RE-MAPPING THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC
THE PHILIPPINES AT THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY
by E. SAN JUAN, Jr. Very probably the Philippines will defend with indescribable arbor the liberty she has bought at the cost of so much blood and sacrifice. --JOSE RIZAL, "The Philippines a Century Hence" (1889) Inaugurated by the United Nation's bombing of Iraq for occupying the territory of another nation (Kuwait), the post-Cold War era we inhabit today, and its post 9/11 sequel, appears bizarre and utterly disorienting It seems certainly as far removed from the Enlightenment vision of a cosmopolitan world culture (expressed, for example, in Goethe's notion of a Weltliteratur) as the years when this century opened with the Boer Wars in South Africa, the Boxer rebellion against foreign incursions in China, and the Spanish-American War. Our postmodern conjuncture is in fact distinguished by ethnic particularisms and by the valorization of the aleatory, contingent, and heterogeneous. Indeed, the ideal of internationalism presupposes a plurality of nation-states asymmetrically ranked in a conflict-ridden global market. It thrives on national differences since "world interdependence has diffused balance of power considerations and transformed them into a balance of terror" (Smith, Nationalism 196). As long as the ethnic archive persists amid the homogenizing secular ideals of modernization and liberal individualism that subtend the policies of most states, an order grounded on exchange-value and the logic of capital accumulation, nationalism will remain a major if not decisive force shaping the economic, political and ideological contours of the "New World Order." Nationalism as a world phenomenon is thus a historically determinate process of group-identity formation with diverse manifestations and ramifications. How is writing as a cultural practice and habitus (Bourdieu) in the Philippines configured in this dialectic of identity and difference? When the United States occupied the Philippines by military force in 1898-1903, a Filipino nation had already been germinating in over 200 revolts against Spanish colonialism. Filipino intellectuals of the Propaganda Movement (1872-1896) had already implanted the Enlightenment principles of rationality, civic humanism, and autonomy (sovereignty of all citizens) in the program of the revolutionary forces of the Katipunan and the first Philippine Republic. At the outset, the Propagandists--Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, etc.--used the Spanish language to appeal to an enlightened local and European audience in demanding reforms. With the aim of conscientization, Rizal's novels, Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891), incorporated all the resources of irony, satire, heteroglossia (inspired by Cervantes and Rabelais), and the conventions of European realism to criticize the abuses of the Church and arouse the spirit of self-reliance and sense of dignity in the subjugated natives. For his subversive and heretical imagination, Rizal was executed--a sacrifice that serves as the foundational event for all Filipino writing. Although a whole generation of insurrectionist writers (the most distinguished is Claro Recto) created a "minor" literature in Spanish, only Rizal registered in the minds of Spaniards like Miguel de Unamuno. In effect, Hispanization failed. In 1985, when I visited Havana, Cuba, I found Rizal's two novels newly reprinted and avidly read--a crosscultural recuperation, it seems, of a popular memory shared by two peoples inhabiting two distant continents but victimized by the same Western powers. Just as a Filipino nation was being born harnessing the vernacular speech of peasants and workers, U.S. imperial hubris intervened. Its conquest of hegemony or consensual rule was literally accomplished through the deployment of English as the official medium of business, schooling, and government. This pedagogical strategy was designed to cultivate an intelligentsia, a middle strata divorced from its roots in the plebian masses, who would service the ideological apparatus of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. Americanization was mediated through English sanctioned as the language of prestige and aspiration. Meanwhile, the vernacular writers (the true organic intellectuals of an emergent populus), who voiced the majority will for sovereignty against U.S. "Manifest Destiny," sustained the libertarian Jacobin heritage of the Propagandists. Witness to this were Lope K. Santos, author of the first "social realist"--more precisely, anarcho-syndicalist--novel Banaag at Sikat (1906), and Isabelo de los Reyes, founder of the first labor union and of the Philippine Independent Church, both of whom were deeply influenced by Victor Hugo, Proudhon, Bakunin, and the socialist movement inspired by Marx and Engels. As I argued in my