Introduction

The current Philippine anarchist milieu is a relatively recent phenomenon dating from the 1990s, but there have been precedents dating from the precolonial period before the arrival of the Spanish, the American colonial period, and the First Quarter Storm (the militant period before the Marcos Dictatorship). Despite the influences anarchism has had on the radical history of the Philippines, it remains an under-studied subject, especially in social movement studies. My objective with this article is twofold: (1) to locate the niche that Philippine anarchism occupies in the radical history of the country, and (2) to investigate the factors that have contributed to the mobilisation of Philippine anarchism and its precedents. Through this, I hope to provide a panoramic perspective on the place Philippine anarchism occupies in the radical history of the archipelago.

My methodology involves surveying currently existing literature about Philippine anarchism—which is at times written by Filipino anarchists themselves—to sketch its emergence in the country. Of course, this opens up the study to the issue of bias, in that published literature is privileged over oral or more informal traditions. This is an acknowledged bias and limitation to this review. What is reviewed here is limited to the literature published by and about the Philippine anarchist milieu. I recognize that what is written and published may not necessarily be representative of the totality of what Philippine anarchism represents—if such a totality can even be represented at all. Despite these limitations, I think it is important to review what is currently available. While the literature bias prevents us from making generalisations on the entirety of Philippine anarchism or something representative of it, it may still inform us on the tendencies of Philippine anarchism that manifest into published literature. In terms of the history of the milieu, published literature proves to be quite fragmented. I first sketch what we do know before I suggest avenues of investigation for what we do not yet know. I see this study as information gathered for a review of literature and history that can be a starting point for a deeper and more comprehensive survey that includes oral and practical traditions.

With these methodological limitations covered, keep in mind that while I may claim that Philippine anarchism has certain features, these may not be representative of the beliefs and politics of every anarchist in the milieu.

So, what is Philippine anarchism? I adopt the conceptual framework of Franks, Jun, and Williams (2018) to identify what is anarchism or a precedent of it in the Philippines. Anarchism itself is a commonly used set of ideas, practices, and actions shared between those who call themselves anarchists [1]. We anarchists share an opposition to hierarchy, a commitment to freedom, prefiguration, and agency, use direct action, and share a revolutionary outlook [2]. Philippine anarchism is an anarchism adapted to the Philippine context and locally articulated by anarchists in that context. Philippine anarchism adopts the core concepts of international anarchism—the opposition to hierarchy, commitment to freedom, prefiguration, and all that—and adopts adjacent concepts relevant for the Philippine context. Tendencies in Philippine anarchism tend to adopt concepts such as decolonisation, indigenisation, and ecology.

In a literature study of anarchist histories across Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Czechia (the former Czechoslovakia), Greece, Japan and Venezuela [3], identify factors that contribute to the mobilisation of anarchist movements across different countries. They identify political, economic, and cultural factors that lead to mobilisation, and find that certain international and domestic phenomena can either mobilise or demobilize anarchist movements [4]. In turn, anarchist mobilisations are encouraged by international interaction and dissemination of anarchist ideas, the popularisation of punk, a militant labour movement, and disillusionment with the old Left [5]. Factors that demobilize anarchists include Bolshevism and state repression [5]. However, some factors of mobilisation in certain countries can also serve to demobilize in other countries, such as how state repression was a mobilising factor in Czechia and Greece but a demobilizing factor in Japan [5]. With this in mind, we have to take into consideration that even if a certain factor mobilised or demobilized anarchists in one context, this may not be necessarily applicable in the Philippine context.

So like other anarchisms in the global anarchist movement, we see similar patterns of mobilisation in Philippine anarchism. As we shall see, the mobilisation and popularisation of Bolshevism and later Marxism-Leninism would demobilise anarchist or anarchist-inflected tendencies in the Philippines, while factors like punk culture and the delegitimisation of Marxism-Leninism in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and her satellites helped encourage anarchism in the Philippines, just as it did elsewhere.

This study next discusses political opportunity structures, which are the factors that facilitate or inhibit mobilisation. Thereafter, we deal with the prehistories of Philippine anarchism. By understanding how Philippine anarchism situates itself in the radical history of the archipelago, we may better understand the niche that anarchism fulfils in the Philippines. From there, we shall look into what is currently known about the history of Philippine anarchism in its emergence in the late 20th century, before tackling the factors of mobilisation in the contemporary anarchist milieu.

