Tuesday, August 09, 2016

FILIPINIZING CULTURAL STUDIES


SPECULATIVE THESES TOWARD FILIPINIZING CULTURAL STUDIES

By E. San Juan, Jr.
Director, PHILIPPINE STUDIES CENTER, Washington DC, USA


      The election of Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte was believed to signal, at first glance, a much needed change in neocolonial traditional politics in the Philippines. His brutal campaign to rid the country of endemic drug addiction (implicating “drug lords” in prison as well as generals, mayors, bureaucrats and corrupt legislators) was initially greeted with approval, including by leftwing organizations like BAYAN. His announced desire to make peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army (branded as terrorist by the U.S. State Department) has run aground, with his failure to release hundreds of political prisoners and his kowtowing to Washington’s behest and the U.S.-supplied and advised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Populist aura has quickly mutated into oligarchic terrorism, with the National Police killing hundreds of suspected drug-pushers and the AFP rampaging in killing community leaders of indigenous communities (Lumad) right in his Mindanao backyard. This conjunctural phenomenon offers an ideal case-history for scholars interested in analyzing a postcolonial formation, especially given the smoldering geopolitical controversy over the rights in exploring the resources of the South China Sea after the recent Hague Court decision in favor of the Philippines’ claims (San Juan 2015).

But orthodox Cultural Studies of EuroAmerican vintage has become problematic with its poststructuralist penchant for aporia, radical skepticism, and end-of-ideology resignation to the diktat of the neoliberal marketplace. We need to find an alternative weapon of critical appraisal and judgment. Filipino followers of Derrida, Foucault, Zizek and Agamben can only decry the Hobbesian world of Duterte, betraying ignorance of Hobbes’ own affirmation of the natural right to rebellion against tyranny. Meanwhile, the oligarchic Establishment is maneuvering for a coup d’etat either via impeachment or
popular discontent, waiting for Washington to give the signal. All the archaic institutions are still in place, functioning to maintain the status quo ante Duterte. This is the occasion for public intellectuals to intervene with a historically specific diagnosis of the local and international roots of Duterte’s pettybourgeois Caesarism, a parody of the Marcos dictatorship of 1972-86, with Duterte himself allowing the burial of the embalmed Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani against widespread public protest. Contradictions abound, making this crisis of the solitary U.S. neocolony in Asia a perfect example of the perverse mutation of postcolonial hybridity. Can Filipino critical sensibility rise up to the occasion to vindicate the long, durable tradition of revolutionary resistance against imperial terrorism and white-racial supremacist barbarism? The speculations below are designed to stimulate dialogue on the convergence of the disciplines, the dialectic of audience and author, and exchanges between master-narrators and the Others of Fanon’s “wretched of the earth” party in the contested domain of an ideal public sphere, wherever it may be discovered or set up.

Prologue to Interrogation

“Cultural Studies” (CS) originating from UK and North America focuses on the complex relations of “power” and “knowledge” (knowledge-production) at a specific historical conjuncture (Seventies and Eighties). Its axioms include the rejection of Enlightenment modernity/progress, metanarratives (paradigms; world-views), premised on the rational subject. Symptomatic of the alienation of Western intellectuals from technocratic market-society during the Cold War, CS reflects the crisis of finance/ monopoly capitalism in its imperialist stage. It seeks to transcend reified systems by way of privileging the differend,differance (Lyotard; Derrida), diffuse power (Foucault; Deleuze), life-world or everyday life (Habermas; de Certeau) inspired by Nietzsche, Heidegger, Freud, and Saussure.

Orthodox CS identifies modernity with capitalism, hence its postmodernist temper. Despite acknowledging the historicity of the discipline, postmodernist academics (Geertz, Grossberg, Clifford) give primacy to “the flow of social discourse”
and the “essentially contestable” genealogy of culture. Engaged with the singularity of events centering on love, sentiments, conscience, and the existential or ethical moment in order to “bring us in touch with strangers,” with Others, postmodern CS seeks to interrogate the foundational aims of linguistics (Jackobson), psychoanalysis (Freud), philosophy (Kant, Hegel) and political economy (Marx) by substituting the ambivalence, contingency, and hybridity of “lived experience” for labor/social praxis as the focus of investigation. Focused on what escapes language and thought, CS has fallen into the dualism it ritualistically condemns, complete with the mystique of a neoliberal individualism enabled by presumably value-free, normative “free market” absolutism.

Anti-foundationalism and anti-metanarratives distinguish orthodox CS today. Rejecting classical reason, CS refuses any grounding in political or social action as a perversion of knowledge for the ends of power. Valuing negative critique as an antidote to ideology, CS leads up to a fetishism of the Void, the deconstructive “Sublime” as a substitute for a thoroughgoing critique of the authority of received values and institutions. By various ruses of irony, uncanny cynicism and “sly mimicry,” It ends up apologizing for the status quo. Anti-authoritarianism is trivialized in careerist anecdotes, and CS becomes reduced to conferences and publicity about fantasies of revolutionary social movements.
Submerged and eventually displaced, the critical dimension of CS drawn from Western Marxism (Gramsci, Althusser, Lukacs) has disappeared in the neoconservative tide that began with Reagan/Thatcher in the Eighties. This neoconservatism continues to this day under the slogan of the “global war on terrorism.” Meanwhile, attention to racism, gender, sexism and other non-class contradictions, particularly in the colonized and peripheral formations, sharpened with the Civil Rights struggles in the US, the youth revolt, and the worldwide opposition to the Vietnam war and the current if precarious hegemony of the Global North.

From Orthodoxy to Heterodoxy

Mainstream CS today still focuses on consumption, audience response, Deleuzian desire, affects, irony, avoidance of the critique of ideology, the culture industry, and unequal division of social labor. However, some versions of CS invokes Simone de Beauvoir, Fanon, CLR James, W.E.B.Du Bois, Rosa Luxemburg, Paulo Freire and other “third world” activists in an effort to renew its original vocation of contributing to fundamental social change. Its Foucaultian notion of “specific intellectuals” addressing a “conjunctural constituency” may call attention to the need to address state violence and hegemonic apparatuses of public control and repression.

Like any global trend, CS can be “filipinized” by the creative application of its original radical critique to our conditions. Various forms of CS, as mediated by “subalternists” and other “third world” conduits, have influenced such historians concerned with the marginalized Others (peasants, women, religious and ethnic communities, etc.). But except for the Latin American “theology of liberation” as a form of CS, they have all wrongly assumed that the Philippines is no longer a neocolonial, dependent formation, replete with diverse contradictions centering on the oligarchic- comprador domination of the majority of the people (workers, peasants, OFWs, Moros and other indigenous groups). The question of a singular Filipino modernity—genuine national sovereignty, autonomous individuals free from Spanish or American tutelage, a bourgeois public sphere—has been conflated and transmogrified by insidious postmodern mystifications legitimized by the illusory promise of emancipation by avid consumption epitomized in megamalls, Internet/Facebook celebrity culture, and a predatory commodifying consumerist ethos.

