A dose of Lund, mixed with thoughts of mine.

From [pp.] 14-20, Lund discusses Alva’s essays on “colonization” and actual citizenship for indigenous peoples. The problem is that having the Indian as an active member of the modern nation means transforming their mode of production — when at the same time,the Indian untouched is honored as being what makes the nation original (an important value in the nineteenth century).

Valuing the (traditional) Indian while also transforming them; having them be subjects and agents while also telling them what to do; these are contradictions that throw into relief the limits of the liberal critique of racism and of the possibilities of the liberal state.

Page 20: this aporia represents the stopping point upon which the race-nation articulatio of Mexican, state-sponsored identity will rest. How to articulate tradition and modernity? How to be capitalist and pre-capitalist at once? To become modern is to leave tradition behind.

But, as Schwarz’ theory of “misplaced ideas” makes clear, contradictions like this one offer insight into the cultural problems of an era. In this case Alva’s discourse of what Lund calls Indianization (placing the Indian at the center or at least squarely within the nation) actually means de-Indianization, because the Indian is now supposed to function in the capitalist nation formation. So the Indian symbolizes a valued “tradition” but is also asked to stop enacting or representing tradition.

Thus “regeneration” is actually abandonment (a term Alva uses, as well). Alva says they were abandoned by the Republic, but the call for them to modernize in way the nation prescribes
is an abandonment of any substance in the term “tradition;” it is also a call for the Indians to abandon themselves.

Lund, 26-27, ending this first chapter and summing up some key theoretical ideas:

Limits of the liberal critique of racism: race in the West is a way of speaking about economic exploitation. It arises alongside and within colonialism, slavery, bourgeois industrialism, and the modern nation-form.

Liberalism grew from the same Enlightenment tradition that spawned the modern idea of race (I have to consolidate my ideas about this, race as product of Enlightenment, and here is where Ferreira may help). It runs into its own aporia when it attempts to criticize the material effects of racial discourse, since it believes in freedom and equality but is also tied to capitalism which means hierarchy, depends upon surplus value at the very least, and so on.

Because in liberalism we have to have capitalism, we can only tolerate a diversity of modes of production up to a certain point. We cannot let those Indians be doing things as differently as they would have to do to uphold “tradition,” for example … or let anyone do things in a way that challenges capitalism to a serious degree.

So, in the case of Alva, including the Indian in the “colonization” project — the modernization of space — means colonizing the Indian; and Indianizing modernity means de-Indianizing the Indian. This, again, is why liberalism and tolerance do not get to the heart of the race issue.

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