The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said the New People’s Army (NPA) must further expand use of command-detonated explosives (CDX) in launching tactical offensives against the reactionary armed forces, police and all its attached paramilitaries.
“The CPP and NPA reject the baseless demand of GRP President Rodrigo Duterte for the NPA to stop using CDX landmines which are legitimate weapons of war and are allowed under the Geneva Conventions and the Ottawa Treaty on Landmines.”

According to Duterte, he has long repeatedly told the NPA in Mindanao to stop using landmines which he claims are banned under international conventions. “Perhaps, he has not been closely listening to explanations about landmine conventions and distinctions made about different types of landmines.”

“The aim of the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines is to protect civilians from accidental explosions,” pointed out the CPP. The Treaty defines anti-personnel mines as those designed to be exploded by “the presence, proximity or contact of a person.”

“The explosives and landmines used by NPA are command-detonated or blasted manually, some with a battery-powered electronic trigger held by a Red fighter,” added the CPP. “CDX landmines, which NPA ordnance units manufacture carefully, will not explode simply if it is stepped on, tripped upon or kicked around.”

“Furthermore, CDX landmines are not laid out indiscriminately and are always manned or within the immediate proximity of the NPA unit that emplaced them,” pointed out the CPP. “There has yet to be an incident where a CDX landmine laid by the NPA was accidentally exploded by a civilian.”

“The NPA is very careful about using weapons that may accidentally hurt or injure civilians,” said the CPP. “Even indigenous booby traps such as punji sticks are used with discrimination and are not left unmanned.”

“Contrary to Duterte’s demand for the NPA to stop using its CDX landmines, the NPA and the people’s militias must further expand the use of such weapons,” said the CPP.

It added: “CDX landmines are a poor man’s weapon. These are mass-produced by people who have no recourse to the expensive rockets and howitzers of state-funded armies. It is a weapon than can only be effectively used by those who have mastery of terrain. It must continue to be effectively and widely employed in waging mass guerrilla warfare. The mass movement to manufacture CDX landmines must be stepped-up. Every unit of the NPA, including all units of the people’s militias, must have their own supply of CDX landmines, and must have the skill and plan to employ these as defensive and offensive weapons against the enemy.”

“CDX landmines have been proven to be highly effective weapons at thwarting the frenzied military offensives of the AFP,” said the CPP. “This is the reason why the AFP has been so adamant in its demand for the NPA to stop using CDX landmines to the point of mindlessly citing international prohibitions even without a comprehensive and clear understanding of those.”

August 8, 2016
Communist Party of the Philippines


Two books by E.San Juan, Jr.

San Juan double flyer

Image | Posted on by

On E. San Juan’s BALIKBAYANG MAHAL by Charmaine Bramida

E. San Juan Jr.’s

A Critique Paper by Charmaine Bramida
October, 2013


E. San Juan’s poetry collection, “Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile”, as suggested by the title, was birthed through the many travels of the poet. This work is a collection of old and new poems and also includes a long essay on exile and diaspora entitled “Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi: Emergency Signals from a Filipino Exile.” It gives the impression of a travelling journal of some sort, especially with some of his poems entitled like a journal entry (Tag-sibol sa Den Haag, Nederland, 25 Marso 2007; Biyernes ng Hapon, Oktubre 1, 2005).

The author’s sweeping knowledge of geography, history, politics, religion, and literature blossoms in this poetry collection. Most of San Juan’s work, including his poetry, is political and looks outward upon the world (most evident probably in his poem “Spring in Den Haag, Nederland, 25 March 2007”, among others).

As you go along, page by page, his poems are explicitly and implicitly suggesting different places. The poet, in his exile, somehow finds himself in these places and comes to an almost nostalgic state of his homeland’s history. Wherever he goes, his country seems to follow him. It almost appears like it pays (an ironic) homage to the Greek epic, Illiad, where Oddyseus sailed for a homeward journey yet ends up in a twenty-year exile. But, instead of being lost on his way home, the poet, in his exile, meets his homeland somewhere along in his consciousness.

