Vol. 11, No. 3, Dominic Sy


Contents>> Vol. 11, No. 3

“Anak ng Bayang Dukha”: A Computational and Comparative Keyword Analysis of Sakdalista and Communist Discourses from 1925 to 1941

Dominic Sy*

*Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman, Roxas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101, Philippines
e-mail: dcsy[at]up.edu.ph

DOI: 10.20495/seas.11.3_363

In Philippine historiography, there has been a tendency to either classify political movements using rigid, positivist, and “elite” categories or to challenge such definitions by arguing for a certain almost universally “indigenous” Filipino character. In contrast, the current study proposes to use computer tools and corpus linguistic techniques to balance the recognition of both continuity and dynamism, as well as sameness and difference, between movements. More specifically, the study uses a Keyword in Context (KWIC) analysis to compare the writings of the Sakdalistas and the Communists, two of the largest mass movements in early 20th-century Philippines. The keyword analysis reveals, on the one hand, distinct discursive features in the writings of the two groups, with the Sakdalistas deploying a language that is more concerned with morality and the Communists deploying a more economistic tongue. On the other hand, a closer examination of these keywords in context also reveals a shared critique of imperialism and its connections to capital, as well as the common presence of two discourses in tension: a discourse of inclusive nationalism and a discourse of division among the people. In other words, the comparative keyword analysis shows that the Sakdalistas and the Communists had distinct political characteristics while also oscillating between similar languages and arguments on the nature of colonial Philippines. The identification of these patterns may contribute to a more nuanced and empirical understanding of the complexity of social movements in both the Philippines and Southeast Asia in general.

Keywords: Sakdal, Sakdalista, digital humanities, Philippine Communism, mass movements, keyword analysis, Tagalog political discourse

Over the last century of Philippine historiography, there has been a tendency in the study of social movements and political organizations either to classify them according to rigid, positivist, and “elite” categories or to argue against such classifications by positing a certain universal, popular, and ultimately unchanging Filipino character (often some form of indigenous syncretic millenarianism). Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution (1979) has done much to move Philippine scholarship away from the former tendency. It has also, unfortunately, promoted the latter (Anderson 2004; Richardson 2013, 452–465; Guillermo 2014; Scalice 2018).

In many ways, this is a manifestation of a larger pattern in Southeast Asia scholarship, which transitioned in the 1960s and 1970s from what Victor Lieberman (2003) called an “externalist” historiography to a more “autonomous” one. Historians who wrote in the former vein “embraced the positivist assumption that diligence and goodwill alone would eliminate bias” (Lieberman 2003, 6), and in so doing allowed for the perpetuation of a colonialist perspective on Southeast Asian history. One of the chief assumptions of this perspective was that indigenous Southeast Asians were incapable, inert, and lacking in agency, while “external” actors—India, China, and Europe—were the primary drivers of Southeast Asian civilization. In contrast, “autonomous” historians sought to “show how local peoples had been able to absorb, translate, and recontextualize external forces, in short, to maintain control of their environments” (Lieberman 2003, 11). Ironically, however, while this approach succeeded in showing Southeast Asian agency, there was still a tendency to portray Southeast Asian societies as fundamentally static, with core indigenous beliefs and practices remaining essentially unchanged across centuries (Lieberman 2003, 13–15).

This problem of accounting for both continuity and dynamism—and accounting for the interplay of both sameness and difference—takes an even more complicated turn when discussing social movements in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The already complex character of contentious politics becomes even more so in the context of the development of modern social and political formations during the colonial period. Ignoring such complexities, however, can lead to faulty classifications. Shiraishi Takashi (1990) has shown this to be the case with the typical division of early twentieth-century Javanese social movements (pergerakan) into “nationalist,” “Islamic,” and “Communist” categories. Instead of such neat divisions, Shiraishi argues that there was “a complex and dynamic process of translation and appropriation” (Shiraishi 1990, 339). This process saw the emergence of figures like Haji Misbach and newspapers like Islam Bergerak, which fused an Islamic worldview, identity, and eschatology with Marxist critiques of capital and imperialism (Shiraishi 1990, 249–298; Lin 2018, 323–335). Similarly, Anna Belogurova has argued that the Malayan Communist Party developed when “new ideas of nationalism and radicalism were grafted onto existing concepts and organizational forms, which shaped the hybridization of anti-imperialist and labor organizations” (Belogurova 2019, 5). Thus, across maritime Southeast Asia, “the movement for independence was intertwined with globalist thinking in the form of Comintern internationalism, the pan-Asianism of Sun Yatsen, Christianity, Islam, and anarchism” (Belogurova 2019, 6).

Such is also the case with the Sakdalistas, one of the largest Philippine mass movements of the 1930s. The literature on the Sakdalistas can be roughly divided into two groups: earlier works that identify broad socioeconomic causes behind the Sakdal Revolt of 1935 (Hayden 1942, 376–400; Stubbs 1951; Guerrero 1968; Sturtevant 1976, 215–255)1) and later studies that, by studying Sakdalista discourse, complexify certain simplistic conclusions derived from the first set of studies (Terami-Wada 2014; Delupio 2016). Terami-Wada Motoe, for example, criticizes previous research for “[failing] to bring out the Sakdalistas’ way of thinking” (Terami-Wada 1992, 19), while characterizing her own work as an attempt “to look at the history of the Sakdalistas from within” (Terami-Wada 1992, 21). In doing so, she shows how the Sakdalistas were a modern social movement that drew on diverse influences: traditional ideas of morality and honor, radical interpretations of Christian teaching, Gandhi-inspired calls for civil disobedience, etc. Sakdalistas also responded to shifting currents in both national and international politics, such as the rise of fascism, pan-Asian activism, and the growing threat of World War II.

The current study hopes to build on this kind of research, but to do so using a combination of methods that has yet to be applied to the subject of Philippine mass movements. Specifically, this study proposes to use computer tools and corpus linguistic techniques to do a comparative Keyword in Context (KWIC) analysis of the writings of two contemporaneous political movements: the Sakdalistas and the Communists.

The benefits of combining these two elements—using corpus tools and comparing movements—necessitates further elaboration. There is both a theoretical and a practical reason for the use of corpus tools. One of the advantages of corpus linguistics, as Michael Stubbs (2002, 226–231) argues, is its capacity to overcome common dualistic paradigms. In lieu of studying the abstract entirety of a language system (e.g., whether langue or competency) or surrendering in the face of the infinitely variable and immeasurable fragments of everyday utterance (e.g., whether parole or performance), corpus linguistics observes the routine or repeated co-presence of words in large sets of utterances. The study of any individual utterance, therefore, is situated within empirically identified patterns.2)

This capacity to account for variation of individual phenomena, while also identifying larger structures and routines out of which these utterances emerge, can be useful for striking a balance in recognizing both continuity and dynamism, as well as sameness and difference. This is particularly true when dealing with thousands of texts—a situation where the qualitative analysis of every single text is impractical (or even impossible). For example, Marlon Delupio’s (2013; 2016) ambitious study of the poetry and cartoons of the Sakdalistas succeeds in showing the variety of beliefs that Sakdalista members held (Delupio 2016, 77–105) and the range of themes they wrote about. But at certain points, Delupio’s study also risks flattening away the complexity of these themes due to an overreliance on the Sakdalista manifesto, “Ano Ang Sakdalismo” (What is Sakdalism). Delupio classified Sakdalista texts using the three core principles (simulaing-ugat) outlined in the manifesto: (1) The Philippines is only for Filipinos (Ang Pilipinas ay maging sa mga Pilipino lamang); (2) All Filipinos should be equal in achieving comfort from their livelihood, equal in the kind and dignity of their personhood, and equal in rights (Ang lahat na Pilipino ay maging pantay-pantay sa pagtamasa ng ginhawa sa kabuhayan; pantay-pantay sa uri at dangal ng pagkatao; at pantay-pantay sa mga karapatan); and (3) Those in government should sacrifice to improve the conditions of the People (Ang mga taong pamahalaan ay dapat magpakahirap upang guminhawa ang Bayan). On the surface, this schema makes sense. After all, the purpose of “Ano Ang Sakdalismo” was to explain what the Sakdalistas stood for. But the manifesto was published immediately after the failure of the Sakdal Revolt, “perhaps to explain what had led to the uprising and to clarify the Sakdalista Party’s stand” (Terami-Wada 2014, 162). As this was a time of disagreement and demoralization among Sakdalistas, some of whom would leave the party (Terami-Wada 2014, 73–77), the manifesto, though important, must be read more circumspectly. Even the narrower claim that it documents “official” Sakdalista discourse may risk papering over contradictions, disagreements, or fluctuations in thinking that existed even among the leadership of the movement.

To an extent, of course, such a narrowing is both necessary and desirable. As mentioned, it is difficult to sift through and classify thousands of texts. More important, the existence of multiple strains of thought does not negate the fact that some patterns of thinking may be more prominent than others, especially in complex phenomena like social movements. Nevertheless, the problem is how to empirically account for each of these elements without diminishing the other—i.e., how to recognize the predominance of certain patterns over others, while also accounting for potentially contradictory discourses. Corpus linguistics, as mentioned, provides one possible approach to doing so.

Meanwhile, the reason for comparing two social movements, particularly the Sakdalistas and the Communists, is rooted in the aforementioned problem of classifying Philippine movements. As already discussed, this problem has often taken the form of positing either that movements are completely different from one another—e.g., some are fanatical, others are rational—or that all movements are the same—e.g., they are all millenarian. The latter tendency can be seen in Francisco Nemenzo’s essay (2010) on the “millenarian-populist aspects” of the first Communist party of the Philippines.3) The former tendency, meanwhile, can be seen in David Sturtevant’s (1976) classification of the Communists as being part of the “Great Tradition” of “rational” revolt, while the Sakdalistas are relegated to being a transitory movement between the “Great” and “Little” traditions. Interestingly, these kinds of questionable classifications can also be found in the writings of the Sakdalistas and Communists themselves. As the most prominent radical mass movements of the 1930s, the Sakdalistas and the Communists had a tense and complicated relationship.4) Although their leaders were initially friendly, relations between them eventually broke down. In the process, the Sakdalistas shifted from asserting that both movements were anak ng bayang dukha (children of the poor) to branding the Communists as Russian agents. The Communists, meanwhile, labeled their Sakdalista counterparts Fascists and spokesmen of the bourgeoisie.

