fascism and unions and the masses
iwp.ilo at ix.netcom.com
Tue Nov 28 21:36:58 MST 1995
You (Juan) wrote:
>Any attempt to develop a massive conscious revolutionary action in
>Argentina today must deal, to begin with, with the following facts:
>a) The unions' confederation, CGT, is currently divided into three
I would like to change the priorities of this assertion to:
A)Any attempt to develop a massive conscious revolutionary action
in Argentina today must lead with the existence of a labor
bureacracy that reign over a working class that was *decimated*
by 1)structural changes in the economy (which included the drop
in the number of union members to 50% of what it was in 1960s
and 1970s in comparison of percentages with the population); 2)
The murder of entire generations of union activists and leaders
by the Isabel's and the military government (1976-82) and 3)the
theoretical and political unwillingness of the left to deal with
the question of the "dirty war", the dissappeared and the genocide
as the central *political* and *democratic* question in Argentina.
>There are no unions outside these organizations. The bureaucrats that
>all the unions (and they do are bureauocrats) have been massively
>by the affiliates, and currently won these elections not only just
>they command the apparatus in the most infamous way as they do, but
>they do have the massive acceptance of the affiliates.
This statement of Juan is true. Except that in the last twenty
years another superexploited proletariat has emerged in Argentina
that works *outside* the unions and is not represented by them.
As to the *massive* acceptance of the members, I would like to
remind Juan that no Union has had, in the last ten years or so,
more than 30%/35% participation of members in National Elections
in the Unions. In some cases, as the relative recent elections in
the National Teachers Union, less than 20% of the members voted.
>b) There are three political lines with massive support on a national
> 1) The Partido Justicialista, the Peronist party, is the party
>the government that won its reelection last May with the 50% of the
No objection to this fact
> 2) The Frepaso, mainly headed by former Justicialistas that
>themselves as the true expressions of Peronism. The CTA is one of the
>supports of this political movement. They rejected the support of the
>Partido Comunista, that formed an alliance with another minor Peronist
>group (this group didn't get any massive support in the elections).
While the formula of the FREPASO was headed by Peronists (I visited
Argentina at the moment of the elections and I made the joke that
I saw the largest ever Peronist primary in history) I will suggest
that is an alliance of many sectors that carried most of the
anti-Peronist vote. They won in the Capital of the country, Buenos
Aires, traditionally an stronghold of anti-peronist radicals (a la
bourgeois, as Inigo said) and before of Radicals and Socialists. If
the memory doesn't fail me, Peronism only won in the Capital once
in its history.
The most important feeder for the FREPASO votes were radicals and
the left and moderate liberal votes.
> 3) The Partido Radical, UCR, in marked decay. To avoid any
>confusion, "Radical" has nothing to do here with the political meaning
>given to the term in the USA. To trace a very rough parallel, to be a
>Radical here could be seen as being a Democrat there.
Agreement on this. The UCR was, however, in a similar situation
about a dozen times before in history.
>c) Menem won his reelection after his 6 years government with even
>than 50% in the most concentrated industrial areas, although
>had risen there by then above 22%. Just to consider a very expressive
Most industrial workers in the country lives in the "Gran Buenos
Aires", Around Rosario and around Cordoba Cities. Peronists got
about 40% of the vote in the "Gran Buenos Aires" and lost the
election in the working class areas of Cordoba and Rosario.
>d) The Partido Justicialista became in the '80s the largest political
>in the so-called "occidental world," with about 3 million members (I
>get the exact figure), over 15 million active voters (notice that
In the last election was the first one in which the "Blank votes"
were not counted as part of the percentage (It was aproximately 10%
or more???-- not sure). There were also an unusual percentage
of voters who, in spite the fact that vote is compulsory, did not
participate (it is useful to establish here that in Argentina we
had had elections with over 90% participation of all elegible
voters, something unknown in the US and Europe).
>d) But, of course, Peronism was defeated in the 1983 election. The UCR
>the 50% of the votes against the 39% of the Peronism. Which votes
(continues an explanation that I generally subscribe of what
>e) During the 5 and a half years of the Radical government, the CGT
>to 13 national general 24 hours strikes, that were massively practiced
>the workers; these strikes were a visible factor in the Radical's
>government collapse 6 months before its term. During the 6 years of
>Peronist government, only a couple of general strikes were called, and
>the partial observance that corresponded to the part of the
>the unions that called each of them. And this happened though wages,
>then employment, have been sharply falling in the last years.
I didn't count the general strikes against the UCR government but
half of them have mixed results and at least two of them were
complete failures (remember Ubaldini's actions?) I do not believe
the general strikes were as decisive to the failure of the UCR
government as it was its concessions to the murderous military
(with Alfonsin passing laws of "forgiveness" and "Due Obedience"
freeing all responsibles for the massacre of the working class and
students and intellectuals in the 70s)
The last general strike against Menem and the Federal March,
counted with the
participation of an impressive number of workers. In a
demonstration in support fo the last general strike, over 100,000
people gathered to protest in front of the government house.
>As I stated it in my previous post, when many years ago my early
>formation clashed against the same type of manifestations of the
>political reality at that time, I found myself pushed by the necessity
>discovering why the process of capital accumulation takes in Argentina
>national form that needs to develop itself by making the working class
>to have an external and circumstantial relationship with Peronism
>(suggested in Carlos' previous post) but, rather, that "Peronism
>_is_ the ideological and practical political expression of the
>working class since 1945."
