detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Sunday, September 25, 2005

: . Book of the Month

On the Subject of the Nation: Filipino Writings from the Margins 1981 to 2004
by Caroline S. Hau
Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2004
Softcover, viii, 334 pages
15 x 23 cm.
PHP 420.00/USD 42.00
ISBN 971550471X


US -- University of Hawaii Press, USD 42.00, Shipping USD 24.00 (International Air Mail -- 2-4 weeks)

[Note: Judging by the obscenely high cost of shipping as well as of the book itself, I suspect that this book will be shipped from the Ateneo de Manila Press offices either in Manila or Quezon City rather than from the University of Hawaii Press warehouses either in Hawaii or Pennsylvania. ADMU Press books sold directly overseas are often overpriced, much higher than comparable academic titles in the US and more than quadruple the Philippine price. ADMU Press books sold via the U of Hawaii Press usually cost between USD 25-35. It might be cheaper to special order the book, as I did, from Kabayan Central (in Pasig City) or from Mary Martin Booksellers (in India).]

Book Info:
On the Subject of the Nation looks at fiction and nonfiction produced since the martial law era in light of two historical developments that have definitively shaped Philippine experience: revolution and migration. This book examines the critical interfaces between the personal and the political that frame the utopian visions of Bai Ren's fictional autobiography about the education of Filipino-Chinese sojourners, Robert Francis Garcia's firsthand account of the Communist purges, Cesar Lacara's memoirs of a veteran revolutionary, Zelda Soriano's feminist narratives, Peter Bacho's novelistic dissection of Filipino-American identity crisis, and Rey Ventura's ethnography of illegal migrant workers in Japan.

These writings illuminates the ongoing transformation and redefinition of the Philippine nation state while highlighting the ways in which the individual and collective experiences, struggles, dreams, and aspirations of Filipinos serve to rethink and reinvent notions of belonging, sacrifice, learning, labor, and love that underpin the theory and practice of nation making.
Author Info:
Caroline S. Hau is the author of Necessary Fictions: Philippine Literature and the Nation 1946-1980 (Ateneo de Manila University Press) and editor of Intsik: An Anthology of Chinese Filipino Writing (Anvil Publishing) and Carlos Bulosan's All the Conspirators (Anvil Publishing). Born in Manila and educated at the University of the Philippines and Cornell University, she is an associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University.
Acknowledgments -- vii
Introduction -- 1

1 The Question of Foreigners -- 15
Plot Summary -- 22
Huaqiao Bildungsroman -- 25
Work as Pedagogy -- 34
Testing the Limits of Chinese/Philippine Nationalism -- 42

2 Revolutionary Excesses -- 63
The Politics of Memory -- 7l
The Representational Economy of the "Purges" -- 89
"Excesses" and the Future of Revolutions -- 101

3 Autobiography and History -- 107
Auto/biography as Self-Productive Fiction -- 119
Textualizing the Self with/for Others -- 128
The Openness of Revolutionary Subjectivity and Nation -- 138

4 Engendering the Revolutionary Body -- 147
Anxiety and Sacrifice in Noli me tangere -- 152
Women and Revolution -- 168

5 Feminine/Philippine -- 189
The Power of Abjection -- 195
Abjecting the Philippines -- 200
Abjecting the Feminine -- 208
Redrawing National Borders -- 216
Rethinking Abjection -- 221

6 Nation and Migration -- 227
Japan as a "Second America"? -- 236
The OFW as "Sheer Labor Power" -- 241
Demystifying the OFW -- 246
The Hidden Agenda of the State and Capita1ism -- 256
Critique and Resistance 264

Notes -- 271
Works Cited 299
Index -- 324



On the Subject of the Nation focuses on the dense entanglement of the personal and political in the writings produced over a twenty-four-year period spanning the final years of the Marcos dictatorship, the so-called Edsa (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) Revolution, the administrative turnovers from Corazon Aquino to Fidel Ramos to Joseph Estrada to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the various conflicts -- ideological, political, social, economic, ethnic, and religious -- that gave rise to the Communist armed struggle, the Moro separatist movements, and Edsa Dos and Tres.

