E. San Juan’s Carlos Bulosan: A Critical Appraisal, a book review

SanJuan_cover2-page-0Carlos Bulosan—Revolutionary Filipino Writer in the United States: A Critical Appraisal  By E. San Juan, Jr. New York: Peter Lang, 2017, 132 pages.

  • Reviewed by Jeffrey Arellano Cabusao
    Department of English and Cultural Studies
    Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island


Carlos Bulosan, one of our most significant Filipino writers of the twentieth century, is the focus of a new book by one of our most significant and prolific Filipino literary/cultural theorists and public intellectuals today—E. San Juan, Jr. According to American Studies scholar Michael Denning, San Juan is listed as one of the “most important New Left intellectuals [teaching and writing]… during the great student uprisings of the late 1960s and early 1970s” (Culture in the Age of Three Worlds, NY: Verso, 2004). It was during this period that San Juan published his pathbreaking book-length study titled Carlos Bulosan and the Imagination of the Class Struggle (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1972) which introduced Bulosan as a revolutionary working class author to the fields of Asian American studies, American literary studies, and Philippine studies.
Before his early work on Bulosan in 1972, San Juan was already active in radical Filipino cultural politics as a collaborator with Philippine national artist Amado V. Hernandez in Ang Masa and with Alejandro Abadilla in Panitikan. San Juan first introduced Hernandez’s poems to an international audience with Rice Grains (NY: International Publishers, 1966). His edited volume of Georg Lukacs’ essays, Marxism and Human Liberation (NY: Dell, 1972), circulated among orthodox socialist and New Left activists in the 1970s and 1980s. Aside from his sustained inquiries into racism and ethnic relations, San Juan initiated the first book-length study of the major literary works of Nick Joaquin in his 1988 treatise Subversions of Desire: Prolegomena to Nick Joaquin (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press), more relevant now with the sanctification of Joaquin as a Penguin Classic.
San Juan’s dedicated research and committed work within radical Filipino cultural politics have paved the way for Carlos Bulosan to become a canonized figure in the academy and an iconic figure of Filipino labor militancy throughout the Filipino diaspora. The publication of Carlos Bulosan—Revolutionary Filipino Writer in the United States: A Critical Appraisal (hereafter Bulosan-RFWUS) provides an opportunity for San Juan to reflect upon (and assess) the development of Bulosan scholarship within the U.S. academy as well as to provide suggestions for reading and engaging with Bulosan’s body of work in ways that move beyond the walls of the contemporary academic industrial complex. One of the central concerns with regard to achieving canonical status as a progressive writer is the risk of being misread—of having one’s body of work emptied of radical content so as to serve the interests of the neoliberal academy (an ideological state apparatus).
The prevailing mode of reading Bulosan (from Asian American/Ethnic studies to American literary studies) has been through the immigrant-assimilationist paradigm—one that replicates the model-minority myth while simultaneously erasing the fact that Filipinos in the United States are not immigrants. Given the long, brutal history of U.S.-Philippines colonial and neocolonial relations, Filipinos in the United States inhabit the position of colonial/neocolonial subjects. The specificity of the racial-national subordination of Filipinos is also obscured when Bulosan is transformed into a reified icon for mass consumption (like the Malcolm X baseball caps of the early 1990s). The two modes of consuming Bulosan (immigrant-assimilationist paradigm and reified icon) are combined in a recent video produced by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (November 29, 2017). The brief video, which features readings from Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart by Junot Díaz, Hasan Minhaj, and Ivy Quicho, appropriates the text’s sentimental Popular Front Americanism to situate the Filipino experience in the United States within a narrative of immigrant assimilation. The video ends with the following statement: “Since America Is in the Heart was published, at least 45 million immigrants have become Americans.”
To be sure, if Bulosan were alive today, as Peter McLaren posits in his foreword to Bulosan-RFWUS, he would courageously protest eruptions of “nativism, misogyny, a deepening racism, environmental catastrophe and virulent mobilizations against immigrants” in the United States since the election of Trump last November 2016. San Juan asserts that Bulosan would simultaneously contribute to mobilizing Filipinos to speak out against Duterte’s shameless “demagoguery and… collusion with the oligarchic exploiters of millions of peasants and workers” in the Philippines. The silencing, however, of Bulosan as revolutionary anti-imperialist artist by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is symptomatic of the canonization (or institutionalization) of Bulosan. San Juan’s central argument in Bulosan-RFWUS is the following: Bulosan’s “body of writing cannot be fully understood without respecting his ethico-artistic motivations.” Leaning upon Fredric Jameson’s advice to “historicize, historicize, historicize,” San Juan reminds his readers that the liberatory potential of Bulosan can be grasped only when his writing is situated within the context of U.S. colonial conquest and neocolonial control of the Philippines.
In Bulosan-RFWUS, San Juan challenges the institutionalization of Bulosan by shifting the center of the Bulosan canon from America Is in the Heart to the posthumously published The Cry and the Dedication, a novel written during the Cold War period about the anti-imperialist Hukbalahap peasant rebellion in the Philippines. San Juan’s historicizing approach enables us to appreciate the complexity of a collective Filipino “protest consciousness” (here I’m rearticulating a concept used by Angela Davis in her reading of Blues women) that resides at the heart of Bulosan’s diverse body of work—poems, short stories, novels, essays, letters. Throughout Bulosan-RFWUS, San Juan offers insightful close readings of a wide variety of texts within the Bulosan archive—from “The Romance of Magno Rubio” to letters written by Bulosan, from essays on cultural production to satirical stories collected in The Laughter of My Father and The Philippines Is in the Heart. In urging us to rethink Bulosan’s use of satire in his short stories, San Juan examines the use of “carnivalesque discourse in Bakhtin’s dialogic conceptualization” that illuminates Bulosan’s method for tapping into our collective Filipino “protest consciousness”—more specifically, “Bulosan’s use of the popular-anarchist predispositions in folk-culture.” Subsequently, a new direction for research on Bulosan, according to San Juan, is to delve deeper into Bulosan’s use of “common [Filipino] folklore, tradition, and history” in his body of work.
In addition to enriching our understanding of the complexity of Bulosan’s revolutionary imagination, an historicizing approach enables San Juan to excavate deeper within the Bulosan archive. San Juan’s research on the Sanora Babb papers (held at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin) not only situates Bulosan within a vast network of progressive artists and writers (which includes pioneering Bulosan scholar and activist Dolores Feria), but also raises questions about the authorship of All the Conspirators, which Caroline Hau and Benedict Anderson have introduced as a recovered manuscript from the Bulosan archive. While much has been accomplished due to San Juan’s work over the decades, more research is necessary to properly inventory the Bulosan archive.
Finally, another direction for further research suggested by San Juan is a Janus-faced approach—to read Bulosan in relation to historical and contemporary figures of the Filipino diaspora, specifically Philip Vera Cruz (founding member of the United Farm Workers) and Jose Antonio Vargas (Filipino journalist, courageous activist for undocumented immigrants, and CEO of Define American, a non-profit that defends immigrant rights in the United States). With regard to the former, San Juan examines the ways in which Vera Cruz’s work as a militant labor organizer functions as a bridge that connects Bulosan with the development of Filipino labor militancy during the New Left period. With regard to the latter, San Juan examines how the lives of Bulosan and Vargas converge and simultaneously diverge as a way of assessing the contemporary situation (and future possibilities) of the Filipino presence in the United States.
Over the past four decades, San Juan has worked tirelessly on expanding how we read and engage Carlos Bulosan—by introducing new writings from the Bulosan archive and by offering dynamic and fresh theoretical perspectives rooted in a tradition of historical materialist thought. I’ve attempted to document San Juan’s sustained commitment to reading, researching, and expanding upon Bulosan’s ethico-artistic motivations from the New Left period to our contemporary period of globalized “war on terror”/ecological disaster in Writer in Exile/Writer in Revolt: Critical Perspectives on Carlos Bulosan (Lanham: UPA, 2016). The publication of Bulosan-RFWUS is a reminder of the inexhaustible possibilities of the Bulosan archive that surface when one heeds the call to “always historicize!” It is San Juan’s offering for a new generation of Filipino activists and intellectuals—a text that provides the necessary theoretical tools and methodological approaches to continue to make Bulosan relevant for (and present within) our lives in the twenty-first century.




tapaya_muralMetakomentaryo sa Pagkakataon ng Kolokyum Ukol sa “The Places of E. San Juan, Jr.”

E. San Juan, Jr.
Polytechnic University of the Philippines



In a provisional synthesis of his lifework, E. San Juan, Jr. surveys the issues and aporias that define his critical oeuvre. He warns at the outset against the narcissism of autobiographical acts, or what he calls the selfie mode. In locating himself, San Juan uses instead the historicizing lens. In this metacommentary, San Juan locates his life project between his birth in 1938, which saw the defeat of the Republican forces in Spain and the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and the new millennium marked by 9/11 and imperialist terrorism. He begins with the class background of his parents and moves on to discuss his years as an undergraduate at the University of the Philippines-Diliman; his graduate education at Harvard; his collaboration with Tagalog writers; his radicalization as a professor at the University of California-Davis, and at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, in the midst of the nationalist movements, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights era; and his late engagement with the question of racism. San Juan also names the sources of his radical politics as well as the aporias in his thinking, including his oversight of the historical genealogy of local cultures in Philippine vernacular literature, folklore, ecology, and mass media. He ends by reiterating the need to develop the discourse of critique in the hope of re-inscribing the ideal kingdom of the Categorical Imperative into the immanent adventure of humanity in its reflexive history.



critical theory, cultural studies, E. San Juan, Jr., metacommentary, Philippine literature and criticism, race and ethnicity, radicalization


About the Author

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, Wesleyan University, at ngayon ay Professorial Lecturer sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines. 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, Ulikba, at Mendiola Masaker. Sa kasalukuyang kalipunan, Kundiman sa Gitna ng Karimlan, matatagpuan ang pinakaunang pagsubok sa tulang neokonseptuwal 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 Between Empire and Insurgency: The Philippines in the New Millennium. Inilathala noong 2015 ng De La Salle Publishing House ang kanyang librong Lupang Hinirang, Lupang Tinubuan.

 Labinlimang minutong kabantugan? Namangha ako nang unang banggitin ni Charlie Samuya Veric na may plano siyang magbuo ng isang forum tungkol sa akin—hindi pa ako patay o naghihingalo, sa pakiwari ko. Sabi nga ni Mark Twain: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Bagamat laktaw na ako sa hanggahang tradisyonal—ilan na bang kapanahon ang sumakabilang-buhay na (magugunita sina Pete Daroy at mga kapanahon, kamakailan lamang si Joe Endriga).
Bagamat labis na sa taning, magiliw na pasasalamat ang ipinaaabot ko sa mga katulong sa Kritika Kultura, bukod kay Charlie kina Ma. Luisa “Lulu” Torres-Reyes, Vincenz Serrano, Francis Sollano at iba pang kasama, sa kanilang walang sawang pagtangkilik. At sa lahat ng mga kolega’t kabalikat na gumanap sa pakikibahagi ng kanilang mga kuro-kuro’t hinuha tungkol sa ilang akdang nilagdaan ni “E. San Juan, Jr.”

Sambit ni Heidegger, ang paborito ng mga teologo rito: “Ang tao ay nilikhang-pa-kamatayan,” laging balisa. Nagbibiro ba lamang tayo? Sa pasumalang ito, taglay pa rin natin ang pag-asam na makukumpleto ang ilang proyekto bago sumapit sa ika-walumpung taning. Deo volens, wika nga ng mga paganong Romano, tumitingala sa iba’t ibang musa, bathala o espiritu ng kalikasan. Sino nga ba itong awtor? Di ba patay na ang awtor, ayon kay Roland Barthes? Gayunman, tila nakasalamuha o nakabangga ng mga nagsalita ang aninong may ganoong etiketa o bansag, na kahawig ng pangalan ng santong buminyag sa Mesiyas, o iyong Ebanghelyo ng Bagong Tipan.
Patakara’t hilig kong umiwas sa anumang okasyong itatampok ang sarili sa makasariling kapakanan, tinaguring “pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko.” Ayaw ko nang modong selfie. O anumang makatatawag-pansin sa “Cogito” na unang nahinuha ni Rene Descartes at naging saligang prinsipyo ng Kaliwanagan (Enlightenment) at siyentipikong rebolusyon sa Kanluran noong Siglo Labing-Walo. Mahirap ipatotohanan na may “Cogito” ngang walang bahid ng walang-malay (unconscious) na siyang sumisira ng anumang afirmasyong maihahapag dito. Huwag nating kaligtaan ang matalas na sumbat ni Walter Benjamin sa kanyang sanaysay tungkol sa suryalismo: “Walang matapang na narkotikong ating sinisipsip kapag tayo’y sawi o malungkot kundi ang ating sarili mismo.” Kailangan ba natin ng opyong kawangki ng relihiyon o mas matindi pa roon?
Pangalawang babala kung bakit kalabisan o kabaliwan ang pumaksa sa sarili. Payo ni Charles Sanders Peirce, fundador ng pragmatisismo, tungkol sa ego/identidad: Iyon ay “error,” ilusyon, isang kamalian o kawalan, kahungkagan—anong senyas o tanda ang makatutukoy sa kamalayan sa sarili, sa ideolohiyang kaakibat nito? Kumbiksyon ko na ang “sarili” nga ay lunan/lugar ng kawalang-muwang, ignoransya, at pagkakamali. Samakatwid, puwedeng punan at wastuhin ng kapaligiran, ng kasaysayan, ng kolektibong pagsikhay at pagpupunyagi. Sanhi sa klasikong materyalismong minana sa tradisyon, sadyang hindi gaanong nasaliksik ang pormasyon ng subheto, o sabjek-posisyon, sa mga diskurso ko na nito lamang huling dekada nadulutan ng masinop na pagsisiyasat.
I-braket natin ito muna. Kung sakaling nailugar man ang awtor, makatutulong din sa mga susunod na imbestigador o mag-aaral ang pagmapa ng panahong sumaksi sa ebolusyon ng mga akdang natukoy. Payo nina Marx at Engels na ang mga kaisipan ay walang naratibo na hiwalay sa modo ng produksiyon ng lipunan—sa Zeitgeist ng ekonomiyang pampolitika nito. Kaya dapat isakonteksto sa kasaysayan ng taumbayan—“Always historicize!” Ang metodong ito’y dapat ilapat sa anumang ideya o paniniwala, tulad ng sumusunod, bagay na maiging naipunla sa internasyonalismong perspektiba ni Veric.

Bakas ng Paghahanap sa Landas
Sapagkat mahabang istorya iyon, ilang pangyayari’t tauhan lamang ang maiuulat ko rito. Bakit nga ba nakarating dito’t sa iba’t ibang lugar ang marungis na musmos mula sa Blumentritt, Sta. Cruz, Maynila? Di ko lubos maisip na nakaabot ang uhuging paslit sa sangandaang ito. Utang ito sa magkasalabit na takbo ng sirkumstansya at hangarin.
Tila pakikipagsapalaran ba lahat? Malamang. Hindi nasa bituin ang tadhana kundi sa kontradiksiyon ng saloobin at kasaysayan. Kaya dapat ilugar ang mga pangyayari sa tiyak na panahong 1938, na sinaksihan ng pagkagapi ng mga Republikanong puwersa sa Espanya at pagbulas ng rehimeng pasista sa Alemanya at Italya, hanggang sa epoka ng Cold War (1947–1989), sa diktaduryang U.S.-Marcos (1972–1986), at bagong milenyong pinasinayaan ng 9/11 at imperyalistang terorismo hanggang sa ngayon. Pinakamalalang krisis ito ng kapitalismong global sa loob at labas ng neokolonyang sistema sa Pilipinas.
Bago ko malimutan, nais kong banggitin ang unang pagsipat sa mga unang kritika ko ni Soledad Reyes noong 1972 sa isang artikulo sa Philippine Studies, at sa isang interbyu ni Maria Luisa Torres-Reyes sa Diliman Review noong 1987–88, nang aming inihahanda ang nabuking pagdalaw ni Fredric Jameson dito sa atin—isang interbensiyong sana’y nakapukaw sa mga postkolonyalista’t postmodernistang naligaw sa bayang sawi. Sayang at hindi nakasama sa publikasyon ang puna ni Tomas Talledo sa limitasyon ni Reyes at sa dinamikong saklaw ng mga tula ko noon.
Supling ako ng dalawang gurong graduweyt sa U.P. noong dekada 1930–35. Taga-Montalban, Rizal ang ama kong pesanteng uri ang pinagmulan; samakatwid, kabilang sa gitnang-saray, hindi ilustrado. Sandaling naging kalihim ang ama ko ni “Amang” Rodriguez, kilalang patnugot ng Partido Nasyonalista noong panahon ni Quezon. Kaklase ng mga magulang ko si Loreto Paras-Sulit sa U.P. at unang libro kong nabasa sa aklatan namin ay unang edisyon ng Footnote to Youth ni Jose Garcia Villa. Nang ako’y nasa Jose Abad Santos High School, nakilala ko sina Manuel Viray at Sylvia Camu, tanyag na mga dalubhasa, at nabasa ang mga awtor sa Philippine Collegian at Literary Apprentice—mabisang kakintalang nakaamuki sa landas na tinahak.