This is an explanation of why Juan capitulated to Peronism and now
is searching for an explanation for it. I have no problem with
his personal needs to adapt to Peronism. Many other leftists did
the same in the 70s and the 80s. It was what Peron called "the
little bottle of ink which want to change the color of the ocean"
What is not acceptable for me is to try to pass that adaptation
as Marxist ideology o Marxian annalysis.
>Then, he further encloses Peronism in the world of ideas:
>>Peronism represents the level
>> of consciousness of the argentine working class, and not
>> from 1945, but as a recurrent phenomenae.
>What sort of abstraction is the "consciousness of a class" that does
>express itself through political concrete forms, political concrete
>practices, that agree with it?
Consciousness of the working class as Peronist is not an
abstraction. It is
the result of very material historical developments such as
30/40 years of *political* and *physical* defeats of the working
class that deprived it of the leadership, the program and the
internal democracy to advance to a socialist consciousness. In
other words, the present level of consciosness of the Argentinian
working class is determined by an alliance, "de-facto", of the
UCR, the Peronists and the military to defeat workers and their
struggles since 1945. Sometimes in opposing parties,but generally
agreeing on the strategy of defeating the Argentinian proletariat.
>Carlos has omitted also the complete question of the CGT "Plan de
>1965/66 against the UCR government (that was elected with the 26% of
>votes while the Peronism was proscribed). It included massive strikes
>the occupation of factories by the workers, and acted as one of the
>triggers for the 1966 military coup. The metallurgist A. T. Vandor was
>main leader of the "Loyal 62" and of the CGT at that time, and he was
>present with the leader of the "Standing 62" when the new military
>was placed in charge, since they expected to reproduce the
>aliance" and the 43-45 situation.
Sure. I remember these facts. I also remember that Vandor lived
to become the one who challenged, years later, Peron and his
leadership. He ended up organizing a kind of Labor Party (remember
Mendoza and other elections) with which he challenged the Peronist
Party with excelent electoral results. That costed him his life.
He was killed by Montoneros, not for being a labor bureaucrat (he
certainly was one), but
as Peron said because he "jumped the fence" and then he decided to
send his "special formations"
>El Cordobazo started when two columns of workers marched into the city
>Cordoba. One, estimated in 1000 workers, was headed by A. Tosco (from
>lighting and power union), who defined himself as a socialist and even
>Marxist. But the other column was headed by E. Torres, from the
>auto-workers union, who was an active member of Vandor's line (Vandor
>moved by then into the opposition). This column was estimated in 5000
>industrial workers. The joint action was agreed in a meeting between
>Torres, the local metalurgic leader, ... and Vandor himself.
You have your information wrong. The metal and auto workers
colummn of over 5,000 was led by the SITRAC-SITRAM, militant
unions led by Maoists and centrists, fierce opponents of Peronism.
Tosco-led colummn, an independent Marxist, had over 2,500 and it
was met by over 10,000 students from the University of Cordoba,
under the leadership of a combined and heterogenous groups of
Left Forces. The column form the bureaucracy (by the way Elpidio
left the City the day before the demonstration) had lesss than 500
people. In the center of the City were met by other contigents
from different factories and universities and by the passer-bys.
In a three days-battle they defeated the entire police force in
the City, they capture all government buildings and asserted
initial control of the City. The Army invaded the City with
tanks and heavy artillery and took three more days to regain
control. Most of the leaders of that movement were assasinated
or jailed in the following ten years. So were the leaders and
activists of similar semi-insurrections such as "El Rosariazo"
and those which occurred in Mendoza, Neuquen and other provinces
Why Juan NEEDS TO CHALLENGE THIS INTERPRETATION Of history? Simply
because El Cordobazo and other similar, massive, working class
uprising in Argentina were showing the way in which the working
class could have had overcome its "Peronist level of
Counsciousness". He needs to sell us his determinist, fatalistic,
"unavoidable" conclussion that peronism is the past, present and
future "ideological expression" of the Argentinian working class
because that is what is dictated by an inflexible law of economics.
Yes, I do believe that in the present epoch, politics determines
over economics. Capitalism has stopped its progressiveness more
than a century ago and it only last (beyond its historic
usefulness) by the lack of leadership to dig the last hole for it
and yes, because the betrayal of the working class leaderships and
those who, acting as intellectual cheerleaders spend their entire
lives with the "mea culpa" of former "socialists" tryin to explain
why we cannot succeed.
Juan's arguments, without trying to call him an stalinist, sound
like those who argue, until very recently, about the need to be
on the side of the "existent socialism" or the "possible socialism"
instead of arguing for revolutionary politics. Well, you only
have to see where those guys led the Soviet Union and the Eastern
European countries. They,too said that the masses in those
countries had, and its ideological and practical representation
Stalinism. History has proven what Trotsky said about Stalinism:
an accident in history. Peronism, hopefully from the left this
time, will be proven also as a mere accident in history.
By the way. I'm not upset. And my last words in my last posting
was not a posture. I consider all those assasinated by the
"Peronist" Triple A, Isabel's and Peron's governments, the military
leadership MY COMRADES. But not only that: I consider them the
best proof, fortunately, that you're wrong.
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