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Sisa's Vengeance: Rizal and the Mother of All Insurgencies

E. San Juan, Jr.


A new appraisal of Rizal is needed today in the light of 9/11, the collapse of finance capital, state terrorism, and neoliberal decadence and barbarism. Rizal’s revolutionary critique can be discovered by shifting the center of inquiry to the Dapitan years and after, the Liga’s resonance, and the Sisa-Maria Clara-Salome nexus. By exposing the limits of Simoun’s romantic idealism, Padre Florentino’s eschatological impulse, and the carnivalesque colonial world bereft of god/nomos, Rizal anticipates the post-capitalist predicament. Women’s vengeance against patriarchal nihilism lies submerged in Rizal’s communicative action to the Malolos collective, mobilizing emergent and residual historical forces in a dialectical trajectory of canceling the negative (mystifying ideologies and practices) and salvaging the mother’s body/place for transformative re-incarnations. This seismograph of changes in his situation (after the utopian scheme of founding a new Calamba in British Borneo) serves as the enabling fountainhead of Rizal’s theory of transforming patria, the mother of all insurgencies. Rizal’s nationalism prefigures the third-world revolutionary projects of Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Che Guevara, Amado V. Hernandez, and the national-democratic activists of our time.


babaylan, Filipino woman, manggagaway, Rizal’s novels, Rizal’s women characters

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2011.01702