Peronism

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at mail.cc.trincoll.edu
Tue Feb 7 02:10:46 MST 1995


If I had to pick out one statement from Juan's thoughtful critique of my
analysis that most crystalizes the distinction between us, I would probably
choose this one:

>... From my point of view, Peronism
>is the necessary political concrete form through which that particular
>moment in the history of Argentine economic development realizes itself.
>Therefore, Peronism is itself that particular moment in action.

In particular, I would profoundly disagree with the assertion that "Peronism
is the _necessary_ political concrete form" of a particular moment in
economic development.  This is the exact context for my suggestion that
other populist movements (Varguismo, Iban~ecismo) could have developed in
place of Peronismo.  In other words, I see no inevitability in the rise of
Peronism -- in the absence of the unique confluence of Juan Peron with Eva
Duarte, Argentina might easily have witnessed the development of a different
form of populism.  In fact, I don't even reject the possibility that
Argentina could have experienced a revolutionary moment in 1945, especially
if the Perons had not been so effective in defeating the Communists'
influence over the trade union movement.

The point is, the economic moment of 1943 demanded that a political change
take place.  The old order was spent; it was incapable of dealing with the
accumulation crisis.

Juan accuses me of positing a:

>Peronism just floating "deep, deep into ideology" when, suddenly, "the
>existence of that moment" "allow[ed] Peronism to come about."

In fact, what I suggest is just the opposite.  Until it was invented by Juan
Peron, Eva Duarte, and the Argentine working class, there _was no such
thing_ as Peronism.  It wasn't "floating" anywhere.  It simply didn't exist.

Just as the steam locomotive couldn't be invented until a whole series of
prior technological developments occurred, allowing for the invention of the
new device, so Peronism could not be invented in the absence of the
particular and specific crisis of the Argentine political economy in 1943.
So, where I actually agree with Juan is that Peronism arose due to a
particular accumulation crisis in Argentina.  If you want, you can use
ground-rent and any other economic category you wish in order to fully
describe that crisis.

Where I fundamentally and profoundly disagree with Juan, however, is in the
assertion that Peronism was the natural and inevitable resolution of that
crisis.  Without the Perons themselves, the movement and its ideology would
never have come into being.  If you will, I'll push my metaphor to the
limit.  Rather than the invention of the steam locomotive, the invention of
Peronism is much more like a train wreck -- a historical accident that
occurred when the westbound Perons ran into the eastbound Argentine working
class...

Trying way too hard to be literary,
Andy

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