book Reading the West/Writing the East (1992), "vernacular discourse articulated a process of dissolving the interiority of the coherent, unitary subject" (91) in texts that dramatized the breakdown of taboos (what Deleuze and Guattari call "territorializing" codes) and the release of Desire in the sociolibidinal economy of violence and delirium. While U.S. imperial power preserved the tributary order via the institutionalization of patronage in all levels of society, the use of English by apprentice-writers fostered individualism through the modality of aesthetic vanguardism. Personal liberation displaced the dream of national sovereignty. The overt and subterranean influence of the "Lost Generation" (Anderson, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein) on Jose Garcia Villa and his contemporaries shaped the content and direction of Philippine writing in English from the twenties to the sixties. Internationalism in this case took the form of imitation of U.S. styles of private revolt against alienation in bourgeois society. While Villa enacted the role of the native as Prometheus and achieved a measure of recognition by the U.S. New Criticism in the fifties, he has never been included in the U.S. literary canon (Lopez 11). In encyclopedias and other reference books, Villa has always been identified as a "Filipino" writer. Interred in the pantheon of formalist mannerism, his ethnic signature survives only in his name. A breakthrough occurred in the thirties. It was the global crisis of capitalism and the intense peasant dissidence throughout the islands that impelled Salvador P. Lopez, Teodoro Agoncillo, and others to mount a challenge to U.S. hegemonic authority and the threat of fascism by establishing the Philippine Writers League (1939-41). For them, nation signified the working people, the producers of social wealth, whose alignment with the anti-fascist insurgency in Europe and Asia invested with apocalyptic Jetztzeit (Walter Benjamin's term) the solidarity of all the victims of capital. For the first time, the insurrectionary legacy of 1896 was rediscovered and utilized for grassroots empowerment. We find this stance of nationalist internationalism in the fiction of Manuel Arguilla and Arturo Rotor, in the novels of Juan C. Laya, in the essays of Jose Lansang, S. P. Lopez, Angel Baking, Renato Constantino, and the massive testimonies of Carlos Bulosan. For the first time, writers in English rallied together with the vernacular artists (among others, Jose Corazon de Jesus, Faustino Aguilar, and Amado V. Hernandez) to affirm the dialectical interaction between spiritual creativity and radical mobilization, even though the protest against continuing U.S. domination had to be sublimated into the worldwide united front against fascism. The praxis of Filipino national allegory was thus born in the conjuncture of what was desired and what was exigent. It was conceived in this hiatus between the project of liberating the homeland (from Japanese invaders) and the defense of popular democracy everywhere. Consequently, it sublated 19th-century bourgeois nationalism in the heuristic trope of what came to be known as "national democratic revolution." The exemplary practitioner of this allegorical mode was Carlos Bulosan, a worker-exile in the U.S. from the early Depression to the beginning of the Cold War. His now classic ethnobiography, America Is in the Heart (1948), synthesized the indigenous tradition of antifeudal revolt in the Philippines with the multiracial workers' uprising in the West Coast and Hawaii against racist exploitation. Bulosan's art expressed his partisanship for popular/radical democracy. It demonstrated his faith in the intelligence of people of color--Reason's cunning, in the old adage--rooted in cooperative labor. His sympathy with Republican Spain beleaguered by fascism coincided with his union organizing against racist violence in the U.S. and Japanese militarism ravaging his homeland. Because Bulosan's sensibility was deeply anchored in the proletarian struggles of his time, he was able to capture the latent transformative impulses in his milieu as well as the emancipatory resonance of the realist-populist genealogy in U.S. literature: from Whitman to Twain, Dreiser to Richard Wright. The prime exhibit here is Bulosan's novel The Power of the People (1972) whose thematic burden was to render in concrete incidents the reciprocal dynamics between the Huk uprising in the fifties against U.S. imperialism and its comprador allies, and the farmworkers' agitation in the U.S. for equality and justice. In contrast, the aesthetes who emulated Villa could only gesture toward, or parody, U.S. neoconservative styles and banalities ranging from the compromised liberalism of the welfare state to the slogans of religious fundamentalism, laissez-faire utilitarianism, and packaged postmodern fads fresh from the dream-factories of California.