     The examples of what I consider the inventors of Filipino cultural studies—Jose Rizal (in “The Indolence of Filipinos” and “The Philippines a Century Hence”), Isabelo de los Reyes (folklore and ethnic studies), counteless vernacular novelists, poets, and playwrights; and memoir-writers (Mabini, veterans of 1896 and the Huk uprising)— applied criticial principles derived from Europe to the specific political and socioeconomic situations in the colony/neocolony. In the process, the power/knowledge
complex acquired concrete elaboration in terms of how “everyday life”—culture as ordinary habits or patterns (Raymond Williams)--cannot escape its over-determination by the historical institutions and practices imposed by the colonial powers and mediated by regional/local ruling bloc. Time and space offer intelligible meanings by way of the contradictions between the colonial/neocolonial hegemonic institutions and the acceptance/resistance of the colonized natives. Such meanings can be found in the narratives of individuals/collectives in which the notion of subjectivity defined by various levels of contradictions (Filipino versus American, patriarchal power versus women, “civilized” versus indigenous,etc.) can be discerned embedded in the totality of social relations at specific historical moments. I am thinking of a “knowable community” with institutions and habitus, structure of power relations, not just a “structure of feeling” constituted by heterogeneous experiences

In Philippine CS, the question of language assumes primacy because intellectual discourse and exchanges cannot sidetrack the problem of communicating to the larger public. Democratizing the means of communication is apart of the process of overthrowing the oligarchic elite and the reproduction of class and gender inequality. Such a public needs to be developed by the pedagogical program of a developing CS curriculum. The prevalence of English as an elite marker/imprimatur of privileged status will prevent this public sphere from emerging. Linked to this is the position of popular culture which has always radicalized CS by eliminating the divide between the elite/ canonical culture and the proletarian/mass culture. Control of the means of communication needs to be addressed as well as the participation of a wider public in dialogues and exchanges.

CS, if it aspires to actualize its critical potential and transformative, needs to always address the major and minor contradictions of each society within a globalizing planet. The neoliberal market ideology that pervades everyday life/consciousness militates against the growth of a critical sensibility and the development of the faculties/ powers of the species, hence CS needs to focus its analytic instruments on the commodification of the life-world and everyday life by the oligopolistic capitalist order. In
the Philippines, the unprecedented diaspora of domestics and overseas contract workers (OFWs) constitute the prime specimen for study and critique. This involves not only the symbolic violence of language use but also the material violence of hunger, disease, State torture and extrajudicial killings.

Problematizing Knowledge-Production

In a critique mainly focused on the aborted promise of CS in the Global North, it is neither strategic nor propitious to describe in detail what the adaptation--or indigenization, if you like--of a Eurocentric CS paradigm would look like attuned to the needs and demands of neocolonized subjects in the Global South. Parts of that description may be found in my previous works (San Juan 1996, 2000, 2008). It would certainly require a longer, sustained mapping of the sociopolitical terrain of six decades after the 1946 formal independence. A political economy of group consensus and habits of belief such as, for example, the inventory of contradictions drawn up by social scientist Kenneth Bauzon (1991) would be useful to calculate the scale and degree of continued Filipino mimicry of inhumane models to perpetuate inequity and underdevelopment.

My task here is circumscribed: to indicate in broaf strokes the limitations and inadequacies of that paradigm for subjugated or dependent constituencies of the Empire. It is foolhardy to undertake this task until we have cleared up crucial theoretical hurdles. The first is the problem of naming the subaltern agency. Obviously the identification of "Filipino" and "Filipino nation" remains contentious, unsettled, intractable. At best we can only handle the "interpretants" (both denoted and connoted items) of those signifiers provisionally, given not only the existence of heterogeneous components of that ethnic signified "Filipino" but also the fact that the whole ethos (moral, aesthetic, evaluative) of Filipino culture, not to speak of its cognitive and existential aspects, remains suspended in the undecided battlefields of the national- democratic revolution. Mutating modes of inclusion and exclusion of group actors prevail. We can only stipulate our parameters of discourse in the light of what has been
accomplished so far in liberating ourselves, neocolonized subjects, from imperialist political, sociocultural, economic strangleholds.

For now, suffice it to remark on the need to adhere to the axiom of historical specificity (Korsch 1971) and a measure of philosophical rigor in defining such parameters. Above all, the question of ideology and the political economy of knowledge- production cannot be ignored. We cannot escape both the rules of our own communities and that of the totalizing diplomatic-technological state apparatuses of empire that modifies, coopts and sublimates those rules. The dialectical laws of motion of interlocked asymmetrical nation-states cannot be dismissed as simply reactive or aprioristic. In this light, Virgilio Enriquez's project of inventing sikolohiyang Pilipino during the nationalist resurgence of the 1960s and early 1970s may be symptomatically read as a culmination of all previous decolonizing initiatives (from Rizal and the Propagandistas to Recto, Constantino, and Sison) to articulate a program and world- view for the masses struggling for social justice, popular democracy, and genuine independence. It was institutionally predictable but also serendipituous.

An analogous clarification can be offered for the roles that Filipino historians adopted before, during, and after the Marcos dictatorship. While inspired by Indian subalternist historians (laboring under the aegis of Foucaultian/post-structuralist thought) to de-center what was perceived as bourgeois-oriented chronicles such as those by Teodoro Agoncillo and Renato Constantino, Rafael Ileto (1998) succeeded to some extent in assaying the value of popular culture (the pasyon, etc.) and other marginal practices in the construction of a “non-linear” narrative of Filipino events before and after the 1896 revolution. It is doubtful whether Agoncillo or Constantino really pursued a linear, one-directional bias. Nevertheless, the revisionist method is not an original “native” discovery. Even before the late-twentieth century diaspora, the Filipino intelligentsia has been open-minded, highly susceptible to global influences. Subalternist historiography is the product of a long record of countering the positivist, Comte-Rankean version of historicism, from the British social-history tradition (Samuel 1981) to the French Annales school and its evolutionist/functionalist offshoot in the
Alfred McCoy-Ben Kerkvliet interventions in re-writing Philippine history in a more sophisticated way than Stanley Karnow's apologetic product, In Our Image (1989). Meanwhile, the Marcos Establishment historian Zeus Salazar tried to retool Enriquez's sikolohiya by purging it of its liberatory impulse and anchoring a populist version of the past in an evolving Filipino idiom via his pantayong pananaw scheme. It may be premature to judge the reformist efficacy of this effort in renewing or rehabilitating the fields of local historiography and moribund anthropology. Salazar’s disciples seem resigned to the neoliberal dispensation of the post-Marcos order, ensconced in the academic commerce of fabricating idiosyncratic terminology for archaic ideas.

