Are Puerto Ricans a National Minority?


  • James Blaut





Some sectors of the North American left are convinced that Puerto Ricans in the United States do not belong to the Puerto Rican nation, that the community is merely a "national minority"—an ethnic subdivision of a different nation, the United States. This national-minority theory bears some resemblance to the old idea of the melting pot, or at least to its liberal variant ("Puerto Rican-Americans," "minority rights," etc.), but there is said to be one crucial difference: the national minority theory is supposed to be grounded in Marxism, and specifically in an argument derived from Stalin's 1913 essay, "Marxism and the National Question." In essence, the argument is simple. Stalin listed the attributes which, in his opinion, an ethnic group must possess to qualify as a nation. Puerto Ricans in the United States do not possess these attributes, are therefore neither a nation nor a segment of a divided Puerto Rican nation, and thus are merely (in Stalin's phrase) a "national minority."

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