3. Peron

Alternative alternative at sbcglobal.net
Sun Apr 28 00:17:45 MDT 2002


I will send you some comments on your post on Peron whenever I have some
free time.  Meanwhile, here are some questions:

Louis:

"He is seen as some kind of 
Bonapartist caudillo at best, or fascist at worst."

Carlos:

Other than few very backward Stalinists and few also very backward
historians in the US, I'm not aware of any serious Marxist or bourgeois
historian who would nowadays, refer to Peron as a "Bonapartist caudillo"
or a "Fascist."  I do realize that these were the characterizations of
the Argentinean and Italian Stalinists in the 1940s and the US and
British media  until the 50s (well, the US media until the 70s,
actually).  But all these people kind of updated their characterizations
to make them a little more believable more than two or three decades
ago.  Unless you're referring to some otherwise "respectable" writers
I'm not familiar with.

Louis:

The Radical Party mounted the first challenge to the entrenched class 
relationships. Their social base was in the petty proprietors, 
shopkeepers, intelligentsia, professionals and labor aristocracy of 
the cities and towns. The leadership, however, came mainly from 
landed interests that were shut out of the Argentina-England 
connection. Hipуlito Yrigoyen, the Radical who became president in 
1916 and again in 1928, was himself a small landowner.

Carlos:

Is your source on this Corradi?  I don't remember him making such
characterization of the Union Civica, or the Union Civica Radical (Civic
Radical Union) that's why I'm interested in knowing the source on this.
Landed interests did not control the UCR at the time of Hipolito
Yrigoyen,  that happened after the first government of Yrigoyen and it
was consolidated with the Alvear's presidency and when his wing of the
party won the upper hand.  That process was called "Alvearizacion" of
the UCR.  The UCR did not have much among the labor aristocracy either:
the labor aristocracy was for the most part communist or socialists.

Louis:

"Despite the name Radical, the party was incapable of breaking 
completely with the pre-existing class system. Basically, it sought 
to extend both geographically and socially the system that had 
defined Argentina's past."

Carlos:

In certain sense, the UCR was a very radical and revolutionary petite
bourgeois.  They organized several armed revolts at the end of the 19th
century and the first decade of the 20th century to end the
Conservatives' fraud and impose electoral reforms to allow the irruption
of the middle classes into the political process.  They were radical
petite bourgeois democrats. They were clear on what they wanted, which
was a democratic revolution, not the end of the class structure.

Louis:

For conventional bourgeois social scientists and their co-thinkers on 
the left, the key to understanding Peron's future trajectory was the 
two years he spent in Germany and Italy as part of an army training 
delegation.

Carlos:

Again, are any of these "conventional bourgeois social scientists" of
any standing today?


Louis:

"When the GOU eventually seized power in 
1943, they allegedly based themselves on a document that predicted an 
Axis victory. After the world was divided into spheres of influence, 
Argentina would dominate Latin America. If this was all there was to 
Peron, then perhaps his detractors would have a point."

Carlos:

This is a famous forgery used in the first Presidential election in
which Peron won for a few percentage points against the right-wing
Popular Front.  The source of that document was the US intelligence
services.  The document was rapidly discredited because, among other
things, contained some very crude and mistaken factual information as
well as false events and names of people who never existed.  I do
believe that by the mid-50s was unofficially recognized by the US that
the production of the document was an sloppy intelligence job.  But,
again, I would be very interested in knowing if some contemporary
historians, particularly Marxist, place any credibility in this kind of
stuff.

Louis:

"In conjunction with his wife Eva, who had been a labor activist 
herself, Peron aligned himself with the most important labor unions 
in the country."

Carlos:

Evita was not a labor activist.  She was an radio actress and a singer.
When she met Peron she was starting to be noticed by some producers and
she was getting some minor roles on radio (she was actually not a bad
actress.) Her origins, however, matched perfectly the social base that
supported Peron more loyally: the poor from the interior - peons and
lower middle class from the towns - and the newly proletarized poor who
moved to Buenos Aires.  She was the radical voice of Peron, who spoke
with more than two tongues. She was also beautiful, intelligent, witty
and ruthless: a combination that made her the target of the most
ferocious attacks from the bourgeois opposition and imperialism. If
anyone was more hated than Peron himself, was Evita.


Louis, quoting Alexander:

"What was true of the 'frigorнficos,' or packinghouses, was also true 
of the other large industrial enterprises in the metropolitan area. 
However, Peron's union-fomenting efforts were not confined to the 
Buenos Aires region. With his help the sugar workers of the northern 
provinces of Tucuman and Salta were unionized, as were the vineyard 
and winery workers of Mendoza and other mountain provinces. Even the 
workers on the great cattle and grain estancias were brought into a 
union."

Carlos:

I believe I discussed this briefly with Alexander. Peron formed parallel
unions in the urban centers and divided or split the traditional ones.
He worked on universal unionization and created a kind of CIO - to make
a comparison, industrial wide-based unions - and confronted and
destroyed - or marginalize - the unions dominated by Socialists and
Communists that were a kind of AFL (narrow, trade-based unions)(i.e.:
Construction, metalworkers, etc).  Wherever there were no unions, those
were formed under his influence on an industrial-wide scale. Peron's
ability to win over the majority of the working class consisted in
basing his influence in the most oppressed, and numerous oppressed
layers of the working class, particularly the younger layers coming from
the countryside into industry.

Louis:

Answering those who would argue that Peron's efforts were solely 
designed to build up corporatist type unions,

Carlos:

I do know that the old Stalinists and some US reporters made these
charges in the 1940s but I did not hear them as present-day
characterizations.  Is really anyone making those assertions today?

Later, my comments on the other material.

Cheers!

Carlos





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