We Versus They?

The problem of thematizing local knowledge offers both theoretical and political conundrums. Ramon Guillermo (2003) has provided us a useful inventory of Salazar's heroic effort, together with proposals for improving its method and scope. But both Salazar and Guillermo have so far sidestepped the fundamental issue (which transcends the old emic/etic binary) of how the notion of rationality--communicative action, in another framework--central to the intellectual metier of a global community of scientific inquirers to understand and appraise cultures can be surpassed or transcended. This issue has been elaborated in the volume Rationality (Wilson 1970)— just to cite one compilation--in which a survey of the conflicting arguments prompted Alasdair MacIntyre's observation that "the understanding of a people in terms of their own concepts and beliefs does in fact tend to preclude understanding them in any other terms" (1970, 130).

MacIntyre does not fully endorse the functionalist view that institutions must be grasped not in terms of what they mean for the agents, but in terms of what necessary needs and purposes they serve; however, he does not fully agree with Peter Winch's untenable belief that communities can only be properly understood and judged in terms of their own internally generated norms and beliefs--a proposition that pantayong pananaw advocates seem to favor, despite earnest denials (see Sta. Maria 2000). But even assuming that isolated communities in a capitalist-gobalized world is possible,
long after Max Weber took time off from “value-free” pursuits to distinguish explanation from interpretation, proponents of the primacy of hermeneutic understanding still need the benefit of analytic explanation if they want to avoid circularity and self-serving solipsism. After all, why bother understanding Others? Oppositional American thinkers such as Marcus Raskin, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, Susan Buck-Morss and others have begun to engage with the antinomies of knowledge-production faced earlier by the British in the context of the challenges of the postmodern era (Raskin 1987), an engagement coopted by the debates on terrorism, Islamophobia, and other alibis of Empire.

My own position strives to be a dialectical-materialist stance that privileges historical specificity and counterhegemonic imperatives on the question of adapting ideas originating from other sources (San Juan 2007). In my view, language is only one of the criteria for hypothesizing the nation as "imagined community,” to use Benedict Anderson’s formula. However, the quest becomes more problematic when the language at issue, "Filipino," is still a matter disputed by other participants of the polity such as the Cebuanos, the various Moro groups, and by the English-speaking intelligentsia and bureaucracy. More seriously, it is not possible to conceive of the notions of "pantayo" and "pangkami" without the whole dynamic network of differences first outlined by Saussure but complicated by the wide-ranging semiotic principles explored by C.S. Peirce, Lev Vygotsky, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, and Roman Jakobson, far beyond the findings of Whorf, Sapir, Humboldt, Frobenius, etc. The linguistic symbol, as Jakobson reminds us, is not only a vehicle of the sedimented past (icons) or the present (indices) but also of the future. He quotes Peirce's speculation premised on the triadic theory of the sign: "The being of a symbol consists in the real fact that something surely will be experienced if certain conditions be satisfied....The value of a symbol is that it serves to make thought and conduct rational and enables us to predict the
future" (1987,427).


Language is, to be sure, only one signifier of national identity, not an absolute qualifier, whose correlation with other practices and collective actions needs delicate orchestration (Yinger 1976, 200-02). Earlier (San Juan 2008), I registered my discomfort with the logocentric tendency in Enriquez's otherwise conscientious indigenization
attempt. In the total program of liberating the majority of Filipinos (workers, peasants, women) from market exploitation and alien oppression, a nationalist ideology as such should prioritize the act of foregrounding democratic national rights and collective welfare. Hence we need an internationalist worldview such as that provided by Marxism (articulated, of course, to our specific conditions) with its universalistic, critical position grounded on a "concrete universal," with all the richness of the particular social- formation in the Philippines, in creating a sense of Filipino nationhood (Lowy 2000). 

Filipinizing CS thus requires not merely linguistic readjustment but, more importantly, reconceiving the sense of rationality, justice, equality and democratic participation that cannot be hermetically encapsulated within the bounds of a single Filipino language-in- the-making. My firm conviction is that no indigenization project will fully succeed unless it includes a program of systematic decolonization, particularly an uncompromising indictment of U.S.  colonialism/neocolonialism in its totality, together with its complicit transnational allies. Neither postcolonial hybridity, modernizing technocratic pragmatism, nor transnational flexibility will do; we need dialectical cunning and a bricoleur’s resourcefulness in taking advantage of what our forebears--Rizal, Recto, Agoncillo, Constantino, Hernandez, and others--have already won for us. After all, the enemy can also speak in Filipino and even dance the tinikling and sing "Dahil sa Iyo" in more seductive, innovative, postmodernist ways. We need to combine specifics and universals in both strategic and tactical ways that precisely cannot be learned at this time from orthodox CS and its postcolonial. transnationalist variations.

Unconcluding Postscript

To recap: Conceived as a reaction to capitalist high culture in the late twentieth century, CS initially challenged Cold War norms and Western hegemony. It promised a democratic, even radical, renaissance of thought and sensibility inside and outside the academy. Its early practitioners drew heavily from the Marxist and socialist traditions. But when it became institutionalized in the Eighties and Nineties, CS distanced itself rapidly from mass political struggles in the metropoles and the “third world.” It reverted to ethical individualism, aestheticism, Nietzschean performative displays, and the
fetishism of differences/hybridity, becoming in the process a defensive ideology for predatory finance capitalism and technocratic globalization. If we want CS to be meaningful to the majority of Filipinos, it needs to address the urgent realities of our society and contribute to the democratic and egalitarian ideals of our history.

In the Philippines and other subordinated formations, CS can be regenerated by renewing its anticolonial, popular and democratic inspiration and re-engaging in a radical, transformative critique of oligopolistic corporate power, the political economy of global finance capital and its commodified/commodifying culture. It can challenge US imperialism and its subalterns in its current modality of warring against “terrorism”or extremism (codewords for anti-imperialists) by returning to, first, the primacy of social labor; second, the complex historical articulations of the mode of production and social relations; and, third, the importance of the materialist critique of norms, assumptions and premises underlying existing inequalities, injustices, and oppressions.

To Filipinize CS is to reconfigure the modality and thrust of Western CS in order to address the persistent and urgent problems of the exploitation of Filipino labor worldwide, the lack of genuine sovereignty and national independence, and the profound class, gender and ethnic inequalities that have plagued the country for so long. In short, intellectuals engaged in CS need to situate their practice and vocation in the actual society that underwrites their labor and provides it some measure of intelligibility and significance. Otherwise, they will continue to serve the interests of global capital and undermine their own claims to integrity and independence, not to speak of “academic freedom,” humanistic ideals, and scientific objectivity.

REFERENCES

Bauzon, Kenneth. 1991. “Knowledge and Ideology in Philippine Society,” Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 19 (1991): 207-234.

