"Let us not ask for miracles...let us not ask that he who comes as an outsider to make his fortune and go away afterwards should interest himself in the welfare of the country. What matters to him the gratitude or the curses of a people whom he does not know, in a country where he has no associations, where he has no affections? Fame to be sweet must resound in the ears of those we love, in the atmosphere of our home or of the land that will guard our ashes; we wish that fame should hover over our tomb to warm its breath the chill of death, so that we may not be completely reduced to nothingness, that something of us may survive. Naught of this can we offer those who come to watch over our destinies."..- filosofo Tasio to Ibarra (NOLI ME TANGERE), quoted in Hernando J. Abaya's THE UNTOLD PHILIPPINE STORY, 1967
The late Senator Claro M. Recto, was one of our most intense and consistent nationalist in Philippine history. In retrospect, I find it unfortunate that I was not politically aware during his lifetime since his time was during my early teen years. I became aware of and remember Recto only when our Father Superior mentioned that the latter, whom he labeled a "communist," just died while in Rome (Recto was a target of CIA Assassination Plots; makes me think too of young and outspoken Capt. Rene Jarque who suddenly died of heart attack while abroad, like Recto).
Anyway, it was only after I bought THE RECTO READER did I start "knowing and learning from" Recto and beginning to appreciate nationalism, that is, Filipino nationalism. It was only after reading the book did I get information and developed understanding of our national predicament.
The Marcos Dictatorship, after the 50-year American intervention, occupation and colonization of our homeland overtly and covertly muted our nationalism, was instrumental in pushing back the struggle for nationalism, making mileage of the usual "fear of communism" as an excuse to obtain more aid from the United States and to maintain his position of power and those of his cronies and military backers.
So did his successors Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and presently, Gloria Arroyo and most of their legislators; all --while paying lip service to the uninformed native majority-- were more attuned to the desires of, and acted/act for foreigners and foreign institutions; their local partners and supporters; all at the expense of us native Malay majority who consequently became a minority (in terms of decision-making in our own native land.
In the last half-century since our so-called independence, all these rulers have not really ruled for the betterment of the native Filipino. For how long shall we allow such traitorous rulers?
And Filipino nationalism should be the bottom-line for all plans, decisions and actions. It would be extremely beneficial for our homeland and our countrymen to become aware of, that within our territory, today and the future, through our homes and schools, of nationalism. Filipino nationalism is the missing link to correctly plan for, decide and act towards the realization of our common good; the "what, where, when, how and why" of our nationalism.
It is great that we had Recto and Constantino in the recent decades to expound on Filipino nationalism and though they now are both gone, they live in their writings on nationalism. We Filipinos need mass education for nationalism to reverse the present dumbing down of the native Filipino.
We need to overcome the impediments to Filipino nationalism. Armed with knowledge and understanding of our Filipino nationalism, we know we can change as a people, truly united with chosen nationalist leadership (not lapdogs of foreigners as we had since so-called independence) towards completing and attaining the goals of the unfinished revolution our revolutionary forefathers fought and died for.
It is truly sad and maddening that our recent and present rulers since the Marcos Dictatorship have actively allowed the neglect of fostering Filipino nationalism in our society. Such has happened because our native rulers, bureaucrats and technocrats in government, business and military have no nationalism themselves as we understand it.
In lieu, they have time and again planned, decided and acted to please the foreigners/aliens; in short they have literally prostituted our people and homeland. Gradually, foreigners have established themselves in our own "house" and have influenced changes in it to suit them. It therefore behooves us the citizenry to force and make the rulers, whoever they are now and in the future, to work for the common tao (masa).
As long as we natives do not appreciate and not regain our national consciousness, our nationalism, we will never earn any respect as a sovereign people, from fellow Asians, from other peoples of the world and those aliens and foreigners in our land who are greatly benefiting from our lack of nationalism, and our resultant lack of national unity. We native Filipinos have to fight back to regain our homeland, peacefully or not; if not for ourselves now, surely for our next generations of native Filipinos.
