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Cadre as informal diplomats: Ferdinand Marcos and the Soviet Bloc, 1965-1975



An examination of the class function of Stalinism and the informal networks which it established, through the movement of cadre and ideas, on behalf of sections of the ruling elite throughout the underdeveloped world in the mid-twentieth century, allows us to see past the traditional top-down geopolitical division of the world in the cold war to a richer understanding of the development of political and social struggles within these countries. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, from 1965 to 1975, engaged in secret and wide-ranging informal diplomacy with the Soviet bloc using the transnational connections of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) [Communist Party of the Philippines]. The PKP, while officially an illegal organization, had endorsed Marcos for president in 1965 and he had appointed some of its members to positions within his government as salaried “researchers.” The party was split along lines drawn by the Sino-Soviet dispute, and a rival party, the CPP, was formed in 1967, with ties to Beijing. Marcos sought two things from the PKP: the secret negotiation of diplomatic and economic relations with Moscow, and the eventual support of the party for his imposition of dictatorship, giving martial law a progressive veneer. The economic ties with Moscow, arranged through these secret channels, were meant to provide leverage for renegotiating the unequal economic terms of the Bell Trade Act and the Laurel-Langley Agreement with Washington. The PKP meanwhile sought Soviet funds to secure national industrialization and the military might of the Marcos dictatorship to suppress their rival, the CPP. The informal network of the PKP, both its salaried ‘researchers’ and exiled representatives in Europe, allowed Marcos to circumvent the political barriers imposed by both domestic rivals and geopolitical ties with Washington. The informal network of the PKP provided Marcos with a domestic incentive as well, as the party endorsed Marcos’ dictatorship, ghostwriting his justification for martial law, and made support for his military rule a component of their constitution.
Cadre as informal diplomats: Ferdinand Marcos and the
Soviet Bloc, 19651975
Joseph Scalice
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
An examination of the class function of Stalinism and the informal
networks which it established, through the movement of cadre
and ideas, on behalf of sections of the ruling elite throughout the
underdeveloped world in the mid-twentieth century, allows us to
see past the traditional top-down geopolitical division of the world
in the cold war to a richer understanding of the development of
political and social struggles within these countries. Philippine
President Ferdinand Marcos, from 1965 to 1975, engaged in secret
and wide-ranging informal diplomacy with the Soviet bloc using
the transnational connections of the Partido Komunista ng
Pilipinas (PKP) [Communist Party of the Philippines]. The PKP, while
ocially an illegal organization, had endorsed Marcos for president
in 1965 and he had appointed some of its members to positions
within his government as salaried researchers.The party was split
along lines drawn by the Sino-Soviet dispute, and a rival party, the
CPP, was formed in 1967, with ties to Beijing. Marcos sought two
things from the PKP: the secret negotiation of diplomatic and
economic relations with Moscow, and the eventual support of the
party for his imposition of dictatorship, giving martial law a
progressive veneer. The economic ties with Moscow, arranged
through these secret channels, were meant to provide leverage for
renegotiating the unequal economic terms of the Bell Trade Act
and the Laurel-Langley Agreement with Washington. The PKP
meanwhile sought Soviet funds to secure national industrialization
and the military might of the Marcos dictatorship to suppress their
rival, the CPP. The informal network of the PKP, both its salaried
researchersand exiled representatives in Europe, allowed Marcos
to circumvent the political barriers imposed by both domestic
rivals and geopolitical ties with Washington. The informal network
of the PKP provided Marcos with a domestic incentive as well, as
the party endorsed Marcosdictatorship, ghostwriting his
justication for martial law, and made support for his military rule
a component of their constitution.
Cold war; informal
diplomacy; strongmen;
Stalinism; martial law;
Communist Party of the
Philippines; Ferdinand
On September 21 1972, Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law on the Philippines, launch-
ing a military dictatorship that lasted for fourteen years with the unstinting political
support and military aid of Washington. (Bonner 1987) Within ve months, the Partido
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Joseph Scalice
Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) had ocially endorsed Marcosdictatorial rule and within
two years the party had ocially entered into Marcosgovernment, becoming the core
of the Departments of Labor and Foreign Aairs, and providing support to military intelli-
gence as it cracked down on the rival Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). A central
justication for the relations which the PKP established with the martial law regime was
the nexus of ties established by Marcos with the Soviet bloc, which were negotiated by
the PKP who acted as informal diplomats for the authoritarian leader. An examination
of the role which the PKP played in the elaboration of components of the foreign
policy of the Marcos regime allows us to grasp a critical aspect of the function of informal
diplomatic networks: not only can they ease the creation of dicult foreign ties, but they
can at the same time, and as a quid pro quo for their informal authority, serve as a dom-
estic political constituency, facilitating their allys consolidation of dictatorial power.
My historical examination of the role of the PKP in the imposition of dictatorship by
Ferdinand Marcos expands our understanding of the relationship between strongmen
and networks of informal diplomacy by bringing to light two critical functions that
these networks can serve during the period in which strongman rule is being consoli-
dated. First, the informal character of the diplomacy conducted by the cadre of the
PKP gave to their actions a plausible deniability that allowed Marcos to maneuver in con-
travention to the countrys bureaucratic and legal norms which were bound up with
Manilas formal geopolitical alignment with Washington and which he had not yet mas-
tered through the establishment of authoritarian rule. Second, the networks of the PKP
brought behind the strongman, not simply their covert international diplomacy but
their social base of domestic support as well. To a large extent, Marcos secured the
support of the social base of the PKP the workers, peasants, and youths in its front
organizations by an unwritten contract with the party leadership deputizing them as
informal diplomats. The ties they negotiated with Moscow, while useful to Marcos,
were the prize they themselves sought.
The seemingly contradictory alliance established between a local communist party and
a US backed military dictatorship was in fact not an aberration from, but an expression of,
the Stalinist programme of the PKP. In an eort to secure and expand their own privileged
positions, the ruling bureaucracies in Moscow and Beijing put forward the nationalist pro-
gramme of building socialism in one country. Seeking to establish trade and diplomatic
ties with various capitalist powers, they instructed Communist Parties around the globe
to secure relations with leading sections of the ruling elite by oering them the
support of the workers and peasants who looked to the party for leadership. Stalinism
justied this support on the grounds of the two-stage revolution, which argued that in
countries of belated capitalist development the tasks of the revolution were not yet
socialist in nature, but remained of a national and democratic character. A section of
the capitalist class, therefore, the national bourgeoisie,would play a progressive role.
While they shared this common programme, the Stalinist bureaucracies in Moscow and
Beijing each sought to build socialism within the borders of their own country, on the
basis of their own national interests. By the 1960s, these interests had inevitably diverged,
resulting in open conict and setting osplits in Communist Parties around the world.
