Sociology Index

José Carlos Mariategui

Jose Carlos Mariategui La Chira (1894 – 1930) was a Peruvian intellectual, journalist, activist and political philosopher. A prolific writer before his early death at the age of 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century. Mariategui's Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928) is still widely read in Latin America, and called "one of the broadest, deepest, and most enduring works of the Latin American century". A self-taught Marxist, Jose Carlos Mariategui La Chira insisted that a socialist revolution should evolve organically in Latin America based on local conditions and practices, not the result of mechanically applying a European formula. Although best known as a political thinker, his literary writings have gained attention by scholars. A self-taught journalist, social scientist, and activist from Peru.

Jose Carlos Mariategui published his best-known work, Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality, in which he examined Peru's social and economic situation from a Marxist perspective. In his writings, Mariátegui observed that fascism was a response to deep social crisis, that it based itself on the petty bourgeoisie of town and country, and that it relied heavily on a cult of violence. According to him, fascism was the price that a society in crisis paid for the failures of the left.

Mariategui became alienated from the APRA, and he set about establishing the Socialist Party, which formally constituted in October of that year, with Mariategui as general secretary, which later became the Communist Party of Peru. According to Jose Carlos Mariategui. "Italian fascism represents, clearly, the anti-revolution or, as it is usually called, the counter-revolution. The fascist offensive is explained and is realized in Italy, as a consequence of a retreat or a defeat of the revolution."

Mariátegui blamed large land-owners, for the stilted economy of the country and the miserable conditions of the indigenous peoples in the region. He observed that Peru at the time had many characteristics of a feudal society. He argued that a transition to socialism should be based on traditional forms of collectivism as practiced by the Indians. Mariátegui stated "the communitarianism of the Incas cannot be denied or disparaged for having evolved under an autocratic regime."

The rise of popular indigenous movements in Ecuador and Peru have also sparked a renewed interest in Mariátegui's writings concerning the role of indigenous peoples in a Latin American revolution. The previous ruling party in Peru, the Peruvian Nationalist Party, claims Mariátegui as one of its ideological founders. organizations like Shining Path, and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, and the Peruvian Communist Party all look towards Mariátegui and his writings.

The Heroic and Creative Meaning of Socialism José Carlos Mariátegui. Selected Essays. - Edited and Translated by Michael Pearlman. 1996 Humanities Press, New Jersey.

Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality by José Carlos Mariátegui. University of Texas Press. 1997.