Despite Bulosan’s achievement, it remains the case that the vision of a nation-in-the-making sedimented in Filipino writing in English cannot be fully assayed except in antithesis to the metropolis. Since the sixties, however, the U.S. Establishment claim of truthfully representing the Filipino has entered a period of protracted crisis. For U.S. scholarship, Filipino writing in whatever language remains invisible, at best peripheral. Because Filipino writers challenging the realism of the center and the pathos of the status quo have not refused to abandon the theme of national/class emancipation, the now contested project of modernity given a subaltern inflection, they have not been so easily coopted by paternalistic praises and assimilated to the neoliberal multicultural canon. U.S. neoliberal ideology may accord formal rights to Filipino cultural identity, but does so only to deny recognition of its substantive worth. This view has even influenced oppositional trends. While theorists of postcolonial letters celebrate their difference as the part of Commonwealth/British literature that really matters, they have so far not claimed to appropriate Philippine writing in English as an illustration of what the authors of The Empire Writes Back call a “hybridized” or “syncretic” phenomenon” (180, 196). The reason is not far to seek: whether in the U.S. or in the Philippines, Filipino writers cannot escape the vocation of resistance against neo(not post)colonial forces gravitating around the World Bank-IMF, guarantors of transnational hegemony. They cannot shirk the task of reinventing the nation anew in a world where the eclectic pragmatism of the transnationals seeks to impose everywhere the internationalist mandate of Eurocentric supremacy. This program of reimagining the national-popular (in Gramsci’s terminology), not the state which has instrumentalized the nation, is not nationalist in the vulgar sense of seeking to preserve ethnic purity or instigate a cult of linguistic uniqueness; rather, it is “nationalist” in defense of the integrity of the work-process in a specific time-place. This nationalism inheres in affirming the dignity and worth of workers and peasants that constitute the nation-people for-itself in the ultimate analysis.
Whenever U.S. experts on the Philippines pronounce judgment on our literature, the implicit standard may be seen to originate from the notion of “tutelage.” In sum, U.S. knowledge-production of the truth about the “Filipino” rests in part on the organic metaphors of parent-child and tributary-stream, a figural strategy whose repetition endows U.S. representational authority with sacramental aura. In the 1969 Area Handbook for the Philippines, an official government baedeker, we read: “For the first two decades of the American occupation the short story suffered from a stiltedness of style when written in English, but, after the authors went through a period of practice in acquiring the idiom, excellent writing began to emerge” (Chaffee 140). This is repeated in subsequent editions, together with the citation of authors (Villa, Romulo, Nick Joaquin, N.V.M. Gonzalez) who acquired importance by being published in the United States. In addition to such marginalizing techniques, U.S. critical discourse also occluded the reality of resistance to its client regime (the Marcos dictatorship) by the tactic of omission. One evidence among others: after 1972, “themes shifted from social comment to a search for self-awareness and personal identification” (Vreeland 148). What actually happened was that “social comment” faced with government censorship either stopped, turned Aesopean, or went underground. Further, U.S. “postcolonial” will to categorize and subjugate its clients can be illustrated by the well-intentioned but patronizing comments of Donald Keene (in a review of an anthology of modern Filipino short stories): “…we are certainly fortunate that there are now Filipinos who can speak to us beautifully in our own language…[this collection] is an admirable testimony to the emergence of another important branch of English literature” (44).
One response to this strategy of incorporation by subsumption is the privileging of contradictions inscribed in the site of what is alter/native, the other of paranoid mastery. I submit that Philippine writing is not a “branch” of American or English literature; it is sui generis. This is not just a matter of “differences ‘within’ English writing” or embedded national traditions which Bill Ashcroft et al consider “the first and most vital stage in the process of rejecting the claims of the centre to exclusivity” (17). Nick Joaquin, the most acclaimed portrait-painter of the petty-bourgeois Filipino, formulates the genealogy of his maturation as a process of awakening to the exuberant rituals of the folk and the pious gentry. After describing the itinerary of his education in the reading of American and British authors (from Dickens to Willa Cather), he finally discovers the Philippine folk-Catholic milieu of ceremonies and festivals which provide the raw materials for his imagination (“The Way” 4-5). While rightly denouncing the mechanical imitation of U.S. standards and styles, Joaquin seeks to locate the authenticity of Filipino creativity in a populist version of Christianity lodged in the psyche of characters resisting commodity fetishism–in The Woman Who Had Two Navels, Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, and Cave and Shadows. More problematic than this essentialist quest for an indigenous genius loci subordinated to Eurocentric Christianity is Joaquin’s idea of tradition as a cumulative inventory of the colonial past: Rizal was produced by 300 years of Spanish culture, Villa by 400 years (add about 100 years of American colonial tutelage) of Westernization, a frame of reference which includes for Joaquin “Adam and Eve, Abraham, Venus, St. Peter, Cinderella and the Doce Pares” (“The Filipino” 42). So Joaquin contends that “if Philippine writing in English is to be justified at all, it will have to assert its continuity with that particular process and development” of absorbing the Western episteme and the problematic of the Cartesian ego. Rather than a radical rupture with the past, Joaquin’s empiricist naãvetÇ legitimizes a syncretic adaptation of European forms, values, knowledge–an internationalism which replicates the less subtle conditionalities of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund. Such a mimicry of colonial icons and paradigms springs from a myth of self-apprehension characterized by syncretism and hybridity, signs of “differance” so highly prized by the current theoreticians of postcolonial or minority discourse reacting to the master narratives of bourgeois freedom and progress.