Focusing on the networks of informal diplomacy established by the Marcos adminis-
tration through the PKP can allow us to see past the traditional geopolitical divisions of
the cold war, which place Manila rmly in the camp of Washington, its former colonial
master, to the underlying question of class relations.
Running through much of the
recent literature on the cold war has been a concern that its framework might obscure
the complexities of regional and local political developments, constraining them within
geopolitical camps. (see in particular Ang 2018; Westad 2017; the instructive discussion
in Simpson et. al. 2019; and the inuential attempt to move from a geopolitical to a cul-
tural and local understanding of the cold war, Kwon 2010) It is a salutary concern but runs
the risk of positing a false dichotomy: either geopolitics or more complex local dynamics.
The insistent focus on local complexities threatens to obscure scholarly understanding
just as much as the earlier perspective of great power politics. Kwon argues that the
history of the global cold war consists of a multitude of these locally specic historical rea-
lities and variant human experiencesand that these cannot be forced into a single coher-
ent conceptual whole.(Kwon 2010,67)
The xation on the local and the national runs the risk of lapsing into parochialism by
failing to take seriously what was being localized and adapted by Communist parties and
their allies, i.e. Stalinism. Stalinism was a global force with a coherently articulated pro-
gramme. It was not the ideas of Marxism, or the Communist Manifesto, or even of Lenin
that were being localized; it was Socialism in One Country, the two-stage theory of revo-
lution and the bloc of four classes. What is more, what has often undergirded scholarship
on the localization of Communism has been a rather narrow conception that the ambit of
local agency was constrained to the boundaries of the nation-state. Here the examination
of the signicance of network societies for strongman politics elaborated in the introduc-
tion to this special issue is particularly apt. Local communist leaders did more than
implement and adapt the programme of Stalinism to the cultural, linguistic and political
specicities of their country. In the process, they shaped global Stalinism. They were full
participants in the implementation and shaping of a uid, international political
Stalinism ultimately sought to bring about an alignment between the national inter-
ests of a section of the capitalist class in underdeveloped countries throughout the
world with the national interests of the bureaucracy in either Moscow or Beijing. This
was achieved by subordinating to these capitalist interests the movement of broad
masses of the population, in particular the working class and peasantry. It was fundamen-
tally this alignment of class interests and not the following of orders that determined the
elaboration of the global Stalinist politics expressed in Communist parties around the
world. This subordination of a mass movement to the interests of a section of the elite
gave the informal networks of Stalinism a decisive domestic function, comparable in
some ways to the jaringan of the Military Catholic networks examined by Nair.
While the networks of Stalinism ultimately converged upon the centres of Moscow and
Beijing their routes were circuitous, as both cadre and strategy passed through dierent
geographical nodes at dierent historical junctures. Prior to the period which I examine in
this article, the networks of Philippine Stalinism were largely bound up with the United
States, particularly during the period of direct American colonial rule, and with Indonesia
as the regional inuence of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) expanded in the late
Attention to the informal networks of Stalinism, to the movement of cadre and ideas,
playing out alongside, and at times against the grain, of ocial geopolitical divisions and
diplomatic machinations, allows us to trace a narrative that is signicantly richer than
what is conventionally known as cold war historiography. These networks ultimately fol-
lowed the map of class struggle far more closely than they did the map of geopolitics.
Geopolitical and social context
The restabilization of capitalism in the wake of the Second World War, funded by
Washington and carried out on terms which it dictated, had established a temporary equi-
librium which rested above all on the unprecedented level of global economic dominance
exercised by one nation the United States. This equilibrium could not be sustained. The
economies of Europe and Japan, so necessary as buers against both the Communist bloc
and working class unrest, had to be rebuilt, and the buers rapidly became rivals.
The postwar economic hegemony of Washington was built upon an economic super-
iority that, as the 1950s aged, eroded, and was sustained by the machinations of the CIA
which toppled, installed and propped up leaders around the globe. The massive export of
US capital, in conjunction with the establishment of the gold-convertible US dollar as the
world currency, gave a monetary expression to the relative decline of American capitalism
in the early 1960s. Washingtons shrinking stake in the global economy could be assayed
at the rate of thirty-ve dollars to the ounce and measured by its inability to pay. A crisis
was in the ong and the palace intrigues and little wars of US intelligence could no
longer sustain its rule. 1965 was the tipping point. Economic dominance had eroded
under American hegemony and the entire edice threatened to collapse. New forms of
rule were required, a mass deployment of the military and a vast apparatus of social
repression war and dictatorship, Vietnam and Indonesia.
At stake in this violent rebalancing were not simply US interests. Capitalism around the
globe, from the nancial speculations in London to sugar plantations on the island of
Negros, had been rebuilt out of the ashes of the war on the scaolding of Bretton
Woods. The sharp balance of payments crisis in Washington expressed the rot pervading
the entire structure; the scaolding groaned ominously. The British pound sterling was
devalued in 1967 and in March of the next year, banks closed in the face of the gold
crisis. A two-tier ction was established by an emergency summit of world banks on
March 17: central banks would honour the thirty-ve dollar convertibility, all other deal-
ings would follow the free market price of gold. Massive ination and a mad scramble to
secure prots followed; the living standards of the working class around the globe were
slashed to the bone. In August 1971, Nixon ended dollar convertibility and the foun-
dations of the post-war order collapsed.
A component of the post-war hegemony of Washington was the entirely subservient
and dependent economy which it chartered of its former colony, the Philippines. Under
the terms established in particular by the Bell Trade Act (1946) and the Laurel-Langley
Agreement (1955), the Philippine economy was tied to the US as a source of cheap raw
materials and a market for nished goods. As the undisputed dominance of the US
dollar declined and then spiralled into crisis, Filipino capitalists scrambled to secure
their interests, seeking new markets and the renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley
Crisis entailed unrest. Prots were imperilled and needed to be secured through the
increased exploitation of workers. The cost of basic necessaries soared; the price of
rent and food expanded beyond the reach of an average workers pay. The ghetto
uprisings in the United States of 196465, brutally suppressed, presaged a threatening
future for world capitalism. Anti-war demonstrations followed. By 1968, the French
working class had shut down the country in the largest general strike in history.
Immense social struggles returned to the fore and in the air was the question of revolu-
tion. This was sharply expressed in the Philippines. Mass anger at the brutality of the
American war in Vietnam combined with rapidly worsening living conditions to
produce a palpable sense that an explosion was imminent. In August 1967, Marshall
Wright of the National Security Council wrote to National Security Advisor Walt Rostow,
It would be nearly impossible to overestimate the gravity of the problems with which our
next ambassador to Manila must deal. It has become common-place for people knowledge-
able on the Philippines to predict a vast social upheaval in the near future. There is wide-
spread talk that the current president will be the last popularly elected Philippine chief
executive. Many high-level American ocials consider the Philippines to be the most
serious and the most bleak threat that we face in Asia. (Wright 2000)
As Marcos took oce in 1966 the quiet measured steps toward dictatorship commenced.
