April 24, 2014     Philippines
Support alternative journalism. Donate to Bulatlat.com.

May 9, 2009
Renato Constantino, Revisited: Reflections on the Nationalist Paradigm in the Era of Failed Neoliberalism

The 90th birth anniversary, and 10th death anniversary this year of the nationalist scholar and former colleague, the late Professor Renato Constantino, is being commemorated amidst perhaps the most serious global crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and at a time of a great imperial disorder. Events are showing that the empire’s economic base after all is not formidable. Without national state support or infusion of bailout assistance to its economic base, thereby violating its very capitalist market fundamentals, it can self-destruct or collapse on its very foundations.

BY PROF. ROLAND SIMBULAN
Posted by Bulatlat

The 90th birth anniversary, and 10th death anniversary this year of the nationalist scholar and former colleague, the late Professor Renato Constantino, is being commemorated amidst perhaps the most serious global crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and at a time of a great imperial disorder. Events are showing that the empire’s economic base after all is not formidable. Without national state support or infusion of bailout assistance to its economic base, thereby violating its very capitalist market fundamentals, it can self-destruct or collapse on its very foundations.

Indeed, the financial quagmire rocking the establishments of our region and the world today are tensions rocking the very foundation of the U.S. imperial capitalism, a disorder that disregards the working people, if not being anti-people . It does not really care if the working people starve, so long as the banks and big corporations have liquidity. The crisis of a failed neoliberal globalization project needs to be assessed, both as a situation pregnant with danger and opportunities for the working people as well. The crisis for sure, will make many countries who were hoodwinked in the scam of neoliberal globalization project, to retreat back to the nation, and nationhood. Global hegemons, both corporate and as big powers, have all but effectively dismantled nations and their ability to protect their people, their industries, their women, their environment and health.

Who was Renato Constantino, and why is his work and life relevant today as we see what may be the final demise of the neo-liberal globalization project? Constantino challenged the idea that we are doomed to live in a region or world that is dominated and defined solely by hegemons which have forced their economic, military, cultural, political and diplomatic power upon us.

Renato Constantino was the Filipino historian and scholar who taught us to reexamine our colonial history, to rectify it and to learn from the past. He wanted Filipinos to have a useful memory of a past to advance the Filipino’s quest for genuine nationhood. This lecture is a tribute to this great Filipino intellectual, a celebration of his life and works by way of reviewing his contributions and impact on Philippine nationalist historiography. He will be remembered as one of the most influential Filipino writers of the 20th century who through his pamphlets, columns and books influenced several generations of Filipinos. It is no overstatement to say that his advice, commentaries, historical writings and essays guided the contemporary nationalist movement from the late ’60s to the current period. No Filipino writer has perhaps contributed as much as Constantino did in terms of substance and volume of writings to advance the Philippine nationalist cause in the 20th century.

The Young Nationalist

Tato, as we fondly called Professor Renato Constantino, was the Filipino nationalist and scholar par excellence. Born on March 10, 1919, he dedicated his life to the cause of Philippine national sovereignty, democratic rights, peace and social justice.

In 1939, as editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, student newspaper of the University of the Philippines, he attracted early on the ire of U.S. colonial authorities in the country who ordered his arrest and interrogation at Fort Santiago in Intramuros. At that time, Constantino had written articles about the atrocities committed by the United States in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. He was released after explaining to his interrogators that he only got his facts from open and documented sources that had been published in the United States.

During the Commonwealth period when he was Collegian editor, he was also summoned by then President Manuel Quezon for his editorial warning of Quezon’s dictatorial tendencies because of the Commonwealth president’s proposal for a one-party system. These experiences moulded the young Constantino’s commitment to the national and democratic cause.

Renato Constantino obtained his Bachelor of Philosophy degree at the University of the Philippines. He was enrolled for two years (1939-1941) at the U.P. College of Law after which he took a graduate course at New York University (1947). In 1990, he was honoured for his intellectual achievements and contributions to nationalist education by the University of the Philippines which conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws (honoris causa).

The McCarthy Witch-hunt

Early in his career, from 1946 to 1949, Constantino served as executive secretary of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations. The McCarthy era that held sway in the United States had its ripples in the Philippines. Constantino was one of the prominent victims of the vicious witch-hunts. He was blacklisted and removed from the Department of Foreign Affairs when he had already attained the rank of counsellor, the third-ranking position in the foreign service at that time. As a professional diplomat, he had articulated what were considered dangerous ideals such as self-determination for the Philippines. And in those days, anyone proposing establishing diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China—as Constantino did—became suspect.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

ARTICLE TOOLS
Printer-Friendly Version Printer-Friendly Version

TAGS
, ,
CATEGORIES
* Latest PostsnameOther StoriesnameVantage Point
REPRINT
Feel free to reprint, repost or republish this material. (Read Bulatlat's syndication policy.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

BROWSE BY SECTION OR SUBJECT ››

Politics
Economy
Human Rights
OFWs & Migration
Agrarian Reform
Labor & Employment
Urban Poor
Environment
Education
Youth
Indigenous Peoples

Women & Children
Health
Media
Culture
Poetry
Analysis & Opinion
Regions
International
Democratic Space
Press Releases
Downloads

ON THE FRINGES (BULATLAT STAFF BLOG) ››