A careful comparative analysis of these two movements, therefore, can allow for a more nuanced understanding of overlaps and divergences in their political thought. In fact, as this study will show, a comparative keyword analysis reveals distinct features and priorities in the languages deployed by both two groups. Sakdalistas deployed a language that was more concerned with morality, while Communists deployed a language that was more economistic in nature. Meanwhile, a close examination of certain keywords also reveals shared ideas between these movements about imperialism and their connection with capital. Furthermore, an analysis of the keyword bayang reveals that both movements exhibited, with varying degrees of emphasis and tension, two potentially contradictory discourses: a discourse of inclusive nationalism and a discourse of division among the people. In other words, both the Sakdalistas and the Communists, while having distinct discursive characteristics, also oscillated between similar languages and arguments on the nature of the political and economic situation of colonial Philippines. Such findings point to the potential usefulness of both computer-aided discourse analysis and comparative study to comprehend the complexity of political movements, both in the Philippines and in other regions.


Corpus Creation

Three Tagalog-language corpora were created for this study. As part of the author’s longer-term research into the Sakdalistas, the first corpus created was a general Sakdal corpus, composed of all Tagalog-language articles from the 157 surviving issues of the Sakdal, the official weekly newspaper of the Sakdalistas from 1930 to 1938 (during which time the movement reached its peak). Overall, the Sakdal corpus contains nearly 2.5 million words. This corpus alone took over two years to create. Consequently, due to both practical concerns and for the sake of consistency, other Sakdalista publications like the declaration of the party platform (“Pamahayag at Patakaran” 2009) and publications of organizations that succeeded the Lapiang Sakdalista (e.g., the Ganap Party) were not included.

The choice of texts for the second corpus was contingent on a number of factors, especially lack of access/availability. Thus, it was not possible to make a corpus out of Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (Communist Party of the Philippines; PKP) publications such as Titis (Spark) (1933), Sinag (Ray of light) (1934), and Kalayaan (Freedom) (1935).5) Instead, the second corpus, the Crisanto Evangelista (CE) corpus, is composed of articles, pamphlets, and speeches written by the leaders of the first PKP. Typescripts and photocopies of these documents were collected by Roland Simbulan.6) Most of the documents are by Crisanto Evangelista, one of the founders and primary intellectuals of the PKP, though one article is by Jacinto Manahan (1932) and some are signed by the leadership of various organizations associated with the Communists. In the interest of creating a larger and more usable corpus, the author set 1925 as the cut-off date for inclusion of articles. This decision was based on Jim Richardson’s insight (2011, 92–93)—corroborated by the CE corpus data—that Tan Malaka’s visit to Manila in 1925 marked a turning point in the spread of Marxism in the Philippines. The CE corpus, in sum, is made up of articles written by Evangelista and a few other Communist leaders between 1925 and 1941, which altogether comprise around 120,000 words.7)

The final corpus, the “Sariling Diwa” or SD corpus, is a subset of the larger Sakdal corpus. The SD corpus is composed of all copies of “Sariling Diwa,” the main editorial of the newspaper. This subcorpus was created to have a Sakdalista corpus that, in contrast with the general Sakdal corpus, is more comparable to the CE corpus in terms of both conventions of linguistic usage (vis-à-vis genre) and the rhetorical position these articles occupied within their respective movements. It is also a better match in terms of size; the SD corpus has around 180,000 words. (An alternative, a subcorpus composed of Benigno Ramos’s writings, was also considered. In some ways, such a corpus would have been more directly parallel to the CE corpus, given Ramos’s role as founder and primary intellectual of the Sakdal. Unfortunately, it was too difficult to ascertain what could and could not be included in such a corpus, because Ramos was known to use pen names and because Sakdalista articles are often unattributed.)

In corpus linguistics, it is necessary to be transparent about extra processes followed in the creation of corpora. Therefore, without going into too much detail, the various changes made are described below:

1) Ads were excluded from the Sakdal corpus.

2) Lines or phrases referring to the separation of articles (e.g., “May karugtong sa pahina 4” [Continued on page 4]) were removed.

3) Due to practical considerations, the author did not change typos, spelling variations, and idiosyncratic transition markers. While this has a slight effect on the calculation of keywords, the effects were easy enough to account for during analysis.

4) Due to practical considerations, and because they are not recognized by the concordance software, diacritics were removed.

At this point, it should be acknowledged that by forming corpora exclusively from written texts, the current study is skewed toward the articulations of the literate sections of the Sakdalista and Communist membership. Nevertheless, analyzing these materials has an important place in understanding the overall contours of Sakdalista and Communist discourses. Apart from the fact that the writings of Philippine mass movements in general, including their leaders, is an underdeveloped object of study, the impact of these writings was not limited to the literate membership. In the CE corpus, many documents were written for small publications with working-class audiences (e.g., Tinig Manggagawa [Voice of the worker]) while others were used as organizational guides. Much the same can be said for the Sakdal, which would publish summaries and transcripts of speeches from meetings. Furthermore, the Sakdal was commonly read aloud in villages (barrios) for nonliterate members (Terami-Wada 2014, 17). These documents should be seen, therefore, not simply as arguments articulated in a void but as political arguments articulated in the context of addressing the concerns of existing and prospective members—i.e., articulations in the context of building mass movements.

Keyword Analysis

The current study uses a modified version of the keyword analysis method proposed by Costas Gabrielatos (2018, 238–244). This method differentiates between “keywords of difference” (words with statistically unusual frequencies in one corpus compared to another) and “keywords of similarity” (words that appear in more or less the same ratio relative to the respective size of each corpus). Keywords of difference are ascertained by using a high statistical significance threshold (in this study, Bayesian Information Criterion [BIC] >= 2.0) and arranging the remaining words by highest to lowest effect size score (in this study, from highest to lowest Log Ratio). Keywords of similarity, meanwhile, are determined by searching for words whose effect size scores are closest to zero, regardless of statistical significance.

Afterward, the candidate key items (CKIs) are run through an agglomerative hierarchical clustering analysis that uses Euclidean distance to compare individual CKIs and between-groups linkage to compare clusters. The default method is to divide the total number of CKIs by the number of keywords per corpus that can be practically studied (usually 100 words). However, a greater number of smaller clusters can be specified for more fine-grained analyses (Gabrielatos 2018, 242–247). This turned out to be necessary to analyze keywords of difference between the SD and CE corpora. Between these two corpora, there are 766 CKIs for keywords of difference. Unfortunately, dividing these into only eight clusters (~766/100) resulted in one or two clusters with hundreds of CKIs each. Therefore, a total of 77 clusters instead (with a hypothetical average of 10 CKIs per cluster) was specified for the keywords of difference. For keywords of similarity, however, which had a total of 13,757 CKIs, the CKIs were divided into 138 clusters (~13,757/100).

To form the final lists of keywords to be analyzed, the author included as many CKIs as were necessary to reach at least 100 keywords per corpus for each type of keyword, then included any CKIs that belonged to the same cluster as the 100th keyword. Six lists in total were formed, four corresponding to keywords of difference and two corresponding to keywords of similarity. The reason for having twice as many lists for keywords of difference is the large disparity in potential meanings between what the present author calls “keywords of absence” (which appear in only one corpus) and “keywords of preference” (which appear in both corpora, but more frequently in one). Therefore, separate lists were made for each of these subcategories of keywords of difference.

Finally, the patterns of emergence of these keywords in the corpora were compared. Overall context—i.e., the concordances and articles in which these keywords appeared—was taken into account. Additionally, frequent word clusters (or n-grams) of certain keywords were examined. This was done to ensure that the keywords were analyzed in a manner consistent with their actual usage in the material. Many unexpected patterns can be properly understood only by examining the concordances and articles. For example, some keywords of difference in the SD and CE corpora emerged solely due to idiosyncratic differences in spelling, while some keywords of similarity, despite appearing with equal prominence in both corpora, were used in vastly different ways by the two movements. It is important, therefore, to not only rely on raw quantitative data for the analysis, but to combine this with careful qualitative reading.

AntConc 3.5.8 was used to make the word lists and identify clusters and concordances. The default settings of AntConc were used, except for adding the apostrophe (‘) and hyphen (-) characters to the “Token Definition.” Word lists were transferred to Microsoft Excel8) to calculate for statistical significance and effect size, and then transferred to SPSS Statistics v25 for hierarchical clustering analysis.

Sakdalista and Komunista: A Tale of Two Parties

The Sakdalista movement began with the founding of the Sakdal by the Tagalog poet Benigno Ramos. The first issue was published on August 30, 1930. Over the next few years, the Sakdalistas quickly grew with their calls for immediate independence, land reform, tax alleviation (for the poor), support for local production, etc. In 1933 Sakdalista leaders founded the Lapiang Sakdalista (Sakdalista Party) to try to prevent the formation of the Philippine Commonwealth, which they argued was a plot to further delay independence. They participated in the legislative elections the following year. Their strong showing in some local elections surprised the leaders of the more dominant parties (Terami-Wada 2014, 42–43). Nevertheless, the Sakdalistas were not strong enough in the legislature to prevent the formation of the commonwealth or push for immediate independence.

These difficulties, and increasing harassment from the government and police, led to the Sakdal Uprising on May 2, 1935. The revolt was quickly put down and the Sakdalistas thrown into disarray. The weakened party that emerged would live on for another three years. In 1938, following a shift in tactics from Ramos that not everyone agreed with, the Sakdalistas were reorganized as the Ganap Party (Terami-Wada 2014, 117–125). In 1941, with the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the Ganap Party sided with the invaders, believing that they would end American colonialism. In 1944 Ganap Party members formed the initial core of the widely reviled Makapili, a pro-Japanese militia (Terami-Wada 2014, 174–177, 181–189). After the war, the Ganap Party was no more.

The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, meanwhile, was founded on the 34th anniversary of the Philippine Revolution (August 26, 1930)—just four days before the first issue of the Sakdal was released. Within its first year, the PKP faced intense government persecution, including the arrest of its leaders. This persecution was exacerbated by the PKP’s overly sectarian and ultra-leftist tactics, a result of its adherence to the belligerent strategy of the Communist International (Comintern) at the time. Thus, the PKP found itself isolated from potential allies and facing many difficulties while organizing (Richardson 2011, 250–251).

In 1935, however, the Comintern changed its strategy from revolutionary sectarianism to building united fronts with anti-Fascist forces. The PKP accepted this shift, softened its criticism of other groups, and emphasized the need for national unity. Over the next half-decade, the PKP would swell in size until it was double its original peak before the persecutions (Richardson 2011, 252). The PKP also merged with the large Partido Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (Socialist Party of the Philippines), which was based in Pampanga. When World War II broke out, the PKP organized the guerrilla Hukbalahap, the largest anti-Japanese armed resistance in the archipelago. After the war, faced with renewed persecution from the newly independent Philippine government, the PKP launched the 12-year-long Huk Rebellion.