In August 1969, the economic crisis broke: an irremediable balance of payments decit,
massive ination, and a devastating rice shortage. Months later, Marcos secured reelec-
tion, trouncing his Liberal Party opponent and becoming the rst incumbent president
to retain oce in Philippine history. Their prots and political oces were alike at
stake, and the opposition turned murderous. Social crisis and political crisis aligned.
It was in this context that the PKP tore itself apart. The pressure of the brewing social
storm bore down with unbearable intensity upon the party responsible for marshalling
the nervous energy of the streets through the established corridors of power without dis-
turbing the wall hangings. In keeping with its Stalinist programme, the partys entire lea-
dership sought national industrialization and the defense of the interests of Filipino
capitalists, but the means of doing so were in dispute. Should the party remain allied
to forces looking to suppress the emerging unrest, or should it rather ally with those pol-
itical representatives of the capitalist class who sought to use the unrest to their own pol-
itical advantage?
The entire leadership agreed that economic ties with the Communist bloc were necess-
ary to their purpose. Trade with Moscow or Beijing, they argued, would allow Filipino capi-
talists to break free of the hated Laurel-Langley Agreement and provide them access to
new markets. The Sino-Soviet split, however, compelled a diplomatic choice, for you
could not secure ties with both Moscow and Beijing in 1966. As with social unrest, so
too with geopolitics: the goal was shared, the means in dispute; the compulsion of
choice gripped the PKP.
An important and growing section of Filipino capitalists sought ties with Moscow. Their
interests and ideas were best articulated in the pages of Tonypet AranetasGraphic
Weekly, which in 1966 began running articles in nearly every issue on the benets of
trade relations with the Soviet bloc. The Soviet economy oered a market for Philippine
goods and could serve as an alternative source of loans and aid. The Chinese economy
was qualitatively weaker and could not full this function.
Marcos, freshly elected with the support of both the Kabataang Makabayan (KM,
Nationalist Youth) and Lapiang Manggagawa (LM, Workers Party) the youth and
labour wings of the PKP was from the beginning of his term receptive to the
opening of diplomatic and economic ties with Moscow. In his rst statement to the press
outlining the foreign policy perspectives of the incoming administration, MarcosForeign
Secretary, Narciso Ramos, stated that Manila would give due considerationto any
sincere Russian proposalto establish diplomatic relations. The Marcos government,
however, would remain opposed to any kind of relationship political or commercial
with the Beijing regime.(Philippines Free Press 15 Jan 1966, 65)
Working with Executive Secretary Rafael Salas, Marcos brought leading party members
and broad layers of its periphery into his administration, appointing them to comfortable
salaried oces from which they could conduct the aairs of the party. The policies of
Brezhnev, a continuation and development of those of Khrushchev, lent themselves
above all to the endorsement of and alliance with dictatorship. In the middle of 1965,
between the American invasion of Vietnam and the slaughter of the Indonesian Commu-
nist Party (PKI), the Shah visited Moscow and was fe
ted. In the same month, Houari Bou-
médiène ousted Ahmed Ben Bella in Algeria in a military coup, installing himself as
unelected leader for life; Moscow immediately moved to embrace him. Despite the gen-
ocide in Indonesia, Moscow maintained uninterrupted diplomatic ties with Jakarta and by
October 1966, Foreign Minister Adam Malik, instrumental in the ouster of Sukarno, tra-
velled to Moscow and secured a deferral on Jakartas debt repayment of $40 million,
which had been incurred through the purchase of Soviet military hardware used in the
murder of the PKI.
This then was a possible tack. Marcos was maneuvering toward dictatorship but was
seeking ties with the USSR and was secretly allied with the PKP. Moscow had clearly estab-
lished that it would support and fund dictatorships as a method of securing its geopoli-
tical interests, and these ties, it was reasoned, could build national industry and further
the growth of native capitalism. A social explosion was imminent, however, and this
choice to knowingly tred the path to dictatorship in the furtherance of capitalist inter-
ests would place the party on the outside of the barricades. It was a perilous choice, for if
the explosion was not contained the party would lose everything. Those who chose
Moscow and Marcos staked their political future on the successful imposition of martial
law, and thus, as waves of social struggle washed over Manila, they launched bombing
campaigns to justify its imposition and ghostwrote Marcosapologia for dictatorship.
Broad layers of the PKP bent to this conception. A signicant portion of the partys lea-
dership largely academic and professional elements, many now employed in Salas
oces saw their interests best articulated here. They took with them the partys old
established trade unions, but these were not ghting organs of the working class and
they carried greater weight on paper than they did on the streets. Above all, the party
retained MASAKA, a mass peasant organization founded on the sole political conception
of appealing to a powerful executive for reform. The majority of the partys youth, now
organized in the KM, were the sons and daughters of MASAKA and they too followed
this line. In sum, as the horizon darkened ominously, a vast majority of the party posi-
tioned itself behind Moscow and Marcos, and its leadership took up the role of informal
Beijing in the mid-1960s sought to whip up armed struggle throughout the region to
diuse the threat of US imperialism from Chinas immense imperilled borders. While
Moscow embraced the Shah, Lin Biao articulated the line of protracted peoples war,
armed uprisings throughout the countryside of the worldbacked by China, the
Yanan of world revolution.(Lin 1967) This line contained not a shred of opposition to the
capitalist class; it was, in fact, mobilized in service to it. Beijing, its historical ties to October
1917 more starkly attenuated and deformed than those of Moscow, made less eort to
dress up its line of class collaboration in Marxist garb. It openly hailed capitalism as revo-
lutionary and needful, while publicly lauding progressivearistocrats and monarchs. (The
Polemic1965, 15) Where Moscow sought the support of dictators to stabilize its peaceful
coexistence with Washington, Beijing pursued ties with restive sections of the bourgeoi-
sie, the excluded opposition in a time of unrest, the conspiring understudies in the drama
of dictatorship. China could not oer economic blandishments comparable to those of
the Soviet Union, but it could supply and orient the barrel of a gun. A peasant army, orga-
nized under the leadership of a party loyal to Beijing, would bring tremendous social
weight to the bourgeois opposition in a time of uncertainty, unrest, and uprising.
