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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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State Violence and the Problem of Political Legitimacy

State Violence and the Problem of Political Legitimacy

WWII, Philippine Independence, and the Hukbalahap

(p.59) Chapter 2 State Violence and the Problem of Political Legitimacy
Freedom Incorporated

Colleen Woods

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores how the remobilization of colonial anticommunism in postwar politics was fundamentally connected to the legitimation of state violence and the strategic and symbolic value of the Philippines to U.S. empire in the age of decolonization. The upsurge and demand for social change in the postwar Philippines took many forms, from protests across barrios and villages of Central Luzon to large-scale labor strikes and the formation of new political parties. One particular group, the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon—the People's Army against the Japanese—had fought against the Japanese occupation but had no intention of welcoming colonial elites back into power. As a consequence, Filipino political elites and their U.S. allies, intent on rebuilding the social order constructed during the U.S. colonial period, deemed the Hukbalahaps, or Huks, as threats to national—and eventually international—security. In effect, postwar U.S. policies in the Philippines not only helped to recriminalize peasant, labor, and progressive social movements, but they also helped fuel a nearly six-year-long civil war that would have long-standing effects on how both Americans and Filipino politicians and policymakers conceived of the Cold War and the wars of decolonization in Southeast Asia.

Keywords:   colonial anticommunism, postwar politics, state violence, Philippines, U.S. empire, decolonization, Filipino political elites, Hukbalahaps, postwar U.S. policies, postwar Philippines

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