San Juan, Theses, 12
Enriquez, Virgilio. 1992. From Colonial to Liberation Psychology. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.
Guillermo, Ramon. 2003. "Exposition, Critique and New Directions for Pantayong Pananaw." Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 3 (March 2003).
Ileto, Reynaldo. 1998. Filipinos and their Revolution. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Jakobson, Roman. 1987. Language in Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Karnow, Stanley. 1989. In Our Image. New York: Random House.
Korsch, Karl. 1971.
Three Essays on Marxism. New York: Monthly Review Press. MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1970. "The Idea of a Social Science." in Rationality, ed. Bryan R.
Wilson. New York: Harper & Row.
Raskin, Marcus and Herbert Bernstein, eds. 1987
. New Ways of Knowing. Totowa,
NJ: Rowman and Littlefield.
Salazar, Zeus, ed. 2004. Sikolohiyang Panlipunan-at-Kalinangan. Quezon City:

Palimbagan ng Lahi
Samuel, Rapahel, ed. 1981.
People's History and Socialist Theory. London: Routledge
and Kegan Paul.
San Juan, E. 1996.
The Philippine Temptation: Dialectics of U.S.-Philippines Literary
Relations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
----. 2000.
After Postcolonialism: Remapping Philippines-United States Confrontations.
Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield.
----. 2007.
In the Wake of Terror: Class, Race, Nation, Ethnicity in the Postmodern
World. Maryland: Lexington Books.
----. 2008. "Ordeals of Indigenization: On Sikolohiyang Pilipino,"
Balikbayang Sinta: An
E. San Juan Reader. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. ——. 2015. Between Empire and Insurgency. Quezon City: University of the
Philippines.
Santa Maria, Madelene. 2000. “On the Nature of Cultural Research.”
International
Society for the Study of Behavioral Development Newsletter #1, Serial No. 37:
4-5.
Wilson, Bryan R., ed. 1970.
Rationality. New York: Harper and Row.
Yinger, J. Milton. 1976. "Ethnicity in Complex Societies: Structural, Cultural and

Characterological Factors." In The Uses of Controversy in Sociology, ed. Lewis Coser and Otto Larsen. New York: Free Press. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

US IMPERIALISM IN THE PHILIPPINES by Heather Gray

Initiating US imperialism
The early international torture and intimidation models
by the US in the Philippines

by Heather Gray
PDF


Filipinos at Cordillera Peoples Alliance Meeting - 1989 (Photo: Heather Gray)
The Philippines makes a decent representative example of the US' first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire, also referred to as "civilizational imperialism"....(Butler-The Filipino Mind)
"Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture."   
                 
Major General Smedley D. Butler, America's Armed Forces: 'In Time of Peace', 1935. 1898-1914: The Philippines.  
 
Smedley wrote the above in 1935 before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and before the US entry into WWII in 1941. On the whole, however, US military aggression has not been defensive as he states. It has been imperial wars for resources and profit.

The Filipino-American War was a profound example of an unprovoked excessively violent war by the United States against the Filipino people in the beginning of the 20th century.

As noted by Filipino scholar E. San Juan, Americans know little about the Philippines and much less about the American war against the Philippines a century ago. He writes:  
 
Unless news of a disaster grabs the headlines-the eruption of a volcano that drove the US military forces from Clark and Subic bases two decades ago, or of American missionaries kidnapped by the Muslim separatists, the Abu Sayyaf (labeled a terrorist group by the US State Department in 2003), the Philippines scarcely figures in the U.S. public consciousness. Not even as a tourist destination, or as the source of mail order brides and domestic help. Some mistake the Philippines as islands in the Caribbean, or somewhere near Hawaii or Tahiti; others wondered then if "them Philippians were the folks St. Paul wrote the epistle to."
September 11, 2001 changed this somewhat. When U.S. occupation troops in Iraq continued to suffer casualties every day after the war officially ended, pundits began to supply capsule histories comparing their situation with those of troops in the Philippines during the Filipino-American War (1899-1902). A New York Times op-ed summed up the lesson in its title, "In 1901 Philippines, Peace Cost More Lives Than Were Lost in War" (2 July 2003, B1)). An article in the Los Angeles Times contrasted the  simplicity of McKinley's "easy" goal of annexation with George W. Bush's ambition to "create a new working democracy as soon as possible" (20 July 2003, M2). Immediately after the proclaimed defeat of the Taliban and the rout of Osama bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan, the Philippines became the second front in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, with hundreds of US "Special Forces" re-invading the former colony. (San Juan)    

In the early 1900s,  Major General D. Smedley Butler was the most highly decorated US soldier and twice had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was also posted to the Philippines in the early 1900s. 

Smedley states that it is especially important to understand that imperial wars and conquests engaged in by the United States are to benefit the capitalists at the expense of everyone else. Those victims, obviously, include many of the US military and their colonial targets, who die and suffer to serve these capitalist interests. 

"War is a Racket" Smedley said:
 
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.  (Smedley - "War Is A Racket" 1935)

... I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents. (Smedley "I was a racketeer for capitalism"  1935) 
  
The war by the US against the Filipino people was, in a sense, an imperial laboratory for future unprovoked aggressive wars coupled with land/resource acquisition and capital accumulation by the US in the 20th and 21rst centuries. This "laboratory" includes the development of imperial models for the US aggression that includes resistance by some of the American forces and, of course, by those being accosted by the US military. 

The Filipino crime, leading to this war by the US against them, was a desire for sovereignty and independence. The US would not allow the Filipinos to have either, then or in the future.  
 
Heather Gray (lft) with Filipino women in the Cordillera (1989)

Torture and intimidation models  
by the US in the Philippines

I have identified specific imperial models resulting from the US invasion and occupation of the Philippines and they are as follows: 
  • Model Number One: Ruthlessly Taking of and Demanding Raw Materials and Access to Markets - in this case Asian markets, specifically China   
  • Model Number Two: Forced Subjugation through an Imperial Racist Mindset and Actions
  • Model Number Three: Mass Killing and Concentration Camps
  • Model Number Four: Water Torture  
  • Model Number Five: Resistance by American Troops and by those in the Invaded Country
  • Model Number Six: On-going Control through Low Intensity Conflict, Military Presence and invariably Resistance and Reaction to all of the above.
Model Number One: Ruthlessly Taking of and Demanding Raw Materials and Access to Markets - in this case Asian markets, specifically China 

Secretary of State John Hay, referred to the US invasion of the Philippines in 1899 as America's "splendid little war". It might have been "little" in terms of a military conflict but massive in terms of the consequences for the Filipino people. In fact, in the early 1900's the United States annexed the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The US was then poised to enter the 20th century "as an imperial power" (PBS).
  