Marked by deep-seated political instability, economic inequality , and social crisis, which are visible in the relentless physical movement of millions of Filipinos within and beyond the Philippines, the eighties and nineties were basically characterized by the intensification of globalized capitalist processes through the "structural adjustment" policies of the International Monetary Fund, which "of-


fered poor countries the same poisoned chalice of devaluation, privatization, removal of import controls and food subsidies, enforced cost-recovery in health and education, and ruthless downsizing of the public sector" (Davis 2004,18; see also Bello 2002) and resulted in economic stagnation, unemployment and immiseration of urban and rural populations, environmental destruction, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor (for the Philippine case, see Bello 2000, 238-57; Broad and Cavanagh 1993).1 The United Nations' Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) 2003 report (cited in Davis 2004, 7) traced the increase in poverty and inequality on the global level during the 1980s and 1990s to the "retreat of the state" (19) and the diminution of state capacity to provide welfare services, enforce laws, clamp down on crime, neutralize class and ethnic tensions, eliminate corruption, and control the flow of money, jobs, production facilities, people, drugs, and pollution.

The devolution of state powers to local government and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) has been partly spurred by the global ideological turn toward neoclassical economics, which argues for less reliance on governmental intervention and more on the workings of the "free" market.2 Media coverage of the acceleration of global capitalism has couched this phenomenon in the language of triumphal "democratization" following the breakup of the Soviet Union into independent nation-states across Eastern Europe and the end of the "developmental state"3 regimes in East Asia. Yet at the same time that global capitalism has spawned new nation-states in Eastern Europe, it has occasioned the so-called general crisis of the nation-state in Western Europe. Popular perception of this "crisis" has been heightened by media reports on the creation of the European Union and the introduction of the Euro currency, on the flurry of transnational corporations moving and operating across bounded political spaces, and on the emergence of new social formations such as feminist, ecological, ethnic, religious, communal, and local defense movements.

This period is marked as well by the crisis of Marxism, which had long provided the most far-reaching critique of, and alternative to,


capitalism. The breakdown of "socialist" statist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe, the revisionist path taken by China under Deng Xiaoping's "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (with slogans such as "to get rich is good" and "it doesn't matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it can catch mice"), along with the perceived crisis of the nation-state in Western Europe, all appear to question the theoretical and practical tenets of Marxism.

The crisis (and subsequent resurgence) of the Philippine Left and the international labor migration of Filipinos are the two pivotal events upon which this book hinges. They are not simply the most visible manifestations of the Philippines' insertion into global capitalism and the new, American-dominated, "neoliberal" world order that is founded on the tenets of "sound money," "self-regulating markets," and an "individualism" that is opposed to "big government." The revolutionary movement and the international labor migration of Filipinos represent two classic responses to social crisis: stay and struggle against the system or leave and seek opportunities elsewhere. They provide occasions to reflect on the implications of global and local developments for the Philippine nation-state, for the concepts of nationhood, sovereignty, and citizenship, and ideas of belonging, home, patriotic love, affect, sacrifice, and political engagement that buttress them.

These concepts of nationness -- of what it means to call oneself "Filipino" and live (and die) as Filipino -- have political and cultural organizing force, even as they carry existential and imaginative meanings and associations. It is the tangible and intangible features of national attachment that concern this book. The chapters that follow subject to close scrutiny the material, ideational, and affective bearings of the Philippine nation in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, locating them in -- if not gleaning them from -- the thoughts, actions, emotions, dreams, aspirations, and strivings of individual and collective Filipinos.

