Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Role of the Public Sector Workers in the Class Struggle

The public sector workers in National Government Agencies are mostly part of the middle and the left-wing section of the petty-bourgeois class. They are grossly overworked and underpaid by a reactionary State which has an ultimate aim of perpetuating itself in power to continue forth with the existing relations of production in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial Philippine society. Public sector workers have yet to get increases in their salaries as their campaign for a 3000 across-the-board increase is yet to be acted upon by the State whose annual task is to pay more foreign debts to imperialist-led multi-lateral financial institutions.

The state, led by the local allies of imperialism, which essentially are composed of landlords and comprador-bourgeoisie, continue kowtowing to imperialist frameworks of development pegged on foreign aid and capital. The rationalization policies of government in the guise of re-engineering the bureaucracy are part of this collusion among the ruling class and its imperialist masters. The goal of the rationalization policy is not to provide efficient services and maximize economy in government really but to divert more and more funds into debt servicing which by this year accounts to more than seventy percent of the annual budgetary appropriations. This is necessarily done by local allies of imperialism to continue wielding economic and political powers over the classes it is in conflict with – the proletariat, the peasantry, the petty-bourgeois which government employees are part of, and the vacillating national bourgeois.

Such is the reason why despite years of struggle and political campaigns by government workers to increase their salaries, it still has fallen into the state’s deaf ears. The interests of the public sector workers is never a part of the agenda of a state dominated by the ruling class of compradors and landlords because it is diametrically opposed with the interests of their class in the need to pay tributes to their foreign masters. The state is also using state apparatuses such as civil service laws to stifle the rights of these public sector workers from voicing out their just demands as prior restraints such as the limit on the right to strike and the ban on political activity. These are effectively utilized by the state to keep their salaries at a very minimum and lay-off its employees on demand with very little opposition.

Though they may be a part of the government machinery, the resounding character and consciousness of their class persists as the lowly government worker is not a bit like his/her political appointee boss in terms of getting multi-million kickbacks from the spoils of government contracts, among others. While it is true that a lot of government employees sometimes engage in under-the-table dealings, this is brought about by the economic fact that despite working very long hours in a cramped government office, less than ten thousand pesos is what he/she gets for all the effort he has put into his/her work. This role as a government employee in a reactionary state machinery is confusing for the petty-bourgeois consciousness which practically explains why in the most part, a lot of government employees still opt to continue working than join political struggles such as that which opposes their very retrenchment from office.

While they fully realize that it is the very State that they serve which is the cause of all their misery and alienation, many still opt to be its willing servants, not because of trust and belief in a reactionary State but for sheer lack of other means of employment. But in the event of a snowballing of support for their sector’s cause and the clear threat of retrenchment or on a larger scale, the cause of ousting a president who ordered their retrenchment, there is little doubt that they might join the political struggles in the future.

As such, it is essential for public sector employees to arouse, organize and mobilize themselves into potent political actors in advancing their demands for job security and higher wages. The state will not give these demands on a silver platter. It should be struggled for by the government employees, alongside the struggles of the Filipino people.

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