The diversity of language used in translation of the poet’s poems in this collection emphasizes not only the journey he is going or have gone through but also reflects him as a person. Someone who speaks an array of foreign languages impresses us that this person must have done a lot of travelling in his lifetime, or have lived in different places, or is simply well-versed as product of a privileged education. The poet is in fact all of the aforementioned. However, the bevy use of language does not exactly celebrate the multilingualism of the poet in exile. The variety of language may as well serve as a mapping device as to the whereabouts of the poet. However, it may primarily be that, although the majority of the poems in the collection were written in Filipino, but their translation into English, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, and French underscores the universal dimension of the struggle in the homeland of the poet. The poet might have intended to have his poems translated and transformed, to make the vernacular international, not particularly language wise, but the things addressed by his poems, the content–-his motherland. The poet wants the world to experience whatever it is that his motherland is going through, and this want makes him consciously or subconsciously think of the Philippines wherever he goes.

Travel, Diaspora, and Double Consciousness

The first poem of the collection, entitled “Voyages”, is very fitting as an opening for this collection. It conditions our sensibilities that we are about to set sail on a journey across lands through the pages, a poem steeped in classical mythology which starts in a memorable line: “To exile I ride on the bountiful surf. And foam-flowers/ of her dreams gather to waylay my anchors.”

The form of the poem at a distance mimics the waves through its enjambments and indentations. The image of the poem is relaxed and it gives us the experience of being in the middle of a sea on board a moving ship. Although travelling is the first thing that may come to mind once the first poem is read, the collective work is not necessarily a travel literature, but focuses more on the history and the going-ons of the poet’s motherland.

As one reads though most of the poems, you can encounter conflict between locations. W.E.B. Du Bois coined the term double consciousness, which is defined as the two-ness of a person’s identity. Double consciousness describes the individual sensation of feeling as though your identity is divided into several parts, making it difficult or impossible to have one unified identity (the conflict of being African and European/American discussed in Dub Bois’s book, “The Souls of Black Folk”, written in 1903). The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as the removal or conveyance from one person, place, or condition to another.

The poet, with the juxtaposition of his thoughts, most evidently found in his poem, “Balikbayang Mahal” (which could be identified as the main piece of his collection), we come to this idea that the poet is not really from that place but comes from or lives elsewhere and is very nostalgic and is internally coping with his chronic travels from one place to another. The epigraph chosen by the poet for this poem is from Dante Alighieri’s reputable, “Paradiso”: “You will leave everything you love; this is the arrow first released by the bow of your exile….” Excerpts from the first part of the poem shows the idea of this epigraph: “You’ve flown to Rome and London…You’ve flown to Riyadh and Qatar…You’ve flown to Toronto and New York…You’ve flown to Chicago and San Francisco…You’ve flown to Hong Kong and Tokyo…You’ve flown to Sydney and Taipeh…” The lines under these statements of the (seemingly) itinerary of the poet expresses a sense of longing for what he is about to leave behind at that moment: “You’ve flown to Rome and London/ Anxiously looking back to clouds loaded with dreams wandering/ Sunk in memories of tomorrow slowly drowning” … “You’ve flown to Hong Kong and Tokyo/ “I’ll never forget you”—the temptation of a farewell unclenched/ soars”.

One of the concluding lines of the first part confirms that feeling of nostalgia of the speaker: “You’ve flown, O beloved sweetheart, but on whose bosom/ will you land?” Wherever the poet is headed or has been, he feels that he have been set free, that he has the freedom of being a citizen of the world through the power of travel and is able to pursue his ambitions, but this question connects us to his feeling of uncertainty as to where he will end up at the last league of his worldwide journey. The last line of the first part shows how the poet have invested himself into every place he has ever been: “My soul cut up and scattered to all the corners of the planet”.

The above mentioned excerpts come from the first part of the poem. Obviously, it speaks of departure. However, in the second part of the piece, it offers a parallel, yet opposite and contrasting situation, thus, the double consciousness that is being shown in this piece. The lines directly show a mirror of the first part of the poem, that instead of departing, someone is: “Late, they said everything is late. It’s gone, that train loaded with/ memories and dreams,” … “Late, we’ve been left behind by the airplane headed for Tokyo/ and Los Angeles”, … “Already departed/ So distant now is the ship sailing toward Hong/ Kong and Singapore”. Throughout the second part of the poem, the speaker is expressing his feelings of regret over lost time, “Taking a chance that the telegram will reach—what a pity, no/ kidding, a terrible waste”.