After defeating Spain in Cuba in 1898, the US decided to go after Spain's additional imperial holdings and sent its military to the Philippines for this purpose. In fact, at the Paris Conference in 1898 to discuss the fate of the Spanish empire after Spain had been defeated in Cuba, the United States agreed to pay Spain $20 million to "annex" the entire Philippine archipelago. This was after the Filipino's had been struggling to rid themselves of the Spanish colonizers. The Paris conference infuriated them and they prepared for war.  "The islands of Puerto Rico and Guam were also placed under American control, and Spain relinquished its claim to Cuba."  The treaty was signed on December 10, 1898 (Library of Congress).
Not surprisingly, the Filipino people had no representation at the Paris conference, yet the Catholic Church did have representation. Where is the justice in that, we might ask?

Felipe Agoncillo, the Filipino official handpicked by President Emilio Aguinaldo to represent the Filipinos in the conference, was refused recognition and barred from presenting the case for the Filipinos. In contrast, the credentials of the representative of the Catholic Hierarchy, Bishop Placido Chapelle, were recognized and he was given the opportunity to work out a special provision in the treaty, i.e., Article VIII, which provided for the protection of the property and rights of the Catholic Church in the Philippines (Capili).
 
Months before the Paris Treaty, on May 1, 1898, US Commodore George Dewey descended upon the shores of the Philippines and destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and then the assault began. 

Americans had three major goals for occupying the Philippines. One was to create a military presence to then access the markets of China. The second was to utilize the Philippine raw materials for US industry. US President William McKinley described the third. After praying to "Almighty God", McKinley said that a message came to him that Americans were in the Philippines to "uplift and civilize and christianize" Filipinos.
McKinley confessed to a visiting delegation of Methodist church leaders how he sought the light of "Almighty God" to advise him what to do with the Philippines, and God told him that, among other things, "there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace to do the very best we could by them....and then I went to sleep, and slept soundly" (quoted in Schirmer and Shalom, 1987, 22-23). It was this sound sleep and McKinley's policy of "Benevolent Assimilation"  that led to US casualties of 4, 234 soldiers killed, about 3,000 wounded, and anywhere from 250,000 to 1.4 million "new-caught sullen peoples" of the islands forever silenced (San Juan).
Further, McKinley was obviously not aware of the fact that the Filipinos had been "christianized" for some 400 years by Spanish colonizers, against whom they had consistently rebelled.
In this "unprovoked aggressive" war, there were some 70,000 American troops in the Philippines.  This included four Black regiments, two regiments of which had been selected specifically for service in the Philippines.   

The US also imposed a press censorship during the war but the press was informed anyway, largely by letters from the soldiers. Black soldiers, for one, repeatedly sent letters to the black press in the US.  The Black soldiers in the Philippines, in fact, were consistently faced with the dilemma of being victims of racism from the white soldiers and many were also not thrilled about attempting to subject another people of color to American racism and they wrote about it. Many of these Black soldiers had also fought in Cuba.

In 1971 scholar Willard B. Gatewood published an excellent volume of letters by Black US soldiers in Cuba and the Philippines entitled "Smoked Yankees and the Struggle for Empire: Letters from Negro soldiers, 1898-1902". Below are some extracts from the book that demonstrate the dilemma many Black soldiers faced either to fight with zeal or to side with the Filipinos. 
(Some Blacks in the Philippines fought) "with a zeal worthy of the most fanatic proponent of Anglo-Saxonism. Their treatment of Filipinos often resembled that of Negroes in the United States."
 
...At the other extreme were those black soldiers repelled by the idea of taking up the white man's burden against another "people of color" and thoroughly sympathetic to the Filipino's demand for freedom. From this category came those who deserted to the insurgent cause. The majority of the Negro troops shied away from either extreme and attempted to come to terms with what seemed contradictions in their role as defenders of white supremacy. Most Negro soldiers simply viewed their assignment in the Philippines as a duty expected of them as American citizens. The more introspective of them hoped that a credible performance by them would help black people in the United States to achieve more of the fruits of first class citizenship. Yet they never lost sight of the similarity between the predicament of the black man in America an the brown man in the Philippines (Gatewood).
One telling letter by a Black soldier William Simms in 1901 states:
I was struck by a question a little (Filipino) boy asked me, which ran about this way: "Why does the American Negro come...to fight us when we are much a friend to him and have not done anything to him. He is all the same as me and me all the same as you. Why don't you fight those people in America that burn Negroes, that make a beast of you.....?" (Gatewood).
This excerpt below, written to the "Colored American" in 1899, expresses the dilemma faced by many of the Black soldiers:
Our racial sympathies would naturally be with the Filipinos. They are fighting manfully for what the conceive to be their best interests. But we cannot for the sake of sentiment turn our backs upon our own country (Gatewood).

Resources? The Philippines has more than 7,100 islands, is considered a "crossroads of the Orient," is relatively close to China, has valuable minerals in significant amounts including nickel, iron and cooper, and has significant major crops such as rice and other tropical plants.

What appeared to be of most importance to Americans, however, was access to China:

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, countries were engaged in a widespread scramble to expand their colonies around the world. This aggressive economic and political push was known as the Age of Imperialism. For example, the French, Belgians, Dutch and British had moved into the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Japan had assumed power over the Korean peninsula, and the United States was exerting control over Latin America and the Asian Pacific. In retrospect, it looked just like a mad dash to see which nation could acquire the most territorial possessions.
One country that all empire-building powers wanted to control was China. During the late 19th century, the Chinese government was in a fragile state, and different countries had designated spheres of influence inside of China. Spheres of influence are areas of economic and political control (study.com).
In contrast to the quest for war against the Filipino people, there was opposition to this war in the Philippines by many in the United States at the time, not the least of which being from the "Anti-Imperialist League" of which Mark Twain was a member. (Below, please see the platform of the League.)
Model Number Two: Forced Subjugation through an Imperial Racist Mindset and Actions
  
Filipinos thought at one point that the Americans were there to help them kick out the Spanish and end 400 years of oppression. After fruitless attempts to negotiate, and after the 1898 Paris Treaty became known, the reality of the US intention became clear. The Filipinos were forced to acknowledge that the Americans intended to replace the Spanish as the colonial rulers. In "The Philippines Reader", Daniel Schirmer and Stephen Shalom provide first hand accounts of this period.    
 
(On February 5, 1899 Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo urged his people to fight in response to the) "outbreak of hostilities between the Philippine forces and the American forces of occupation, (which were) unjustly and unexpectedly provoked by the latter.... The constant outrages and taunts, which have caused the misery of the people...and finally the useless conferences and contempt shown the Philippine government prove the premeditated transgression of justice and liberty."

It appears that nothing would deny the Americans their determined presence and control of the Philippines.