Political Opportunities for Anarchists

Political opportunities are structures that constrain or encourage mobilisation and form the opportunities and threats where contention takes place [6]. McAdam (1996) [7] and Tilly and Tarrow (2015) outline various factors that influence political opportunity in the structures/environments that most social movements operate under:

  • whether the institutionalised political system is open or closed to new actors, otherwise known as access to political participation;
  • whether the regime has a 'multiplicity of independent centres of power within it';
  • whether the political alignments among elites are in flux, stable, or unstable;
  • whether actors can find influential allies and supporters among the elite;
    the capacity and propensity for state repression or facilitation of claim-making by actors; and
  • whether there are any definitive changes in any of the previous factors.

While anarchist social movements generally benefit from some of these political opportunities such as civil liberties which increase access to political participation [8], these political opportunity structures were specifically designed for social movements that are reformist and state-oriented [9]. For example, anarchists are not likely to appeal to the support of elites for their causes [10], considering that access to elites has a tendency to produce reformism rather than radicalism [11]. In order to analyse the mobilisation and demobilisation of anarchist social movements, [11] modify political opportunity theories to better fit the particularities unique to anarchist milieus. In their analysis of historical accounts of anarchist movements written by anarchists themselves, [11] find the following factors that influence the mobilisation and demobilisation of anarchist movements:

  • international interaction between anarchists and activists of different countries which allows anarchist ideologies to disseminate;
  • the dissemination and growth of punk which functions as a safe space for the propagation of anti-authoritarian and anarchist ethos and culture;
  • the presence of anti-capitalism based on experiences of relative deprivation and poverty;
  • the presence of radicalised labour unions whose militancy dovetails with anarchist militants and ideologies;
  • whether a country is at war where anarchists are able to join anti-war mobilisations to mobilise in turn;
  • whether anarchists make use of propaganda-of-the-deed—a tactic of using terrorism and assassinations to pursue political ends—which triggers fierce repression on anarchist militants and their organisations thus demobilising them;
  • the mobilisation of Bolshevism, which has the potential to demobilise anarchists;
  • the presence of fierce state repression which in some cases such as in Czechia and Greece can mobilise anarchism, but can also demobilise anarchists, as was the case in Japan;
  • the presence of liberal democracy where public space is open for radical ideologies to mobilise;
  • disappointment and disillusionment with the old left, as exemplified by international backlash to the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 [12].

These political opportunities inherit McAdam, Tilly and Tarrow’s focus on political participation,  alignments that may aid anarchist mobilisation.

In terms of mobilisation, I identify international interaction and the presence of radical labour unions as factors that led to the mobilisation of anarchist principles in the American colonial period with the interactions with anarchists by Isabelo de los Reyes in exile and later his labour militancy in his return. For the anarchy of the First Quarter Storm in 1970, there is not enough information on the mobilisation of the anarchist SDKM, but its demobilisation is known. Of these identified factors of demobilisation, I identify the mobilisation of Bolshevism as a demobilising factor for anarchists in the Philippines. Indeed, this was the fate of the anarchisms of the American colonial period and of the First Quarter Storm.

After my own review of the Philippine anarchist literature available, there are four factors that I identify as mobilising factors for contemporary Philippine anarchism. The first factor is the crisis of authoritarianism in the socialist and communist milieus in the post-Marcos period (after 1986). This crisis of authoritarianism and its manifestations in events like the murderous purge by the Communist Party resulted in radicals reassessing authoritarian paradigms and looking for new ideological frames. The second factor is the collapse of the Soviet Union, which delegitimised Marxism-Leninism and state socialism. If the victory of Marxism-Leninism leads to the defeat of anarchism, then the reverse potentially holds true [13]. The third factor is the dissemination of punk, or punkista as it is known in the Philippines. Punk and anarchism have historically developed together [14], and we see this pattern again in the Philippines. The fourth factor is the international mobilisation of the anti-Neoliberal “alter-globalization” movement, with anarchists leading the charge. As we shall see, successful mobilisations elsewhere factor into mobilisations in the Philippines. In turn, this factor of international mobilisation is related to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which allowed new ideological frames to take root. Additionally, international interaction among anarchists and anarchist mobilisations elsewhere has been previously noted to aid in anarchist mobilisations on a local level [15].

In the following sections, I situate the niche in which Philippine anarchism finds itself, together with the history of the precedents of the contemporary milieu.