Even though their functions and raisons d'etre are undergoing redefinition, nationalism and nation-states, which offer one answer to


the human need and longing for community, are far from being rendered obsolete in the age of globalization.4 This can be seen in the resurgence and continuing assertion of ethnonationalism and nationalist ideologies in various parts of the world. Far from representing anomalies that deviate from the "homogeneity of globalization," these resurgent nationalisms are partly reactions to the rhetoric, practices, and impact of globalization, and are in fact partly also determined by them (Juergensmeyer 2002, 4). Moreover, as the failure of the United Nations to intervene in the American invasion of Iraq shows, the absence of a world order capable of regulating conflicts among nation-states and enforcing universal norms and regulations without exceptions on a supranational level has meant that nation-states retain their importance as political agents that may either promote capitalism and deepen its penetration of society or else serve as a buffer against the negative effects of capitalism. Just as multinational corporations work through nation-states and retain their "nominal nationalities" (Reich 1991), worldwide demonstrations against corporate-driven globalization such as the recent World Social Forum held in Mumbai (which included 400 participants from the Philippines) and, just across the road, the alternative world social forum Mumbai Resistance (supported by the Communist Party of the Philippines) rely on the coordination of mass mobilization within nation-states to push for the creation of institutions capable of addressing issues of social inequality, justice, and change.

Thus far, the ideal of an international civil society organized around the communicative space opened up by advances in information technology and international mass media has only been realizable for, and accessible to, a privileged, mobile minority of the economic, political, and intellectual elite. The kind of global identity engendered in this domain remains on the whole less concerned with questions of attachment and belonging than with networking, opportunities, and goals.

Far more crucially, the transnationalization of production has resulted in the decontextualization of labor, its removal from the


center stage of capitalist imagination in favor of the alluring magic of a seemingly "autonomous," market-driven, speculative, finance capital (Comaroff and Comaroff 2000,300, 303). If consumption has now become the "privileged site for the fabrication of self and society, of culture and identity" (299) and wealth can now be generated from the "thin air" of investments and management, cyberspace, and intellectual property rights (315), this aspect of global capitalism which is dominated by "fiction, fantasy, the immaterial (particularly money), fictitious capital, images, [and] ephemerality" (Harvey 1989, 339) masks the real, concrete conditions of exploitation, subsistence, and marginalization of entire populations elsewhere in the world, where the production processes have migrated.5 The one-billion strong global informal working class constitutes around two-fifths of the economically active population of the developing world (Davis 2004, 24), and its survival and subsistence activities -- massively "feminized" as a result of women's labor participation in the informal sector -- account for 33 to 40 percent of urban employment in Asia (25). Mass pauperization assumes its most visible form in the proliferation of slums surrounding the heavily guarded ghettos of the rich in various megacities such as Manila and Jakarta.

Whether taken as cultural artifact or narrative act, or condemned as repressive and masculinist, or celebrated for their liberatory potential, commonsensical notions of nation and nationness have to be rethought to accommodate new forms of life experiences, membership, community and belonging, and new claims made on state and society. Subject of the Nation interrogates Philippine nationness in light of the crisis of the revolutionary Left and the outward movement of Filipinos in the age of globalization. It is specifically concerned with the ways in which global, regional, national, and local developments impact on both individual and collective, public and private levels. It examines the specific, critical interface between self and community in light of the ongoing redefinition of the nation, and asks: What kind of "community effects" or forms of belonging (Balibar 2004,21) and identities are generated by the currently mutating nation-form?


The title of the book plays on the two senses of the word "subject." On the one hand, Subject of the Nation seeks to unpack the assumptions which inform the idea and practice of nationness, and, therefore, takes the nation as its object of inquiry or topic. On the other hand, it is also about subjectivity and subjectification, about ways of producing an enunciating and experiencing body; ways of understanding, addressing, and constructing selfhood; about how one comes to identify herself and live, speak, and act as a national subject and agent of history.

It has been argued that nationalist and activist notions and narratives of collective struggle and political agency are "haunted" by theories of subjectivity, particularly ideologies of individualism (Bose 2003, 6). This is because nationalism and individualism have the same epistemic assumptions: Nations, like individuals, are posited as having an objective existence, and endowed with specific attributes and attitudes encapsulated in their distinctive, place- and climate-shaped "character" (Romani 2002). In fact, nations are often conceived as "a collective individual" and "a collection of individuals" (Handler 1988, 39, cited in Bose 2003, 6), imbued with individuated, autonomous consciousness and agency at once rooted in and going beyond their respective members' capacities and lifetimes, and capable of exercising will and choice to determine their present and future. Nations lend themselves to being apprehended as individual, even as individuals offer themselves as a synecdoche of the national collective (Foster 1991, 253, cited in Bose 2003, 7).