Let's now start reading and learning from Recto the "what, why, how, where and when" of authentic Filipino nationalism, the sine qua non for really loving our native land, now as he did then: thinking, planning, deciding and acting for the homeland and our native people.
NOTE: The RECTO READER is presented in several postings. Part 1A also includes the Foreword, Preface, Acknowledgment and Introduction for completeness and publishing background of the book). Please bear with me, it is long reading but so very enlightening. Thank you!
“The true Filipino is a decolonized Filipino.” – Prof. Renato Constantino (1919-1999)
Primary Blog Posts/Readings for my fellow, Native (Malay/Indio) Filipinos-in-the-Philippines
THE RECTO READER (1965)
- Selected and Edited by Prof. Renato Constantino
Early in December, 1964, the Board of Trustees of the Recto Memorial Foundation decided to put out a book containing selected speeches of my husband of particular relevance to the present time. The Board decided unanimously to entrust the task of editing this volume to Mr. Renato Constantino, a close associate of my late husband.
Mr. Constantino accepted the responsibilities of editorship but doubted the possibility of completing the work in the time given him. He suggested the alternative of putting out a small volume containing excerpts from my husband's speeches and the Board accepted his proposal.
I have noted with gratification and pride at the growing acceptance by our people of the nationalist ideals which Recto so passionately believed in. I hope that this book containing his nationalist thought will serve as an inspiration and a guide to our people whom he loved so well.
I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to all the members of the Board of Trustees of the Recto Memorial Foundation whose friendship and loyalty to Claro M. Recto have made this book possible.
- Aurora R. Recto
Claro M. Recto was a living legend in his lifetime. Although a controversial figure, his brilliance, his patriotism, his greatness were recognized and appreciated by a great number of people, not limited to his countrymen. Even those who disagreed with him in some of his views, respected him. Death has but served to confirm his stature, even enhance it.
The is the risk though that the man of versatile gifts might receive less than his due if he were judged solely by his reputation however outstanding. Justice demands that he should be known for what in life he was, one of the towering intellects that our country has produced, and a citizen whose love for country was unexcelled. That only his works can truly reveal.
The Recto Reader then has a purpose to serve. Limited as it is in its scope --containing but selected excerpts on the salient features of his speeches and writings, -- it introduces one to the workings of one of the most brilliant minds of our race, which reveal as nothing else can the true measure of Recto's worth and achievement.
It is that and more. it serves our country too, for it projects into the conscience of our people much that is to be learned from the creed of nationalism that Recto espoused with so much ability, sincerity, eloquence and courage. It is in this field that he, with those who believed with him, was much misunderstood and even at times maligned, for he was uncompromising in his advocacy of militant Filipinism.
It is therefore gratifying to see that, like the shadow, as the years recede away, Recto's stature as the Filipino nationalist of this century, grows in dimension, for even now, hardly four years after his death, the growing wave of nationalism permeating all spheres of our society, is already beginning to vindicate the position he has taken.
This, his message, valid as it was in his lifetime, is even more timely now. For there are still those among us, devoid of sufficient faith in our potentialities, who would in their attitude and thinking, in effect reject the gospel of national dignity, national pride, and the national responsibility of self-reliance. The words of Claro M. Recto may, it is fervently hoped, occasion a change of mind and of heart.
His views on nationalism, on economic independence, on foreign affairs, on democracy and civil liberties, on the Constitution and on politics in our country possess enduring qualities. Rooted as they are on the realities of the situation, stressing as they do the primacy of reason, and motivated by a passionate dedication to one's country and one's people, they possess the quality of permanence.
To drink deep then of the Recto Reader is a rich and rewarding experience. We must avail ourselves of this privilege and must express our gratitude to the Recto Foundation for its publication.
Moreover, not the least of its beguiling features is the opportunity vouchsafed to enjoy again the profundity of thought, the elegance of language, and the deathless prose of the one and only Claro M. Recto.
- Jesus G. Barrera
Manila, March 3, 1965
The Recto Reader is the first publication of the Recto Memorial Foundation. It is the beginning of a series of books which the Foundation hopes to publish to preserve the ideas of Claro M. Recto for posterity.
