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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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The Anticommunist International

The Anticommunist International

The Philippine Front in a Global War against Communism

(p.94) Chapter 3 The Anticommunist International
Freedom Incorporated

Colleen Woods

Cornell University Press

This chapter outlines how, by the late 1940s, the Philippine state—with the support of U.S. military dollars, equipment, and advisers—launched a war against its own citizens in the name of global anticommunism. After World War II, peasant uprisings in Central Luzon, labor strikes on U.S. military bases in the islands, and the appeal of the Philippine Communist Party threatened to dissolve U.S. policymakers' efforts to promote Philippine independence as a testament to the benevolence and anti-imperial impulses of U.S. foreign aid and policies. In opposition, a multiyear counterinsurgency campaign brought millions of dollars of U.S. military aid into the country, resulting in the increased militarization of Philippine society as well as the near total defeat of peasant and working-class alternatives to Philippine elite control of the state. But while Filipino politicians affirmed decolonization in Southeast Asia, they also faced the challenge of explaining how Philippine independence could effectively coincide with the substantial U.S. political, economic, and military intervention needed to quell the violence in Central Luzon. Despite U.S. and Philippine pronouncements that the nation represented a “showcase of democracy,” the bloodletting in Central Luzon would eventually attract the attention of the international press, which also called into question the stability and legitimacy of the newly independent Philippine Republic. In response, Americans and Filipinos effectively collaborated to reinterpret peasant complaints against the state through the lens of a global war against communism.

Keywords:   Philippines, global anticommunism, peasant uprisings, Central Luzon, Philippine independence, counterinsurgency, Filipino politicians, decolonization, U.S. intervention

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