1. fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

    Today In Latin American History

    Prominent Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui died in Lima at age 35 on April 16, 1930.

    You can purchase an English-language anthology of his works here.

    (Source: fylatinamericanhistory)

  2. José Carlos Mariátegui


  3. "…bourgeois civilization suffers from a lack of myth, of faith, of hope… It has become incredulous, skeptical, nihilistic. This attitude is a gesture peculiar to a civilization in decline. Only in a decadent world would a disillusioned sense of life flourish. The strength of revolutionaries is not in their science; it is in their faith, in their passion, in their will. It is a religious, mystical, spiritual force. It is the force of myth."

    José Carlos Mariátegui, ”El Hombre Matinal

    Thanks to el compa JM for sharing this!

    …la civilización burguesa sufre de la falta de un mito, de una fe, de una esperanza… En la filosofía occidental contemporánea prevalece un humor escéptico. Esta actitud filosófica, como sus penetrantes críticos lo remarcan, es un gesto pe­culiar de una civilización en decadencia. Sólo en un mundo decadente aflora un sentimiento desencantado de la vida… La fuerza de los revolucionarios no está en su ciencia; está en su fe, en su pasión, en su voluntad. Es una fuerza reli­giosa, mística, espiritual. Es la fuerza del Mito.


  4. Starting a José Carlos Mariátegui Study Group in NYC

    Some of you may know that recently, the collected works of Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui were released in English by Monthly Review Press, under the title José Carlos Mariátegui: An Anthology. If you aren’t familiar with Mariátegui, he was the first to look at Marxism from the position of Latin American reality. He did not attempt to import a European model based on a large industrial proletariat but rather to find what was distinct in the Peruvian situation. While the specific issues he deals with may not be particularly relevant to us in the United States, his method of analysis is.

    Since some comrades and I think it is important to study this very creative thinker, we’re attempting to form a study group of this book. If you are in the area and want to join us, please get in touch! Email me at kasamaluis@gmail.com or request to join the Facebook group here. As of right now we are planning for this to be a group that actually meets in person, but I’d like if there was online communication as well.



    "Arde mi canto y mi voz, arde mi raza y mi orgullo;
    arde la flor en capullo, arde mi voz en un puño.”

    I haven’t posted any music from Peru in some time, so I thought I’d share this one with you all. This is considered a huayño, a common, melancholic style with roots in the indigenous communities of Peru’s mountainous south. The song is about the killing of 8 journalists in the town of Uchuraccay in 1984, who had come to investigate recent conflicts between the townspeople and the guerrillas of the Shining Path. As they entered, the town leaders confused them for guerrillas and they were summarily executed. It has been subject to a number of investigations, and the story itself remains not entirely clear.

    Martina Portocarrero was a popular singer during the 1980s, and by many accounts a sympathizer of the Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path] Maoist insurgency which controlled a third of the country by the end of the decade.

    Here are the original lyrics to the song, written by Ricardo Dolorier Urbano as Agüita de Lluvia. They may not correspond exactly to this version, but they will be very close.

  6. José Carlos Mariátegui is one of Latin America’s most profound but overlooked thinkers. A self-taught journalist, social scientist, and activist from Peru, he was the first to emphasize that those fighting for the revolutionary transformation of society must adapt classical Marxist theory to the particular conditions of Latin American. He also stressed that indigenous peoples must take an active, if not leading, role in any revolutionary struggle.

    Today Latin America is the scene of great social upheaval. More progressive governments are in power than ever before, and grassroots movements of indigenous peoples, workers, and peasants are increasingly shaping the political landscape. The time is perfect for a rediscovery of Mariátegui, who is considered an intellectual precursor of today’s struggles in Latin America but virtually unknown in the English-speaking world. This volume collects his essential writings, including many that have never been translated and some that have never been published. The scope of this collection, masterful translation, and thoughtful commentary make it an essential book for scholars of Latin America and all of those fighting for a new world, waiting to be born.

  7. An early picture of Augusta la Torre, better known as Camarada Norah. She was a founder of the Communist Party of Peru [Shining Path] along with her husband Abimael Guzman, better known as Presidente Gonzalo, and was second-in-command of the Party until her death in November 1988. She was succeeded in her position by Elena Iparraguirre.

  8. Leader of the Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path) Abimael Guzman, alias Gonzalo, stands over the body of fallen comrade and first wife Augusta de la Torre, alias Norah. De la Torre helped found the Party and was the organization’s second-in-command until her death in 1988 (or 1989). Near her head are 26 roses, symbolizing the 26 years she spent as a communist.

    There is somewhat of a controversy as to the cause of her death: Guzman and Elena Iparraguirre, alias Miriam and PCP-SL’s second in command after de la Torre’s death, claim that she died from cardiac problems; others have suspected that she was killed by Iparraguirre, perhaps even by Guzman himself, though no evidence has arisen to prove one way or another.

  9. The sound hole of my charango.

  10. Whatever your opinion is of Peru’s Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path] revolutionary movement, don’t ever try to kid yourself into thinking that they didn’t have a real and tangible mass base among the people.

    This image comes from the funeral of young Senderista militant Edith Lagos, killed in an encounter with Peru’s Republican Guard in 1982. The event took place in Ayacucho, which at the time had around 70-80,000 residents. The funeral attracted around 30,000, despite an official ban on a funeral procession.

