La Solidaridad (English: The Solidarity) was an organization created in Spain on December 13, 1888. Composed of Filipino liberals exiled in 1872 and students attending Europe’s universities, the organization aimed to increase Spanish awareness of the needs of its colony, the Philippines, and to propagate a closer relationship between the colony and Spain. Headed by José Rizal’s cousin, Galican Apacible, it also issued a newspaper of the same name which was published in Barcelona, Spain on February 15, 1889. It was edited by Graciano López-Jaena and later on by Marcelo H. del Pilar. The newspaper published not only articles and essays about the economic, cultural, political, and social conditions of the country, but also current news, both local and foreign, and speeches of prominent Spanish leaders about the Philippines.
•Dr. Jose Rizal (LaongLaan)
•Marcelo H. del Pilar (Plaridel)
•Antonio Luna (Taga-Ilog)
•Mariano Ponce (Tikbalang)
•Jose Maria Panganiban (Jomapa
•Antonio Maria Regidor
•Eduardo de Lete
•Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt (Austrian ethnologist)
•Dr. Miguel MoraytaSagrario (Spanish Historian, university professor and statesman)
In order to find a venue where the desire of the Propaganda Movement towards achieving assimilation can be expressed, La Solidaridad was established. The first issue of the La Solidaridad came out on February 15, 1889. Published fortnightly, it served as the principal organ of the reform movement for six years. In general, its funds came from the Comite de Propaganda in the Philippines. Rizal was first offered the position of its editorship. However, he declined because he was very busy annotating Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas in London. In the end, Graciano López-Jaena showed an interest in becoming the editor. On April 25, 1889, La Solidaridad published the letter entitled “The aspirations of the Filipinos” which was written by the Asociación Hispano-Filipina de Madrid (English: Hispanic Filipino Association of Madrid). It pursued desires for: •Representation in the Cortes
•Abolition of censure
•An expressed and definite prohibition of the existing practices of exiling residents by purely administrative order, and without a writ of execution from the courts of justice. On December 15, 1889, Marcelo H. del Pilar replaced Graciano López-Jaena as the editor of the La Solidaridad. Under his editorship, the aims of the newspaper expanded and drew the attention on politicians and even Spanish ministers. Using propaganda, it pursued desires for: •That the Philippines be a province of Spain
•Representation in the Cortes
•Filipino priests instead of Spanish friars–Augustinians, Dominicans, and Franciscans–in parishes and remote sitios
•Freedom of assembly and speech
•Equal rights before the law (for both Filipino and Spanish plaintiffs) After years of publication from 1889 to 1895, La Solidaridad had begun to run out of funds. It ceased publication on November 15, 1895, with 7 volumes and 160 issues. In del Pilar’s farewell editorial, he said: “We are persuaded that no sacrifices are too little to win the rights and the liberty of a nation that is oppressed by slavery.” THE ORGANIZATION
Galicano Apacible was the first president of the La Solidaridad. With him was Graciano López-Jaena as vice-president, Mariano Ponce as treasurer, and José Rizal, who was then in London, as Honorary President. Apacible did not remain long enough as president since could not hold the bickering reformists together anymore. What the organization needed were people like Rizal and Marcelo H. del Pilar who could reunite the sentiments of the Filipinos in Spain. La Solidaridad was viewed as a rival organization for Miguel Morayta’s Spanish Orient Lodge of Freemasonry. Later, the two organizations collaborated in their petition to the Minister of Colonies. Their petitions were as follows: to have representation in the Spanish Cortes
to abolish the censorship of the press
to prohibit the practice of deportation of citizens through administrative orders The usage of Spanish language in their articles and columns that was unfamiliar to the Filipino people was one of the factors that limited their influence, plus the controlled flow of the reading material endangered the very existence of the publication. But La Solidaridad reached local ilustrados and lead revolutionary forces nevertheless. The attempts of Spanish rule for La Solidaridad gave more emphasis to the lack of freedom the propagandists were campaigning for. Since the propagandists wrote accurate issues about the society, empathy was given by the readers. The oppression felt by the people ignited and set forth the continuity of reformation by any means possible during those dark times. THE PUBLICATION
Soon enough, on 15 February 1889, through Jaena, the La Solidaridad newspaper was created. It served as the principal organ of the Propaganda Movement for over five years, with its last issue released on 15 November 1895. To quote the editorial in the first issue of La Solidaridad: “Our aspirations are modest, very modest. Our programmed, aside from being simple, is clear: to combat reaction, to stop all retrogressive steps, to extol and adopt liberal ideas, to defend progress; in a word, to be a propagandist, above all, of democratic ideas in order to make these supreme in all nations here and across the seas. The aims, therefore, of La Solidaridad are described as to collect, to gather, libertarian ideas which are manifested daily in the field of politics, science, art, literature, commerce, agriculture and industry. We shall also discuss all problems relating to the general interest of the nation and seek solutions to those problems in high-level and democratic manner. ” The Solidaridad became successful through the contributions of Filipino writers in Barcelona, namely: 1.Marcelo H. del Pilar (pseudonym: Plaridel)
2.José Rizal (pseudonym: LaongLaan)
3.Mariano Ponce (pseudonym: Naning, Kalipulako, Tikbalang)
Between 1872 and 1892, a national consciousness was growing among the Filipino émigrés who had settled in Europe. In the freer atmosphere of Europe, these émigrés – liberals exiled in 1872 and students attending European universities- full filled their desire to form a purely Filipino organization with the establishment of La Solidaridad in Barcelona on December 13, 1888. Rizal’s cousin, GalicanoApacible, became president of La Solidaridad. Among the other officers were Graciano Lopez-Jaena as vice-president and Mariano Ponce as treasurer. Rizal, in London at the time, was named Honorary President. Unfortunately, Apacible could not hold the wrangling reformists together. The prestige of Rizal and the political wisdom of delPilar were needed to unite the Filipinos in Spain and to coordinate their efforts. But finally, on February 15, 1889, the Filipino propagandists were able to get together behind a new publication which they called La Solidaridad, and which for its more than five years of its existence became the principal organ of the propaganda movement.
It existed up to November 15, 1895. Its first editor was Graciano Lopez-Jaena, a noted orator and pamphleteer who had left the islands in 1880 after the publication of his satirical short novel (Fray Botod (Brother Fatso), an unflattering portrait of a provincial friar). He was soon succeeded by Marcelo H. del Pilar. La Solidaridad was a political propaganda paper with a liberal, reformist orientation dedicated to the task of fighting reaction in all its forms. The paper stood for the moderate aims of representation of the Philippines in the Cortes, or Spanish parliament; secularization of the clergy; legalization of Spanish and Filipino equality; creation of a public school system independent of the friars; abolition of the polo (labor service) and vandala (forced sale of local products to the government); guarantee of basic freedoms of speech and association; and equal opportunity for Filipinos and Spanish to enter government service. The editorial of the first issue of La Solidaridad expressed its aim: “Our aspirations are modest, very modest.
Our program, aside from being simple, is clear: to combat reaction, to stop all retrogressive steps, to extol and adopt liberal ideas, to defend progress; in a word, to be a propagandist, above all, of democratic ideas in order to make these supreme in all nations here and across the seas. The aims, therefore, of La Solidaridad are described as to collect, to gather, libertarian ideas which are manifested daily in the field of politics, science, art, literature, commerce, agriculture and industry. We shall also discuss all problems relating to the general interest of the nation and seek solutions to those problems in high-level and democratic manner. With regard to the Philippines, since she needs the most help, not being represented in the Cortes, we shall pay particular attention to the defense of her democratic rights, the accomplishment of which is our patriotic duty.