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Freedom IncorporatedAnticommunism and Philippine Independence in the Age of Decolonization$
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Colleen Woods

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749131

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749131.001.0001

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A Decolonized Empire

(p.1) Introduction
Freedom Incorporated

Colleen Woods

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter discusses how global anticommunism in the Philippines worked to affirm the processes of global decolonization while simultaneously containing challenges to colonial rule. Because enemies of the Philippine Left used anticommunism as a way to discredit and marginalize challenges to elite rule, Filipino elites and their U.S. allies made U.S. imperial exceptionalism and anticommunist politics—two ideological formations that took shape in the colonial period—defining features of the postcolonial relationship between the two nations. From the early 1930s to the late 1950s, U.S. policymakers, state agents, and Filipino elites used anticommunist policies to quash leftist opposition locally and internationally and to explain how U.S. intervention could exist alongside Philippine independence. Ultimately, the investment of U.S. policymakers, and Filipino elites, in defining and controlling the meaning of Philippine independence—and the relationship between the United States and the Philippines—reveals the entanglement of Philippine colonial history with the expansion of U.S. global power in the context of emerging Cold War global politics and the era of decolonization. Tracing the development and deployment of two specific operations of anticommunism—maintaining an ideology of imperial exceptionalism and repressing political dissent—this book details how Filipinos and their U.S. allies transformed local political struggles into sites of global communist revolution and international warfare.

Keywords:   global anticommunism, Philippines, global decolonization, Filipino elites, U.S. imperial exceptionalism, anticommunist politics, anticommunist policies, Philippine independence, U.S. global power, global communist revolution

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