This initial project would not have seen fulfillment were it not for the painstaking work of its editor, Mr. Renato Constantino. Mr. Augusto Cinco and Mr. Ricardo Binay of the Recto Memorial Foundation typed the early drafts, Miss Belinda Lachica typed the manuscript in its final form. Mr. Andres Cristobal Cruz assisted in going over the proofs. Mrs. Leticia R. Constantino provided general assistance from the initial to the final stage of the work.
Mr. Mauro Malang Santos was responsible for the book design. To all of them, the Recto Memorial Foundation is deeply grateful.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Recto Memorial Foundation
EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION (Prof. Renato Constantino)
Claro M. Recto was a brilliant man, a complex man whose incisive mind was at home in many fields of human knowledge.His literary works, his speeches and statements, the larger body of writings which he left behind constitute a rich mine of ideas. To do justice to the richness and variety of his thoughts and to produce a book worthy of the man would require much more than the limited time given me.
Instead of attempting a book of Recto's speeches, which I know would have to be done haphazardly if my deadline were to be met, I suggested a small volume of excerpts from these speeches to serve as a preliminary sampling of his ideas, a sort of introduction to Recto. However, after I had gone through the first hundred speeches (practically all of them postwar as the Recto Memorial Foundation had suggested) and marked the passages that could be excerpted, I realized that I had much more than a miscellany of quotable quotes.
I had known Recto to be that rare breed of politician -one with a definite, an integrated view of Philippine society and Philippine problems. His speeches brought out more forcefully than ever the consistency of his views, especially during the last decade of his life, for it was then that his life-long devotion to his country and people crystallized into his well-thought out and comprehensive nationalist credo. Whether he spoke on Philippine literature, history, economics, politics, Philippine-American relations, or foreign policy, his views on particular issues and events were securely based on his creed of nationalism.
Bearing in mind the instruction of the Board of Trustees of the Recto Memorial Foundation on the original project --that the speeches chosen should be those of particular relevance to the present--- and remembering that prior to his ill-fated trip abroad, Don Claro had spoken to me a number of times of his plans to put out a book presenting his nationalist views in a systematic manner, I realized that a random sampling on many different subjects would be a disservice to him.
I decided, therefore, to attempt a more organized presentation of his ideas, limiting myself to the six areas for which he was best known in his public life: nationalism economic independence, foreign policy, democracy and civil liberties, the Constitution, and Philippine politics, leaving his beautiful Spanish prose, his romantic poetry and other writings for other editors, other books.
Although I am not presenting here the complete Recto, I feel that there are enough excerpts to give readers a fairly comprehensive view of Recto, the Nationalist, which is how he would wish to be remembered, because he had often expressed his belief that it was in espousing the cause of nationalism that he had rendered his most valuable service to his country and people.
The Recto Reader aims to introduce in systematic form the basic ideas and teachings of Recto. It may be called a "Short Course on Recto" because it presents his position on the basic questions of his time. Under the six broad subjects chosen, excerpts from his speeches are organized in an orderly manner as possible so that each section contains Recto's thinking on various aspects of a particular subject. Although this was the only practical method of presenting his views, it often gave rise to almost insuperable difficulties.
First, these areas are naturally interrelated; second, Recto was a very thorough man and he discussed all the ramifications of his subject so that, for example, a speech on economic independence could also contain valuable ideas on civil liberties; and third, he went back to his principal thesis in speech after speech although his treatment was always different. The dismemberment of speeches became, for the foregoing reasons, inevitable.
Thus, several excerpts from the same speech may be found in the same section and also in different sections. Care was taken, however, not to distort but to preserve the original meaning of each passage excerpted, for the purpose of this volume is not to interpret Recto but to let him speak to his readers as in life he spoke to his countrymen. My work, as I saw it, was merely to arrange the presentation of his ideas for the convenience of the reader. As a further aid, I provided, under six broad divisions, subheads which summarize the idea of each section.
