State, nation, patria

In response to the hypocrisy of the First Republic’s sustained imperial position during the Ten Years’ War, José Martí satirized the logic of the integrity argument. Quite simply, the claim of national integrity was “ridiculous” for a territory divided by the Atlantic Ocean.

Less absurd, but equally dangerous for Cuba in Martí’s survey of Spanish Republicanism’s imperial nationalism, was the conflation of the political notion of the “nation” as “state” with a more Herderian Romantic “patria” in a new narrative of nationalism.

In the following passage, Martí replaces the jingoist term “nación” with “patria,” underscoring the perversion of the idea of cultural nationalism in the service of commercial imperialism. “Patria” remains, as “nation” should, beyond the reach of the logic of the market.

“No constituye la tierra eso que llaman integridad de la patria. Patria es algo más que opresión, algo más que pedazos de terreno sin libertad y sin vida, algo más que derecho de posesión a la fuerza. Patria es comunidad de intereses, unidad de tradiciones, unidad de fines, fusion dulcísima y consoladora de amores y esperanzas.”

(Land is not that which they call integrity of the patria. Patria is something more than oppression, more than chunks of land stripped of liberty and life, something more than the right of possession by force. Patria is a community of interests, unity of traditions, unity of goals, a sweet and consoling fusion of love and hope.)[9]

By rejecting the extension of nationalist discourses over the domain of the patria, Martí attacks the core logic of the Spanish Empire.

This is a good article, that I am glad I found.


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