Naanod ng Sigwa sa Diliman
Ilang piling impresyon lang ang mababanggit ko rito. Ang unang guro ko sa Ingles sa U.P. (1954) ay si Dr. Elmer Ordoñez na unang gumabay sa amin sa masusing pagbasa’t pagkilatis sa panitikan. Sumunod sina Franz Arcellana at NVM Gonzalez. Si Franz ang siyang naghikayat sa aking sumulat ng isang rebyu ng Signatures, magasing pinamatnugutan nina Alex Hufana at Rony Diaz. Kamuntik na akong idemanda ni Oscar de Zuniga dahil doon.
Malaki ang utang-na-loob ko kay Franz, bagamat sa kanya ring tenure nasuspinde ako sa paggamit ng salitang “fuck” sa isang tula ko sa Collegian noong 1956 o 1957. Kumpisal sa akin ni Franz na siya raw ay naging biktima ng administratibong panggigipit. Kasapi sa mga taong kumondena sa pulubing estudyante ay sina Amador Daguio at Ramon Tapales; kalaunan, si Ricaredo Demetillo ang siyang umakusa sa Maoistang awtor sa magasing Solidarity ni F. Sionil Jose.
Dalawang pangyayari ang namumukod sa gunita ko noong estudyante ako. Minsan niyaya kami ni NVM na dumalo sa isang sesyon ng trial ni Estrella Alfon sa Manila City Hall dahil sa kuwentong “Fairy Tale of the City.” Doon ko namalas na kasangkot pala ang panulat sa mga debateng maapoy sa lipunan. Dumanas din kami ng madugong kontrobersya tungkol sa sektaryanismo-versus-sekularismo sa U.P. noon, sa usapin ng Rizal Bill, at nakilahok sa kampanya nina Recto at Tanada noong 1957–58 sa untag ni Mario Alcantara.
Ang pangalawang pangyayari ay kasangkot sa parangal kay Nick Joaquin na nanalo ng unang premyo ni Stonehill sa kanyang nobelang The Woman Who Had Two Navels. Sa okasyong iyon, una kong nakita si Ka Amado V. Hernandez na masiglang nanumbat kung bakit isinaisantabi ang mga manunulat sa Tagalog at katutubong wika at laging ginagantimpalaan ang mga nagsusulat sa Ingles. Humanga ako kay Ka Amado sa maikling talumpating binigkas niya noon.
Kakatwa na ang kritika kong Subversions of Desire (1987) tungkol kay Nick Joaquin ay binati ng batikos mula sa kaliwa at simangot mula sa kanan—marahil, hihintayin pa ang henerasyong susunod upang mabuksan muli ang usaping ito. Makabuluhan ang pagtunghay ni Ka Efren Abueg sa milyu ng mga estudyante sa Maynila noon, na oryentasyon sa ugat at tunguhin ng dalumat at danas ng mga henerasyon namin.
Nasa Cambridge, Massachusetts na ako nang magkasulatan kami ni Ka Amado noong 1960–65. Naging kontribyutor ako sa kanyang pinamatnugutang Ang Masa. Naisalin ko rin ang ilang tula niya mula sa Isang Dipang Langit, sa munting librong Rice Grains. Noong 1966–67, nagkakilala kami ni Alejandro Abadilla at tumulong ako sa paglalathala ng magasing Panitikan.
Noong panahon ding yaon nakausap ko ang maraming peryodista’t manunulat na nag-istambay sa Soler at Florentino Torres, sa Surian, at sa mga kolehiyo sa Azcarraga, Mendiola, Legarda, Morayta, at España. Marahil nakabunggo ko rin si Ka Efren sa tanggapan ng Liwayway kung saan nakilala ko sina Pedro Ricarte at iba pang alagad ng establisimiyentong iyon. Natukoy ko ito sa libro kong Lupang Hinirang, Lupang Tinubuan (2015) mula sa De La Salle University Publishing House na tila naligaw na karugtong nito ang mga aklat kong Ang Sining ng Tula (1971) at Preface to Pilipino Literature (1972).

Tagpuan sa Pagpapaubaya’t Pagpapasiya
Nais kong dumako sa engkuwentro ko sa panulat ni Bulosan na siyang tagapamansag ng orihinal na “pantayong pananaw” (sa pagtaya nina Michael Pante at Leo Angelo Nery). Una kong nabasa ang kuwentong “As Long As the Grass Shall Grow” ngunit mababaw ang dating. Nang ako’y magturo sa University of California sa Davis, nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong makatagpo ang ilang “oldtimers” sa California; at tuloy nadiskubre ang mga libro ni Bulosan sa Bancroft Library ng UC Berkeley. Muntik nang madamay ang Carlos Bulosan and the Imagination of the Class Struggle na inilabas ng UP Press ilang araw bago ideklara ni Marcos ang “martial law.” Nakatulong ang suporta ni President Salvador Lopez, na ininterbyu ko noong 1987–88 nang ako’y magturo muli sa U.P. at Ateneo.
Masasabing ang pagtuklas at pagpapahalaga sa halimbawa ni Bulosan ng mga Filipino sa Amerika ng pangatlong henerasyon (mga anak ng beterano o bagong-saltang propesyonal) ay utang sa pagsibol ng kilusang makabayan doon noong 1969–1970. Bumugso ito sa gitna ng pakikibakang anti-Vietnam War at civil rights struggles noong dekada 1960, hanggang sa kilusang peminista’t kabataan at mga etnikong grupo noong dekada 1970. Sa kabila ng makatas na pagsubaybay nina Rachel Peterson at Joel Wendland sa alingawngaw ng mga pagsubok ko sa “cultural studies” at analisis ng ideolohiyang rasismo, lingid sa kanilang kaalaman ang pakikilahok ko sa kilusang anti-Marcos noong 1967–1986. Mahusay na nasuyod ito ni Michael Viola. Suwerte, nakasama rito ang masaklaw na komentaryo ni Dr. Kenneth Bauzon sa mga saliksik at pag-aaral ko tungkol sa etnisidad, rasismo, at kapitalismong global.
Sa huling dako ng siglong nakaraan naibuhos ko ang lakas at panahon sa analisis ng problema ng rasismo sa Amerika. Ang paksang ito’y hindi nabigyan ng karampatang pag-aaral at pagdalumat ng mga klasikong Marxista, kaya nito na lamang ilang huling dekada napagtuunan ng pansin ang sitwasyon ng Moro, mga kababaihan, at Lumad sa ating bayan. Kaakibat nito, sumigasig ang imbestigasyon ko sa teorya ng signos/senyal ni Peirce at lohika ng pagtatanong nina Dewey, Bakhtin, Gramsci, Lukacs, atbp. (Pasintabi: ang 1972 edisyon ko ng kritika ni Georg Lukacs, Marxism and Human Liberation, ay isang makasaysayang interbensiyon sa pakikibakang ideolohikal dito noong madugong panahong iyon.) Mababanggit din ang inspirasyon ng mga kasama sa CONTEND at Pingkian na laging aktibo sa usaping panlipunan at pagsulong ng demokrasyang pambansa.
Ang masa lamang ang tunay na bayani sa larangan ng progresibong pagsisikap. Sa huling pagtutuos, o marahil sa unang pagtimbang, ang inisyatiba ng isang indibidwal ay walang saysay kung hindi katugma o nakaangkop sa panahon at lugar na kanyang ginagalawan. Sa ibang salita, ang anumang katha o akda ninuman ay hindi produkto ng personal na pagpapasiya lamang kundi, sa malaking bahagdan, bunga ng mga sirkumstansyang humubog sa kapasiyahan ng indibidwal at nagbigay-kaganapan dito. Walang bisa ang indibidwal kung hindi nakatutok sa pagsalikop ng tiyak na panahon at lugar.
Gayunpaman, dapat idiin na ang bisa ng indibidwal ay katumbas ng totalidad ng relasyong panlipunan, alinsunod sa balangkas ng “combined and uneven development.” Ang pasumala ay kabilang mukha ng katiyakan. Kamangmangan at kamalian nga ang laman ng sarili kung di umaayon sa riyalidad. Maidadagdag pa na ang daloy ng mga pangyayari ay hindi diretso o linyado kundi maligoy at liko-liko, kaya kailangan ng diyalektikong pagkilates at pagtaya upang matanto’t masakyan ang trajektori ng kasaysayan sa ating buhay at ng kapwa.

Singularidad ng Pananagutan
Uminog ang daigdig, sinabi mo. Saan nagmula? Nasaan tayo ngayon? Saan tayo patutungo? Ano ang alam natin? Ano ang pinapangarap natin? Paano mag-iisip? Paano kikilos? Anong uri ng pamumuhay ang dapat ugitan at isakatuparan?
Walang pasubali, utang ko ang anumang ambag sa arkibo ng kaalamang progresibo sa kilusan ng sambayanan (laban sa diktaduryang Marcos at rehimeng humalili), sa ilang piling miyembro ng KM at SDK na nagpunla ng binhing Marxista sa U.S. na nagsilbing batayan ng anti-martial law koalisyon, KDP, Ugnayan at iba pang samahan sa Estados Unidos. Malaki rin ang tulong pang-edukasyon ng mga sinulat nina Claro Recto, Lorenzo Tanada, Renato Constantino, Amado Hernandez, Teodoro Agoncillo, Jose Diokno, Jose Maria Sison, Maria Lorena Barros, at lalo na ang mga aktibistang naghandog ng kanilang buhay sa ikatatagumpay ng katarungang sosyal, pambansang demokrasya, at awtentikong kasarinlan.
At utang naman ito sa paglago’t pagtindi ng feministang kilusan kaagapay ng anti-rasistang mobilisasyon ng mga Amerikano-Afrikanong rebolusyonaryo, ng mga Chicano’t Katutubong Amerikano, pati na rin ang impluwensiya ng rebolusyon sa Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam, Mozambique at, natural, sa Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution sa Tsina. Samakatwid, nagtataglay ng halaga ang anumang gawain o likhain kung ito’y ilulugar sa larangan ng pagtatagisan ng mga uri sa lipunan, ng kontradiksyon ng taumbayan (manggagawa, magbubukid) at hegemonya ng imperyalismo’t oligarkong kasabwat nito. At may tiyak na panahon at takdang hangganan ang pagsulong ng mga kontradiksyong lumulukob sa karanasan ng bawat tao sa lipunan.
Sa partikular, ang halaga ng anumang kaisipan o praktika ay nakasalalay sa masalimuot na lugar ng kasaysayan. Nakasalig ito lalo na sa kasaysayan ng ating pakikibaka tungo sa tunay na kasarinlan at pambansang demokrasya mula pa noong rebolusyong 1896 hanggang sa rebelyon ng Bangsamoro laban sa teroristang lakas ng Estados Unidos at mga kapitalismong global na patuloy na naghahari sa neokolonyang bansa. Sosyalismo o barbarismo—alin ang mananaig?
Kalkulahin natin ang burador ng pangarap at naisakatuparan. Dahil sa malaking panahong iniukol sa kilusan laban sa diktaduryang Marcos at sa paglaban sa rasismong salot na sumasagwil sa pansarariling determinasyon ng mga Filipino sa U.S., hindi ko naibuhos ang sapat na lakas sa pagsusuri’t pagsisiyasat ng kulturang katutubo, lalo na ang kritika sa panitikang Pilipino. Hindi rin nabigyan ng karampatang pansin ang poklor o katutubong ekspresyon ng mga Lumad, Moro, atbp; ang isyu ng kapaligiran, ang papel ng midyang pangmadla (pelikula, dula, musika), atbp.
Dahil sa pagkalubog ko sa literaturang Ingles at sa oryentasyong New Criticism at saliksik-tradisyonal na sinipsip sa mga guro sa UP English Dept at Harvard University, superpisyal ang interes ko noon sa panitikang vernacular, sa komiks o pelikulang tatak lokal. Kumpara sa Ingles at Kastila, ang panitikang Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, atbp. ay maituturing na bahagi ng kulturang popular. Ang Liwayway at mga kamag-anak nito ay organo ng diskursong kultural popular, bago pa ang megmall at penomenang sinipat ni Roland Tolentino, na siyang pinaka-avantgarde na manunuri ngayon sa buong bansa. Nabanggit ko nga na noon lamang magkasulatan kami ni Ka Amado noong 1960-65 sumigla ang nasa kong ibaling ang panahon at lakas sa pag-aaral ng literatura’t kulturang nakasulat sa Filipino. Malaki ang tulong sa akin noon nina Rogelio Mangahas, Ben Medina Jr,, Alejandro Abadilla, at Delfin Manlapaz sa hilig na ito.
Pundamental ang pagtaya ni Roland na pinakamahalaga ang world-view o paradigm na panukat sa anumang pag-aaral ng kultura. Ito ang turo ng “cultural studies” nina Raymond Williams at ni Stuart Hall sa UK na kapwa umamin ng mga ideyang hinango mula kay Antonio Gramsci. Nabatid ito ni Roland hindi sa pagpasok sa Bowling Green State University, sentro ng pagsusuri sa “popular culture” sa Estados Unidos, kundi sa paglagom ng kanyang mayamang karanasan bilang aktibista simula dekada 1980-1990 hanggang sa ngayon. Sa Bowling Green ko na lang siya nakatagpo, hindi ko na maalala ang pagkakataon sa Diliman na nabanggit niya. Ngunit hindi multo ako noong magkasama kaming dumalaw minsan kay Sanora Babb, matalik na kaibigan ni Carlos Bulosan, nang nag-aaral na si Roland sa University of Southern California sa Los Angeles. At hindi rin multo sa maraming pagkakataong makasali ako sa mga forum at lektura sa U.P. nitong dalawang dekada (1990-2010) kung saan si Roland ay mabisang gabay ng mga estudyante sa UP bilang Dekano ng College of Mass Communications. Tanggap na sopistikado na ang diskursong kultural popular sa akademya, ngunit (sa palagay ko) mahina pa’t pasapyaw ang dating nito sa mass media sa TV, radyo, at peryodiko. At bagamat malaki na rin ang transpormasyon sa indy pelikula, kailangan pang kumita ng prestihiyo sina Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz, at iba pang direktor sa Europa upang mabigyan ng panibagong pagtingin sa atin. Sintomas ito ng maselang sitwasyon ng kritiko ng araling kultural, popular man o elitista, na hindi maibubukod sa dekadensiya ng naghaharing uri’t dayuhang puwersa, laluna ang Estados Unidos at Europa, sa pagkontrol sa ekonomya’t negosyong OFW ng bansa. Sintomas din kaya ito ng pagkabulok ng hegemonya nila? Hinihintay ng mobilisadong madla ang opinyon nina Roland at mga mataray na kapanalig na espesyalista sa diskursong kultura popular.
Nais kong ihandog ang nalalabing taon ko sa pagsisiyasat sa mga usaping ito kaugnay ng krisis ng globalisasyon. Kabilang na rito ang kalipunan ng mga bagong sanaysay ko sa nabanggit kong Lupang Hinirang, Lupang Tinubuan. Meron akong inihahandang pag-aaral sa klasikong nobela nina Faustino Aguilar, Lope K. Santos, Valeriano Hernandez Peña, Lazaro Francisco, Iñigo Ed. Regalado, hanggang kina Genoveva Edroza Matute’t Liwayway Arceo. Nais ko rin sanang maipagpatuloy ang palitang-kuro namin ng nasirang Alex Remollino tungkol sa tula ko hinggil sa sitwasyon ni Rebelyn Pitao (kalakip sa koleksiyon kong Sutrang Kayumanggi) na sinensor ng Bulatlat nang paslangin ng pasistang Estado ang anak ni Kumander Parago circa 2010.

Pandayin ang Sandata ng Kaluluwa
Patuloy na nagbabago ang mundo, nag-iiba ang kapaligiran at kalakaran. Hindi mapipigil ito. Pinuputol at pinapatid ang repetisyon ng karaniwang araw sa paulit-ulit na krisis ng kapitalismong orden. Ikinukubli ng repetisyon sa araw-araw ang naratibo ng kasaysayang sinidlan ng pangarap, hinubog ng panaginip, at pinatingkad ng pag-aasam. Katungkulan nating palayain iyon, ang mga pagnanasang ibinaon, mga tinig na binusalan, sa mapagpasiya’t mapagligtas ng Ngayon na nagbubuklod ng Katotohanan at Kabutihan.
Ngayon ang pagtutuos, Ngayon ang pagsasakatuparan at kaganapan. Responsibilidad ito ng panaginip upang pukawin at mobilisahin ang diwang sinikil ng mga panginoong dayuhan at kakutsabang lokal. Ang lugar dito at sa abrod ng OFW ay larangan ng paglutas sa mga kontradisiyong salaghati sa ating buhay bilang bansang iniluluwal pa lamang. Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?

Mensaheng Ipinalaot sa Kawalan
Sinabi mo, nadinig ko. Sa pangwakas, nais kong sipiin ang makahulugang obserbasyon ni Benjamin tungkol sa temang naturol dito, ang halaga ng personal na pagsisikap laban sa batas ng tadhana o hatol ng kapalaran. Puna ni Benjamin: Ang anumang obrang kultural ay sabayang dokumento ng barbarismo’t dokumento ng sibilisasyon. Nawa’y magsilbing kasangkapan ito tungo sa bagong uri ng kabihasnan at hindi kagamitan upang mapanitili ang barbarismong nais nating supilin at wakasan. Sa okasyon ng bagong edisyong ito ng Kritika Kultura, muli nating ilunsad at pag-ibayuhin ang diskurso’t pagtatanong upang makapiling ang katotohanan sa nasugpong birtud ng sangkatauhan.
Maraming salamat sa lahat ng kolaboreytor at partisano sa itinaguyod na proyektong sinalihan nating lahat. Partikular na kilalanin ko rito ang tulong at payo ni Delia Aguilar, na kadalasa’y nagwasto’t nagpayaman sa mga ideyang nailahad dito. Sana’y magkatagpo muli tayo dito o sa kabilang pampang ng ilog. Mabuhay ang sakripisyo’t pakikipagsapalaran ng masang naghihimagsik! Ipagpatuloy ang laban!


7 Marso 2015, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City–
22 Disyembre 2015, Storrs, CT; 19 Pebrero 2016, Washington DC, USA
MALIGAYANG PAGBATI mula sa “sikmura ng halimaw”
[Sa okasyon ng paglunsad ng Kritika Kultura 26, 4/25/2016]

—E. San Juan, Jr.


Masilakbong pagbati sa lahat ng staff ng KK, kabilang sina Charlie Veric, Francis Sollano, Vinz Serrano, Lulu Torres-Reyes at marami pang kabalikat, sa pagkakataong naidaos sa pagpupulong ng ilang iskolar at manunulat sa symposium tungkol sa mga lugar ng awtor na may mapahiwatig na pangalan.

