Fil Am writers, artists, and academics demand end to red-baiting

MANILA, Philippines – As the United States celebrates Filipino American history month, writers, artists and academics of Filipino heritage decry the rising occurrences of red-baiting in “new publications, social media, and even in academe."

In a statement, 65 Filipinos and Filipino Americans said that we are in a “dark time in both the Philippine homeland and the adopted American home."

"In the Philippines today, many Filipinos live in fear of the violent drug war that has claimed more than 12,000 lives of mostly poor Filipinos, young children, students, farmers, lumads, leftist activists and others,” they said. "Based on mere suspicion or rumor of drug use, one can be killed by hooded men with guns, illustrating the destructive power of hearsay and innuendo when harnessed to an anti-humanist cause.”

In the United States, meanwhile, the group said that red-baiting, the practice of accusing someone of being a communist, socialist or anarchist, is back from the 1950s Cold War Era.

The group said that red-baiting destroyed the lives of an earlier generation of Filipino immigrants. 

"Writer and labor organizer Carlos Bulosan was blacklisted by the FBI, kept under FBI surveillance for decades, couldn’t find employment, and later died in poverty in 1956. Philip Vera Cruz and other Filipino members of the United Farm Workers were red baited for questioning the authority of Cesar Chavez,” they said. 

The group also decried "lazy and bogus conclusions of Filipino scholars and writers who are quick to dismiss the scholarship and writings of peers based on political difference.” Red baiting, they added, undermine their critical practice as teachers, scholars, artists and writers.

"At a time when American society is polarized, and confrontations related to race, religion and ideology have escalated, the consequences to those victimized by red baiting could be dire."

The following signed the statement: 

– Rappler.com