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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The mission of Alon is to provide an on-line forum for publishing original and refereed essays, artwork, reviews, and moderated reflections that productively and critically engage with Filipinx American and Filipinx Diasporic Studies. Through Alon, we aim to generate and showcase works that positively engage with and critically analyze key questions in the production of knowledges regarding Filipinx Americans and Filipinx diasporic subjects: how are Filipinx bodies represented across multiple forms of media and in what ways do Filipinx people cultivate and create identities and subjectivities to counter these representations? What are the experiences of Filipinx migrants and what about these experiences shed light on the nature of global racial capitalism? How do they imagine and organize toward non-extractive, sustainable futures? How do Filipinx people construct an alternative global archipelago of being and belonging? How are these fields’ particular theoretical and methodological approaches rooted in scholarly production and activism? How are these projects linked with attempts to trace interracial solidarites, as fraught as they may be, to disrupt racial capitalism’s impulse to both homogenize and propagate “multicultural” difference? These and other related questions drive the work behind and in front of Alon.

Alon seeks submissions from those who are engaged in fields that include, but not limited to: Filipinx Studies, Philippine Studies, Filipinx American Studies, Asian American Studies, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Diaspora/Transnationalism Studies, Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Cultural Studies, Literature, and the Visual and Performing Arts.

Anti-Martial Law

Issue cover


Aurality and Power: Western Art Music and the Marcos Regime

Western classical music flourished under the patronage of Imelda Marcos. While this legacy is often touted as a positive one, the genre of music itself and its imbrication with colonialism and racism cannot be ignored. This essay illustrates how Marcos harnessed Western classical music and conceptions of the global and universal to access ideological capital and claim a place for the Philippine nation as an equal in the international community. While the New Society also heralded nativism as nationalism, Western classical music and its trappings of Whiteness and modernity paralleled the regime’s elite cosmopolitan aspirations.

Masagana 99: Beyond Seeds, Grains, and Stalks

Alongside official policies and speeches declaring and steering official national identity, I turn to songs and dances as affective and performance archives that strategically rouse and structure our feelings of belonging to a cohesive and stable national culture. More broadly, I track the crafting of a Filipino/a national subject through state reliance on sedimented (and thus value-laden) forms such as ‘national traditions’ and ‘folk cultures’ to make possible the idea of a laboring and productive citizenry. I ask: How do traditional dances and songs sustain and indeed supplement the ambitions of government initiatives implemented during Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law, such as the rice production program Masagana 99? How do the timeless assemblages of performance shore up the edifice of an embattled and yet resilient nation-state? As we commemorate the afterlives of Martial Law, I return to such fragments of embodied memory with adjacent governmental policies of the time to underscore the complex scope and the scale of Marcos’s dictatorship, as well as relay these scenes as seeds of struggle, labor, and resistance.

Chaos and Order in Lino Brocka’s Insiang (1976)

The Marcos regime’s seizure of culture® and the first couple’s promulgation of “truth, beauty, and goodness” as guiding cultural principles® was more than an act of political repression. It was the purposeful and incisive reimagining of Filipino subjectivity for the global capitalist paradigms of the cold war order. This essay analyzes Lino Brocka’s 1976 film Insiang as a visualization of authoritarian violence that acknowledges the insidiousness of Marcosian cultural reforms and their adamant demand to affect and seize Filipino sensibilities. The film illustrates the ways that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’s mandates for morality, beauty, and humanity were impossible within the impoverished conditions of Manila’s urbanity. More importantly, I argue that the film disrupts the coherency of the Marcoses’ renditions of Filipino subjectivity by making a case for lifemaking practices bred and cultivated by chaos itself.

Radical House/work: Revolutionary Intimacies in the US-Based Anti-Marcos Movement

This essay examines the radical potential of shared living spaces as sites of revolutionary intimacies. Revolutionary intimacies, I argue, are close bonds, relationships, and social practices in the home and other private spaces that foster the creation of new political imaginings for democracy and liberation. Centering stories of activists involved in the US-based anti-Marcos movement during the 1970s and 1980s, I ask: How does one “work” the home, from a place that has traditionally reinforced heteropatriarchal violence, toward a space with liberatory intention?

Methodists against Martial Law: Filipino Chicagoans and the Church’s Role in a Global Crusade

During the 1970s and 1980s, the United Methodist Church in the Midwest prioritized recruiting people of color. This included Filipino immigrants whose population continued to grow across greater Chicago. Amid these recruitment efforts, Methodists took firm stances on matters related to social justice and international affairs using religious doctrine or reasoning to justify political mobilization. Filipino Methodists formed critical alliances with non-Filipino Methodists, other Christians, and leftist organizations to raise awareness about Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship and martial law order in the Philippines. Their grassroots activism helped sustain and bolster the efficacy of anti-Marcos and anti-martial law movements occurring worldwide.



"Ousting One Man Is Not Enough" looks at the cultural factors which enable dictatorships to re-surface again and again in Philippine politics. A very important study, considering that the son of the country's only formal dictator is now running for president. "Ousting One Man..." was presented at the September 21st webinar commemoration of the declaration of martial law by Activista/Dakila. 900 registered for this webinar.

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The Power of the People

Reflections from Vice Preisdent Leni Robredo