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Mariátegui, the Comintern, and the Indigenous Question in Latin America

Marc Becker
Science & Society
Vol. 70, No. 4 (Oct., 2006), pp. 450-479
Published by: Guilford Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40404343
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mariátegui, the Comintern, and the Indigenous Question in Latin America
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Abstract

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 decisions.

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