Janus' Home


those identities imply.19 According to San Martín's discourse, Indians and blacks must cease to recognize themselves as Indians and blacks to become Peruvians--without necessarily implying that Indians and blacks should, for example, cease to be peasants to become land owners or government officials. The ambiguities which Bolívar recognized in the struggle for independence (creole freedom from Spain without necessarily ending creole oppression of Indians and blacks) imply that the new identification was a strategy used in building support for the independence cause, but not necessarily a promise of granting internally oppressed social groups the full rights of citizens.

Against Meisel, creole rhetoric, while calling for a transformation of locals from 'subjects' to 'citizens', really implied that Indians and blacks were to cease being the subjects of Spain to become the subjects of creoles. Creole nationalist rhetoric may thus have been mostly a strategy to achieve popular support for their cause, rather than an accurate reflection of creole ideological renewal. In turn, the slaves' adoption of creole discourse did not necessarily mean that slaves actually believed it. Rather, they took advantage of the space of political negotiation made possible by the new rhetoric. Slaves thus demanded liberty on the basis of creoles' libertarian rhetoric; slaves and Indians demanded equality on the basis of creoles' egalitarian rhetoric.

We have seen that the discourse of both elites and the oppressed during the period of Latin American independence did not necessarily reflect radically changing views on the social roles of different social sectors, but it certainly had a specific political objective in each case. On the one hand, creoles sought to define a national identity compatible with their quest for sociopolitical hegemony. Nationalist rhetoric sought to build broad support for the independent

19. Slavoj Zizek, "Class Struggle or Postmodernism? Yes, please!" in Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Zizek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left (London: Verso, 1999), 90-135, 103. The author here draws on Peter Pfaller, "Der Ernst der Arbeit ist vom Spiel gelernt," in Work and Culture (Klagenfurt: Ritter Verlag, 1998), 29-36. Zizek goes on to argue that the process of "false disidentification" not only fails to subvert social roles, but actually perpetuates them, as "the very distance towards the symbolic feature that determines [one's] social place guarantees the efficiency of this determination."
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13