the rise of duterte in the philippines: a warning to the international working class.

On May 10, Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines, receiving 39 percent of the vote and besting his nearest competitor by more than 6 million votes. He was elected with a base of support particularly in the middle class and upper-middle class, which he mobilized behind a right-wing populist campaign.

Duterte is a fascistic political figure, the long-time head of death squads in Davao City in the southern Philippines. At the center of his presidential campaign was the repeated promise that he would have the police and military kill alleged criminals. He also threatened to kill workers if they attempted to form a union in Export Processing Zones.

Duterte’s election is the product of mounting class tensions bound up with the drive to world war, spearheaded by US imperialism, and is a sharp expression of the move by capitalist ruling elites internationally toward dictatorial forms of rule. It parallels the rise of the far-right worldwide, from the National Front in France, to the AfD in Germany and the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump in the United States.