As previously mentioned, the Sakdalistas and the Communists had a tense and complicated relationship. One reason for this tension was competition over members. Both the Sakdalistas and the Communists drew most of their support from Manila and the provinces of Central and South Luzon (Richardson 2011, 255; Terami-Wada 2014, 154; Delupio 2016, 1–3). Additionally, while both movements had members from the middle classes and the intelligentsia, the bulk of their supporters were peasants and laborers (Richardson 2011, 252; Terami-Wada 2014, 141–144). During the American colonial period, peasant groups and labor unions were “prone to large and swift fluctuations, readily attracting adherents when they appeared dynamic and excited hope, but just as abruptly contracting when their promise faded” (Richardson 2011, 197). In that regard, the Sakdalistas at their peak (just before the 1935 revolt) seem to have been more successful in gaining the support of the peasantry (Richardson 2011, 198). The PKP, in contrast, may have had a deeper base among the urban working class due to its roots in the labor movement. Eventually, though, by the second half of the 1930s, the PKP also gained a sizable following among peasants and rural workers (Richardson 2011, 252).

The first mention of Communism in the Sakdal is in its sixth issue (October 4, 1930), in an article summarizing a speech from a meeting of the Palihan ng Bayan (a nationalist organization that was strong in the provinces of Rizal and Laguna). In this speech, the “courageous” (matapang) G. Santiago G. Flores from the Palihan ng Bayan criticized Communists for the “divisions they foster among the people and their propagation of the spirit of RUSSIAN BOLSHEVISM here in our country” (ginagawang paghahatihati sa mga tao at pagpapalaganap ng espiritu ng BOLSIBIKISMO sa RUSIA dito sa ating bayan) (Anonymous 1930b). At this point, both the Sakdal and the PKP were only a few months old, and far from their intense war of words in the early months of 1935. Nevertheless, by October 1930 the general thrust of the Sakdalistas’ disagreement with the Communists was evident: the latter’s alleged splitting up of the Filipino people. Although this criticism came from another organization, the use of the word “courageous” to describe the speaker indicates general agreement with this sentiment by the writer of the Sakdal article.

However, two months later the Sakdal published an even longer article by Jose Quirante, a Communist, praising the Soviet Union (Quirante 1930). Soon after, it published a eulogy for Antonino Ora, a Communist leader who died in an automobile accident (Anonymous 1931b). In these articles, one sees the more complicated relationship between the Sakdalistas and the Communists that emerged in their early years. Although the Sakdal did not directly support the Communists, it still recognized the PKP as a parallel organization of the poor and oppressed (Anonymous 1931a; 1931e).

Many reasons have been given for why the relationship between the movements soured. According to Delupio (2016, 100), it began when the Communists joined the elections of June 1931, which Sakdal supporters boycotted. Terami-Wada (2014, 94), meanwhile, says it was the result of a decision by Ramos to distance the Sakdal from the Communists following the arrest of the latter’s leaders in May 1931.

Terami-Wada (2014) also argues, however, that this decision became noticeable only in mid-1932. In fact, in the months following May 1931, the Sakdal published multiple articles defending the Communists and even calling them “martyrs of the poor” (mga martir ng bayang dukha) (Anonymous 1931c). Meanwhile, on December 26, 1931, and January 2, 1932, the Sakdal published Evangelista’s English-language article titled “An Open Letter to the Philippine Capitalist Press.” Richardson (2011, 242) agrees that the conflict between the Sakdalistas and the Communists truly erupted in 1932, and that the catalyst was criticism from the Communists, who called Benigno Ramos a Fascist and the Sakdal editors “spokesmen of the bourgeois class” (tagapagsalita ng uring burgesya) (quoted in Richardson 2011). This attack, in turn, was simply one example of the aforementioned sectarianism exhibited in the early years of the PKP (Fuller 2007, 75; Richardson 2011, 243–246).

Eventually, between their shifting fortunes and policies, the leaders of the two parties began to occasionally work together again. One sign of this renewed amicability was the publication in the Sakdal of an article by the Communist leader Guillermo Capadocia (1937). Interestingly, though, even at the height of their disagreements, ordinary members of both parties sometimes still supported each other. For example, during the Sakdalista revolt of May 1935 some ordinary Communists came to support the Sakdalistas, even while the PKP leadership was debating what their official position would be (Terami-Wada 2014, 95).

Keyword Analysis I: Moral versus Economic Discourse

How did this complicated relationship between the two movements manifest in the patterns of their political language? Both the Sakdalistas and the Communists saw themselves as defenders of the poor, but they characterized the poor differently. The Sakdalistas tended toward general descriptors like dukha (poor), which appears 121 times in the SD corpus but only five times in the CE corpus. The Communists, meanwhile, were more likely to use occupational words like magbubukid (farmer/agricultural worker), anakpawis (worker/laborer), and manggagawa (worker/laborer). Interestingly, though many Sakdalistas were farmers and laborers (Terami-Wada 2014, 141–144), the SD corpus rarely uses either magbubukid or manggagawa to refer to them. Even magsasaka, a synonym of magbubukid, appears only seven times in the SD corpus while appearing nine times in the smaller CE corpus.

It is easy enough to find a reason for this difference. A central concept in Marxist philosophy is class struggle, where “class” refers to a group of people with similar interests because of their historical positions within the economic system. Categories like manggagawa or magbubukid are important for Marxists not only because they describe generally impoverished populations, but because they refer to specific groups in the economic system that have specific historical relations with one another—e.g., the complicated possibilities of alliance and conflict between the proletariat and the peasantry. (On that note, a caveat that must be noted here is that magbubukid may refer to different groups in the agricultural sector, from small landholding peasants to tenant farmers and hired labor. It is not as strict, therefore, in identifying economic groups vis-à-vis ownership of the means of production. Nevertheless, it is more specific in identifying positions within the economic system than terms like dukha.)

This same worldview emerges in CKIs that describe oppressors of the poor. The following keywords, among others, appear more prominently in the CE corpus: burges (bourgeois), mamumuhunan (investor/capitalist), asendero (large landlord), kapitalista (capitalist), and maharlika (aristocracy). These CKIs do not simply describe the rich and powerful but rather social groups that own the means of production. They have no counterparts in the top CKIs of the SD corpus, where the CKIs used to describe oppressive groups are dambuhala (monster or giant), berdugo (executioner), and kostabularyo (constabulary).

Such differences between the SD and CE corpora can be compared with different characterizations of class conflict among “yellow unions” and “red unions” from around 1928 to 1933. According to Ramon Guillermo (2009, 99–110), many early socialists in the Philippines interpreted class conflict through the lens of morality, emphasizing the morality of individual capitalists when negotiating between factory workers and owners. This emphasis on morality to solve inequality is incompatible with the usual Marxist position that conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is inextricable from their relative positions in the mode of production. In other words, while there will always be capitalists who are more “moral,” the occasional morality of individual capitalists does not change the overall economic situation (where, to keep up with the competition, it is necessary to rely on and eventually increase the exploitation of labor power).

Consequently, the vocabulary of the CE corpus tends to emphasize economic relations: “capital,” kalakalin (trade), paggawa (labor), etc. In contrast, there are more words in the SD corpus concerned with morality: kapurihan (honor), kahihiyan (shame), karangalan (honor), kalooban (inner concerns, will, sentiment, or workings), etc. An interesting keyword in this regard is katungkulan (responsibility/office), which is often used in the SD corpus to mean office/position in government. In this context, the Sakdalistas criticized how political leaders, including the leaders of supposedly radical organizations, did whatever it took to acquire katungkulan, kayamanan (wealth), and salapi (money) instead of trying to improve the lives of the people (bayan).

Interestingly, even among keywords of similarity (which appear with equal prominence in both corpora), the moral/economic division emerges. Even when using the same words, for example, Sakdalistas and Communists often, though not always, used them differently. The best example is perhaps maliliit (small). In the SD corpus, most of its concordances refer in a general way to oppressed groups—e.g., the dukha and mangmang (uneducated) that are exploited by the malalaki (large). Meanwhile, in the CE corpus, maliliit often points to specific class categories, e.g., maliliit na burges (petty bourgeoise).

Keyword Analysis II: Capitalism Linked with Imperialism

The findings above confirm Richardson’s observation that Sakdalista rhetoric was “more moralistic, earthier, and more personal” than that of the PKP (Richardson 2011, 242). It should be noted, however, that these keywords do not show that Communist discourse is completely economistic or that Sakdalista discourse is solely concerned with morality. What they show is the relative prominence of certain patterns in one corpus versus another. In other words, economic relations are more central to the Communists’ understanding of society, and moral concerns are more central to Sakdalista discourse. But the prominence of these themes in one corpus does not preclude their presence in the other. In fact, given the Sakdalista goal of creating a more just and equitable society, it would be surprising if there were no discussion in the Sakdal about economic relations.

These discursive intersections can already be seen in the concordances of maliliit. Although, as mentioned earlier, the word is often used differently in the corpora, there is one important overlap: the reference to “small” countries/nations (bayang maliliit or maliliit na bayan/bansa) oppressed by larger countries like the United States. Another keyword of similarity, taksil (traitor), exhibits a similar mix of diverging and intersecting usages. On the one hand, most uses of taksil in the SD corpus refer to how Filipino politicians have betrayed the people by serving foreign interests. The people being betrayed here are Filipinos in general (countrymen or kababayan) as opposed to any specific economic group. In contrast, most uses of taksil in the CE corpus refer specifically to the betrayal of the working class, both in the Philippines and abroad (e.g., “the traitors that make up the International in Amsterdam” [mga taksil na bumubuo ng Internasyonal sa Amsterdam] [Evangelista 1929]). Nevertheless, four of the 13 uses of taksil in the CE corpus also refer to Filipino politicians defending imperialistic American interests. These “traitors” include the Federalists, Quezon, his allies, and bourgeois reformists (repormistang burges)—all of whom are “traitors to the welfare of those who spill sweat and to the freedom and peace of the entire people” (taksil sa kapakanan ng mga nagpapatulo ng pawis at sa kalayaan at kapayapaan ng sangbayanan) (Lupong Pangbansa ng Partido 1939, 19). The characterization of victims here is interesting. On the one hand, the phrase “those who spill sweat” (mga nagpapatulo ng pawis) implies that the primary victims of this betrayal are laborers (i.e., mga anakpawis or, literally, “children of sweat”). On the other hand, the phrase “freedom and peace of the entire people” (kalayaan at kapayapaan ng sangbayanan) gestures toward a broader Filipino nation.

Significantly, these last lines were written in 1939, after the PKP had already changed its overall political strategy. It is unsurprising, then, that the Communists in 1939 would gesture toward the liberation of the entire nation. But changing Comintern strategies alone are insufficient to explain this gesture. After all, nationalist language and argumentation were always part of PKP writings, even when they were arguing that internationalism was superior to “nationalism-protectionism.” This continuity can be seen in the concordances of another keyword of similarity, kagyat (immediate/urgent).