Apparently, the poet is addressing someone which is confirmed in the line: “You’re late—your promises rotting with anxiety and doubts…/ Finished!” The unnamed persona that the poet is addressing in these statements is confusing. Is he addressing himself? Is he speaking for a wider demography? His countrymen, maybe? The proceeding lines of the poem presents us the image of the persona that the poet is addressing: “Wilder than desire struggling to escape—where did you come/ from? Where are you going?/ Hoarse, exhausted, starved, elbows and knees bruised, crawling/ on all fours from the abyss…” These lines seem to give us an image of the struggle of what the Filipinos underwent through the different colonizers and how they battled for freedom. Yet, with this freedom, the poet continues to question where they are headed.
Basically, the most evident issue that the poet is embodying in his poems in this collection is his homeland. Despite him being in other places, or in “exile”, he cannot tear away from the reality of where he come from. However, one may also think that the poet is addressing the colonization of the Philippines. The line, “My soul cut up and scattered to all the corners of the planet,” also seems to suggest that the Filipino identity has become a mixture of the different countries that have colonized the Philippines, or rather, it gives us the idea of the Filipino people inhabiting (almost) all places in the world.

The concluding line of the poem enlightens us and confirms as to who is the addressee of the second part of the poem, “Beloved foreigner, let’s catch what’s left inside, waiting for joy in/ abeyance, nothing ahead or behind, endless….” As confusing as it may seem, but the persona that the poet named as a “Beloved foreigner” may refer to his countrymen, the Filipinos. The contrasting idea given through this label shows us the reality of the Filipino lifestyle. We travel. We migrate. We build our homes not in the lands of our mother country. The Filipinos have become citizens of the world. The home of Filipinos have become “endless”, so to speak.

The above excerpts embodies diaspora. Diaspora in the Philippines is very much palpable. His essay that concludes the collection ratifies that fact. This may be the reason for his double consciousness because of bilocation.

Allusion and Free Verse in a socially driven poetry

The most consistent features of the poet’s poems are the use of free verse and allusion. Some of his poems heavily use allusion as a device. The poetry reminds one of T.S. Eliot in its overflow of allusions. This could be expected since his theme is very historical and political. An example of this is his poem “Spring In Den Haag, Nederland, 25 March 2007”, where the poet alludes to Arroyo and the socio-political happenings in his country. It commemorates the Permanent People’s Tribunal’s verdict of “’Guilty!’ for the U.S.-Arroyo regime”. The poem also mockingly contrasts the peacefulness of the Dutch city of The Hague with the “murders and abuses”, still found in the Philippines despite the findings of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, the subtle point being that the sense of satisfaction the speaker receives from the verdict does not translate into action in his homeland — the verdict does not stop the suffering half a world away. Although, the poem ends with hope: through continued and renewed struggle, justice will be found: “Your lips breaking apart the chains binding the morning’s/ sunburst —”, suggesting that The Arroyo regime will be defeated, and peace will prevail.

This poem, once again, shows evidence of double consciousness as most of his politically themed poems are. Such as the discussed poem above, it is springtime in The Hague and the poet thinks of political detainees in Muntinlupa. Or again, as dusk descends, for instance, on the Italian town of “Punta Spartivento” (the title of the poem), the poet-exile is haunted by names of the dead — Juvy Magsino, Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana, Rafael Bangit, Alyce Claver, as shown by the following lines: “Souvenirs of the future—/ what tidings are trumpeted by the turbulent winds?/ They killed Juvy Magsino, Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana,/ Rafael Bangit, Alyce Claver…./ On the shores of Punta Spartivento, the waves encounter each other/ and separate—/ right or left, here and there—as if without any/ decision, pushed to the right/ or pulled to the left/ divided by fate or fortune?” His bilocation between where he is physically and his consciousness straying towards his motherland is shown. The poet-exile remembers the Moslem insurgency in Mindanao as night falls in the land of the Pequot Indians in his poem “Friday Afternoon, October 1, 2005, In Willimantic, Connecticut, USA” with the lines: “My cigarette stubb I interred beside the Bridge of Frogs while the/ traffic procession headed for the Foxboro Casino now owned by the/ Pequots./ But why does the Abu Sayyaf sneak into the mind”.
In his poem “Megamall in Metro Manila” (Megamall sa Metromanila), with the use of statements, it becomes evident that the poet is addressing the different problems of the Philippines; from commoditization: “Your vision is shrouded by Stateside goods galore even though you/ don’t know the signification of commodity fetishism.”; to politics: “No more barricades even though crocodiles continue to scavenge the/ shores./ The odor of Pasig River snakes its way up to the boudoir of/ Malacanang Palace”; to the Westernization of his countrymen: “We watch on the movie screen the fantastic rumbles of/ Schwarzenegger, James Bond, Bruce Lee and Sigourney Weaver.” The poem somehow exploits how dense the Filipinos have become, “Your dreams are now on motorcycles.”