Isang munting paunawa. Ang lugar ni “E. San Juan” ay hindi pag-aari o angkin ng isang taong may ganoong pangalan. Ang regulasyon ng pagpapangalan sa partikular na indibidwal ay ipinasok sa Imperyong Romano dahil sa batas ng pagbubuwis at pagkontrol sa masa. Sa Bibliya, maraming Maria o John na ipinaghihiwalay lamang sa pagkabit ng kung saan sila unang kinilala—Hesus ng Nazareth, ang Samaritano, atbp. Ganoon din sina Zeno ng Elea o William ng Ockham. Kaugnay iyon ng ekonomyang pampulitikang umiiral noon. Tumawid tayo mula sa necesidad ng imperyong mapang-uri.

Gumawi tayo sa ibang dalampasigan. Ang paksain dito ay sari-saring pook o lunan ng mga ideya’t hiwatig sa gitna ng engkuwentro ng mga komunidad ng mga nag-uusap sa iba’t ibang lupalop, sa iba’t ibang panahon. Isang kolokyum o pagpapalitan/forum ang lugar natin. Walang pag-aangkin o pag-aari ng kaisipan, at iyon naman ay inilagom mula sa buhay ng ibat ibang wika at kultura ng samutsaring komunidad sa daigdig ng penomenang isinalin sa isip, dalumat, budhi, kamalayan—ang “noosphere” ni Padre Teilhard de Chardin.

Sa isang balik-tanaw, napulot lamang ang “Epifanio” sa kalendaryo, at ang pamilyang “San Juan” ay hiram din naman sa Talaan ng Buwis sa Espanya, kung saan pinagbasehan ang pagbibinyag sa mga Indyo noong panahon ng kolonyalismong nagdaan. Gayunpaman, nawa’y di maging “tinig sa kagubatan,” a “voice in the wilderness” ang isyu ng KK. Marahil, wala namang Salomeng magdedemanda ng ulo ng taga-binyag. Baka ang nangyaring “bomb threat” ay senyas ng sukdulang darating?

Di na dapat ulitin na ang pagsisikap ng KK ay napakahalaga sa pag-unlad at paglawak ng ating kultura, ng ating sining at panitikan, na ngayo’y nakadawit sa daloy ng globalisasyon. Kaugnay ang pagsisikap na ito sa hominization ng “noosphere” ni Padre de Chardin patungong Omega. Isang makabuluhang pagsisikap sapagkat—buksan na lang ang FACEBOOK at iba pang Website sa inyong I-pad o I-phone— nakalambong pa rin ang hegemonya ng Kanluraning kabihasnan, ang “consumerist lifetyle” na dominante sa globalizasyong nagaganap. Para sa mga kaibigan dito, siguro, Filipinization ng Internet ang kanilang maipangangakatwiran at hindi pag-gagad o imitasyon sa banyaga.

Naipaliwanag na nina Rizal, Fanon, Che Guevarra, Aime Cesaire, Cabral, atbp. na ang intelektuwal ng kilusang mapagpalaya sa sinakop na bansa ay kabilang sa mapagpasiyang hanay ng mobilisadong taumbayan, Mabisa ang mga guro’t estudyante—mga “iskolar ng bayan”— sa mapagpalayang kampanya ng bayang Pilipino sa harap ng malubhang krisis ng imperyalismo sa panahon ng “global war on terrorism.” Mungkahi kong subukan natin ang ganitong punto-de-bista para sa ating komunidad imbes na iyong galing sa World-Bank IMF, MLA, UN, o anupamang grupong internasyonal.

Salungat sa cliche, huwag akalaing nasa-ivory tower tayo—walang sulok na hindi kasangkot o kaugnay sa tunggalian ng ideolohiya, ng praktika ng paniniwala, ugali, damdamin, pangarap, sa ating neokolonya. {Natural, kung kayong nahihimbing at nananaginip, wala kayong pakialam sa ganitong palagay, at patuloy kayong humimlay.}

Laging mapangahas at mapanlikha, kayo’y mga bayani, “unaknowledged legislators,” sa lumang taguri. Nawa’y maipagpatuloy ang ulirang praktika ng KK sa paglinang ng katutubong kultura—aksyon sa paraan ng interpretasyon—na siyang ambag natin sa kumpleksipikasyon ng Omega ni de Chardin, o iyong singularidad/hacceitas ni Duns Scotus, na kailangang sangkap sa paghinog ng unibersalisyong adhikain ng santinakpan! Samakatwid, bukod sa isip, kasangkot ang pagnanais, paghahangad, mithiin ng bawat isa sa loob at labas ng komunidad.

Mabuhay ang pamumukadkad ng isanlibong bulaklak! Mabuhay kayong lahat na dumalo sa makasaysayang interbensyong ipinagdiriwang ngayon ng KK sa pagtangkilik ng Ateneo de Manila University!


—Sonny San Juan
Cathedral Heights,
Washington DC, 8 Abril 2016




Re-Visiting Carlos Bulosan by Paulino Lim, Jr.


Re-visiting Carlos Bulosan
Review by Paulino Lim, Jr.SanJuan_cover2-page-0

E. San Juan, Jr., Carlos Bulosan:
Revolutionary Filipino Writer in the United States
A Critical Appraisal
New York: Peter Lang, 2107

Carlos Bulosan: Revolutionary Writer in the United States is part of a project destined for the world’s libraries of the 21st Century. With its colorful cover and solid binding, it has the number 12 on the spine, indicating its sequence in the multi-volume project: Narrative, Dialogue, and the Political Production of Meaning, co-edited by Michael Peters and Peter McLaren.
The project underscores the importance of language that enables discourse and produces meaning. It is well to recall that when the Founding Fathers altered the tripartite goal of “life, liberty, and property” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the “meaning” of America was born and, along with it, the ideology of a monotheistic Deity.

E. San Juan’s Carlos Bulosan exemplifies the guiding philosophy of the series. Co-editor McLaren considers him “one of the leading public intellectuals of the United States,” and his engagement with Bulosan “magisterial” (p. xiii). McLaren reaffirms the contemporary relevance of Bulosan, “now a central figure in Asian America history,” and the “need to recover the submerged insurrectionary impulses in Bulosan’s discourse” (p. xi). San Juan attempts to fulfill that need in this “Critical Appraisal.”

San Juan distills the research and commentaries on the revolutionary writer, and presents his observations in sections or essays with catchy titles, e.g. “Point Counterpoint: Retrospective Beginning,” and “Witnessing Swerve.” Each essay produces a meaning or knowledge that serves to correct misguided or uninformed opinions, and initiate further discourse that, in turn, may produce more meanings. Take for example the entry “The Plagiarism Perplex,” (68) a topic that interests me. From this article, I can design “a great chain of reading,” (The New Yorker, 16 October ’17, p. 79), and link Bulosan to luminaries, such as Wallace Stegner and Martin Luther King, also touched by the same issue.

San Juan is most responsible for Bulosan’s canonization, the inclusion of his oeuvre in required readings in colleges and universities, e.g., The Heath Anthology of American Literature (2004). America is in the Heart, however, has been a staple of Asian American and Philippine Studies worldwide. San Juan accepts “blame” for starting the Bulosan trend (industry?) with his first book on him in 1972, and co-editing, with Russell Leong, an issue of Amerasia Journal (May 1979) devoted to Bulosan.

I owe San Juan a debt of gratitude for enlightening my colonial mentality. In the anthology, Sabong: Stories, Etc. (2015), and in the forthcoming “Spots of Time: Memoir of a Mind,” I document my evolving (self-knowledge of having a colonial or post-colonial mind-set. In May 1977, I published “From Colonial to Beleaguered Mentality: Busing and the Filipino American,” and in October 2012, I presented a paper at the Michigan State University Conference on Philippine Studies, entitled “The Diplopic Consciousness of Overseas Filipino Writers.”

I commend San Juan for re-visiting Carlos Bulosan, especially to colleagues and institutions in the Philippines with preconceived labels, e.g., “Marxist,” or “Socialist.” NVM Gonzalez once told me that he did not understand San Juan. If NVM read this book now, I’m quite sure he’d change his mind. (He died in November 1999.) The prose is as lucid as the best of NVM’s, and the logic much persuasive. To quote myself, “San Juan writes poetry in Filipino and polemics in English. He has the sensibility of a poet and the driving logic of a committed polemicist” (Sabong, 166).
Paulino Lim is a professor emeritus of English California State University, Long Beach.bulosan-for-jacketcover









By Kamalayan: Philippine Educational-Cultural Forum, Washington, DC


Washington, D.C.–November 6, 2017–With collusion scandals on his back, President Trump visits Manila and Clark Field, Pampanga, Philippines, historic outposts of the then rising U.S. Empire at the turn of the last century.

Today, virtually a neocolony, the Philippines serves once again as a springboard for U.S. imperial interventions in the Asia-Pacific region. Various government agreements have converted the former U.S. military bases in Clark, Subic, and elsewhere into counterinsurgency centers against Filipinos protesting corporate plunder of the country’s natural and human resources.

The Duterte regime of corrupt oligarchs has welcomed renewed U.S. military intervention in the destruction of Marawi City in the global campaign against ISIS. The war on drugs and terrorism has become a pretext to justify a Plan Colombia-type of U.S. intervention in their former colony.

Duterte welcomes Trump in the hope of increased military aid. The issue of Duterte’s bloody human rights record, the extra-judicial killing of over 9,000 suspects in the drug war, and the vicious bombing and massacre of peasants, Lumads, and Moro villages, will fill the silent corridors of Malacanang and the Asian Summit halls.

After boasting of U.S. devastation of Japan in World War II, Trump wants to involve the peoples of Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, China and the Philippines in his campaign to destroy the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea with “fire and fury.” Nothing less than a genocidal campaign will fulfill Trump’s America-First policy.

As peoples concerned with social justice, respect for human rights, and peace among nations, we call on everyone to protest Trump’s endorsement of the corrupt, deceitful Duterte regime.

Trump’s attempt to project U.S. military power on the region, and his threat of nuclear war, only serve the profiteering interests of big business. We support the demilitarization of the South China Sea and respect for national sovereignty.

We call on all peoples in Asia and the United States to reject Trump’s war-profiteering and neoliberal programs that destroy people’s jobs, their civic and political rights, and the ecological health of the planet.

KAMALAYAN Philippine Educational and Cultural Forum
Washington DC



  • Charting the Emergence of the National-Popular Imagination in the Philippines (1896–1940)

           E. San Juan Jr.


We did what we ourselves had decided upon—as free people, and power resides in the people. What we did was our heritage . . . We decided to rebel, to rise up and strike down the sources of power. I said, “We are Sakdals . . . No uprising fails. Each one is a step in the right direction. —Salud Algabre, a leader of the Sakdalista Uprising, 1935

Writers are, by the nature of their chosen task, the spearhead of progress. They voice the grievances as well as the aspirations of a nation; they document its achievements; they treasure for posterity the worthwhile efforts of man. They are the critics of things as they are; they are the dreamers of things as they should be; they cannot escape a large part of the responsibility for the shape of things to come. —Resolution of the First Filipino Writers Conference, February 25, 1940; Philippine Writers League


Of all theoretical concepts dominating global exchanges, nationalism has proved the most contentious and intractable. A wise commentator from Cambridge, UK, John Dunn, has probably seized the twin horns of the dilemma underlying the phenomenon. He diagnosed contemporary nationalism as “a moral scandal because the official ethical culture of almost the entire world is a universalist ethical culture.” Despite this, he locates its efficacy in its paradoxical situation: “If democracy is the resolved mystery 250 philippine modernities of all constitutions, nationalism is perhaps the resolved mystery of all boundaries in a world which is densely practically related across boundaries—a world of international exchange and drastically unequal power and enjoyment.”1 To be precise, these international linkages would be inconceivable without the persistence of nations, or nation-states, sanctified in Woodrow Wilson’s proposal to affirm the right of self-determination for all nations, at least those already extant, but not for peoples under colonial rule or about to be annexed.

Dunn’s Eurocentric view seems unconscionable in light of the emergence of socialist nation-states such as China, Cuba, Algeria, and Vietnam. We understand that Dunn was addressing the excesses of Nazi racial nationalism, while ignoring the British Empire’s claim to moral superiority and Europe’s ascendancy over people of color in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We need to be reminded that Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” was a triumphallist apology for US troops marching into the islands and “civilizing those uncouth, sullen Filipinos.” Since the Filipino-American War of 1899– 1913, the yet “uncivilized” masses of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands, to cite just one instance, have begun to build their nation on the ruins of the Portuguese empire in 1974, a year before the victory of the Vietnamese over the US empire and its surrogates.2

President Wilson’s “14 Points” proposal came with the breaking-up of the Austro- Hungarian empire in 1918. It offered breathing space for tribal groups in Africa, as well as a motive or rationale to discover a self, a political medium or state, which can undergo a “recognizable process of self-determination.” Such as aspiration is supposed to be a political reaction to the Napoleonic conquest of Europe, but surely it preceded Napoleon. Nations such as France or England had long realized this aspiration was “grounded in some existing sentiment of national or racial identity associated with common territory, language or religion—to form its own sovereign state and to govern itself.”3 Following this model, the break-up of the Spanish empire in the nineteenth century led to the formation of Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, and Mexico in the South American wars of independence. Led by creoles disillusioned with theocratic colonialism, the various nationalities or ethnic communities revolted not so much in the name of national self-determination but with the ideals of the French revolution—“liberty, equality, fraternity”—in mind.

Transitional Passages

Clearly, as Lenin once put it, we need to distinguish the “nationalism” of the oppressed peoples against the jingoist/chauvinist “nationalism” of the oppressor nation.4 This is due to the geopolitical law of unequal and uneven development between metropolitan powers and subordinate, peripheral formations.5 In this context, it might be heuristic to pose the following inquiry. Was the Spanish colony in 1899, about to be annexed by the United san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 251 States, just “an imagined community,” as Benedict Anderson6 would label it? Was it an artifice simply generated by print capitalism and commercial exchange which triggered consent from the letrado minority? Or was it, in Eric Hobsbawm’s7 phrase, an “invented tradition?” Or was the Filipino “nation” a process of active genesis with plural components, not ethnic purity, as the active catalyzer for the national-popular patria? This “nation” seems to be still undergoing neocolonial metamorphosis today.

Arguably, we find elements of all these in analyzing nation formation as a collective, heterogeneous process. Print culture certainly displaced orature and ritualized speech-acts when the galleon trade ended in 1815 and the country was opened to international trade. But it was not books or printed manifestoes that marked the advent of integral, if syncretic, consciousness; it was a rebellion. The consensus is that the Cavite Mutiny of 1872, the sacrifice of three priests involved in the secularization movement, ushered a widespread consciousness of shared identity. Rizal, Mabini, and others confirm this view. Renato Constantino sums up this conjuncture: “Where the concept of Filipino used to have a racial and later a cultural limitation, the repression that followed the Cavite mutiny made the three racial groups—creoles, mestizos and natives—join hands and become conscious of their growing development as a Filipino nation.”8 Thus, it was the experience of a “common historical fate” or destiny9 and the constellation of responses that midwived Filipino nationalism, not print technology and its bourgeois mediators that spelled the difference.

The 1896 revolution against Spain was initially a product of Filipino creolized ilustrados, foremost of whom were Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and Marcelo del Pilar. In Barcelona and Madrid, the propagandists collaborated on the newspaper La Solidaridad in 1889. Using Spanish, their declared aspirations were universalistic, not particularistic— namely: “to combat reaction, to stop all retrogressive steps, to extol and adopt liberal ideas, to defend progress; in a word, to be a propagandist, above all, of democratic ideas in order to make these supreme in all nations here and across the seas.”10 There was no mention of a common language, distinct territory, or cohesive economic unit—the prime characteristics of a nation, not of a tribal or racial assemblage.

The Spanish colony then was an assemblage of feudal-managed haciendas, scattered ethnolinguistic communities dominated by the Church. The secularist reformers espoused democratic, libertarian principles. If we follow the classic Marxist formula, they should have demanded the creation of a national market for a homogeneous population. Even when Rizal initiated La Liga Filipina to replace the periodical, the focus transcended the cultural or ethnic qualities of “peoples without a history” (to use Engel’s phrase) destined to extinction or incorporation by a larger superior group. The Liga aimed to “unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous and homogeneous body,” provide “mutual protection,” and “defense against all violence and injustice.”11 In effect, Rizal expressed a 252 philippine modernities revolutionary aim by envisaging the creation of a separate, independent social order, overthrowing the colonial polity.

Andres Bonifacio was one of the original members of the Liga. With the Liga proscribed, Bonifacio and others organized the Katipunan. Using Tagalog—the native tongue of the central provinces of Luzon—they articulated the political goal of separation from Spain, the moral objective of individual rational autonomy, and the civic ideal of defending the poor and oppressed. Following the credo of mutual aid and reciprocity, the Katipunan vowed to pay the funeral expenses of its members to undercut the exorbitant fees of the Church. It demonstrated the dialectic of universal ideals and concrete action in the process of fashioning a new nation.

One Divides into Two

Given the anticolonial thrust of the 1896 revolution led by the Katipunan, Filipino nationalism from its beginning was forged from a national-popular matrix. It was national in ascribing to the subjugated Indios, the native inhabitants, a cluster of singular qualities: fraternal sharing of goods, commitment to promises, faith in the enslaved subalterns’ wisdom, and power to create a prosperous, free future. This is the message of Bonifacio’s manifesto, “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog”: “Panahun na ngayong dapat na lumitaw ang liwanag ng katotohanan, panahon na dapat nating ipakilala na tayo’y may sariling pagdaramdam, may puri, may hiya at pagdadamayan . . . . Kaya o mga kababayan! Ating idilat ang bulag na kaisipan at kusang igugol sa kagalingan ang ating lakas sa tunay at lubos na pag-asa na mag tagumpay sa nilalayong kaguinhawahan ng bayang tinubuan.”12 From this perspective, one can infer that the nation being formed will be rooted in the dynamic relations of oppressed, toiling subjects who have become conscious of their collective plight and, in forging solidarity, begun to fashion a liberated future.