Rather than weather the impending storm, parties loyal to the line of Beijing sought to
ride it, channeling its energy behind the rival candidates for dictatorship. Despite the
fact that it was weaker than Moscow, Beijing could thus compel the dispersal of Washing-
tons forces from its borders, spreading them thin throughout the region, and secure ties
with potential future rulers. The contending forces within the PKP expressed the contend-
ing interests of rival sections of the ruling class all of whom shared a common goal, martial
law, but some of whom required the rst waves of unrest to thrust them into oce before
it was imposed.
It was thus that a political organization with a common programme, common history,
and common orientation, split in two. They shared a yearning for national industrializ-
ation and the ourishing of native capitalists. The crisis of capitalist rule, however the
imminent social explosion and the drive to dictatorship split their ranks. Both retained
the stamp of Stalinism, but they bound themselves to rival sets of interests: the contend-
ing sections of the ruling class and the conicting national interests of the Stalinist
Early diplomacy and relations with Marcos
Excitement surrounding the possibility of diplomatic ties and trade relations with Moscow
and the Soviet bloc gripped a seemingly disparate set of interests: the left-leaning
Tonypet Araneta and his Graphic Weekly; the President of the Chamber of Commerce,
Teosto Guingona Jr.; the Congressional anti-Communist witchhunter, Carmelo
Barbero; and Malacañang itself. The common orientation of these forces was to carry
out a rewriting of the Laurel-Langley Agreement, loosening the grip of US nance
capital and securing a larger share of the prots. Successful negotiation would require
access to new markets and an alternative source of loans and investment. Coming to
terms with the Soviet bloc might supply Manila with sucient economic weight to
strike a better deal with Washington. On December 15 1966, the Foreign Aairs oce
issued a circular to the countrys 33 embassies and 17 consular missions abroad,
urging the tapping of all possible sources of foreign credit and nancing for Philippine
economic development projects.”’ (Manila Bulletin, 16 Dec 1966) To conclude such an
arrangement with the Soviet bloc would require the establishment of friendly relations
between Manila and Moscow. A section of the leadership of the PKP, who in the wake
of their support for Marcospresidential candidacy in 1965 were appointed to
government salaried positions by the new administration, stood at the centre of this
eort, using their oces to negotiate geopolitical ties not only between the two capitals,
but also between the PKP and the CPSU.
Teodosio Lansang, a leading member of the PKP long in exile in the Soviet Union, facili-
tated the initial stages of the negotiations.
An English teacher and journalist, Lansang
joined the PKP in 1947 and two years later was chosen to serve as an international repre-
sentative of the party. On April 28, 1949, Lansang travelled to China and eventually took
up residence in Beijing, attending the inauguration of the new Peoples Republic on
October 1. Using the pseudonyms Lin Ching Shan and Manuel Cruz, Lansang attended
international conferences in Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, and Beijing where he represented
the PKP and met with Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, and Mao Zedong. Over the course of
seven years, Lansang became uent in Mandarin Chinese, assisted Radio Beijing in
setting up Tagalog language broadcasts and wrote news articles for the New China
News Agency (NCNA). In 1956, as tensions between the USSR and China began to
mount, Lansang was requested by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Soviet
Academy of Social Sciences to move to Moscow to serve as a Junior Scientic worker.
He worked in this capacity for the next decade and earned a Ph.D in Philology. The
Soviet government provided him with comfortablepay, a decent, fairly well-appointed
at in Moscow on a main thoroughfare not far from Red Square,and a vacation resthouse
in the Crimeawhere he spent two months paid vacation every summer.(Graphic Weekly,
15 Jun 1966, 13)
In late 1965, William Pomeroy, who along with his wife, Celia Mariano, had been a
member of the central leadership of the PKP in the 1940s and early 1950s and who
was now in exile in the UK, wrote to Lansang, requesting that he arrange for Celia and
William to visit the Soviet Union. Lansang met them at the Moscow airport in September
1966 and escorted them to a guest house reserved for senior Party leaders visiting the
country,where over the course of seven months the Pomeroys worked to reestablish
ties between the PKP and the CPSU. (Lansang 1999, 53; Fuller 2011, 111)
While the Pomeroys served as the international arm of the PKP, Lansang became the
initial link between various bourgeois interests in the Philippines and the bureaucratic
apparatus in Moscow (Pomeroy 1998). In March 1966, the newly married Tonypet and
Gemma Cruz Araneta visited Lansang in Moscow. Tonypet, who had defended his doc-
toral dissertation at Oxford University on the early history of the PKP but days prior,
carried immense political clout and Lansang noted that he had unobstructed access to
the Palace, his father being secretary general of President Marcospolitical party, the
old original Nacionalista Party.(Lansang 1999, 51; Graphic Weekly, 4 May 1966, 19)
When the Aranetas returned to Manila, Tonypet took the helm of his familys major pub-
lication, Graphic Weekly, a paper which employed several leading literary gures closely
linked to the PKP who would rise to political prominence in the Marcos administration,
including Adrian Cristobal. On March 8, Graphic ran a piece by Araneta entitled, Why
Many Countries Prefer Russian Aid,promoting the opening of economic relations with
the Soviet Union and citing the Shah, Lee Kuan Yew, and Nasser as examples of non-Com-
munist political leaders who had benetted from ties with Moscow. In May, Araneta took
up his duties as publisher and editor of the newsweekly and every subsequent issue for
months carried at least one article on the fascinations of life behind the iron curtainand
the need for trade relations with Moscow whose terms, the paper argued, were far more
generous than those of Washington. Among the rst issues which Araneta published fea-
tured a cover story on Lansang, serialized in three instalments, entitled Our Man in
Moscow.The nal instalment argued that Lansang, because of his knowledgeand
numerous connections at top levels of power,’‘could surely prove a valuable bridge
between our country and those socialist countries as the inevitable, and I repeat inevi-
table time comes when the Philippine Republic becomes liberal and self-condent
enough to establish at least commercial relations with those countries.(Graphic
Weekly, 15 Jun 1966, 13) Looking to accelerate the inevitable, Teosto Guingona Jr., Gov-
ernor of the Development Bank of the Philippines and President of the Philippine
Chamber of Commerce, travelled to Moscow to visit Lansang, and Araneta met with
Marcos to arrange Lansangs return. (Lansang 1999, 108)
At the beginning of the new year Lansang departed Moscow and on January 13 1967,
he arrived in Manila to a VIP reception. His luggage was passed through customs without
inspection and a bevy of reporters met him at the airport to interview him about his years
in the Communist bloc. Emmanuel Yap, assistant to House Speaker Jose B. Laurel, picked
Lansang up at the airport and welcomed him as a guest in his home for his rst few nights
in Manila. Yap arranged a fully furnished apartment for Lansang within several days of his
arrival. (Lansang 1999, 51)
Yap, a Georgetown educated economist, maintained intimate ties with the PKP
throughout his life but never formally joined the organization. (Dalisay and Yap 2016,
30, 102) Yap was convinced that it was time for the Philippines to decouple itself from
its political and economic dependence on the US, to map out an independent foreign
policy, and to seek new friends and partners across the Cold War boundary.(Dalisay
and Yap 2016, 109) In 1966, as Yap recalled in a letter to Leticia Shahani, Speaker
Laurel and President Marcos asked me to head the stathat would explore the possi-
bilities of establishing relations with Communist countries.Yap was immediately sent to
Europeand in the course of this visit he met with Lansang in Moscow. (Dalisay and Yap
2016, 1778) Within a week of Lansangs arrival in Manila, Yap brought him to the oce of
Foreign Aairs Secretary Narciso Ramos for an ocial brieng in which Ramos requested
that Lansang write a report on the Soviet Union to aid in the creation of formal diplomatic
relations. Ramos held a press conference shortly afterwards to publicly announce that the
Marcos administration would work to establish trade relations with the USSR and Eastern
Yap led the creation of the Special Committee to Re-examine Philippine National Policy
towards Communist Countries, under the leadership of Congressman Manuel Enverga,
head of the House Foreign Aairs Committee. Lansang was placed on stafrom 1967
68 as Envergascondential technical assistantafter testifying before the Special Com-
mittee in early February. (Lansang 1999, 80; Del Rosario 1977) The charter of the
Special Committee was made ocial with House Resolution No. 26, adopted on May
10 1967, which declared that the Enverga Missionstask was to reopen the study of
the Republics attitude and ocial policies towards (socialist) countries in the light of
the much-changed nature and character of world aairs since the end of World War II.