In the same way, his poem “Wanderlust in Makat”i (Lagalag sa Makati) touches on the socio-political issues looming over his country, specifically, poverty. The poem set at the darker side of the streets of Makati–-the great metropolitan city of Manila, which is “Whirling in the maniacal traffic”. The person addressed by the speaker of the poem explains to us the situation: “…you’re still jobless and traipsing/ here and there./ Counting posts and stars, you arrive at “nirvana”/…” The persona of the poem is a representation of the many jobless Filipinos in the country, a country ran by “the machinations of capitalist society”, as the poet puts it. Jobless. No stable path. Hungry. The last line of the poem offers no hope. As in its original Filipino version – “kumapit na lang sa patalim.”

The poet’s poem also touches the subject of industrialization where he alludes to Valdimir Mayakovsky. Valdimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was a Russian and Soviet poet, playwright, artist and stage and film actor. He is among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism. As it appears, Mayakovsky, being a futurist, adores and worships the age of technology and the speed, efficiency and noise that comes with it, which is evident in the poem, “Vicissitudes of The Love and Death of Valdimir Mayakovsky”. The poet uses strong images that creates the idea of the noise and chaos brought about by these advancements and the fascination of Mayakovsky towards these things. Even the form of the poem imitates disarray. It also appears the poet creates a fusion of the physicality of Mayakovsky together with a machine in order to heighten Mayakovsky’s regard for technology: “Your torso rocketed beyond the Eiffel Tower/ Now your lobster-red tongue spits Pentecostal vodka… / But neon x-rays from your submarine catacombs/ kicked them in the loins—…”

The poet’s use of statements

According to the principles of poetic content, a poetic idea is best expressed through the use of special images and situations that dramatize the idea. The poet, clearly, with his use of free verse and allusions, used statements in most of his poems in this collection. However, these direct statements were not used merely literal facts and assertions, but were used to embody the idea of the poem. His poems include situations, details, and characters that satisfies the conclusion (see: Wanderlust in Makati, Vicissitudes of the Love and Death Of
Valdimir Mayakovsky, Punta Spartivento, among others).

Lyrical poems

Although the poet’s poems in this collection is more evident of free verse and allusion, his poems such as Voyages, The Three Temptations, The Way Things Are, and Hail and Farewell, and others, show a lyrical side. Perhaps the most lyrical poem is “The Way Things Are,” which is made of five quatrains with images of birds hovering in old buildings; yet even here “We wait for miracles / With daggers to console / Us,” and a metaphor for circling birds — of angel droppings that “May nourish the exchange / We are possessed of and by” — suggests a vision to console “Every animal that dies.”

As discussed earlier, the poems begin on a lyric called “Voyages”, with the line, “To exile I ride on the bountiful surf”. The same as the collection is introduced, the poetry ends on a lyric called “Hail and Farewell,” with a closing quatrain still alluding to Mayakovsky: “But Mayakovsky is our kin — / We also reek / Of incense / And formalin.” wherein the poet sanctions the attitude of the Filipinos towards industrialization, Westernization, and the technology of the new age as he suggests that we are in the same fascinated consciousness to that of Mayakovsky.

Away from the political outlooks and looking inwards

Although most of the work is heavily political and looks outward upon the world, “Mask of the Poet” is one of the few poems in this collection that looks inward. The poet speaks of solitude: “No self, none at all; I exist alone”. The voice of the poem is the poetic inspiration itself. It’s paradoxical and metaphysical message being that in randomness and aloneness, we find ourselves connected to the world: “In one’s vision and hearing/ In the soul and love of every creature/ Moves and dances every organic being.”