Despite the defeat of the Ilustrado-compromised Malolos Republic, and the capture of the Katipunan-inspired General Sakay, I would argue that Filipino nationalism preserved its national-popular kernel up to the outbreak of World War II. This implies an organic connection between intellectuals, the pedagogical agents of knowledge, and the the affective-feeling sensibility of the masses that can be mobilized for structural change. The peasant majority and its offshoot, the middle stratum of craftworkers and pettybourgois traders, supplied the organic intellectuals of the nascent body politic.

The revolution of 1896 survived in underground and legal struggles. Bonifacio and the inheritors of the Enlightenment tradition—Isabelo de los Reyes, Tagalog writers Faustino Aguilar, Jose Corazon de Jesus, and Benigno Ramos, as well as the partisans of the Philippine Writers League—continued to define the parameters of national becoming. The antiimperialist intelligentsia endeavored to synthesize universal knowledge and local sentiments into a “structure of feeling”13 capable of mobilizing the masses. The Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci conceived of the reciprocal interaction between understanding (intellectual) and feeling (the grassroots constituency) as the foundation of the emergent nation. Writers using the vernacular proved to be the most effective builders of this shared, communicated “structure of feeling.”

The failure of the 1896 revolution sharpened the social division of labor, with the US occupation destroying the productive linkages of family, village, and kindred institutions. The crisis widened the division between city and countryside. Filipino nationalists tried to resolve their historical predicament by “feeling the elementary passions of the people, understanding them and therefore explaining and justifying them in the particular historical situation and connecting them dialectically to the laws of history and to a superior conception of the world, scientifically and coherently elaborated—i.e., knowledge.”14 Thus, the revolutionary artists’ project of historicizing emotional patterns was translated into the task of constructing the hegemonic (moral-intellectual) leadership of the working class, in alliance with the peasantry, as the foundation of the emerging Filipino nation.1

Folk and Proletarian Synergesis

The intellectual practice of Isabelo de los Reyes exemplifies an early attempt to bridge thought and feeling in quest of a hypothetical nation. Only a sketch of his complex career can be given here to indicate one example of a nation-building project.16

In 1889, Reyes launched the first vernacular newspaper in the Philippines, El Ilocano. Pursuing the historiographic recovery embodied in Rizal’s annotations on Morga’s Sucesos and his recuperation of native poetics, Reyes’s ethnographic researches—El Folklore Filipino (1889) and Historia de Ilocos (1890) strove to articulate an identity rooted in specific localities across temporal divides. But, for our purposes, it was his prison memoirs in Spanish, La sensacional memoria sobre la revolucion filipina (1899), and his attack on American imperialism, Independencia y revolucion (1900), that reinscribed the Katipunan tradition in the annals of labor organizing. In February 1902, Reyes founded the first labor union under American occupation, Union Obrera Democratica Filipina; he also edited the first labor union newspaper, La Redencion del Obrero. Engaged in the debate on class and national concerns, Reyes also operated in the ethico-ideological domain of struggle. He collaborated with Father Gregorio Aglipay in launching the nationalist-oriented Philippine Independent Church with trade union members as core followers. Reyes distinguished himself at this time by spearheading a general strike of factory workers and farm tenants 254 philippine modernities against American business firms and friar-owned haciendas for which then governor William Taft had to call the US cavalry to disperse the crowd.17

Class struggle nourished the national-popular organism in insurrectionary praxis, a synthesis of economic and political activities in civic society. By deploying flexible organizing modes, Reyes actualized an inchoate theory of radical nationalism that coalesced national, class, and religious sentiments. His links with rural and urban agitation provided the catharsis of the economic to the political, the strategic and tactical requirements, of the campaign against colonial rule. He fused dialectically the particular nativist elements of culture with universal notions of proletarian emancipation derived from the socialist and anarchist movements of Europe. It was Reyes’s activism that relocated the emergent nation in the arena of the class war against the landlord-comprador bloc and its American sponsors. In vindicating the ideals of the Katipunan (in his book Religion of the Katipunan), Reyes suggested that their ultimate goal was really a “communist republic.”18

Reyes was a political realist, not a doctrinaire syndicalist, so that he participated in electoral-parliamentary struggles from 1922 to 1928. While his belief in the value of popular knowledge and other indigenous practices cannot be overemphasized, or made polysemous to erase the gap between the universal and particular, it would be disingenous to overlook his dependence on the virtues of conceptual elaboration inspired by Proudhon, Bakunin, Marx, and others in the socialist archive. Such a “problematic indigenism”19 needs to be dialectically configured with his intimate associations with versatile intellectuals such as Hermenegildo Cruz, who aided Reyes in founding the first labor federation and who played a crucial role in connecting the intelligentsia with grassroots insurgency.

Vernacular Speech-Acts

It was in this milieu that the first consistent articulation of class hopes and nationalist sentiments received symbolic prefiguration in Lope K. Santos’s novel, Banaag at Sikat (1906). Rendered through allegorical manipulation of typical characters, the novel focused on the antagonism between capital and labor, with the “national question” subsumed in the atmosphere of repressive police action and looming treacheries.

Unlike Reyes or the ilustrado Dr. Dominador Gomez, Santos was a soldier in the revolutionary army in the forests of Laguna and Batangas. He admired Zola, Gorki, Eliseo Reclus, and other radical thinkers. Together with Cruz, Santos edited the paper of the printworkers’ union which carried on its masthead the Marxist slogan “The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself.”20 But Santos did not succumb to sectarian workerism (unlike the US-tutored communists), since his idea of san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 255 socialism emphasized chiefly moral and legal egalitarianism. He favored a broad united front of all democratic sectors. The hero of his novel Delfin, for example, found the US Constitution filled with “socialist aspirations” informing government policies.21 This might explain why Santos’s book was not prohibited.22 Was Santos trying to include the ilustrado elite in a hegemonic project of building consensus, even confounding bourgeois liberal reforms with Marxian socialism? In the interregnum before English became widespread and Spanish as the language of public exchange declined, the Tagalog novel blossomed in the midst of intense mobilization of urban workers. This affected also the pettybourgeois sector of whitecollar workers whose affairs were intimately bound with their worker friends and relatives in city and countryside. This is reflected in the uniquely psychologized dramatization of individual, family, and racial conflicts in Faustino Aguilar’s Pinaglahuan (1907). The “national question” is evoked right at the outset of the plot, giving way to the plight of the lovers and the imprisonment of the worker-intellectual Luis Gatbuhay by the collusion of the American factory owner Mr. Kilsberg and the cunning merchant Rojalde.23 Rojalde traps the heroine’s father in a scheme that leads to Rojalde’s possession of her body, already pregnant by Luis—an emblem of the commodified object of desire, the motherland, caged by the comprador usurper. Focusing on the hero’s agony in prison, Aguilar’s novel registers obliquely the shock of Sakay’s execution and the suppression of the last guerilla resistance even as echoes of the massive May Day 1903 march still resound in the cries of protest from the impoverished victims of the market system and the decadent feudal patriarchy.

Traditionally, the novel form in the West often dramatized the individualist quest for a cosmic purpose and meaning in life. This quest is refracted by Santos and Aguilar in a social-realist direction, via a mimesis of the dialectical interaction of the collective whole and its parts. In both Santos and Aguilar’s style, we encounter a realism diverging from the raw slice-of-life, sensational naturalism of Zola and Norris. Their models were Rizal, Tolstoy, Hugo, and Balzac. Tagalog realism, often didactic or homiletic, sought to “lay bare society’s causal network”24 in delineating the contours of the country’s development, pointing out where the broadest solutions to the most serious problems afflicting the majority may be found. It is an elaborate refinement of the melodramatic historicizing realism found in Rizal’s inflammatory Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

The year 1907 also marked the dissolution of the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas headed by Lope K. Santos. While engaged in union militancy, he edited the daily newspaper, Muling Pagsilang, which serialized his polemical novel which sold three thousand copies within the first few weeks—a sign of popular acclaim for a dangerously provocative act for American censors.25 These two novels deployed the conventional romantic plot of unrequited or frustrated love as a symptomatic testimony of how the 1896 revolution 256 philippine modernities (Filipinas figures as adored paramour-cum-mother) was lost due to betrayal, inherited inadequacies, or fatal convergence of forces beyond the lovers’ control.

Traversing Metropolitan Boundaries

We need to contextualize these authors in the local-global-regional cross-currents of the time. Reyes, Aguilar, and Santos were all influenced by developments in Europe at this period, from the Boer Wars (1902), the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), and the outbreak of the first Russian revolution (1905–1906). In March 1906, the most horrendous massacre of Moros occurred in the battle of Bud Bagsak, Jolo, where 600 men, women, and children were slaughtered by troops commanded by Gen. Leonard Wood.26 Such non-Christian victims were not yet fully accounted for in the maturing conscience of nationalists. But workers in Manila in the first two decades of American rule were clamoring for Philippine independence, perhaps not having yet heard that the “working men have no nation,” as the Communist Manifesto proclaimed.27 But they inhabit a place and time that determined their identities whose physiognomy was actualized in the manifold contradictions of sociopolitical forces that shaped the rhythm and texture of their everyday lives.

From a synoptic angle, it was the old bondsman’s struggle for recognition by the aristocratic lord, as Hegel described it. The ilustrado class (epitomized by T. Pardo de Tavera and Pedro Paterno) sought modernization via assimilation to the US nation: they spoke English and joined the bureaucracy. But given the power of feudal oligarchic instutions and practices that the US colonial regime utilized to control the dissident population, the democratic ideals purportedly legitimizing it proved ironically discordant. This created the space for a limited public sphere in which the intellectuals close to the productive majority could articulate their collective passions by positing an antagonistic image of the Filipino identity. The utopian promise of independence was translated into a pretext for crisis that manifested in public discourse. Questions were posed: why and how could Quezon, Osmeña, or Roxas speak for the exploited, impoverished nation when they represented particularistic landlord-comprador interests? Which class could truly represent the productive populace as “the Filipino nation?”

We can diagram the narrative of this conflict between the national-popular protagonist versus the elitist politicians of the English-speaking landlord-comprador bloc by concentrating on a few revealing instances when Filipino artists were confronted with the imperative of choosing sides, specifically moments when personalistic aesthetics clashed with ethico-political demands, precipitating a crisis of the whole body politic. san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 257

It began even before Aguinaldo surrendered to General Funston. When the capitulationist ilustrado class defected to the US colonial masters, a significant group of intransigent intellectuals, represented by Apolinario Mabini (1969), remained faithful to the principles of the Katipunan. They articulated the cause of the peasant-worker alliance kept alive up to Sakay’s capture in 1907. The Moros continued their resistance up to 1913. Dramatists like Aurelio Tolentino, Juan Abad, and others resorted to allegorical modes using Tagalog for wider appeal, defying the Sedition Law of 1901 prohibiting “scurrilous libels against the Government of the United States.” Though persecuted and censored, they conducted guerilla underground polemics. Periodicals like the Spanish El Renacimiento and the Tagalog Muling Pagsilang opposed colonial impositions such as the use of English as the medium of instruction in public schools. In 1908, El Renacimiento published a scathing attack on Dean Worcester, then secretary of the interior, for using his office to enrich himself. Charged for libel, Teodoro Kalaw, editor, and Martin Ocampo, the publisher, were sentenced to a jail term and fined. In 1909, Kalaw ran for delegate to the Philippine Assembly and won, testifying to the support of a community larger than the Spanish-speaking citizens.

Bardic Interventions

It was only during the administration of Francis Burton Harrison and his Filipinization of the bureaucracy that the function of articulating the popular content of nationalism passed on to Quezon and the Nacionalista Party. In the fight against Leonard Wood, the famous scourge of the Moros, Quezon seized the opportunity of symbolizing the struggle for independence.

Read symptomatically, the intramural “Cabinet Crisis” of 1923–1927 staged a battle for hegemony in the realm of the state apparatus and its agencies. Quezon lost but gained moral high ground when he asserted: “I would rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by Americans.”29 But this did not alleviate the worsening plight of the majority. In particular, the peasant majority, severely exploited by rapacious landlords, suffered quietly until 1935. This predatory caciquism originated from the inquitous land-tenure system that the American administators preserved, thus keeping the economy underdeveloped and their oligarchic parasites in power. Various quasi-religious, nativist uprisings occurred throughout the islands, the most serious of which were led by Ruperto Rios (Tayabas), Felipe Salvador (Central Luzon), Dionisio Magbuelas or Papa Isio (Negros), the Pulajanes in Leyte, the Colorums during the 1920s, followed by the Tangulan movement, the Tayug Uprising, and the Sakdalista in the Thirties.30 258 philippine modernities

We need to remember that metropolitan Manila was only a narrow island in a larger archipelago of manifold sociopolitical tensions. Aside from the synergistic workerintellectual collaboration in the first decades of US colonial rule when novelists, dramatists, and poets played central roles, the crisis in the Twenties and Thirties witnessed the shift of hegemonic struggle to the countryside. The first significant novel dealing with the tenancy problem is Lazaro Francisco’s Ama (1929), among others. Meanwhile, the ideological struggle to assert the popular dimension of culture as embodied in the vernacular continued with the most celebrated practitioner of the balagtasan nationwide ritual, Jose Corazon de Jesus, sacrificing his job as columnist in Taliba. It seemed a deja vu scenario. On February 21, 1930, students at the Manila North High School boycotted their classes to protest Miss Mabel Brummit’s racist conduct. This was a repeat of the desecration of the Filipino flag by another American teacher in March 1921 which de Jesus used to attack imperial arrogance by denouncing uncouth behavior: “Bago ka magturo, /dapat mong makuro,/ na bawat bandila ay mahal sa puso/ ng bumabandilang sa lupa ko tubo,/ Kung ang isipan ninyo’y baluktot at liko,/ dapat kang itapon sa banging malayo./Ikaw’y isang guro /na salat sa turo.”31

Nine years after, de Jesus felt compelled to intervene again. He asserted national pride by defending the students who were expelled: “Kung ang ituturo natin naman dito. /panay na pagyuko sa Wika ng amo, /panay na sumision at lambot ng ulo, /ay gagawa kayo ng lupaing hilo.”32 This form of political engagement via “secondary orality” (e.g., the balagtasan) witnessed in de Jesus’s intervention, evokes an aura of authority and charisma that surrounds the letrado as a political leader found in Latin America. The Philippines shares a similar tradition in which the practice of the spoken word “conjures together the presence of the communal and the sacred,”33 the unlettered voice of the people finding resonance in a nation-oriented discourse opposed to the official culture of the educated English-speaking elite. By the end of the Thirties, however, the writers using English had become politicized by circumstances following the insurgencies in the countryside, the post-1929 Depression, and the rise of fascism in Spain, Italy, and Germany as well as in militarized Japan.

Art for Whom?

Mark Twain’s satiric antiimperialist blast, “To A Person Sitting in Darkness,” was unknown throughout the first two decades. But the Genteel Age was ending. Filipinos had become aware of works by John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Lillian Hellman, Richard Wright, and Thomas Mann, among others.34 The establishment of the Philippine Writers League in 1939, twelve years after the 1927 founding of the Writers Club at the University san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 259 of the Philippines which fostered the school of “art for art’s sake” led by Jose Garcia Villa, marked the convergence of the nationalist and the popular tendencies in the discursive arena. Salvador P. Lopez’s award-winning collection of essays, Literature and Society (1940), may be considered the model of the praxis of the dialectical synthesis of the nationalpopular posited by Gramsci for societies in transition. Between the death of the old feudal system and the aborted birth of capitalism, we encounter morbid cultural symptoms of the passage. The manifesto of the league envisioned writers as “workers in the building up of culture” whose values reject “economic injustice and political oppression”; they are urged to organize to benefit the community.35 Several members, most prominent of whom was Manuel Arguilla, sacrificed their lives fighting Japanese aggression.

In his book, Lopez cited the case of Teodoro Kalaw who quickly moved from the Ivory Tower to the civic arena as editor of El Renacimiento. In the confrontation with Governor Wood, Kalaw discovered that “the only true basis of lasting beauty in literature is—power,” by which Lopez means the “power” to speak the truth for the sake of improvement of man’s condition and the defense of human freedom everywhere.36 Contrary to Herbert Schneider’s notion that the Filipino writers succeeded in capturing “the Malayan Spirit”37 under the twin guidance of Villa’s craftminded teaching and Lopez’s warning against propaganda, we can argue that the nation projected by both writers in English (such as Arguilla and Rotor) and in the vernacular reflected the urgent demands of the peasantry and working class that constituted the nation from the founding of the Socialist Party by Pedro Abad Santos in 1929 and the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1930 (a year after which it was outlawed and its officers jailed). In any case, the “Malayan Spirit” found its incarnation in a poignant story of Narciso Reyes, “Tinubuang Lupa,” published on the eve of World War II: mourning a dead relative, the young protagonist listens to his grandfather’s recollection of his father’s courtship days, memory fusing with anxiety and dreams, instilling in him a profound cathexis of love for the ancestral home, a sense of national belonging.38 Before the outbreak of World War II, the struggle for hegemony of the nationalpopular concept began to engage with the problem of emancipating the “productive forces” in the countryside. The peasantry constituted the largest mass base of the nationalist struggle before and after the inauguration of the Commonwealth, a transitional period before the grant of formal independence in 1946. With the Communist Party suppressed and union activism controlled, intellectuals were forced to pay attention to the public sphere and reconstruct the strategy of the united front of peasant-workers. The mediation of organic intellectuals became the necessary agency to effect the catharsis of the economic nexus to the political realm. This was carried out in Carlos Bulosan’s stories and essays between 1933 and 1940,39 and in stories by Hernando Ocampo and Brigido Batungbakal, among others.40 260 philippine modernities Radicalization of the intelligentsia deepened after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the global Depression after the 1929 Wall Street crash, Japanese occupation of Shanghai in 1932, the Nazi victory in 1933, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Of the many versatile intellectuals who performed that mediating role was the poet-orator, Benigno Ramos.41 What significance did Ramos’s poetic praxis hold for understanding the possibilities and limits of artistic intervention in radically transforming colonial society at that specific conjuncture?