In both the SD and CE corpora, kagyat is connected with the popular American-era slogan for “immediate, complete, and absolute independence” (kagyat, ganap at lubos na kasarinlan). In the SD corpus, the slogan is generally used straightforwardly: the Sakdalistas want immediate independence. Thus, they criticize the empty promises of politicians who claimed to support independence and then did nothing after gaining power. Similar criticisms are expressed in the CE corpus. In an article from 1930, Evangelista argues that bourgeoisie nationalists make use of the “flag of ‘immediate, complete, and absolute independence’” (watawat na kagyat, ganap at lubusang pagsasarili”) (Evangelista 1930c) simply to gain power. Meanwhile, in articles long before their tactical shift (in 1935), the Communists expressed support for immediate Philippine independence. For example, in 1929—in the same article where, ironically, Evangelista argues for internationalism over nationalism—the slogan for complete and immediate independence is rewritten so that independence becomes intertwined with class struggle. According to Evangelista (1929), “The struggle of laborers within [the terrain of] class struggle is headed towards their own upliftment . . . towards the complete redemption of the laborers and the immediate freedom of the Philippines and other colonized people” (Ang pakikibaka ng mga anakpawis sa batayang makauri [class struggle] ay tungo sa kanilang ikagiginhawa. . . . Tungo sa ganap na ikatutubos ng mga anakpawis at sa kagyat na ikalalaya ng Pilipinas at ng mga bayang kolonya). For Sakdalistas, the true nationalism of the people (bayan) is contrasted with the false nationalism of Filipino politicians. For Communists, nationalism can be dangerous because it disguises the real relations between workers and capitalists. Nevertheless, Communists push for independence because true independence is aligned with internationalism. True independence will lead, after all, to the bettering of people’s lives.

This points to a deeper reason than simply “strategy” for the overlap in nationalistic language between these movements: anti-imperialism. Additionally, many passages from both corpora show that this shared anti-imperialism was not only based on the two groups’ opposition to the conquest of “small” countries. Rather, for both Sakdalistas and Communists, imperialism was seen as being connected with capitalist greed.

In the SD corpus, the connection between imperialism and capitalism can be seen in occasional references to “American capitalists” (kapitalistang Amerikano). The phrase appears in five different articles in the SD corpus, always in the context of Filipino politicians serving American capitalists instead of ordinary Filipinos. For example, the “Sariling Diwa” from November 14, 1931, while criticizing the greed of “traitorous” (taksil) politicians, refers to Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, and Manuel Roxas (all future presidents of the Philippines) as “three agents of American capitalists and killers of the reason of the people” (tatlong ahente ng mga kapitalistang amerikano at pamatay sa katuwiran ng bayan). Meanwhile, in an editorial about the Tydings-McDuffie Act, the law that established the commonwealth, the Cuban situation is used to illustrate connections between capitalism and imperialism:

Cuba is independent, but America remains king and lord. No Cuban will win an election to be president of the republic if they are not the men of and held by the nape by American capitalists. The moment that an enemy of imperialism wins [an election] will be the awakening of Cuba, and this is what the capitalists are watching out for, and that is why they spend millions to ensure that their men will win.

Ang Cuba ay nagsasarili, ngunit ang Amerika rin ang hari at panginoon. Walang kubanong magtatagumpay sa halalan sa pagkapangulo ng republika kung hindi bata at hawak sa batok ng mga kapitalistang amerikano. Oras na may magtagumpay na kalaban ng mga imperialista ay siyang pagkagising ng Cuba, at ito ang iniingatan ng mga kapitalista, kaya gumagasta sila ng angaw-angaw magwagi lamang, ang kanilang mga bata. (Sakdal, July 14, 1934)

Naturally, imperialism and capitalism are also seen as connected in the CE corpus. This is one reason why the Communists, despite criticizing “nationalism-protectionism,” also believed they were continuing the spirit of the anticolonial 1896 Philippine Revolution. In the pamphlet “Ang A-B-K ng Anakpawis,” Evangelista writes:

The new imperialism is the policy of capital on the basis of conquest and appropriation [which they do] because of the scramble for markets to carry their goods, because of [their need for] raw materials, because of large profits from investing capital in other countries, and because of the abundant labor power that can be easily obtained through low wages.

Ang bagong imperyalismo ay ang patakaran ng puhunang salapi sa salig sa panlulupig at pangangamkam dahil sa pag-aagawan sa mga pamilihang mamagdalhan ng kanilang mga kalakalin, dahil sa kailangang materya prima at uling, dahil sa malalaking napapakinabang sa pagdadala ng puhunan sa ibang bayan, at dahil sa saganang lakas ng paggawa na maluwag na matatamo sa pamamagitan ng napakakakang bayad. (Evangelista 1932a)

Of course, it is important to note that the words kapitalista and kapitalistang are not used in exactly the same way in both corpora. For the Communists, these words are understood through the lens of historical materialism, which argues that the domination of the bourgeoisie during capitalism emerged out of contradictions in the previous mode of production. This narrative does not appear in either the SD or the Sakdal corpus.

Nevertheless, it seems that kapitalista in the Sakdal is not simply a synonym for a more general word like mayayaman (rich). This becomes more apparent when looking at the general Sakdal corpus. In the Sakdal corpus, where kapitalista and kapitalistang appear 160 times combined, more than one-third of these appearances show up within the following three clusters: “American capitalists” (kapitalistang Amerikano), “foreign capitalists” (kapitalistang dayuhan), and “capitalists and imperialists” (kapitalista at imperialista). This pattern can also be seen in the collocations of kapitalista and kapitalistang (see Fig. 1). In contrast, the collocations of mayayaman and mayayamang (rich [+modifier]) (see Fig. 2) show a stronger connection with words like marurunong (educated) and malalaki. The word imperialista makes no appearance here, and while amerikano (American) and dayuhan (foreigner) do seem to have a connection with mayayamang, their connections are weaker than they are with kapitalistang.



Fig. 1 Top Collocates of Kapitalista (left) and Kapitalistang (right) (Sakdal Corpus); Window Span 5:5

Source: Author.



Fig. 2 Top Collocates of Mayayaman (left) and Mayayamang (right) (Sakdal Corpus); Window Span 5:5

Source: Author.


In sum, in the Sakdal corpus the word kapitalista often appears in the context of describing a category of people connected with imperialism. It is unsurprising, therefore, that in an article from 1935, the Sakdalista leaders explicitly reject capitalism:

In the present, the government that should be established here is neither capitalist nor communist but a government that is completely Filipino, that is based on the way of life, feelings, behaviors, and desires of the people here. The capitalist government is precisely that which is the cause of our present poverty, because of how it allows a few citizens to amass increasingly large sums of wealth. The communist government, meanwhile, has not yet passed its period of trial.

Sa kasalukuyan, ang pamahalaang dapat itayo dito ay yaong hindi kapitalista, ni hindi komunista, kundi isang pamahalaang ganap na pilipino, na nababatay sa pamumuhay, damdamin, ugali at hilig ng bayang ito. Ang pamahalaang kapitalista ay siya ngayong nagdudulot ng kasalukuyang paghihikahos, dahil sa kaniyang kaparaanang nagpapahintulot na malikom ng ilang mamamayan ang lalong malaking kayamanan. Ang pamahalaang komunista naman, hangga ngayon, ay hindi pa lumalampas sa panahon ng pagsubok. (Anonymous 1935)

Keyword Analysis III: Inclusive Nationalism and Divisions among the People

As it would be impossible to analyze every CKI in the lists, the subsequent pages will focus on a single keyword that exhibits the aforementioned dual dynamic of discursive similarities and differences. This CKI is bayang (people/community/nation/country [+modifier]). There is both a quantitative and a qualitative reason for this choice. First, in terms of raw frequency, bayang is one of the top keywords of similarity, appearing 318 times in the SD corpus and 236 times in the CE corpus. This greater quantity means there are several examples of bayang to analyze across both corpora, which will permit more nuanced analyses of its patterns. The second reason is the well-known importance of the root word bayan in Tagalog political thought. The flexibility of bayan in referring to a people, community, nation, or country leads to interesting variations in its usage. Thus, as one of the more commonly lemmatized variants of bayan, bayang can also be assumed to have close associations with political themes, topics, and arguments in both corpora. As it turns out, the data shows that the bayang clusters reveal overlapping usages in the corpora of two political languages in tension: a discourse of inclusive nationalism and a discourse of division among the people (bayan).

Fig. 3 shows the most frequently used clusters of bayang from both corpora, arranged according to “range” (the number of articles per corpus in which these clusters appear). The first general observation that can be made is the presence of a few similar clusters at the top of both lists, viz., bayang pilipino (Filipino people) and bayang sakop (conquered people). This is not surprising since, according to their concordances, these clusters are generally used to either call for independence or criticize colonialism. Meanwhile, the concordances of bayang ito (this people) and bayang iyan (that people) reflect to some degree the mixture of similarity and difference described earlier with maliliit. In the SD corpus, both clusters tend to refer to either the Philippines or the entire Filipino community, again in the context of colonial oppression. In the CE corpus, meanwhile, they refer at times to the Philippines under colonial oppression, at times to “the workers in this country” (anakpawis sa bayang ito and manggagawa sa bayang ito), and at times to more abstract conceptualizations of bayan that are used to explain processes of exploitation (Evangelista 1930c; 1930d).


Fig. 3 Clusters of Bayang in the SD Corpus (left) and the CE Corpus (right)

Source: Author.


These clusters reinforce the aforementioned differences between the CE and SD corpora vis-à-vis their conceptualization of Philippine society. These differences also manifest in other clusters from Fig. 3. In the CE corpus, many clusters of bayang point again to specific classes: bayang manggagawa, bayang kapitalista, bayang anakpawis, bayang magsasaka, and bayang nagpapatulo [ng pawis]. Once again, no clusters of this sort appear in the SD corpus. Even in the larger Sakdal corpus, the last three clusters above do not appear even once.

Nevertheless, there are also bayang clusters from both corpora that seem to point to a more general concept of oppressed peoples. In both the CE and SD corpora, the clusters bayang api (oppressed people/nation) and bayang alipin (enslaved people/nation) are used to describe the Philippines under colonialism. More interestingly, in the CE corpus, two of the four uses of bayang api and three of the four uses of bayang alipin appear in an article from 1940 that explains why the Communists have joined the United Front (Pagkakaisa ng Bayan):

Why Was the United Front Formed?
 There is one more truth that needs to be kept in mind in the current state of the nation. Here in our country only one political party controls the government. Because of this singular and unopposed strength, because of the fragmentation of the groups and small forces opposed to the party in control of the government, this singular party can get away with any vulgarity, dereliction, depravity, or rottenness in governance that hurts the welfare of the people, especially the oppressed [bayang api] and the small.