(Dalisay and Yap 2016, 105) The Enverga Mission departed on July 12 and returned on
December 22, visiting the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany,
Hungary, and Romania. Yap travelled with Enverga and on their return he wrote the
Enverga Report, describing the Soviet bloc countries as forward-looking, unafraid of
the future, proud of their achievements in national construction, friendly and sympathetic
to peoples less developed and less successful in constructiveness than they.(Dalisay and
Yap 2016, 108)
Lansang was rewarded for his role in facilitating the opening of ties with the Soviet
Union. In the wake of his testimony before the Enverga Committee, a set of well-to-do
nationalist friendsprovided him with a red Pontiac and a new house located in PhilAm
Life Homes in Quezon City, a gated enclave with a central park and a clubhouse with a
swimming pool. (Lansang 1999, 61) Lansang reported that the so-called bourgeoisie
like the Aranetas came quite often to visit.(Lansang 1999, 67)
Lansang had been brought back to the Philippines by the Marcos administration and
its apparatus, which included a number of PKP members and supporters, with the under-
standing that he would complete two tasks. He was expected to facilitate the opening of
diplomatic, cultural and economic ties with the Soviet Union and to establish close
relations between the CPSU and the PKP. Lansang carried out the rst role as expected
and was rewarded for his eorts, but he did not full the second, which required direct
intervention against the increasingly pro-China wing of the party, to the satisfaction of
either the PKP leadership or the CPSU. On the eve of his departure from Moscow, the
Pomeroys urged him to denounce China but he expressed a reluctance to take a side
in the Sino-Soviet dispute, a position which intensely angered William. Lansang sought
to get the PKP to ignore the dispute entirely and adopt a new political model, inspired
by Lee Kuan Yew, of strongman nationalism in support of Marcos which he styled as inde-
pendent Filipino socialism.Over the course of the next several years, Lansang was
reported to have proudly boastedthat Marcos was intending to oer him a position
in the Ministry of Socialist Aairs.(Wenceslao 1971, 48)
The waing politics and personal opportunism of Lansang compelled the PKP to
pursue another means of establishing regular ties with the CPSU, and in this, Ruben
Torres played a central role. The son of the mayor of Botolan, Zambales, Torres enrolled
at UP in 1958 at the age of seventeen, and upon completing his bachelors degree, he
took up the study of law. The upsurge of student radicalism in early 1965, which found
expression in the growth of the newly formed KM and large protests against the American
war in Vietnam, inspired Torres and he began leading demonstrations and rose rapidly in
the UP activist community. Torres joined the PKP in mid 1965, recruited by Francisco
Nemenzo and Merlin Magallona. (Damo-Santiago 1972, 72; Joaquin 2003, 47, 65)
Torres passed the bar in 1966 and was immediately hired by Rafael Salas, Marcos
Executive Secretary, whose oce provided employment to several members of the PKP
and facilitated their international travel. In the early part of 1967, Torres travelled to
Moscow to meet with the Pomeroys. (Scalice 2017, 296) Over the next year, he rose to
become the head of the PKP international department, a member of the Central Commit-
tee and the third highest ranking ocial in the party. Torres travelled to Moscow more
than eleven times, including six or seven visits after the declaration of martial law. Joa-
quins account reports that he travelled to East Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet
Union as long as it was an international gathering in a socialist state, Ruben would
be there.(Joaquin 2003, 80). Keeping the international delegate of the PKP on stain
Malacañang was not an ideal arrangement for the Marcos administration, as the youth
around Sison had already begun denouncing them as Salas’‘boys.(October 24th Move-
ment 1966) Under newly appointed UP President Salvador Lopez, the University Oce of
Legal Counsel became the mechanism for funnelling government stipends to the inter-
national delegation of the party. PKP leaders Ruben Torres, Haydee Yorac and Merlin
Magallona all held salaried positions as permanent researchers, while Torres, assisted
by Yorac and Magallona, carried out political negotiations with the CPSU. Torres later
transferred to work in the oce of key Marcos administration gure, Juan Ponce Enrile,
the leading architect of martial law, before returning again to the UP Legal Counsel.
Throughout this period, on government stipend, he carried out the international work
of the party.
Fashioning the pretexts for martial law
The opening of the decade saw the long-anticipated explosion of social anger burst
across the stage of Philippine politics. In January 1970, a series of mass protests, each vio-
lently suppressed by the government, broke out in Manila, shaking the metropolis over
the course of three months. The events would later become known as the First Quarter
Storm. While the protests temporarily died down, the ferment of social unrest remained
at the boiling point. The CPP grew rapidly in this period, channeling the unrest behind
their ruling class political allies who sought to topple Marcos. (Scalice 2018) A wing of
the PKP began secretly collaborating with Marcosmilitary forces to stage bombings
throughout Manila in 1971 and 72. Marcos publicly attributed each bombing to the
Beijing-aligned CPP and listed these staged provocations as essential justications for
imposing martial law.
