Philippines: Ecosocialism launched

No Kaliwa Dam
Protesting the Kaliwa dam project. Photo: PLM/Facebook

Socialist and environmental activists came together to launch a course of educational seminars on ecosocialism in the Philippines’ capital, Manila, on November 25.

President of Solidarity of Filipino Workers (BMP) and Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) Senatorial candidate in the 2022 elections, Luke Espiritu, told the seminar: "We can't talk about climate change without talking about socialism. We cannot talk about needed change if we do not talk about the state power itself of the species that destroyed nature.”

Roy Cabonegro, Interim National President of the Makakalikasan (Nature) Party, which allied with PLM in the recent election said: "We look forward to continuing to work with PLM as co-equal partners in our bid for social change as we find alternatives to the very system of capitalism that is bringing ecological disaster and untold human sufferings to the world and our part of the world here in the Philippines."

Theatre troupe Teatro Fabrika performed the song "Sierra Madre", which referenced the campaign to save the Sierra Madre mountain region in Luzon, under threat from the proposed Kaliwa Dam construction. If the dam is built it will greatly impact the region, and drive Indigenous communities from their ancestral lands.

A few days earlier, the PLM hosted a discussion on the Kaliwa Dam by women leaders in the communities and towns in the Rizal province affected by the project.

Environmentalists and Indigenous communities have been campaigning against the dam since it was first proposed to meet growing water demand in Metro Manila.

The dam will affect the ancestral domains of 5000 members of the Dumagat-Remontado Indigenous community and destroy the biodiversity and habitat of 126 species in 300 hectares of the Sierra Madre, endangering 100,000 residents downstream with the risk of massive flooding.

PLM chairperson Sonny Melencio said in his presentation to the seminar: “Marx stated the need to fix the environment, or the problem brought about by what he called the ‘metabolic rift’ in the way the capitalist system is operating.

“Recognising capitalism’s continuing breach in the ecological foundation of the planet, Marx cautioned that in producing for the needs of humanity, we must ensure that the environment is protected and even enriched for future generations to come.

“This reminded me of a popular quote from tribal hero Macli-ing Dulag, who was assassinated in 1980 by the Marcos military forces for his opposition to the Chico River Dam Project. He said, “How can we speak of owning the land when the land outlives us?”