But what would differentiate this axiom of syncretism from the doctrine of liberal pluralism (either postKeynesian or postFordist) under which the “New World Order” of the U.S., Japan, and the European Community seeks to redivide the world into their respective spheres of influence? Is nationalism, interpreted recently as a mode of “ethnic cleansing,” a genuine alternative? Is ethnocentric nativism (a return to the pasyon, various tribal mores, and other sectarian or autarchic practices) a viable option? How has Philippine writers succeeded in transcending the either/or dilemma of choosing between abrogation through appropriation, or unilaterally privileging the indigenous? Is Samir Amin’s universalist resolution of this predicament (proposed in Eurocentrism, 1989) a cogent way of breaking through the impasse?
Initiatives for a renewal of national allegory (see Jameson), the renaissance of the national-popular imagination, might be witnessed in a critique of what I might call instrumental or culinary nationalism–the ideology and culture of the “New Society” of the Marcos regime drawn up by progressive intellectuals just after the February 1986 insurrection. It might be instructive to recall, in this context, how in Africa and Asia after the sixties, the triumph of elite nationalism led to the catastrophic disillusionment of writers who expected the radical transformation of society after independence. What the “passive revolution” (see Chatterjee) ushered in was neocolonialism, not release from the bondage to capital. During the Marcos dictatorship, pseudohistorical propaganda and self-serving kitsch which manipulated symbols of the archaic tributary/feudal past tried to project a state obsessed with “national security” and anti-communism and at the same time an embodiment of the nation’s “authentic identity.” This was allowed within the parameter of the Cold War. Nicanor Tiongson et al exposed how the ethos of communal cooperation called bayanihan or kapitbahayan was ascribed by the state to the barangay (the pre-Spanish village government) as its “soul.” This ethnic locus would then function as the political base for the authoritarian political party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (53).
In 1969 Mrs. Imelda Marcos raided the public treasury to realize her fantasy, the aristocratic and fetishized edifice called the “Cultural Center of the Philippines” which she designated as the “Sanctuary of the Filipino Soul.” These icons, symbols, and rituals of Marcos’ “Filipino Ideology” might have fooled his narrow circle of cronies and compradors, but it was easily grasped by most Filipinos as mystification and apologetics for corrupt oligarchic despotism as well as marks of subservience to Western and Japanese transnational interests. Lino Brocka, the leading progressive filmmaker then, pointed out that such “nation-building means trying to give a ‘beautiful’ picture of the country, trying not to disturb people, not to make them angry by depicting the truth to them” (Tiongson 57). This understanding was shared by most artists who sympathized with the platform and principles of the underground coalition, the National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF’s alter/native project of constructing a “democratic and scientific culture” via participation of the broad masses insured that nationalism of the kind that disappointed many African writers like Chinua Achebe and Ayi Kwei Armah would not be a substitute for the thoroughgoing transformation that would be brought about by a change in property-relations and the redistribution of social wealth/power. Such a change would by necessity entail the assertion of national sovereignty against U.S. impositions. Above all it would prioritize the democratic control of a circumscribed space or territory without which the Filipino people cannot make any contribution to the community of states claiming to represent nations.
Thus we come back to the paradox that the internationalism of Goethe, Condorcet, and Marx conjured: for “national one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness” (to quote the Communist Manifesto) to be eradicated, what is required is precisely nationalism conceived not just as a collective primordial sentiment but as a mode of organizing a community of participant citizens. It is not the concept of the nation-people that is problematic but the comprador or dependent state that manipulates the “nation” as its instrument for accumulation.
