Some More From Mariategui

December 28, 2009

From Jose Carlos Mariategui, “The Problem of the Indian,” Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928):

“The socialist critic exposes and defines the problem [of the Indian] because he looks for its causes in the country’s economy and not in its administrative, legal, or ecclesiastic machinery, its racial dualism or pluralism, or its cultural or moral conditions. The problem of the Indian is rooted in the land tenure system of our economy. Any attempt to solve it with administrative or police measures, through education or by a road building program, is superficial and secondary as long as the feudalism of the gamonales continues to exist.”

The assumption that the Indian problem is ethnic is sustained by the most outmoded repertory of imperialist ideas. The concept of inferior races was useful to the white man’s West for purposes of expansion and conquest.”

“Humanitarian teachings have not halted or hampered European imperialism, nor have they reformed its methods. The struggle against imperialism now relies only on the solidarity and strength of the liberation movement of the colonial masses.”

Wouldn’t he be criticized for economic reductionism today? And wouldn’t the critics be wrong?