Anticommunism and Philippine Independence in the Age of Decolonization
The United States in the World
Published by: Cornell University Press
282 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 4 b&w halftones
- ISBN: 9781501749131
- Published: May 2020
Freedom Incorporated demonstrates how anticommunist political projects were critical to the United States' expanding imperial power in the age of decolonization, and how anticommunism was essential to the growing global economy of imperial violence in the Cold War era.
In this broad historical account, Colleen Woods demonstrates how, in the mid-twentieth century Philippines, US policymakers and Filipino elites promoted the islands as a model colony. In the wake of World War II, as the decolonization movement strengthened, those same political actors pivoted and, after Philippine independence in 1946, lauded the archipelago as a successful postcolonial democracy. Officials at Malacañang Palace and the White House touted the 1946 signing of the liberating Treaty of Manila as a testament to the US commitment to the liberation of colonized people and celebrated it under the moniker of Philippine–American Friendship Day. Despite elite propaganda, from the early 1930s to late 1950s, radical movements in the Philippines highlighted US hegemony over the new Republic of the Philippines and, in so doing, threatened American efforts to separate the US from sordid histories of empire, imperialism, and the colonial racial order.
Woods finds that in order to justify US intervention in an ostensibly independent Philippine nation, anticommunist Filipinos and their American allies transformed local political struggles in the Philippines into sites of resistance against global communist revolution. By linking political struggles over local resources, like the Hukbalahap Rebellion in central Luzon, to a war against communism, American and Filipino anticommunists legitimized the use of violence as a means to capture and contain alternative forms of political, economic, and social organization. Placing the post-World War II history of anticommunism in the Philippines within a larger imperial framework, in Freedom Incorporated Woods illustrates how American and Filipino intelligence agents, military officials, paramilitaries, state bureaucrats, academics, and entrepreneurs mobilized anticommunist politics to contain challenges to elite rule in the Philippines.
Introduction: A Decolonized Empire
1. An Amazing Record of Red Plotting: Policing Radical and Racial Boundaries in the Colonial Philippines
2. State Violence and the Problem of Political Legitimacy: WWII, Philippine Independence, and the Hukbalahap
3. The Anticommunist International: The Philippine Front in a Global War against Communism
4. Efficient, Honest, and Democratic: U.S. Aid, Public Administration, and the Campaign against Corruption
5. A Dirty, Half-Hidden War: The CIA and U.S.-Philippine Covert Operations in Southeast Asia
Epilogue: A Friendship Written in Blood
"Woods presents a complex revisionist history of the relationship between the US and the Philippines during the early decades of the Cold War. This thoroughly researched monograph shines a light on the ambiguities of American anti-imperialist ideology and rhetoric in a polarized Cold War world."~Choice
"In Freedom Incorporated, a readable and engaging book, Colleen Woods argues that U.S. imperial exceptionalism in the post–World War II period had a healthy 'entanglement' or symbiosis with Cold War anti-Communist ideology and policies. Woods's key argument is that anti-Communism and military campaigns in the name of freedom were in fact instruments to perpetuate U.S. power. Freedom Incorporated underlines the great irony of U.S. self-idealism and exceptionalism. In the Philippines, political leaders used anti-Communism and "law and order" liberally to perpetuate dictatorship, especially during Ferdinand Marcos's many years of authoritarian, corrupt rule backed by the United States"~Cold War Studies
"Colleen Woods' innovative and fascinating book Freedom Incorporated brings the late-colonial Philippines and the first decades of independence together into a unified analytical frame. Freedom Incorporated is a detailed and necessary look at the ways the United States repackaged empire in a decolonizing world.The book greatly enhances our understandings of the crucial elements of the post-1945 U.S. empire (anticommunist ideology, basing, development programs), locating their genesis not only in the sociocultural and geostrategic calculations of the Cold War but also in "traditional" forms of colonial rule."~Diplomatic History