Monday, July 16, 2012


There was a time when one of the worst things you could be called on Guam or Saipan was a komunista (communist).

Now there weren't any real Chamorro communists at the time, in any organized or formal way.  But conservative Chamorros, some priests and pious lay people, looked on political "radicals" as komunista.

Take for example this letter, written in 1964, by a very religious woman to someone off-island :

"Kulan meggai na atboroto ni para i ma elihe bentiuno na Kongresista, kada dos åños.  Ya guaha dos na pattida." (There is perhaps a lot of commotion with the election of twenty-one congressmen*, every two years.  And there are two parties.)

The  she goes on to say about one of the parties :

"Ti maolek bidan-ñiñiha para i pupbliko.  Komo Komunista."  (Their actions aren't good for the public.  They are like communists.)

Up in Saipan, when political status talks were hot and heavy in the late 60s and early 70s, a few activists made some priests and active Catholics nervous when they made contact with Russia.  Keep in mind that Saipan was not part of the U.S. at the time, and the Cold War was still on.  These Saipan activists were branded komunista by one or two priests and by some lay people.

And one man told me of his experience in the 50s, when he and other members of a parish organization disagreed with the pastor.  The pastor labeled them bolsheviki (Bolsheviks, a term for Lenin's branch of Russian communists), even though they were all practicing and active parishioners.

*In the 50s and 60s, our senators in the Guam Legislature were called congressmen; kongresista in Chamorro.

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