Prehistories of Philippine Anarchism

While contemporary Philippine anarchism is a relatively recent phenomenon, anarchists in the Philippines see themselves as descended from and related to Indigenous and anti-authoritarian struggles in the archipelago (See [16], [17]). While not a Filipino anarchist, the Black anarchist Roger White (2005) suggests that we must understand post-colonial anarchisms 'in relation to the centuries-old struggle against arbitrary power' and to view these post-colonial anarchisms 'as the newest member of a global family that includes numerous historical and present day communal societies and struggles against authority' [18]. This is not unprecedented; Mbah and Igariwey (1997) for example, situate African anarchism in 'anarchistic precedents in Africa' and anarchic and communalist elements in traditional African society [19]. Black anarchism as an international tradition also roots itself in historical Maroon and slave uprisings (See Saint Andrew 2021, [20]). Similarly, the Indigenous Anarchist Federation (n.d.) roots their Indigenous anarchism in the practices by Indigenous peoples in the Americas before European colonisation and also notes that anarchism in Latin America has been shaped by Indigenous struggles. In the same vein, some Filipino anarchists like Bas Umali see anarchism as deeply rooted in the stateless Indigenous communities and stateless political arrangements prior to colonisation:

'In my view, since time immemorial, anarchism has been present in the archipelago; primitive communities from coastal to upland areas flourished and utilized autonomous and decentralized political patterns that facilitated the proliferation of highly diverse cultures and lifestyles.' [21]

However, stretching the concept of anarchism to retroactively encompass the entirety of stateless history and society is not without problems. While the concept of anarchy, anarchist principles and concepts, and anarchic ways of doing things have been well prefigured since ancient times [22], anarchism as a set of cohered political and ideological tools associated with anarchists emerged in the 19th century. There is value for post-colonial and Indigenous anarchists to root their struggle and historical consciousness in autonomous and anti-authoritarian histories, but I think it is a disservice to historical actors to ascribe them an ism they simply did not subscribe to. As such, for the purposes of this essay, I term these anti-authoritarian and anarchistic precursors and episodes that Philippine anarchism situates as part of its history as “prehistories” of Philippine anarchism, while I term past anarchisms that did not survive to influence the contemporary anarchist milieu in the Philippines “precedents” to Philippine anarchism.

As exemplified by the likes of Bas Umali, Philippine anarchism does situate itself in precolonial and Indigenous histories in the archipelago. Barclay even includes the Ifugao Indigenous community in his book People without Government, itself an ‘anthropology of anarchy' [23]. Indeed, the carving of the mountains in the Banaue Rice Terraces without the use of governments or states by the Ifugao does improve the case that states are unnecessary for highly complex organisation. However, I am equally critical of anarchist equivalents of a “noble savage” trope, as I am of a search for a “pure” indigeneity unsullied by the State that decolonisation can return to. David Graeber for example, points out that we cannot equate ‘indigenous’ with ‘egalitarian: 'There were hunter-gatherer societies with nobles and slaves, there are agrarian societies that are fiercely egalitarian' [24].

With this in mind, I think it is still viable to situate a Philippine anarchism in, as White says, a family of communal societies and struggles against authority [25]. Like the African anarchism of Mbah and Igariwey, Philippine anarchism and their practitioners in the archipelago situate themselves in the communal and anarchic traditions and practices already existing in its context [26].

Included as well in the Philippine family of struggles against authority are insurrectionary episodes where insurgents practiced direct action. This family includes the indokumentado or undocumented natives that resisted state legibility and Spanish colonial authority, instances of tribes relocating to escape state authority, and open rebellions like the Dagohoy Rebellion and Bonifacio’s insurrection. Lapu-Lapu imagery and the celebration of Lapu-Lapu’s victory over Magellan also factors heavily in the imagination of some tendencies in Philippine anarchism [27], suggesting a focus on indigeneity. In looking for the predecessors of Philippine anarchism, Umali and Barbin also include the Cavite Mutiny as a direct action movement [28], [29]. Ironically enough, the Spanish General Rafael de Izquierdo noted in 1872 of the Cavite Mutiny that 'the [First] Internationale has spread its black wings to cast its nefarious shadow over the most remote lands', [30], but when de Izquierdo said that, there was not yet an anarchist or socialist presence in the county.

