EL ULTIMO ADIOS ni Rizal, kurasyon ni E San Juan, Jr.



(Siniping tinig nina Andres Bonifacio,  Jose Sevilla,  Pedro Gatmaitan, Julian Cruz Balmaseda, Jose Corazon de Jesus, Albino Dimayuga, Guillermo Tolentino at Ildefonso Santos, kurasyon ni E. San Juan, Jr.)

Pinipintuho kong Bayan ay paalam
lupang iniirog ng sikat ng araw
mutyang mahalaga sa dagat Silangan
kaluwalhatiang sa ami’y pumanaw.

Sa iyó’y handóg ko ng̃ ganap na tuwâ
Malung̃kót kong̃ buhay na lantá at abâ
Naging̃ dakilà man, boóng̃ pagnanasang̃
Ihahandóg ko rin sa iyóng̃ paglayà.

Ako’y mamamatay ngayong minamalas
Ang kulay ng langit na nanganganinag,
Ibinababalang araw ay sisikat
Sa kabila niyong mapanglaw na ulap.

Ang aking pangarap nang babahagya pang isip ko’y mabuksan
At ang hinagap ko nang magbinata na’t may lakas nang taglay
At ang balang-araw’y makita ka, Hiyas ng Dagat-Silangan,
Na tuyo sa luha ang itim mong mata’t ang noo mo’y buhay
At wala ni kunot, at munting gulubhi’t bahid-kahihiyan.

Ipagdasal mo rin yaong nangamatay sa paglaban,
Pati lahat ng nagtiis ng maraming kahirapan
Sa kawawa nating inang nanaghoy sa kasawian,
Sa ulila’t mga balo, sa bilanggo sa piitan,
Ipagdasal mo rin upang makamtan ang katubusan.

Kung ang libingan ko’y hindi mapansi’t limot na ng lahat
Wala kahit kurus at batong tanda man na magbigay ulat,
Ay bayaan mong dukalin ng tao, durugi’t ikalat
Upang ang abo ko ay bago mabalik sa wala at sukat
Ang mag alabok na tatapakan mo’y pawang mapalatag.

At sa gayo’t di na ako kailangang gunitain,
Ang hangin mo, ang lawak mo, ang libis mo’y babagtasin;
Sa dinig mo ay magiging tinig akong naglalambing,
Halimuyak at liwanag, kulay, higing, awit, daing,
Ubod niring paniwala’y muli’t muling sasambitin.

Sintang Pilipinas, sakit ng sakit ko, sa wakas, paalam!
Hayan, iiwanko ang lahat ng aking minahal sa buhay;
Ako’y patutungo sa walang alipin ni punong gahaman,
Walang mapanlipol na paniniwala, walang tampalasan,
Doo’y walang hari liban kay Bathalang makapangyarihan.

Paalam, magulang at kapatid, bahagi ng aking kaluluwa,
Kaibigan ng aking kamusmusang idinaos sa lunang naglaho,
Ialay ang pasasalamat at makapagpahinga sa dusa’t pagod,
Paalam, dayuhang aliw na kay tamis, aking sinta aking ligaya!
Paalam, mga minamahal. Pumanaw, magpahingalay.


Posted in DISCOURSES ON CONTRADICTIONS | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

On Benjamin Appel’s novel on the Philippines, FORTRESS IN THE RICE (1951)


by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

Benjamin Appel (1907-1977) may be the most neglected or forgotten radical-democratic novelist of mid-century United States. While his first Depression-era novel Brain Guy (1934) was re-published in 2005 together with Plunder (1952), a racially calibrated expose of underworld racketeering in war-torn Philippines, Appel still remains unknown to most critics and cultural historians. The last significant, incisive commentary on Appel appeared in Alan Wald’s Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Anti-Fascist Crusade (2007) which focused on The Dark Stain (1943), the last of the trilogy beginning with Brain Guy and The Power House (1939). The trilogy became the basis for Appel’s reputation as a novelist specializing in detective and crime fiction set in a milieu of poverty, prostitution, criminal corruption, and murder where “the morass of racial prejudice devours even those of good intentions” (University of Oregon Library 1977).
Periodicals such as the New York Times and The New Yorker praised Appel as the authentic voice of the streets of urban America. Apropos of The Dark Stain, Wald emphasized Appel’s unqualified support for President Roosevelt’s anti-fascist crusade as part of 1930’s Popular Front politics. Its message was conveyed through the trappings of a hardboiled detective novel appropriate for the conspiratorial atmosphere of a protofascist environment, Wald adds, with Dickens and Tolstoy’s psychodrama coalescing with Upton Sinclair and Theodore Dreiser’s stylized naturalism (2007, 143). Five years after this chronicle of race war in the “internal colony,” Appel was addressing “the misery and despair of Asia–a misery and despair shared by nearly all the nonwhite people of the world” (1951, 424)–symbolized by the struggle for the “bowl of rice” that signifies the common humanity founded on material existence.  From 1945 to 1948 when the Cold War flared up, Appel’s sympathy for the underdog widened and deepened to embrace the brutalized peasants of colonial Philippines in his account of their struggle against Japanese colonialism and American racism/chauvinism in Fortress in the Rice (1951). How did this reconfiguration of the writer’s empathic sensibility happen?
The itinerary of the novelist’s imagination evinces a familiar route. From 1935 to 1941, Appel was an active member of the left-wing League of American Writers whose black members included Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and many others. Apart from multiethnic constituencies, the League provided opportunities for delegates from other countries to participate in its meetings. Appel might have encountered the left-wing Filipino delegates to the Third Congress in June 1939 where anti-imperialist speeches inspired the visitors and the committed audience. Franklin Folsom describes Appel’s stance as “independent, creative, and humorous” (1994, 254).
Appel signed the League’s “Call to the Writers Win-the-War Congress” in November 3, 1942 to “articulate the will and desires of the people,” to remember and avenge the victims of Pearl Harbor, Lidice and Stalingrad. The writers would urge the opening of a second front in Europe to defeat “the fascist enslavers and murderers of mankind.” One of the aims of using “words as weapons”  was for “the democratic integration in this people’s war of the total energies of the Negro people, by fighting with them against discrimination in any form whether in civil life or in the armed forces” (Folsom 1994, 348). Appel’s radical-democratic stance is rooted in his conviction that the people as a whole (rather than the sectarian proletarian class-in-itself) prefigures the transitional vehicle in the passage from a class-divided polity into a larger, inclusive, egalitarian order, an outlook he shares with Kenneth Burke (1997), a fellow member of the League and a distinguished theoretician of the arts. Because of this view, Appel easily identified with the Huks as an organic popular ensemble uniting all and everyone under the banner of grass-roots democracy, popular justice, and socialist-internationalist solidarity.

Trajectory of the Partisan Intelligence

Given his humanist-populist sympathies, Appel eagerly joined this mobilization of writers for victory against global fascism and militarism. But what brought him to the only U.S. colony in Asia occurred after his 7-month stint in 1945 at the Office of War Mobilization and Conversion in Washington, DC. Appointed a special assistant to the U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines from November 1945 to March 1946, Appel arrived in the Philippines engaged in field investigations of the social, political and cultural conditions of the islands, including personalities and specific incidents, prior to the grant of formal independence. The result was the rich, data-filled compendium of letters to his family entitled “Manila Diary,” the raw material (still unpublished) of his two novels, Fortress and Plunder. I believe this 200-page plus manuscript is one of the most valuable eyewitness testimonies by an American “insider” concerning that momentous transitional stage in which the issues of wartime collaboration, agrarian conflict, military insubordination, shady diplomatic chicanery, and political opportunism dominated the headlines. It was the fateful interregnum that would decide future United States’ policies toward the Philippines after the grant of formal independence in July 1946, a precarious conjuncture coinciding with the beginning of the Cold War.
In several letters to prospective publishers, Appel delineated the background to the genesis of Fortress. He calls attention repeatedly to the “theme of the Asiatic peasant’s struggle for rice and land, anxiously emphasizing that “my hero in this novel are the billion Asiatics, the common man across the Pacific who for all his differences is not too dissimilar from the common man of the big American cities” (Appel 1977). Appel considered the vexed American-Philippines entanglement as a microcosm of all Asia. The time he spent in the Philippines “was a turning point in American policy in the Orient”:

After meeting Sergio Osmena [then president of the Philippine Commonwealth] and Manuel Roxas [elected first president of the Philippine Republic; exonerated by Gen, MacArthur for his collaboration with the Japanese govt.] etc., I became interested in the history of the dominant Nacionalista Party over half a century. After attending the trials of General Yamashita, I became interested in the Japanese policy during the occupation, particularly in its propaganda against the West. After meeting the guerilla leaders, both American and Filipino, I became interested in unraveling the feud between the Hukbalahaps [the Communist-led guerilla army against the Japanese forces; hereafter, Huks] and the American-led guerillas. I discovered that there was one common cord binding together such historical phenomena as the Nacionalista Party with its drive for independence from the United States, the Japanese occupation, the bitter feud between the guerillla groups: who should own the land. Landlord or peasant? Today, the land-rice revolt is continuing not only in the Philippines but throughout all Asia. In my opinion, it is the greatest historical fact of our times, involving the fate of half the world’s population  (Appel 1977).

At a crucial juncture in the relations between the United States and its only colony in Asia, the Philippines, Appel found himself an informed, eager participant in, and witness to, the portentous  transition of the Philippines from subservient “Commonwealth” status to a nominally sovereign republic. As already mentioned, Appel was appointed an official historian of the Paul McNutt Commission in 1945-46. This unusual vantage point enabled Appel to scrutinize firsthand those crucial months of negotiations immediately after the liberation of the country from the Japanese occupation, painful weeks and months of restoring normalcy to a society wracked with centuries of peonage, violent pauperization of millions, rampant injustice, and ferocious class antagonisms. Those deep-rooted social maladies constitute a legacy of 300 years of Spanish domination, four years of ruthless Japanese oppression, and forty years of predatory U.S. colonial rule.
Based on his intense social investigation and wide-ranging analysis of the historical archives, Appel produced two novels about Philippine society and the role of American soldiers, politicians and assorted adventurers. While Plunder (1952) stages an interethnic drama involving American soldiers engaged in corrupt collusion with Filipinos. Chinese and other groups enriching themselves from wartime piracy, the longer novel Fortress in the Rice (1951) charts the vicissitudes of the Huk peasant rebellion in the fifties. Although the second novel has been reviewed favorably, it has not been given the serious reading and appraisal that it deserves as one of the most trenchant mapping and critique of racialized colonial ideology operating in the psyches of both masters and subalterns, with subtle discrimination of its effects in a broad spectrum of characters representing different cultural traditions, group habits, and social histories.