Although nations and nationalism often rely on the ideology of the unique, free, self-reflecting, and self-determining individual, certain oppositional forms of nationalist struggle actually call into question the coherence, autonomy, and sovereignty of the individual by exposing the individual's self-difference, implication in group practices and dynamics, and partial "subjection" to material, political, and linguistic structures and processes. This book looks into the tensions and contradictions, as well as the limitations and possibilities, inherent in efforts to think through the relationship between individual


striving and collective agency. It analyzes the material conditions which inform the Filipino nation, state, community , and collective action but it is also about how nation, state, community, and collective activism are experienced and actualized by members (and in some cases nonmembers), about how they shape and are in turn shaped by discourses and practices of individuality and personhood. Identity in this book is less a monolithic construction based on an uncritical embracing of race-class-gender categories than a politically and culturally negotiated and contingent marker of the complex and mutually constitutive relationship between self and social being. Far from simply determining or "fixing" identity, material forces also unsettle identity and endow individuals with the power to remake it, and to remake the nation as well, through forms of individual and collective action. The subject of the nation, taken both conceptually and materially, is, therefore, the "site" where global and local ideas, practices, histories, and processes are conceived and lived, as well as the site of political, social, and cultural projects for transformation.

Subject of the Nation explores the multifarious ways in which narrating the nation and narrating the self draw on a set of literary conventions, most often associated with the genre of auto/biography or personal accounts, to construct their respective, yet interlocking "experiences." It is concerned with the complex, lived dimension of nationness, and with the representational strategies for depicting, decoding, and ultimately deconstructing "experience." This book highlights the specific ways and contexts in which the individual and the collective, and the connections between them, are constituted in theory and practice, and shows how narratives can play an important role in theorizing and realizing these connections while offering ways of working through their often fraught relationship.

Subject of the Nation takes up both fictional and nonfictional works, mining their rich lode of techniques, subject matter, and narrative voices to uncover insights into Philippine realities and sensibilities today. Its choice of texts also extends the mining metaphor. With the exception of To Suffer Thy Comrades, the works taken up in this book are


relatively unknown to the Filipino reading public in the Philippines, and in many instances "noncanonical" and even "nonliterary." While Bai Ren and Peter Bacho have solid reputations respectively in China and America, their works have not been generally available in the Philippines. Robert Garcia's mainstream book is not read as a literary work, and not likely to be taught and read in literature courses. Tatang (now deceased) and Zelda Soriano addressed their works to a politicized audience, while Rey Ventura published his book in Great Britain.

There is a sense in which the works discussed in this book are ungrounded as well. Three of them were published, quite literally, "aboveground, " or more properly, outside Philippine territory -- Nanyang Piaoliuji in China and Hong Kong, Cebu in America, and Underground in Japan in England -- while two others, Tatang's autobiography and Zelda Soriano's Kung Saan Ako Pupunta were published "underground." The different material and ideological contexts within which these works were conceived and crafted are in themselves a revealing commentary on the kind of "deterritorialized" Philippines, and the times and circumstances they strive to chronicle and depict.

Chapter 1 tackles the question of how one becomes a nationalist by examining the migration experience recounted in a Chinese semiautobiographical novel, Bai Ren's Nanyang Piaoliuji, which deals with the formation of nationalist consciousness of "aliens" in the Philippines who are held to stand outside the bounds of the imagined Filipino community. It argues that the Philippine-grown and -nurtured "Chinese" nationalism that informed the Chinese Filipinos' historic participation in the anti-Japanese resistance struggle in the Philippines during World War II actually challenges the assumptions of conventional scholarship on nationalism, scholarship that erroneously views the patriotic consciousness of the overseas Chinese as an unproblematic extension of mainland Chinese nationalism standing apart from, and often in antagonism to, Philippine nationalism. The radical nationalism of the Chinese communist immigrants took shape precisely through their Philippine experiences and not only related but contributed to the discourse and imagination of


Filipino radical nationalism. For these reasons, it forces a redefinition of basic conceptions of loyalty, belonging, labor, and love that underpin commonsensical as well as scholarly notions of nationalism.

