The Peruvian nation is a historical process prior to the Peruvian state. It is an unfinished cultural historical synthesis, dislocated from a state that neither articulates nor benefits national development. The winds of a coming national and cultural awakening are blowing in the historical time. Our future is related to and impacted by world events, and it is convenient to incorporate a few observations.
By Francisco Carpio Jordán
Twenty-three years into the 21st century, human beings on the planet are living their lives in the midst of an existential, personal, social and institutional crisis, a crisis of a way of life that globalised at the end of the 20th century, a crisis of a system that arrived almost triumphant, pretending to be a single world, flattening nations and cultures in its no end, without achieving its pretensions of global empire.
In the face of Anglo-Saxon hegemony (mainly the United States and England), expressions of multipolarity emerged in the face of the supposedly unipolar world, such as China, Russia, India and a second line of emerging countries and nations such as Turkey, Iran and South Africa, among others.
In this context, the so-called underdeveloped, dependent and backward countries are and will easily be overwhelmed by the dynamics of the crisis and the dispute within the capitalist system. Peru is a country that is not on the road to development, it survives the inertia of the circumstances, being basically a primary exporter; its mediocre rulers of the last 30 years are proud when they show a growing GDP, not because of management or any development project but because it is the force of the booming development of emerging countries such as China that devour raw materials in their productive metabolisms.
Where are we going under these conditions, with political parties that are neither parties nor contain politicians; the rulers above, in the middle and below have no identity or national project, they only aspire to the easy and degenerate procedure of making wealth from the state, with the exercise of the most shameless mercantilism, which is manifested in the continuous corruption scandals. They are leading us to the precipice, handing us over as they did before to the wolves of Wall Street and the City of London and other new predators of easy prey.
These conditions have been structured and in force since 1821, when San Martin invaded this territory by order, declared it independent, negotiated interests with the creoles and mestizos, set up a state, gave it a name, symbols, flag, coat of arms and anthem; They then drew up a constitution and set the Republic in motion as a prosperous business of mediocre castes, who alternated between military and civilian governments, motivated only by their own interests, without taking up a national cause, let alone having a sense of homeland, nation and country, leaving peoples and nation without a future and in permanent unrest.
These groups that governed and govern, self-proclaimed “fathers of the homeland” never acted out of love for their fellow man, the people and the homeland, they only want more and more money taken from the state and the businesses they implement from and through it. In this sense, a historian said about love of country: “Men feel in their hearts that they are the same people when they have a community of affections, memories and hopes. This is what makes the homeland, and the homeland is what we love”. (1)
We must not allow them to destroy our desire to live, waking up from the fruitless routine of preoccupying ourselves only with surviving, which is slowly dying as individuals and as a national whole. Competitive individualism is breaking our ancestral strands of reciprocity and solidarity, which must re-emerge in living for oneself and for others, expressed in the ñoqanchis, contrary to the “I and after me too”, paradigm of the capitalist system in all its variants.
They will not destroy the desire of the “good living” of the Runas here, the human beings of Peru, if we take up again and knead our multidiverse national and cultural identity, a substratum for the formation of leaders and orientators, who will replace caudillos, politicians and all kinds of social parasites who dare to call themselves politicians.
Likewise, it is necessary to have a project of national good living, a project of cultural and productive flourishing, a project of political restructuring of the weak regions in the four great regions, with regional structures that promote their growing vitality. The central state and its regional and local structures must be sufficiently functional for the citizen and transfer part of its central power to social and productive institutions. The power of representation, which is exhausted and corrupted, would have to be returned to the people, moving from representative democracy to direct communitarian democracy with reformed representation.
A people and a nation without a national and cultural identity, without the amalgamation of the parts into a national whole, has no destiny and no vital growing possibilities, but only to perish at the feet of the predators. To begin to recognise ourselves as an entity with vitality, we must perceive the origin, the genesis from which we started, the cultural historical journey and the journey of millennia and centuries, until we reach the place and the historical moment in which we are. We are and will be because our grandparents and their knowledge are part of this resurgence of good living.
The components that made Peru a continuity and possibility are found in our ancestral roots and elements that came from other cultures. As a consequence of the European invasion and conquest, two entities developed: the original Tawantisuyan, colonised and mestizo under oppressive conditions, and the colonialist entity of first Spaniards and then of American Spaniards (called criollos, children of Spaniards born here) and mestizos associated with the privileges of the colonisers.
The independence of 1821 was the independence of Spanish Americans, Creoles and mestizo Acriollados.
The descendants of the original Tawantisuyans and mestizos continued in servile conditions. Independence created the republican state, with a cast of merchants who did not produce a nation, always ready to sell the riches already known and the new found.
The original Tawantinsuyans and their descendants lived as serfs on the haciendas and on the outskirts of the cities, while the city centres were built for the Creoles and acriollados. Cultural resistance and syncretism, together with population development, gave validity to Tupac Katari’s predictive phrase “we will be millions again”, now we are already millions with many components of our original ancestral roots and others of acculturation, in the direction of evolutionary change and development of cultural and national identity, with the contributions that we are taking from other cultures.
These lines are a few sketches to rehearse some more ideas about national identity and about what we want to be and the national destiny and the possible integration of the countries of South America, while the world today is moving towards regionalisation in large zones of productive technological and cultural development.
The peoples can shape their spirit with the best of the legacy of their millenary past, with the learning of their historical and cultural journey, and the knowledge of contemporary wisdom; a basic substratum for expressing national identity. The nation is a daily decision and will, with the affirmation of what is being built and the firm will to project the good life, drawing the corresponding necessary projective lines.
The social sciences have developed sufficient concepts of state, nation and national and cultural identity, which are important references for understanding and constructing the national identity of all bloods in a pluricultural, multilingual and plurinational country. However, in historical processes nothing is finished and even less definitive, all this status quo can be modified according to the will of the peoples with identity and the needs of the people and the new times.
States are a human creation, the work of an era with the intentional interests of those who modelled them to suit the conveniences of the moment; consequently, the multicultural population was not contained in this neo-colonial architecture, who were annexed in a subordinate condition and in different strata of servility to the state and to the elite of oligarchs and landowners, who made of Peru their booty and apparatus for making wealth.
I add the following definition to complement the previous ideas and finally to express some conclusions open to dialogue and their better complementation: “National identity is a feeling of belonging to the collectivity of a state or nation. It is built on a set of aspects related to culture, language, ethnicity, religion or traditions characteristic of that community. National Identity is related to the nation to which one belongs, whether by being born in that territory, by being part of a community or by feeling ties of belonging to the customs and traditions of that nation. On the other hand, cultural identity is a set of values, traditions, symbols, beliefs and modes of behaviour that function as a cohesive element within a social group and act as a substrate for the individuals who form it to be able to base their sense of belonging. Both concepts are important for the development of a nation and act as a factor underpinning citizens’ sense of belonging”. (2)
Cultural and national identity is constituted by taking the central and current contributions of our ancestral cultures, the learning of centuries of syncretism and cultural diversity, added to universal learning; from our millenary historical roots, recognising our personal and social potential, our potential arising from a profound cultural identity and a defined project of “living well” without which neither memories nor longings would make sense, if at the same time this project is driven with direction and meaning, like the flight of the condors.
Our identity is also defined in who we are and what we want to be for the good of living, then our actions will have direction and our destiny as people and as a national whole will have meaning; no one and nothing will stop our flight.
*Regional Coordinator of the Community for Human Development, President of the Humanist Communications Centre and organiser of the Human Nation Project. Political analyst and journalist.
(1) Fustel de Coulanges, French historian, 1830-1889.
(2) Wiquipedia, national and cultural identity.