Marcos had from the beginning of his presidency incorporated a number of leading
fellow-travelers of the PKP into the inner circle of his administration, among them Blas
Ople and Adrian Cristobal, who served as Secretary and Undersecretary of Labor respect-
ively while maintaining intimate ties with the leadership of the party. Cristobal not only
served as Undersecretary of Labor, he also functioned as a ghostwriter for Marcos, and
in this capacity he wrote Marcosbook Todays Revolution: Democracy. (Quiros 1997, 40,
330) The book was published in late 1971, in the wake of Marcossuspension of the
writ of habeas corpus. It argued that the political task of the day was the democratic revo-
lution, which would be implemented by the Marcos government, not from above the Phi-
lippine polity but from its centre, a conception which corresponded closely to Sukarnos
guided democracy. The book stated that Marcos might declare martial law, but this would
not be in opposition to democracy but in aid to its fuller implementation against those
who threatened the democratic revolution.
Cristobal attributed to Lenin Stalins theory of a two-stage revolution, and TodaysRevo-
lution: Democracy put in the mouth of Ferdinand Marcos the phrase To Lenin we owe the
statement that there could not be revolution without a revolutionary theory. Lenin con-
ceived of the revolution in two steps: the rst the bourgeois, then the proletarian.(Marcos
1971,60)Cristobals Marcos asserted that the democratic revolution in the Philippines was
nationalist,(64) and entailed above all dealing with social inequality, and stated that The
dominant characteristic of our society which demands radical change is the economic gap
between the rich and poor.(7879) This, he argued, was rooted above all in the Philippines
oligarchic society.Not all of the wealthy were oligarchs, he continued, and [w]hen I speak,
therefore, of oligarchy, I refer to the few who would promote their selsh interests through
the indirect or irresponsible exercise of public and private power.(96)
The book laid the political foundation for depicting Marcos seizure of the assets of his
political rivals through the mechanisms of dictatorship as the implementation of the
democratic revolution.In like manner it depicted the curtailing of the freedom of the
press as a necessary measure. The oligarchs, Cristobals Marcos claimed, controlled the
press, and the press therefore needed to be regulated or controlled, as the oligarchic insti-
tution of journalism abused the name of public serviceand was panderingto the low
taste of the masses.(100) The issue of inequality Marcos wrote was inescapable. As I have
said earlier, there are two alternatives: socialization and democratization.By socialization
Marcos meant the seizure of wealth and its redistribution, something he ercely opposed,
and to which he presented democratization as the alternative. Democratization meant
that the centre Marcos and his administration would seize the assets of the oligarchs
and use them for democraticpurposes, while the wealth of all those not deemed oli-
garchswould be secure. Among the assets of the oligarchs was the press, which
would be controlled in the interest of democracy.The implementation of these
measures, the book openly admitted, might require martial law.
In modied Stalinist rhetoric, Todays Revolution: Democracy laid out Marcosproposal
to declare himself dictator, seize the assets of his rivals, and shut down the press. The PKP
thus had one of its leading supporters write the document which it then used as the
pretext to show that Marcos and martial law were progressive and which Marcos
himself used as the justication for dictatorship. Jesus Lava, a long-time leader of the
PKP, wrote a public response to the release of Todays Revolution: Democracy,eusively
describing the book as a brilliant analysis of the ills of Philippine society as well as a pre-
scription for a revolutionfrom the center.(Lava 2002, 333) The partys leadership
awaited the declaration which everyone knew was coming; they were poised to
support it.
Endorsing the dictator
In September 1972, Marcos had his Defense Minister Enrile stage an attack on his own
motorcade and then used the supposed assassination attempt as the nal pretext for
imposing military rule.
Proclamation 1081, which placed the country under martial
law, allowed Marcos to shut down the press and arrest his political opponents.
The PKP moved rapidly to endorse the new dictator but a section of its membership
rebelled against the idea and by the beginning of October the opposition within the
party had broken from it to form a new organization which called itself the Marxist-Leni-
nist Group (MLG).
The details of the events that followed are as hazy as they are bloody.
The MLG sought to recruit to its ranks from both the PKP and the CPP. Those in the PKP
whom they could not recruit they plotted to assassinate. The PKP responded in fury; the
MLG was an unanticipated barrier to its long plotted alliance with the dictator. They had
carefully calibrated the entire aair, Marcos was now rmly in power, he was suppressing
the Maoists and pursuing ties with Moscow, yet they were not in an alliance with him.
They needed to police their own membership in order to secure permanent, formal
ties with Malacañang. They went on a political killing spree, murdering scores of the
MLG before establishing their alliance with Marcos over the corpses of their cadre. The
exact death toll from this campaign of murder and assassination is unknown. Sison
claimed that the PKP tortured and murdered twenty-seven members of the MLG,and
Rosca claimed that approximately seventy members of the PKP youth were executed by
the leadership, when they refused to accept collaborationwith Marcos. (Sison and
Werning 1989, 79; Rosca 2004, 24) While it is dicult to estimate the body count, it is
safe to say that signicantly more communists were killed by the PKP in the wake of
the declaration of martial law than were killed by the dictatorship. As it carried out the
physical suppression of its own ranks, the PKP leadership issued a Political Transmission
in December which stated that the PKP should help them [the Marcos government] to
annihilate the Maoists.(Fuller 2011, 128) Any opposition to the Marcos dictatorship
would be drowned in blood by the party.
In February 1973, in the midst of its campaign to murder its former cadre, the PKP
called a party congress to compel its remaining membership to endorse the partys
support for the martial law regime. Central Committee member Romeo Dizon stated
that The preparation took more than one year. Even before martial law was declared
there were discussions.(Fuller 2011, 141) Before martial law had been declared, the
party was actively preparing for the congress in which they would ocially embrace it.
The Sixth Congress adopted a Program and a Political Statement, and revised the Con-
stitution of the Party. The Program embodied the formal abandonment by the party of the
characterization of the Philippine economy as semi-feudal and semi-colonial,and its
replacement with the characterization of the exploitation of the Philippine economy as
neo-colonial,a position in keeping with the line being articulated by Moscow since
1969 of the non-Capitalist path of development.(Solodovknikov and Bogoslovsky
1975) Imperialism was developing industrialization through dictatorships, they argued.
The results of this were progressive, should be endorsed, and channeled to the interests
of Moscow.
