José Carlos Mariátegui

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mariátegui, José Carlos


Born June 14, 1895, in Lima, Peru; died there Apr. 16, 1930. Peruvian political figure, sociologist, and literary critic.

Mariátegui was the son of a poor clerk. At the age of 14 he worked in a printing plant; he later became a journalist. In 1918 he joined the labor movement and began to propagate socialist ideas. In 1919 he was exiled from Peru. In Europe, Mariategui met M. Gorky, G. V. Chicherin, H. Barbusse, and A. Gramsci. He attended the Constituent Congress of the Italian Communist Party and the Genoa Conference of 1922.

Upon his return to Peru in 1923, Mariategui took part in the work of the trade unions and the people’s universities. He was an ardent propagandist of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism and of the achievements of the October 1917 Revolution in Russia. He waged an ideological and political struggle against revisionism and bourgeois nationalism. A talented publicist, Mariategui advocated the independent development of national culture. He devoted special attention to the analysis of two traditions of Peruvian literature—the Spanish and the Indian.

Mariátegui was one of the first to give a Marxist analysis of Latin American history and culture. He also did a great deal to popularize Soviet literature in Latin America. From 1926 to 1930 he published the sociopolitical and literary journal A mauta, around which the continent’s progressive cultural leaders rallied, and, beginning in 1928, the labor newspaper Labor. In 1928, Mariategui was one of the organizers of the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers. In that same year he founded the Peruvian Communist Party (prior to 1930 it was called Socialist), becoming its first general secretary. The theoretical ground-work for the Communist Party’s program was provided by Mariátegui in his work Seven Essays on the State of Affairs in Peru (1928; Russian translation, 1963), which marked a stage in the development of modern Latin American sociology and aesthetics. While already seriously ill, Mariátegui was subjected to arrests and imprisonment.


Ediciones populares de las obras completas, vols. 1-20. Lima, 1959-71.


Kh. K. Mariategi. Moscow, 1966.
Lenin y Mariategui Lima, 1970.
Vigencia de J. C. Mariategui. Lima, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.