Caught Between Two Worlds

The difficulty of a just estimate of Appel’s achievement springs no doubt from the US public’s ignorance of, or indifference to, the half-a-century of U.S. colonial rule in the Philippines. One example is Robert Lowry’s review of Appel’s book. Lowry claims to appreciate through the flat journalistic prose, cliches and overwiting the novelist’s “interested eye roving over the whole social scene of occupied Manila and the guerilla country beyond” which yields “a good documentary” about the “plight of the Philippine masses and the reason for their revolutionary ferment” (1951, 16, 36). Counterpointing this is Harry Slochower’s estimate that Appel’s artifice belongs to “world literature” in the same class as Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Malraux’s Man’s Fate. Slowocher argues that Appel shows “greater sensitivity to the complexities of human emotions under the terrible stressess of war, loneliness and hunger” (xxx, 70). What endows the novel with permanent stature is “the story of particular human destinies,” one which “encompasses the making or unmaking of the world-wide fraternity and freedom. It shows that behind the revolution for a bowl of rice, there is the craving for dignity and love” (1951, 70). Without a doubt, the indifference of one reviewer and the enthusiasm of the other may be read as symptomatic of the confused American understanding of the complex situation of the Philippines and its people ever since the US annexed the territory in 1898.
Knowledge of the Philippines as the only direct Southeast Asian colony of the United States has been obtuse and sparse. The entry in The Reader’s Companion to American History, for example, cites the problem of violent annexation in conjunction with the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898-99: “Anti-imperialists opposed to taking over a foreign people without their consent and holding them in a colonial condition objected bitterly” after which the US poured aid. In 1946, the US “granted the Philippines their independence, though still maintaining bases and political influence there” (1991, 836).
In contrast, historians such as Howard Zinn (1980), Stuart Creighton Miller (1982), and Gabriel Kolko (1984), elaborated on the unconscionable violence and savage suppression of Filipino insurgents from 1899 through the pacification campaigns in the first three decades of the last century. Neocolonial methods were hatched in the Commonwealth period up to the defeat and surrender in Bataan and Corregidor. Conversion of the territory into a neocolony was mainly effected by the Bell Trade Act and the Military Bases Agreement of 1947, plus other agreements enforcing economic, political and mlitary conditions that perpetuated dependency and preserved the feudal landlord structures and client-patron nexus on which oligarchic power has rested for over three hundred years of Spanish, Japanese and American colonial subjugation.
Clearly, World War II caused a rupture in the system of unequal relations between colonized subalterns and imperial masters together with their native overseers. It released popular energies catalyzed by the stubborn resistance to Japanese brutality. While Filipino opposition to US colonialism never stopped despite 1.4 million casualties during the Filipino-American War of 1898-1913, concessions were granted by the US to win over the vacillating middle strata and pettybourgeois intelligentsia (San Juan 2007). However, the majority of citizens, over 80% of the toiling masses comprised largely of peasants and workers chained to peonage in the fields, mines, etc., was subjected to degrading conditions. They continued the revolutionary tradition begun in the 1896 insurrection against Spain up to the twenties and thirties, finally organizing and mobilizing themselves against the Japanese occupation. The group that led this fight was the Hukbalahap composed of socialists, communists, and other nationalist forces whose Popular Front policies supported US anti-Japanese guerillas called USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East). They were not only fighting the Japanese invaders but also their Filipino collaborators—the puppet government and its constabulary police and soldiers—defending landlord property and oligarchic entitlements, the iniquitous status quo before the war. It was ultimately what Appel calls “a battle for the land,” for the radical transformation of the economic and political structures that entrenched a privileged minority backed by the US government that has been oppressing Filipinos (Constantino 1978; Miranda 1988; Pomeroy 1992).
`    Half a century of US tutelage had resulted in pauperization of the peasantry and immiseration of the working class and indigenous or ethnic communities due chiefly to the polarization of land ownership.  Historian Jonathan Fast found that “in 1903 an estimated 81 per cent of all land holdings were worked on directly by their owners; by 1938 this figure had fallen to 49 per cent and in the post-war decade the rate of polarization increased further. By the 1950s an estimated two thirds of all the rural population were landless and of these the great majority were sharecroppers working the fields for a small percentage of the crop” (1973, 76; for updates, see Putzel 1992). On the eve of the Pacific War, with the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions, the increasing rate of land tenancy, heavy rural indebtedness and massive pauperization, militant peasant unions demanded reforms for land redistribution and the end of landlord control over the courts and the bureaucratic apparatus. This is essentially what Appel, in the Author’s Note at the end of the book, referred to as the “tidal wave” whose heart is “the bowl of rice.” The image distills the centuries-long quest of oppressed people of color for freedom, justice and equality.
Private landlord armies and vigilante groups controlled by the elite suppressed any agitation, however peaceful and legal. The war changed the situation. For example, the elite mestizo Narciso Ferrer (the typical Filipino politician of President Manuel Quezon’s generation symptomatic of comprador opportunism) abandoned his hacienda for refuge in Manila and urged the Japanese-backed Philippine Constabulary (under General Mabanta) to protect his rice-fields, to no avail. Ater establishing local governments, the armed peasantry organized by the Huks implemented land redistribution, uncompromising punishment of collaborators, and the denial of rice harvests to the Japanese occupiers, the strategic maneuver called “rice struggles.”
When the US administators returned in 1944, the Huks welcomed the Americans as fellow comrades in the anti-fascist struggle and carried out an initial voluntary demobilization in their regional and local guerilla infrastructures.  But instead of being recognized for their contribution to the destruction of Japanese forces in the major provinces of Luzon (the largest island), the Huks were disarmed, arrested, and whole squadrons of fighters massacred. The Huk leaders were hounded and persecuted.  In effect, American liberation of the islands spelled the return of the old order of mestizo elite exploitation of the majority of peasants and workers. A Filipino journalist, Hernando Abaya, summed up this period of collaboration and MacArthur’s subversion of President Roosevelt’s policies in his 1947 commentary Betrayal in the Philippines (a condensed version may be found in chapters 3-5 of his 1984 autobiography The Making of a Subversive.) For Appel, that treachery was shocking. It was a profound tragic mistake of moral blindness to the past and a sabotage of the US government’s proclaimed commitment to the affirmation of nation’s self-determination, human rights, and the ideals of democratic liberties–shibboleths of the Allied countries’ wartime propaganda .

Epiphany and  Intervention

In that fortuitous assignment to the Philippine theater of class and racial antagonisms, Appel felt he was “living at the center of a typhoon,…a year of momentous decisions when all Asia held its breath, waiting for the United States, the world’s supreme power to point the way to the future…And weren’t the 1950s and the 1960s decades of wars and civil wars in Asia? And wasn’t the United States itself torn apart by violent dissenssion?”  He assumed a self-conscious, transnational perspective:  “…No sensitive person could have been in the Far East in 1945-46 without being aware that the American alternatives in Asia were limited. It was a choice between the mailed fist, a restoration of the pre-war status quo, or a recognition of the ‘rice bowl” revolution. And my novel reflected what was to come…” (Appel 1977). Appel’s vocation as historian-educator thus sprang from pedagogical and hermeneutic motivations. The thematic burden of acquiring a mature vision, a knowledge of the multidimensional sociohistorical totality, may be discerned in the effort to extract a glimpse of the future from the judicious recording of surface events. The artist was both a witness and protagonist of the unfolding drama of the Filipino people’s revolution.
We can formulate the writer’s task as a kind of cunning ventriloquist.  Appel needs to solve the dilemma of staying as an objective, faithful observer aligned with the colonizer while functioning as a conscientious partisan of the masses. But as the novel’s central intelligence, he had no choice but to exercise narrative authority and calculate the relative worth of his characters, their actions and possible consequences. It was a matter of balancing hypotheses and inferences in ironic, often ambiguous lived experiences and situations.
Georg Lukacs once theorized that “the novel is the epic of a world that has been abandoned by God…The novel tells of the adventure of interiority, the content of the novel is the story of the soul that goes to find itself, that seeks adventures in order to be proved and tested by them, and, by proving itself, to find its own essence” (1971, 88-89). By “essence” here, Lukacs designates the character’s destiny, the ethos and signature of her position in a specific historical process. To concretize this hypothetical adventure of interiority, Appel fabricates the narrative of the helpless MacVey, typifying the white American pettybourgeois individual, buffeted by the forces of racist prejudice, sexist brutality and violence in the arena of wartime Philippines. The dynamics of his survival equals his experience of learning the discrepancies between his consciousness and reality, parallel to Appel’s belief that objectivity is a mask for compromise with the status quo. The only alternative is a courageous method of realism leavened with ironic distance and humor. MacVey as anti-hero learns the disparity between illusory conceptions of life and the brute contingency of his actual environment, finally deciding to translate his new knowledge into practice–the practice of speaking truth to power, the practice of writing as an instrument of people’s emancipation and empowerment.

Exploring Dangerous Terrain

It was a new historical and geographical venue for the novelist but his instincts easily furnished the coordinates of aesthetic judgment. It was a new setting but an old game of tactical options and moral choices. Given the sophisticated realism of his earlier novels and his proletarian or plebeian bias, Appel cannot but adopt the viewpoint of the common people, the Filipino tao. The essence he is in search of is the validating quality of collective humane relations in a world devoid of cosmic moral norms or universal communal standards. This is carried out by the invention of typical characters representing social categories, such as MacVey, Narciso Ferrer, Careo, etc.  Apart from the fidelity to multifaceted actuality, the novel’s realism is complicated by a need to profit from the hazardous journey of discovering the truth behind illusions both official and psychological. The sublimation of romantic ideals embedded in tradition and social conventions proceeds through scenes of love, fantasies and experiences of disappointment, anger, joy, longing. What results is the ironic revelation of the limits of metaphysical hopes and idealist promises vis-a-vis the unyielding facticity of real life.
We confront the classic burden of  the education plot syncopated with social satire and lyrical episodes of transcendence. Appel’s hindsight-become-foresight informs the novel’s prophetic charge, somehow a performance of the novelist’s responsiblity to render in dramatic scenes what he calls the “timeless” truths of compassion, pity and love. This is condensed in the closing paragraph of the novel. After surveying the corpse of his erstwhile comrades, in particular the Huk leader Major Careo, Dave MacVey, the central protagonist, is seized with “a paroxysm of grief and rage.” After the death of Col. Ryker, Careo served as MacVey’s father figure, an epitome of resourceful compassion and solidarity between Filipinos and Americans. After prying open the knotted fist of Careo to recover palay (unhusked rice grains) symbolic of the noble ideals of the peasant resistance, MacVey shouts at Major Ortala, the opportunist officer who carried out the execution to please the reactionary landlord-oligarchs:

“You’re not getting away with it! I’ll tell what I know!  Here! Back home!  I’ll tell the whole world the truth!” He spun around, looking down at the major who was a corpse. “Manuel, nobody’ll stop me. Manuel, I swear in God’s name, Manuel!” And he turned from Manuel, the first in the row of Hukbalahaps, as if even now in death he were leading them, toward Major Ortala and the sergeant and sentry.  “You killed him! Killed all of them for the hacenderos!  For the hacendero collaborators!  You killed them, but they’ll hang you!” And with the motion used in tossing a hand grenade, he drew back his arm, his fist opening, and into their faces he flung the rest of the palay. (1951, 423).

At this point Appel was not inventing a scandalous episode. The actual historical incidents Appel translated into fiction occurred on Febuary 5, 1945, when Huk squadron 77 was waylaid by a Filipino colonel, Adonais Maclang, who then killed 130 unarmed Huk guerillas with the knowledge of the US Military Police. At that time USAFFE guerillas accused the Huks of all kinds of crimes; they persuaded the US Counter-Intelligence Corps to arrest well-known leaders such as Luis Taruc, Casto Alejandrino, Silvestre Liwanag. Only one American official, Air Corps Col. Gwen Atkinson, protested the outrage. Further substantiation of the veracity of this historic conjuncture may be found in the Huk leader Luis Taruc’s autobiography, Born of the People (1953), which came out two years after the publication of Fortress (see also Abaya 1947).
Under the Roxas administration, Huk leader Juan Feleo and labor militant Jose Joven were kidnapped and liquidated by landlord-controlled military police who were supposed to be protecting them, testifying to the dominance of landlord-reactionary politicians and military chiefs (Agoncillo and Alfonso 1967, 533-536). This was one of the unforgettable horrible developments that outraged Appel, compelling him to write his two Philippine novels.

