The end of South American nationalism?

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Thu Nov 11 14:45:59 MST 1999

Thank you Roberto for your words about my article on peronism. But I want to
clear my thinking about nationalism.

I don't think that

> nationalism is over forever.

as you put in my mouth. I think, and this is what I wrote in my article,
that the special version of democratic nationalism that history produced
in my country and which name is peronism is over. The nationalism, the
latinamerican nationalism, in the sense that you say in your message, is
long from beeing over. It is still alive and it is one of the most powerful
forces of a possible revolution in this part of the world.

I agree with very good description of our reality:

> I think that I don't need to remember that South American nationalism is
> quite different from the Eurasian and African one.  It is purely economic
> and deprived of ethnical, racial, religious or national hatred.  It would
> impossible otherwise, since both the Argentinan and the Brazilian peoples
> have important roots in more or less recent immigrant waves from Europe
> elsewhere, which added up to the original population from the colonial
> times, that already was ethnically diverse too. Though this description
> also fit to USA, the difference is the pervasive and divisive manifold
> of racism.  The Iberian "mother" countries around 1492 had already been
> absorbing one ethnical group after another for too many centuries,
> non-Europeans as Carthaginians, Arabs, Moors, Jews and Gipsies.

When I say peronism I mean the peculiar composition of the national front
that appeared in 1945: worker class, national bourgeoisie that produces to
the internal market, Armed Forces that play the rol of this weak and coward
bourgeoisie and the national state as a kind of Deus ex machina who create
the modern society. What I think is that this is dead for ever. Nationalism,
and above all latinamerican nationalism, is alive and Chavez and Venezuela
is a living proof of this.

Roberto wrote:

> I also agree with Julio that only the proletariat alone could now take the
> lead of the tasks of national emancipation, which are now clearly
> inextirpable from those of social emancipation.

If I understand well this text, I don't agree. I mean the sentence "only the
proletariat alone..."  Unfortunately the proletariat alone can do no much in
the social force relations of our countries. My idea is that in our
countries, in which the worker class is, in a certain way, no the majority
of people, the proletariat have to lead a front of classes opressed by
imperialism and in this classes
I count, among others, sectors of the national bourgeoisie, the urban low
middle class, the poor peasants. In this way I understand your words "...
take the lead of the tasks of national emancipation".

Nevertheless, proletarians
> still lack the great leaders and organizations, though in this case Brazil
> is in a better situation than Argentina, where the mainstream
> is so liberal as the shameful liberal Peronists (now liberal, as Julio
> explains).   As Gramsci said, we are living a time when the future is not
> born yet and when the past is dead.
> Notwithstanding this, I do have a great doubt.  Since the present stage of
> capitalism is that of a permanent crisis,  when mass unemployment will
> recede in the next cycle, but will increase instead, the proletariat is
> demobilized and even demoralized.  Could the proletariat, in the road to
> lumpenproletariat, keep (develop) a revolutionary mentality?   In Brazil
> this is true only in the case of the organized peasantry and of the
> expropriated small farmers and in the new (and little) urban squatter

This is of course the one million's question. In spite of all these horrible
years, in Argentina there is a sector of the trade unions (of course
peronist) that has held the "old fashioned" ideals and perspectives, I mean
that it has not defeated. Its thinking and actions are circumscribed into
the limits of the trade unionist conception, and the step towards a
political action of the worker class is, as we know, difficult. But the
situation, the crisis and, above all, the steel hardness of imperialism
would oblige them to give the neccesary answers.

Con abrazos revolucionarios

Julio F.B.

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