Thursday, 16 February 2017

Peter Waterman on the iconisation of internationalists

Peter Waterman, 2016, Of icons, of myths and of internationalists, Interface: a journal for and about social movements, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 81–94.
Abstract: The iconisation and/or mythologisation of prominent ‘internationalists’ (the active individual bearers/promoters/subjects of international solidarity) is problematic. The iconisation/iconoclasm is revealed in the case of Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Nobel Peace Prize 1992), around whom a remarkable academic and political controversy arose. It revealed many of the problems that arise when when ‘the subaltern speaks’, and a new kind of international icon appears. But the Rigoberta books also reveal to us a contemporary kind of internationalist/internationalism. The problem of myths/mytholigisation is revealed in a recent essay by Doug Ennaa Greene that defends/promotes such by Leftist social movements. Greene mentions such international/ist figures as the Peruvian, Jose Carlos Mariátegui and the Argentinian, Che Guevara. It is here argued, however, that we need to approach both such outstanding historical and contemporary internationalists free of iconisation and mythology, treating them as neither saints nor sinners but compañer@s.