Storm over Arcadia

The stage was set for the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth on November 15, 1935. It is now public knowledge that the Tydings-McDuffie Law sealed the abject dependent nature of the country as source of raw materials and dumping ground for finished, industrial goods. With the economy and state apparatus (legal system, foreign affairs, military, currency) controlled by the corporate interests in Washington, the groundwork was set for stabilizing a neocolony. An oppositional movement was needed to expose the Commonwealth fraud. Conceived by Ramos, the Sakdal Party had been campaigning against the maldistribution of wealth and excessive taxation, and for the confiscation of large landholdings for redistribution to the landless. Luis Taruc, the leading figure of the Huk rebellion in the Forties and Fifties, connected that historical specificity (land-hungry peasantry) and the global actuality of the time in his memoir, Born of the People: It had been that way under the Spanish regime for centuries. When the Americans came, they made boasts about having brought democracy to the Philippines but the feudal agrarian system was preserved intact. On the haciendas there were laborers who were paid less than ten centavos a day. Thousands more earned less than twice that much. From ten thousand miles away the Spreckles sugar interests in California reached into the sugar centrals of Pampanga and took their fortune from the sweat of Filipino labor.42

Ramos’s mobilizing organ was the weekly newspaper Sakdal, which used Tagalog as the medium of communication. It began as a vehicle of Ramos’s criticism of the Quezon regime as composed of lackeys of American imperialism, the landlord-comprador bloc, the Church hierarchy, and the Philippine Constabulary whose brutal treatment of peasants sparked violent resistance. The self-righteous Stanley Karnow echoes the Establishment dismissal of the rebel: “Filipinos thrive on abusive polemics, and Ramos’s vitriolic genius made him an instant celebrity.”43 Other groups like the Tanggulan, a patriotic secret society founded by writer Patricio Dionisio, a former member of the Communist-led Congreso Obrero, voiced their grievances in Sakdal, making it a national-popular tribune of the disenfranchised masses.

In effect, the Sakdal movement replaced the official political parties as the articulator of mass sentiments and aspirations, the grassroot “structure of feeling.” The Sakdal program targeted the educational system glorifying American culture, the American military bases, and the US stranglehold on the economy. Their leaders advocated “complete and absolute independence” by December 1936. In the 1934 election, Sakdal party’s parliamentary strategy proved effective in electing three representatives, a provincial governor, and several municipal posts in provinces adjacent to the metropolitan center of power. Ignored by Quezon and the oligarchic clique, the Sakdalista movement mounted an uprising that spread through the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Tayabas, and Bulacan, which the Philippine Constabulary crushed in one day before its fire spread throughout the islands.

A few days before the plebiscite on the Constitution designed to legitimize the Commonwealth, the peasantry staged a bloody uprising on May 2, 1935, involving at least sixty thousand armed partisans in nineteen towns. Earlier, their peaceful demonstrations were harassed and permits for assemblies revoked. In the three towns where the rebellion centered, fifty-seven peasants were killed, hundreds wounded, and over five hundred jailed.44 Ramos was then in Japan, negotiating for support; eventually he was extradited and jailed. His admiration for the Japanese ethos and achievement failed to be critical of the reactionary, racist patriotism of its leaders then gearing up for brutal imperial conquest of his homeland.45

The Sakdal, with its leadership’s opportunist stance, abandoned its mass base by devoting itself to the propagation of the Japanese-sponsored program of “Asiatic Monroeism.”46 Notwithstanding its inadequacies, the Sakdal movement performed a decisive and necessary pedagogical function: it raised the level of political consciousness in a nationalist-radical democratic direction by connecting the poverty of the people with the colonial system and its ideological state apparatuses (education, media, diplomacy). Renato Constantino’s judgment assays the positive impact of Ramos’s praxis: “The Sakdalista movement, despite its opportunist and fascist-inclined leadership, was a genuine expression of protest, and a milestone in the politicization of the people.”47 262 philippine modernities

Unacknowledged Legislator?

Long before his Sakdal engagement, in 1912 Ramos reacted to the Westernization of the literary tastes and standards of his milieu: “It is not pleasing to be told that one sounds like Victor Hugo, Zamacois, Blasco Ibañez, or any other foreign writer. We have started to demonstrate that in our country, we have our own literary masters.”48 The imposition of English has been regarded as the most powerful instrument to commodify culture since the valorization of exchange-value (profit) over use-value (need) transformed art and literature into saleable goods no different from copra, sugar, and hemp, the bulk of the dollarearning export crops. Enforced American English also fragmented the polity, dividing the educated elite from the plebeian subalterns. Given his pettybourgeois background, Ramos as a key translator in the Philippine Senate could have easily switched to writing in English. He did not. In the marketplace of social media, he chose the down-to-earth idiom of the productive forces, the working class and peasantry, and transformed himself into their organic intellectual voice.

Earlier we noted how the orator-poet Jose Corazon de Jesus was fired from his job for criticizing an American teacher, Miss Brummit, for insulting Filipinos. Ramos joined his fellow writer and lambasted Quezon’s shameless public subservience to the American colonizers, for which he was immediately fired. Ten days after, Ramos set up the periodical Sakdal, followed by the founding of the Sakdalista political party in October 1933. Language became again, as in the first decade, the crucial arena of ethical and ideological struggle. Given the fact that “all poetry is in origin a social act, in which poet and people commune,”49 Ramos’s use of the vernacular—essentially magical and emotive—was a wager of affirming the communicative praxis of his art. His verses reflect constellations of feeling directed and controlled by the social ego, by necessities of his particular time and place, in order not only to interpret but to change the entire social order.50

From his youth, Ramos depended on his audience for realizing the value of his declamatory talent. Without the crowd of listeners and their responses, he is not an artist; with them he became poeta revolucionario.51 He forfeited the individualist hubris of Villa and chose the task of actualizing the popular virtues inherent in the tradition of revolutionary Tagalog writing. Under the aegis of winning hegemony for the plebeian citizenry, “popular” art means (in Brecht’s aphoristic lexicon) “intelligible to the broad masses, taking over their own forms of expression and enriching them/adopting and consolidating their standpoint /representing the most progressive section of the people in such a way that it can take over the leadership: thus intelligible to other sections too / linking with tradition and carrying it further /handing on the achievements of the section of the people that is struggling for the lead.”52

I quote Ramos’s “Filipinas,” composed in the  transitional years 1929–1930, before he was expelled from the colonial bureaucracy and committed himself to the redemption of its victims:

Kay-rami ng layak nitong aking Bayan!

Kay-rami ng dumi, kay-rami ng sukal!

Pati na ang hanging aking pagkabuhay

kung aking langhapin ay may amoy-bangkay!

Nasaan ang aking mga iniibig, ang mga anak kong may pusong malinis? Nahan ang panulat na namimilansik upang ang kadimla’y mawala sa langit? Nahan ang matapang na mga makatang tutula ng aking puhunang dalita? Nahan ang maraming anak na nanumpang tutubusin ako sa aking pagluha? Kung kahapon ako’y inapi ng Dasal ngayon ay lalo pang kaapi-apihan. Namatay ang aking Magiting na Rizal at patuloy pa rin ang kanyang kaaway.

Ang mga lupa kong kinuha’t ginaga,

nahan, o anak ko, nangabalik na ba?

At kung hangga ngayo’y di mo nakukuha

ano’t natitiis na ululin ka pa? 53


Unlike the typical didactic and moralizing poems that were commodified in the mass periodicals, Ramos’s poem departs by ascribing this lament of sorrows to the maternal figure of the nation. This follows a long allegorical tradition from Hermenegildo Flores’s “Hibik ng Filipinas sa Ynang España”54 to “Joselynang Baliwag” and Bonifacio’s “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa.”55 The imagistic cluster of pollution, abandonment, mourning, and dispossession suggests a miserable predicament that cries for urgent remedy, so antithetical to the utopian pastorals of Fernando Amorsolo and his counterparts in literature.56 The tone is simultaneously elegiac and hortatory. Not only does the poem advance the popular tradition, enriching and transmitting to the next generation the standpoint of the masses, but it also challenges the “children” to assume leadership. The mother’s exhortation to reclaim the stolen homeland and to stop enduring great privations invokes Rizal, the national icon and martyr.

We observe in the structure of Ramos’s poem the dialectic between land/blood and the ideals of sovereignty and sacrifice for collective liberation. Abstract, rhetorical notions of patriotism and autonomy are concretized in intelligible terms (more vividly nuanced in many poems collected by Delfin Tolentino Jr. in Gumising Ka, Aking Bayan). The poet’s fidelity to the struggle for liberation is unequivocal and uncompromising. While Ramos is generally censured for being a “traitor” by sympathizing with the Japanese anti-US imperialism during the war—a still contentious issue that defies stereotypical reductionism57—there is no doubt that, on the whole, Ramos’s poetic achievement may be taken as the most eloquent, innovative expression of the national-democratic imagination in the first three decades of American domination. Not even the eloquent “social justice” slogan of Quezon could distract from the Sakdal’s collective dream of emancipation, as passionately voiced by Salud Algabre58 in the vernacular. Ramos’s speech-acts effectively communicated to a people yearning for dignity and self-determination, at a conjuncture where the commodification of the slogan of “independence” seduced the more privileged stratum of the citizenry whose preferred language (English) detached them from the pain, joy, anguish, and dreams of the majority of Filipinos. This situation of subalternity has worsened today in the neoliberal intensification of commodity-fetishism against which progressive Filipino artists are uniting with cultural activists in other countries, just as Rizal, de los Reyes, Ramos, and the Philippine Writers League did in the last turbulent century.–##

Notes 1. John Dunn, Western Political Theory in the Face of the Future (London: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 62. 2. Horace Davis, Toward a Marxist Theory of Nationalism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978). 3. Roger Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982), 421. 4. V. I. Lenin, National Liberation, Socialism, and Imperialism (New York: International Publishers); Epifanio San Juan Jr., “Nation-State, Postcolonial Thought, and Global Violence,” Social Analysis 46, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 11–32. 5. For a succinct formulation, see David Harvey, “The Geography of Capitalist Accumulation: A Reconstruction of the Marxian Theory,” in Radical Geography, edited by Richard Peet (Chicago: Maroufa Press, 1977). 6. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983). 7. Eric Hobsbawm, Worlds of Labour (New York: Pantheon, 1984). 8. Renato Constantino, The Philippines: A Past Revisited (Quezon City: Tala Publishing Services, 1975), 143. san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 265 9. Otto Bauer, quoted in Michael Lowry, Fatherland or Mother Earth? (London: Photo Press, 1998), 46; Davis, Toward a Marxist Theory. 10. Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros Guerrero, History of the Filipino People (Quezon City: R. P. Garcia Publishing Co., 1979), 143. 11. Ibid., 156. 12. Teodoro A. Agoncillo, The Writings and Trial of Andres Bonifacio (Manila: Mayor Villegas Office and the University of the Philippines, 1963), 69. 13. Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961). 14. Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (New York: International Publishers, 1971), 418. 15. Epifanio San Juan Jr., Between Empire and Insurgency. (Quezon City: University of the Phiippines Press, 2015). 16. Resil B. Mojares, Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T. H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes and the Production of Modern Knowledge (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 2006); William Henry Scott, Cracks in the Parchment Curtain (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1982); Benedict Anderson, Under Three Flags (New York: Verso, 2005). 17. Gregorio Zaide, Great Filipinos in History (Manila: Verde Book Store, 1970), 461. 18. Rainier Werning, Crown, Cross and Crusaders (Essen, Germany: Nerlag Neuer Meg, 2011), 88. 19. Mojares, Brains of the Nation, 363. 20. Jim Richardson, Komunista (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011), 21. 21. Lope K. Santos, Banaag at Sikat (Manila: Manlapaz Publishing Co., 1960), 236. 22. On this issue, see Maria Luisa Torres-Reyes, Banaag at Sikat: Metakrisismo at Antolohiya (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010). On his refusal to commodify his novel, see his autobiography, Lope K. Santos, Talambuhay ni Lope K. Santos, Paham ng Wika, ed. Paraluman S. Aspillera (Quezon City: Capital Publishing House, 1972), 70–71. 23. Soldedad Reyes, Nobelang Tagalog, 1905–1975 (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1982), 45. 24. Bertolt Brecht, “The Popular and the Realistic,” in Marxist on Literature: An Anthology, ed. David Cring (Baltimore, MO: Penguin, 1975), 424. 25. Alfredo Saulo, Communism in the Philippines (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1990), 7. 26. Samuel A. Tan, The Filipino-American War, 1899–1913 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2002) 176. 27. V. G. Kiernan, “Nation,” in A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, ed. Tom Bottomore (Cambridge, MA: 1983), 344. 28. Agoncillo and Guerrero, History, 298–300. 29. Teodoro A. Agoncillo, Filipino Nationalism, 1872–1970 (Quezon City: R. P. Garcia Publishing Co., 1974), 31. 30. Constantino, A Past Revisited, 270–74. 31. Monico Atienza, Bayan Ko (Quezon City: College of Arts and Letters Publications Office, University of the Philippines, 1955), 194. 266 philippine modernities 32. Quoted in Virgilio S. Almario, ed., Jose Corazon de Jesus: Mga Piling Tula (Manila: Aklat Balagtasan, 1984), 35. 33. John Beverly and Marc Zimmerman, Literature and Revolution in the Central American Revolutions (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1990), 16. 34. Salvador P. Lopez, “Literature and Society—A Literary Past Revisited,” in Literature and Society: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, ed. Roger Bresnohan (Manila: United States Information Service, 1976), 9. 35. Salvador P. Lopez. Literature and Society (Manila: University Publishing Co., 1940), 117–18. 36. Salvador P. Lopez, “Literature and Society,” in Affirming the Filipino, ed. Ma. Teresa Martinez- Sicat and Naida Rivera (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Department of English, 2004), 297, 303. 37. Herbert Schneider, “The Period of Emergence of Philippine Letters,” in Brown Heritage: Essays in Philippines Cultural Tradition and Literature, ed. Antonio Monsod (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1967), 587. 38. Narciso Reyes, “Lupang Tinubuan,” in Ang Maikling Kathang Tagalog, ed. A. G. Abadilla, F. B. Sebastian, and A. G. G. Mariano (Manila: Beda’s Publishing House, 1954), 148. 39. Epifanio San Juan Jr., Toward Filipino Self-Determination (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009). 40. Bienvenido Lumbera and Cynthia Lumbera, Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology (Manila: National Book Store, 1982), 116. 41. After him, the most illustrious was Amado V. Hernandez, whose activism in the Fifties and Sixties is beyond the scope of this article; for Ramos’s influence on Hernandez, see Almario Balagtasismo Versus Modernismo (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1984). 42. Horacio de la Costa, Readings in Philippine History (Manila: Bookmarks, 1965), 268. 43. Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House, 1989). 44. Agoncillo and Guerrero, History, 418. 45. See Barrington Moore Jr., Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorships (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966.) 46. Constantino, A Past Revisited, 370. 47. Ibid. 48. Quoted in Lumbera, “Literary Relations,” 311. 49. George Thompson, Marxism and Poetry (New York: International Publishers, 1946), 58. 50. Christopher Caudwell, Illusion and Reality (New York: International Publishers, 1937). 51. Almario, Balagtasismo Versus Modernismo, 17. 52. Brecht, “The Popular,” 423. 53. Benigno Ramos, Gumising Ka, Aking Bayan, ed. Delfin Tolentino Jr., (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1998), 180. 54. Reynaldo Ileto, Filipinos and Their Revolution (Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1998), 11. 55. Teresita Maceda, “Imahen ng Inang Bayan sa Kundiman ng Himagsikan,” in Ulat sa Ikatlong Kumperensiya sa Sentenaryo ng Rebolusyon 1896 (Baguio: UP Kolehiyo sa Baguio and Benguet State University, 1995), 209–12. san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 267 56. See examples in Efren Abueg, Parnasong Tagalog ni A. G. Abadilla (Manila: MCS Enterprises Inc., 1973). 57. David Joel Steinberg, Philippine Collaboration in World War II (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962). 58. Quoted as epigraph. Bibliography Abueg, Efren. Parnasong Tagalog ni A. G. Abadilla. Manila: MCS Enterprises Inc., 1973. Agoncillo, Teodoro A. Filipino Nationalism, 1872–1970. Quezon City: R. P. Garcia Publishing Co., 1974. ———.The Writings and Trial of Andres Bonifacio. Manila: Mayor Villegas Office and the University of the Philippines, 1963. ———, and Milagros Guerrero. History of the Filipino People. Quezon City: R. P. Garcia Publishing Co., 1970. Aguilar, Faustino. Pinaglahuan. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1986. Almario, Virgilio S. Balagtasismo Versus Modernismo. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1984. ———, ed. Jose Corazon de Jesus: Mga Piling Tula. Manila: Aklat Balagtasan, 1984. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1983. ———. Under Three Flags. New York: Verso, 2005. Atienza, Monico. Bayan Ko. Quezon City: College of Arts and Letters Publication Office, University of the Philippines, 1995. Beverley, John, and Marc Zimmerman. Literature and Revolution in the Central American Revolutions. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1990. Brecht, Bertolt. “The Popular and the Realistic.” In Marxists on Literature: An Anthology, edited by David Craig. Baltimore, MD: Penguin, 1975. Caudwell, Christopher. Illusion and Reality. New York: International Publishers, 1937. Constantino, Renato. The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Quezon City: Tala Publishing Services, 1975. Davis, Horace. Toward a Marxist Theory of Nationalism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978. de la Costa, Horacio. Readings in Philippine History. Manila: Bookmark, 1965. de los Reyes, Isabelo. Religion of the Katipunan. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1980. 268 philippine modernities Dunn, John. Western Political Theory in the Face of the Future. London: Cambridge University Press, 1979. Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International Publishers, 1971. Harvey, David. “The Geography of Capitalist Accumulation: A Reconstruction of the Marxian Theory.” In Radical Geography, edited by Richard Peet. Chicago: Maaroufa Press, 1977. Hobsbawm, Eric. Worlds of Labour. New York: Pantheon, 1984. Ileto, Reynaldo. Filipinos and Their Revolution. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1998. Karnow, Stanley. In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines. New York: Random House, 1989. Kiernan, V. G. “Nation.” In A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, edited by Tom Bottomore. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983. Lenin, V. I. National Liberation, Socialism and Imperialism. New York: International Publishers, 1968. Lopez, Salvador P. “Literature and Society.” In Affirming the Filipino, edited by Ma. Teresa Martinez- Sicat and Naida Rivera. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Department of English, 2004. ———. “Literature and Society—A Literary Past Revisited.” In Literature and Society: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Roger Bresnahan. Manila: United States Information Service, 1976. Lowry, Michael. Fatherland or Mother Earth? London: Pluto Press, 1998. Lumbera, Bienvenido. “The Literary Relations of Tagalog Literature.” In Brown Heritage: Essays on Philippine Cultural Tradition and Literature, edited by Antonio Manuud. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1967. ———, and Cynthia Lumbera. Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology. Manila: National Book Store, 1982. Mabini, Apolinario. The Philippine Revolution. Translated by Leon Maria Guerrero. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1969. Maceda, Teresita. “Imahen ng Inang Bayan sa Kundiman ng Himagsikan.” In Ulat sa Ikatlong Kumperensya sa Sentenaryo ng Rebolusyong 1896. Baguio: UP Kolehiyo sa Baguio and Benguet State University, 1995. Mojares, Resil B. Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T. H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes and the Production of Modern Knowledge Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 2006. Moore, Barrington, Jr. Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966. Ramos, Benigno. Gumising Ka, Aking Bayan. Edited by Delfin Tolentino Jr. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1998. Reyes, Narciso. “Lupang Tinubuan.” In Ang Maikling Kathang Tagalog, edited by A. G. Abadilla, F. B. Sebastian, and A. G. G. Mariano. Manila: Bede’s Publishing House, 1954. san juan jr. Charting the Emergence 269 Reyes, Soledad. Nobelang Tagalog, 1905–1975. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1982. Richardson, Jim. Komunista. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011. San Juan, Epifanio, Jr. Between Empire and Insurgency. Quezon City: University of the Phiippines Press, 2015. ———. Lupang Hinirang, Lupang Tinubuan. Manila: De La Salle University Publishing House, 2015. ———. “Nation-State, Postcolonial Thought, and Global Violence.” Social Analysis 46, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 11–32. ———. Toward Filipino Self-Determination. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009. Santos, Lope K. Talambuhay ni Lope K. Santos, Paham ng Wika. Edited by Paraluman S. Aspillera. Quezon City: Capitol Publishing House, 1972. ———. Banaag at Sikat. Manila: Manlapaz Publishing Co., 1960. Saulo, Alfredo. Communism in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1990. Schneider, Herbert. “The Period of Emergence of Philippine Letters.” In Brown Heritage: Essays on Philippine Cultural Tradition and Literature, edited by Antonio Manuud. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1967. Scott, William Henry. Cracks in the Parchment Curtain. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1982. Scruton, Roger. A Dictionary of Political Thought. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982. Steinberg, David Joel. Philippine Collaboration in World War II. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1967. Sturtevant, David. Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 1840–1940. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976. Tolentino, Delfin, Jr. “Paunang Salita.” In Gumising Ka, Aking Bayan: Mga Piling Tula, edited by Benigno Ramos and Delfin Tolentino Jr. Quezon City: Ateneo University Press, 1998. Torres-Reyes, Maria Luisa. Banaag at Sikat: Metakritisismo at Antolohiya. Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010. Tan, Samuel K. The Filipino-American War, 1899–1913. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2002. Thomson, George. Marxism and Poetry. New York: International Publishers, 1946. Werning, Rainer. Crown, Cross and Crusaders. Essen, Germany: Verlag Neuer Weg, 2011. Williams, Raymond. The Long Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961. Zaide, Gregorio. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Book Store, 1970.


