Frederic F. Clairmont is a long-serving member of the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Asia.
A couple of months ago, when Peter Limqueco’s retirement as co-editor was announced, “The Doc” immediately sent this appreciation. We are pleased to be able to publish this tribute to a comrade who has given more than four decades to the Journal and progressive causes:
“The news of Peter’s resignation was received on the morning of an exquisite autumn day , the day of my wedding anniversary as well as our meeting with that veteran combatant James Petras and his wife Robin.
It was a great privilege in my life when I was introduced to Peter at the time of my inaugural Lecture at the Stockholm School of Economics in the autumn of 1969.
That was a very long time ago. The future belongs to no man or woman. And no one could have predicted the trajectory of what has become one of the most dazzling and inspiring progressive journals of our time.
But we ought never to forget the context of its birth and gestation. In that and subsequent years Sweden was caught in one of those liberating convulsions of joy and the thousands of men and women of all ages that gathered in all great cities to celebrate the life and death battles of the Indochinese peoples that bore testament to the heroic struggles of the peoples in Indochina at a cost of 3 million dead.
It is in this context that the younger generations that followed the birth of the JCA must understand the full Promethean sweep of this battle against the coalition of a vile imperial power and its lackeys, and in which JCA and Peter were to play such an heroic role in these national liberation struggles.
And Peter is right to remind us in his parting words – bearing in mind that he has not left us in spiritu and incorpore – that we must unrelentingly keep to the left and keep the red flag flying. This is no empty rhetorical outburst. It enshrines the spirit of combat in all its dimensions that has inspired his struggles and for which he has sacrificed everything.
This is the legacy of an inspired revolutionary teacher and humanist that has consecrated his entire prodigious energies to the liberation struggles of all peoples and not merely those of Indochina.
What we ought never to forget was that JCA was conceived in the struggles against one of the biggest the mass colonial holocausts of all times.
Peter as we know – and this is of central importance – was born in the Philippines, a colony that had succumbed to the sustained merciless exploitation and racial humiliation of the US imperial jackboot.
An occupation rooted in State Terrorism that was to be followed by the Japanese occupation that by all measures was no less pitiless than its predecessor.
These were the catalytic historical forces that impelled him to resistance. Nor has history forgotten that one of the greatest anti-fascist, anti-colonial resistance movements generated by World War 2 was that against the Japanese predators by Filipino resistance fighters in which tens of thousands were butchered.
But it is precisely these epic battles of the freedom struggle that shaped the destiny of Peter as a great writer and editor, thus transforming him into an exemplary militant and revolutionary.
From that vantage point dear Peter you have never strayed; and so dearest Comrade we wish you all the best – for you are not alone in your struggles – so that you may continue to prod and inspire us with your indefatigable courage and wisdom; and above all to transmit to us that deepest of convictions and faith that a better world can be forged, but that it cannot be forged without struggle.
And it is here that you and your mightiest of creations – the JCA – will continue to play a spiritually enhancing role for generations yet unborn. We embrace you dear Peter once again and say that thanks is too small a word to convey our homage to one of the great spirits of our time.”
Peter remains as Editor Emeritus with JCA, and we look forward to his advice and direction as the journal moves forward.