The contemporary appeal of his ideas and of his solutions to national problems despite the fact that these were written more than five years ago (some more than ten years ago) proves that conditions have not changed since the time he expounded these ideas. This makes him well worth reading now. Though many of the passages in his speeches have surprising validity for the present.
Recto was no ivory tower philosopher dreaming of future societies. He was a battler in the political arena of his own time and therefore it has not been possible entirely to avoid passages referring to individuals against whom he directed some of his more polemical speeches. Whenever the same basic idea was expressed more than once, however, I chose the less polemical passage.
Whenever necessary, I have provided short footnotes to clarify references to people, administrations, or events. I have not had enough time to put in as many footnotes as I would have wished; however, the date of delivery of the speech from which the particular passage was excerpted is often enough to guide the reader to the background of events necessary for a full understanding of the passage.
Some of the ideas expressed in this book may seem trite to the reader. Have not many others expressed the same thought? If the reader will consult the date when a particular idea was first expressed, he will invariably find that what others are saying now was said by Recto years ago when it was not safe to say it, when it took courage to say it, when he suffered calumny and abuse because he said it.
The Board of Trustees of the Recto memorial Foundation decided to publish a Recto volume not only out of a desire to perpetuate his memory but also because it believes that Recto's ideas could still be of service to his people. It is my hope that this volume will be only the beginning of a growing Rectoana, for Recto still has much to say to his countrymen and his ideas are too valuable to remain unread in the archives of the Recto museum.
I place in your hands,...this message...from one whose only authority is a firm conviction and a lifelong experience, and who, in his declining years, still loves to plant trees knowing that he will never sit in their shade, happy in the thought with Tasio, the Philosopher, that some day, in a distant future, one may say of him and the nationalists of his generation: "There were those who kept vigil in the night of our forefathers." (No todos dormian en la noche de nuestros abuelos.)
NATIONALISM - Part One
Filipinism, nationalism: this is my unconquerable faith and my burning hope....It is the one logical and courageous answer of Filipino patriotism to all the plots and designs to keep our people forever subservient to foreign interests. it is a banner of freedom proclaiming the national interests of the people, to be promoted and safeguarded by themselves, so that the fruits of their efforts and wealth derived from their God-given resources shall, at long last, accrue to them and thus enable all of our people to rise above poverty and march on to prosperity, contentment and dignity.
A Filipinism crusade is long overdue. I have, in all humility and with dedicated love of country and countrymen, undertaken to lead it. I am confident that our people will rally behind it. As long as there is an ounce of breath in me, I shall never fold the banner of this crusade. So help me God.(1)
Basic Components of Nationalism
What are the basic components of nationalism? One is the growing and deepening consciousness that we are a distinct people with our own character and spirit, our own customs and traditions, our own ideals, our own way of thinking, our own way of life. What sets us apart as a people distinct from any other are the experiences and vicissitudes we have gone through together as a nation in our own environment.
A Filipino cannot assert this identity and call himself a nationalist unless he is one with his people's history and has enshrined in his heart the precepts and examples of our heroes and martyrs.
A firm belief in the genius of our race and in the capacity of the people for advancement toward this attainment of their destiny is another basic component of nationalism. But this belief can be acquired only through an understanding of their struggles and accomplishments, their trials and tribulations, the sum total of their experiences since the dawn of their history.(2)
I do not use nationalism in its narrow, partisan sense but in its whole scope, nationalism as the love and devotion to all that is ours, to all that of this land which was the land of our forefathers and which will still be, if we are vigilant, the land of our children and our children's children.(3)
If according to Webster, "nationalism," and "patriotism" are synonymous, then to be a patriot is to be a nationalist and vice versa.