Burador ng Isang Talambuhay: BAKAS/ALINGAWNGAW

BAKAS: Dalumat ng Gunita’t Hinagap, Memorya ng Kinabukasan

  • — ni E. SAN JUAN, Jr.



Buhay ay pakikipagsapalaran, lihis sa iyong pagnanais o pagnanasa
Pook na dinatnan ay hindi nakaguhit sa dibdib, balintunang hinala
Pook na binagwis ng alaala’t pag-aasam
Tumatawid sa agwat/puwang ng panahong gumugulong sa buhangin
Nakalingon habang dumudukwang sa agos ng alon—
anong kahulugan ng pagsubok at pangakong itinalaga ng panahon?
Tayo ba ang umuugit sa daluyong ng kapalaran?


Lumilihis sa bawat liko, sa bawat sandali nag-iiwan ng bakas ang katawan
Sa bawat sulok, matatagpuan ang uling/alabok ng buong kasaysayan—
Bumabagtas sa bawa’t yugto ang tunggalian ng uri, saan kang panig makikisangkot, kaya kailangang magpasiya
Upang masunggaban ang sungay ng tadhana, ikawing ito
sa ating adhika’t pangangailangan ng komunidad—

Tanong mo’y saan? Sagot ko’y kailan? Bibingka ng hari, di mahati-hati….

Tuwing umaga’y nalalanghap ang anghot ng ihi’t dumi ng kabayo
sa kuwadra ng San Lazaro tabi ng Oroquieta Ospital ang kinagisnan—
Agwat/puwang ng panahon, kaluluwang humibik
sa pagitan ng Tayabas at Batangas, bininyagan sa Iglesiya Espiritu Santo

Kapagkwa’y tumawid at naipit sa riles ng Blumentritt at estero ng Dimasalang
malapit sa pugad ng pampang si Marina noong 1945….
—“dala-dala’y buslo…pagdating sa dulo”—
Sa mga eskinita lumalagos ang bango ng piniritong isda’t ginisang bawang sibuyas kamatis luya
Sa bingguhan asaran biruan ng mga kamag-anak

Amoy ng dura’t pawis masangsang na putik sa harap ng 2121 Avenida Rizal
kung saan napanood ang prusisyon ng libing ni Manuel Quezon

Kakatwang estranghero ang sumaksi sa tahanang
ginawang motel para sa ‘short-time” tipanan ng magtatalik—

Agwat ng umaga’t dapithapon sa naghihintay na musmos, binibilang ang patak ng ulan
Puwang ng paglalaro sa lansangan ng Tayuman at Bambang, inaabangan—

Sakaling wala ang ina’t ama, “buhok ni Adan hindi mabilang,”
himutok ng ulilang musmos
Sagisag na walang lakas hubugin ang daloy ng karanasan, biktima ng pangyayaring
matagal ang panahon ng pagkagulang, nabulabog sa bawat gulong ng trapik….

Gayunpaman, nabaluktot sa balisa’t di-pagkakapalagay, stigmata sa gunita:

Unti-unting nahuhulog kumpol-kumpol ang dilawang bulaklak ng punong-akasya
sa harap ng dungawang tila masamyong dibdib ni Nena, nag-alagang katulong, mangyaring pagpalain ng Inang Kalikasan
ang kaniyang mairuging kaluluwa.


2. MONTALBAN, RIZAL (1945-1950)


Bukal ang kinabukasan sa iyong gunita, sa tukso ng pag-asa
Sa guni-guni, tila huni ng ibon sa bulaos ng kalabaw tungo sa ilog Pasig
Bumubuhos sa Montalban, agos ng panahong sumusukat sa isip
Tinutugis ang kaganapang bulong at anasan ng mga nagdarasal
sa sementeryo ng La Loma…

Lalakarin daw ang haba ng dinulang, doon masusulyapan ang Irog
bago manampalok—Sinampal muna bago inalok?

Halinghing ng kabayo sa gubat ungol ng baboy aso’t manukan
Pangarap ng paglalayag habang nakadukwang sa estero ng Reina Regente
gumagapang gumagala sa Binondo San Nicolas Dibisorya

Takas, pumipiglas—
Pinaulanan ng bala ng gerilyang Huk ang PC istasyon sa munisipyo ng Montalban
—hindi lamang pito ang baril nila, di lamang siyam ang sundang—
Taginting ng salapi’y hungkag sa hinagap ng Boddhisatvang umakyat
sa lambak doon sa Wawa kung saan
nagkublli sina Andres Bonifacio’t at mga gerilyang Katipunan….

Umahon mula sa kabilang ibayo ang kamalayang sumasagap sa tinig ng panata
hindi mula sa Benares o Herusalem kundi sa Sierra Madre
upang humabi ng sutrang kayumanggi mula sa tadhanang gumugulong….

Sunggaban ang suwag ng kapalarang naligaw sa rumaragasang unos
Malayo na sa kilabot ng mga Hapong umurong sa Wawa
Pinaligiran ng tropang Amerikano, sindak ng imperyalismong sumasabog…

Gumising doon sa bukang-liwayway ng Liberasyon at tuloy sa dagundong
ng magulong Maynila, sunog sa Korea at Arayat
mabilis pa sa alaskuwatrong tumungo sa sinehang Lotus at Noli
Kung saan narinig ang “Fascination” nina Dinah Shore at Belle Gonzales—

Bigkasin mo ang pangalan ng mga kolaboreytor at bayaning nagbuwis ng buhay….

Ngayon ay alingawngaw ng panahong
Lumikha sa mga pangyayaring
Lihis sa iyong pangarap at panimdim
Kapwa ninais at pinilit
Kapwa tinaggap at tinanggihan: kailan? saan?
Sa pag-inog ng pakikipagsapalarang tila walang simula’t katapusan.





Pangangailangan ang umuusig sa pagkikipagsapalaran, gumaganap ang bulag na simbuyo
Sa daluhong ng kasaysayan, hindi maiiwasan o maitatakwil
Kaya ang sumunod sa nesesidad ay malaya’t magpapalaya
sa kahinugan ng panahon, pahiwatig ng mga pantas….

Sumisingit sa baklad ng gunitang balintuwad:
Minsan tinapos ko ang Crime and Punishment ni Dostoevsky
isang hapong maalinsangan
Di ko malilimutan ito, gabi na ng ibaling ang paningin sa bintana
Lihim na pagkahumaling ko kay Esther Deniega (lumisan na) ay iburol sa balong
malalim, punong-puno ng patalim, balong hindi malingon
Tulad ng pagsasama namin nina Ernie at Pete Daroy
Sa limbo ng mga pagliliwaliw, sa impiyerno ng mga pag-aalinlangan at agam-agam


Mabuhay kayong mga itinapon,
Nakarating na kayo sa ipinangakong himpilan, ipinaginip na himlayan.
“Dalawang pipit, nagtitimbangan sa isang siit, sumusungit ng bituin”
Di nagluwat, sumabak sa pakikibaka laban sa US-Marcos diktadurya—

Minagaling ang basag kaysa baong walang lamat

Sapagkat sa kaibuturan ng aksidente, pagbabakasakali, namumutawi
ang siglang pagbubuhatan ng tagumpay ng ating minimithi,
Hindi salita kundi hibo’t hikayat ng panaginip at guniguni, matris ng himagsikan,
ang lugar ng panahong nahinog sa yapos at aruga
ng mga magulang at mga gurong nagmalasakit…

Huwang mong basahin ito
Tatak ng titik titik ng tiktik
Huwag tingnan huwag sipatin
Huwag silipin huwag sulyapan
Tatak ng titik titik ng tiktik
Huwag mong titigan baka ka malikmata’t maalimpungatan….


Asul ang kulay ng langit sa parang at lambak ng Diliman—
Aso ko sa pantalan, lumukad ng pitong balon, humugos sa pitong gubat
bago natanaw ang dagat—

Walang katuturan ang panahon kung walang pangarap o pag-asa
Pagnanais ang matris ng pangyayari, pagnanasa ang ina ng katuparan
Kabiyak na niyog, magdamag na kinayod,
Naghasik ng mais, pagkaumaga ay palis—

Huli ng balintataw ang mailap na buntala ng iyong mithing talinghaga,
pangarap ng pithayang alumpihit pumaimbulog sa kawalan.




….Subalit ang kalayaang magpasiya’y nagkabisa
Sa isang tiyak na pook at itinakdang pagkakataon
Bagamat limitado ang kapangyarihang umalsa’t bumalikwas
Walang pangyayaring magaganap kung wala ka,
Sintang itinapon sa gitna ng maburak na Pasig.

Bumagsak ang eruplano ni Magsaysay ngunit nkalimutan
na ang CiA ahenteng Lansdale, sa gayon
Neokolonyang teritoryo pa rin tayo hanggang ngayon….

Agos de pataranta sa Palomares at Gardeniang dinalaw ng mga GI
pagkatapos sumuko si Aguinaldo’t nawala si David Fagen

Magkabalikat kami nina Ernie at David Bunao sa bilyaran sa Quiapo
Di inalintana kung may hirap, hanapin ang ginhawa
Aralin ng pakikipag-ugnayan sa Culi-Culi, Marikina, massage parlor sa Raon
Walang matimtimang birhen sa lagalag na kaluluwang naghuhunos
Di bumibilang ng bukas-makalawa upang paraanin ang nagparaan—

Walang matiyagang hayup sa magayumang kalapating sumasayad sa pampang….

Shantih Shantih Weiilala leia Wallala leialala

Bago umakyat sa Baguio, tumawid kami sa Tayug, Pangasinan, nina Mario Alcantara
at Pablo Ocampo, kumakampanya para kina Recto-Tanada
Hindi ko batid noon na malapit sa Binalonan, bayan ni Carlos Bulosan….
Noong 1972 ko na lang napag-alaman ito sa lilim ng Pulang Bandila

Lumangoy at lumutang sa usok sa Luneta’t daungan ng Manila Bay
Tudyo’t halakhak ng mga kaibigang nakausad mula sa Tundo hanggang Sta Cruz & Quiapo

Tatlong bundok ang tinibag bago dumating nang dagat

Walastik, para kina T.S. Eliot Joyce Nietzsche Sartre, tapos ang boksing sa Sarili
Walastik, naghalo ang balat at tinalupan sa turo ng pilosopong galing sa Popular Bookstore

Di naglaon, tumubo ang sungay at tumindi ang pagnanasang makahulagpos
—“karga nang karga, kahit walang upa” ang islogan ng anarkista
bago sa engkuwentro kina Marx Engels Lenin Lukacs noong dekada 1965-72…


Pumalaot na mula sa daungan ng Subic Bay
Lupa’t tubig ang nakalunsad
Apog at asin sa lagusan
Tinalunton ang landas pabulaos mula sa Ilog Montalban
Halos magkandarapa halos sumubsob
Hindi pa nakaraos
Hindi pa natutuklasan: kutob, ligamgam
Hangin at apoy ang bumuhos
Hindi pa yari ang proyektong idaraos
Pumalaot na sa hanggahang di-abot-tanaw
Humugos sa dalampasigan
Tubig lupa hangin apoy
Apoy hangin apoy







Ilang Pagninilay sa “Bakas” ni E. San Juan, Jr.



Sa puwang ng ilang pahina, hiniling ng patnugot na ipahayag ko ang ars poetikang nakatalik sa tulang “Bakas.” Balighong hinuha, ngunit sa tangkang paunlakan, sinubok ng makata ang interpretasyong sumusunod na bukas sa anumang pasubali, pagwawasto, at pagpapabulaan.
Pambungad na gabay muna: Huwag kalimutan na nakapaloob sa kolonyalismong orden ang lahat ng intelektwal sa ating bayan, mula 1899 hanggang 1946, at sa neokolonyalistang istrukturang saligan ng Estadong nakapailalim sa imperyalismong U.S. Dahil sa kapangyarihan ng pribadong pag-aari (kapitalista, piyudal) at di-makatarungang dibisyon ng trabaho, patuloy ang digmaan ng mga uri’t iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan. Mistipikasyon at obskurantismo ang namayani sa klima ng panahon ng pagkagulang ng makata (1938-1948), at utilitaryanismong neoliberal mula 1949 hanggang sa ngayon. Samantala, maigting din ang paglago ng mga puwersang sumasalungat sa hegemonya ng kapitalismong global.
Walang tabula rasa sa naratibo ng talambuhay. Masasaksihan doon ang suliranin ng “Unhappy Consciousness” (Hegel) na diyalektika ng ugnayan ng alipin at panginoon sa islang sinakop. Kolonyalisadong mentalidad ang minana ng makata hanggang magkaroon ng kabatiran sa panahon ng anti-imperyalismong pag-aalsa laban sa U.S. interbensiyon sa Vietnam at pagsuporta sa diktaduryang Marcos (1972-1986). Ang katotohanan ng kolonisasyon/neokolonisasyon ng isang subalterno at kung paano maitatakwil ito’t makahuhulagpos sa nakasusukang bangungot ng pang-aapi’t dominasyon—ito ang tema ng “Bakas.” Sa trabaho ng negasyon, sa pamamagitan ng gawaing subersyon ng umiiral, bumubukal ang kinabukasan na siyang katubusan ng nakalipas. Ililigtas din nito ang Rason/Ideyang ipinagtanggol ng mga bayaning nagbuwis ng buhay upang mapalaya ang sambayanang lumilikha ng pagkataong Filipino at kalinangang batayan ng sosyalismong hinaharap.