It is also not surprising that white Americans brought with them their racist and white supremacist mindset into the Philippine arena. As Black soldier John W. Calloway, of the 24th Infantry, wrote to the Richmond Planet on November 16, 1899:

The whites have begun to establish their diabolical race hatred in all its home rancor in Manila, even endeavoring to propagate the phobia among the Spaniards and the Filipinos so as to be sure of the foundation of their supremacy when the civil rule that must necessarily follow the present military regime, is established 
(Gatewood).
White American soldiers also instituted their racial "whites only" infrastructure in restaurants and barber shops that began to proliferate during the American occupation. Filipinos were denigrated in the same way as American blacks.

I visited the Philippines in the late 1980s and witnessed on-going discrimination against Filipinos by Americans.  Filipino males, for example, were not allowed into some American bars around the Subic Naval Base in the city of Olongapo. My guess is that this had something to do with the American males treatment of or interest in and exploitation of Filipino women. As the mayor of Olongapo said once "We don't have prostitution. We have entertainment with sex."

The Filipinos were at first surprised by Black soldiers and confused them with the "Negritos" in the Philippines who were considered by some scholars as of the "earliest Africans who dispersed out of Africa through the southern coastal road". They are small in height, many are hunters and gatherers, and are comparable, according to some scholars, to the African pygmy (Wikipedia).

Aeta children in the Philippines

In fact, the land ultimately used for the U.S. Subic Naval Base as well as the Clark Air Force Base was the ancestral land of the Aeta people, who are considered Negritos. The Aeta were forced off their land by the Americans and persecuted routinely by the American military throughout the 20th century. There are parallels here to Native Americans being forced off their land in America.

It did not take long before many Black Americans and the Filipinos to establish close bonds. In fact, Manila's Chief of police commended the Black soldiers for their "exemplary behavior" that gave the police less trouble than any of the other American troops (Gatewood)

Most white Americans did not apreciate this Filipino and Black American friendship. It meant their supremacist mindset of controlling everyone was being significantly challenged.

Though white troops feared and resented the rapport between their Negro comrades and the Filipinos, their overt expressions of racial prejudice did little other than strengthen that relationship. Writing American forces in the Philippines in 1900, Frederick Palmer insisted that color was a crucial factor and that if a man was non-white, "we include him in a general class called "nigger," a class beyond our notice, to which, so far as our white soldier is concerned, all Filipinos belonged"
(Gatewood).
Some, including American William Taft - the first American civil governor -  also did not like the relationship between Black Americans and Filipinos and advocated, in 1902, that Black Americans soldiers be removed from the Philippines. 

Model Number Three: Mass killing and Concentration Camps
    
The American aggression in the Philippines from the beginning was swift and the slaughter by US forces is legendary. Philippine scholar Luziminda Francisco also refers to this brutal imperial American war that launched the 20th century as the "first Vietnam War" in which estimates of from 600,000 to a million Filipinos died. She states that the estimate of up to a million deaths might "err on the side of understatement" as one US congressman, who visited the Philippines at the time, was quoted as saying: 
 
"They never rebel in Luzon (Philippines) anymore because there isn't anybody left to rebel...our soldiers took no prisoners, they kept no records, they simply swept the country and wherever and whenever they could get hold of a Filipino they killed him."
In response to a massacre of 54 Americans by the Filipino resistance in Samar, Franciscodescribes how US General "Howling Jake" Smith launched a "reign of terror" on the island. "Kill and burn..." Smith said "the more you kill and burn the more you'll please me." When asked the age limit for killing, he said, "Everything over ten." The order from Smith was that Samar becomes a "howling wilderness" so that "even the birds could not live there." 
      
"Kill Every One Over Ten"_ - General Jacob H. Smith

"The cartoon above was published in the New York Journal on 5 May 1902. It depicted the massacre of the people of Balañguiga, Sámar Oriental (Eastern Sámar). Children over ten years old were not spared. And this horrendous fact of Philippine history is rarely taught in school - if it is even taught at all.
Benevolent assimilation. My @$$!!!" (Filipino eScribbles

The photo below depicts the "Moro Massacre" in March 1906. 
 
U.S. Marines observe their slaughter of over 600 men, women and children at Mount Dajo on the Philippines island of Jolo on March 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt congratulated General Wood on "the brilliant feat of arms". Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos were killed in the U.S. conquest of the islands. It is known as the Moro Massacre.

Mark Twain was furious about the Moro Massacre and wrote passionately about the American hypocrisy.

This incident (was thrust) upon the world last Friday in an official cablegram from the commander of our forces in the Philippines to our Government at Washington. The substance of it was as follows:

A tribe of Moros, dark-skinned savages, had fortified themselves in the bowl of an extinct crater not many miles from Jolo; and as they were hostiles, and bitter against us because we have been trying for eight years to take their liberties away from them, their presence in that position was a menace. Our commander, Gen. Leonard Wood, ordered a reconnaissance. It was found that the Moros numbered six hundred, counting women and children; that their crater bowl was in the summit of a peak or mountain twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, and very difficult of access for Christian troops and artillery. Then General Wood ordered a surprise, and went along himself to see the order carried out. Our troops climbed the heights by devious and difficult trails, and even took some artillery with them. The kind of artillery is not specified, but in one place it was hoisted up a sharp acclivity by tackle a distance of some three hundred feet. Arrived at the rim of the crater, the battle began. Our soldiers numbered five hundred and forty. They were assisted by auxiliaries consisting of a detachment of native constabulary in our pay-their numbers not given-and by a naval detachment, whose numbers are not stated. But apparently the contending parties were about equal as to number- six hundred men on our side, on the edge of the bowl; six hundred men, women and children in the bottom of the bowl. Depth of the bowl, 50 feet.
Gen. Wood's order was, "Kill or capture the six hundred."
The battle began-it is officially called by that name-our forces firing down into the crater with their artillery and their deadly small arms of precision; the savages furiously returning the fire, probably with brickbats-though this is merely a surmise of mine, as the weapons used by the savages are not nominated in the cablegram. Heretofore the Moros have used knives and clubs mainly; also ineffectual trade-muskets when they had any.
The official report stated that the battle was fought with prodigious energy on both sides during a day and a half, and that it ended with a complete victory for the American arms. The completeness of the victory is established by this fact: that of the six hundred Moros not one was left alive. The brilliancy of the victory is established by this other fact, to wit: that of our six hundred heroes only fifteen lost their lives.
General Wood was present and looking on. His order had been, "Kill or capture those savages." Apparently our little army considered that the "or" left them authorized to kill or capture according to taste, and that their taste had remained what it has been for eight years, in our army out there-the taste of Christian butchers (History as a Weapon).
Mark Twain also wrote the following regarding President Theodore Roosevelt's comment about this tragic massacre. First, here's the Roosevelt comment followed by Twain from his March 12, 1906 "Comments on the Moro Massacre":
(President Roosevelt) Washington, March 10. (to General) Wood, Manila:
I congratulate you and the officers and men of your command upon the brilliant feat of arms wherein you and they so well upheld the honor of the American flag. (signed) Theodore Roosevelt
Mark Twain's Response:

His whole utterance is merely a convention. Not a word of what he said came out of his heart. He knew perfectly well that to pen six hundred helpless and weaponless savages in a hole like rats in a trap and massacre them in detail during a stretch of a day and a half, from a safe position on the heights above, was no brilliant feat of arms - and would not have been a brilliant feat of arms even if Christian America, represented by its salaried soldiers, had shot them down with Bibles and the Golden Rule.