It is for this reason that I do not believe in qualifying "nationalism" with such restrictive adjectives as "positive" and "balanced." To dilute "nationalism" thus would be like emasculating "patriotism."(4)
We, the nationalists of today, are fortunate that we can profit from our own past and unforgettable examples of heroism, self-sacrifice, tenacity, and courage, in the face of tremendous odds, of our people and their nationalist leaders in that finest hour of our history.(5)
Nationalism is nourished by a sense of history. It is of its essence to know profoundly the past, so that we may be in complete openness with the men who made that history and in intimate communion with their thoughts, their deeds, and their noble lives. The study of our nation's history with its nationalist tenets is, therefore, an inescapable duty and necessity in this formative period of our Republic.(6)
Nationalism As A Vital Force
The battle-cry that animates and sets in motion millions of hearts and minds is nationalism. It is not a passing emotion, not a naive longing for the trappings of sovereignty. It is persevering, militant, and mature. its militancy is evident in its determination to correct the wrongs of the past, to effect changes that shall place the political, economic, and cultural life of peoples under their own forging and control. It connotes perseverance because it is con-substantial and, as such, coeval with country and people. Its maturity may be perceived in its refusal to accept form for substance, illusion for reality.
In Africa, for example, where the nationalist movement is comparatively new, people will no longer acquiesce in political sovereignty without economic independence, for others know too well that the first without the second is hollow, if not meaningless.(7)
If nationalism, that is, national self-determination, and democracy were the two mighty forces in the Western World during the last century, they are likewise the same two forces in the whole of Asia and Africa today.(8)
During the last decade, American policy chose to ignore the nationalism of Africa and Asia. But nationalism became too powerful a force to ignore, and, only a few months ago, President Eisenhower at long last had to admit that nationalism is the strongest force in Asia and Africa today.
Such a recognition, in the face of a developing international situation which is putting the imperialist powers under grave suspicion among the peoples of the world, is a tribute to us, the Filipinos of today, for the part we play in the peaceful but militant assertion of sovereignty in our struggle for complete independence, and make us worthy heirs to that noble legacy of patriotism we Filipinos received from the men of 1896 that were symbolized by Jose Rizal, the intellectual realist, and Andres Bonifacio, the dreamer and man of action.(9)
There is a special bond that unites the new nations and the peoples of Asia and Africa. In these two areas of the globe, once the sites of great ancient civilizations and ever the cradle of faith and spiritualism, but now, in the eyes of the economically advanced West, merely a conglomeration of underdeveloped countries, a new and mighty force is stirring nations and peoples, opening new vistas, and raising new hopes for the future.
Peoples inhabiting far-flung territories, with widely divergent cultures, find that they all have one common ideal, one common rallying point, one common allegiance --nationalism. For the emerging nations of Asia and Africa have come to realize that their aspirations to freedom, equality, social justice, prosperity, and peace can be achieved only by a resolute assertion of the nationalist spirit.(10)
Nationalism As the Natural Antagonist of Colonialism
Nationalism is the natural antagonist of colonialism. Nations that are still ruled by imperial powers are rallying behind nationalist leaders to secure their independence. Nations, like Indonesia and the Philippines,that have succeeded in regaining their political independence must still rely on the nationalist spirit in their struggle against colonialism. For the independence of countries such as ours cannot be complete until the last traces of colonialism have been eradicated.(11)
Philippine Nationalism As Contrasted with American Nationalism
The truth is that the Filipinos, like the Americans, have the right to love their country above all others. They have a right to cherish and protect their independence. They have a right to choose a government that will serve athe best interests of the people; and only those who have designs against our independence, or who seek to advance their own interest at the expense of our own people, can possibly have a motive to fear or distrust Filipino nationalism.(12)
Excessive reliance on foreign teachings, grounded obviously on a blind and unreasonable faith in things foreign, is at the root of this unfortunate change in the sense of values of many of our countrymen. The truth, however, is that while in the matter of nationalism we can learn from the American historical experience in their two wars of liberation (1776 and 1812), the present and the immediately preceding generations of Americans could hardly qualify to teach us nationalism.
The development of industrial capitalism in the United States has made it the most powerful nation in the world, and therefore there is no longer any occasion or any need for Americans to think of nationalism, an idea and a privilege reserved only to subject and weak nations. Whatever nationalism Americans have today has acquired a different meaning. The American nationalists of 1776 were nationalists because they advocated independence and separation from a foreign state, Britain. They were the counterparts of our nationalists of 1896 and of today.
