How Difficult It Is to Be God: Shining Path’s Politics of by Degregori

By Degregori

The innovative conflict introduced by means of Shining direction, a Maoist insurgency, was once the main violent upheaval in smooth Peru’s background, claiming a few 70,000 lives within the 1980s–1990s and drawing frequent foreign recognition. but for lots of observers, Shining Path’s preliminary successes have been a secret. What defined its cult-like charm, and what truly occurred contained in the Andean groups at war?
    In How tricky it's to Be God, Carlos Iván Degregori—the world’s major specialist on Shining direction and the highbrow architect for Peru’s very hot fact and Reconciliation Commission—elucidates the movement’s dynamics. An anthropologist who witnessed Shining Path’s recruitment of militants within the Nineteen Seventies, Degregori grounds his findings in deep study and fieldwork. He explains not just the ideology and tradition of revolution one of the insurgents, but in addition their potential to increase their impact to college youths, Indian groups, and competing social and political movements.
    Making Degregori’s most vital paintings to be had to English-language readers for the 1st time, this translation encompasses a new creation via historian Steve J. Stern, who analyzes the author’s success, why it concerns, and the debates it sparked. For a person drawn to Peru and Latin America’s age of “dirty war,” or within the comparative learn of revolutions, Maoism, and human rights, this publication will offer arresting new insights.

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Additional resources for How Difficult It Is to Be God: Shining Path’s Politics of War in Peru, 1980–1999

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He wel­comed de­bate. He crit­i­cized the lim­its of his own work, not­ably the ten­dency in some writ­ings to adopt an ­overly ideal­ized de­pic­tion of peas­ant com­mu­nity ­patrols (ron­das) that had or­ga­nized ­self-defense ­against Shin­ing 16 Introduction Path. He under­stood what had been left aside in these es­says but re­quired more search­ing anal­ys­ is, for ex­am­ple, about the roles of the armed ­forces and the state as such. With­out aban­don­ing his own anal­y­sis, he knew how to learn from oth­ers, and to draw on re­search and con­cepts from other schol­ars or ­fields, to re­fine his ­thought.

Nor could Shin­ing Path be inter­preted prop­erly, re­gard­less of ideo­log­i­cal pre­tense, as a van­guard pro­le­tar­ian party. 20 At its core, what makes this book im­por­tant is not sim­ply its doc­u­men­ta­tion of ­Degregori’s ­thought, but its in­sight­ful focus on the pol­i­tics of the in­sur­gency, both in its inter­nal sense (ideol­ogy, or­gan­iza­tion, and so­cial base) and in its ex­ter­nal sense (re­la­tion­ships with other rel­e­vant so­cial ac­tors). The key is­sues an­a­lyzed in the es­says in­clude the fol­low­ing: (a) the re­la­tion­ships ­between the Shin­ing Path and other key so­cial ­forces, in­clud­ing uni­ver­sity youth, in­dig­e­nous/peas­ant com­mu­nities, and com­ pet­ing so­cial or po­lit­i­cal move­ments; (b) the ideo­log­i­cal di­men­sion of Shin­ing Path, and its con­nec­tion to ­cult-like lead­er­ship, and for­ma­tion of a com­mu­nity of in­sur­gency with ­strong co­her­ ence and spir­it­ ual com­mit­ment; (c) the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences of the war as it un­folded over time, es­pe­cially in ­grass-roots An­dean high­lands con­texts; and, (d) the na­tional and trans­na­tional dy­nam­ics that made pos­sible but also ­placed at risk the work of the Pe­ru­vian Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­at­ ion Com­mis­sion.

In order to con­vince the non­be­liev­ers, Ab­i­mael him­self ­showed up days later on TV, ­leaner but ­healthy, wear­ing a Mao style ­jacket in­stead of his ­striped ­prison uni­form, with beard and hair ­trimmed and ap­par­ently dyed. It was not ­enough. Some Shin­ing Path leaf­lets ­talked about a dou­ble, a look­ alike that was usurp­ing the per­son­al­ity of pres­i­dent Gon­zalo, who might well be dead. But the Red Cross was able to ac­cess the pris­oner and con­firmed that he was in good con­di­tion.

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