On "particularisms", from Ireland to Latin America

Francisco J. Gonzalez caribe at SPAMprairie.lakes.com
Tue Feb 6 19:23:53 MST 2001


Compañero Nestor's critique of the "cult of difference", IMHO, is rather
misplaced. Of course that capitalists & imperialists would play up the
differences
between subject peoples in order to maintain their control, and there is no
question that
powerful empires like the Aztec in Mexico, the Inkas of Peru, or the Moghul
in India would not have been so easily subjugated if the Europeans had
failed to find or exploit internal divisons within these systems.

However, it is misplaced to suggest that lack of knowledge of European
languages
inherently limited the development of national liberation movements, or that
maintaining & preserving cultural coherence within subjugated groups is a
barrier to solidarity.
I must disagree with Compañero Nestor's implication that since the
Indonesian language lacked terms for modern appliances, it is thus
inherently unable to serve as an organizing tool. All languages have tha
capacity to adapt old words to fit new needs: that is why the German word
for telephone is 'fernsprecher', or 'simi' in Icelandic; after Indonesia
gained it's Independence, the authorities standarized their local Malay
languages and established Bahasa Indonesia as the modern, national unifying
language; a language spoken by far more people that currently speak or had
ever spoken the Dutch of their old colonial masters.

In Latin America, there is absolutely no reason why Quechua, Aymara, Kiche
or Nahuatl, Indigenous languages spoken by millions of people, couldn't be
used as effective tools for organizing national liberation movements. As a
matter of fact, and as events currently on the ground in Ecuador clearly
indicate, Indigenous ethnic, cultural & liguistic solidarity are powerful
tools when used to mobilize marginal sectors of society. It is worth noting
that, at least in Latin America, the most prominent Indigenous movements are
all ideologically aligned to the anti-globalization progressive left: the
Zapatistas in Chiapas, the Rumiñahui movement in Ecuador, the Mapuche of the
Bio-Bio basin in Chile, etc.

For us in Latin America, it is important to remember that a true
'liberation' movement seeks to address far more than political or economic
oppression: it is also a movement to liberate the mind, to break with
confining restriants of capitalist-burgois society & culture. Che spoke of
the 'hombre nuevo', the New Man, free from greed, from bigotry, from the
negative traits of machismo, open to new ideas and experiences. In this
spirit, we must recognize that there is inherence strenght & value on
linguistic, ethnic & cultural diversity; and that preserving this diversity
must be part of any movement that claims to embrace true freedom and
solidarity.

Francisco J Gonzalez
Citizen of Puerto Rico






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