Chapter 2 looks at the unraveling (followed by painful reconstruction) of the radical nationalist vision of a Filipino community of struggle by analyzing accounts of the anti-informer campaigns that collectively catalyzed the crisis of the Philippine Left and the setbacks it suffered. These campaigns exemplify the "excesses" of the movement in the sense that they not only violate the norms of thought and action espoused by the revolutionary movement itself, but put into serious question the way in which the movement has conducted its revolution. These excesses are routinely theorized by recourse to a battery of metaphors relating to the body. Focusing on one such account of the purges, To Suffer Thy Comrades, this chapter explores the ways in which the book, as well as critical reception of the book, takes up the question of the purge as "personal experience," especially the way in which the victims' experience and memory of the purge produce a semantic "excess" that demands interpretation yet exceeds the bounds of a single, cohesive interpretation. It examines the mediating role of experience, particularly assumptions about the self that underpin this idea of experience, in the representational economy -- that is, the system of assumptions and figures of speech or tropes that in turn shape and organize the management or administration -- of the purges. These questions of experience and the self also resonate in the attempts on the part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to come to terms with its "excesses."

Chapter 3 explores the auto/biographical dimension of the process of nation formation. It argues that telling the nation's "life story" is an intrinsic aspect of constituting the nation as a form of community. Auto/biographical narratives not only produce individuals by means of rhetorical and substantive strategies of representation, these same strategies enable "the people" to produce themselves as historical and political subjects. This braiding of the exceptional and the exemplary -- the idea that one is both individual and typical and,


therefore, linked to other lives, other selves -- is deployed by the auto/biography Sa Tungki ng Ilong ng Kaaway: Talambuhay ni Tatang. Tungki holds up a reinvigorated notion of auto/biography as a potentially progressive genre for recuperating and empowering politically marginalized voices, thereby recasting the terms of nationalist representation (understood as proxy and portrait) in potentially liberating ways.

Chapter 4 reads the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (NPA) activist and warrior Zelda Soriano's collection of fiction and poetry, Kung Saan Ako Pupunta, via Jose Rizal's Noli me tangere, as exemplifying nationalist efforts to think through the imperative of engendering the revolutionary body. These efforts foreground gender issues that highlight women's problematic relation to nationalist discourse and practice. The chapter argues that while the issue of women's emancipation is crucial for mobilizing people in the struggle for liberation, the political identities it posits are inflected by gender hierarchies which tend to downplay, if not vitiate, the conceptual, political, and experiential salience of women's active participation in the revolutionary struggle. Drawing on feminist critiques of patriarchal nationalism, this chapter explores alternative formulations of nationalism and processes of engendering the revolutionary body that spotlight the specificity of women's activism and contribution to the theorizing and creation of new forms of sociopolitical and artistic intervention in Philippine society.

Chapter 5 focuses on how the power relations that structure the interstate system in the new world order make themselves felt in the form of traumatic encounters between multiple "homes" and nations. The historically intimate but fraught relationship between the Philippines and America is the centerpiece of the Filipino-American novel Cebu. Peter Bacho's novel lays bare the identity politics made possible by the conjoining of two symbolic processes -- the process of differentiating geopolitical and cultural spaces in the form of nations, and the process of differentiating gender by ascribing specific attributes to women. Inequalities that structure economic and political relationships within and among nations are metaphorically rendered in terms


of relations between sexes, and are particularly salient for second-generation Filipino Americans, who negotiate different national spaces both literally and symbolically. Anxieties about sexual and cultural differences, as well as national origins, express themselves in terms of an "identity crisis" which involves the drawing, breaching, and redrawing of boundaries and borders on the subjective level. Cebu affords insight not only into the origins of such an identity crisis, but into the spatial dynamics of power, the limits of political imagination which inform the constitution of identity, and the ways in which personal ties and relationships are informed and regulated by the social environment and its guiding ideologies.

