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III. The Inclusion of the Excluded: Contradictions in the Creation of the Nation

Meisel's analysis of creole rhetoric and its adaptations is extremely useful in understanding the opening of spaces of negotiations in Spanish-American societies during independence.10 While describing the creole nationalist rhetoric seeking to legitimize the struggle for independence, however, the speaker simplified the internal tensions that collided with the successful creation of a national identity. In a way, Meisel's argument did not seek to draw a line between the intentions and beliefs of creoles and their rhetoric. By simplifying rather than problematizing creole discourse, the speaker failed to dwell into the principal contradiction of national independence recognized by creoles themselves: that the struggle against Spanish oppression by no means aimed at the equality of internally oppressed socioracial groups (most conspicuously, Indians and blacks).

Internal tensions in Spanish-American societies were actually enhanced (while made explicit) by the rhetoric that characterized the struggle for independence, and these tensions have continued to shape Spanish-American history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Therefore, deconstructing creole nationalist rhetoric, as well as analyzing the adoption of this rhetoric by the oppressed sectors (an analysis that complements rather than opposes Meisel's argument), is imperative for understanding the conflict in the creation of the Spanish-American 'nations'.

We should not forget that, as Benedict Anderson has pointed out, "nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind," and that "Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity / genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined."11 Accordingly, the construcion of a national identity based on common history, culture and origins is determined by specific political objectives. The 'nation' does not have an inherent essence


10. The concept of a "space of negotiation" to understand the political possibilities for subaltern groups allowed by the new creole rhetoric was brought to my attention by Marisabel Villagómez, whom I thank for it.
11. Imagined Communities, 13, 15.

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