Cover image for Rebellion and repression in the Philippines
Rebellion and repression in the Philippines
Kessler, Richard J. (Richard John)
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1989]

Physical Description:
xii, 227 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS685.5 .K46 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Opposing other studies of the revolutionary struggle in the geographically and socially fragmented Philippines, Kessler--Senate Foreign Relations staff member responsible for Asian issues--argues that future stability in this nation depends as much on the evolving character of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as it does on the strategy of the Communist Party and its New Model Army. Looking closely at the histories and present status of both adversaries (``like scorpions, they are locked in a deadly embrace''), he examines how the Manila government has allegedly used the AFP to protect the interests of the elite. The government's counter-insurgency program ``guarantees'' insurgencies to come, claims the author, tracing the development of the pattern through the Huk rebellion, the Marcos era and into the present Aquino government. U.S. security and economic interests in the Philippines are substantial, but Kessler believes that Americans ``lack the financial resources, the will, and even the right'' to interfere directly in the reform of the AFP. He hopes that Washington aid programs will ``help clarify'' the means by which Filipinos can determine their own destiny. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The fall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines has not resolved the basic social and economic problems in that former colony of the United States. Kessler and Jones provide much needed perspectives on these problems, although they approach them in very different ways. Kessler's book is an academic study concentrating on rebellions in the Philippines, showing that the current Communist situation is very much a part of that tradition. Jones, in contrast, is a journalist (he's the Manila special correspondent for The Washington Post ) who went underground and lived with Communists over an extended period of time. His book is overwhelmingly based on personal interviews with the principals concerned. While this format does allow for self-aggrandizement, Jones is careful to document both the successes and failures of the Communists. Both books draw the same conclusion; namely, no government in Manila is safe until basic structural reforms of society are made. Both titles are highly recommended for the insight they provide in what easily could be the United States' next major involvement in Asian affairs.-- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Controversy and instability have characterized Philippine politics for the last generation. The history of this nation's fractious elite politics has been reported on far more than the steady growth of communist rebellion throughout the islands. New books by Gregg Jones and Richard Kessler correct the imbalance by focusing on the communist movement. In his insider's journalistic account, Jones chronicles both the rise of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) from the ashes of the old party (PKP) and the development of the New People's Army (NPA) into a force challenging the Philippine armed forces. Jones interviewed a large cast of party leaders and followers to craft the most proficient and definitive history of the party from 1969 to 1989. He examines the ideological influence of party founder Jose Maria Sison and describes how Bernabe Buscayno, better known as Commander Dante, revived remnants of old Huk forces and formed new bases for guerrilla conflict. Initially the Philippine revolution modeled itself after Mao's people's war strategy, but in this sympathetic portayal of the rebels, Jones argues that the movement has developed local roots because its operations have been decentralized over two decades. In his scholarly and analytical study, Rebellion and Repression in the Phillippines, Kessler establishes the social context in which guerilla conflict takes place. To Kessler, rebellion is the norm in Philippine history, not the exception, and he traces a 200-year pattern of peasant struggle. Most of his commentary on the CCP and NPA is derived from secondary sources; the account is therefore less immediate than Jones's personalized narrative, but his treatment is relatively objective and insightful. Kessler balances analysis of CPP and NPA with a chapter on the armed forces in which he points out their inadequacy in dealing with the current level of insurgency. This volume is superior to Leonard Davis's Revolutionary Struggle in the Philippines (CH, Feb'90). Both Jones and Kessler leave the impression that the Philippine revolution has reached a decisive state; they estimate that many provinces are affected, with peasant support for revolution widespread, and they believe the government's endorsement of rightist vigilante groups is proving counterproductive. Neither author believes there will be ready implementation of land reform or improved social welfare policies, which reduce discontent. That this rebellion increasingly threatens the Philippine government has less to do with the intensity of revolutionary forces than with questions about legitimacy and effectiveness of the Philippine government to which the US is allied. Both books will leave readers troubled at the prospects for US policy in the Philippines. All levels. G. A. McBeath University of Alaska, Fairbanks