Between Romance and Realism

To be sure, Appel then had no intention of achieving a kind of documentary pastiche that one associates today with Capote’s In Cold Blood or with the raw if now banal naturalism of Zola and Norris. He disclaimed being a political reporter or foreign correspondent. In a letter to the editor of Macmillan, Appel confessed that  the novel is the “story of one American’s education in the Far East—an education begun so long ago in an American schoolroom—and what he learned of the new colonialism so ominous for all the peoples of the world. It is the story of sixty days, a moment of history, that lost all Asia” (Appel 1977).  One may describe this cognitive episode as a successful learning experience in understanding the failure of the promised emancipatory mission of the victorious Allied forces, which then becomes the lesson to be taught to others willing or ready to be disenchanted.
Drawing from the facts of his personal involvement in the historic  convergences of the time as an interested observer, and as a fabulist, we can define Appel’s project as both wrestling with ethico-political and aesthetic problems. It is clear that he had been deeply moved by the epic struggle of the Filipino masses for genuine democracy and equality, encapsulated in his phrase, “the rice bowl revolution of landless peasants,” an epic struggle to which American “leadership at all levels is pathetically blind… All colonialism is doomed but our leadership remains blind” (Appel 1977).  Appel’s urgent task is to awaken not only the leaders but the broad audience of his work about this ethico-political blindness, this wilful ignorance, bred from a long history of colonial hauteur. His advantage over previous historians is that he happened to be a witness-participant at “a turning point” when the main contradiction between Japanese fascism and the Allied cause of free-enterprise democracy clashed head-on with the revolutionary tide in the Philippines. “To know, to understand and to act in the democratic tradition” was Appel’s ethico-political motive, a duty as witness to testify to the truth and an obligation to incite the audience to action in order to prevent what was to come—the disasters and misfortunes of humanity–born from the reality of the unexamined benighted past.
On the other hand, as a socially responsible artist, Appel conceived his task as the traditional one of rendering into concrete dramatic scenes the meaning of what he witnessed, investing acts of misery and despair with pity, compassion and love. The burden of artistic representation centers on constructing a narrative that would flesh out the manifold contradictions of that historic conjuncture in a specific milieu in which the conflicts of classes, races and nations would assume what Appel calls “an imaginative unity” that would attain timelessness in and through the timely, ephemeral circumstances of the media headlines. His prime novelistic strategy prompted maneuvering in the Philippine geopolitical milieu a contrived plot of one young American’s education about the deceptive nature of “the new colonialism.” This “personal-history scaffolding,” for Appel, would give the work “a certain timeliness” enough to appeal to his contemporaries.
Time functions as the main framework for the accumulation of experience and the discovery of the truth behind the seeming façade of normal life. The mapping of space follows the contours of the war-torn Philippines, with Manila being the focus of hypocritical masquerades while the countryside (Lawang Kupang, the Huk fortress; or the USAFEE hideouts) embraces the contested areas of fighting, the liberated zones as well as the vast wilderness and the idyllic Dingalan Bay oceanfront which provides a reprieve for MacVey before his final lesson.
We are introduced into a complex social panorama of class/national conflicts into which the adventuring hero, MacVey, is plunged to work out his own salvation. The spatial horizon is fixed, more or less, but the process of existential engagements has no limit—except death. Three blocs of character-types articulate this narrative of learning and discovery, an apprenticeship for the witness/testimony bearer, which the fabulist narrator uses to establish the ironic unfolding of history. First, the Filipino hacenderos and oligarchs (personified by Narciso Ferrer, the minister of justice in the Japanese puppet setup, General Mabanta, etc.) with whom American business is tied. Diverse Japanese officials interact with the Filipino collaborators to demonstrate their astute manipulation of their new subordinates. Our American hero, MacVey, associates himself with this native mestizo elite through Ferrer’s aristocratic daughter, Teresita, after which he becomes involved with Sisa, an outlaw mistress, shared with his devil-may-care compatriot Joe Trent.
The second group are the American USAFFE officials such as Ryker, Peterson, and Ackroyd; and the villainous Joe Trent who functions as MacVey’s diabolic shadow-emanation. The third group consists of the Filipino Huk guerillas represented chiefly by Major Manuel Careo. In between them and the Japanese are the outlaw group of Sisa and Atong; and the opportunist USAFFE band of Major Ortala, supported by landlords and fascist elements, who summarily executes Major Carreo and his companions. The first and second groups represent the forces of colonial domination and conservatism while the Huks and their peasant-middle class followers represent the partisans of “the rice bowl revolution” which, for Appel, signifies the protracted, long-range collective endeavor to fashion an emancipated, just and democratic future. This repertoire of character-types acquires significance only in their roles of advancing, complicating or subverting the plot of education replete with ironic twists and suspense-filled rhetorical closures.

Reprise and Extrapolation

At the outset, we encounter the young naive MacVey marooned in the Philippines at the advent of the Pacific War, isolated in the abandoned hacienda of Narciso Ferrer.   Panicked at first, he is comforted by the landlord’s overseer Jacinto. The first lesson MacVey learns is the peasant’s revenge against centuries-old humiliation: the slaying of Jacinto is witnessed by the helpless American. With psychological acuity, Apel renders the impact of the oppressed’s newly-found power on the anguished white man whose only refuge is to assert his national/racial identity—even though he has already rejected his mother’s white supremacist  arrogance:

In this room become a slaughter pen Dave looked from the killers to the killed. On the overseer’s hand—the hand that had an arm—he recognized his wrist watch and glimpsed his own murdered self, as if bound, indeed, to the Filipino. Jabbering, the killers walked to him, and although he shouted, “Don’t kill me! I’m an American! Amigo!  Americano!” there was a part of him that seemed as utterly dead as the overseer (1951, 45)

Before the close of this first time-segment of the novel, the last thirty days of 1943 comprising the first part (consisting of Chapters 1 to 18), MacVey’s encounter with Joe Trent offers the second lesson of self-discrimination in Chapter 10. After Trent raped a helpless native woman, MacVey vows to bear witness to this epitome of colonial/racial/sexist terrorism: “He could have wept for her and for himself. He could have wept for this evil thing Joe had done to her and to all Americans. But what was the use? In this hut who would care or understand? “Joe,” he said, “when we get to Lawang Kupang I’m turning you in, Joe. I’m telling Careo” (1951, 105). MacVey fulfills his promise, but their enrollment in Col. Ryker’s USAFFE group submerges Trent’s guilt. However, despite the frustratiion, his role as testimony-bearer and witness has been convincingly set up, anticipating the challenges of what’s to come.
Meanwhile, Teresita Ferrer has joined the Huks after her father’s patriarchal blow finally severed the tie between them—never to be healed even as she succumbs to the courtship of a self-serving USAFEE opportunist, Casiano Bunag. Before that twist in her life, Teresita and MacVey are joined in a rapturous experience in Lawang Kupang, the Huk fortress, after which they are married by Major Carreo. In this section, Appel is accused by critics of indulging in some purple prose (see pages 193 and 195) when he registers the interior monologue of both lovers, although he doesn’t fully shift to a stream-of-consciousness mode which is vulnerable to further sentimentalist abuse. Neither erotic nor sentimental, these lyrical passages celebrate the loss of that narrow ego-centered psyche or mentality underlying class, racial and national divisions among humans, a loss harmonized with the border-cutting, cosmic rhythm of nature:
Before them a dark slope lifted, and they listened to the mountain stream gurgling and tumbling over unseen pebbles. If the mountain slept, its voice was always babbling—of lovers’ farewells and the passing of love, and of death. Down, down to the hills, the stream sang, down to the uplands, love passes, down into the green and golden rice, down to the plain, love passes and death awaits….He kissed her gently on the lips, his eyes closing, and in the silence the stream still sang of love and death. “You’re here, and I’m here!” he whispered. “The biggest fluke.”

The last phrase is symptomatic of Apel’s ironic tactic to curb romanesque impulses from distracting us from the larger perspective, a gesture one would expect from a veteran story-teller of tough-guy escapades and stoic self-disavowals.

Reconnaisance and Denouement

We know the eventual resolution of the Pacific War in broad strokes, but not the particulars. In the next half of the book comprising the first thirty days of 1946, Appel intended (as he told the Macmillan editor) to describe the restoration of the feudal landlords to power, the renewed war against the Huks; and the accompanying ideological psycho-warfare—the device of independence is one means that would solve the problem of oligarch-landlord collaboration with the Japanese, requiring the betrayal of the Huks and other nationalist forces that facilitated MacArthur’s return. The last phase of MacVey’s education occurs after his desperate escape from the Constabulary prison through the sacrifice of Andy Peterson, the antithesis of Trent and the only person caring and decent enough to allow MacVey to save himself.
Well before that event, in Lawang Kupang, Macvey had already absorbed the wisdom of Major Careo who drives home the cathartic value of the process of self-examination: “You are ashamed of the prejudice. That is the first step, my friend. To admit your life as it has been, to understand your own past. Only then can a man begin to understand the lives of others different from himself. Once we understand, we will have no use for prejudice.” Complementing this self-enlightenment is a view that the past is not immutable, proof of which is the wedding of two persons representing opposites, disparities, incommensurables : “You will open other doors, all the doors of your past, this prison that holds us and keeps us from being brothers” (1951, 197).
That memorable exhortation converts the act of binding people into a trope of liberation. In the concluding chapter entitled “The First Liberation,” we are confronted with the morality of decision, sharply enunciated as the antithesis of what is and what ought to be, a choice between resignation to the static actuality of everyday life and defiance in attempting to change the drift of things: ”The way things are, Dave thought…But what about the way things ought to be? Lifting against the chorus of the way things are, he seemed to hear voice after voice,….for always there came a time of decision. Alwas a man has to raise his own voice or be still against the steady, repeated everlasting chorus of the way things are” (1951, 409-410). This classic philosophical contradiction between is and ought, what is dead (the past) and what ought to be vibrant (the future as present), axiomatically expresses the theme of the novel.
Clearly MacVey’s internal ruptures can no longer be suppressed. Earlier, when he joins the outlaw band of Sisa and Atong, we reach a critical point in his education for witnessing—his experience of release from family, nation, and the relentless compulsion of sexuality. It is a moment of liberation from self-centered concerns, even an anarchistic moment of self-dissolution. After being assured that he has equal claims to Sisa in competition with Trent, MacVey begins to admire Sisa as a free agent, even “a perverted female Robin Hood, loyal to her wine-stealing, raping bunch of tulisans.” Even “Caveman Joe Trent” has been redeemed for MacVey: “Zambales was ‘under the bridge’ for Joe, with the damn war and Cavite and the America that had given him birth. But what about MacVey himself? Whom was he loyal to? Whom was the little idealist, the little speechmaker loyal to? Masters back on Zambales, HIS COUNTRY in caps, HIS WIFE, in caps? Better not to think, better not to remember” (1951, 348).
A disturbing tone of irony and cynicism punctuates this meditation. MacVey recovers immediately, repelled at the thought that he was metamorphosing into that vicious persona he had fought tooth and nail, his Trent double. Finally he resolves his doubts: “Manuel Careo was right, a thousand times right, Man made himself. Man made or could unmake his conscience—and in the making, the doing, man freed what was best in his soul, or freed what was worst” (1951, 349). We overhear the voice of the historian’s conscience in this instructive judgment. But is that statement of principle a conclusion or a point of departure?
We can interpret MacVey’s decision to make the long perilous trek back to USAFFEE headquarters as proof of his graduation into becoming a reliable full-fledged witness. This function is analogous to the artist’s vocation. But before he fully assumes that role, he confides the truth of Trent killing Atong to Sisa in order to find out her reaction; but he is surprised to find out that “she didn’t care…. Abruptly as he had taken Sisa, abruptly he left her.  Of all the emotions surging through him—sexual release and drunken shame and guilt and the knowledge that Atong and Joe and he himself were all one tool of gratification to Sisa—he was tormented most by the feeling that he was Joe” (1951, 355).  With the moral schism appeased, the psychic split dissolved, MacVey proceeds to become the truth-bearer of America’s treachery against the Huks (who valued the promise of American democracy) as demonstrated by the exoneration of collaborators and its grant of phony independence to the Philippines. Acknowledging his Trent-double, MacVey thus accepts responsibility for America’s failures and hypocrisies.
There is more at stake. What ultimately the narrative accomplishes here is the legitimation of MacVey’s testimony as a mode of overcoming alienation based on private property. We have at the outset seen his patriarchal-patronizing mentality in his attitude to peasants and women in general, reducing him to conformity with the code of white supremacy and masculine superiority. His ego depends on the seduction of women (see the passages in Chapter 10 where he relishes his sexual conquests (pp. 92-93). While knowing the facts, he wrongheadedly fantasizes that Teresita is Spanish, not Filipino, so that he is uneasy about being the father of a “brown kid,” a fatality “too remote for him to grasp” (1951, 248-49).
MacVey is puzzled by so many discrepancies between ideas and real situations. Later on, when he is told that Teresita is married to somebody else, he resigns himself to what he believes is given fact, with a cynical rationalization: “Well, that’s the way things were. Amen and hallelujah.,, [Teresita] was the way she was. She was the way he was. The flesh was weak stuff or strong stuff, depending on how you looked at it.  You had ideals, faith, but you also had a body greedy for its own life…. His pregnant wife, made pregnant by some other bastard. Maybe he ought to go back to America without seeing her…—who could blame her? Life went on, and the living still needed what the dead could no longer give. He reviews the persons he had invested in, including the whore Serafina and Sisa the tulisan, finally resolving the antinomy: …“let the past keep the past…” (1951, 417). MacVey finds himself dispossessed, no longer claiming rights of ownership over Teresita and over comrades he respected, especially Careo. He reaches a stage when “need and enjoyment have lost their egoistic nature”(as Marx once envisaged), when  the complete emancipation of all the human senses and attributes occurs with “the superssession of private property” (Marx 1975, 352).

