Revisiting the Semi-Feudal Question in the Philippines: A Brief Literature Review

Jacinto R. Valila, Jr.
Pages 199-221| Published online:31 Aug 2022

Valila, Jr., Jacinto R. 2022. “Revisiting the Semi-Feudal Question in the Philippines: A Brief Literature Review.” Marxism & Sciences 1(2): 199–221.


Notwithstanding the insistence of the mainstream left that the Philippines’ mode of production remains semi-feudal and semi-colonial, even as other left organizations persevere in their belief to the contrary that the country is already capitalist, albeit an appendage to the world capitalist syste —Marxist thinkers must never cease from studying the question on the foreground that different social movements in the Philippines advocating socialism appear to have been stalled in struggles since the 1930s. While there have been radical upsurges in the 1950s, 70s, and 80s, the left, in general, has failed to exploit them. A myriad of causes could be attributed to the prolonged stasis of the Philippine left. One reason is undoubtedly rooted in their analysis of the mode of production. Among the imperatives of such an analysis is that it sets forth the precise accounting and identification of classes for the revolution and counterrevolution. Without a clear grasp of this balance from a Marxist inventory of classes, a movement may lose both its social relevance and revolutionary elan. The subsequent modest and brief literature review offers a fresh invitation for a reexamination of the question at hand, far from simplifying and dogmatizing some Marxist categories. Hopefully, this paper will encourage every concerned party and student of the Philippine left tradition and development studies to revisit the question from the multi disciplinary perspectives within the rich treasury of Marxist-Leninist literature. This is with an endview that such a collective review which may happen soon will help approximate anda reconfigure a truly Marxist specificity of the Philippine mode and contribute to the rekindling of the otherwise hindered struggles of the Filipino workingmen and people for national liberation towards a socialist future. The paper centers on the debates on the mode of production question in the Philippines among Marxists, and it does not cover bourgeois economics and post-Marxists’ thoughts.

KEYWORDS: Marxism, Philippines, mode of production, semi-feudalism.


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