  11. On my queue of things to read eventually… Abimael Guzmán, alias Presidente Gonzalo’s recently-released book “De Puño y Letra.” Guzmán was the Chairman of the Communist Party of Peru [Shining Path] (commonly known as Sendero Luminoso in Spanish) during Peru’s guerra popular of the 1980s and early 90s.

    I’m a Maoist and all, but the Shining Path sort of freaks me out. However, I plan on learning more and developing an educated, objective opinion so I don’t just spout propaganda from either side of the aisle. Stay tuned.

  12. scanzen:

    Maoist guerrilla of Sendero Luminoso, c1985, Peru.

    (via kalashnikovs-deactivated2011070)

  13. wheredoyougoto:

    Yo no canto por cantar ni por tener buena voz, canto porque la guitarra tiene sentido y razón.

    Tiene corazón de tierra y alas de palomita. Es como el agua bendita, santigua glorias y penas.

    Aquí se encajó mi canto como dijera Violeta; guitarra trabajadora con olor a primavera,

    Que no es guitarra de ricos, ni cosa que se parezca, mi canto es de los andamios para alcanzar las estrellas.

    Que el canto tiene sentido cuando palpita en las venas del que morirá cantando las verdades verdaderas.

    No las lisonjas fugaces ni las famas extranjeras, sino el canto de una lonja hasta el fondo de la tierra. 

    Ahí donde llega todo y donde todo comienza, canto que a sido valiente siempre será canción nueva.


    (Source: theflowerofmysecret)

  14. Cuzco, Peru 1980. To mark the beginning of the people’s war, the Partido Comunista del Peru (Sendero Luminoso) hung dead dogs from lampposts as a symbol of contempt for tyranny.


  15. Hey everybody! Welcome back for another Song of the Day… I think we’re at like 19 now, which makes me a little proud of myself, which in turn makes me ashamed that such a small accomplishment makes me feel proud. But I digress.

    Today we’re going to switch gears a little bit and move into the Andes for a song by Martina Portocarrero, called “Paceñita”. We’ll notice quite a few differences in this song from past material, which we will get into a little bit later.

    Unless you are from Peru or really obsessed with folk and Andean music like me, you’ve probably never heard of Martina, so who is she? In short, she was a singer of Huayños and other indigenous Peruvian genres active mostly in the 80s. During this time period, a people’s war fought by the Partido Comunista del Peru - Sendero Luminoso (commonly known in the US as the Shining Path) took place against the government, often pitting the largely indigenous Sendero Luminoso against the state forces. This war continued until 1992, when PCP-SL’s Chairman Gonzalo was captured with the majority of the party’s leadership. Martina Portocarrero’s music was, during this time, largely associated with Sendero, and as such was officially banned in the country for much of the decade.

    The song I am sharing here does not have an overtly political character, however. I do have some of her more political songs, though lyrics of her work are scarce and I find it exceedingly difficult to transliterate much of her music (not to mention the fact that much of it is in Quechua!). Perhaps we’ll get to those one day.

    In “Paceñita”, which refers to a woman from La Paz, Bolivia, we will notices many distinct features: First, this song is in 4/4 meter (I think), meaning the texture of the beat is more circular than much of what we’ve listened to already. Second, notice the singing style. Huayño has a very melancholic style, no matter the song’s content, to the point that it almost sounds like the singer is crying (listen for the vibrato [the voice trembling] toward the end of a line). Third, you’ll notice that every line is repeated once (even if I only wrote it one time). Fourth, we notice a heavy emphasis on the quena and zampoña (the flutes), especially during breaks between verses, as well as a faint accordion. On the same token, note when they enter during a verse and how they do. They introduce a verse, falls out entirely, pops up quickly between lines 1 and 2, then steps up into the background of line 3, disappearing deep into the background in 4 (though you can still hear it if you listen closely), then reappearing to introduce the next verse. Not sure if there’s anything to that, but it’s an interesting observation. Fifth, notice how the last verse changes gender. I don’t really understand why she does this, but for some reason the first part of the song is sung from the perspective of a Peruvian man to a Bolivian woman, then for the last verse the woman is suddenly Peruvian and the guy is from La Paz. I wish I could offer an explanation for that.

    The song tells of a peasant from Peru who travels to Bolivia to find a beautiful woman in La Paz. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get to the lyrics, provided in both languages as always. I hope you enjoy this one!


    Del Peru vengo a buscarte, linda Paceñita
    Y entregarte mi cariño, mi negrita
    Hoy te pido con ternura, linda Paceñita
    Un beso de tu boquita, mi negrita

    Hoy te pido con ternura, linda Paceñita
    Un beso de tu boquita, mi negrita
    Campesino soy del Ande’ y de mi tierra linda
    Hoy te brindo un saludo de mi patria

    Campesina soy Peruana, lindo Paceñito
    Campesina soy del Ande’ y a ti te quiero


    I come from Peru to search for you, beautiful woman of La Paz
    and to offer you my affection, my dear
    Today I ask you with tenderness, beautiful woman of La Paz
    a kiss from your lips, my dear

    Today I ask you with tenderness, beautiful woman of La Paz
    for a kiss from your lips, my dear
    I am a peasant from the Andes, and from my beautiful land
    today I offer you a greeting from my country

    I am Peruvian peasant, handsome man of La Paz
    I am a peasant from the Andes, and I love you