Bakit Natayo ang Pagkakaisa ng Bayan?
May isa pang katotohanan na dapat isaalang-alang sa kalagayan ngayon ng bayan. Dito sa ati’y iisa ang lapiang politiko na mayhawak ng pamahalaan. Dahil sa iisa at walang tagasalungat na malakas at kinaaalang-alanganan, dahil sa watak-watak ang mga pangkat at maliliit na kalaban ng lapiang may hawak ng pamahalaan, ay nagagawa ng iisang lapiang ito ang lahat ng kasagwaan, kapabayaan, kasalaulaan o kabulukan sa pamamahala na siyang ikinapipinsala ng mga kapakanan ng bayan, lalong-lalo na ng bayang api at maliit. (Evangelista 1940, 56)

Two observations may be made from this example. First, the word api (oppress/ed) here functions ambiguously to describe both the exploited in general, but also specific oppressed classes (workers and peasants). In other words, bayang api in the CE corpus can still be said to refer to the working class specifically. Simultaneously, however, the use of lalong-lalo (especially) not only emphasizes the working class as oppressed but also gestures toward a larger unity with forces beyond them. Thus, according to the same article:

. . . it is clear that the United Front cannot be said to be [made up solely of] Communists, socialists, workers, farmers, intellectuals, small capitalists and landowners or progressive bourgeoisie but rather a UNITED FRONT with a singular conviction, goal and drive of the Filipino people. Because of this, there is space in the womb of the United Front for any kind of person who supports and promises to defend the nationalist, pro-independence, pro-freedom, pro-peace beliefs and aspirations of all.

. . . maliwanag na ang Pagkakaisa ng Bayan ay hindi masasabing komunista, sosialista, manggagawa, magbubukid, intelektual, maliit na mamumuhunan at maylupa o progresibong burges kundi PAGKAKAISA NG BAYAN sa isang pananalig, layunin at adhikain ngayon ng bayang Pilipino. Dahil diyan ay may puwang na sinapupunan ng Pagkakaisa ng Bayan ang lahat ng uri ng tao na kumakatig at nangangakong magtanggol sa kaniyang mga pananalig at adhikaing pangbayan, pangkasarinlan, pangkalayaan at pangkapayapaan ng lahat. (Evangelista 1940, 57–58)

Similarly, bayang alipin appears in the Sakdal corpus as a cluster referring to a broader community of all Filipinos. For example, in the “Sariling Diwa” from December 27, 1930, it is written that wealthy Filipinos and powerful politicians like Quezon, Osmeña, and Roxas remain “children of an enslaved nation” (anak ng Bayang alipin), regardless of their wealth and power. This sentiment is repeated in the “Sariling Diwa” a few weeks later (Sakdal, January 17, 1931): “NEVER forget that even if you become a millionaire or high-ranking leader, you are still a slave because you are a child of an enslaved nation” (HUWAG mong lilimutin kailan man na maging milyonario ka man o mataas na pinuno ay alipin ka pa rin pagka’t ikaw ay anak ng bayang alipin).

As for bayang api, while it does not appear in this context in the SD corpus, there is one relevant instance of its appearance in “Ano Ang Sakdalismo.” In the manifesto, bayang api is used twice in a section that both (1) argues that Philippine land should be reserved for Filipinos and (2) promotes the ideal of a unified Filipino nation. This latter ideal is emphasized again later in the manifesto when it is declared, “The People/Nation is created by all. The poor and the rich, the small and the large, the weak and the powerful. All are part of the People/Nation. All will be able to vote” (Ang Bayan nga ay bubuoin ng lahat. Nang mga dukha at mayayaman, ng maliliit at malalaki, ng mahihina at malalakas. Ang lahat ay magiging bahagi ng Bayan. Ang lahat ay makabuboto) (Rubio 1935).

In other words, there circulated among both the Sakdalistas and the Communists a discourse for the defense of a broader community of Filipinos—i.e., a more “inclusive” conceptualization of bayan. Perhaps it may be said that such a discourse is more prominent and consistent in the SD and Sakdal corpora, while it appears more strongly in the CE corpus only after their tactical shift in 1935. Nevertheless, as discussed earlier, that shift must be understood in the context of a consistent anti-imperialist discourse among the Communists, and the consistent presence of certain nationalist tropes in the CE corpus.

At the same time, in the Sakdal, the cluster bayang api gestures not solely toward national unity but also sometimes toward the presence of conflict between different groups of Filipinos. While more prevalent in the CE corpus, where class struggle is emphasized, the theme of divisions among the people also appears in the SD corpus. After all, there are “traitors” (taksil), imperialist agents, and other “selfish” (nagsasarili) elements that not only hurt the bayan but also enrich themselves by exploiting it. In other words, even while promoting a discourse of inclusive nationalism, Sakdalista writers write frequently about deep conflict and division. This can be seen even more in bayang clusters that refer to the poor: bayang dukha, bayang maralita, and bayang nagdaralita.

The cluster bayang dukha (poor people/community/nation/country) first appears in the editorial from September 13, 1930, in the title “Poor Nation: Your Leader Is Among You” (Bayang Dukha: Ang Lider Mo Ay Nasa Piling Mo Rin). This editorial criticizes those who only seek wealth, especially through government. It says that the wealthy have no experience of poverty, so “the People are not in their thoughts. The fate of the poor is not something they are concerned with. The lives of the oppressed workers are not in their hearts” (ang Bayan ay wala na sa kanilang isip. Ang palad ng mga dukha ay wala sa kanilang kalooban. Ang buhay ng mga aping manggagawa ay wala sa kanilang puso). Furthermore, the wealthy actively make the lives of the poor harder through taxes, rents, fees, etc. Therefore, the people need to boycott the 1931 election, because the government has become just another means of accumulating wealth. This call to boycott the election appears in another use of bayang dukha from the editorial of March 14, 1931, which criticizes how politicians use labels like “Communist” (komunista) and “Sakdal” as catch-all terms for allegedly dangerous radicals. Meanwhile, these same politicians cheat in elections, seize lands, and steal from the poor. Thus, the poor (bayang dukha) must wake up, realize they are being exploited, and boycott all elections until independence is achieved.

The same themes surface even more prominently with bayang maralita (poor people/community/nation/country), which appears in three different articles in the SD corpus. These articles connect the suffering of the poor not only to colonialism but to the rule of the rich. In the very first “Sariling Diwa,” under the heading “Poor Nation, Mobilize!” (BAYANG MARALITA, KUMILOS KA!), the editors write:

Which is why we are calling to bring down [the politicians]. Their staying [in power] is a continuation of the reign among us of Big Interests, of the Large Cartels, of the Trusts, of the Rich, and of the Politicians, and it is a continuation as well the rising of taxes, the impoverishment of life, the loss of livelihood, the beggaring of the entire people . . .

Kaya hinihingi naming ibagsak na sila. Ang kanilang pananatili ay pagpapatuloy ng paghahari rito sa atin ng mga Grandes Intereses, ng Malalaking Samahan, ng mga Trust, ng Mayayaman, ng mga Politiko, at pagpapatuloy rin naman ng pagtaas ng mga buwis, ng paghihirap ng kabuhayan, ng pagkawala ng mga hanap-buhay, ng pamumulubi ng sambayanan . . . (Sakdal, August 30, 1930)

Although imperialism plays a central role, this passage focuses more on divisions between rich/powerful and ordinary Filipinos. Similarly, in the editorial from September 27, 1930, the Sakdal criticizes how political dynasties enrich themselves off the people (“From the blood of the people, so many are getting wealthy!” [Sa dugo ng bayan, kay rami ng nagsiyaman!]), whom they then proceed to ignore (“The political dynasties serve no one but wealth and power. They have placed the poor in oblivion . . .” [Ang dinastiya ng mga Politiko ay walang pinaglingkuran kundi ang kayamanan at kapangyarihan. Nilimot nila ang bayang maralita . . .]). In the “Sariling Diwa” from December 5, 1931, the editors write that the politicians and the government have turned their backs on “true democracy” (tunay na demokrasia), evidenced by their oppression of organizations such as the “Tanggulan and the Communist groups and above all our mouth of the poor, the Sakdal” (kapisanang Tanggulan at Komunista at higit sa lahat ay itong ating bibig ng bayang maralita, itong “Sakdal”). In fact, this article argues that greedy Filipino politicians are not only agents of imperialism but are, paradoxically, worse than the colonizers themselves.9)

The cluster bayang nagdaralita (impoverished people/community/nation/country) also appears in three articles in the SD corpus. In these articles, once again, there is not just a critique of imperialism but an argument that some Filipinos are benefiting from the current system while their countrymen suffer in poverty. For example, again from the first “Sariling Diwa,” under the section “The Full and the Hungry” (Ang Busog at Ang Gutom):

Increasingly we are distracted by the election and the candidates, and in our distraction Independence disappears from our thoughts. Money is heaped upon us to be used for roads and public works. We are being surprised by the number of typewriters in the offices and how every [government] employee has their own towel and fan, spittoon, and rocking chair. All of this is bringing death to the poor, to those who can barely eat, to those who at times do not have even a single handkerchief or anything else that they can use to wipe their sweat.

Unti-unti tayong nalilibang sa mga halalan at sa mga kandidato, at sa pagkalibang na ito ay nawawala na sa ating isip ang Pagsasarili. Binubuntunan tayo ng salapi upang gamitin sa mga lansangan at sa mehoras publikas. Ginugulat tayo sa dami ng makinilya sa mga oficina at bawa’t empleado ay may toalya pa at may mga bentilador, may luraan, may silyang uugoy-ugoy. Ang lahat ng ito’y pamatay sa bayang nagdaralita, sa bayang walang makain halos, sa bayang ni isang panyo kung minsan ay wala nang magamit upang pahirin ang kanyang pawis. (Sakdal, August 30, 1930)

The metaphor of “fullness” versus “hunger” is also used to criticize the wealth of specific Filipinos. In the “Sariling Diwa” from March 28, 1931, where the Sakdalistas argue that anyone who supports the 1931 election is an agent of Quezon and American imperialism, it is said:

The time to acknowledge the capabilities of those from “above” is over. The time for feasting and getting full is over. . . . Our own prudence is instructing us to remove everyone from above and bring everything down to the level of the impoverished. What cannot be attained through voting we shall attain through not voting; what cannot be attained from getting full shall be attained by making ourselves hungry.