Another episode in the prehistories of Philippine anarchism is in the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal who was mentored by Francesc Pi y Margall, a Spanish socialist-republican and a Proudhonian [31]. While Rizal himself never proclaimed himself as an anarchist like his mentor Pi y Margall, the mutualism of Proudhon was still evident in the revolutionary nationalist organization Rizal founded, La Liga Filipina (the Philippine League). La Liga Filipina was explicitly constructed as a mutualist association in its statutes where members have duties to assist one another and provide interest-free mutual lending [32]. However, despite its Proudhonian and mutualist influences, La Liga Filipina was not an anarchist organisation as it was also a highly secretive ‘conspiratorial’ organizational and had more in common with Leninist vanguards than with anarchist political organisations [33]. Elsewhere, Rizal was inspired by the episodes of anarchists practicing propaganda-of-the-deed while living in Europe and would integrate propagandist-of-the-deed and insurrectionary elements in the character, Simon, and the lamp bomb plot in his second novel El Filibusterismo [34].

These prehistories of struggle and autonomy from the indokumentados to the Cavite Mutiny suggest that while anarchism is a useful ideological lens used to frame struggles against authority, struggles against authority have always existed in the archipelago. These prehistories factor into how the current milieu sees itself, suggesting its niche in Philippine society.

The Anarchism that almost was

If there were anarchistic tendencies in the country that would become the Philippines before colonialism, where does anarchism as a body of ideological tools and practices then intersect with Philippine history? There are indeed episodes where anarchist ideas and practices do intersect with Philippine history but which do not have historical continuity with the contemporary anarchist milieu in the Philippines, simply remaining as precedents. The first precedent of what I would call the ‘anarchism that almost was' centred around the return of Isabelo de los Reyes, who brought anarchist and Marxist books to the Philippines to seed the first, anarchist-learning, socialist milieu in the country [35], [36]. I term this milieu as ‘anarchist-leaning’ because the milieu did not identify as anarchist but was still influenced and oriented towards anarchist principles. The second precedent is the (supposed) anarchist wing in the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK; Federation of Democratic Youth) as claimed by the historian Joseph Scalice, who believes anarchists were among the most militant in the SDK and participated in insurrectionary episodes such as the Diliman Commune of 1971 [37]. Again, as far as I have been able to ascertain, there is no historical link between the currently existing anarchist milieu in the Philippines and the two precedents of Philippine anarchism outlined here.

In ‘the anarchism that almost was’, the Ilustrado and folklorist Isabelo de los Reyes was deported to Spain and imprisoned in the infamous Montjuich Castle under charges of insurrection and separatism [38], [39]. It was in the dungeons of Montjuich that de los Reyes encountered the anarchist Ramón Sempau who, along with other anarchists, then tutored him on anarchist and socialist theory and smuggled radical literature for de los Reyes to read [40], [41]. After his release, de los Reyes was an active figure in the Spanish anarchist milieu as a Filipino anti-imperialist propagandist and even acquainted himself with the anarchist pedagogue Francisco Ferrer [42]. It is important to note however, that while he fraternized with anarchists, there is no indication that de los Reyes identified as one.

At the end of his exile and his return to the Philippines, Isabelo de los Reyes brought with him a library containing books by Proudhon, Marx, Kropotkin, and Malatesta, which became the first known Marxist and anarchist books sent to the Philippines [43]. In the Philippines, de los Reyes attempted to start various nationalist and socialist political projects, the most fruitful being the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD; Union of Democratic Workers), the very first labour federation in the country, and the first labour union founded on explicitly socialist principles [44], [45]. The UOD and the early Philippine socialist milieu was grouped around radical printers who had the means to translate the Marxist and anarchist books brought by de los Reyes into Tagalog, such as Errico Malatesta’s bestselling pamphlet, Between Peasants, which was translated as Dalawang Magbubukid [46], [47]. Anti-authoritarian ideas permeated into the consciousness of the Filipino working class with novelist and former UOD leader Lope K. Santos writing both an anarchist character and anarchist theory into his novel Banaag at Sikat, later considered a “bible” of the working class Filipino [48]. Anarchist ideas also permeated  the Filipino peasantry through the socialist and anarchist literature smuggled by Isabelo de los Reyes and Dominador Gomez, with peasant unions such as the Aguman ding Maldang Talapagobra (AMT; League of Poor Workers) being inspired by anarchism [49].

On this account, we see how international interactions between anarchists and budding radicals like Isabelo de los Reyes factored into the mobilisation of anarchist principles in the Philippines. Later on in de los Reyes’ return to the Philippines, there already existed militant laborers who helped further mobilise anarchist-leaning principles through printing and the setting up of the UOD. These two factors, international interaction and radicalised labour unions were political opportunities that mobilised anarchist principles in the country.

