Exorcising Communist Specters and Witch Philosophers: The Struggle for Academic Freedom of 1961

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

In re-discovering the scholars who pioneered in the practice and teaching of Philosophy in the Philippines, this paper unravels the story and character of UP Philosophy professor Ricardo Pascual in the context of the witch hunts of 1961. While indicted for his alleged communism, the real issues that led to Pascual’s trial were his professed agnosticism and his advocacy of secular liberalism, which was a response to the sectarian aggression threatening academic freedom in the 1930s, and again, in the 1950s. Pascual was, however, not the only one at that time to have fallen prey to this insidious tactic of misrecognition. The anonymous 1946 manuscript entitled The Peasant War in the Philippines, which sought reparations for a group of peasant rebels woefully defamed as “bandits and communists,” also found itself ironically condemned of treason, providing, as this paper explores, important resonances to and intersections with Pascual’s case. While Communism had conjured an image of itself as a specter, the fear and paranoia which it effectively produced was used not only to misrecognize every form of resistance as an assault against the State, but to suppress hauntings of other kinds. In Pascual’s case, it was in conjuring the spirit of Logical Positivism and the memory of the Filipino hero, Jose Rizal that he asserted the importance of a philosophy that was constantly and consciously critical of the constraints and obscurantist tendencies of religion and its institutions.


Keywords

Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities (CAFA), Filipino philosophy, Hukbalahap, intellectual history, religious wars

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)