Conclusion: Essay on Exile

The collection ends with an almost twelve-thousand-word essay entitled, “Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi: Emergency Signals from a Filipino Exile”. This essay addresses aspects of many types of exile and many diasporas, but it begins and ends with the complexities and consequences of what it means to be a Filipino far from home. In this sense, the diaspora of the Filipino race, which usually tends to gear towards the West, is an evidence of Orientalism (Edward Said, 1978). It may seem that Filipinos are still, hypothetically, colonized by the Westerners through political forces. Filipinos, being Orientals, are, in a way, seen as people who exist for the West. However, on the contrary on the thought that the diaspora of Filipinos towards these parts of the globe embodies a different kind of colonization, yet still a colonization in that sense, these migrations actually is a liberating moment for the Filipinos, that this time, they get to be the colonizers.

The poems and the concluding essay confront injustice—the ways, for instance, in which oppressors colonize even time and space. From labourers to domestic helpers, caregivers, entertainers, and professionals around the planet today, the Filipino, as a subject, shares the history of slaves, refugees, detainees, war veterans, and immigrants. These are the communities in motion that the poet-exile is addressing on behalf of Filipinos everywhere–-the kinship.

It seems that this collection of San Juan marks an important break in the Filipino literary tradition. From Francisco Balagtas to Jose Rizal, the homeland has been imagined as a bounded territory where people cannot go beyond their motherlands.

In this work of the poet-exile, a new conception of homeland is heralded. The poet may be dreaming of returning to Manila (as suggested by his poem Balikbayang Mahal), but the place is not a final destination for him. Instead, it is a portal to other places where homeland is without boundaries: “endless”. It is not an essential place, but a set of kinships that Filipinos everywhere and other people with similar fates can embrace and connect. The poet presents us that the planet has become the homeland of the Filipinos.

The poems in “Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile” are mostly about the sorrows of migration and exile and the history and struggles of the poet-exile’s homeland, to be sure, but they are also about the hope of connections and with this, the poet-exile, E. San Juan Jr., of Balikbayang Mahal is, in the best sense of the word, the translator of the many Filipinos in the different corners of the world.R E F E R E N C E S
Bruce, Dickson D. Jr. (June, 1992). W. E. B. Du Bois and the Idea of Double Consciousness. American Literature. Vol. 64, No. 2. pp. 299-309: University Press

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. (1903). New York, Avenel, NJ: Gramercy Books; 1994

Brown, E. J. (1973). Mayakovsky: a poet in the revolution. Princeton Univ. Press

Oxford English Dictionary. (1989). Second Edition.

San Juan, E. Jr. (2007). Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile. Morrisville, North
Carolina: Lulu Enterprices, Inc.

Said, Edward. (1978). Orientalism. Post-colonial studies at Emory. 2012. http://postcolonialstudies.emory.edu/orientalism/


E. San Juan’s TOWARD FILIPINO SELF-DETERMINATION–review by Michael Viola

Toward Filipino Self-Determination: Beyond Transnational Globalization. By Epifanio San Juan Jr. (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2009. 184 pp. hardcover, $65).

Reviewed by Michael Viola, University of California, Los Angeles

The term globalization has several definitions associated with the accelerated social, economic, and political shifts in late 20th century capitalism. In a United Nations report, globalization has winners and losers. This report explains, “A rising tide of wealth is supposed to lift all boats, but some are more seaworthy than others. The yachts and ocean liners are rising in response to new opportunities, but many rafts and rowboats are taking on water – and some are sinking” (United Nations Report, 1997). While the definition of globalization is often debated, for the majority of people in the Philippines the process of globalization can be more accurately described as “gobble-ization” (McLaren and Farahmandpur, 2001).

Similar to the mass destruction caused at the wake of Hurricane Ondoy, the mechanisms of corporate globalization has enabled an international ruling class to pillage the resources of the Philippines leaving behind an entire populations submerged in the swollen overflows of structural adjustment, debt, and privatization. The rule of the high water is the doctrine of neoliberalism where every layer of the nation’s social fabric is a site of looting, as the market has become the organizing logic of an entire social sphere. Global conditions set in motion by the tides of production have influenced the domains of culture for Filipinos in a global diaspora.