"Slaughter" is a good word. Certainly there is not a better one in the Unabridged Dictionary for this occasion (Mark Twain).  
Concentration Camps were also utilized in the Philippines by the Americans which was essentially forcing people off their land into what is described below as "suburbs of Hell".

In some areas, Filipinos were forced into concentration camps, called reconcentrados, which were surrounded by free-fire zones. These camps were overcrowded which led to disease and death. Between January and April 1902, 8,350 prisoners of approximately 298,000 died. Some camps incurred death rates as high as 20 percent. "One camp was two miles by one mile (3.2 by 1.6 km) in area and 'home' to some 8,000 Filipinos. Men were rounded up for questioning, tortured, and summarily executed." In Batangas Province, where General Franklin Bell was responsible for setting up a concentration camp, a correspondent described the operation as "relentless." General Bell ordered that by December 25, 1901, the entire population of both Batangas Province and Laguna Province had to gather into small areas within the "poblacion" of their respective towns. Barrio families had to bring everything they could carry because anything left behind-including houses, gardens, carts, poultry and animals-was to be burned by the U.S. Army. Anyone found outside the concentration camps was shot. General Bell insisted that he had built these camps to "protect friendly natives from the insurgents, assure them an adequate food supply" while teaching them "proper sanitary standards." The commandant of one of the camps referred to them as the "suburbs of Hell" (Wikipedia). 

Young girl observes dead children in camp on the island of Negros-1989 (Photo: Heather Gray) 

This model of having concentration camps continued in the Philippines. The picture above is taken at a camp on the island of Negros where certain mountainous areas were evacuated by the Philippine military and/or paramiitary as they sought revolutionaries. This was during the 1980s Anti-Communist Campaign initiated by retired US General John Singlaub, President of the World Anti-Communist League, to destroy, intimidate and/or assassinate those engaged, for one, in the anti-US bases campaign. I was told this camp in Negros was the largest refugee camp in the Philippines since WWII. When I first walked into this room I saw it was filled with young children who were covered and on small beds. I thought they were asleep but then realized, and was told, they were all dead. The destabilization of being forced away from the security and sustenance of their homes resulted in the death of these young children. The young girl overlooking this tragedy is honoring one of her siblings along with meditation, incense and candles. As in the early 1900s, this was a "suburb of hell." One mother in the camp told me that American missionaries had offered to sell her a Bible. She told me she said to them, "I can't afford to buy food or my children much less a Bible"

E. San Juan addresses the varied reports on the estimates of killings during the Philippine American War.

Current controversy among scholars surrounds the tally of Filipino victims of US pacification. Journalist Bernard Fall cited the killing three million Filipinos in "the bloodiest colonial war (in proportion to population) ever fought by a white power in Asia," comparable to the carnage in Vietnam. Describing it as "among the cruelest conflicts in the annals of Western imperialism," Stanley Karnow, author of the award-winning  "In Our Image", counts 200,000 civilians and 20,000 soldiers (1989, 194), while others give 600,000. Filipina historian Luzviminda Francisco arrives at the figure of 1.4 million Filipinos sacrificed for Uplift and Christianization-in a country ruled by Christian Spain for three hundred years. While Kipling at the outbreak of the war urged the US to "take up the White Man's burden" and tame the "new-caught sullen peoples, half-devil and half-child," Mark Twain wrote some of his fiery pieces denouncing "Benevolent Assimilation" as the "new name of the musket" and acidly harped on the "collateral damage" of the US "civilizing mission": "Thirty thousand [US soldiers] killed a million [Filipinos].  It seems a pity that the historian let that get out; it is really a most embarrassing circumstance" (1992, 62) (San Juan).

In contrast to the huge loss of life of Filipinos in this war, "the United States Department of State states that the war 'resulted in the death of over 4,200 American' combatants (Wikipedia).

Model Number Four: Water Torture
 

The Americans began to utilize the deadly "water torture" against Filipinos - forcing huge amounts of water into their stomachs to then attempt to gather information. US General "Howling Jake" Smith insisted on its use in Samar. The US, however, was not pleased with Smith about this and court-martialed him, but the charges and punishment were flimsy at best:

In May 1902, Smith faced court-martial for his orders, being tried not for murder or other war crimes, but for "conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline". The court-martial found Smith guilty and sentenced him "to be admonished by the reviewing authority."
To ease the subsequent public outcry in America, Secretary of War Elihu Root recommended that Smith be retired. President Roosevelt accepted this recommendation, and ordered Smith's retirement from the Army, with no additional punishmen. (Wikipedia).
  
U.S. soldiers torturing a Filipino in 1901. When the U.S. military waterboarded Filipinos - the practice was accepted. When the Japanese later waterboarded U.S. personnel in World War II_ America tried them for war crimes. (Ohio State University)
 
Donald Trump boldly states, if in a position to do so, that he would have the military engage in water boarding. Under the circumstances, it is worthy of a comment about the current status of water torture in the international and domestic arenas.
Unfortunately, it is not widely known that the "water cure" that was utilized by the US in the Philippine War has been on-going by the US intelligence and military services. It has also been used by the US domestically in the 20th century by some police forces (NPR).
It was discovered during the George W. Bush administration that the "water cure" was used by the CIA in the post 9/11 "enhanced interrogation" practices.  After the 9/11 revelations about the "water cure" tactics being used by the US, in 2008 the United Nations' Report of the Committee Against Torture ruled that:
It's a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labeled as torture. It fulfills all of the four central criteria that according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) defines an act of torture." 

(Regarding the criteria for torture, as referred to by the United Nations, waterboarding fulfills all four criteria for torture): (1) (It) "causes severe physical and/or mental suffering" and can lead to death; (2) (It is) done intentionally, (3) for a specific purpose and (4) by a representative of a state - in this case the US. (Wikipedia)
While President Bush vetoed the Congressional bill in 2008 that would have banned waterboarding, on 22 January 2009 President Obama stressed that all military personnel were to use the Army Field Manual that prohibits the use of waterboarding which then moved away from the tactics of the Bush administration. (Wikipedia)
Model Number Five: Resistance by American Troops and by those in the Invaded Country      
There were four US regiments of Black soldiers in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. Many were outraged at the abuses and attitude of the white soldiers toward the Filipinos. As a testament of this attitude by white soldiers, Howard Zinn in his People's History of the United States refers to a letter from a volunteer from the state of Washington who wrote: "Our fighting blood was up, and we all wanted to kill 'niggers'.... this shooting human beings beats rabbit hunting all to pieces."  