Mapa ng Salaysay
Di na dapat sabihin na matatarok lamang ang buod ng karanasan kung pagdurugtungin sa banghay ng naratibo ang proseso ng pagsulong at kinahinatnan. Mauunawaan sa gayon ang Konsepto (Begriff) ng kolektibong kamalayang nagbabanyuhay. Kaya susubaybayan natin ang detalye ng panahon at lugar na sumasagisag dito. Bawat nilalang ay nakaangkla sa isang espasyong partikular, lunan o pook kung saan nakaluklok ang Ideyang Unibersal (“Geist,” bansag ni Hegel; ang kooperatibang humanidad, sa isip ni Marx-Engels). Ngunit walang kabuluhan ito kung hindi nailalakip sa daloy ng kasaysayan.
Naimungkahi ni Henri Lefebvre na ang produksiyon ng espasyo ay isang usaping kaugnay ng buhay o kamatayan para sa bawat lahi. Naisusog niya na walang makaiilag sa “trial by space—an ordeal which is the modern world’s answer to the judgment of God or the classical conception of fate” (The Production of Space, 1991, p. 416). Adhikain ng tula ang himaymayin ang ideolohiyang minana sa kolonisadong kultura ng Commonwealth at neokolonyang Republika sa paraan ng paghahalo’t pag-uugnay ng iba’t ibang kontradiksiyon ng karanasan, paghahalintulad ng pira-pirasong yagit ng gunita, alanganin, pagsisisi, panimdim, pangarap, pagkabigo, mapangahas na pagsabak sa daluyong ng pakikipagsapalaran. Makikilatis ang tunguhin ng bawat tagpo sa tula: ang balak na lumikha ng identidad mula sa metapisikal na indibidwalistikong ego tungo sa isang konsepto ng budhi ng pagkatao. Sa kabilang dako, layon din na makalinang ng isang diwa o matris ng kolektibong ahensiya ng uring gumagawa o yumayari—sa ibang salita, ang ahensiyang istorikal ng mga manggagawa’t pesante, ang bayang pumipiglas sa kadena ng imperyalismo’t burokratang kapitalismong namamayani hanggang ngayon. Ito ang protagonistang uugit sa transpormasyong radikal ng bansa.
Sinikap dito na isatinig ang kolektibong memorya sa pagbabay sa mga kontradiksiyong masisinag sa karanasan ng makata. Kailangang ilugar ang nangungusap na aktor sa isang takdang yugto ng kasaysayan. Kung walang katawan, walang mararamdamang pangyayari, walang bisa’t katuturan ang pontensiyal ng kaluluwa—ang birtud ng inkarnasyon. Sino ang bumulong ng balitang isisilang na ang Mesiyas? Kinakasangkapan ng sining ang ilusyon ng anyo o hitsurang nadarama upang maibunyag ang katotohanan, ang sintesis ng sangkap at kaakibat na totalidad. Sa gayon, hindi matatakasan ang araw-araw na pakikihamok, tuwa’t daing ng mga katawang magkabalikat. Bawat pulso ng wika’y siya ring pulso ng body politic, ang komunidad na kinabibilangan ng makata. Artikulasyon ng katutubong wika (hindi Ingles) ang mabisa’t mabungang medyasyon ng bahagi at kabuuan.


Mobilisasyon ng Pagnanasa
Nasaan tayo ngayon? Patungo saan? Balitang nakatambad sa Internet: Martial law sa Mindanao, patayan sa Marawi City ngayon, mistulang katuparan ng binhing naipunla noong dekada 1972-1986 kung saan namulat ang makata sa realidad. Paano maipangangatwiran ang sining/panitikan sa gitna ng gulo’t ligalig, malagim at nakasisindak na paghahari ng terorismong gawad ng imperyalistang globalisasyon? Paano maikikintal sa konsiyensiya ng lahi ang balangkas ng buhay na nakagapos sa anomie at alyenasyong naibunsod ng komodipikasyon ng bawat bagay—panggagahis o pagbebenta sa karanasan, pag-ibig, seks, panaginip? Lahat ay nalusaw sa fantasmagorya ng salapi at bilihing lumamon sa dugo’t espiritu ng bawat tao. Saan ang lunas sa malubhang salot na nagbuhat pa sa pagsakop ng Estados Unidos nang mabuwag ang proyekto ng himagsikan ng 1896 at nalubog tayo sa barbarismong laganap ngayon? Nabalaho ang kasaysayan natin sa gayuma ng komoditi/bilihin, sa diskursong burgis ng pamilihan/salapi at indibidwalistikong pagpapayaman.
Ituring na alegorya ang imahen, tayutay o talinghagang ikinabit dito sa ilang pook ng MetroManila kung saan nagkaroon ng kamalayang sosyal ang makata. Isinilang bago pumutok ang WW2, nasagap pa ang huling bugso ng nasyonalismo ng Philippine Commonwealth (Avenida Rizal). Nagbinata noong panahon ng Cold War, panahon ng Korean War at pagsugpo sa Huk rebelyon—rehimen nina Quirino, Magsaysay at Carlos Garcia (Montalban, Rizal). Tinalunton ang landas tungo sa pagpasok sa Jose Abad Santos High School noong nakatira sa Balintawak; at sa paglipat sa Craig, Sampaloc, nasabit sa mga anarkistang pulutong sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas.
Di sinasadya itong makitid na ruta ng uring petiburgis. Paniwala ito ng aktor/suheto ng pansaliring pagnanais. Natambad sa positibismong pilosopiya nina Dr. Ricardo Pascual at mga kapanalig—sina Cesar Majul at Armando Bonifacio—at nakisangkot ang awtor sa kampanya nina Recto-Tanada noong dekada 1954-58. Nakilahok din sa praxis ng diskursong sekular laban sa panghihimasok ng ilang reaksyonaryong kleriko sa akademya. Nakakawing sa mga pook na naitala ang ilang pangyayaring nagsilbing konteksto sa paghubog ng diwang mapagpalaya’t makabayan, diwang tumututol sa umiiral na ordeng puspos ng pagsasamantala’t korapsiyon, ng walang tigil na tunggalian ng uri, kaalinsabay sa pagsigla ng pambansang pagsisikap makalaya’t makamit ang tunay na kasarinlan at pambansang demokrasya.
Salungat sa pormalistikong estetikong iginigiit ng akademikong institusyon ang buhay ng makatang tinalunton dito. Litaw na nagbago ang kamalayan sa pamamagitan ng ugnayan ng praktika at teorya, hindi lang pragmatikong pakikilahok at pakikiramay. Maraming balakid, natural, ang ruta ng gitnang klase sa lipunan. Tubo sa petiburgesyang uri—guro sa haiskul at pamantasan ang mga magulang, na naging kamag-aral nina Loreto Paras-Sulit at henerasyon nina Jose Garcia Villa at Salvador P. Lppez—naging huwaran ang mga intelektuwal sa milyu ng Komonwelt. Unang pumukaw sa imahinasyon sng mga pelikulang Hollywood, mga huntahahan ng tiyo’t tiya sa Blumentritt, ang mga kuwento ng kaiskuwela sa Jose Abad Santos High School sa Meisic, Reina Regente, na ngayo’y higanteng mall sa Binondo. Nagpasigla rin si Manuel Viray, tanyag na kritiko, at naglaon sina Franz Arcellana, Rony Diaz, Ernie Manalo, Pete Daroy, Gerardo Acay, Carlos Platon, Ruben Garcia, atbp. Huwag nang banggitin ang palasintahing pagpaparaos ng panahon na pwedeng suriin sa isang nobelang education sentimental—tila kalabisan na ito, mangyari pa.

Naligaw na Mapa ng Paglalagalag
Bagamat kabilang sa mga petiburgesyang etsa-puwera, hindi biglang naging maka-kaliwa ang awtor—matinding impluwensiya sa simula ang Existentialismong naisadula nina Sartre, Camus, Marcel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard. Ginagad sina Villa, T.S. Eliot, Wynhdam Lewis (tingnan ang “Man is a Political Animal” at iba pang detalye sa Kritika Kultura #26 ) at mga awtor na tinangkilik ng mga kaibigang kalaro sa bilyaran at kainuman sa Soler, Sta. Cruz, Quiapo at Balara. Tanda ko na laging bitbit ko noong katulong ako sa Collegian ang libro ni Sartre, What is Literature? Hihintayin pa ang dekada 1965-1975 bago mapag-aralan sina Mao, Lenin, Lukacs, Marx, Engels, Gramsci, atbp. Nauna si Mao noong huling dako ng dekada 1960, at sumunod si Georg Lukacs sa antolohiya kong Marxism and Human Liberation (1972). Mapapansin ang indibiduwalistikong himig ng tula, na hango kina T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, at W.B. Yeats, mga manunulat na naging ulirang padron noong aktibo sa UP Writers Club at sa krusadang anti-obskurantismong pinamunuan nina Pascual, Alfredo Lagmay, Augstin Rodolfo, Leopoldo Yabes, Elmer Ordonez, at iba pang guro sa pamantasan. Nakaimpluwensiya ang mga sallita’t kilos ng mga iskolar-ng-bayan, at naging tulay ang tradisyong humanistikong iyon sa pakikipagtulungan ko kina Amado V. Hernandez at Alejandro Abadilla noong mga dekada 1960-1967. Hindi dapat kaligtaan ang pakikisama ng awtor kina Ben Medina Jr., Rogelio Mangahas, Ave Perez Jacob, Efren Abueg, at ibang kapanalig sa kilusang makabayan.
Bakit panitik o sining ang napiling instrumento upang maisatinig ang mailap na katuturan/kahulugan ng buhay? Anong saysay ng tula sa harap ng mabilis na transpormasyon ng lipunan—ang pag-unlad nito o pagbulusok sa lusak ng barbarismo ni Duterte at oligarkong kasabwat? Noon, masasambit bigla ang pormularyo ng Talks at the Yenan Forum ni Mao. Sapantaha kong nakausad na tayo mula sa dogmatikong gawi. Sukat nang sipiin ang bigkas ni Amado Hernandez sa panayam niya tungkol sa sitwasyon ng mga manunulat noong 1968: “Ang kanilang mga katha ay hindi na bungangtulog kundi mga katotohanang nadarama, kaugnay at kasangkot sa mga pakikibaka ng lipunan at taongbayan at ng pagbabalikwas ng uring dukha laban sa inhustisya sosyal ng mga manghuhuthot at mapanlagom” (Panata sa Kalayaan ni Ka Amado, ed. Andres Cristobal Cruz, 1970).

Salungguhitan ang Sangandaan
Nasa kalagitnaan na tayo ng pagtawid sa ibayong pampang, bagamat naudlot ang usapang pangkapayaan sa pagitan ng gobyerno at National Democratic Front (NDFP). . Inaasahan kong naisaulo na natin ang prinsipyo ng materyalismong istorikal: ang konkretong analisis ng masalimuot na paglalangkap ng sari-saring dimensiyon ng anumang krisis sa kasaysayan. Umpisahan natin ang mapanuring pagtalakay ng kasaysayan sa metodong Marksista: malawak ang imbak na posibilidad ng sambayanan, ngunit ito’y binhi pa lamang ng kinabukasang nahihimbing sa pusod ng kasalukuyan (ayon kay Ernst Bloch). Gayunpaman, hindi natin mahuhulaaan ang tiyak na oras o sandali ng kagyat na pagsalimbay at pagdagit ng anghel ng Katubusan.
Ito ang dahilan sa pagdiin ng makata sa kontradiksiyon ng di-maiiwasang pangangailan at libertad, ang larangan ng contingency at ng nesesidad. Naitanghal na ito ng mga suryalistikong artista at nina Pablo Neruda, Bertolt Brecht, Lu Hsun, Aime Cesaire, atbp. At naipaliwanag din ito sa pilosopiya nii C.S. Peirce (ang polarisasyon ng tadhana at aksidente; tychism, synechism). Sa paglagom, ang kalayaan ay nagmumula sa pagkabatid sa batas ng kalikasan (tendensiya, hindi istriktong batas, batay sa galaw o kilos ng produktibong lakas ng komunidad).
Sa masinop na imbestigasyon, masisilip din ito sa Tao Te Ching, o sa akda nina Clausewitz at Sun Tzu hinggil sa arte ng digmaan. Kaugnay nito, pag-isipan din natin ang turo na ang sining ay hindi tuwirang salamin ng realidad kundi simbolikong praktika. Sa pamamagitan ng retorika, talinghaga, sagisag, binibigyan ng solusyong ideolohikal o pang-imahinasyon ang kongkretong kontradiksiyong pulitikal-sosyal sa lipunan. Tungkulun ng manapanuring aktibista ang pagsiyasat at pagsaliksik sa subtexto na mga kontradiksiyong pinoproblema sa karaniwang buhay ng madla sa lipunan.
Pahimakas sa Patnubay ng mga Bathala

Sa larangan ng malikhaing panulat, desideratum sa makata ang paghabi ng makabagong artikulasyon sa loob ng parametro ng sistemang lingguwistika, at sa musikero ang pagyari ng baryasyon sa tema sa loob ng kumbensyonal na kuwadrong sonata o fugue, halimbawa. Lumisan na ang Musang maipagbubunyi. Naiwan na lamang ang gumuhong labi ng malungkuting alingawngaw ni Maria Makiling sa Pinagbuhayan ng bundok Banahaw. Marahil, bukas, makikipag-ulayaw tayo sa mga Pulang Mandirigmang nagdiriwang sa liberated zone ng Sierra Madre.
Balik-aralin ang proposisyon ni Sartre: Kanino mananagot ang manunulat? O sa pagtatasa ni Brecht: dapat bang mang-aliw o magturo ang manunulat? Maari bang pag-isahin ang naihiwalay sa aksyomang klasikong dulce et decorum, ang responsibilidad na magpataas ng kamalayan habang nagliliwaliw at nagsasaya? Maibabalik ba ang gintong panahon nina Balagtas at Lope K. Santos?
Sa panahon ng kapitalismong neoliberal, at madugong militarisasyon ng bansa (sa ironikal na taguring Oplan Pangkapayapaan), paano maisasakatuparan ang pagbabalikwas sa lumang rehimen at pagtatag ng makatarungang orden? Paano mapupukaw ang manhid na sensibilidad ng gitnang-uri na nabulok na sa walang-habas na komodipikasyon? Hindi na matutularan ang huwarang kontra-modernismo ng makatang Charles Baudelaire, halimbawa, na nagsiwalat ng kabulukan ng burgesyang lipunan noong ika-1800 siglo (ayon kay Walter Benjamin,The Writer of Modern Life, 2006).
Ano ang dapat gawin? Malayo na tayo sa milyung inilarawan ni Ka Amado noong 1968. Sa ngayon, ang katungkulan ng mandirigmang makata (mithiin ng awtor ng “Bakas”) ay makisangkot sa pagbuo ng hegemonya ng proletaryo’t magbubukid bilang organikong intelektuwal ng nagkakaisang-hanay (tagubilin ni Gramsci) sa panahon ng imperyalismong sumasagka sa pagtatamasa ng kasarinlan at kaunlaran ng bansa. Huwag kalimutan ang Balanggiga? Oo, subalit huwag ding kalimutan ang Maliwalu, Escalante, Mendiola, Marawi! Itampok ang bumabangong kapangyarihan ng sambayanan! Sa halip na mag-fokus sa egotistikang talambuhay, ibaling ang isip sa mabalasik na bugso’t pilantik ng kolektibong gunita na mauulinigan sa musika ng “Bakas.” Sukat na itong magsilbing pahimakas sa kabanatang ito ng paglalakbay ng manlilikha sa mapanganib na pakikisalamuha (hindi pakikipagkapwa) sa digmaang-bayang rumaragasa’t patuloy na gumigimbal at bumabalantok sa buhay ng bawat nilalang sa milenyong ito. —##

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  •        Walang himagsikang nabibigo. Bawat isa ay hakbang tungo sa wastong                                              direksiyon. 

                                            — Salud Algabre

  •           The revolution is inevitable. We will fight alongside the men….
  •           We are working for a better society for men and women alike.
  •                                              —Maria Lorena Barros

Sa gitna ng ligalig, sa gitna ng matinik at masalimuot na pakikipagtalo, bakit hindi nabanggit sina Gabriela Silang, Gregoria de Jesus, o Teresa Magbanua? Wala bang puwang ang ahensiya ng kakabaihan sa naratibo ng diskursong patriyarko/makalalaki?

Sa malas, nilalagom ng ideolohiyang piyudal-burgis ang babaeng protagonista sa kanyang katawan. “Body politics,” sa postmodernismong klasipikasyon. Maitanong:

Ang tao ba ay katumbas lamang ng kanyang katawan, o bahagi nito? Ang kasarian ba ay walang iba kundi organong seksuwal? Seks ba ang buod ng pagkatao?

Kung hindi man ito kalakaran, ang tumututol ay siyang nagtatampok ng problema, bagamat salungat sa namamaraling opinyon o doxang pangmadla. Sinomang bumanggit ng seks ay kasabwat na ng mga bastos at mahalay. Sabi-sabi ito. Batikusin mo, ikalat mo’t palaganapin. Bakit mali ito?

Walang pasubali na hindi maibubukod ang usaping seksuwal sa kontekstong istorikal. Ang kahulugan at paggamit sa pornograpiya ay pabagugo-bago, napatibayan ni Walter Kendrik (1988) sa pagsusuri sa mga batas na nagbabawal sa realistikong paglalarawan ng seks. Gayundin ang natuklasan ni Angela Carter: ang relasyong pangkasarian ay tandisang relasyong sosyal. Iyon ay nakabatay sa naghaharing panlipunang pakikipagkapwa o pakikisalamuha ng babae’t lalaki. Salungat kay Freud, hindi tadhana (destiny) ang anatomiya/katawan ng tao. Iyon ay larangan lamang ng pagtatanong, pakikihamok, pagsasaliksik, pagbulatlat.

Sa ngayon, mamasid natin sa paligid, sa iba’t ibang sirkumstansya, ang pagkikipag-ugnayan ng sari-saring kategorya ng personalidad: mala-lalaki, mala-babae, bakla, tomboy, transgender, at iba pang uri. Walang tiyak na takda ang hanggahan ng politikang seksuwal sa kumplikadong takbo ng mga pangyayari sa kasaysayan ng bawat lipunan. Nasa pagsusuri’t pagkilates sa tunggalian ng bawat sektor/pangkat sa lipunan ang bukal ng katotohanan. Siyasatin natin ang tunguhin, layon, pakay, adhikain ng mga puwersang naglalaban: naroon ang katotohanan.

Sikolohiyang Mapanukso

Ang usapang seksuwal ay di na masagwa o mahalay ngayon. Buhat noong maging sikat, bagamat kontrobersiyal, ang “Vagina Monologues” ni Eve Ensler, tila hindi na nakasisindak tumukoy sa mga maselang bahagi ng katawan ng babae (Wikipedia 2015). Ang estilong bugtong o talinghaga sa seks–gawaing pakikipagtalik–ay itinuturing na sintomas ng neurosis o maselang sakit ng budhi. Paano ang seks ng transgender, hybrid o cyborg?