In his latest book, Toward Filipino Self-Determination: Beyond Transnational Globalization, Epifanio San Juan Jr. uncovers the concealed operations of power and the underlying social relations that have impacted social life (language, culture, work, and identity) for Filipinos in an age of global crisis and contradiction.

This book, a compilation of essays written after 9/11 serves as a sequel to his influential writings, in particular, From Exile to Diaspoa (1998) and After Postcolonialism (2000). Much like these earlier works, E. San Juan’s methodology is a method of dissent that captures the complex social relations and constant motion of the Philippine Diaspora. With such a method, tension is present throughout his analysis engaging more commonly accepted theoretical frames promoted by postcolonial, postmodern, and post-Marxist scholars.

For those familiar with E. San Juan’s important earlier works, there is recognizable overlap in the astute critiques that he makes, however, for a reader not exposed to the conditions and history of the Philippines or to Marxist social theory, E. San Juan’s reiterations are valuable as they help clarify arguments that are complicated and theoretically rigorous.

The chapters “Imperial Terror in the Homeland” and “In the Belly of the Beast” are invaluable historical supplements for youth involved in organizing the very popular Philippine Culture Nights (PCN); scholars of Ethnic and Asian American Studies; as well as community organizers interested in furthering political projects that counter the injustices of racism, patriarchy, and other social injustices.

Throughout these chapters E. San Juan shows how seemingly disconnected events are in fact connected through a systemic logic of exploitation and an international division of labor necessitated by the current global economic order. Such writings serve as a constant reminder that ecological disasters, racist anti-immigrant sentiments, and the escalating violence against women (delegated “the servants of globalization”) are intimately linked to the motions of capitalist development.

San Juan’s essay titled “Subaltern Silence” is especially invigorating for university students as they witness the privatization of their public education, the exorbitant increases in tuition fees, and the reduction of courses offered in the humanities and languages. Even though Filipinos have become one the largest groups in the Asian American ethnic category the languages of Filipinos in the academy is sparse.

E. San Juan argues that the struggle over language in our schools is a struggle over Filipino identity – an identity that must be rooted in the ideas of liberation, democracy, and justice for Filipinos throughout the world. He states, “literacy must be based on the reality of the subaltern life if it is to be effective in any strategy of real empowerment, in the decolonization of schooling for a start” (50).

However, the struggle for Filipino languages cannot be confined solely within institutions of higher learning. E. San Juan argues, the struggle for Filipino languages “cannot be achieved except as part of the collective democratic struggles of other people of color and the vast majority of working citizens oppressed by a class-divided, racialized, and gendered order” (51).

It is this social order that Carlos Bulosan confronted in his books of literature and work as a labor organizer at the beginning of the 20th century. The influential writings of Carlos Bulosan are widely available due in large part to the research of E. San Juan. More significantly, the author builds upon Bulosan’s analysis in an assessment of the irrational conditions that continue to plague Filipinos in America. In the chapter titled, “Revisiting Carlos Bulosan” E. San Juan requests that the reader not examine Bulosan’s writing as a sacred or finished text.

Rather, he invites us to resume the unfinished project of Bulosan and the countless “others” who have worked to understand the challenges that confront racialized and subjugated peoples of America in order to prepare for a more humane and just tomorrow. The examination of Bulosan’s life and legacy is a dialectical endeavor. The author highlights Bulosan’s life experiences that undoubtedly has influenced many, however the author reminds us that individuals do not impose such an influence alone but by generations building on the labor of those who come before.

The last chapter, “Tracking the Exile’s Flight: Mapping a Rendezvous” E. San Juan reproduces a speech he delivered to alumni of the Philippine Studies Program, a program that enabled university students from around the United States to gain college credit for their summer studies in the Philippines. E. San Juan maintains that through critical travel experiences or “exposure trips” one can gain a critical standpoint of neoliberal globalization not provided by corporate media and mainstream academic textbooks.

