FANON IN THE ANDES
Fausto Reinaga, Indianismo, and the Black Atlantic
In the rise of contemporary indigenous movements in Latin America, indigenous leaders have acknowledged their debt to the Bolivian indigenous intellectual Fausto Reinaga (1906-1994), a major theorist of the anti-colonial and anti-Occidental ideology known as indianisimo. His work, especially his 1969 classic La revolución india had a profound impact on the development of indigenous movements, intellectuals, and leaders including Bolivian President Evo Morales. Yet, curiously, his work remains sorely understudied. This essay examines the continuing relevance of Reinaga by exploring his ‘Atlantic’ encounter with the thought of the Martinican-Algerian theorist Frantz Fanon. Reinaga’s encounter with Fanon, however, is not an unproblematic one and there are instructive commonalities and tensions in their work. This article addresses Fanon’s influence on Reinaga’s views on colonialism, compares Fanon’s and Reinaga’s deployments of the concept of race, and contrasts their views on postcolonial nation-building. Though in some ways Fanon is more attentive to the complexities and tensions of anticolonial struggles than Reinaga, I argue that the work of Reinaga can be read in a Fanonian spirit, as a dialectical analysis in which the focus on the particular is necessary for universal projects of emancipation.