But the nationalists in the U.S. today --or those that are currently described as American nationalists --do not seek independence from foreign domination, but instead, in the name of their national interests and prestige, they seek to expand or retain their markets abroad, and their political power or influence to protect them, for their surplus manufactures and surplus capital. This is true with respect to all developed capitalist nations.
The contrast is clear. The concept of nationalism in underdeveloped nations inevitably collides with concept of "nationalism" of the prosperous and powerful ones. The history of Asia in the last 100 years, particularly during the last few decades, conclusively demonstrated the inevitability of that conflict of interests.(13)
Is an American necessarily anti-Filipino or anti-British or anti-anything because he is first and foremost pro-American? And is a Filipino necessarily anti-American because he is pro-Filipino? The world has already suffered too much from these pros and antis, from these philias and phobias, from these mutual suspicions and antagonisms, to have much patience with those who try to revive them for selfish ends.(14)
Our American friends must try to understand, without prejudice and without rancor, the nationalist goals of the Filipinos. While I cannot expect them to be unmindful of their own individual interests or those of their country as a whole would it be too much to ask of them to pause and ponder for a while on their own past? Had the Americans not been nationalistic enough in the early days of their independent national life, they would still be a colony in fact, if not in name, of the British Empire, the English enjoying trade preferences and parity rights with them in the exploitation of America's natural resources, with military bases in choice places in America, and JUSMAGs and ACAs, and, perhaps English clubs "off limits" to all but a few American Tories.
If America is what she is, her sovereignty supreme and undiminished, she owes it to the nationalistic policies she has pursued throughout her national independent existence, in spite of having had to depend, during a good part of the 19th century, on the British navy for protection against continental Europe's imperialistic designs.(15)
Our Lingering Colonial Complex
Our peculiar situation has been heightened by the unique circumstances in which we attained our independence. The other liberated Asian nations have been spared the ambiguities under which we labor; they faced issues that were clear-cut blood and tears, exploitation and subjugation, and centuries of enmity, divided the Indonesians from the Dutch the Indians and Burmese from the British, the Vietnamese from the French; and their nationalist victories were not diluted by sentiments of gratitude, or by regrets, doubts and apprehensions.
It an intensive and pervasive cultural colonization, no less than an enlightened policy of gradually increasing autonomy, dissolved whatever hatreds and resentments were distilled in the Filipino-American War, and, by the time of the enactment of the Jones Law, promising independence upon the establishment of a stable government, an era of goodwill was firmly opened, one which even the cabinet crisis under Governor General Wood could only momentarily disturb.
A system of temporary trade preferences, under which our principal industries were developed, cemented the relationship with the hard necessities of economic survival, for it was belatedly realized that the same system of so-called free trade had made us completely dependent on the American market. The vicissitudes and triumphs of the common struggle against the Japanese Empire completed the extraordinary structure, and it was not at all strange or unexpected that, when our independence was finally proclaimed, it was not so much an act of separation, as one of "more perfect union."
Great numbers of Filipinos, therefore, pride themselves in professing fealty to America even without the rights of Americans. Their gaze is fixed steadily and unwaveringly on the great North American Republic, which is to them the alpha and omega of human progress and political wisdom....
The habit of continuously and importunely soliciting american assistance, and of running to the seemingly inexhaustible treasury of Washington whenever faced with financial difficulties, has only fostered a thoughtless and endless prodigality, which has already been condemned by the most responsible among the Filipinos and the Americans, and has led to the preaching of the new gospel of self-reliance and self-help.(16)
...our nationalism has in fact entered into another period of crisis, all the more grave because it is subtle and generally unrecognized.
This crisis does not arise from the growth of internationalism. It comes, if I may put it that way, from the stubborn remnants of bi-nationalism. We are afflicted with divided loyalties. We have not yet recovered from the spell of colonialism.