The author argues that these personal experience can provide critical points of analysis especially when widened beyond the personal to problematize conditions that entire groups of people (Filipinos) are situated. Throughout this chapter, E. San Juan’s use of historical materialism provides the reader with an important lens to examine the social contradictions of the Philippine Diaspora in connection with the underlying social forces of class struggle and racist as well as gendered oppression.

Toward Filipino Self-Determination maintains that Filipinos throughout the diapsora have passed on a rich legacy dedicated to the projects of democracy, justice, and self-determination. A new generation of culture workers, scholars, activists, and radical feminists is emerging with their own adapted strategies to bring forth a new society from the vestiges of the old.

Throughout this book E. San Juan reminds us that, “we are faced with a new arena of battle, one between humanity and barbarism, between oppressed third world peoples fighting for survival and the rule of a dehumanized global capital” (166). He is astute in his analysis that in this new arena of battle new ideas, imaginations, and strategies are needed that enables us to transform the world we live. Such transformation takes place with proper understanding and such understanding is furnished with theory.


INTERVIEW: E. SAN JUAN, Jr. on the advent of the Duterte presidency

DSC_0405 [Desktop Resolution]Scholar: ‘Feudal-authoritarian’ mindset led to Duterte win

By: Marvin Bionat
INQUIRER.net U.S. Bureau
12:34 AM May 17th, 2016
PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire –E. San Juan, Jr., a prolific Filipino intellectual, has written close to 60 books on various topics, including race, social class, post-colonialism and the Filipino diaspora. In this interview with INQUIRER.net he shares his analysis of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s victory and what awaits the Philippines.

In 1999, San Juan was given the Centennial Award for Achievement in Literature from the Cultural Center of the Philippines for his contributions to Filipino and Filipino-American studies. His more recent books include U.S. Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines (Palgrave), Racism and Cultural Studies (Duke University Press), and Between Empire and Insurgency (UP Press).

A lifetime academic, San Juan was formerly a fellow of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University and an emeritus professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Ethnic Studies at Washington State University. He is currently a professorial lecturer at Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Marvin Bionat (MB): What do you think were the key factors that made Duterte win?

San Juan, Jr. (ESJ): Key factors include the citizenry’s deep and widespread disappointment at “daang matuwid’s” neoliberal policies, corrupt raiding of people’s money, waste of resources (including degradation of habitats due to predatory mining), utter neglect of victims of natural disasters, inept management of crises (kidnapping, Mamapasano, Kidapawan, etc.), brutal culture of impunity (extrajudicial killings, torture), Hacienda Luisita massacres, deterioration of public services (health, transportation, public education), worsening plight of overseas Filipino workers—in short, immiseration of workers, peasants, and middle strata all around, despite erratic growth of foreign investments, GNP, etc.

MB: Why did people vote for him despite his extrajudicial approach to curbing crime and his open contempt for due process in Davao City?
ESJ: The feudal authoritarian mindset of most people prefers peace and security imposed from above, if they don’t threaten their private interests. If Davao suddenly became crime-free, well and good, since the victims are from the poor, lumpen classes who are not organized, or are manipulated by politicians and big-moneyed syndicates. But those are petty crimes, not the scandalous theft instanced by the Napoles disclosures, the Arroyo scams, etc.

Elements of the middle sectors admired the early result of Marcos’ martial law, so long as the victims were hidden. And commodities are accessible to most wage earners. The mass media, as well as religious institutions, sanction law and order as long as it’s good for business, market operations, consumerism, preservation of the status quo. Meanwhile, the big criminals in government and civil society are enjoying their holiday. And Davao is not exactly a microcosm of the whole neocolonial network of complex institutions and habitual practices. To be sure, Davao is not Metro Manila or even like Binay’s Makati.

MB: What does his emergence as the country’s leader tell us about our society?

ESJ: Well, it’s a manipulated neocolony where information, public discussion, open criticism, and formation of dissenting parties are tightly regulated and administered, so public consciousness or sensibility—bored by the usual bribery-cum-palabas—welcomes spectacles like Pacquiao, as they welcomed Estrada, etc.

Du30 was a new face on the electoral scene, dominated by trapos and has-beens, so the audience/public was attracted and excited, especially by someone with a foul mouth, mimicking the contrived TV/movie image of a daredevil gangbuster who somehow miraculously climbed up from the unwashed class and succeeded in acquiring the aura of a populist messiah of sorts. This is not a judgment on the person, but a comment on the ideological atmosphere of the last few months.

