The rebirth of willful local communities, endowed with capaci-
ties of self-organization and political direction that rendered them some-
thing other than mere extensions of the will of Sendero or the military, was
not supposed to happen. Much ofSendero's efforts and the military'S efforts,
in contested regions in the 1980s and 1990s, aimed precisely to destroy
independent organization and political will. The prosecution of the war im-
plied reductionism: an erasure of alternate political and social pathways that
would leave only two stark choices, the path of Sendero and that of the mili-
tary or state. In this scheme, semiautonomous expressions oflocal authority
-for example, those found in the elder or vara system of rural Andean
communities in the center-south - became a potential threat and target of
intimidation, even if such authorities adopted a stance of "apolitical" avoid-
ance of supralocal politics. The mere potential for independent organization
or nonaligned will was grounds enough for suspicion and hostility.
In this scheme as well, "third" paths that represented a more explicit
political alternative to Sendero and the military, whether organized as grass-
roots expressions of will unaffiliated with particular political parties and
tendencies, or as local instances or branches of a wider political project,
constituted an impermissible threat. Particularly in its dirty war phase,
the military tended to react to third pathways by equating leftists and
nonaligned activists critical of the state (for example, human rights and
Church activists) with Sendero. For Sendero, leftist and nonaligned activist
alternatives to senderismo (including the staffs of NGo-based development
projects) constituted dangerous enemies. They fed illusions, they com-
peted for support around social justice issues, they encouraged treasonous
negotiation, coexistence, or alliance with a reactionary state. As Mallon
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