The flagstaffs that still stand, two by two, in front of our public buildings, are the symbols of this psychological phenomenon, this split personality, of our nation, Too many of our people, in their heart of hearts, profess allegiance not only to the Republic of the Philippines, whose sun and stars wave along in this fourth year of our independence, but unconsciously also to the United States of America, whose stars and stripes may have been hauled down in fact but not in spirit, and which, by an optical illusion induced by long habit, are imagined to be still flying from the empty flagpole.(17)
Why Our Nationalist Movement Is Backward
We are beginning to catch up with the nationalism that is raging all around us in asia. But, perhaps, because of the corruption and demoralization to which many of us have been for years exposed as a result of alien interference in our political, economic, and even educational life, and because of the evil proclivities of our leaders, the cause of nationalism has not been advanced as fast and as far as it should have.
There are still in our midst a few anti-nationalists. You can find them among those who covet positions of privilege or influence but who can obtain them only by renouncing and nationalism and becoming advocates or agents of foreign interests. They are few today, but they are well entrenched in the executive and legislative departments. And as far as the foreign stranglehold on our national economy increases, their number will increase, unless the tendency is counteracted by a stronger movement for nationalism.
Many call themselves nationalists. And in their own minds they are probably honest and sincere about their nationalism. But if, occasionally, their conduct and their efforts seem to deviate from true nationalism, it must be because their nationalism is purely of the emotional type.(18)
The False Nationalists
Today, the prime problem of the nationalist is how to enlighten those Filipinos who fail to recognize the root cause of their predicament, how to make them understand that they are victims of their own distorted ideas, planted and nurtured in their minds by subtle colonialistic methods.
This task is made more difficult by the emergence in our midst of different types of so-called nationalists who stand in the vanguard of this movement while blunting, disturbing, perhaps destroying it.
First there are the barong tagalog nationalists who deal in superficialities. The sum total of their nationalism consists in singing the national anthem in the national language, reciting the sophomoric piece "I am a Filipino," and wearing the national costume.
Then there are the "internationalist" nationalists, who would rather sacrifice nationalist advances in the political and economic fields than dare touch a hair in the head of one foreigner who must be granted national "parity" in the name of "special relationship," in exchange for a military protection of dubious value, at whatever cost to us, Filipinos, in sovereignty, national dignity, and physical survival.
Finally, there are the hypocritical nationalists who mouth nationalist slogans but have no intention of living up to them, or who actually use these slogans to camouflage there active undermining of nationalist objectives, because to them there are authorities superior to the Republic and laws superior to the Constitution.(19)
Is the nationalism described by Sun Yat Sen --self-determination and political separation from another-- the same nationalism that the so-called positive nationalists of the day envision? Decidedly not. A few months before our late President announced his so-called Positive Nationalism --an ideology which his heirs and followers have up to now refrained from touching-- an article appeared in the Central Bank's New Digest in which its author explained his idea of positive nationalism as the subordination of local and regional loyalties to a higher one, the national loyalty. That theory presumes a lack of national unity which it seeks to create by expanding provincial loyalties to one of national scope. It does not seek to overthrow foreign control in all fields of national existence.
As a people, we Filipinos are already nationally unified and have been so unified since the late 19th century. This is not to say that we can not improve on our spirit of unity. But undue emphasis against provincialism and regionalism would only divert our attention from the more transcendent concept of nationalism vis-a-vis all foreign nations --the assertion of our sovereignty and independence against all others, whether friendly or not.
The point can not be overemphasized that we have to complete the struggle for independence which our heroic people of 1896 had begun at so much sacrifice on their part. No nation can attain prosperity, strength, and happiness until it has become truly the master of its own destiny. Political independence does not necessarily guarantee those national objectives, but it is a prerequisite for the attainment of these objectives. This is a lesson of history which a nation can ignore at its peril.(21)
Nationalism and Internationalism
The demarcation line between what is constructively nationalistic and what is discriminatingly chauvinistic is often very thin and delicate. The demarcation line, on the other hand, between what is a broad concept of nationalism and what is expedient internationalism can be thin and delicate too.
At its worst, then, extreme nationalism can be a narrow view of country and people such that the viewer intentionally refuses to see defects, however blatant they are, while seeing only, magnified and exaggerated sometimes, the good points. The result of such a view is that progress has to be necessarily slow --it can, indeed, even produce stagnation.
