Argentina After Peron

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Mon Jun 12 00:01:06 MDT 2000

Very interesting article. Here some reflections, made during the reading.

> American Socialist, November 1958
> The Peron era, authoritarian though it was, left a tradition of social
> benefits and an awakening of labor aspirations. The next stage of
> politics turns on the question: Which political group will inherit Peron's
> labor backing?

Forty five years after this question is still alive in Argentinian politics.
And it is still the core of our destiny.

> Argentina After Peron
> by Irving L Horowitz
> (Irving L. Horowitz has recently returned from Argentina, where he was
> Visiting Professor at the Institute of Sociology of The University of
> Buenos Aires. He is now a teaching-fellow at Brandeis University.)

The University after the militar coup of 1955 was taken by the leftist petty
bourgeoisie and it began what was known as "scientificism": a kind of
modernizing leaded by Risieri Frondizi, one of the brothers of the president
Arturo Frondizi. Risieri Frondizi's task would be to adapt the high
education to the neccesities of a bourgeoisie that tried to arrange with the
imperialistic capital and inversions. The School fo Sociology and the School
of Psychology were the two most important creations of this period. The
School of Sociology was directed by an italian professor, Gino Germani, who
introduced in the country the american quantitative Sociology, with Vance
Packard as its guru. The presence of Horowitz responds to this tendence. The
incomprehension of this current about peronism was proverbial. The
definition of Germani on peronism gives an idea about it: "Peronism is a
kind of fascism based in the worker class". (??)
> "To close the cycle of Argentine fascism, a cycle of twenty five years of
> bitterness, political thought began showing sufficient maturity to
> that there are always hidden alternatives in politics."
> -José Luis Romero, Las ideas politicas en Argentina

his Jose Luis Romero is very representative of the period. In history he
tried to give scientifical arquitecture to the historical myths builded by
Mitre and the liberal traditional interpretation of Argentinian  history.
> AN old Spanish proverb says that "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed
> king." In many ways, Argentina, by virtue of its enigmatic politics and
> ambiguous economics, is a land of the blind, where even one-eyed prophets
> may be considered kings. The notorious partisanship of Argentine politics
> often prevents the committed man, particularly if he happens to be a
> of a minority movement, whether of a rightist (Civico Independiente) or
> super-leftist (Praxis) type, from looking at the situation with even his
> one good eye. Parties ranging in size from 600 to 600,000 claim to be the
> sole inheritors of the Marxian mantle. Analogous situations are the case
> for the factions vying for leadership of Peronist and Nationalist
> The extent of Argentine democracy today can in some measure be gauged by
> the number of political parties, no less than the hilarious criticisms
> of all and sundry politicians by the popular weeklies. It is a situation
> believers in Mill's canon of minority conscience might approve, were it
> for the fact that political pronunciamentos are a far cry from political
> power.

The little detail that Horowitz silences is that peronism was proscript at
this moment. Yes, it was bloomed a lot of parties, but the absolutely
majority of people could not vote for the party and the man that they
considered their legitime representant, Peron and peronism. It was
criminalized to name Peron or peronism. The press refered to him as " the
escaped dictator" and his regime as "the second tyranny". Yes, the first was
Rosas government in the '30 and '40 of XIXth Century. As a curiosity, the
two parties that the author names are Civico Independiente, the party of
Alvaro Alsogaray, still alive and one of the most open and clear
representants of the foreign capital in Argentina, a kind of extremist and
fanatic liberal of the Hayek's school. The other one is Praxis, a little
extreme leftist group leaded by the other brother of president Frondizi,
Silvio Frondizi, who was killed in 1975 by a paramilitary group.


> From the moment Peron fell in 1955, Peron and Peronism became increasingly
> divergent in attitudes and ambitions. As Amado Olmos, a tough union leader
> of the New Peronism recently said: "We want him back (from exile), but as
> sort of party hero, not as President. Peron is not a revolutionary." In
> that last sentence is precisely the crux of the difference between man and
> movement.

This is one of the most interesting observations of the article. The words
of Amado Olmos in 1957 ligth what it happened in Argentina during the '70,
twenty years after. His words express, strangely, a kind of incomprehension
about Peron representativity and leadership. It was precisely this what
produced the bloody  confrontation between Montoneros and Peron. To consider
Peron only as a kind of "party hero" without real power was politically
stupid and a way to use his influence on the masses usurping it for own
proposals, something that in politics is always paid with a high price.
Amado Olmos was a very interesting man, anyway. He died in 1968 and he had,
in his trade union,  Workers of Hospitals and Sanatoriums, a collaborator,
Angel Caeiro, with marxist formation. This Angel Caeiro was the teacher  of
two important trade union leaders of our time, Victor De Gennaro and German
Abdala. The first is today the leader of CTA, as we have told in other
posts. The actual position of Victor De Gennaro is partially explainable
with this words of Amado Olmos, said as early as 1957. Very curious, indeed.


> The real big tests are as yet in the future; as indeed, all Argentina is a
> past and future, with not much to show in the present. Frondizi is
> apparently convinced that he must integrate the masses behind a program
> too distant from Peronist socio-economlc reform demands, and yet not so
> close as to require political integration of the masses at the expense of
> constitutional guarantees. The denial of these reforms would surely result
> in yet another reign of terror, and greater changes in the social
> than the present regime offers. It also seems to be the case that Frondizi
> is relying upon the steady radicalization of the New Peronism to allow him
> to enlarge the scope of his efforts to extricate Argentina from its
> economic morass. The New Peronism can also be employed as a warning to
> other sections of society that they face a far more drastic alternative
> unless Frondizi receives the sanction to carry out his program of liberty
> with power, industrialization without terrorism.

Frondizi, as it is known, capitulated with imperialism and oligarchy. But
the last words of Horowitz are, in some way, prophetical because, not
Frondizi, but Peron himself used ten years after the menace of the
radicalization of peronism in order to obtain a better negotiation with the
oligarchic power in Argentina. Montoneros and "the special formations"
played this role. Of course the country had lived the "cordobazo" in 1969
what was the most closed insurrectional situation that the country has lived
in its whole history.
As I said, a very interesting article that we must thank Lou for.

Abrazos revolucionarios

Julio FB

More information about the Marxism mailing list