However, while anarchism was present in the early Philippine socialist milieu in the form of ideas and literature, there were no Filipino anarchists. Lope K. Santos, Isabelo de los Reyes, and Pedro Abad Santos all never explicitly aligned with anarchism nor called themselves such. The Filipino anarchist character Felipe in Banaag at Sikat is ahistorical, in that the author Santos wrote an entirely fictional character not based on any Filipino anarchist. This is because—as far as I can ascertain—there were no self-identifying Filipino anarchists during the American and Commonwealth periods who left behind literature and historical records of their existence. The closest we have to a Philippine anarchism that almost was are the books Banaag at Sikat and Dalawang Magbubukid, and organisations influenced by anarchist principles such as the UOD, AMT, and the Socialist Party of Pedro Abad Santos, which emerged from the same milieu as UOD and AMT. The books Banaag at Sikat and Dalawang Magbubukid by themselves are not proof of the existence of an anarchist milieu, especially with the lack of self-identified anarchists. Perhaps a review of the literature produced by the AMT, the radical printers, and the early Socialist Party may reveal suggestions of the presence of radicals who explicitly did call themselves anarchist or aligned explicitly with anarchism.

On that note, there is also some literature suggesting the existence of a Chinese anarchist cell in Manila during the American colonial period. This group, originating in the 1919 May Fourth Movement in China, published anarchist books and newsletters in Chinese [50], [51], [52]. These Chinese anarchists in the Philippines supposedly even sent a representative to the League of Eastern Anarchists [53]. What we do know from Yong is that a network of Chinese anarchists and socialists did exist across East and Southeast Asia, and in Malaysia this radicalism factored into later Malayan communism [54]. But even if such a Chinese anarchist cell existed, we do not know if this anarchist cell interacted with the early socialist milieu, or if the ideas of this anarchist cell factored into the ideologies of the early Philippine socialists. We do not even know what happened to these Chinese anarchists in Manila, whether they were absorbed into a diaspora bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, returned to China during the reinvigorated Chinese Revolution, or simply faded into obscurity. More historical research has to be done to understand the extent of the permeation of anarchist ideology in the Chinese-Filipino and Philippine socialist milieus during the American Colonial period and if there was international interaction between the Chinese and Filipino milieus.

What we do know is that the anarchism ‘that almost was’ of the American colonial period and Commonwealth was subsumed into the Philippine communist movement, from the Socialist Party to its merger into the old Communist Party (PKP-1930), the Huk guerrilla resistance to Japanese fascism, and later against the newly independent Philippine government [55], [56]. This pattern of anarchist demobilisation in reverse proportion to Bolshevik mobilisation after the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution was a phenomena across Southeast Asia and all over the world [57], [58]. Indeed, the ‘victory of Bolshevism led to anarchist decline’ [59]. How many anarchist ideas survived into the communist period of the old PKP-1930 still remains to be learned.

The Anarchy of the First Quarter Storm

The next we hear of anarchism in the Philippines is the First Quarter Storm in 1970, the period of militancy leading up to the dark days of the Marcos Dictatorship. The historian of Philippine communism Joseph Scalice notes that, in the fringe of the initially anti-authoritarian Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK; Federation of Democratic Youth) there existed ‘openly anarchistic groups,’ such as the Mendiola chapter of the SDK (SDKM) led by Jerusalino “Jerry” Araos [60]. The SDKM waved the black flag with the words ‘Inang Bayan o Kamatayan’ (Motherland or Death) on its black field, the design being based on a Cuban revolutionary flag [61], [62]. Furthermore, Scalice calls the SDKM as an ‘avowedly anarchist’ faction within SDK [63]. The SDKM was insurrectionalist in that they carried with them explosives (called pillboxes) and a certain tendency for violence that earned them a reputation for having utak pulbura (gunpowder brains). They even set up underground assembly lines for explosives in urban poor areas they had an influence in [64], [65]. The SDKM were highly visible actors in the First Quarter Storm, and they infamously rammed a commandeered fire truck onto the Mendiola gate and claimed to have had members in almost every barricade [66], [67] including the Diliman Commune [68].