The Political Statement developed this theme, declaring that
The Philippines is a neocolonial country of dynamic capitalist development. Its economy is in
the main backward and deformed by colonial plunder. Under the hegemony of nance
capital, spearheaded by US imperialism, the Philippines is vigorously being transformed
from a predominantly feudal country into a modern capitalist economy. Today it is experien-
cing a tremendously rapid pace of capitalist buildup through the instrumentality of the
martial-law dictatorship. (PKP 1973b, 29)
While he was carrying it out in the service of nance capital and imperialist interests,
Marcos was in fact developing capitalism in the Philippines, they argued. They repeatedly
stated that dictatorship accelerated this necessary process. There were barriers to the
development of capitalism in the country, particularly the old feudal oligarchies, whose
opposition meant that the capitalist reforms which Marcos was undertaking would take
two hundred years to complete. (PKP 1973b, 42) Martial law, however, stripped this oppo-
sition of its power and would pave way for a more accelerated capitalist development.
(PKP 1973b, 43) Dictatorship allowed the Marcos regime to undertake the sweeping
implementation of capitalism in a way that could not otherwise be achieved and the
PKP estimated that it would take ve years of martial law to carry out these measures.
The line of non-Capitalist development being purveyed by Moscow meant that not all
autocratic or dictatorial regimes were to be opposed. It depended on their orientation:
dictatorships allied to US imperialism were bad autocracies, while those with ties to
Moscow were building socialism and were thus good autocracies. Marcosmartial law
was contradictory, the PKP argued. It was serving the interests of neocolonialism by build-
ing capitalism in the Philippines, and this was, for at least the next ve years, a positive
development. Marcos was also opening ties to the Soviet Union and there was thus
the possibility that the dictatorial powers of Marcos could be used to build socialism in
the Philippines by taking the non-Capitalist path of development, a possibility which
the PKP included in a section of their Political Statement entitled The Philippine Road
to Socialism.(PKP 1973c,1516) According to the PKP, the socialist states are the decisive
factor in world development.(PKP 1973b, 6) It was support from Moscow which would
make it possible for autocrats in Algeria, Egypt, Burma and the Philippines to build social-
ism. The working class, which Marxism described as the revolutionary class for the build-
ing of socialism and the gravediggersof capitalism, played but a secondary role. Their
task was to support Marcos so that Moscow could assist him in building socialism. To
further the positive possibilities latent within martial law the PKP needed a free hand
to support and pressure the Marcos regime, and thus needed to be a legal organization
and play a key role in his government. This was the conclusion of the PKP congress.
In the wake of the Congress, the PKP demanded a renewal of party membership, and
every cadre had to state agreement with the documents of the Congress in order to
remain in the PKP. You could not be a member of the party unless you were prepared
to ally with Marcos and endorse martial law. (PKP 1973a, 27)
PKP Central Committee member Merlin Magallona played an instrumental role in nego-
tiating between the party and the Marcos government and as a result was made Underse-
cretary of Foreign Aairs for the martial law regime. (Lava 2002, 334) Throughout this period,
as the PKP conducted negotiations with the dictatorship, Ruben Torres both headed the
eorts to murder the MLG and travelled repeatedly to Moscow with the assistance of the
Marcos government. Despite later claims, the party leadership was not underground, nor
were they at risk of arrest. Pomeroy recounted that advanced stage negotiations were
held between a a PKP PB [Politburo] delegationand top level army and intelligence
ocersin mid-1974. (Pomeroy 1993, 73) The PKP leadership thus carried out its nego-
tiations not with the land reform bureau, the labour ministry, or with Marcos himself, but
with military intelligence and reached a settlement in September 1974.
On October 11, in a widely publicized meeting between Marcos and twenty-seven
members of the PKP leadership, Felicisimo Macapagal, the secretary general of the
Party, declared the PKPs support for Marcos:
For the rst time in the political history of our country, genuine reforms are being directed
and carried out in a determined manner by no less than the President; reforms that are
meant to advance the frontiers of social justice and open opportunities for a better life for
all our people.
They staged a symbolic turning over of rearms to the president and Marcos instructed
the military and the PKP to prepare a joint study of areas in which the PKP could partici-
pate in the various programmes of the government.(Fuller 2011, 186) Five days later the
PKP held a joint press conference at Camp Crame with top military ocials and both
Macapagal and Merlin Magallona spoke, again declaring the partys support for Marcos.
William Pomeroy, writing two decades later, declared that Marcos adhered to [the agree-
ment] and never went back on the terms enabling the PKP to exist and to function legally.
(Pomeroy 1993, 75)
In the months of November and December 1974 a series of public ceremonies were
staged in which PKP members turned over arms and received amnesty, but the arms
which the PKP handed in were often supplied to the PKP members by the military for
the ceremony in order to impress the newspaper photographers.(Fuller 2011, 189)
The ceremonies included not only the formal members of the PKP but also the member-
ship of MASAKA, as thousands of workers and peasants were instructed by the PKP to
attend the ceremonies in November and December, where they were photographed
and ngerprinted by the Philippine Constabulary.
In April 1975, Nicolae Ceauşescu, General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party,
visited Manila and signed a joint declaration with Marcos, and on June 2 1976, the Philip-
pines established formal diplomatic relations with the USSR. (Del Rosario 1975, 131136;
Del Rosario 1977, Appendix EE, 1261) Manila and Bucharest concluded a series of trade
deals, in which the Philippines agreed to supply Romania with twenty-eight million
pounds of nickel, as well as sugar, copra, abaca and other raw materials. (PKP 1975,3)
The PKP, now functioning in a semi-ocial capacity in the Marcos government, issued
warm greetings to Comrade Ceauşescu,who arrived at a most opportune time when
the Philippines is vigorously transforming the American imperialist dictated foreign
policy into one of normalizing relations with the socialist countries.(Macapagal 1975,
10/16.02) The PKP also issued a public statement on the signicance of the visit,
writing that President Ceauşescu himself has shown them [the Filipino people] that com-
munists are not ruthless, power-hungry men out to enrich and aggrandize themselves.
This was, albeit in the negative, a rather precise description of the brutal Stalinist dictator
of Romania. Having lied about Ceauşescu, they turned to Marcos, praising him for his
renunciation of violence as an instrument of international and domestic policy.
Marcosmilitary intelligence forces into which some of the leading members of the
PKP had now been integrated were carrying out torture and murder on an industrial
scale, and yet the PKP claimed that violence was no longer an instrument of domestic
policy. (PKP 1975,12)
The role played by the PKP assisting Marcos in the establishment of ties with the Soviet
bloc and in the imposition of dictatorial rule reveals the dual function that informal dip-
lomats can play for the authoritarian leaders with whom they work. The informality and
plausible deniability of the PKP cadre employed by the Marcos administration allowed it
to circumvent many of the hurdles imposed on its diplomacy by cold-war geopolitics and
domestic political dispute. The national networks of these informal diplomats gave them
a second and, in the end, even more decisive function. The PKP brought the political
weight of their movement, whose appeal was largely based on the false conception
that this Stalinist organization represented the continuity of the October 1917 revolution,
to bear upon scales of bourgeois politics. They assisted the aspiring dictator in his conso-
lidation of power, providing his populism with an ideological language and an ostensibly
Marxist endorsement.
