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Julie Waterson

The tyrant topples

(1 March 1986)

From Socialist Worker, 1 March 1986.
Reprinted in In the Heat of the Struggle: 25 Years of Socialist Worker (London: Bookmarks, 1993), p. 228.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FERDINAND MARCOS once commanded one of the most brutal and repressive state machines in the world. This week his once formidable power has been brought crashing down. A million people came onto the streets of Manila to confront his columns of troops and tanks. Even the Americans have deserted him.

His once loyal boot boys in the military are deserting him like rats from a sinking ship.

Marcos has been forced to leave. But what lay behind his downfall? Does the future hold any promise for a country where 60 percent of the population live in dire poverty?

Aquino’s People’s Party is a fairly recent realignment of that opposition. Yet it can hold little hope for the majority of poor Filipinos.

Cory Aquino is herself a very rich landowner and is surrounded by ‘a mafia of upper class intellectual advisors, many of them US educated,’ as one magazine said. Many of them have been loyal supporters of Marcos and have a vested interest in stability in the Philippines.

Now that Marcos has left Reagan is full of praise for Aquino. This week we had a glimpse of the nightmare that haunts bosses, generals and rulers the world over. Troops sent to crush the popular opposition embraced the crowd.

Ordinary people who have felt their power on the streets could win over the allegiance of large sections of the disgruntled army. Workers and soldiers could tour the estates and the factories debating, arguing and organising.

What is heartening for socialists the world over is to see the embryo of a worker’s power that can get rid not just of Marcos, but Aquino, the Americans and ultimately every single one of the bosses and bureaucrats who run and ruin their lives.

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