Natapos na ang panahon ng pagpapakilala ng kakayahan sa “itaas”. Natapos na ang panahon ng panginginain at pagpapakabusog. . . . Ang sariling bait na rin natin ang nagtuturong magsialis nang lahat ang nasa itaas at magsipanaog ditong lahat sa piling ng bayang nagdaralita. Ang hindi nakuha sa pagboto ay kunin natin sa hindi pagboto, ang hindi nakuha sa pagpapakabusog ay kunin sa pagpapakagutom. (Sakdal, March 28, 1931)

Finally, bayang nagdaralita appears in a remarkable editorial from February 9, 1935, which discusses the problem of landownership in the Philippines. Although the instigating example is an American landlord, the comments in the editorial apply to Philippine landlords in general. This editorial first comments on the request of the Manila Archbishop O’Doherty—owner of the Mindoro Sugar Company—to reduce by 4,000 hectares the land that the government will confiscate from his company due to unpaid debts. According to the Sakdalista editors, O’Doherty’s request is “far from just” (labag sa matuid) and is one more example of the “Problem of Our Land” (Suliranin ng Ating Lupa). The article then describes this problem with arguments that would not have been out of place in a Communist pamphlet: (a) the government shows unequal treatment between rich debtors and poor debtors; (b) a few people have “uncommon strength and power that, often, is used to suppress, oppress and enslave the people beneath their power” (di pangkaraniwang lakas at kapangyarihan na, kadalasan, ginagamit nila sa pagsiil, pagapi at pangbubusabos sa mga tauong napapailalim sa kanilang kapangyarihan); and (c) these same people become wealthy because “they rely on the labor of people who are desperate and poor, so that just to be able to survive [the poor] are forced to subject themselves to oppressive orders” (iniaaasa nila ang paggaua sa mga taong gipit at hikahos, na upang makakita ng sukat ikabuhay ay napipilitang paloob o pasakop sa kanilang mapangaping pamamalakad). Therefore, the thousands of hectares of the Mindoro Sugar Company should be confiscated, divided into small lots, and sold to ordinary farmers to improve “the welfare of the impoverished” (kapakanan ng bayang nagdaralita).

In sum, as with bayang api and bayang alipin, the clusters bayang dukha, bayang maralita, and bayang nagdaralita are also used in the SD corpus to criticize the colonial system. Against this system, the Sakdalistas invoked a discourse of inclusive nationalism to call for the unity of Filipinos against imperialists. But the articles where these latter three clusters appear also gesture toward another discourse, emphasizing not so much unity but how some Filipinos have become wealthy and powerful through their oppression and exploitation of the poor.

At this point, two further observations can be made that provide important nuance vis-à-vis the interplay of continuity and dynamism of these two discourses among the Sakdalistas and Communists. Both observations concern diachronic shifts in the prominence of inclusive nationalism and divisions among the people over time—the first internally within the Sakdal, the second more generally in Philippine society under the Americans.

From Division to Unity: Benigno Ramos as “Messenger of the Oppressed”

With regard to the first, it is interesting to note how most of the editorials quoted above that use bayang maralita and bayang dukha were written in the early years of the Sakdal (especially 1930 and 1931). This pattern is not limited to the editorials.Table 1 shows the annual normalized frequencies per 100,000 words of selected bayang clusters in the Sakdal. The table shows diverging trajectories for bayang maralita and bayang api. Interestingly, bayang maralita is used more often in the first year of the Sakdal, falling behind only bayang pilipino (Filipino people/nation) and bayang sakop (conquered people/nation). This strong showing (especially if combined with bayang nagdaralita) peaks in 1932 but declines subsequently until it is no longer even used by 1937. In contrast, bayang api is not used as much as bayang maralita in 1930. But a shift occurs from 1932–33, after which bayang api dominates all the other clusters except bayang pilipino (from 1935 onward).


Table 1 Normalized Frequencies of Selected Clusters of Bayang (Sakdal Corpus)



A look at the concordances seems to connect this shift to a 1933 trip that Benigno Ramos made to the United States to fight the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act/Tydings-McDuffie Act. In publicizing this trip, the Sakdal portrayed Ramos not only as the leader of the Sakdalistas but as the “Messenger of the Oppressed” (Sugo ng Bayang Api). This epithet, originally used to talk about the trip, would continue to be used afterward, even in articles from 1937.

It turns out, however, that the Sakdalistas took some time to choose this epithet. Table 2 shows the raw frequency of every word the Sakdalistas thought to combine with sugo ng bayang (messenger of the people). Between October 1932 and March 1933, the newspaper tested seven candidates. The two most consistently used options were “Messenger of the Poor” (Sugo ng Bayang Maralita) and “Messenger of the Oppressed.” By the end of 1932, neither was used significantly more than the other. It was only in February–March 1933 that a clear preference for “Messenger of the Oppressed” took hold. Afterward, no other variant except “Messenger of the Oppressed” appeared in the Sakdal.


Table 2 Raw Frequencies of Clusters of Sugo ng Bayang (Sakdal Corpus)



The decision to go with sugo ng bayang api matches the data from Table 1. After 1932, the use of bayang api on its own, even without sugo ng, skyrockets in the Sakdal. Simultaneously, nearly all other bayang clusters decline. Of all the bayang clusters mentioned earlier in the essay, only bayang api and bayang Pilipino appear in the “Ano Ang Sakdalismo” manifesto (along with the very rare bayang bihasa [developed/experienced country]).

What does this mean for our understanding of the Sakdal? The decision to use sugo ng bayang api over sugo ng bayang maralita, and the subsequent decline of bayang maralita, seems to indicate a conscious choice vis-à-vis the balance of discourses that the Sakdalista leaders wished to promote. While continuing to criticize the greed and abuses of rich and powerful Filipinos (as in the previously mentioned 1935 article on the “Problem of our Land”), the Sakdalistas affirmed that a greater emphasis must be placed on inclusive nationalism. The Sakdal, the self-proclaimed voice of the poor (ang bibig ng bayang maralita), nevertheless did not fight solely for the poor, but for all Filipinos.

Ironically, this leads us to another similarity between the Sakdalistas and the Communists. For both movements, as the 1930s progressed, a greater emphasis would eventually be placed on discourses of inclusive nationalism over discourses of divisions among the people. The reasons were different for both movements, and in any case inclusive nationalism had always been and would always be more heavily emphasized among the Sakdalistas. Nevertheless, this parallel shift in emphasis in the writings of the two most prominent mass movements of the era affirms the importance that the concept of a unified bayan held across Philippine society, whether in the halls of congress or out in the fields and streets.

From Unity to Division: Politics since the Katipunan

But once again, and at the risk of belaboring the point, we must remember that the discourse of divisions among the people never disappeared from either the Sakdal or the writings of the Communists. The significance of this becomes clearer when we compare the Sakdalistas with the Katipunan, the secret society that launched the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Terami-Wada (2014, 156–163) argues convincingly that the Sakdal writers drew inspiration from the Katipunan and other heroes of the 1896 revolution. In contrast with the Sakdal, however, “Katipunan Literature never discusses the redistribution of land, or any other specific measures to tackle rural inequality and injustice” (Richardson 2013, 455). Interestingly, to promote national unity, Katipunan writings tended to “sidestep or downplay economic, social, and ethnolinguistic divisions” (Richardson 2013, 462). In contrast, as we have seen, social and economic divisions among Filipinos were frequently discussed in the Sakdal. A striking example of this divergence is the article “Rules for Those Who Love the Principles of the ‘Sakdal’” (Ang Tuntunin ng Umiibig sa Simulain ng ‘Sakdal’) (“Gunitain Ninyo Kami”), which lists ten guidelines for how Sakdalistas should live and act. Terami-Wada (2014, 160) notes that this list is influenced by the decalogue of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Katipunan, which listed ten duties for Katipuneros. Unlike its predecessor, however, the Sakdalista list explicitly discusses socioeconomic inequality three times:

4. Treat as sacred and noble your fellow poor, and do not ever enrich yourself through ill means . . .
[. . .]
6. . . . if you should ever be a coward, remember that you are losing yourself in the darkness and straying from reason. The word coward[ice] here should be understood to refer to the rape of the life and rights of the small, the lowly, and the poor . . .
[. . .]
9. Before you follow foreigners, you should first follow those of your own skin; before you serve the rich, you should first serve the poor; before you love the powerful, you should first love those with whom you share the same life [kaisang-bahay] . . .

4.—Ituring mong banal at dakila ang kapwa mo dukha, at kailan ma’y huwag kang magpapayaman sa masamang paraan . . .
[. . .]
6. . . . Kailan ma’t ikaw’y naging duwag ay gunitain mong napapalaot ka sa kadiliman at nawawala ka sa katuwiran. Ang salitang duwag dito ay dapat alaming nauukol sa panggagahasa sa buhay at karapatan ng maliliit, ng mahihina at ng mga dukha . . .
[. . .]
9.—Bago ka sumunod sa dayuhan ay sa iyo munang kabalat; bago ka maglingkod sa mayaman ay sa dukha muna; bago ka magmahal sa may kapangyarihan ay sa iyo munang kaisang-buhay . . . (“Gunitain Ninyo Kami”)

In contrast, the only comparable line in Bonifacio’s decalogue is the injunction to “8. Share what you can with those who are impoverished” [8. Bahaginan ng makakaya ang alin mang nagdaralita] (Richardson 2013, 128). Even Emilio Jacinto’s Kartilya, the most famous Katipunan text, simply says: “all men are equal; it may be that one is greater in knowledge or wealth or beauty . . . but [one is] never greater in humanity” [lahat ng tao’y magkakapantay; mangyayaring ang isa’y higtan sa dunong, sayaman, sa ganda . . . ngunit di mahihigyan sa pagkatao] (Richardson 2013, 133).

In comparing the Katipunan and the Sakdalistas, Terami-Wada (2014, 161–163) does not mention the greater emphasis that the latter placed on economic inequality. She mentions instead the prominence of anti-foreign sentiment among the Sakdalistas—a sentiment that she roots in both (1) the “heightened racial tensions” of the 1930s, and (2) the belief that foreign/American wealth and culture had led Filipino elites to betray their poorer countrymen (Terami-Wada 2014, 161). Meanwhile, Sakdalista criticisms of the rich and belief in the goodness of the poor are rooted in “Christ’s teachings on preoccupation with material wealth, which made one a slave to it, and said that the poor would ultimately be the fortunate ones because they would be saved” (Terami-Wada 2014, 156).

Alongside the influence of Christian teachings, however, this emphasis on the divisions between the rich and the poor was also a manifestation of larger structural changes during the American period. By the 1930s, over three decades had passed since the revolution. During that time, the alleged “progress” of American rule had led to increasing desperation among the poorest of society. Central Luzon, for example, saw a massive increase in tenancy rates among farmers due to factors such as population growth, the increasing concentration of landownership, and the rapid development of capitalist relations (Kerkvliet 2014, 1–28). Within a few decades, increasingly absentee landlords abandoned traditional feudal obligations, such as giving food rations and loans at little to no interest rates. These obligations had helped peasants survive difficult and unpredictable seasons. By the 1930s, however, “by imposing strict rules and contracts, denying rations and other loans, hiking rents, and doing other manipulations, landlords extracted more from the peasantry, gave less in return, and passed down to their tenants and laborers losses they encountered” (Kerkvliet 2014, 17–18).

