[Marxism] Marc Becker on Mariategui

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 24 12:04:52 MST 2006

(Perhaps someone can find the complete article and make it
available to us here on Marxmail? This is Becker's idea of
what Mariategui had to say, not Mariategui himself. There
is no reason I'm aware of to assume this is not accurate.)

Mariátegui, the Comintern, and the Indigenous Question in Latin America
Author(s): Marc Becker*

Victorio Codovilla, the leader of the Comintern's South American
Secretariat, instructed José Carlos Mariátegui, a Peruvian Marxist
who had gained a reputation as a strong defender of marginalized
Indigenous peoples, to prepare a document for a 1929 Latin American
Communist Conference analyzing the possibility of forming an Indian
Republic in South America. This republic was to be modeled on similar
Comintern proposals to construct Black Republics in the southern
United States and South Africa. Mariátegui rejected this proposal,
asserting that existing nation-state formation was too advanced in
the South American Andes to build a separate Indian Republic.

Mariátegui, who was noted for his "open" and sometimes unorthodox
interpretations of Marxism, found himself embracing the most orthodox
of Marxist positions in maintaining that the oppression of the Indian
was a function of their class position and not their race, ethnicity,
or national identity. From Mariátegui's point of view, it would be
better for the subaltern Indians to fight for equality within
existing state structures rather than further marginalizing
themselves from the benefits of modernity in an autonomous state.
Mariátegui's direct challenge to Comintern dictates is an example of
local Party activists refusing to accept Comintern policies
passively, but rather actively engaging and influencing those


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