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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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An Amazing Record of Red Plotting

An Amazing Record of Red Plotting

Policing Radical and Racial Boundaries in the Colonial Philippines

(p.20) Chapter 1 An Amazing Record of Red Plotting
Freedom Incorporated

Colleen Woods

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how anticommunist politics emerged alongside international socialist and communist anti-imperial movements during the late 1920s and early 1930s, when U.S. and Philippine political and military officials turned to anticommunism politics to explain the rise of labor and peasant protest, proscribe class-based anti-imperial critiques, and bolster the nationalism of the governing Filipino political elites. Indeed, even before the official formation of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) in 1930, U.S. and Philippine officials deployed “anti-red” politics to limit the acceptable range of political debate and protest in the archipelago. Throughout the 1930s, U.S. and Filipino policymakers attempted to eliminate socialist, communist, and peasant labor activists' ideas from the political sphere through state repression. Yet by 1939, with the rise of fascism in Europe and Japan and the subsequent embrace of the “popular front” by Western communist parties, Franklin D. Roosevelt pressured the Philippine Commonwealth to minimize its persecution of the political Left. Focusing on the economic, political, and social structures of the colonial state that gave rise to anticolonial critiques and movements, the chapter shows how a transnational political class of Americans and Filipinos anticipated independence by tightening their hold on social, economic, and political power within the islands.

Keywords:   anticommunist politics, anti-imperial movements, United States, Philippines, Filipino political elites, anti-red politics, Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, Philippine Commonwealth, nationalism

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