US shot in San Juan 125 years ago, start of global imperialist conquest
Exactly 125 years ago today, American colonial occupation forces fired shots at Filipino soldiers crossing a bridge in San Juan, Manila (now San Juan City) sparking armed hostilities signaling the start of the Filipino-American war and the slaughter of thousands in the course of the bloody US colonization of the Philippines. It also signaled the start of the US imperialist global conquest through war and terror.
Today we remember the fierce resistance of the Filipino people and their revolutionary fighters against the US colonial aggressors. Despite being armed with inferior weapons against the Americans, the masses of the Filipino people fought with infinite militance and valor. They showed great determination, willingness to pay all the sacrifices, and give their lives without hesitation to defend their hard-earned freedom. They resisted with indomitable energy the US imperialist scheme to take away the victory they won from defeating Spanish colonialism.
Despite their superiority in weapons, the US colonial aggressors took more than a decade to completely suppress the uprisings and armed resistance of the freedom-loving Filipino and Moro people. The Filipino people and resistance fighters fought across the country in their determination to repel the new foreign armed occupiers.
The US imperialists unleashed a war of terror by employing the worst forms of suppression in their objective of subjugating the Philippines. Its colonial troops adapted scorched earth tactics and unspeakable atrocities from inhuman forms of torture (including so-called water boarding), mutilations, executions and massacres of entire communities. At least 200,000 Filipino civilians were killed in the US colonial rampage of violence, and up to a million died in the course of the war of suppression from 1899 to the mid-1910s.
The shots at San Juan (where now stands the Pinaglabanan Bridge) signaled the start of US global wars of aggression that would continue throughout the next century up until today. These same tactics of brutal suppression used by the US to suppress the Filipino people, combined with psywar and cultural colonialism (by imposing pro-US ideas and prejudices through schools and the media), will be adapted and made worse (“enhanced”) by the US colonial forces in its succeeding wars of aggression from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
The echoes of the shots fired by US colonial aggressors 125 years ago in San Juan continue to be heard around the world today, with every bomb dropped by US-supported Israel in Gaza strip, as well as in the US missile attacks in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, as well as in every US-made bomb and missile fired by the US-trained and US-controlled Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
It is propitious and just for the Filipino people, that while they remember today how their revolutionary fighters valiantly resisted US colonial aggression, they also affirm revolutionary solidarity with the Palestinian people and all the peoples around the world fighting to free their nations from the clutches of imperialism.
Today, the US continues to subject the Philippines to neocolonial or semicolonial rule. After a century of destroying vast forests and turning wide swathes into plantations, US monopoly capitalists continue to plunder the country of its cheap natural resources and labor.
For more than one hundred years now, the US has also used the Philippines as military springboard for waging wars of aggression around the world. Since the puppet Marcos regime came to power, the US has been on a frenzy of building military bases and facilities under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which has the effect of dragging the Philippines into its geopolitical strategy of encircling and containing China, and provoking it into war.
No amount of terrorism unleashed by the US throughout the past century and more, succeeded in completely suppressing the Filipino people’s aspiration to be free. The struggle against US colonial and neocolonial oppression will persevere all through the century, initially breaking out in spontaneous uprisings, and ultimately waged through protracted anti-imperialist armed resistance by the New People’s Army and led by the Communist Party of the Philippines over the past five and a half decades.
Amid the intolerable sufferings under US imperialist domination, the Filipino people’s protracted armed resistance will continue to persevere. They are keenly aware how US imperialism is not invincible and how it was defeated in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and elsewhere through the determined struggle of the people. The Filipino people, united under the leadership of the working class, is bound to attain victory and attain national liberation.