The final chapter looks at the Filipino labor diaspora and identifies the bases and processes of "identity making" of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The autobiographical and ethnographic Underground in Japan attests to the fact that while global capitalism has encouraged the unrestricted circulation of capital across borders, labor flows continue to be subject to regulation by nation-states. Underground offers a telling account of how OFWs are abstracted as labor power and exposes the complicity of labor-sending and labor-receiving nation-states in transnational capitalism. Ventura's account reveals the mechanisms by which Filipino labor is constructed as "illegal" and "foreign" and "unskilled" by the Japanese state, precisely in order to curb its potential political significance and power. At the same time, the Philippine state casts the OFW in heroic terms as self-sacrificing bagong bayani (new heroes) the better to tap into the flows of their remittances. The chapter argues, however, that the complex interaction between state and nation -- as mediated by the life, labor, and discourse of the OFW -- can potentially lead to the redefinition of "the state" by exposing its reliance on the migrant labor it attempts to regulate, and asks how this redefinition might also force a careful reconsideration of nationness, the lived experience of nation and belonging to a national community.

On the Subject of the Nation strives to account for the specific limits as well as potentials of nationalist thought and practice by reading


narratives that reflect on the conditions of (im)possibility of the nation as lived experience and as political project. The arguments are spread out and developed over a series of self-contained chapters, with key concepts such as labor, money, state, pedagogy, sacrifice, body, gender, and representation being taken up and elaborated across chapters rather than confined within single-chapter discussions. Readers will note that running through all these chapters are different concepts of utopia embodied by revolution and migration.6 As Fredric Jameson has argued in "The Politics of Utopia" (2004; see also P. Anderson's gloss, 2004), utopias either envision a different human nature or an alternative social order. The commitment of revolution and seduction of migration build on the human desire and capacity for change, on the human dream of freedom from necessity and a better future. Where one seeks to abolish alienated labor by reorganizing and transforming society, the other seeks optimal rewards for labor by maximizing the existing intellectual and material resources and institutions of late capitalism. These utopian visions serve as "symbolic token(s) over which essentially political struggles still help us to differentiate left and right" (Jameson 2004,35), since the conceptual frameworks used to flesh out these visions and the solutions they propose to resolve the problems of reality necessarily reflect specific historical and class views and positions (47). These visions tend to flourish "not in times of revolutionary upheavals as such, when popular demands concentrate on a short-list of immediate practical priorities -- so to speak, bread, land and peace -- but in the calm before the storm, when institutional arrangements appear unchangeable, but minds have been set free by some still unseen tectonic shifts to reinvent the world" (P. Anderson 2004,67).7

Utopian visions emerge out of the "excesses" (Hau 2000a, 6-8) generated by nation making, excesses in the form of "the foreigner," "error," "the people," "women," "the abject Philippines," and "the unauthorized worker" that determine but cannot be fully contained within the parameters of conventional ways of understanding and doing both literature and politics. The notion of "excess" -- that which


informs, but which cannot be fully grasped or encompassed by, nation making -- imposes limits which complicate the idea of human freedom posited by utopian visions and reveals the contamination of our humanness by the inhuman (state, money, and technology, for instance). By showing how our humanity is necessarily implicated in, and in fact partly produced by, material forces not entirely of our making,8 the concept of excess challenges us to produce more nuanced accounts of the relationship between self and collective, private and public, the personal and the political while helping to redefine the bases and goals of (re)making both community and state. Far from advocating political and intellectual passivity or indifference, this book attests to the survival -- the living on -- of the popular nationalist imperative of social transformation, and the promise of revolution. Each of the chapters that follow offers terms for thinking through the challenge of bringing about social change in Philippine nationalist theory and practice.




