In the Red Corner – The Marxism of José Carlos Mariátegui

by Mike Gonzalez (2019)

Peru is again in the news with the announcement that the leftist and teachers’ trade union leader, Pedro Castillo, is to be the country’s new president. So now is a good time to read about one of Peru’s best Marxist writers and organisers.

José Carlos was active in the years after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia and before the counter-revolution of Stalin became clear. He was exiled to Europe, mainly Italy, for four years from 1919.

“At home, he engaged with his own reality to expand and deepen the Marxism he had encountered in Italy. This was not simply an intellectual exercise. He was an organizer, a builder of movements, a teacher, and an agitator.”

“Mariátegui lived only into his thirty-sixth year, and he spent most of his years in considerable pain and the last six in a wheelchair. Yet his energy and productivity were breathtaking.”

Mike Gonzalez, a long-time member of the SWP in Britain, provides an introduction to the politics of José Carlos. That demonstrates how Marxism retains its core approach whilst being adapted to the realities of the Global South in Peru.

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