The student insurrection of 1971, called the Diliman Commune, also factors as a precedent of Philippine anarchism and as a part of the country’s libertarian history. Nobleza and Pairez (2011) wrote the primary study of the Diliman Commune through an anarchist lens. They found that, despite being ideologically influenced by National Democracy (the political line of the Communist Party), the Diliman Commune contained anarchistic elements. For example, they argue that the Diliman Commune was a spontaneous insurrection that was not directed by a vanguard party, and that students and faculty intuitively used anarchistic principles such as direct action and popular general assemblies [69]. It is important to note, however, that the historiography of the Diliman Commune as a spontaneous episode is disputed by Scalice (2018), who argues that Stalinist cadres had been looking for a pretence to stage street battles to further the programs of their party, and thus agitated for the use of insurrectionary barricades across the student milieu [70]. While not anarchist itself and while the historiography of spontaneity is in doubt, the Diliman Commune still did have features of direct action and open assemblies that anarchists do champion. Thus, it is for these reasons that there are tendencies in Philippine anarchism that point to it for inspiration, historiographical controversies and all.

The historical question of whether the SDKM was specifically and explicitly anarchist is also in doubt. Waving black flags and carrying an insurrectionary mindset is not enough to call a group anarchist. After all, Daesh (the so-called “Islamic State”) and the Daesh-aligned Maute group also flew black flags and were insurrectionary, albeit for entirely different reasons and motivations. The deciding factor to determine if the SDKM really was anarchist would be to consult the literature they produced and the oral histories by alumni. Should a review of the SDKM’s literature reveal a program that is simultaneously anti-statist and anti-capitalist, and should the literature found be comparable to the conceptual approach to anarchism in Franks, Jun, and Williams (2018), then that would lend credibility to the hypothesis that the SDKM was specifically anarchist. As it turns out, Jerry Araos (2008) did in fact write about the SDKM in a collection of essays by SDK alumni, but his brief entry said nothing about anarchism. Araos even mentions that the ‘SDKM was a rekindling of our KM-led [Kabataan Makabayan; Nationalist Youth] nationalist spirit and anti-imperialist sentiments’ [71]. The Kabataan Makabayan, of course, is aligned with the Communist Party as its youth wing, not exactly anarchist material. Nationalism and anarchism have intersected in the past, such as in the case of Korean and Black anarchisms [72], [73] so it may not be outside the realm of possibility that the SDKM could be simultaneously anarchist and nationalist. However, the fact that ‘nationalist’ is name-dropped in Araos’ account but ‘anarchist’ is not tends to lend more credibility to the hypothesis that the SDKM was not anarchist. While there are some recollections of an insurrectionary attitude, there was nothing in Araos’ account about opposition to the paradigms of states, hierarchies, or cadres—the usual tropes that exemplify the presence of anarchist ideology. Again, an insurrectionary framework and black flags are insufficient to make a definitive judgment. The closest we have as proof is the anti-authoritarian outlook and even anarchistic streak of the SDK and SDKM that differentiated it from the Kabataan Makabayan [74], and of course, the infamous black flag of the SDKM—since black flags have been a staple of anarchist heraldry since the Russian and Ukrainian Revolutions.

We have to also keep in mind that the question of whether the SDKM and Araos were anarchist is not the primary concern of the dissertation of Scalice (2017). These concerns were only mentioned in passing, and a more comprehensive study of the SDKM has yet to be written. We cannot ask Araos outright what the politics of the SDKM was because Araos has since died. Other SDKM alumni may still be alive, such as Bani “Bunny” Lansang, who Araos mentioned as the “ideological guru” of the SDKM [75]. The ultimate proof will be written literature such as pamphlets and fliers that explain the program and ideology of the SDKM, particularly their orientations toward authority, the State, or hierarchy. A future study of the SDKM must take to task both surviving oral histories and literature to determine the group’s ideological outlook.

If the SDKM was actually anarchist, it is odd that Nobleza and Pairez (2011) do not mention the SDKM in their account of the Diliman Commune. The oral history of Philippine anarchism narrated by Cuevas-Hewitt (2016) does not mention the SDKM either [76]. It seems quite likely these omissions of the SDKM were simply because they were not aware of the SDKM. After all, Scalice only made his claims about the SKDM in his doctoral dissertation completed in 2017, more than a decade after the earliest version of the study of Nobleza and Pairez (2011) was circulated in 2006 (initially entitled ‘Anarki in UP’), and a year after the dissertation of Cuevas-Hewitt (2016) was completed. That Nobleza and Pairez (2011) or Cuevas-Hewitt (2016) do not mention the SDKM is suggestive of the fact that there is no historical continuity between the anarchism of the SDKM and contemporary Philippine anarchism (assuming the SDKM was anarchist). Like the ‘anarchism that almost was’ before it, the anarchism of the First Quarter Storm was demobilised and absorbed into communist vanguards, now in the form of the new milieu of Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought (later Marxist-Leninist-Maoist). The SDK and SDKM were later absorbed into the communist milieu [77] and Araos would later join the New People's Army (NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines) before retiring as an artisan and an artist [78], [79]. This mirrors the trajectory of the ‘anarchism that almost was’ of the American and Commonwealth periods. In these two fragmentary histories of anarchism in the Philippines, almost nothing

While contemporary anarchists in the Philippines may point to these fragmentary histories as inspirations, there is no discernable continuity between these fragmentary histories and the contemporary anarchist milieu in the country. In the years after the fall of the Marcos Dictatorship, anarchism would reemerge once more, partly reinvented by concrete experiences of authoritarianism and partly invigorated by anarchists and punks.

