“In the Swimming Pool with Omar Cabezas and Richard Gere: A Filipino Communist Goes Abroad”
Prof. Patricio Abinales, UHM Asian Studies
Friday, December 1
3:00 – 4:30 PM
Sakamaki Hall A-201, History Department Seminar Room
In the mid-1980s, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) decided to revive and expand its “foreign relations” with “fraternal” movements, parties and countries. This time the purpose was not just to seek symbolic solidarity (statements, declarations and many others) but to ask for military assistance so that the revolution could move forward. This talk is about one of the cadres sent abroad and his memoir-in-progress as the Party first “military attaché.” His memoir is part of a growing literature of recollections by aging communists and ex-communists wanting to share their experiences during the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship to younger Filipinos. It is also distinct because it is the first to talk about “military relations openly,” and because of the author himself. Comrade EQ spent much of his formative years as a guerrilla in the countryside, operating in the southern Philippine frontier of Mindanao, and who, until his surrender, never lived a “cosmopolitan life.” This talk is about Comrade EQ’s impressions of his sojourn from one country to another; a rural “hick,” as it were, finding himself engaging a cosmopolitan (revolutionary) world. It explores questions like how much of his domestic communist worldview had changed after his travels, and how did it affect his position inside the Party. Along the way it also introduces the audience to the CPP, one of two enduring communist rebellions in the world today.
Banner image: History Workshop Theme Image (same series) – Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series