Troop C, 9th Cavalry, at Camp Lawton,  Washington - before being sent to the Philippines in 1900. (T. Preiser - Special Collection - Suzzallo Library - University of Washington)

David Fagan, one of the Black soldiers, deserted from the US ranks to fight alongside Filipinos and "for two years wreaked havoc upon the American forces" (Zinn). Fagen remains the most famous of the Black soldiers to fight with the Filipinos. He was from Tampa, Florida.

Fagen had gained the rank of corporal in Company I in the 24th Infantry, and on November 17, 1899, defected. It is believed that his defection came in light of conflicts with his White or Black superiors. For a year and a half, Fagen led troops under General José Alejandrino. He eventually gained the rank of captain, and his followers called him "General Fagen." The New York Times printed a front-page story on "General Fagen" after he captured a military steam launch near Araya and escaped into the jungle with his men. American propaganda attempted to picture Fagen as a murderer, stating that he routinely captured and killed American soldiers. Two former prisoners from the 24th Infantry discounted these rumors. Trooper George Jackson and White Lieutenant Frederick Alstaetter both stated that they were treated humanely, although Fagen stole Alstaetter's West Point ring. Shockingly, 20 American soldiers defected to his side, Black and White (Veterans Military Research - New York).
E. San Juan writes about Fagen and other Black soldiers:

We know the names of  seven of about twenty-nine African Americans who deserted - their names have been expurgated from ordinary historical accounts. Deserters from the military are never mentioned in official histories, much less in approved textbooks and government documentaries. Only Fagen of Company I of the 24th Infantry seems to have survived in civic memory because he joined the revolutionary army of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the beleaguered president of the first Philippine Republic. Fagen's courage and skill as a guerilla leader earned him the trust of his Filipino comrades. As captain of his unit, Fagen led skirmishes against the pursuing troops of General Funston who offered a $600 reward for his head. A report of his "supposed killing" failed to convince even the U.S. Army, so Fagen continues to live on, at last arriving at his niche in the American National Biography (San Juan).
 
The Philippine resistance movement fought valiantly against the well-armed Americans. Francisco states that the "Filipinos had to adapt to their limitations as best they could...with darts, the ubiquitous bolo, and even stones, prompting (US) General Lawton to remark, 'they are the bravest men I have ever seen'...." (Francisco).
 
It is also noteworthy that once the Americans captured Aguinaldo in April 1901, they expected hostilities to cease and were "dismayed" that this was not the case. As the movement against the American presence had massive support, the fighting continued "unabated." This revelation led the leader of the US campaign, General Arthur MacArthur (General Douglas MacArthur's father), to resign. While in the Philippines in 1989, I visited the very location in the Cordillera where Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans.   
 Close to area in the Cordillera where President Aguinaldo was captured. 
The painting in the background depicts Aguinaldo on the left. (Photo: Heather Gray)
  
Model Number Six: On-going Control through Low Intensity Conflict, Military Presence and invariably Resistance and Reaction to all of the above.
The American policy was so brutal that even American personnel were skeptical. Francisco quotes a US civil servant in the Philippines at the time who said that because of the  "burning, torture and other harsh treatments" the Americans were "sowing the seeds for a perpetual revolution. If these things need to be done, they had best be done by native troops so that the people of the U.S. will not be credited therewith" (Francisco).
Obviously this warning was heeded, as in 1901 the Americans created the Philippine Constabulary, comprised of Filipinos, who would work at the behest of and ruthlessly serve US interests during the U.S. colonization of the Philippines as well as the Filipino elite. The US maintained military bases throughout most of the 20th century that were also intimidating to many Filipinos.

With its creation of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), the United States launched its Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) strategy in the Philippines - in other words "don't get the US hands dirty, let someone else do the brutal work." So while it might be "low" intensity for the United States, it is exceptionally "high" intensity for its victims. The PC is still in existence today, and its reactionary and mercenary origins have remained intact. Throughout the 20th century it has played a key role in suppressing peasant revolts and anti-US intervention movements.  

It is particularly important to highlight the initiation of "low intensity conflict" policies by the United States against Filipinos in 1901 given its on-going practice. The US has continued to implement LIC throughout the 20th century in Vietnam, Angola, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Columbia and elsewhere. The US military also teaches the international military representatives about LIC methods at its bases here in the United States, such as in Fort Benning, Georgia's infamous "School of the Americas" or as some refer to as the "School of the Assassins". The school essentially teaches the military regarding ways to protect the interests of the ruling class.

In addition, the US police departments are also described as LIC models as they generally serve the interests of the wealthy elite and most certainly not the masses which is similar to mission of the Philippine Constabulary.  Some have said, wisely, that the US police departments and LIC practices are the legacy of the American "slave patrols" that worked on behalf of  America's slaveholders.

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols. In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation's first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property (Police Studies). 
 
At the end of World War II the Americans claim to have given the Philippines its independence. The US, however, insisted on maintaining a military presence in the country, with its major bases being Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base through the Military Bases Agreement (MBA). In return for these bases, the US offered the Filipino elite the creation of the "Joint US Military Advisory Group" (JUSMAG) to help both the US and Filipinos in power to reassert their authority over the peasant movements for land reform and other issues objectionable to them.

The Philippine Constabulary and the Joint US Military Advisory Group have been a deadly mix in the Philippines for more than a century.

To the surprise of the US government, in the early 1990s the Philippine Senate overturned the MBA, which called for the closing of the Subic Naval Base and the Clark Air Force Base. But under George W. Bush in the early 2000s, after 9/11, US troops were sent into the Philippines to, it was said, counter the Muslim activism in the Philippines.  This was likely an excuse to maintain the US military presence in the area.  
 
The resistance to the US interference has always been intense in the Philippines. This resistance includes nationalist movements and armed struggle from the early occupation period, to the Hukbalahap guerrilla movement after World War II, to the New People's Army in the 1960's through to the present. There have also always been peasant movements for land reform, workers rights, on and on. In virtually every instance, the US administration and the US military have worked in tandem with the Filipino government, along with its LIC infrastructure, in an attempt to ruthlessly quell these movements.   
Summary
 
Suffice it to say, I know this history of the US in the Philippines is painful. But if we don't know it, it's hard to move forward. There is so much we are not taught.

The invasion of the Philippines by the United States in 1899 was an unprovoked war as was the case in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration. Both resulted in an expression of racial bias and unrestrained violence and arrogance and both have made huge amounts of money, for one, for corporate America and in particular its military industrial complex. President Eisenhower wi