Focusing on E. San Juan, Jr.’s The Radical Tradition in Philippine Literature, which forms the matrix of his thought as a historical materialist critic, this essay traces the development of a central argument in the author’s body of work: namely, Philippine literature—diverse in form, expansive in reach—is progressive and revolutionary. Using such a fundamental argument with complex effects, I explore its implications for rethinking not only the scope of Philippine literature, but also for reimagining human solidarity, which San Juan aptly terms the New International. As I will suggest, the New International is an important form of planetary consciousness from below that offers an alternative account of internationalism, one that signifies the incorporation of the dispossessed everywhere as new historical agents. To understand this original concept, I will argue, is to grasp the historical truth of decolonization wherein the unprecedented conjuncture of Marxism, anti-colonialism, and vernacularism has enabled the revision of human solidarity that proceeds from the nontotalizing universality of the vernacular, a concept that has huge consequences not only for revitalizing the political philosophy of freedom, but also, and perhaps more important, for securing its flourishing in the future.


Anti-colonialism, decolonization, E. San Juan, Jr., Marxism, New International, planetarity, subaltern, vernacularism

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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
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)

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)