Attention to the global elaboration of the programme of Stalinism, expressed through
and shaped by its regional and local implementations, allows us to examine the intercon-
nections between the development of grass-roots social movements and geopolitical
power struggles in a more nuanced, complex and integrated manner than would other-
wise be possible. What is at stake in this historical inquiry is not fundamentally a question
of either the global cold war or of local political developments. A synthesis of prior scho-
larship is possible, one that moves beyond this dichotomy. Underpinning both was the
crisis of world capitalism and a developing class struggle that could not be contained
within the parameters of either geopolitical machination or local particularity.
1. There is some overlap between my informal networks of Stalinist diplomacy and Susan
Baylyssocialist ecumene.but Baylys ecumene encompasses a set of broadly inclusive
moral, emotional and even aesthetic dispositions,(Bayly 2007, 9) while the informal networks
emerged out of conceptions that were far more explicitly programmatic.
2. My account in this article will focus on the role of the cadre of the PKP as informal diplomats
for Marcos. Mobile students constituted second and parallel set of informal diplomats, they
were largely associated with the front organizations of the CPP and were engaged in informal
diplomacy with Beijing. I explore this in considerable detail in Scalice 2017.
3. The details of Lansangs life are largely drawn from his memoirs (Lansang 1999).
4. I base this on the PKPs own publications, which I detail in Scalice 2017, 70111.
5. Enrile himself later confessed to this. (New York Times, 23 Feb 1986).
6. The details on the suppression of the MLG can be found in Scalice 2017, 79599.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author(s).
Joseph Scalice
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Using a combination of archival, material, spatial and art historical analysis, this thesis examines four monuments constructed or initiated during the colonial rule of the Philippines by the United States (1898 to 1946): the Rizal Monument (1913), the Bonifacio Monument (1933), the Quezon Memorial (1978) and the Pacific War Memorial (1968). I argue that while each of the monuments was used to project an image of the Philippine nation that was shaped by the country’s experience of US rule, this was complicated by alternative visions of nationhood articulated by other commemorative groups, including the Philippine government, veterans groups, the Knights of Rizal, artists, architects, as well as community and business leaders. This commemorative pluralism resulted in “polyphonic memoryscapes” around each of the monuments in which competing images of the nation, in part shaped by class, race and religious divides, exist and collide. These multiple networks of memory contest previous scholarship of the US-colonial Philippines, which has focused on the coloniser-colonised dichotomy, revealing that while tensions remained between the legacy of US rule and the assertion of an independent Philippine nationhood, Philippine monument building did not simply take place within a colonial or postcolonial context but connected to a number of global commemorative practices that positioned Philippine nationhood within a transnational nexus of heritages. In particular, the Bonifacio Monument and the Quezon Memorial were each shaped by broader post-revolution and postcolonial memoryscapes, revealing Philippine connections to the Hispanic diaspora, as well as the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. This thesis also reveals the Christianised image of the nation that proliferates across Philippine colonial and postcolonial commemoration, belying the country’s religious diversity. It also demonstrates the significance of the body and reinterment to this Christian portrayal of the nation and the creation of a sanctified memorial space. Finally, I assert that while the United States used commemoration to depict Philippine independence as a consequence of the US ideal of “freedom”, for Philippine commemorative agents, Philippine nationhood was always founded on the country’s own “heritage of freedom”.
Full-text available
In early February 1971, students at UP Diliman erected barricades, fought off the military, and briefly established the “Diliman Commune.” Using material produced by the “communards” themselves, along with contemporary press reports, I reconstruct the dramatic narrative of the commune and debunk two prominent myths: that it was a spontaneous uprising and that it was an isolated event. The commune was a part of a widely coordinated set of barricades raised by the radical groups Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK) in service, in the final analysis, to the political interests of their ruling class allies in an election year.
Full-text available
In 1967 the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) split in two. Within two years a second party – the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – had been founded. In this work I argue that it was the political program of Stalinism, embodied in both parties through three basic principles – socialism in one country, the two-stage theory of revolution, and the bloc of four classes – that determined the fate of political struggles in the Philippines in the late 1960s and early 1970s and facilitated Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in September 1972. I argue that the split in the Communist Party of the Philippines was the direct expression of the Sino-Soviet split in global Stalinism. The impact of this geopolitical split arrived late in the Philippines because it was initially refracted through Jakarta. It was in the wake of the massacre of the Indonesian Communist Party in 1965-66 that the PKP sought out new contacts with International Communism and in so doing were compelled to take sides in the raging dispute between Moscow and Beijing. On the basis of their common program of Stalinism, both parties in the wake of their split sought to form alliances with sections of the ruling class. The pro-Moscow party allied with Marcos, who was pursuing ties with Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. They facilitated and supported his declaration of Martial Law, murdering the members of the party who opposed this position. The pro-Beijing party responded by channeling the massive social unrest of this period behind the leadership of Marcos’ political rivals. When Marcos declared martial law and arrested his rivals, the movement which had been subordinated to them died. The CPP channeled all residual mass opposition into the armed struggle in the countryside. I based my analysis on the copious documentary record produced by the CPP, PKP and their front organizations at the time, which I correlated carefully with contemporary newspaper accounts. Using this material, I have been able to trace the day-to-day vicissitudes in the political line of the party and the rhetoric used to justify it. On this basis I document that the one unaltered thread woven throughout the entire immense tangle of shifting political tactics and alliances was the program of Stalinism.
Lessons from the Nationalist Struggle: The Life of Emmanuel Quiason Yap
  • Jose Y Dalisay
  • Josef T Yap
Dalisay, Jose Y., and Josef T. Yap. 2016. Lessons from the Nationalist Struggle: The Life of Emmanuel Quiason Yap. Mandaluyong City: Anvil Publishing.
A Century of Activism
  • Corazon Damo-Santiago
Damo-Santiago, Corazon. 1972. A Century of Activism. Manila: Rex Bookstore.
Surfacing the Underground: The Church and State Today
  • Del Rosario
  • G Simeon
Del Rosario, Simeon G. 1975. Surfacing the Underground: The Church and State Today. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Company.
The Involvements of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. with 29 Perpetuated Testimonies Appended
  • Del Rosario
  • G Simeon
Del Rosario, Simeon G. 1977. Surfacing the Underground Part II, Volume One: The Involvements of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. with 29 Perpetuated Testimonies Appended. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Company.
A Movement Divided: Philippine Communism
  • Ken Fuller
Fuller, Ken. 2011. A Movement Divided: Philippine Communism, 1957-1986. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.