Within the Marxist tradition one finds a rich archive of inquiries into and controversies on “the national question,” from Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, and Otto Bauer to Mao Tsetung, C.L.R. James, Che Guevarra, Edward Kardelj, and Amilcar Cabral. Surveying this field, Michael Lowy concludes that the principle of self-determination centers on a given community’s act of deciding consciously to constitute itself as a nation (157). But before judging one nationalism as legitimate and another as suspect if not reactionary, Lowy advises us to undertake “concrete analysis of each concrete situation” relative to the goal of defeating international capitalism. In his study of ethnonationalism in Britain, Tom Nairn counseled us about the enigmatic Janus-faced nature of historical nationalisms.
Whatever the ambiguity of this phenomenon, the idea of the nation cannot be exorcised from thought without negating the historicist temper of modernity. As noted before, nationalism and its corollary, the nation-state, are energized by a teleology of the conquest of necessity by reason, of humanity’s progress toward freedom and self-fulfillment of all. This radically historicist position has been questioned by postmodern thinking, as I’ve suggested in the beginning. It is also questioned by Regis Debray who believes that the idea (or ideal-type) of the nation, which for Marxists will be rendered obsolete by the advent of communism, is permanent and irreducible. For Debray, the idea of a nation is necessary to thwart entropy and death. It performs this function by establishing boundaries and thus generating identity through difference. Claiming to be more materialist than Marx, Debray insists that the universalizing thrust of bourgeois-analytic reason (as instanced by Amin’s book mentioned earlier, or the messianic thrust of Frantz Fanon’s Third World advocacy) ignores the reality of contemporary developments, specifically the resurgence of identity politics in the forms of ethnic separatism, nationalist or regional schisms, etc. We are witnessing “a growing interdependence of the conditions of economic production and exchange, comporting a trend towards uniformity; yet this is dialectically accompanied by a new multiplication of cultural diversity…. Equality is never identity…. What we are seeing now is indeed a growing divergence of cultural identities, a search for specificity as the other face of emerging globalism” (31).
Such a schematic mapping of the present world-system, a recapitulation of the principle of “uneven and unequal development,” is enabled by the very contradictions of late capitalism. In this totalizing regime of exchange value, there are multiple overdetermined antagonisms. However, the primary contradiction from the perspective of oppressed people of color is still between the advanced industrial centers negotiating alliances and compromises on the one hand, and their victims within and outside their borders. And while these victims (whole groups and populations) are heterogeneous, their commonality of sharing the collective fate of domination by mainly Western capital underpins the sociolibidinal economy of their individual quests for recognition as world-historical nations.
On the terrain of an extremely uneven social formation, writing in the Philippines stages in rhetoric and narrative an emergent popular agenda or “structure of feeling.” It proceeds by refunctioning residual forms (such as the dupluhan and zarzuela, folk theatrical genres) and marginalized conventions in order to subvert the aestheticist formalism authorized by U.S. disciplinary regimes as well as by the commodified imports and imitations from Japan, Europe, and elsewhere. By the logic of opposing an exploitative and alienating force, the resistance assumes the modality of revitalizing indigenous cultural practices so as to constitute an allegorical narrative of their return with new effectivities. What distinguishes this tendency is a cosmopolitan selectiveness demonstrated not just in the adaptation of Western genres (for example, Brecht’s epic distancing retooled in PETA productions like Buwan at Baril), or in the feminist abrogation of neocolonial/feudal patriarchy (as in Lualhati Bautista’s Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? and other vernacular experiments). Nor is it fully registered in the invention of a new style of tracking the metamorphosis of the migratory sensibility, as in Jose Dalisay, Jr.’s novel Killing Time in a Warm Place. Rather, it can be discerned in the process of contriving a national-popular idiom addressed not to the Volk (Herder, Fichte) but to a resurgent sambayanan (populus). An allegorizing strategy of storytelling is explored. Its point of departure is an alter/native sensibility rooted in acts of decolonizing intransigence, in a critique of the illusions propagated by the world-system of transnational capital.