Dialectics Unbound

One can invoke the penultimate chapter of the book, entitled “A Look Into the Future,” as the realization of MacVey’’s mission or purpose in the universe of the novel. At this point, the narrative voice declares the truths of the present and its fearful consequences for the future. Its concluding affirmation, however, belies its desired effect. Appel’s focus on “democracy” is undercut by the concluding chapter in which Major Ortala (representing the USAFFE, General MacArthur, Commonwealth officials, and Paul McNutt himself as the High Commissioner standing for the Roosevelt administration) destroys the finest tribunes and defenders of the people.
Appel’s metaphoric index of the hungry masses is meant to overshadow MacVey’s bitter disenchantment at the end, with its dreadful aura of futility. The imagery and rhythm of this passage exemplifies  Appel’s finely controlled rhetoric. His prose style here is neither overly optimistic nor cautiously genteel. The narrator inventories the polarized forces confronting each other and speculates on what may reconcile them as he anticipates boldly a utopian future that clearly escapes being captured by the rubric of “American democracy,” a future the historical specifics of which defies elucidation:

(The design will be blood-red, and its words will spell out Law and Order. The smoke of burning Hukbalahap barrios will spell out Law and Order, a Law and Order of the hacienderos…Mailed fists and rebellious land-hungry peoples on the march.  Who will help them? They will help themselves. Who will hear their ancient cry for land and rice? They will hear themselves. America, great land, land of the free, will you help, will you hear?  Will you undersand that the revolution of Asia is a revolution of hunger and that the hungry are reaching for more than a bowl of rice? Reaching for the land that has never belonged to them, and for more  than the land. Reaching for their own manhood, for dignity, for love. Yes, for love, as the revolution kills and burns in its march toward power. For the marching peasant soldier is the father who sold his daughter to keep the family from starvation; the marching peasant soldier is the son who watched the police torture his mother; the marching peasant soldier is the brother whom nobody called brother but the organizers and leaders of the revolution. America, you must understand that if the mailed fist is strong, American democracy is stronger, and only American democracy can win friends in Asia. Only democracy.) (1951, 395).

At best, the two concluding chapters are meant to produce a mixed feeling of subdued hope, vigilance, and anger. It is the conflict between the romance-oriented alazon of masculine bravado and the deflationary eiron, the detached, shrewd observer of human folly, oscillating in MacVey’s character-role. The twin spirits of narrative genre seem forever locked in tense combat, energizing both its prophetic and memorializing reserves for deployment by future practitioners.
Despite ambiguities and ironies in the narrative flow, Appel’s ethico-political objective of articulating the emergence of American necolonial hegemony in the Philippines and in Asia fuses with his artistic goal of synthesizing the complex motives of humans caught in a turbulent crisis of a system—monopoly-capitalism in its highest stage, imperialism—that is inevitably dying, while the egalitarian future nourished in the womb, like the palay grains in the bloodied ground, is still struggling to be born. This is the universal message of Fortress in the Rice, a powerful artistic creation by the forgotten American chronicler of the Filipino revolution in the twentieth century, Benjamin Appel.

Abaya, Hernando. 1947.  Betrayal in the Philippines.  New York: A.A. Wyn Inc.
—-.  1984.  The Making of a Subversive.  Quezon City: New Day Publishers.
Appel, Benjamin.  1951.  Fortress in the Rice.  New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.
—-.  1952.  Plunder.  New York: Fawcett Publications.
—-.  1977.  Benjamin Appel Papers 1920-1977.  Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin.  Boxes 31 and 33.
Burke, Kenneth.  1997.  “Revolutionary Symbolism in America.”  In Communism in America: A History in Documents.  New York: Columbia University Press.
Constantino, Renato.  1978.  Neocolonial Identity and Counter-Consciousness.  New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Fast, Jonathan.  1973.  “Imperialism and Bourgeois Dictatorship[ in the
Philippines.”  New Left Review 288 (March-April 1973): 69-96.
Folsom,Franklin. 1994.   Days of Anger, Days of Hope.  Niwot, Colorado: University Press of Colorado.
Foner, Eric and John A. Garraty, eds.  The Reader’s Companion to American History.  Boston; Houghton Mifflin Co.
Kolko, Gabriel.  1984.  Main Currents in Modern American History.  New York: Pantheon.
Labor Research Association.  1958.  U.S. and the Philippines.  New York: International Publishers.
Lowry, Robert.  1951.  “Guerilla Warfare.”  Saturday Review of Books (22 December): 16,36.
Lukacs, Georg. 1971.  The Theory of the Novel.  Tr. Ana Bostock.  Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Marx, Karl. 1975.  Early Writings. Tr. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton. New York: Random House.
Miller, Stuart Creighton.  1982. “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines 1899-1903.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Miranda, Mariano Jr., 1988.  “The Economics of Poverty and the Poverty of Economics.”  In Land, Poverty and Politics in the Philippines. Eds. Mamerto Canlas, Mariano Miranda Jr., and James Putzel. London: Catholic Institute for International Relations.
Netzorg, Morton.  1990.  “The Philippines in the Mass Market Novels.”  In Asia in Western Fiction, ed. Robin Winks and James Robert Rush.  Manchester: Manchester U Press. 175-194.
Pomeroy, Willilam.  1992.  The Philippines: Colonialism, Collaboration, and Resistance!  New York: International Publishers.
San Juan, E.  2007. U.S. Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines.  New York: Palgrave.
Taruc, Luis.  1953.  Born of the People.  New York: International Publishers.
Slochower, Harry.  “Review of Fortress in the Rice by Benjamin Appel.” The Chicago Jewish Forum (1951): 70.
University of Oregon Library. 2012. “Appel, Benjamin, 1907-NWDA.”  Retried from SNAC: The Social Network and Archival Context Project, 2 August. <http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu&gt;
Wald, Alan.  2007.  Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Anti-Fascist Crusade.  Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina Press.
Zinn, Howard.  1980.  A People’s History of the United States. New York: Harper.

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ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

“….Iniluwa ko na ang galit sa pusong nagpupuyos
Nang putulin ang aking binti, ngunit di pa rin nakaligtas
Sa sumpa ng marahas na kalagayan– O Yolanda!  Yolanda!

Walang kailangan, elastiko’t “resilient” daw ako
Mapagbigay, pigil ang luha’t tiis ang gutom–sino sila?
Sina Gabriela Silang, Gregoria de Jesus, Lorena Barros kaya iyon?

Di ko malilimutan, O Yolanda!  malanding Yolanda!
Ang kasakiman at kalupitan, di ko mapapahintulutang
Di sumpain ang walang katarungang rehimen ng mga oligarko–

Nawa’y di yumuko’t umindayog lamang sa turista
Ang anak ko, tumigas siya tulad ng molabe’t lawan sa gubat
Di makuhang ipaghampasan ng dayuhan–  O Haiyan!  O Haiyan!

Ayaw kong lumuhod sa Bibliya tulad ni Manny Pacquiao
Habang dumarating ang mga kasamang armado mula sa dagat–
Ayaw kong ipagpaumanhin ang walang-hiyang panginoon,

“Pork-barrel” tulisang busog sa ‘ting dalamhati’t pagluluksa–
Tigil na ang pagpapabaya, bumabangon ang sambayanan–
Haiyan, O Haiyan, walang-hiyang sigwa ng himagsikan….”

(Iyan ang iniluwang galit ng bangkay–O Yolanda! O Haiyan!–
na dating ari ni Richard Pulga, 27 anyos, taga-Tacloban, Leyte.)

[Namatay si Richard Pulga, 27 taon, sa Tacloban, Leyte, dahil
sa kakapusan ng tulong ng mediko; New York Times, 11/15/2013]

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ANG DAMOT-NENENG KO: Makabagong Talingdaw ni E. San Juan, Jr.

Picasso-Les Demoiselles d'AvignonANG DAMOT-NENENG KO: Makabago’t Matipid na Talingdaw sa Panahon ng Iskandalo ng Pork-Barrel Raket sa Krisis ng Neokolonyang Estado

ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

Ang Damot-neneng ko’y lumuha sa bundok
Kasabay ang singaw ng korupsiyong himutok
Luha’y naging baha, polusyong sumasalpok,
Mga kawatang trapo’y sa Kongreso napalaot.

Ako namang ito’y umarkila ng demo-daong
At kumakabang tumugpa sa alon
Natagpu-tagpuan: suba, daya, bisyo,
“Matuwid na da”-rling kung saan nataboy.

Hala, gaod tayo, baho ay tiisin
Ang lahat ng propaganda pag-aralang bathin,
Palayo-layo man ang tama, kung ating bakahin
Daig ang status-quo na ayaw lakbayin.

Suhol dito, dahas doon, humampas ang hangin
Dini sa budhi ko na nahihilahil
Kaya pala ulol, mataray na giliw
Nasa aking pusod doon humihilik.

Hayo, ‘nak ng tupa, ako’y tulungan
Sa dagat itawid ang bayang binusabos
Kung tayo’y palaring ibagsak ang mali,
Ordeng anak-pawis ating kalangitan.

Hala, gaod tayo, di na dapat tiisin
Kabuktutan ng Estado’y huwag palagpasin
Palayu-layo man ang katarungan kung ating suriin
Daig ang paraisong ayaw lakbayin. Demo


KUNDIMAN SA GITNA NG KARIMLAN–New book of poems by E.San Juan, Jr., from the University of the Philippines Press

  • New book of poems in Filipino by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.,
  • to be published by the University of the Philippines Press

Kilalang kritiko at manlilikha sa larangang internasyonal, si E. SAN JUAN, Jr. kamakailan ay fellow ng Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas; at ng W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University. Tubong Maynila at lalawigang Rizal, siya ay nag-aral sa Jose Abad Santos High School, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, at Harvard University.  Emeritus professor ng English, Comparative Literature at Ethnic Studies, siya ay nakapagturo sa maraming pamantasan, kabilang na ang University of the Philippines (Diliman), Ateneo de Manila University, Leuven University (Belgium), Tamkang University (Taiwan), University of Trento (Italy), University of Connecticut, Washington State University at Wesleyan University.

Namuno sa U.P. Writers Club at lumahok sa pagbangon ng makabayang kilusang ibinandila nina Claro Recto at Lorenzo Tanada noong dekada 50-60, si San Juan ay naging katulong ni Amado V. Hernandez (sa Ang Masa) at ni Alejandro G. Abadilla (sa Panitikan) kung saan nailunsad ang modernistang diskurso’t panitikan kaagapay ng rebolusyong kultural sa buong mundo. Kabilang sa mga unang aklat niya ang Maliwalu, 1 Mayo at iba pang tula, Pagbabalikwas, at Kung Ikaw ay Inaapi, na nilagom sa koleksyong Alay sa Paglikha ng Bukang-Liwayway. Sumunod ang Himagsik: Tungo sa Mapagpalayang Kultura, Sapagkat Iniibig Kita, Salud Algabre at iba pang tula, Sutrang Kayumanggi, Bukas Luwalhating Kay Ganda, at Ulikba. Sa kasalukuyang kalipunan matatagpuan ang pinakaunang pagsubok sa tulang konseptuwal sa wikang Filipino.

Bukod sa From Globalization to National Liberation, inilathala rin ng U.P. Press ang naunang mga libro niya: Carlos Bulosan and the Imagination of the Class Struggle, Toward a People’s Literature, Writing and National Liberation, Allegories of Resistance, at (kasalukuyang inihahanda) Between Empire and Insurgency: The Philippines in the New Millennium. NewCover

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ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

Nagkataon, di sinasadya’y bumulong ka: “Sinungaling…”

Sa nagputik na pintong hagdanan, sinong humihibik?
Pagpapasiyang nilambungan ng alinlangan, pananabik…

Akala ko’y nagkaabutan na sa gabing walang balatkayo.

Pagtiklop ng bagwis, kariktang alabok ang hinugot sa tadyang.
Walang alingawngaw ang iyak ng kaluluwang naghubad….

Umangil sa dibdib ang tuksong ipinagkaloob, sabik sa ligayang
Pagbaba, kumapit sa patalim na tumagos sa pader–
Bumitaw ka’t ibinunyag paglagos: “Utang na loob, bukas na….”

Mapupunan ba ang pagkukulang sa udyok ng pananabik?

Abutin ang sundang ng anghel na humikbi’t bumulong–
Bumangon sa hamog, pithaya ng nagbabakasakaling alabok.

Diksyunaryo ni Panganiban

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ANDRES BONIFACIO: Katwiran, Kalayaan, Katubusan — ni E. San Juan, Jr.


ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

Katakutan ang kasaysayan sapagkat walang lihim ang maitatago sa                 kanya. –GREGORIA DE JESUS

Ugali na kapag pinag-uusapan ang kabayanihan ni Gat Andres Bonifacio, ang “Supremo,” nauuwi sa trahedya ng Tejeros/Naik/Maragondon.  Hindi trahedya kundi ironya o kabalighuan: ang pasimunong nagtatag ng Katipunan ang pinaratangang taksil sa rebolusyon at pinaslang noong Mayo 10, 1897. Ngunit kung hindi nangyari iyon, ang katunayan ng uring ilustrado at ng tusong  pagkakanulo’t paglililo (mga katagang malason sa diwa ni Balagtas) nila sa rebolusyon ay hindi umabot sa kaganapan.

Subalit ang nakagawiang pagdakila sa bayani ay hindi garantiya na hindi mauulit ang pagdaraya ng mga mapagsamantalang uri. Masdan na lang ang pagbibigay muli ng basehan sa puwersang militar ng Estados Unidos. Naulit na nga sa asasinasyon ni Antonio Luna–mistulang “repeat performance” iyon–at paglinlang kay Macario Sakay, kasama ng Supremo sa Tundo. Nakagugulat sa umpisa, ngunit kung tutuusin, mahihinuhang itinakda iyon ng mga pagkakataong umigkas na di na mapigilan. Kung hindi tayo matuto sa kasaysayan, tiyak na paparusahan tayo muli sa pagbalik ng nasugpo’t ipinagbawal dahil naroon din ang binhi ng darating, kung paglilimiin.

Kasaysayan at Pananagutan

Gaano man kasalimuot ang sitwasyong bumabalot sa atin, may kalayaan tayong umugit sa ating kapalaran batay sa ating dunong at kakayahan. Hindi lamang tayo biktima ng mga nagsalabit na sirkumstansya’t aksidente. Ang kasalukuyang pagsisikap na pahalagahan ang buhay ni Bonifacio ay nagtataglay ng hangarin o mithiin ng kaganapan na siyang humuhubog ng mga sagisag at representasyon ng kolektibong karanasan. Kung ang radikal na politika ay praktika ng pagsasagawa ng mga inaasahang pagnanais sa daloy ng kasaysayan, at paglatag ng mga ayos ng pagbubuklod sa hinaharap, mga pagsasanib at ugnayang kailangan para sa pagbabagong malaliman at pangkalahatan, ano ang dapat gawin?

Ibaling natin ngayon ang sipat sa mga salita’t gawa ni Bonifacio na buntis sa mga maaaring mangyari. Ano ang potensiyalidad sa paghuhunos ng mga luma’t piyudal na normatibong pamantayan tungo sa isang Kaliwanagang taglay ang kasarinlang makatwiran? Makakamit ba natin ang reyalidad ng awtonomiyang may kakayahang rasyonal at makabuluhan? Sa ibang salita, maiaangat ba sa diyalektikang paraan ang puri o dangal ng indibidwal sa antas ng pagkakabuklod, solidaridad at bahaginang pangkomunidad? Ano ang papel na gagampanan ng organikong intelektuwal sa pagtatatag ng lipunan kung saan ang malayang pag-unlad ng bawat isa ay nakasalalay sa kalayaan ng buong bansa/sambayanan (natio/populus), sa taguri ni Gramsci?

Sa pagsasaliksik natin, ang pinakamahalagang simulain ay historiko-materyalismong pananaw na may diyalektikong paraan ng pag-kilatis at pag-unawa sa lipunan. Batay rito, ang kongkretong sitwasyon ng kabuhayan–ang relasyon ng mga uring nakasalig sa produksiyon ng mga pangagailangan sa buhay–ang pinakaimportante, hindi ang kamalayan ng hiwa-hiwalay na tao sa lipunang nahahati sa mga uri. Samakatwid, dapat iwasan ang palasak na analisis pangsikolohiya. Mapanligaw ang pagpapaliwanag sa anumang problemang panlipunan ayon sa karakter o katauhan ng mga indibidwal na kasangkot. Gayundin ang pagsandal sa abstraktong klima ng krisis o kaguluhan na sumisira sa anumang rasyonal na layunin ng mga aktor sa kasaysayan.

Pagtistis at Muling Paglilitis

Sa pagbabalik-tanaw sa ating pambansang kasaysayan, ang kuwento tungkol sa Supremo ay nalalambungan pa rin ng samot-saring haka-haka, sumbong, chika, suplong at hinala. Marami pa ring kakutsaba ang mga kasike’t imperyalista. Isahalimbawa ang The Revolt of the Masses  ni Teodoro Agoncillo. Bagamat sagana sa datos at humahanga sa KKK, sadyang lumabo ang nangyari sa sikolohikal at pang-Zeitgeist (“regionalism” at klima ng krisis noon) na lenteng itinuon ni Agoncillo sa mga karakter ng lumahok sa Tejeros, tungo sa pag-absuwelto kina Hen. Aguinaldo at mga kasapakat (1956, 293-99). Ang sikolohiya ng Supremo ang siya mismong dahilan sa kanyang pagkapatay, mungkahi ng historyador. Gumagad dito ang prehuwisyong ibinurda ni Nick Joaquin sa kaipala’y masahol na muling pagpaslang sa Supremo sa A Question of Heroes.

Sanhi sa kolonyalismong danas na mahigit 400 dantaon (mula kolonyalismong Espanyol hanggang imperyalismong global), namihasa tayo sa burgesyang pangitain sa mundo. Makikita ito sa pop-sikolohiyang lapit ni Joaquin, makitid at mababaw sa pagkilatis sa masalimuot na puwersang pampolitikang nakasalalay sa mga pangyayari. Ang tesis ni Renato Constantino ay tinuligsa’t inuyam ni Joaquin: “All this sounds ike an egghead effort to make Marxist boots out of Philippine bakya” (1977, 86). Nagkabuhol-buhol ang ulirat ni Joaquin sa pagpuntirya niya laban sa karakter at asal ni Bonifacio,  Hindi ang karakter ng indibidwal kundi ang sapin-saping langkay ng mga kontradiksiyon sa lipunan ang dapat suriin sapagkat iyon ang nagpapakilos sa katangian ng mga kolektibong puwersang humuhubog at nagpapaikot sa takbo ng kasaysayan.

Mula noon, marami nang sumalungat sa mapagkunwaring pagpupugay nina Agoncillo at Joaquin sa “Dakilang Plebeyo.” Ang mahusay na tugon at pagpapabulaan sa haka-haka nina Joaquin at mga maka-ilustrado ay ang sanaysay nina Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion at Ramon Villegas, pinamagatang “Andres Bonifacio and the 1896 Revolution.”  Katugma nila ang mahayap na hatol ni Apolinario Mabini sa La Revolucion Filipina: ” Palibhasa’y paglabag ang ginawa ni Aguinaldo sa panuto ng Katipunan na kinasapian niya,…ang motibo sa asasinasyon ay walang iba kundi mga hinanakit at mga kapasiyahang sumira sa dangal ng Heneral; sa anu’t anuman, ang krimeng naganap ay siyang unang tagumpay ng ambisyong personal laban sa wagas na patriyotismo” (Salin ko mula sa Ingles; sinalin din ni Cruz 1922, 57-58; Ingles ni Leon Ma. Guerrero sa Mabini 1969, p. 48).

Parametro ng Paghahanap

Bilang katugunan sa mga pagkutya sa karakter ng Supremo, kadalasan gumagamit ng empirisistikong analisis ng uring kinabilangan ng Supremo. Idinidiin na sastre ang ama at trabahador sa pabrika ng tabako ang ina. Bukod sa artisanong nagbenta ng baston, ang Supremo ay nagsilbing ahente ng mga kalakal sa Fleming & Company (Ingles) at bodeguero sa Fressel & Co. (Aleman).  Sa palagay ko, upang matarok kung anong mga sangkap ang humulma sa pangitain-sa-mundo (Weltanschauung) ng Supremo at mga kapanalig, dapat isakonteksto ang mga detalyeng nabanggit, kalakip ang mga karanasan sa Teatro Porvenir sa Tundo at pansandaling paglahok sa Cuerpo de Compromisarios at masoneria, sa isang takdang yugto ng kasaysayan ng kolonya.

Tatlong yugto ng kasaysayan ang dapat salungguhitan sa pagsubaybay sa diyalektika ng nesesidad at kalayaan, kapalaran at pagkakataon:

1) Ang pagwasak ng ilusyon ng egemonya ng Espanya at Simbahan sa tagumpay at pagsakop sa Maynila ng Inglatera noong 1762-64. Sumiklab noon ang mga rebelyon nina Silang, Malong, Almazan at Palaris sa hilagang Luzon. Sa unang bahagi ng ika-18 dantaon, sa buntot ng rebolusyon sa Pransiya at digmaan ng imperador Napoleon sa buong Europa, nayanig muli ang ibuong ideolohiya/istruktura ng estado’t simbahang Espanyol sa mga madugong pagbabalikwas sa Piddig at Sarat, Ilokos, noong 1807. Nasakop ni Napoleon ang Espanya noong 1808-14.  Nag-protesta sina Andres Novales at mga creoles noong 1823. Sumunod ang masidhing pag-aalsa ni Apolinario de la Cruz/Hermano Pule noong 1839-41 sa Tayabas, Batangas, Laguna at karatig-lunsod. Resulta nito: Nadurog ang pangkahalatang konsensus na mabuti’t makatarungan ang gobyerno’t simbahan. Tuluyang napawi ang “ethical totality” (sa kataga ni Hegel) o paniniwalang iisa ang kabutihan/tadhana ng kolonisadong mayorya at estado.

2) Sa pagbubukas ng kapuluan sa kalakalang-pandaigdig simula 1834, bumilis ang pagpasok ng komoditi–ang kultura’t gawi ng mga dayuhang negosyante–at ideya’t estilo ng pamumuhay na kaiba o tiwali sa namamayaning gawi, kostumbre, pamantayan. Pumasok ang mga ideolohiya ng reporma sa Inglatera noong 1832, ng 1848 himagsikan sa Europa, laluna ang mga tunggalian para sa independensiya sa Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico at Cuba (simula pa noong 1868).

Bukod sa impluwensiya ng kulturang komersiyal at pananalapi ng Fleming & Co. at Fressel & Co. sa Supremo, tumalab ang lundo ng kamalayang makabago’t mapagbago–ang sensibilidad/dalumat ng panahon–sa nakararami. Ang sagisag-panulat ng Supremo, “May Pag-asa,” ay hudyat ng hikayat ng kamalayang pangkasaysayang sinagap sa mga akda nina Marcelo del Pilar, Rizal, at mga librong Le Juif errant, Les Miserables, at Las Ruinas de Palmira.
Sa paglagom, lumaganap na sa kapuluan ang patnubay ng modernidad batay sa mabisang lohikang umaalalay sa siyensiya, kalakal at palitang pampinansiyal (money exchange), kontra sa dogmatikong institusyon ng relihiyon at gayuma ng mito, hiwaga at samot-saring pamahiin.

3)  Pumutok ang Paris Commune (Marso-Mayo 1871). Sanhi sa nagkabungguang sigalot, nagtagumpay ang liberalismong pangkat sa Espanya noong 1873-75 at inilunsad ang republikanong 1812 Konstitusyon ng Cadiz. Nagkaroon ng kaluwagan sa administrasyon ni Gob. Carlos Maria de la Torre.   Subalit nang sumabog ang Cavite Mutiny ng 1872 (siyam na taong gulang ang Supremo noon) at patayin ang tatlong pareng Burgos, Gomez at Zamora, unti-unting naagnas ang paniwalang makabuluhan pa ang reporma.

Nang ipatapon si Rizal ni Gob. Despujol noong Hulyo 1892, bunyag na ang katotohanang kahit mapayapang pagsisikap maisaayos ang katiwaliang umiiral–buhat pa nang* supilin si Sulayman sa Tundo hanggang sa pagsunog ng mga tirahan ng pesante sa Calamba noong 1891–ay wala nang katuturan. Hinog na ang katotohanang nasambit ni Rizal: “Ang sagot sa dahas ay dahas din, kung bingi sa katwiran.”

Ideolohiya at Balangkas ng Pamunuan

Pagkahawan ng madawag na landas sa kasaysayan, bumalik tayo sa naimungkahi kong maitatanging layong natamo ni Bonifacio. Walang iba kundi ang pagtatampok sa halaga ng ideolohiya at namumunong ahensiya/aktor (vanguard party) sa rebolusyon. Bagamat importante ang modo ng produksiyon sa tingin nina Marx and Engels, ang tagisan ng lumang institusyon/relasyong sosyal at ng sumisibol na lakas sa produksiyon ay naisisiwalat muna sa larangan ng kaisipan, saloobin, atitudo, o normatibong sukatan. Dito lumilitaw ang nakakubling tunggalian ng mga uri at pwersang pampolitika.