Thus, tenants who expected to serve a single landlord their entire lives began to move around frequently, searching for landlords who might adhere to traditional obligations or at least charge better interest rates. As the futility of this search became clear, tenants realized that they could no longer rely on negotiating individually with landlords to improve their lot. The latter had become a culturally distinct group, with different interests and the political and economic resources to defend them (with police/constabulary violence if necessary). As a result, peasants learned that only through organized collective action—through solidarity with other peasants, in associations devoted to their collective welfare—could they bring about better conditions for themselves (Kerkvliet 2014, 39–67).

Meanwhile, by the 1930s, the labor movement had also developed significantly. Just a few years after the revolution, local writers had produced socialist texts like Banaag at Sikat (Glimmer and radiance) (Santos 1970) and Bagong Cristo (New Christ) (Tolentino 1975). In the beginning, as discussed earlier, the labor movement focused on promoting charity, moral virtue, and good relations between laborers and employers (Richardson 2011, 16–18). Eventually, though, more radical and militant sectors of the movement emerged, the most notable being the Communists.

As already mentioned, the Communists were like the Sakdalistas in seeing themselves as continuing the tradition of the Katipunan. But their interpretation of the Katipunan was different. For the Communists, the 1896 revolution had been led by a “true worker” (tunay na manggagawa), Bonifacio, who showed that “even the poorest of workers can rise up and establish a noble movement that will redeem an oppressed people and the slaves of other nations” (at kahit magpakahirap-hirap na manggagawa ay maaring magbangon at magtaguyod ng isang dakilang kilusang pantubos sa isang bayang api at alipin ng kapwa bayan) (Congreso Obrero de Filipinas 1928). Evangelista (1930b) goes even further and describes “Bonifacismo” not just as a revolution against oppressors but as a revolution “led by the workers” (sa mapatnugot ng mga anak-pawis). Unfortunately, this worker-led revolution was betrayed by “bourgeois leaders and imperialist enemies of our independence” (mga lider na burges at ng mga imperyalistang kaaway ng ating pagsasarili) (Congreso Obrero de Filipinas 1928), while Bonifacio himself was killed by supposedly nationalistic Filipinos (Evangelista 1929).

The Sakdalistas never characterized the Katipunan as a worker-led revolution. But the persistent presence in the Sakdal of themes such as the greed of the rich, post-revolution elite betrayal, and the aforementioned connections between capitalism and imperialism are more understandable given the changing structural contexts described above. As already stated, the immediate effect that capitalism had on many Filipinos was further impoverishment. And while capitalist relations had begun entering the archipelago during the Spanish era, they developed much more rapidly thanks to new laws and policies under the Americans (Kerkvliet 2014, 20–25; Delupio 2016, 3–11). Naturally, resistance against economic exploitation was not unknown in the region beforehand. Nevertheless, as Richardson succinctly put it, “American rule widened rather than healed the social breach. Technological progress, improving communications, expanding markets, and wider opportunities [for the elite] all increased the economic and attitudinal distance between rich and poor and further diminished their day-to-day interaction” (Richardson 2013, 48).

In the environment of the 1930s, therefore, though the Katipunan call for national unity remained powerful, there was too much recent history that could not be set aside. While inclusive nationalism remained the central feature of Sakdalista ideology, it was impossible to build a radical mass movement at the time while ignoring either the increasing desperation of the poor or the discourses of economic injustice and elite betrayal that were circulating among laborers and peasants, among the dukha and the maralita. Such circumstances may explain why the Sakdal, from the very beginning, would claim that it fought for the rights of all Filipinos, for both the poor and the wealthy, while also occasionally printing articles like “The Coming of the Reign of the Poor” (Ang Pagdating Ng Paghahari Ng Mga Dukha), with ambiguously worded declarations like the following:

The world simply turns and turns. . . . The rich who used to ride atop the wheel will soon be trampled under it, and that is why we are saying that we need to already fix this life so that the rich and the powerful will not shed tears upon the coming of the kingdom of the poor, which will come by force . . .

Ang mundo ay painog-inog lamang. . . . Ang mayayamang dati’y nakagugulong ay siya namang magugulungan kaya ang sinasabi namin ay kailangang ayusin na natin ang buhay na ito upang hindi magsiluha ang mayayaman at mga dambul kung dumating na ang kaharian ng mga dukha, na sapilitang darating . . . (Anonymous 1930a)


This study began with the problem of classifying social movements in Philippine and Southeast Asian history, and the corresponding need to account for the interplay of continuity and dynamism, and also sameness and difference, between different social movements. To do so, this study proposed a new method that may help in accounting for these factors: the use of computer-aided discourse analysis to compare the discursive patterns of movements.

With that in mind, the study analyzed the relative prominence (and absence) of various keywords in the documents of the Lapiang Sakdalista and the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. A keyword analysis of selected writings from 1925 to 1941 revealed distinct differences but also important overlaps between the two groups. On the one hand, the Sakdalistas deployed a language that was more moralistic in nature, while the Communists (following the Marxist theory of class struggle) deployed a language that was more economistic. On the other hand, both movements shared an anti-imperialist critique of the colonial government, and an awareness that imperialism was linked with capitalism.

More interestingly, a close analysis of the keyword bayang revealed shifting presences in the writings of the two movements of what may be called a discourse of inclusive nationalism and a discourse of division among the people. In general, the first was always stronger in Sakdalista writings while the second was always stronger in Communist writings. Nevertheless, both discourses manifested in both movements. On the one hand, due to structural changes under American colonialism (e.g., the intensification of capitalist relations, the growing economic and cultural divergence between the rich and the poor, and the increasing desperation of the latter), it was impossible to ignore divisions among the people (bayan) when organizing the masses, even for a movement like the Sakdalistas that consistently argued for a united Filipino nation. At the same time, for different reasons, discourses of inclusive nationalism became more heavily emphasized in both movements as the years went by. For the Communists, this occurred primarily after 1935, following a shift in strategy to focus on building national unity against fascism. Among the Sakdalistas, evidence of a conscious decision to (further) emphasize inclusive nationalism can be seen in the early months of 1933, with the adoption for Ramos of the epithet “Messenger of the Oppressed” (Sugo ng Bayang Api) over “Messenger of the Poor” (Sugo ng Bayang Maralita).

To conclude, this study has shown how the use of computer tools and corpus linguistic techniques, in combination with close qualitative reading, can be useful to account for both continuity and dynamism, as well as sameness and difference, between social movements. Through the identification of discursive overlaps, divergences, and shifts of emphasis, comparative keyword analysis can both confirm the findings of previous scholars and permit even more nuanced understandings of how movements can use similar languages and ideas while also carving their own distinct identities. Further studies can build on the present research in a number of ways. More comprehensive corpora can be constructed for both the Sakdalistas and the Communists by including texts that the author was unable to gather. Similar projects can also be undertaken by building corpora of political texts for other movements and languages, both in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia. In either case, it is the hope of the author that the present study can contribute to creating “even more empirical, rigorous, and encompassing [analyses] of political and moral-ethical discourses” (Guillermo 2014, 24), both in the Philippines and in other regions.

Accepted: April 12, 2022


The author acknowledges the Office of the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Diliman, through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development, for providing funding support for this project through the Outright Research Grant. The author would also like to thank the journal editors and reviewers for their thought-provoking feedback, as well as Alwin Aguirre, Ramon Guillermo, Judy Ick, Arlo Mendoza, Bea Cruz, Mark Garcia, Kaisa Aquino, Ricky Ornopia, Patriz Biliran, and Kyle Subido—without whom this project could not have been completed.


The SD Corpus
The SD corpus is composed of all copies of the “Sariling Diwa,” the main editorial of the newspaper. Of the 157 issues of the Sakdal that survive in the National Library of the Philippines, only the special issue containing the “Ano Ang Sakdalismo” manifesto did not feature an editorial. Unfortunately, many editorials had no other titles that could be used to differentiate them. Thus, in lieu of listing the date of every Sakdal issue, the issue dates are included in the paper whenever a specific “Sariling Diwa” is referenced.

Articles from the Sakdal (not “Sariling Diwa”)
Anonymous. 1935. Simulain ng Sakdal [Principles of the Sakdal]. Sakdal. January 12, pp. 2–3.

―. 1931a. Hindi inalam ng mga pinuno ang pagkapahamak nila Ora [The politicians did not acknowledge the death of Ora]. Sakdal. January 24, p. 4.

―. 1931b. Hinulaan na ni Ora na siya’y mamamatay [Ora predicted that he would die]. Sakdal. January 24, pp. 1–4.

―. 1931c. Ang mga martir ng bayang dukha sa harap ni Hukom Albert [Martyrs of the poor before Judge Albert]. Sakdal. September 26, p. 3.

―. 1931d. Gunitain ninyo kami, tulad ng paggugunita namin sa inyo! [Remember us, just as we remember you!]. Sakdal. November 28, p. 2.

―. 1931e. Ang inggit ang matinding lason na pamatay sa pagkakaisa ng mga lider na maliit [Envy is the powerful poison that will kill the unity of the leaders of the small]. Sakdal. December 5, p. 2.

―. 1930a. Ang pagdating ng paghahari ng mga dukha [The coming of the reign of the poor]. Sakdal. September 13, p. 4.

―. 1930b. May “palihan” na ay ano’t magtatayo pa si Roxas ng bagong Katipunan? parunggit ng mga Kint. Bonifacio at Millar kay Roxas [There’s already a “Palihan” and Roxas is still going to found a new Katipunan? Insinuate Representatives Bonifacio and Millar at Roxas]. Sakdal. October 4, p. 4.

Capadocia, Guillermo. 1937. Ang pamahalaan at ang mga komunista [The government and the communists]. Sakdal. September 25, p. 2.

Evangelista, Crisanto. 1932. An Open Letter to the Philippine Capitalist Press. Sakdal. January 2, pp. 1–4.

―. 1931. An Open Letter to the Philippine Capitalist Press. Sakdal. December 26.

Quirante, Jose. 1930. Sa tama ng ilaw [In the glow of the light]. Sakdal. December 13, p. 3.

Rubio, Ramon. 1935. Ano ang Sakdalismo [What is Sakdalism]. Sakdal. April 30, pp. 1–4 (Actual month of publication: May 1935 [Terami-Wada 2014, 162].).

Other Sakdalista Documents:
Pamahayag at patakaran ng Lapiang Sakdalista [Statement and policies of the Sakdalista Party]. In Makatang mandirigma, mandirigmang makata: Si Benigno r. Ramos sa kasasaysayan ng Pilipinas [Poet-warrior, warrior-poet: Benigno Ramos in Philippine history], edited by Luis Camera Dery. Bulacan: Bulacan State University, 2009.

CE Corpus Materials
Congreso Obrero de Filipinas, Lupon sa Pagtatatag ng mga Kapisanan at Kalipunan [Philippine Labor Congress, Committee for the Establishment of Associations and Societies]. 1928. Ang tumpak na organisasyon at pagtataguyod sa mga kapisanang manggagawa [The appropriate organization of and support for trade unions]. Photocopy of pamphlet. July 30.