Part 2 coming soon!


Special thanks to our patrons, John Walker, BoringAsian, Mr Jake P Walker, Joseph Sharples, Josh Stead, Dave, Bliss, Hol, Aryeh Calvin, Rylee Lawson, Meghan Morales, Kimonoko, Squee, Manic Maverick, Max Dixon, Maria Rahim, Balaclava Bandit, and Henri Affandi.

Please consider becoming a patron:

The Commoner is creating a platform for anarchist views, new and old. | Patreon
Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid. Join over 200,000 creators earning salaries from over 6 million monthly patrons.

[1] Franks, Benjamin, Nathan J. Jun, and Leonard A. Williams, eds. 2018. Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
[2] Franks, Jun, and Williams 2018, 7–8.
[3] Williams, Dana M., and Matthew T. Lee. 2012. “Aiming to Overthrow the State (Without Using the State): Political Opportunities for Anarchist Movements.” Comparative Sociology 11 (4): 558–93
[4] Williams, Dana M., and Matthew T. Lee. 2012, 571–81.
[5] Williams, Dana M., and Matthew T. Lee. 2012, 572.
[6] Tilly, Charles, and Sidney Tarrow. 2015. Contentious Politics. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 20, 59.
[7] McAdam, Doug. 1996. “Conceptual Origins, Current Problems, Future Direction.” In Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements, edited by Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald, 1st ed., 23–40. Cambridge University Press, 27.
[8] D. M. Williams 2017, 114–15; D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 561–62.
[9] D. M. Williams 2017, 115–16; D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 562–64
[10] D. M. Williams 2017, 116; D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 563
[11] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 563.
[12] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 571–81.
[13] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 572–79.
[14] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 580; L. Williams 2007, 297.
[15] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 572–75.
[16] Gasera Journal. 2011. Gasera Journal. Vol. 1. 1. Mindset Breaker Press.
[17] Pairez, Jong, Bas Umali, and Gabriel Kuhn. (2010) 2020. “Anarchism in the Philippines: Interview with Jong Pairez and Bas Umali.” In Pangayaw and Decolonizing Resistance: Anarchism in the Philippines, by Bas Umali, 12–23. Oakland: PM Press.
[18] White, Roger. 2005. “Post Colonial Anarchism.” In Post Colonial Anarchism: Essays on Race, Repression and Culture in Communities of Color: 1999-2004, 10–34. Oakland CA: Jailbreak Press. https://archive.org/details/jailbreak_2005_post_colonial_anarchism_book.
[19] Mbah, Sam, and I. E. Igariwey. 1997. African Anarchism: The History of a Movement. Tucson, Ariz: See Sharp Press.
[20] Saint Andrew. 2021. “What Is Black Anarchism?” https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/saint-andrew-what-is-black-anarchism.
[21] Umali in Pairez, Umali, and Kuhn [2010] 2020, 14
[22] Kropotkin, Peter. 1995. “‘Anarchism,’ from ‘The Encyclopaedia Britannica’.” In Kropotkin: ’The Conquest of Bread’ and Other Writings, edited by Marshall S. Shatz, 1st ed., 233–47. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139170734.023.
[23] Barclay, Harold B. 1990. People Without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchy. Completely revised edition. London: Kahn & Averill.
[24] Graeber, David. 2004. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm; The University of Chicago Press.
[25] White, Roger. 2005.
[26] Mbah, Sam, and I. E. Igariwey. 1997
[27] See for example Umali 2020, 38–40, 52, 89
[28] Pairez, Umali, and Kuhn [2010] 2020, 15.
[29] Barbin, Taks. 2018. “Ang Food Not Bombs sa Kapuluan.” Safehouse Infoshop.
[30] Anderson, Benedict. 2013. The Age of Globalization: Anarchists and the Anticolonial Imagination. 3rd ed. London: Verso, 58.