Angkop ang huwarang inilahad ni Engels sa Peasant War sa Alemanya noong 1524-25, panahon ng Repormasyong Protestante. Kahalintulad noon ang  sitwasyon sa Pilipinas noong 1892-1898.  Sa halip na kapitalistang/burgesyang partido laban sa piyudal/kolonyalistang kapangyarihan ng Espanya, nagsanib ang pesante, maliit na maylupa, ilang ilustradong malapit sa magsasaka, trabahador, negosyante at artisano sa kalunsuran. Ang lakas na nagigipit at napipigil ay hindi kapitalismo kundi buong hanay ng mga binubusabos ng Estado at Simbahan–sila ang buong sambayanan na tutol sa pag-aari, sa mga nagmamay-ari (frailocracia, aristokratang opisyales, peninsulares) at sila, samakatwid, ang siyang magpapalaya sa pagtatayo ng ordeng makatarungan, demokratiko at makatao.

Sa pagitan ng obhetibong sitwasyon at suhetibong kamalayan, pumasok ang Katipunan. Hindi na makayang supilin ng Espanya ang taumbayang inihanda ng mga Propagandista buhat pa noong 1872 (pag-aalsa sa Kavite; pagbitay sa tatlong pare), o buhat pa noong rebelyon ng Tayabas Rehimyento noong 1843 (De la Costa 1965, 215). Kahit na malaki ang pinagbago ng Pilipinas sa pagbubukas ng Suez Canal at pagpasok ng mga empresang dayuhan, laluna kalakalan sa asukal, tabako, abaka at ibang produktong iniluluwas, at may umuusbong na kapitalismong industriyal, nasa palapag pa rin ng piyudal/agrikultural at artisanong kabuhayan ang Pilipinas sa huling dako ng ika-19 dantaon. Ang ayos pamproduksiyon ay nakasalig pa rin sa pagsasamantala sa mga pesante ng mayamang magsasaka at prinsipalyang nakapailalim sa mga prayle at burokrasya.  Sa ganitong paghahanay ng mga nagtatagisan, mahihinuha na mula sa mga uring inaapi–taglay ang kawalan/karukhaan na siyang yumayari’t lumilikha ng kayamanang panlipunan–sa blokeng ito magbubuhat ang ahensiya/suhetibong kondisyon na maglulunsad at magsusulong sa himagsikan.

Ang pinakamatingkad na kontradiksiyon ay sa pagitan ng nakararaming katutubo at ang Simbahan/Estadong kolonyal. Pangalawa ang kontradiksiyon ng mga pesante/manggagawa at kasike/prinsipalya. Sa dimensiyon ng ideolohiya o pangitain-sa-mundo, ang kamalayan ng mga uring inaapi ay natatakluban ng ideolohiya ng teyokratiko-piyudal na sistema ng kolonyalismo. O kung gising man ang mga biktima, hindi pa sila makapagpasiyang tumakas at tuwirang tumalikod sa nakagawiang kabuhayan o kinagisnang kalagayan.  Sinikap ng mga Propagandista sa Solidaridad at, di naglaon, sa Liga Filipina, na pag-isahin at itaas ang pampulitikang budhi/dunong/bait ng masa. Umabot sa matining na baytang,  subalit hindi pa rin mabisang napagkasunduan ang koordinasyon ng magkakahiwa-hiwalay na inisyatiba ng mga rebeldeng partisano.

Kabatiran at Pagpapasiya: Kinabukasan Ngayon

Mahimalang naibuod ni Bonifacio ang kahulugan ng mga kontradiksiyong naisaad sa interaksyon ng katutubo at mananakop sa sinoptikong akda, “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog” (Cruz & Reyes 1984, 97-98). Sa pakiwari ko, ito ang pinakaunang teksto ng modernidad sa arkibo ng ating kultura. Mainam na naibalangkas dito ang pagtuklas at paglalahad ng kahulugan ng kolektibong pagbabalikwas sa pagsalikop ng isip at nais, kamalayan at budhi.

Makakatas ang pilosopiya ng rebolusyon mula sa istruktura ng panahong naikintal dito (hinggil sa temang ito, tunghayan si Arendt 1978). Nakabuod iyon sa pag-iisa ng kamalayan at reyalidad, ng dapat mangyari at kasalukuyang nangyayari.  Paano ito natupad?  Una, ikinintal ang naglahong kasaganaan at kaginhawahan kaakibat ng pamamahala ng tunay na mga kababayan, pati karunungan ng lahat sa pagsulat at pagbasa sa sariling wika: “Itong Katagalugan, na pinamamahalaan nang unang panahon na ating tunay na mga kababayan….ay nabubuhay sa lubos na kasaganaan, at kaginhawan…Mayaman ang kaasalan ng lahat….” Alalahanin: magkasudlong ang karunungan, wika, kayaman ng asal, kasaganaan, at kaginhawahan. Nakabaon sa kaalamang ito ang pagnanais malasap muli ang nakaraan sa hinaharap, hindi bilang utopikong pita kundi bagong imbensyon, walang katumbas na likha, sa pagtatalik ng panahong lumipas at kasalukuyan.

Lahat ng mga katangiang naitala ay nawala pagkaraan ng Pakto de Sangre nina Legaspi at Sikatuna. Tila kusang bumaliktad ang lahat. Mula noon, “ating binubuhay [ang mga kolonisador] sa lubos na kasaganaan, ating pinagtatamasa at binubusog, kahit abutin natin ang kasalatan at kadayukdukan; iginugugol natin ang yaman, dugo at sampu ng tunay na mga kababayan na aayaw pumayag sa kanila’y pasakop.” Ang buhay ng mananakop ay utang sa pawis at sakripisyo ng mga sinakop. Pansinin na binanggit ang tulong ng mga Indyo sa mga Kastila laban sa Intsik at Holandes, ngunit walang banggit sa pagsakop ng Inglatera sa Maynila.

Kahanga-hanga ang pagkaunawa’t paglalagom ni Bonifacio sa komplikadong diyalektikong hinimay ni Hegel na balighong ugnayan ng alipin at panginoon sa Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) na isinakongkreto ni Marx sa The German Ideology (1845-6) at, di kalaunan, sa Das Kapital (1867). Nang lumabas ang libro ni Marx, apat na taong gulang pa lamang ang Supremo.

Nasira ang mito ng Pakto de Sangre sa tatlong siglong pandarambong ng Espanya. Pinawi ng malagim na kasalukuyan ang nakalipas, at umigting ang hinaharap, puspos ng magkahalong pag-asa’t pangamba. Maramdaming inilarawan ni Bonifacio ang hirap at sakit, dalamhati’t pagtitiis ng bayan sa ganitong talinghaga. Inihambing niya ang bawat patak ng pananangis ng sanggol sa “isang kumukulong tingga, na sumasalang sa mahapding sugat ng ating pusong nagdaramdam.” Umaapaw ang kalooban sa simbuyong galit, inip, ngitngit sa tanikalang bumibigti sa bawat katawan. Di naglao’y naitulak ang kolektibong sensibilidad sa hangganang hindi na matatanggap ang kasalukuyan. Paulit-ulit na lang ba ang Ngayon? Wala bang ibang napipinto, pagbabago o pag-iiba?

Humarap sa nagiyagis na ulirat ang problema ng kinabukasan: “Ano ang dapat gawin?” Tila alingawngaw ng makasaysayang tanong ni Lenin. Ang sagot ng organikong intelektwal ng masang mulat ay artikulasyon ng hinaharap, kung saan ang karunungan/kaalaman ay nakasanib sa katwiran. Ang dunong ay guro, nagtuturo o tumutuklas ng direksiyon ng pagsisikap at pakikibaka : “Ang araw ng katwiran na sumusikat sa Silanganan, ay malinaw na itinuturo sa ating mga matang malaong nabulagan, ang landas na dapat tunguhin…”

Sa patnubay at hikayat ng kaalaman/dunong, naging mahalaga na ang bawat sandali sa buhay. Ang lundo ng payo nito ng katwiran ay, una, magtiwala sa sariling lakas at umasa sa sariling kakayahan.  At pangalawa, magkaisa sa kalooban, isip at pagnanais upang sa gayo’y “magkalakas na maihanap ng lunas ang naghaharing kasamaan sa ating Bayan.”   Samakatwid, ang rebolusyon ay pagpapahalaga sa kapangyarihan ng kolektibong dunong/kaalaman.  Mangyayari ito sa pagsasapraktika ng aksyomang nabanggit:  sa pagtitiwala (1) sa sariling pagkatao ng mga kababayan (awtonomiya; kasarinlan) at (2) sa pagkakaisa ng loob at lakas sa kapasiyahang maigupo ang kabuktutang pumipinsala sa bayan.

Metamorposis  ng Panahon

Nakatuon ang budhi ng modernistang diskurso ni Bonifacio sa aktuwalidad, sa pagtarok sa daloy ng panahon, na humuhubog ng lugar o espasyo ng rasyonalidad (katwiran). Tandaan na ilang ulit tinuldikan ang parusang ipinapataw ng Kastila: “isinadlak sa lubak ng kasamaan ang kapurihan ng ating Bayan” at tayo’y “nabibingit sa malalim na hukay ng kamatayan na sa ati’y inuumang ng mga kaaway.”

Malasin ang tagpo: nasa larangan na tayo ng digmaan.  Layon ng pahayag na ito ay hindi lamang makamit ang mithi ng rasong instrumental o makamit ang absolutong kapangyarihang umaangkin ng normatibong birtud. Walang pasubali, pakay ng panawagan ay dagling maisalin ang isip sa gawa at kagyat malasap ang pangako ng kinabukasan ngayon din. Sapiliting dapat pumili at  hindi makaiiwas magpasiya.

Tiyak na kung may kabatiran, handa nang gumayak tungo sa tumpak na pagpapasiya’t pagkilos. Marahil ang karanasan ni Bonifacio sa dayuhang bahay-kalakal ng Fleming & Co ng Inglatera at Alemanyang Fressel & Company bilang ahente/bodegero, ay tumalab sa pagtuturo sa halaga ng kontrata, pagtitiwala at pagsunod sa panuto’t regulasyon. Dumagdag sa dunong ni Bonifacio tungkol sa rebolusyon sa Pransiya (laluna ang disiplina ng “virtue” bilang susi sa tatag ng Republika) ang larawan ng tunggalian ng uri sa Les Miserables ni Victor Hugo. Nakapukaw rin ang melodramatikong El Judio Errante/Le Juif errant ni Eugene Sue, kung saan iniugma ang salot ng kolera sa dahas ng mapanupil na Hesuwita at pag-uusig ng mga Protestang Huguenot sa Pransiya. Nakaambag din ang mga kuro-kuro ni Rizal (laluna ang anotasyon niya sa ulat ni Morga), at pagsusuri sa daloy ng kasaysayan mula sa librong “Ang mga Ruinas ng Palmira,” at “Buhay ng mga Pangulo ng Estados Unidos” (Zaide 1970, 106).

Di kalabisan kung muli kong igiit na ang  “Dapat Mabatid” ay hindi lamang pinakatampok na dalumat ng modernidad sa Pilipinas na nailunsad ng mga pangyayaring naiulat ko sa panimula. Dapat salungguhitan ang penomenang ito.  Katambal ng mga sanaysay ni Rizal at del Pilar, iginuhit dito ang materyalistang teorya ng kasaysaysan na humihirang sa masa bilang tagalikha ng pag-unlad at pagsulong ng buong lipunan. Ang mapanlikhang talino ng sambayanan ay siyang dinakilang kagamitan at sangkap sa pagbabagong-buhay ng lahi.

Sa pagsusuri ko, ito at iba pang kasulatan ay palatandaan sa matayog na budhi at kabatiran ng Supremo. Ito ay patibay na hindi lang malawak ang kaalamang pangkasayayan ni Bonifacio, sumasaklaw sa kondisyon ng buong kapuluan (hindi lamang Luzon), bagkus masinsing pagtarok na ang pangkat na di kasali sa pamahalaan, walang representasyon, ay siyang awtentikong ahensiya ng pagbabago. Tulad ng bisyon ni Marx sa kritika ng pilosopiya ni Hegel (Osborne 2005), ang uring proletaryo na kumakatawan sa unibersal na kapakanan ng lahat, gayundin ang lahing kolonisado–ang Indyo, ang nakararaming itinakwil, inkarnasyon ng pagdurusa, at negatibong larawan ng sangkatauhang yumayari ng tirahan sa mundo. Pangkalahatang dignidad, puring unibersal ng pagkatao, ang itinatanghal niya, na hindi kinikilala ng imperyong Espanya.

