February 22nd to 25th marks the 36th anniversary of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines, also known as the EDSA Uprising. This collection of mass actions and civil disobedience led directly to the fall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and reinstalled Liberal Democracy in the Philippines.
Ninoy Aquino, the leader of the opposition to Marcos, was assassinated at Manila international airport by pro-Marcos forces on August 21st 1983. The outwardly fascist tactics of the Marcos regime angered both the United States imperialists, who were interested in a more peaceful transition of power, and left the Filipino masses grieving the loss of the democratic opposition to the Marcos dictatorship. Over 1 million people attended Aquino’s funeral, but the pro-Aquino forces did not have the mass organizations necessary to stage large scale protests against the blatant murder at the time of his death, and those that did orccur were violently suppressed. This sowed the seeds of civil unrest that would break out 3 years later in the EDSA uprising.
On February 7th 1986, a snap election was called by Marcos. At each of the 85,000 voting locations, it was alleged that the Board of Election Inspectors did not follow the stipulated voting procedures. It was further noted that the voter turnout was surprisingly low: 77% of those registered compared to 89% in the previous election. This raised the suspicion of fraud which was committed through Marcos’ control of the Comelec. In response to the blatant voter fraud committed by the pro-Marcos forces, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) signalled an intensification of the armed struggle, and Corazon Aquino (wife of Ninoy Aquino) launched her campaign of civil disobedience. The stage was set for unprecedented mass protests against the fascist Marcos regime.
Using the Radio Veritas broadcast station, Boots Aquino (Ninoy Aquino’s brother) called on the people to assemble at the Isetann along Epifanio de Los Santos Ave (EDSA). The forces of BAYAN, Justice for Aquino and Justice for All and Congress for the Restoration and Democracy were the first to appear in significant numbers. In total, some 2 millions people took to the streets to answer the calls for justice and occupied EDSA from Cubao, Quezon to Makati, Rizal. The people on the EDSA blocked Marcos from sending army and marine convoys from Fort Bonifacio and Sangley point to suppress the mass movements. In the direct encirclement of the Malacaang Palace, the majority of the 100,000 people present were mobilized by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (the militant workers union) and the League of Filipino Students under the BAYAN alliance. To avoid being ambushed on the road out of the presidential palace by the New People’s Army (NPA), Marcos was airlifted to Clark Air Base where he was then taken to Guam, and finally, Hawaii.
Finally, after 20 years, the Filipino people were successful at ending Marcos’ dictatorship. The EDSA uprising firmly cemented the CPP as the vanguard of the People’s Democratic Revolution in the Philippines but the CPP-NPA-NDFP did not have the strength at the time to overpower the forces of United States imperialism, and so Corazon Aquino became the 11th president of the Philippines, serving from 1986 to 1992. Though victorious in their goal of ousting Marcos and putting and end to his fascist rule, the semi-feudal and semi-colonial economic base of the Philippines remains unchallenged by the ruling class, and the basic problems of US Imperialism, Feudalism, and Bureaucrat Capitalism remain unsolved.
The current president of the Philippines, Duterte, continues the legacy of Marcos through his wars on drugs, terror, and the moro people, as well as through the declaration of martial law in Mindinao in 2018. In the upcoming election, Marcos’ son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, have formed an alliance and are running together for president and vice president respectively. The limits of the EDSA uprising are clear. The rotten political system in the Philippines is unable to prevent another dictator from taking power in the Philippines, and the same families continue to plunder the Philippines for their resources on behalf of the United States. For this reason, we stand in solidarity with the Filipino National Democratic movement which seeks to address the basic problems faced by the Filipino people, and in doing so challenge the Marcos restoration and Duterte extension.
No to Marcos Restoration!
No to Duterte Extension!
No to Marcos-Duterte 2022!
Long Live the People’s Democratic Revolution!
Long Live International Solidarity!