Delegado ng Panayam ng mga Magbubukid [Delegates of the conference of peasants]. 1932. Ang “pananakot-puti” sa mga magbubukid [The “white terror” among the peasants]. Typescript copied from letter. June 25.

Encarnacion, Crisostomo (Crisanto Evangelista). 1926. Sa isang bayang hati ang mga tao sa mayaman at mahirap at sa marunong at mangmang ay hindi iiral ang demokrasya [In a country divided between the rich and the poor and the educated and uneducated democracy will not emerge]. Typescript copied from Ang Watawat [The flag]. April 1.

Evangelista, Crisanto. 1941. Kung walang tagasalungat, di iiral ang pamahalaang matapat . . . [Without opposition, an honest government will not exist]. Typescript copied from Taliba. November 8.

―. 1940. Patnubay sa kalayaan at kapayapaan [Guide to freedom and peace]. Typescript copied from document in C. Ronquillo Collection. Manila: Kalayaan Publications.

―. 1934. Ang pagbabangon ng bayang dukha ang katuturan ng pasko ng mga manggagawa na ipinagbubunyi [The rise of the poor is the meaning of the Christmas that the workers are celebrating]. Typescript copied from Mabuhay. May 1.

―. 1932a. Ang A-B-K ng anakpawis [The A-B-C of the laborers]. Manila: n.p.

―. 1932b. Ang komunismo’t kapitalismo sa harap ng Ktt. Hukuman sa Pilipinas [Communism and capitalism before the Supreme Court of the Philippines]. Typescript copied from published version of the speech.

―. 1932c. Ang dalawang daigdig: Daigdig ng kapitalismo at daigdig ng sosyalismo [The two worlds: The world of capitalism and the world of socialism]. Typescript copied from Pagkakaisa. May 1.

―. 1930a. Ang “paggawa” at “puhunan” sa ilalim ng pamamaraang malakapitalista [“Labor” and “capital” under a capitalistic system]. Typescript copied from Tinig Manggagawa. May 1.

―. 1930b. Ang “Rizalismo at “Bonifacismo” sang-ayon sa ating pangkasalukuyang kasaysayan [“Rizalism” and “Bonifacionism” in accordance with our current history]. Typescript copied from Dahong Pang-alaala kay Bonifacio [Memorial leaflet for Bonifacio]. November 30.

―. 1930c. Hindi mahahadalangan ang paglaganap sa kapuluan ng diwa ng Bolsibikismo [The propagation of the spirit of Bolshevism in the archipelago cannot be prevented]. Typescript copied from Taliba. May 13.

―. 1930d. Iniaaral ni C. Evangelista ang labanan ng mga uri [C. Evangelista exhorts class struggle]. Typescript copied from Pagkakaisa. May 1.

―. 1930e. Paglagpak ng kapitalismo ay kapangyarihan naman ng Bolsibikismo ang iiral dito [Upon the fall of capitalism the power of Bolshevisim will come to exist here]. Typescript copied from Taliba. May 16, 17.

―. 1929. Nasyonalismo laban sa internasyonalismo [Nationalism against internationalism]. Typescript copied from Tinig Manggagawa [Voice of the worker]. May 1.

―. 1927a. Ang aming diwa [Our spirit]. Typescript copied from Dahong ala-ala sa UIF sa ika-25 taon ng kanyang pagkakatatag [Memorial leaflet for the 25th anniversary of the founding of the UIF], pp. 23–27. Manila: n.p.

―. 1927b. Bumalangkas tayo ng sariling gusali na panglaan sa ating sariling bayan [Let us set up our own structure in the service of our own people]. Typescript copied from Unang araw ng mayo: Dahong pang-alaala ng UTF [May Day: Memorial leaflet of the UTF] by Union de Tabaqueros de Filipinas.

―. 1927c. Ang pagsasarili ng Pilipinas at ang kilusan ng manggagawang Pilipino [Philippine independence and the Filipino labor movement]. Typescript copied from Pagkakaisa. May 1.

―. 1927d. Ang bisa ng pahayagan sa kilusan ng mga anak-pawis [The efficacy of newspapers for the labor movement]. Typescript copied from Pagkakaisa. November 30, pp. 1–2.

―. 1926. Luha, dugo at pagtitiis ang tunay na kahulugan ng “unang araw ng Mayo [Tears, blood, and enduring hardship are the true meaning of “May the first”]. Typescript copied from Taliba [Vanguard]. April 30.

―. 1925. Itumpak natin ang paghuwad sa kabayanihan ni Rizal [Let us correct the honoring of Rizal’s heroism]. Typescript copied from Ang Watawat. December 29.

Lupong Pambansa sa Pagtutuol ng mga Manggagawa at Magbubukid [National Protest Committee of the Workers and Peasants]. 1929. Tumututol kami [We are protesting]. Typescript copied from handbill. May 1.

Lupong Pangbansa ng Partido Komunista sa Pilipinas [National Committee of the Communist Party in the Philippines]. 1939. Ilayo ang pilipinas sa digmaan [Distance the Philippines from war]. Partido Komunista sa Pilipinas [Communist Party of the Philippines]. Photocopy of document.

Manahan, Jacinto. 1932. Ang kapisanang manggagawa at ang Partido Komunista [The trade union and the Communist Party]. Typescript copied from letter. August 12.

Anderson, Benedict. 2004. Foreword. In The Samahan of Papa God: Tradition and Conversion in a Tagalog Peasant Religious Movement by Robert Love, pp. viii–xiv. Manila: Anvil.

Belogurova, Anna. 2019. The Nanyang Revolution: The Comintern and Chinese Networks in Southeast Asia, 1890–1957. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108635059.

Delupio, Marlon S. 2016. Tulang Sakdal: Aral at diwa ng Sakdalismo [Sakdal poems: The teachings and spirit of Sakdalism]. Manila: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.

―. 2013. Sakdal: Kasaysayang pangkalinangan ng isang kilusang panlipunan, 1930–1938 [Sakdal: Cultural history of a social movement, 1930–38]. PhD dissertation, University of the Philippines.

Fuller, Ken. 2007. Forcing the Pace: The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas: From Foundation to Armed Struggle. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Gabrielatos, Costas. 2018. Keyness Analysis: Nature, Metrics and Techniques. In Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review, edited by Charlotte Taylor and Anna Marchi, pp. 225–258. Abingdon: Routledge.

Guerrero, Milagros C. 1968. Peasant Discontent and the Sakdal Uprising. Praxis (August–September): 40–56.

Guillermo, Ramon. 2014. Translation as Argument: The Nontranslation of Loob in Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution. Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 62(1): 3–28. doi: 10.1353/phs.2014.0002.

―. 2009. Pook at paninindigan: Kritika ng Pantayong Pananaw [Place and position: A critique of Pantayong Pananaw]. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Hayden, Joseph Ralston. 1942. The Philippines: A Study in National Development. New York: Macmillan.

Ileto, Reynaldo. 1979. Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840–1910. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Kerkvliet, Benedict J. 2014. The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Lieberman, Victor. 2003. Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1930, Vol. 1: Integration on the Mainland. New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511512087.

Lin Hongxuan. 2018. Sickle as Crescent: Islam and Communism in the Netherlands East Indies, 1915–1927. Studia Islamika 25(2): 309–350. doi: 10.15408/sdi.v25i2.5675.

Nemenzo Jr., Francisco. 2010. The Millenarian-Populist Aspects of Filipino Marxism. In Revisiting Marxism in the Philippines: Selected Essays, edited by Patricio N. Abinales, pp. 2–25. Manila: Anvil.

Richardson, Jim. 2013. The Light of Liberty: Documents and Studies on the Katipunan, 1892–1897. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

―. 2011. Komunista: The Genesis of the Philippine Communist Party, 1902–1935. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

―. 1993. The Millenarian-Populist Aspects of Filipino Marxism. Journal of Contemporary Asia 23(3): 382–395. doi: 10.1080/00472339380000211.

Santos, Lope K. 1970. Banaag at sikat [Glimmer and radiance]. Quezon City: Manlapaz Publishing Co.

Scalice, Joseph. 2018. Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution Revisited, a Critique. SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 33(1): 29–58.

Shiraishi Takashi. 1990. An Age in Motion: Popular Radicalism in Java, 1912–1926. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Stubbs, Michael. 2002. Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Stubbs, Roy Manning. 1951. Philippine Radicalism: The Central Luzon Uprisings, 1925–1935. PhD dissertation, University of California.

Sturtevant, David R. 1976. Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 1840–1940. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Terami-Wada Motoe. 2014. Sakdalistas’ Struggle for Philippine Independence 1930–1945. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

―. 1992. Ang kilusang Sakdal, 1930–1945 [The Sakdal movement, 1930–45]. PhD dissertation, University of the Philippines Diliman.

Teubert, Wolfgang. 2007. Parole-Linguistics and the Diachronic Dimension of Discourse. In Text, Discourse and Corpora: Theory and Analysis, edited by Michael Hoey et al., pp. 57–88. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Tolentino, Aurelio. 1975. Bagong Cristo. In Aurelio Tolentino: Selected Writings, edited by Edna Zapanta-Manlapaz pp. 143–219. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Library.

1) As Ileto (1979, 6–7) points out in a different context, David Sturtevant’s Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 1840–1940 (1976) functions as a sort of transition between these two groups.

2) See also Wolfgang Teubert’s argument (2007) that corpus linguistics makes it possible for linguists to study the parole more than the langue. For this reason, Teubert describes corpus linguistics as “parole linguistics.”

3) See Richardson (1993) for a critique of Nemenzo’s arguments.

4) In longer studies about either movement, it is almost a given that a few pages will discuss the relationship between the Sakdalistas and the Communists. See, for example, Fuller (2007, 99–101), Richardson (2011, 242–247), Terami-Wada (2014, 93–96), and Delupio (2016, 99–105).

5) These three newspapers were published by the PKP during the 1930s. Titis was published from February 1931 to mid-1933. Sinag was published for a few months beginning May 1934. Kalayaan, finally, was launched in July 1935 and would continue to be published throughout the decade (Richardson 2011, 213; Fuller 2007, 150).

6) The author thanks Ramon Guillermo for providing copies of these documents.

7) For more details on the primary resources that constitute the CE corpus see “CE Corpus Materials” in the reference section.

8) Because Excel converts to formulas any cell that begins with a hyphen, a few “words” from the word lists that began with hyphens (due to how these words were written in the original texts) were converted by Excel to the placeholder “#NAME.” To overcome this problem, an extra apostrophe was added to the beginning of these words (e.g., ‘-ang in place of -ang).

9) This argument is repeated in the “Sariling Diwa” from Sakdal, January 6, 1934.