Ordinaryo na lamang ang seksuwal chitchat sa kontemporaryong praktika sa sining at publikong huntahan. Bakit hindi kung laganap na ang advertisement sa Viagra at iba pang drogang nagpapaudyok sa hindutan? Anong masama sa masarap na “dyugdyugan”? Di ba utos kina Eba at Adan: “Multiply…Magparami kayo!” Kung di kaya, uminom ng pilduras o di kaya’y virgin coconut oil. OK ito sa mga pariseo ng simbahan.

Wala bang sariling ating pukaw-pukyutan? Katutubong pukyotan-putakang pangsarili. Biro ng iba, kung instrumento ng progresibong sektor ang popularidad ni Ensler, bakit di pumatol ang “Penis/Balls Monologue”? Kung sobrang tsobinismo o makismo ito, e di symposium o colloquium ng mga genitalia? O sunod kina Bakhtin at Levinas, diyalogo ng balun-balunan, bukong-bukong at puwit? Demokratikong pagpapalitan ng kuro-kuro at kiliti. May reklamo ka?

Pambihirang Pakulo

Iwan na muna natin ang katawang performative. Dumako tayo sa milyung  espirituwal, sa palengkeng neoliberal. Pambihira talaga. Walang clone si Ensler. Isa na siyang korporasyon ng Power Elite ng Global North. Isang haligi ng Imperyong U.S. Naging selebriting burgis si Ensler, kumita ng di-makalkulang yaman at prestihiyo sa di umano’y peministang hamon sa moralidad ng puritanismong lipunan.

Nagsilbing kultural kapital ang cause de celebre, ginawang passport o pretext para isalba ang kababaihan saan mang lupalop tulad ng neokolonyang Pilipinas. Talo pa niya si Mother Teresa. Ililigtas sina Mary Jane Veloso, Andrea Rosal, Wilma Tiamson, at iba pang inaaping babae sa rehiyon ng BangsaMoro at Lumad (San Juan 2015).

Huwag nang idawit ang Birhen, o babaylang Reyna sa TV at pelikula. Hindi biro, naging talisman o magayumang lakas ang seks ng babae. Sino ang  may reklamo sa One Billion Rising ni Ensler? Ang Vagina Men sa Quezon City o sa Congo? Pati mga gerilya ng New People’s Army ay nagsasayaw sa direksiyon ni Ensler sa tulong ng mga kakutsabang kabaro. HIndi na monologo kundi koro ng mga diwata sa gubat kung saan ang masa ay mga isda, ayon kay Mao.

Magaling! Tuwang-tuwa ang mga hito, talakitok, dilis, bia, tanggigi, bakoko at tilapya. Mabuhay ang rebolusyong umiindak, naglalambing. Kung hindi tayo kasama sa sayaw, sambit ni Mother Jones, bakit magpapakamatay?

Karnabal ng mga Paru-Paro?

Kaalinsabay ang usapang puk# sa liberalisasyon ng diskursong seksuwal sa klimang anti-kapitalistang protesta sa buong mundo. Tampok dito ang Women’s Liberation movement (simula kina Simone de Beauvoir o Shulamith Firestone) noong dekada 1960-1970. Bumunsod na nga sa pagturing sa prostitusyon bilang sex work/trabahong makalupa. Ewan ko kung anong palagay ni Aling Rosa at mga Lola ng “Lolas Kampanya Survivor” na naglakbay sa kung saan-saan, salamat sa tulong ni Nelia Sancho, ang coordinator ng grupo (tungkol sa industriyalisasyon ng seks, konsultahin si Barry 1995, pahina 146-51).

Sa ngayon, 300-400 Lola ang buhay pa sa bilang ng 2000 “Comfort Women” sa Pilipinas. Wala pang hustisya sina Lola Julia, Lola Fedencia, atbp hanggang ngayon. Patuloy nilang iginigiit na ang ginawa ng mga Hapon noong giyera ay hindi pag-upa sa babaeng trabahador kundi talagang gahasang tortyur, panggagahis sa sibilyan, isang masahol na krimen laban sa humanidad. Usapang putangna iyon, walang duda. Ang babae ay makinang ginamit upang magparaos ang mga sundalong Hapon, tulad ng mga “hospitality girls” sa Angeles City, Olongapo, at iba pang R & R sentro ng US sa kanilang pandaramong sa Vietnam, Cambodia at Laos noong mga dekada 1960-1980.

Sa kasalukuyan, walang pang artista tulad ni Kenneth Goldsmith na mangagahas sumulat ng isang tula tungkol sa “Katawan ni Lola Rosa, “Comfort Woman.”  Nang sambitin ni Goldsmith ang kanyang tulang konseptuwal, “The Body of Michael Brown” (Goldsmith 2015), katakut-takot na puna’t panunuri ang sumabog sa Internet at mass media. Bakit? Ang katawan ng Aprikano-Amerikanong biktima ng karahasan ng pulis sa Ferguson, Missouri, ay tila naging banal, sagrado, hindi puwedeng gawing paksa sa makalupang aktibidad. “Off Limits,” wika nga, sa mga puting naghahari, puting makapangyarihan (White Supremacy).

Akala natin ay nasira na ang mga hanggahan, regulasyon, o bakod na naghihiwalay sa iba’t ibang uri, paksa, ugali, kaisipan.  Akala natin, kung popular na ang “Vagina Monologues,” maaari nang pakialaman ang anumang bagay; wala nang pag-aaring pribado o di kakabit ng espasyong komun o komunidad. Paano mangyayari ito kung umiiral pa ang pribadong pag-aari ng mga kasangkapan sa produksiyon ng ikabubuhay? Umiiral pa ang tubo, salapi, pribadong lupa o espasyo. Binibili pa ang lakas-paggawa, hindi lamang lakas kundi buong katawan at kaluluwa mo. Pati panaginip mo, damdamin, iyong matimtimang pagnanais o pangarap mong kalakip ng iyong puso’t budhi. Walang sagrado sa korporasyong multinasyonal, sa palengke ng kapitalismong global. Biniro ni Goldsmith, kaya siya natisod sa apoy ng umaatikabong alitang di lamang kultural kundi tahasang politikal at moral.

May aral kaya ito sa mga alagad ng ONE BILLION RISING? Anong panganib na sumusunod tayo sa modo ng publicity ng isang haligi ng burgesyang imperyo? Paano mababago ang diwa at institusyong mapang-api kung wala tayong kabatiran sa maselan at masalimuot na rasismo’t makauring ideolohiyang kaakibat ng patron ng produktong inilalako ni Ensler?

Radikal at Mapanuri?  Bawal!  Huli ‘yan!

Bago sumabog ang peminismong radikal, mahaba na rin ang tala ng rebelyon ng mga alagad-ng-sining laban sa sensura, ipokrisya’t pagbabawal sa malayang paglalahad. Historya ito ng ebolusyon ng modernidad. Kasi, laging pinaglalangkap ng Patriarkong Orden ang militanteng sining at pornograpya. Hindi sumusunod sa istandard ng burgesya. Taktikang pagbubusal iyon sa kritikang kamalayan. Isipin na lang ang kaso sa dalawang nobelang Ulysses ni James Joyce at Lady Chatterley’s Love ni D.H. Lawrence, o mga libro ni Henry Miller. Pati Catcher in the Rye at Huckleberry Finn ay pinagbabawal sa ilang aklatang pampubliko sa U.S.

Nakakabagot itong ipokrisya, testigo sa paghahati ng lipunang mapagsamantala’t makahayup. Huwag na nating balik-tanawin pa ang mga sinaunang halimbawa ng Satyricon ni Petronius, Decameron ni Boccacio, Gargantua at Pantagruel ni Rabelais, at mga akda ni Marquis de Sade. Sinubok nilang sugpuin at pigilin ang pag-unlad ng kamalayan. Laging umiigpaw sa kontrol ng mga naghahari ang lasa at nais ng madla, hindi ng mga awtoridad na umuusig sa mga “ideological State apparatus” ng makauri’t mapagsamantalang lipunan.

Sa larangan ng pintura, masilakbo’t maengganyo ang balitaktakan. Armadong puwersa ang nakapangingibabaw, hindi argumentong rasyonal. Nakasalalay ang kapangyarian ng Patriyarkong Burgesya. Pwedeng banggitin ang eskandalo tungkol sa “Olympia” (1865) ni Edouard Manet, “The Origin of the World” (1866) ni Gustave Courbet, “Ecstatic Unity” (1969) ni Dorothy Iannone, at mga litrato ni Robert Mapplethorpe. Halimbawa naman ng mga paggamit ng tema o imaheng relihiyoso, mababangit ang eskandalo tungkol sa “Piss Christ” (1987) ni Andres Serrano o “The Holy Virgin May” (1999) ni Chris Ofili (Frank 2015)..

Sa atin naman, magugunita ang pagsasara ng “KULO” exhibit at ang “Politeismo” (2011) ni Mideo Cruz. Kung itinanghal ang “KULO” sa Pransiya o Italya, marahil walang problema. Baka naging mabenta pa ang mga mapangahas na likhang-sning, karibal ng mga milyong dolyar na produkto nina Andy Warhol at De Kooning.

Ngunit sa neokolonyang mahal, ang diskurso ng libog o praktikang pukaw-pukyutan ay tabu pa rin, sa pangkalahatan. Merong pasubali. Sa akademyang sekular, umiiral ang regulasyon sa takdang lugar ng usapang libog. Ngunit nananaig pa rin ang tradisyonal na moralidad ng iba’t ibang simbahan–mga ugali, gawi, kostumbre sa kilos, salita, at sentido komun ng bayan.Sino ba ang nakikinabang sa ganitong paghihigpit? Di na tayo makababalik sa hardin ng karinyo’t lampungan (hinggil sa kontrobersyang legal at etikal kaugnay sa pornograpiya, konsultahin si Strossen 1995).

Magtiyaga na lang kayo sa kampo ng mga nudist, susog ng mga miron. O pornograpikong eksena/video sa Internet. Mag-ingat ka, ang surveillance ngayon ay di lamang estratehiya ng pulis, kundi maniobra ng mga espiya sa Internet, satellite, drones—wala kang ligtas! Puputaktahin ka ng isang katerbang buwisit at kamyerdahang panghihimasok.

Hamon sa Mandirigmang Babaylan

Paano kung ambisyon mo ang tumulad kay Shigeko Kubota? Lalaki ka man, puwede ka ring gumaya kay Kubota.

Sino itong Kubeta? Kubota po, hindi kubeta. Ipinanganak siya sa Niigata, Hapon, noong 1937, kalahi ng mga Budistang monghe (Wikipedia 2015). Naging kasapi siya sa organisasyong Fluxus sa New York noong dekada 1960. Si Kubota ay tanyag na avantgarde video-iskultor,  lumilikha ng video installation, sumusuri sa pamana ni Marcel Duchamp, ama ng modernismong sining. Kalahok ang mga maraming likha niya sa Dokumenta 7, Kessel (1982) at iba pang museo’t galeri. Naging propesor siya ng teknolohiya ng video/pelikula sa iba’t ibang unibersidad at institusyong global. Unang napag-aralan niya ang komposisyon ni John Cago noong 1963 sa pagsasanib niya sa grupong musikero sa Tokyo, ang Ongaku, kasama si Yoko Ono.

Naging tanyag si Kubota sa “Vagina Painting,” na ginanap sa Perpetual Fluxus Festival,Cinematheque, New York noong Hulyo 1965. May foto ng akto niya sa libro ni Peter Osborne, Conceptual Art (2002), pahina 71. Subaybayan din siya sa Internet sa dokumentasyon ng “Vagina Painting” at iba pang likhang-sining niya (Godfrey 1998).

Sa pangyayaring ito, inilatag ni Kubota ang isang malapad na papel sa sahig. Doon nagpinta siya nang abstraktong linya sa pulang kulay sa bisa ng galaw ng brotsa. Nakakabit ang brotsa sa singit. Huwag mo nang itanong kung gaano katagal ang aksyon at ano ang reaksyon ng awdiyens noon.  Sinasagisag ang kanyang vagina bilang bukal ng inspirasyon. Ang pulang pinta ay kahalintulad ng dugo sa regla na hulog mula sa lugar na tinaguriang kawalan ng phallus (sa metaporikang pakahulugan; ibig pahiwatig, hindi penis o titi). Sa gayong palabas, pinasimulan niya ang isang perspektibang makababae sa tipikal na pagtatanghal ng Fluxus hinggil sa operasyong pagbabakasakali, pasumala o patsansing-tsansing(“chance operations”).

Iminungkahi ni Kubota sa kanyang akto ang isang alternatibo sa agresibong teknik ng action o drip painting ni Jackson Pollock. Isang hamon din ang ginanap ni Kubota sa papel ng babaeng artista na laging pinapatnubayan, ginagabayan, at inuugitan ng kalalakihan–awtoritaryong disiplina ng mga Patriyarko. Dagdag pa, pinuna ni Kubota ang paggamit sa babae bilang brotsang buhay, nilubog sa pintang kulay asul, na pinagapang sa kanbas, na masasaksihan sa Anthropometrie serye ni Yves Klein noong dekada 1950-1960.

Salungat si Kubota (na asawa ng bantog na si Nam June Paik) sa ganoong paggamit ng katawan ng babae, isang uri ng “human traffiking” ng kababaihan. Kapanalig niya sa krusadang ito sina Yoko Ono at Carolee Schneeman, na hindi masyadong nagustuhan ng kanilang grupong Fluxus (Osborne 2002).

Makibaka, Huwag Magsipsip

Sunod ba ang One Billion Rising sa pintang pukyutan ni Kubota? Aktibo pa rin si Kubota sa New York. I-Google ninyo. Uliran ang kanyang halimbawang napasimulan sa pagpukpok sa pukyutan upang pukawin ang bihag at nakukulong na kamalayan. Isang sandata iyon sa conscientization ng madla.Bakit hindi? Bakit hindi gamitin ang katawan–na siyang lugar ng “Kingdom” ng Tagapagligtas–upang palayain ang pagkatao’t kaluluwa (kundi pa naisangla o naipagbili)? Bakit pa nagkaroon ng inkarnasyon kung tayo’y mga anghel na walang puwit o bunganga, walang titi o puk%?

Anong reklamo mo? Manunuod na lang ba tayo ng “Fifty Shades of Grey” at YOUTUBE seryeng pornograpiko, at mga artifaktong pabalbal sa Internet tulad ng  “Kakantutin ka lang nila” (mahigit 4,081,933 ang taga-subaybay sa YOUTUBE; Lordganja 2015). Kuntento na ba tayong laging nakatungaga sa mga strip-tease at sirko ng mga egotistikong selebriti sa TV at pelikula? Marami tayong reklamo, sigurado, kaya dapat ipahayag na ito. Pasingawin at ibilad ang mga pasakit, himutok, hinanakit. Kundi, baka magkarambulan sa sikolohiyang pantayo’t pambarkada.

Alam nating lahat ang tunay na situwasyon. Tulad ng anumang bagay, puspos ng masalimuot na kontradiksiyon.  Lahat ng bahagi ng katawan ay may reklamo, laluna ang sikmura, uhaw sa hustisya. Marami nang pasubali: kaya bang ipahiwatig ang damdamin ng buong body politic sa makitid at partikularistikong paraan ng Vagina Monologue o Vagina Painting? Binugbog at pinarusahang mga katawan ng sambayanan, isinasangkot sa pambansang mobilisasyon ang lahat ng kasariang inaapi. Bukod ito sa One Billion Rising. 

Pag-ugnayin muli ang pinagwatak-watak na bahagi ng katawan upang mabuo muli ang kalayaan at pagkakapantay-pantay na winasak ng imperyalismo’t kapitalismong global. Usapang mapagpalaya, hindi lang usapang puk%, ang rebolusyong sumusulong, kabilang ang lahat ng nakikiramay ngayon kina Ka Leoncio Pitao at  Ka Vanessa Limpag, biktima ng barbarismong kabuktutan ng rehimeng Aquino at US imperyalismo (Dulce 2015). Mabuhay sina Kumander Parago at Ka Vanessa, bayani ng lahi, laging buhay sa puso ng masa.


Barry, Kathleen.  1995.  The Prostitution of Sexuality.  New York: New York University Press.

Carter, Angela.  The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography.  New York: Harper and Row.

Dulce, Leon.  2015.  ” ‘Taytay Parago’ and the Defiance of Paquibato.”  Kalibutan.  Nakapost sa Bulatlat (2 July).

<bulatlat.com/main/2015/07/02/tatay-parago>  Webpage.

Frank, Priscilla.  2015.  “A Brief History of Art Censorship from 1508 to 2014.”  HuffPost Arts and Culture <www.huffingtonpst.com/2015/01/16/art- censorship_n_646510.html>  Webpage.

Godfrey, Tony.  1998.  Conceptual Art.  New York: Phaidon Press.

Goldsmith, Kenneth. 2015.  “The Body of Michael  Brown.”  Facebook of Kenneth Goldsmith.  Entry for March 15, 2015.   Webpage.

Kendrick, Walter.  1988.  The Secret Museum.  New York: Penguin Books.

Lordganja.  2015.  “Kakantutin ka lang nila  lyrics.”  <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=JVDZWJoFzO>  Webpage.

NPA Panay.  2014.  “One Billion Rising, by the Red Detachment of Women.” YOUTUBE.  Webpage.

Osborne, Peter.  2002.  Conceptual Art.  New York: Phaidon Press Lit. 

San Juan, E.  2015.  Between Empire and Insurgency.  Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Strossen,Nadine.  1995.  Defending Pornography.  New York: Doubleday.  

Wikipedia.  2015.  “Eve Ensler.”  <https://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Ensler&gt; Webpage.

Wikipedia.  2015.  “Shigeko Kubota.”  <https//en-wikipedia.org/wiki/shigeko- kubota>  Webpage.