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Rizal's Concept of the Filipino Nation

Book: A Nation Aborted (Chapter 6) Author: Floro Quibuyen

Alyssa de Guzman

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of Rizal's Concept of the Filipino Nation

To establish a farming colony in Sandakan

The displayed and dispossessed farmers of Calamba could relocate and begin a new life.

The project was seen in two different viewpoints: Hidalgo’s and Jaena and Luna’s.

Rizal's affirmation of a Filipino identity for precolonial indios in his work on the Morga opens up a number of critical issues.
Rizal's Concept of the Filipino Nation
Rizal's letter to Blumentritt:
Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines had been bedeviled by anti-Chinese racism.
Basconcillo. de Guzman. Molino. Oliva

According to Guerrero, what Rizal had in mind was a "racial secular Nation."
Exclusion of the Spanish creoles and the ethnic Chinese.
Here I have become half physician and half businessman. I have established a commercial company here. I have taught the poor Mindanao folk to unite for trading so that they may become independent and free themselves from the Chinese and thus be less exploited. But I have to talk a great deal with the local governor, who, despite being a good man, is a supporter of the Chinese and prefers the Mongols to the Mindanao people. Fortunately, the company is prospering; we make a little profit; and the poor Dapitan folk are becoming active and satisfied.
It would seem that Rizal considers the Chinese as racially apart from the people of Mindanao.

They are not part of the Filipino Nation.
Rizal's letter to his mother:
I had a lawsuit with the Chinese and I vowed not to buy anymore from them, so that sometimes I find myself very hard up. Now, we have almost neither dishes nor tumblers.
Rizal's boycott was motivated by considerations other than the racial identity of the store owner.
Rizal urged the people of Dapitan to unite and be self-reliant so that they would not fall prey to the exploitative Chinese merchants.
Rizal's concept of the nation as a community was constituted by two complementary perspectives:
Cultural dimension
Ethical dimension
Rizal's political ideas were derived from the Enlightenment tradition of the 18th century.
Rizal was most impressed by the German ethnologists
Ferdinand Blumentritt
Johan Gottfried Herder
emphasized the necessity and the possibility of historical and cultural studies without reducing culture and individuals to the mechanistic objects of the enlightenment. (Nader Saiedi, 1993)
Feodor Jagor:
"neither the hostility of the people, nor oppressive and prohibitory laws by the government, not even the repeated massacres, have been able to prevent their coming."

Filipino by blood < Filipino by heart

Being a good men or citizen of the country.

Rizal is a true Filipino and is a good human being, and a citizen of the world.

Borneo immigration did not push Thethrough because Governor-General Despujol disapproved of it.
It might cause international embarrassment to the Spain, according to Despujol.
Rizal’s response:
“In Borneo I shall not be a planter but the leader of the planters who are thinking of emigrating there with me. I feel flattered by the thought that I can still serve my country with my pen. You know very well that always, at all times, I am ready to serve my country not only with the pen but also with my life whenever my country will demand of me this sacrifice. But as I see that I am getting old, my ideals and my dreams are vanishing. If it is impossible for me to give freedom to my country, at least I should like to give it to these noble compatriots in other lands. So I am thinking of emigrating to Borneo. There are vast fields over there where we can found a new Kalamba. When the exiles and persecuted have found an asylum in Borneo, then I shall write in peace and shall be able to look forward towards the future, if not happy, at least consoled.

Graciano Lopez-Jaena and Antonio Luna’s viewpoint: welcomed the plan with enthusiasm

“ I received your post card which you sent me from Borneo. I congratulate you on the attainment of the purposes that have brought you there, the Filipino congratulates you also, the same as I do. All are congratulating themselves and congratulate you on your idea of founding in that new colony a town of Filipinos, the center from which later will spring the redemption of Archipelago.” -Jaena
Manuel Hidalgo’s view point: unpatriotic
“The Borneo project is not good. Shall we leave the Philippines, this beautiful country of ours? And what will they say? For what have the sacrifices been made? Without having exhausted all our forces for the welfare of the land that has sustained us since the cradle, shall we leave for a foreign land? You decide it.”
Rizal’s North Borneo Plan
Rizal’s concept of the national sentiment is not tied to the heimat.