The Du30 phenomenon, like Erap’s popularity, will prove circumstantial, context-bound, and will go the way of previous presidencies, given the cast of genteel advisers, run-of-the-mill cabinet appointees, etc. Magsaysay was quite popular, but who in this generation of post-martial-law babies remember him now?

So it’s not the whole 100-plus million Filipinos who are responsible for Du30. It’s a socio-historical phenomenon brought about by diverse trends in society, symptomatic of legacies of colonialism, tributary habits, patriarchal sexist dispositions, image-saturated fantasies, etc. Du30 is like a basketball star or TV spectacle, cheered today, gone tomorrow.

MB: Some have pointed to a global trend that favors strong, nationalistic, fascistic leaders. Is Duterte’s victory part of that phenomenon?

ESJ: Whether Du30 is fascistic or nationalistic as president remains to be seen. It’s not a trend worldwide. Iceland, for example, threw out the corrupt elite. Then there’s Bolivia’s Evo Morales or Myanmar’s Lady Heroine. But the trend is more common in dependent or neocolonial formations (as in Latin America or Africa) where socio-economic pressures heighten class, ethnic, and religious divisions, so that the military or Bonapartist solution becomes an alternative.

Overall, global capitalism favors the theater of democratic procedures (parliaments, elections) and predictable laws, because they hide the violence of the truly unequal distribution of power and resources. Where the class war cannot be negotiated via dialogue in the public sphere and constitutional processes, force becomes a temporary way out, as in the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Haiti, etc. It can last long, but not forever. The people, not dictators, make history, as the saying goes.

MB: What scenarios (both positive and negative) do you see happening under a Duterte presidency?

ESJ: Possible scenarios: if a more nationalist posture is adopted (limiting U.S. access to bases, allowing NDF/NPA to have input into local or national affairs), banning corporate mining, etc., the U.S.-supervised AFP and PNP will surely intervene.
If Du30 adopts the Davao style of prohibiting mass agitation (allowing torture, detention, and killing of opponents) and the economy worsens, mass anger and petty bourgeois desperation will drive many to the hills.

If Du30 steers a “middle course” (quite improbable in the midst of the global financial crisis, and tensions between China and the U.S.), more open in-fighting among the oligarchs will erupt into the open. Remember, Bongbong Marcos is deeply chagrined, and his camp will not sit quietly in the sidelines. He surely has a following in Ilocandia, both at home and abroad (among OFWs), so as long as the majority have not understood the cruelty of the Marcos dictatorship, and the oligarchic class-identity of the Marcos dynasty (majority have no memory or democratic-nationalist consciousness), Bongbong and his class will continue to exert influence, same as with the Cojuangco-Aquino and the landlord/comprador elite.

Factor in this brew the resurgence of Moro violence (the Abu Sayyaf may metamorphose into a populist Islamic/ISIS-type formation, as well as local dissidence in various provinces) and this will stir up the whole country into a situation favorable for revolutionary transformation, provided the progressive forces (and their intelligent collective spirits) are able to gain hegemony (moral and intellectual leadership) and win the support of the broad masses against the oligarchs, the military, police, and their main sponsor, the Washington-Pentagon bloc. This means that the national-democratic forces need to mobilize international support from more than 10 million Filipinos abroad, as well as kindred nationalities, in the diaspora.

Events—reality, in general—exceed the grasp of anyone’s intellect, so we need the whole community to reflect on the crucial questions that you raised and connect them to the feelings, needs, hopes, and demands of the masses as they organize, discuss, agitate, and solve daily problems, in light of the historical past and future of the whole Philippines. This long durable chronicle of resistance, not elections every six years, is what will decide the fate of the Du30 regime, as well as those to come.
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<philcsc@gmail.com> <philcsc@sbcglobal.net>Between Empire

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Metakomentaryo 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


E. San Juan, Jr., ‘For a ‘Third Reconstruction’: An Interview with Bill Fletcher, Jr.’

Source: E. San Juan, Jr., ‘For a ‘Third Reconstruction’: An Interview with Bill Fletcher, Jr.’