Samakatwid, ang Katipunan–ang motor ng himagsikan–ang maituturing na pagsasakatuparan ng pilosopiya ng Kaliwanagan, ang aktuwalisasyon ng pangangailangan ng sambayanan. Ang Katipunan ang tagapagpaganap ng pagbabanyuhay na sumilang sa malay at nagbigay-kahulugan sa data-rati’y ulit-ulit na pag-inog ng panahon.

Walang pasubaling napukaw si Bonifacio ng mga impormasyon, datos, at kabatirang nakatas sa panitik ng Propagandista at ng mga pinag-aralang aklat. Sinikap niyang iakma ang Katipunan sa prosesong naranasan niya, partikular ang paglitaw ng “liwanag ng katotohanan,” pagpapakilala sa ating sariling puri, hiya, pagdadamayan, hiwatigan ng pakikipagkapwa; at pagsisiwalat ng dakilang aral na “magwawasak sa masinsing tabing na bumubulag sa ating kaisipan.”  Ang danas ay nailapat sa hanay ng yugto ng panahon at kabatiran.

Idiniin sa patalastas ng Supremo ang pagpapasiyang bunga ng kabatiran at inantig ang mga kasapi sa pagpupunyaging magpasiya’t isakatuparan ang ninanais.  Sa dulo ng pahayag, nakatumbok  ang diwa ni Bonifacio sa paghikayat ng kaluluwa salig sa kusang paghuhunos o dili kaya’y pagtransporma ng saloobin–ang larangan ng digmaan ng ideya/ugali–na siyang susi sa pagkilates sa kilos at gawa ng bawat nilalang at ang kabuluhan nito sa malayang pag-unlad ng buong komunidad.

Pagnilayin na hindi ito simpleng pagbabalik sa nakaraan–di na pwede iyon sanhi sa nakapamagitang karanasan ng pagkabigo, gulat, kilabot, matinding pagdurusa–kundi pagpihit at pagliko mula sa nagisnang daan. Dunong, paglinang sa kakayahan ng kaisipan, tiyaga at sigasig. Sa pagbubuod, lahat ng katangiang likas sa Pilipino ang dapat isingkaw sa kolektibong proyekto ng pagwasak sa lumang insitutusyon at pagtayo ng bagong sistema ng kabuhayan.

Diyalektika ng Kabatiran at Kamangmangan

Hanggang ngayon ang makatuturang panawagan ni Bonifacio ay hindi pa nabibigyan ng karampatang pagpapahalaga. Paglimiin, halimbawa, ang gamit ng retorika ng dilim at liwanag na halos arketipong tatak o signatura na sa mga dokumento ng Katipunan, na unang naibadya sa “Liwanag at Dilim” ni Emilio Jacinto (Santos 1935).

Ang duwalistikong pagtatagisan ng dilim at liwanag ang bumabalangkas sa “Ang Dapat Mabatid” at sa ritwal ng inisyasyon ng Katipunan. Kung tutuusin, ang tema ng “liwanag ng katotohanan” na nakabaon sa liturhiya ng Kristiyanismo ay hango sa tradisyon ng Gnostisismo, isang paganong kilusang nag-ugat sa Manikiyanismo (naging alagad si San Agustin bago binyag), neo-Platonismo at Pythagoreanismo, at tumalab sa Kristiyanismo ng ika-2-3 dantaon.

Pangunahing turo nito ay walang katubusan kung walang kabatiran sa Diyos (ibinunyag lamang sa initiates) at tadhana ng sangkatauhan. Ang Diyos (bansag sa Espiritu o banal na Kaalaman, Sophia) ay halos katumbas ng kalikasan (deus sive natura, sa tahasang sekular na kaisipan ni Spinoza). Ang relihiyon ng Taga-ligtas (Saviour) ay kumalat sa krisis ng imperyong Roma, kaagapay ng paglago ng Mithraismo at Kristiyanismo (Murray 1964, 130-31). Kinondena ito ng Simbahang Katoliko (sa pagmasaker sa mga ereheng Albigensian sa Pransiya noong ika-13 dantaon). Litaw ito sa lahat ng programang may rebolusyonaryong adhikaing nakasalalay sa rason/katwiran, budhi/bait, at sariling pagsisikap na makamit ang hinahangad na pansariling paglilinis (purification) at kaganapang pampersonal.

Hindi lamang katutubong danas at dalumat ang pinagmulan ng Katipunan kundi paglagom sa kabihasnan ng Kanluran mula sa klasikong kultura ng Griyego at Romano hanggang sa siglo nina Robespierre, Rousseau, Goethe at Kant. Bukod sa daloy ng Gnostisismo sa kaisipan ng mga pilosopo ng Kaliwanagan sa Europa. Sinala iyon ng ispekulatibang Freemasonry (Guerrero 1969, 397-98); halimbawa, ang halaga ng “Virtue” o Kagalingan sa pagkontrol sa udyok ng laman at erotikong simbuyo; alegorya at simbolong naghihimatong ng paniniwala sa isang Makapangyarihang Arkitekto ng santinakpan. Maidiriin dito na masaklaw at malalim ang impluwensiya ng Stoisismo sa mga Propagandista, laluna sa mga makasosyalistang Isabelo de los Reyes, Hermenegildo Cruz, atbp.

Ang pilosopiya ng mga Stoiko (Epictetus, Aurelius, Cicero), na nagpunla ng mga binhi ng doktrina ng Neo-Platonismo at Kristiyanismo, ay nagturo ng isang materyalismo’t panteistikong sistema ng moralidad. Sa etika, idiniin nila ang pagtiwala sa sariling likas na kakayahan at pagtanggap ng tadhana. Ang kagalingan ng pagkatao (virtue) ang siyang tanging bagay na may wagas na halaga, ayon sa mga Stoiko. Ito rin ang bukal ng materyalismong historikal ng tradisyong nagmula sa mga philosophes (Voltaire, Diderot, Saint Simon) na minana at pinagyaman nina Marx-Engels, Plekhanov, Gramsci, atbp.

Kaya bagamat naimungkahi ni Renato Constantino na utang kay Bonifacio ang sintesis ng teorya at kilusan, hindi wasto ang paratang niya na “The ideas of Bonifacio did not have a solid ideological content” at iyon ay “primitive” dahil nakasandig lamang sa “dignity of man” (1975, 165). Maraming implikasyon ito. Malalim at mapamaraan ang nakapaloob sa pariralang “dignity of man,” na natukoy na natin na nagbuhat pa sa Griyego-Romano’t Hudeo-Kristyanong kabihasnan, patungo sa Kaliwanagan (Enlightenment) at 1789 rebolusyon sa Pransiya at sa buong Europa noong 1848 at 1872 (Paris Commune).

Ang batas ng kalikasan (ley natural, sa awit ni Balagtas) ay kumakatawan sa logos o prinsipyo ng rason/katwiran. Ito ang saligan ng katarungan, demokrasya o pagkakapantay-pantay, kalayaan at kasarinlan. Ang mapagpalayang kapasiyahan ng masa ang gumagabay sa kapalaran o tadhana–sa wika ni Engels, “Ang kalayaan ay kamalayan ng pangangailangan (Necessity).”  Ang pangangailangan ay matatarok sa kaliwanagan tungkol sa nakalipas at posibilidad ng kinabukasan, sampu ng kolektibong pagpapasiyang maisakatuparan ang pangarap at mithiin ng kasalukuyan. Ito ang pinakabuod na simulain ng Katipunan at republikang isinilang sa Pugad-Lawin noong Agosto 23, 1896.

Teorya ng Ritwal, Praktika ng Kilusan

Bukod sa Dekalogo ng Katipunan, ang pinakamabisang kagamitan sa pagbuo ng ahensiya ng pag-ugit sa rebolusyon ay mamalas sa ritwal ng samahan.  Sa Dekalogo, idinulog ni Bonifacio ang prinsipyo na ang pag-ibig sa Diyos (sa perspektiba ng deistikong rason) ay singkahulugan ng pag-ibig sa bayan at sa kapwa. At ang tiyak na panukat sa dangal at luwalhati ng sarili ay nakatimo sa pag-aalay ng buhay sa ikatutubos ng buong bayan. Pakikiramay, sipag sa paggawa, pagbabahaginan, pananagutan, paglingap sa kasama’t kababayan–ito ang mga pinakamabigat na asal na dapat isapuso ng mga kasapi sa Katipunan.

Taglay ng kasaping sumusumpa sa Katipunan ang birtud ng mga natukoy na katangian. Naisapraktika iyon sa ritwal ng inisyasyon, isang seremonyang na siya mismong maantig na huwaran ng proseso ng pagbabago.
Sa sekretong paraan, ang ritwal ng pagkakaloob ng karangalang sumanib sa mapanganib na organisasyon ay sagisag ng pagbabagong-buhay. Isang alegorikong dula ito sa pagpasinaya sa isang bagong ayos ng komunidad kasalungat sa umiiral na orden–“ang negasyon ng negasyon,” sa taguri ni Engels. Ang prosesong ito ng pagkilala sa bago’t dinalisay na identidad ng kasapi–muling pagkabuhay!–ay kahawig ng mga inisyasyon sa Griyego sa Eleusis at Delphi, at sa Roma sa pananampalataya kay Mithra at, sa paglaganap ng Kristiyanismo sa misyon ni San Pablo, ang misteryo ng Muling Pagbangon (“resurrection of the dead”).

Masinop na tinalakay ni Gilbert Murray ang nakabibighaning pagkakawangkis ng turo ni San Pablo at paglalangkap ng Stoiko’t Gnostikong pilosopiya sa panahon ng matinding krisis (1964, 107-38). Layon ng mga paniniwalang kaiba sa status quo ng imperyo ang magdulot ng pagkakataong mailigtas ang kaluluwa/pagkatao sa kilabot at dahas ng kapaligirang mundong sawi. Layon ng Kristiyanismo, halimbawa, ang tubusin ang paganong kaluluwa sa korupsiyon at kabuktutan ng umiiral na sistema ng Imperyong unti-unting nabubulok at gumuguho.

Sa yugto ng nabubulok na kapangyarihan ng mga prayle’t marahas na burokrasyang kontrolado ng mapag-imbot na frailocracia’t ganid na opisyal, handog ng Katipunan sa mga dinuhagi ang kaligtasan at kalinisan–isang bagong mundo ng kasaganaan at katiwasayan. Pampurga sa dumi at pagbawi sa dalisay na puri o dangal ng pagkatao: ito ang mithiing patnubay sa pagpasok sa Katipunan nakaangkla sa kondisyong “Kung may lakas at tapang, ikaw’y makatutuloy….Kung di ka marunong pumigil ng iyong masasamang hilig, umurong ka…”   Kasunod ang pag-lilirip sa mga tanong na tila hango sa nasuring akda ni Bonifacio, mga tanong pangkasaysayan na magtataya at magtitimbang sa pagkakaiba ng mga yugto ng panahon habang sinisikap ipag-ugnayin at bigyan-kabuluhan iyon sa pamamagitan ng bagong suheto/sabjek–ang negasyon ng nakalipas at umiiral:

1.  Ano ang kalagayan nitong Katagalugan ng unang panahom?
2.  Ano ang kalagayan sa ngayon?
3. Ano ang magiging kalagayan sa darating na panahon?     (Cruz 1922, 22-23).

Sa Wakas, Banaag at Sikat

Kung tutuusin, ang mga tanong at pagpapaalala ay sangkap ng isang pedagohikal na metodo upang mamulat ang natutulog na bait/budhi ng taong nais mapabuti ang kanyang buhay. Ang ritwal ng inisyason ay magaling na panimulang pagsasanay, dagdag sa panunumpa at pagsasandugo pagkatapos ng pagsubok sa katapangan at katapatan ng kandidato sa partido.

Sa haraya ng pagbabagong buhay, o paghuhunos sa bagong kalagayan mula sa lumang pagkatao na kusang itinakwil at tinalikdan, ang kontradiksiyon ng lumang suliranin at bagong kaayusan ay nalulutas.