Heimat- devotion to one’s native land.

Rizal’s view of the nation can be construed as neither patriotism nor nationalism.


To ensure that no tyrannies and depotisms emerge or, if they already exist to resist and oppose them.
The purpose of forming a national community:
“Resignation is not always a virtue; it is a crime when it encourages tyrants: there are no despots where there are no slaves!”–Simon to Basilio (The Reign of Greed,65)
Rizal’s concept of nation refers to a people with a “soul” or “sentiment”

A people who, because of their solidarity, sense of dignity, and concern for justice, will not put up with any tyrant or despot.
His emphasis was on people taking responsibility.
Fili calls forth those courageous
“national” is contrasted with “individual”.

Refers to the “common good”
National Sentiment is developed in “the spirit of the people” or the “national spirit”

Inflamed by an awareness of the evils of the colonial system.
“Our arduous mission… is the formation of the Filipino nation”
This question served as the motivation of his intellectual labors during his second sojourn in Europe from 1888-1891.

Resulted in seminal works that provided the historical basis for imagining the nation.
-Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas
-“Filipinas dentro de cien anos”
-“Sobre la Indolencia de los Filipinos”
-El Filibusterismo
Rizal’s Concept of National Sentiment
Rizal’s expressed objective: To lay down the foundations of the Filipino nation by spreading an idea, the concept of a national community founded on virtue and sacrifice.
Two crucial problems:
The distinction between the restrictive nationality of the state and its supporting elites from the wider national community among the ‘people’.

The divisions within the ‘people’, giving rise to conflicting ideas about what or who constituted the nation.

Both ethical and cultural aspects are integral to Rizal’s concept of the Filipino nation.
What Benner says of Marx applies to Rizal as well.
“The prescriptive content of Marx’s early conception of ‘nationality’ appears considerably more radical than the other democratic and republican concepts of the nation that have been drawn on the legacies of the French and American revolutions.”
Herder largely influenced Rizal and this can be seen in his writings.

Rizal informed Blumentritt that he has the complete works of Herder

Stimme der Volker-opened a new era not only for historians but for ethnologists as well
Integrity of all peoples and historical epochs have intrinsic values and therefore must be respected

Herder: But the very moment their inherited national feeling awakens again, the fire, that so long has been assiduously kept smoldering in the ashes, will burst out into open flames.

Rizal: (Tasio) When the light of day shows up them monsters of darkness, the frightful reaction will come. So many sighs suppressed, so much poison distilled drop by drop, so much force repressed for centuries, will come to light and burst.
Comparing Herder and Rizal…
Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Vox imperii, vox populi

The idea of sovereign people can legitimate even the most horrendous actions of the government
For Rizal, vox populi, vox dei means maintaining the bifurcation between the ruler and the ruled

Isagani and the concept of political obligation: Making direct connection between power and obligation
The friars…by monopolizing in their hands all the studies of the Filipino youth, have assumed the obligation to its eight millions of inhabitants, to Spain, and to humanity, of which we form a part, of steadily, bettering the young plant, morally and physically, of training it towards happiness, of creating a people honest, prosperous, intelligent, virtuous, noble and loyal. Now, I ask you in my turn-have the friars fulfilled that obligation of theirs? (Derbishyre trans.)
Isagani invoked the liberal concept of political obligation, that is, a sort of contractual relationship between the ruler and the ruled.

He who gives his gold and his life to the State has the right to require of it opportunity better to get that gold and better care for his life
As far as self-realization and or the fulfillment of human potential is concerned, innate desire and duty coincide

Natural Law-came from nature

Division of natural law
the good that man pursues in accordance to with the nature he has in common with all living substances such as self- preservation
the inclination he shares with animals such as sexual intercourse, education of off spring and so forth
man’s specifically human inclination such as the desire to know God and to live justly.
Vox populi, vox dei is a fundamental principle in Rizal’s moral concept of nation

It can be characterized as antistatist and has a prescriptive concept

Anti-statist-it affirms separation between people and state
The Filipinos must unite and do for themselves what the Spanish colonial state refuses or is unable to do for them.

Today’s slaves could be tomorrow’s tyrrants
Two approaches to national identity:
ethnoracial terms

political meaning
Equally crucial is the socially unifying function of Catholicism.
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