Mariategui and the latinamerican revolution

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Mon Dec 27 21:10:16 MST 1999

I admire Louis way to try to find new paths to a creative marxian thinking.
His interpretation of Mariategui is in this way admirable and, I want to
underline, this interpretation is done from the USA, where the preassures
against a revolutionary thought are enormous. To find the importance of
Mariategui, of his peruvian way to the revolution, is, of course, very
important. But to do it from the cosmopolitan tradition of the trotskysm and
the left of the USA, a country that, as Don Leon has written, is devoid of
Renaissance and dialectical thinking is something to underline.
Let me some reflections.

>Like Mariategui, Sandino had run-ins with the Communist International.

This was perhaps one of his greatest errors. Like in the case of the other
great popular warrior in Latinamerica, Luis Prestes, the ultraleftism of the
Third Period made that they, Sandino and Prestes, felt themselves attracted
by the Comunist International and, in the case of Prestes so long I know,
it was fatal for the movement. He became member of the Comunist Party in
Buenos Aires, by influence of Rodolfo Ghioldi, an devote agent of Moscow,
and he lost all influence among the young military officers who had done the
Colonel Revolution against the Republica Velha in Rio de Janeiro. I have
written in a book about the relationship between Brazil and Argentina that
some time will be the light: "The Comunist Party that had get to affiliate
General Prestes in his exile in Buenos Aires, grew in the trade unions and
extended its influence in the militar quarters. The case of the comunists in
Brazil is specially dramatical by what will come. The brazilian comunists
get from Moscow an exception for the Popular Antifascist Front line,
proposed by the Comintern and by George Dimitrow for the stalinist parties.
The brazilian comunist foundes this exception in the conviction that, with
the presence of Prestes, it would be easy for them to conquer the power. In
1935 the tried an unsuccessfully insurrection. This unsuccess not only
destroyed the Comunist Party, but, as Darcy Ribeiro affirms, "the principle
result of this coup (he says cuartelada, a word with sarcastic sound) was to
strong the integralists (fascists) opening wide hold areas in wide sector of
the population, what let integralists to organize big manifestations in
order to elect Plinio Salgado as Presidente. Getulio Vargas disolved the
Integralist Party and converted himself in Chief of a "New State" (Estado
Novo) with an authoritarian nature. He broke the aislationist separatism of
the states, centralizing the power and learning the sense of "Brazilianity"

In the case of Sandino the result is as Louis wrote:

>This breach resulted in the loss of assistance
>from the Comintern and the Mexican Communist Party. When Sandino declared a
>truce in 1933, the Comintern accused him of capitulation and declared its
>support for the counterrevolutionary government of Sacasa in Nicaragua.

And this is of course the core of the question:

>What Mariategui, Guevara and the Sandinistas have in common is obvious.
>They belong to a great tradition of national Marxism that can be traced
>back to Gramsci, and I would argue, to Lenin himself. Revolutionary parties
>have to be rooted in the class struggle and traditions of the native soil.
>Efforts to transplant revolutionary models or to issue directives from
>international secretariats have been counterproductive, no matter the
>source. Both Stalin and Trotsky embraced this model. Trotsky never thought
>twice about the wisdom of telling the French Communists in 1921 what should
>go on the front page of their newspaper.

But let me do an observation:

>Guevara came as close to
>providing a general guideline for this form of Marxist thought. He
>proclaimed, "the revolution can be made if the historical realities are
>interpreted correctly and if the forces involved are utilized correctly,
>even if the theory is not known."

This is absolutely true. But Guevara self, with all his heroism, did not
take care. His try in Bolivia was a result of not "interpreting correctly
the historical realities"- This peasant had had a revolution, they were poor
but the owned the land. The MNR revolution had done this task. El Che
Guevara died as a consequence of this teorical error.

>In addition, Castro and Guevara believed
>that practice and theory are intimately connected. One does not develop a
>theory first and then base a practice on it. The established socialist
>movement, including Trotskyism, dedicated itself to creating Marxists as a
>precondition for revolutionary struggle. The Cubans reversed this by
>stating that making revolution helps to create Marxists.

And this is a bit riskfull too. The lack of theory in the Cuban Revolution
has produced a lot of tragic errors in the revolutionary movements in our
countries. Think in Tupamaros, Montoneros and ERP in the River Plate. It is
admirable, of course, the level of the cuban revolution if we compare it
with the level of the Cuban Comunist Party under the ‘40 and the ‘50. But
the nonsense of the Focus Theory is too a consequence of this lack of
revolutionary thinking.

With all my heart

Julio FB

More information about the Marxism mailing list