1. Walden Bello (2000) identifies three phases of adjustment in the Philippines: between 1980 and 1983, the Marcos state through its technocrats colluded with the International Monetary Fund to effect trade liberalization; between 1983 and 1992, the Marcos and Aquino governments concentrated on debt repayment and stabilization; and from 1992 onwards, free-market deregulation, privatization and trade and investment liberalization ruled the day under the Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo administrations. Unfortunately, world recession in the early 1980s curtailed exports while liberalized policies ended up favoring imports at the expense of local industries. Tight government budgets and high interest rates in turn contributed to economic stagnation. From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, the Aquino government's economic policy prioritized debt repayment and used up nearly half of its budgetary expenditures to meet its domestic and foreign debt obligations. Political instability, the relative paucity of foreign direct investment, and structural adjustment led to worsening social conditions, with nearly half of Filipinos living below the poverty line, and worsening income distribution (see ibid., 242 for statistics). The Ramos government embarked on an ambitious program of deregulation, privatization, and liberalization of the economy, but from the mid- to late 1990s, its policy of attracting short-term capital and foreign portfolio investments, the slowdown in growth of traditional exports, and the massive foreign liability incurred by Philippine banks (with much of the bank lending going into real-estate and stock-market speculation and consumption) made the Philippines vulnerable to contagion when the currency crisis hit the Asian region. Even though scholars have argued that the Philippines appeared to fare better than other countries during the crisis, Bello argues that on a number of key indicators (the high unemployment rate, the sharp decrease in stock market value, and the depreciation of the peso), the Philippines in fact "was faring worse than its neighbors" (238).


2. Chinese scholar Wang Hui (2003a, 60) has argued that tenns such as "unregulated" and "free" markets are ideological constructs that obscure the role, often coercive, played by the state in pushing for economic policies and creating socioeconomic structures which favor one particular type of capital accumulation. The irony of such economics, which calls for decreased government intervention and advocates the invisible hand of the market as a regulating force, is that such economics can only be put into effect precisely by relying on government initiative and actionn. Bello argues that academics and politicians who did their graduate work in the U.S. and Philippine universities in the late 1970s and 1980s -- a period during which Keynesianism was overshadowed by neoliberalism in the economics departments -- penetrated the commanding heights of the Philippine bureaucracy and, with presidential and middle-class support, spearheaded the "neo-classical revolution" which effectively captured economic policy and planning (2000, 243-44).

3. Developmental states actively promote national economic development and industrialization through policies which utilize all the available resources within their bounded territories in the name of "national interest." This kind of state-led coordination of the national economy and collaboration with banks and firms -- a capitalist project imbued with nationalist aspirations or a nationalist project driven by capitalist impulses? (Khoo 2000, 214) -- was sheltered beneath the umbrella of the Cold War regime in which the U.S. attempted to contain the spread of Communism in the Asian region by promoting Japan as a model of non-communist development. But by the post-Cold War 1990s. Asian global competitiveness drove the U.S. through the "Clinton Doctrine" to exploit the Asian currency crisis to dismantle the developmental states by relying on the multilateral economism of the IMF to force open the national economies of East Asia to U.S. goods and services and multinational investment and ownership. IMF policies during the Asian monetary crisis were seen to favor foreign banks and investors, and provoked both elite and popular nationalist outcries. Elites sought to use the rhetoric of nationalism to shield their businesses and vested interests, while people who bore the brunt of the social crisis engendered by structural adjustment turned to nationalism to articulate their demand for social justice.

4. The question, of course, is: On which forms of community can the political projects of the state be founded? Islamists who deny the nation


as a human invention, for example, base their Islamic states on the concept of ummat (community of believers).

5. "In 1960, the richest fifth of the world's population held thirty times more of the world's income than did the poorest fifth. This ratio widened to 32 to 1 in 1970, 45 to 1 in 1980, and 59 to 1 in 1989 (Frieden and Lake 1995, 417). These and related data demonstrate the tremendous relative reallocation of wealth that has taken place between rich and poor countries over the last three decades. Despite absolute improvements in many parts of the world, relatively speaking, the world's rich have gotten richer and its poor have gotten poorer" (Pempel 1999, 5). The average per capita income of what used to be called "Third World" countries in 1999 was 4.6 percent of the per capita income of "First World" countries (Arrighi 2003,32-33).

6. My thanks to Robby Kwan Laurel for proposing utopia as a critical lens for this book.

7. Perry Anderson (2004, 69) qualifies Jameson's argument by arguing that utopian voices do not fall silent during periods of revolution.

8. My thinking about the spectrality of the nation -- as incarnation and prosthesis -- owes much to years of fruitful conversation with Pheng Cheah, whose book Spectral Nationality (2003) offers the most compelling formulation of the concept.

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