[31] Aseniero, George. 2013. “From Cádiz to La Liga: The Spanish Context of Rizal’s Political Thought.” Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 49 (1): 1–42. https://asj.upd.edu.ph/index.php/archive/24-asian-studies-49-1-2013, 1-2
[32] Aseniero 2013, 32–36.
[33] Aseniero 2013, 37.
[34] Anderson 2013, 104–22.
[35] Scott, William Henry. 1992. The Union Obrera Democratica: First Filipino Labor Union. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers.
[36] Anderson 2013, Chapter 5.
[37] Scalice, Joseph. 2017. “Crisis of Revolutionary Leadership: Martial Law and the Communist Parties of the Philippines, 1957-1974.” Unpublished. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.32960.58887, pp. 343–44, 573, 726, 729; 2018, 500, 511
[38] Scott 1992, 13–14.
[39] Anderson 2013, 197–98.
[40] Scott 1992, 13–14.
[41] Anderson 2013, 200–201.
[42] Scott 1992, 15–17.
[43] Anderson 2013, 225–26.
[44] Scott 1992.
[45] Anderson 2013, 228–29.
[46] Scott 1992, 74.
[47] Malatesta 1913.
[48] Santos, Lope K. 1906. Banaag at Sikat: Nobelang Tagalog. 1st ed. Manila: S.P. http://digitallibrary.ust.edu.ph/cdm/ref/collection/section5/id/90023.
[49] Fegan, Brian. 1982. “The Social History of a Central Luzon Barrio.” In Philippine Social History: Global Trade and Local Transformation, edited by Alfred McCoy and Ed de Jesus. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 107.
[50] Yong, C. F. 1997. The Origins of Malayan Communism. Singapore: South Seas Society.
[51] Fernandez, Erwin S. 2009. “Anarchism, Philippines.” In The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, edited by Immanuel Ness, 1–2. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi:10.1002/9781405198073.wbierp0068.
[52] Damier, Vadim, and Kirill Limanov. 2017a. “Anarchism in Indonesia.” Libcom.org. https://libcom.org/library/short-essay-about-history-anarchism-indonesia.
[53] Fernandez 2009.
[54] Fernandez 2009.
[55] Fernandez 2009.
[56] Anderson 2013, 229.
[57] Damier and Limanov 2017a, 2017b.
[58] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 572.
[59] D. M. Williams and Lee 2012, 572.
[60] Scalice 2017, 343–44.
[61] Araos, Jerusalino (Jerry). 2008. “SDKM.” In SDK: Militant but Groovy: Stories of Samahang Demokratiko Ng Kabataan, edited by Soliman M. Santos Jr., 74–77. Pasig: Anvil, 74.
[62] Scalice 2017, 343–44.
[63] Scalice 2020, email correspondence.
[64] Scalice 2017, 344.
[65] Araos 2008, 76.
[66] Scalice 2017, 344 note 67.
[67] Araos 2008, 76–77.
[68] Scalice 2018, 500-511 note 17.
[69] Nobleza, Randy, and Jong Pairez. 2011. “Ang Potensyal na Anarkistang Tendensiya ng Diliman Commune: Konsepto ng Kapwa sa ’71 Diliman Commune: Mga Level ng Pakikipagkapwa-tao at Sikolohiyang Pilipino sa Karanasang Diliman Commune.” Gasera Journal 1: 4–9.
[70] Scalice 2018, 508.
[71] Araos 2008, 75.
[72] Hwang, Dongyoun. 2009. “Anarchism, Korea.” In The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, edited by Immanuel Ness, 1–3. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi:10.1002/9781405198073.wbierp0063.
[73] Alston, Ashanti Omowali. 2002. “Beyond Nationalism But Not Without It.” ONWARD. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ashanti-alston-beyond-nationalism-but-not-without-it.
[74] Scalice 2017, 343–44.
[75] Araos 2008, 76.
[76] Cuevas-Hewitt, Loma (Marco). 2007. “Sketching Towards an Archipelagic Poetics of Postcolonial Belonging.” Budhi: A Journal of Ideas and Culture 11 (1): 239–46. https://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/index.php/budhi/article/viewFile/438/433.
[77] Scalice 2017, 726–29.
[78] Scalice 2020.
[79] Lapeña, Carmela G. 2012. “They Left Us in 2012, Filipinos Who Made Their Mark.” GMA News Online, December 31. https://web.archive.org/web/20190704083826/https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/content/288312/they-left-us-in-2012-filipinos-who-made-their-mark/story/.