fascism and unions and the masses

CEP 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
>separated organizations:

    Carlos Replies:

    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.  
  
    Juan Wrote:

>There are no unions outside these organizations. The bureaucrats that 
lead
>all the unions (and they do are bureauocrats) have been massively 
elected
>by the affiliates, and currently won these elections not only just 
because
>they command the apparatus in the most infamous way as they do, but 
because
>they do have the massive acceptance of the affiliates.

    Carlos Replies:

    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.

    Juan Wrote:

>b) There are three political lines with massive support on a national 
scale:
>
>        1) The Partido Justicialista, the Peronist party, is the party 
of
>the government that won its reelection last May with the 50% of the 
votes.

    Carlos Replies:
    No objection to this fact
    
>Juan Wrote:
>        2) The Frepaso, mainly headed by former Justicialistas that 
see
>themselves as the true expressions of Peronism. The CTA is one of the 
basic
>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).
>
    Carlos Replies:

    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.


    Juan Wrote:

>        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.
>
    Carlos Replies:

    Agreement on this.  The UCR was, however, in a similar situation
    about a dozen times before in history.

    Juan wrote:

>c) Menem won his reelection after his 6 years government with even 
more
>than 50% in the most concentrated industrial areas, although 
unemployment
>had risen there by then above 22%. Just to consider a very expressive

    Carlos Replies:

    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.

    Juan Wrote:
>
>d) The Partido Justicialista became in the '80s the largest political 
party
>in the so-called "occidental world," with about 3 million members (I 
can
>get the exact figure), over 15 million active voters (notice that 
voting is
>compulsory here).

    Carlos Replies:

    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).

    Juan Wrote:

>d) But, of course, Peronism was defeated in the 1983 election. The UCR 
got
>the 50% of the votes against the 39% of the Peronism. Which votes
    (continues an explanation that I generally subscribe of what
     happened)

    Juan wrote:
>
>e) During the 5 and a half years of the Radical government, the CGT 
called
>to 13 national general 24 hours strikes, that were massively practiced 
by
>the workers; these strikes were a visible factor in the Radical's
>government collapse 6 months before its term. During the 6 years of 
the new
>Peronist government, only a couple of general strikes were called, and 
with
>the partial observance that corresponded to the part of the 
organization of
>the unions that called each of them. And this happened though wages, 
and
>then employment, have been sharply falling in the last years.
>
        Carlos Replies:

    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.


    Juan Wrote:

>As I stated it in my previous post, when many years ago my early 
socialist
>formation clashed against the same type of manifestations of the 
Argentine
>political reality at that time, I found myself pushed by the necessity 
of
>discovering why the process of capital accumulation takes in Argentina 
a
>national form that needs to develop itself by making the working class 
not
>to have an external and circumstantial relationship with Peronism
>(suggested in Carlos' previous post) but, rather, that "Peronism 
massively
>_is_ the ideological and practical political expression of the 
Argentine
>working class since 1945."

    Carlos Replies:

    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.

    Juan Wrote:
>
>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 
not
>express itself through political concrete forms, political concrete
>practices, that agree with it?

    Carlos Replies:

    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. 

    JUan Wrote:
>
>Carlos has omitted also the complete question of the CGT "Plan de 
Lucha" in
>1965/66 against the UCR government (that was elected with the 26% of 
the
>votes while the Peronism was proscribed). It included massive strikes 
and
>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 
the
>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 
dictator
>was placed in charge, since they expected to reproduce the 
"Army-People
>aliance" and the 43-45 situation.

    Carlos Replies:

    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"


    Juan Wrote:
>
>El Cordobazo started when two columns of workers marched into the city 
of
>Cordoba. One, estimated in 1000 workers, was headed by A. Tosco (from 
the
>lighting and power union), who defined himself as a socialist and even 
as a
>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 
has
>moved by then into the opposition). This column was estimated in 5000
>industrial workers. The joint action was agreed in a meeting between 
Tosco,
>Torres, the local metalurgic leader, ... and Vandor himself.

    Carlos Replies:
    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
    in 1969-72.

    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.

    Comradely,

    Carlos


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