Anarchists and ‘the Indian Problem’ in Peru, 1898-1927

Anarchist Studies - ISSN 2633-8270
Volume 28 Number 2

Anarchists and ‘the Indian Problem’ in Peru, 1898-1927
Steven J. Hirsch pages -
DOI: 10.3898/AS.28.2.03


Elucidating Peruvian anarchists’ views of the indigenous ‘other’ and their emancipatory practices to end indigenous oppression and marginalisation poses a number of challenges. The documentary record to reconstruct anarchist-indigenous relations during anarchism’s heyday in Peru between the 1890s and the 1920s is decidedly scarce and fragmented. Systematic state repression of anarchist activists, study groups, cultural associations, and labour organisations scattered and destroyed countless source materials. Much of what remains are anarchist presses and publications linked to Lima’s anarchist movement, which constituted the largest and most influential collective of anarchist militants in Peru. Relying strictly on the writings of Lima-based anarchists, however, risks overlooking and misunderstanding the distinctive perceptions and actions of anarchist individuals and groups located throughout Peru’s diverse regions. At present, the historiography of Peruvian anarchism suffers from a nearly singular focus on Lima and its adjacent port city of Callao. Another serious impediment to understanding the ways anarchists thought about and interacted with indigenous peoples is the dearth of indigenous accounts. Illiteracy in Spanish as well as in native languages was pervasive among indigenous Peruvians in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Fortunately, the existence of a few biographies and memoirs of bi-cultural indigenous anarchists does at least partially fill the void. Still, it is no surprise that only a smattering of scholarly articles, and a single text, directly attempt to grapple with Peruvian anarchists’ engagement with indigenous emancipation.

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To cite this article
Steven J. Hirsch (2020) Anarchists and ‘the Indian Problem’ in Peru, 1898-1927, Anarchist Studies, 28(2), -.

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