Natutugon din ang kontradiksiyon sa pagitan ng makasariling karakter/makitid na kaalaman at kamalayang naliwanagan, kalangkap sa pagkataong taglay ang birtud ng pagmamalasakit at pakikiramay. Sa ibang salita, muling nabuhay ang patay at nahango sa kapahamakan.  Natubos ang kaluluwa at naisauli sa pugad ng mga lumilingap at nagmamahal na mga kapwa, kadugo man o dayuhan. Maipalalagay na ito ay pagsasanay sa napipintong pagpapasinaya ng bagong ordeng lumulutang sa usok at apoy ng digmaang gumigiba’t nagwawasak sa lumang istruktura ng kolonyalismo’t  Simbahan. Alalaong baga, ito’y pagdiriwang sa tagumpay ng rebolusyon.

Sa balik-tingin, ang interbensiyon ng Katipunan ay itinalagang napapanahon. Naging mapagpasiyang salik iyon sa pag-imbento ng kinakailangang ahensiyang wawasak sa lakas militar at politikal ng Espanya, ang abanteng liderato ng Katipunan. Palibhasa’y nakapagitan ang uring sandigan nina Bonifacio at kapanalig–artisano, maliit na negosyante, edukadong empleyado sa hukuman, kawani sa imprenta at kalakal-bahay–masikhay ang pakiramdam at pagmamalasakit nila sa mga magsasaka, trabahador sa pabrika at daungan, kababaihan, atbp. Sanhi sa maluwag na hirarkiya sa partido, napagparayaan ang tendensiyang rehiyonalismo sa Cavite na sinakyan nina Aguinaldo’t mga kapanalig na kasike’t ilustrado.

Mabilis na lumago ang Katipunan, mula 300 noong Enero 1896 hanggang mahigit 40,000 nang iproklama ang rebolusyon ng “Haring Bayang Katagalugan” (“Sovereign Tagalog Nation”) noong 29 Agosto 1896 (Cruz 192, 43).  Maraming gremio o bukluran sa pagtutulong-tulungan ang lumahok sa Katipunan (halimbawa, ang gremio de litografos sa UST kung saan inilimbag ni Jacinto ang unang bilang ng Kalayaan, Enero 1896) at naging sanayan tungo sa unyonismong bumulas noong unang dekada ng pananakop ng Estados Unidos (Guevarra 1992).

Ang Imahen ng Ina at Palaisipan ng Kasarian

Dapat salungguhitan ang bisa ng “Katapusang Hibik” ni Bonifacio sa pagpapahiwatig ng natatanging birtud ng kasarinlan/pagsasarili (Panganiban & Panganiban 1954, 136-38).  Kasangkot ito sa pinakaimportanteng suliranin ng kasarian sa kilusang mapagpalaya. Bukod sa bisa ng Gnostisismo at Stoisismo sa pilosopiya ng Katipunan at Propagandista (hinalaw sa literatura ng rebolusyon sa Pransiya at liberalismo-anarkismo sa Espanya), ang pananaw sa kababaihan ng kilusang mapagpalaya ay larangang hindi pa nabibigyan ng masusing analisis. Ang pigura ng ina, sumasagisag sa bayan, ginhawa o kaluwalhating inaadhika, maaliwalas na kinabukasan, kaluwalhatian, atbp., ay laging isteryotipikal at mekanikal ang pagpapakahulugan.

Nasilip ni Soledad Reyes ang kabaligtarang mukha ng ina–“hindi siya Mater Dolorosa kundi Medusa” (1997, 127), ngunit marami pang implikasyong hindi nagagalugad. Halimbawa, ang posisyon ng Ina bilang Sophia (Katwiran/Wisdom). Katwiran at Kapangyarihan ay magkatambal; nabura ang kababaihan sa mga Konsehong makapatriaryakal ng Simbahan. Ayon kay Marina Warner: “The spirit of God, the shekinah, was feminine in Hebrew, neuter in the Greek  pneuma, feminine as sophia (wisdom), invariably feminine in Syriac, but in Latin it became incontrovertibly masculine: spiritus sanctus” (1976, 39). Gayunpaman, paalala ni Regis Debray: “While other denominations tends towards the univocal, the Catholic fantasy has as its mainspring a divided vision of the feminine, torn between angel and whore, saint and sorceress” (2004, 176).

Payo ng Supremo: “Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo’y umasa sa ating sarili at huwag hintayin sa iba ang ating kabuhayan.”  Sophia, ang kababaihang aspekto ng kaliwanagan, ay matatagpuan sa Muling Pagkabuhay sa dulo ng ritwal ng inisyasyon ng Katipunan at sa diwa ng “Dekalogo.” Samakatwid, ang “Ina” ay siyang birtud ng kaliwanagan, maalab na inspirasyon ng pag-aalsang mapagpalaya. Para sa organikong intelektwal ng uring anak-pawis, ang Sophia ay muling pagbangon–ang inaasam na paglingap handog sa “naghihingalong Yna,”, ang sinuyong “tinubuang lupa” na espasyong materyal at batayang lugar ng panahon, inarugang larangan ng kasaysayan–walang lihim sa tanod nito, ayon kay Gregoria de Jesus:

Ang nanga karaang panahun ng aliw
ang inaasahan araw na darating
ng pagkatimawa ng mga alipin
liban pa sa bayan saan tatanghalin?

(“Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan,”
nasa sa Medina 1972, 186)

Sa kabilang banda, ang pagtakwil sa Espanya ng “Panghuling Hibik” ay umaayon sa bisyon ng Katipunan bilang boluntaryong samahan, solidaridad o kapatirang hinirang, isang ekklesiang subersibo’t sekular. Kaugnay nito, kapasiyahang mulat, hindi henealohiya (tali sa pusod), ang kailangan. Tugon ito sa puna ni Rizal na sa Filipinas, indibidwalismo ang umiiral, hindi damayan. Ang Katipunan ay sinadyang pagtitipon ng mga anak ng Kaliwanagan laban sa mga kampon ng Kadiliman–isang tema ng grupong Essenes na salungat sa imperyong Romano. (Tila ang kuwebang dinalaw ng Supremo sa Pamitinan, Montalban, ang sumagisag sa sinaunang taguan ng mga Essenes.) Sa kalaunan, naging komunidad ng mga matapat (hindi taksil o mapaglilo), synchronized sa oryentasyon ng pag-asa (kinabukasan), hindi lamang sa bunsod ng memorya o gunita (nakalipas), ang proyektong etikal/politikal ng Katipunan.

Ang pagtalikda sa inang utusan ng Imperyo’t Simbahan ay umaayon sa malaparabulang tugon ni Kristo sa ina: “Babae, ano ang relasyon mo sa akin? (John 2:3; sa ibang pagkakataon na dudukalin ang suliraning ito). Sa pamamagitan ng malayang pagsanib, hindi batay sa dugo, kasarian, pamilya o angkan, ang Katipunan ay bukas sa sinumang nais makiisa sa pambansang digmaan laban sa kolonyalismo, makulinismong awtoritaryanismo ng Simbahan, sampu ng ideolohiya, praktika, institusyon at normatibong ugaling pinagpilitang ipasunod sa nilupig na Indya/Indyo. Ang gahum pampolitika ay bunga ng estratehiyang ito na may kaunting alalay din sa gerilyang metodo ng pakikibaka noong unang sagupaan sa Morong, Marikina, Antipolo, Pasig at mga nayon sa Bulakan, Nueva Ecija at Pampanga.

Samakatwid, radikal ang naitatag na bangguwardyang liderato ng himagsikan na lumampas sa hanggahang itinakda ng sinaunang kabihasnan at ng kolonyalismong Espanyol. Radikal din ang pinagsamang paraan ng edukasyon at aktibong pakikibakang (higit sa repormistang taktika nina Rizal at ka-ilustrado) tinalunton ng mga alagad hanggang kina Malvar, Sakay at mga bayani ng Balangiga, Samar. Utang natin sa Supremo at 1.4 milyong mamamayang nagbuwis ng buhay (laban sa imperyong Espanya at Estados Unidos) ang dunong, danas at pagkakataon ngayon upang magpatuloy sa pagsisikap matamo ang tunay na pambansang demokrasya at kasarinlan sa harap ng malagim na terorismo ng hegemonyang lakas ng kapitalismong global.

Pagbabalik sa Kinabukasan

Nais kong wakasan ang interbensiyon ko dito sa ilang puna tungkol sa kakulangan ng namamayaning aralin at pagsisiyasat. Pamibihira ang nakahagip sa di maikubling aporia sa mga kritikong sumuri at sumipat sa diwa ng Supremong nailahad sa kanyang “Katapusang Hibik” at “Dapat Mabatid.” Sintomas ito ng naghaharing ideolohiya ng reaksyonaryong pananaw ng neoliberalismong orden sa ating neokolonya.

Ilang halimbawa lamang ang maitatala dito. Impluwensiyal si Reynaldo Ileto sa paglapat ng banghay ng Bernardo Carpio (tulad ng Pasyon) sa panitik ng rebolusyon. Subalit pumalya ang interpretasyon at binaluktot ang katuturan ng mga akda. Naging “bunso” ang taumbayan; “layaw” at “utang” sa halip na katwiran at kabatiran at mabudhing pagpipigil sa sarili ang naging paliwanag sa masalimuot na sigalot at krisis. Dagdag pa: “…assuming [Bonifacio] was aware of [previous revolts], he would not have found them relevant to the drama of separation from Spain that he helped portray; the ‘national drama for him begins after 1872″ (1998, 25). Diyata’t makitid ang kaalaman ng Supremo sa mismong kasaysayan ng kapaligiran? Sa ideyalistikong pagtaya sa organisadong mobilisasyon, pilitang ipinataw ang ilang piling ideya (layaw, damay, atbp) at sikolohiyang panukat na walang saligan sa kongkretong totalidad ng mga puwersang nagtatagisan sa isang takdang yugto ng kasaysayan.

Sa perspektibang nailatag dito, hindi rin matibay ang paninindigan ng mga kritiko. Sa pagbasa naman ni Virgilio Almario ng “Katapusang Hibik,” ang tangkang subukan ang “pagtanaw na historikal” ay lumubog sa kakatwang puna: sa retorika ni Bonifacio ay “masisinag ang pananagisag na Kristiyano bilang bukal ng kapangyarihan ng wika ni Balagtas” (2006, 202). Kahawig ng antikwaryong hatol ni Ileto, mahigpit na opinyon ni Almario na hindi pa rin makahulagpos ang porma’t sining ng Supremo sa kwadro ng Pasyon, huwaran at aral ng relihiyong dulot ng kolonyalismong Espanyol.

Sa kabilang banda, bagama’t maingat ang paraan ng pagsipat ni Soledad Reyes, hindi pa rin naiwasan ang pormalistikong pagkiling sa makapangyarihang birtud ng sining na di-umano’y lumilikha ng sariling daigdig. Alingawngaw ito ng romantiko’t pormalistikong pamantayan ng konserbatibong ilustrado. Batay sa ganitong metapisika, humantong sa isang anarkista’t suhetibismong konklusyon: “ang daigdig na diskurso ng rebolusyon ay isang mundong wala nang orden at batas, pinamamayanihan ng anarkiya….” (1997, 128). Kung iposisyon natin ito sa gitna ng paggigiit ng Katipunan sa halaga ng intelihenteng disiplina at kolektibong pangangasiwa’t pangagalaga sa bawat aksiyon ng mandirigma, anong kahidwaan ang lilitaw?.

Anong aral ang mahuhugot dito? Isa lamang: Kailangang balikan–mas tumpak, halungkatin at siyasatin–ang kasaysayan ng himagsikang pinamunuan ng Katipunan upang matuklasan natin ang binhing nakaburol doon, ipakawalan ang enerhiyang nahihimlay sa pusod ng nakalipas, at sa gayo’y maikasangakapan iyon upang maitayo ang malaya, makatarungan at demokratikong kaayusan ng lipunan ngayon at sa hinaharap.  Pansin ni Senador Claro Recto na ang ideyalismo ni Bonifacio, nabahiran ng mga kaisipan ni Rizal, ay siyang nagtulak sa bisig ng rebolusyon: “Not all dreams come true. But the wonderful things of the world were created by idealists like the Great Poorly-born Andres Bonifacio” (1968, 78).

Ang kinabukasan ng ibinubuong bansang may tunay na kasarinlan ay nakasalalay sa kasalukuyang gawaing suriin at pahalagahan ang tagumpay at kabiguan ng nakalipas, maihiwalay ang dilim sa liwanag, at makamit ang malayang pag-unlad ng bawat nilalang na nakasandig sa kalayaan at kaunlaran ng buong sangkatauhan. Mabuhay ang Supremo at masang lumalaban!


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E. SAN JUAN, Jr.   9/8/2013

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