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Full pamphlet: El Líder de la desesperación – Juan Antonio Corretjer

We are making available in Spanish, the text of the political summation by Juan Antonio Corretjer of Puerto Rican Nationalist Party leader and revolutionary Pedro Albizu Campos. We hope to be able to translate this text sooner or later, but in the meantime, Spanish readers can take advantage of this.  Please click here to view: El Líder de la desesperación – Juan Antonio Corretjer (The Leader of Desperation)

Clemente Soto Velez, Juan Antonio Corretjer, and Pedro Albizu Campos, at the time when Corretjer was a leader in the Nationalist Party.

Clemente Soto Velez, Juan Antonio Corretjer, and Pedro Albizu Campos, at the time when Corretjer was a leader in the Nationalist Party.

This document – published in the early 1970s (a few years after Albizu’s death), as a result of a series of lectures Corretjer gave on the topic, is still one of the best communist summations of Albizu, as well as being a communist critique of the limitations of the Nationalist perspective for the liberation of Puerto Rico. Juan Antonio Corretjer was uniquely placed to make this critique: he was for many years the Secretary General of the Nationalist Party, and his organic break with the Nationalists happened as he served a 10 year jail sentence as part of his work in that position. Thus, he had been second only to Albizu in being instrumental in developing that Party from a debate club for middle class nationalists, into one of the defining political organizations of the middle of the 20th century Puerto Rico, and the initiator in the 20th century of the Puerto Rican revolutionary movement.

Corretjer does a masterful synthesis of both the need for revolution (as expressed by the Nationalist Party) and the need for this revolution to be proletarian in nature (as advocated by Puerto Rican communists). His correct analysis of the class basis – petty bourgeois and bourgeois – of the Nationalist Party as part of its ultimate failure – which titles the text, referring to the desperation of the middle and upper class nationalists – still remains a powerful deviation in the context of the Puerto Rican revolutionary movement, even among forces that were led by Corretjer and his followers. (A good criticism of this failure of line, from a 1982 document by the Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores, translated from Spanish, is available here: The Attack on Muñiz Air Base: On the Question of Armed Struggle in Puerto Rico).  As analysis, this text is a foundational basis for the communist criticism of Puerto Rican Nationalism, and thus essential reading for North American Maoists and communists, for whom the struggle for the liberation of Puerto Rico – as one of the few remaining open colonies in the world – should be a central component of their struggle against imperialism in general, and US imperialism in the specific – and who contains among its ranks some of the most advanced elements of the diaspora and Puerto Rican heritage proletariat in the United States.

Corretjer’s closing argument, which we translate here, holds true today, as it did then:

“Albizu remains a great teacher as he, by his actions as well a omissions, laid out the basis of the revolutionary path for Puerto Rico. We should look at his experience in the direction of  where he pointed, and at the same time, rectify the errors of the reformist, counter-revolutionary, and anti-proletarian “workers movement” in Puerto Rico; substituting Albizu’s revolutionary nationalist ideas for the communist ideas of [Irish revoltionary James] Connolly and of [Russian revolutionary V.I.] Lenin. In doing so, we shall organize the forces of the liberation movement not from outside of the proletariat, but from inside the proletariat itself.”

Corretjer in full uniform giving a speech, a few years after writing this text.

Corretjer in full uniform giving a speech, a few years after writing this text.

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