revolution is invincible.
Fight within the belly of the beast
As the masses of the world in Palestine, the Philippines, and others strike at imperialism at its weakest links, we too must do our part from within the belly of the beast. The surge in the US labor movement, the massive groundswell of support for Palestinian national liberation, and the linking of these and many other movements must continue to strengthen in size, scope, intensity, and organization.
That is up to us, the people, to make happen. We must agitate the people in the hundreds of thousands and millions, form sturdy organizations, and — of course — fight together against our common enemy.
As Filipinos yearning for the national liberation of our homeland and the liberation of all peoples from imperialism, we commit ourselves to this task in 2024 and for the long struggle ahead. We look forward to building this new world together with you.