At its best, nationalism would mean a calm and mellow appraisal of the various aspects of one's country, its excellence and its failings;where its strong; where it is not so strong and therefore needs reinforcement; where it is weak and therefore needs fortifying. That kind of nationalism is not afraid to face censure as it is not timid to accept praise, the clear-sighted kind which is Churchill's definition, bravely criticizes country and people when at home, but desists from destructive criticism when away from home.
It is a necessary step towards the best in internationalism which in turn is a broad , generous , and unified view of peoples and countries, unwarped by inhibiting prejudices and discriminations, and ramparted by understanding, tolerances and sympathy.
In the political as well as in the other phases of a nation's life, these two attributes complement one another in ideal circumstances, internationalism being, as it were, and enlightened extension of nationalism. Thus when we say that the Filipinos should patronize their own in the economic, political, social and cultural fields, it does not mean exclusion of their neighbors.
It merely means self-cultivation which translates itself into self-dependence and consequent self-respect. Expanding the idea would be expressing regional self-cultivation, self-dependence and self-respect. The terms do not overlap nor are they inimical; they constitute a continuing idea or ideal, of growth and development in the concept of country, region, and world, to produce in the minds and hearts of people, world attitudes, which have the right values.(22)
It may be that the future of world democracy calls for an ever increasing measure of international cooperation and organization, for which each and every nation, without exception, must contribute a portion of its sovereignty, on a basis of equality as a condition sine qua non. Other nationalism, as I have already shown, is not incompatible with this sound internationalism. But no sane or true internationalism calls for the subordination of our vital national interests. Internationalism is not just another same for imperialism, and it cannot justify our willing reversion to the status of a colony.(23)
The True Ultra-Nationalists
It is evident that our brand of nationalism is different from that of our accusers. We have no desire and we have never attempted to deny the national self-interest of other peoples in their own countries. We merely want to defend our own, in our own territory. We are nationalists but we can live in harmony with other nationalists, because all nationalisms can work out a plan for coexistence which will not detract from the sovereignty of any one nation.
Those who are bent on carrying their nationalisms beyond their national frontiers in order to overrun other nationalisms have ceased to be true nationalists and have become ultra-nationalists, which is another word for imperialists. Ultra is a Latin word which means beyond in space, as in the terms plus ultra and non plus ultra. An ultra-nationalist, therefore, is one who wants to be first not only in his own country, but also in other countries to which he is a foreigner; that is, an imperialist.(24)
My concept of nationalism has no trace of chauvinism. I respect the legal rights of established foreign firms. I welcome foreign interests as long as they contribute to the welfare of our country, increase the per capita income of the Filipinos, and do not attempt to influence government policy for selfish ends.(25)
1.Filipinism and the Coming Elections, August 10, 1957
2.Nationalism and Our Historic Past, February 27, 1960.
3.Benigno S. Aquino (Funeral Oration), December 29, 1947.
4.Economic Nationalism, March 28, 1957.
5.The Philippine Revolution of 1896.
6.Nationalism and Our Historic Past, February 27, 1960.
8.The Men of 1896, September 16, 1957.
10.Greetings to Indonesia, September 22, 1959.
12.Speech delivered at the Independence Banquet under the auspices of the Professionals' Club, manila, July 4, 1949.
13.The Men of 1896, September 16, 1957.
14.Speech delivered at the Independence Banquet under the auspices of the Professionals' Club, manila, July 4, 1949.
15.The true Ultra-Nationalist, June 4, 1959.
16.Our Lingering Colonial Complex, June 24, 1951.
18.Sovereignty and Nationalism, November 6, 1955.
19.Nationalism and our Historic past, February 27, 1960.
20.President Ramon Magsaysay.
21.The Men of 1896, September 16, 1957.
22.The Challenge of Independence, July 2, 1952.
23.Our Lingering Colonial Complex, June 24, 1951.
24. The True Ultra-Nationalists, June 4, 1959.
25. Nationalism and Industrialization, July 30, 1957.
END OF PART 1A OF 6
"Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past." - George Orwell, "1984"
“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996
“Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1804-1881)