The Filipino praxis of alter/native writing interrogates the “post” in “postcolonial” theory. We observe this in the partisan texts of Emmanuel Lacaba, Estrella Consolacion, Levy Balgos de la Cruz, and Argee Guervara. They all strive to actualize what Fr. Ed de la Torre calls “incarnation politics,” a theology of liberation indivisible from the daily acts of resistance against a client state that has sacrificed the nation-people to profitmaking (see San Juan). This project of articulating the subject denominated as “becoming-Filipino” is not nationalist in the orthodox construal of the term. For one, it rejects a state where the nation is hostage to brokers and entrepreneurs ready to sell it to the highest bidder. Its nationalism is prophetic because it materializes in everyday acts of popular resistance. The nation appealed to here would then signify a “concrete universal” embodying solidarity with other oppressed communities engaged in fighting the same enemy; such unity with others is premised on the cultural differences of peoples, including those whose histories have not yet been written; or those whose narratives have been either preempted or interrupted by the West’s “civilizing mission,” otherwise known as “the White Man’s Burden”. We comprehend and appreciate differences invested with identity-drives to the extent that they can be translated for the re-cognition of others and our mutual enrichment. How is the Other fully recognized? By transposing the mimesis of the Self (the parasitic colonizer within) into an allegory of its own constitution and self-reproduction.
What I have in mind can perhaps be suggested by Edward Said’s hermeneutics of the culminating moment of the decolonization process plotted by Fanon. This is the moment of liberation–“a transformation of social consciousness beyond national consciousness”– (83) enunciated, for example, in Pablo Neruda’s materialist poetics, in AimÇ Cesaire’s Cahier d’un retour, and actualized in the life of the Filipino revolutionary writer, Amado V. Hernandez. Because of the general reification of social life today, we cannot as yet fully understand the dynamics of these complex mutations without the mediation of allegory: Neruda evokes through Macchu Pichu the heroic resistance of the aborigines, while Cesaire’s Caribbean locus evokes the promise of Negritude in utopian rhythms.
What does the Philippines offer? We have so far charted the discursive terrain where the salient contradictions of our time involving race, ethnicity, class, gender, etc., are refracted in a multilayered textuality open for interpretation, critique, and ecumenical dialogue. My intervention here should be deemed a prologue to a substantial and more nuanced inventory of the historical specificities of the Philippine social formation that would determine the various modes of cultural production and appropriation pivoting around the event called “becoming-Filipino.” Less ethnogenesis than alter/native poiesis, the goal is to convert the “state-nation” (Smith, Theories 189-90) to an evolving national-popular site of dialogue and praxis. Such a reconaissance of a Third World people’s struggle to define and validate its agency is in effect a task of reconstituting the nation and its position in the world community. In doing so, we encounter ourselves in others. We engage in a catalyzing exchange with voices from other societies using a constantly revised lexicon of “communicative reason” (to borrow Habermas’ phrase), an exchange oriented toward a fusion of counterpointing horizons where all can equally participate in the creation of meaning and value.
My proposal of an alter/native poetics as a hypothetical paradigm for Third World cultures depends of course on the peculiarities of each nation’s history. One last example from the Philippines may be adduced here to illustrate the dialectic of metropolis and periphery which informs the ever-changing configuration of the nation-people in the former colonies. When Arturo Rotor wrote his essay “Our Literary Heritage” in 1940 to exhort his fellow writers to respond to the needs of the working masses, he invoked as models of committed intellectuals the names of Ralph Waldo Emerson who publicly combatted slavery and Thomas Mann who admonished artists to seek [Right, Good and Truth not only in art but also] in the politico-social sphere as well, and establish a relation between his thought and the political will of his time” (21). Rotor ended his nationalist and by the same token inter-nationalist manifesto vindicating literature’s raison d’etre by quoting Maxim Gorki: “[literature] must at last embark upon its epic role, the role of an inner force which firmly welds people in the knowledge of the community of their suffering and desires, the awareness of the unity of their striving for a beautiful free life” (23). In this way, Philippine vernacular allegory may be said to harmonize its pitch and rhythm with others from North and South (now replacing East and West) speaking tongues whose intelligibility is guaranteed by our sharing common planetary needs, the political unconscious of all art.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
E. SAN JUAN, Jr. was recently visiting professor of literature and cultural studies at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and lecturer in seven universities in the Republic of China. He was previously Fulbright professor of American Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and fellow of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University. Among his recent books are BEYOND POSTCOLONIAL THEORY (Palgrave), RACISM AND CULTURAL STUDIES (Duke University Press), and WORKING THROUGH THE CONTRADICTIONS (Bucknell University Press). Two books in Filipino were launched in 2004: HIMAGSIK (De La Salle University Press) and TINIK SA KALULUWA (Anvil); his new collection of poems in Filipino, SAPAGKAT INIIBIG KITA AT MGA BAGONG TULA, was released by the University of the Philippines Press in 2005.