alternative at sbcglobal.net
Mon Apr 29 17:44:12 MDT 2002
Rchard Fidler posted an interesting and old pamphlet from the PRT (El
Combatiente). Some of the elements contained in the analysis of
Peronism are, IMO, correct but some of the characterizations are a
little sectarian and the conclusions, also in my opinion, incorrect.
But the pamphlet borrowed heavily from previous history works from other
Marxists historians which are not bad at all. The document deserves
consideration and debate. Certainly, those who wrote it were more in
tune with Argentina's events than Corradi (more on him in a separate
In answering the post by Richard Fidler of an old PRT (El Combatiente)
pamphlet about Peronism, Louis wrote:
"Peron ran on the slogan "Braden or Peron". If this is not standing up
to imperialism, I do not know what is. If Chavez had as much gumption as
Peron did, we'd feel a lot more optimistic about Venezuela's chances. Of
course, none of this can hold a candle to professions for the need of
worldwide communism led by vanguard parties.
Peron confronted US imperialism pragmatically as US imperialism attacked
his quest for political power and refused to negotiate new terms with a
layer of the Argentinean bourgeoisie. His campaign of "Braden or Peron"
does NOT define the entire movement, nor is the synthesis of its
history. Peronism had a long curve of evolution and transformation.
Judging it by selectively choosing what to highlight or characterize it
by the pothograph of an instant in its development. His was not an
anti-imperialist movement, but a bourgeois nationalist movement. Every
bourgeois nationalist movement moves between resisting imperialism and
negotiating new terms with it that will provide a development of the
national bourgeoisie. A nationalist bourgeois movement differs from an
anti-imperialist movement as to which class is leading it and what are
the aims and program of the movement. Chavez is not doing LESS or has
less guts (or gumption) than Peron. In comparing both, you can even say
that Chavez went further than Peron in some political aspects.
Comparing Chavez today with Peron in his first confrontation with
Imperialism ("Braden or Peron") is historically irrelevant (Peron was in
his ascent period, supported by a solid working class / military /
bourgeois intellectuals block and US imperialism was not in total
control of the country and its camp was divided and weaker.) A better
one will be to compare Chavez after the coup and Peron after the coup in
September of 1955 (Peron ran away to exile). The most accurate,
however, will be to compare Chavez after the coup this year with Peron
after the FIRST coup (June, 1955). Both, at least until now, reacted
very similarly. Let's see what Chavez does when the second coup comes or
how he prevents it from happening, etcetera.
This is a one-sided presentation, reflecting no doubt Moreno's
long-standing sectarian hostility to Peron.
Richard did not post a document from Moreno, but from the group
dominated by Santucho which was a different animal altogether. Among
the differences between Moreno and Santucho was Santucho's promotion of
a left wing popular front, his foci guerrilla warfare strategy and his
sectarian conclusions in regards to the Peronist left. It is true, that
the pamphlet contains a number of historical characterizations and facts
that you can find in Moreno's work as well (and a number of other
Marxists) but the differences in the conclusions and policies between
Santucho and Moreno could not be farther apart.
In 1945, when the rightwing organized a coup against Peron that had all
the same characteristics as the recent one against Chavez, Moreno wrote:
"On October 17 the workers' movement was mobilised, not on
anti-imperialist or anti-capitalist slogans,... (snip)
This is not a quote from 1945, but a distorted quote from an article in
1949 - originally misquoted and took out of context by Politica Obrera
(today Partido Obrero) in a rather sectarian and useless history of the
Argentinean working class. As a matter of fact, Louis link goes to an
old article from PO and not to Moreno's original article. The
utilization of these quotes had been long ago discredited and put to
rest, even by PO. Coggiola, the author, does not carry much credibility
as a historian. Not because this particular misquoting, but for
thousands of wrong facts, figures and distortions of the truth in many
aspects of his "History." It is ironic that Louis quotes this stereotype
of sectarianism to criticize another alleged "sectarian."
"Of course, this is what they excelled at, making telling comparisons.
Peron falls short of Castro, while Castro fell short of Moreno's
organization. I reject sectarian benchmarking of this sort. I identify
with Fidel Castro who hailed and hails every concrete stand against
I'm sorry to say, but in terms of working class gains (1946-1955) Peron
does not fall short of Castro. Castro does. In terms of organization
Moreno falls short of Castro. In terms of Marxist understanding Castro
falls short of Moreno. And in terms of manipulating working class
consciousness, both Moreno and Castro fall short of Peron. In terms of
utilization of the state apparatus to resist imperialism Peron falls
short of Castro. You see, there are many angles from which one can
measure political movements, and they are all useful to reach
conclusions. The mass movement learns and choose by comparisons.
Otherwise, you are deciding beforehand what is correct or accurate
historically speaking according to your ideological preferences or, like
in the case of Coggiola, for the degree of animosity he/she has for
someone you need or want to trash. The objective of any discussion
among Marxist should try to find the truth and learn from facts.
What is the point of answering charges that Peron was not a socialist. I
made that point in the first sentence of my post. Our goal, however, is
not to draw lines of demarcation between the "vanguard" and flawed
attempts at opposing imperialism. It is instead to figure out ways how
to move that process forward toward socialism. On this Trotskyism has
been singularly ineffective. For over 70 years, it has been--with the
exception of Hugo Blanco--a minor factor in Latin American politics.
This is departing from the negative, which constructs very little. Louis
could, for example, put forward the model that worked .... but it is
none since capitalism is still standing and dominates the world.
Stalinism and Socialdemocracy, anarchism and Trotskyism, Sandinismo and
Hugo Blanco ... they all failed to defeat capitalism and imperialism and
"move that process forward socialism", therefore, following Louis logic,
we should reject all of them. Why to single out the only of those
currents which did not hegemonize state political power ... yet?
>"The reason Perón did not carry out a genuine revolution is simply that
>he did not want to. Because that was not part of his plan which was
>conceived within the strictly bourgeois boundaries of his Bonapartist
Of course he did not want to. Neither did Nelson Mandela, nor Nasser nor
Gandhi. Once we get past these abc's, we need to complete the rest of
the alphabet. For this, Trotskyism with its verbal radicalism is next to
useless. Fight for permanent revolution? Er, okay.
Actually all of them DID WANT to carry a revolution. A limited,
controlled, bourgeois democratic and national revolution. They said so,
they acted accordingly and they failed or succeded partially (it all
depends how you look at them). There is a theoretical explanation for
that failure (the Permanent Revolution) and a practical and initial
verification of the theory in the first years of the Russian Revolution
and the Third International. On the other hand, I think that a little
more humbleness would help everyone. Writing off these works and
experience based on the assertion of failed "vanguard" parties or as
"useless" is maybe an effective way to avoid a discussion, but is not
convincing nor will move any "process forward socialism." In a previous
discussion, Louis clarified that he does not think the Permanent
Revolution theory was useful and he stated categorically that he reject
it. Without much of an explanation, either.
More on the discussion on Peron and bourgeois nationalism ... soon. It
is a relevant topic, since it is the history of struggle of the
bourgeoisie from the semicolonial world to survive. Peronism, IMO,
cannot be separated - when discussing Latin American politics - from the
analysis of the continental struggle of the national bourgeoisie
(Cardenas in Mexico, Vargas in Brazil, Ibanez, Peron, the Peruvian
military in the 60s all the way to Chavez.) This will continue to emerge
as an ongoing question and the lessons of the past will become more
relevant. Marxism will develop in Latin America - and the US - if it
can deal with these phenomena and learn how to turn them into battles
against imperialism and capitalism, neither adapting to it nor rejecting
them in a sectarian fashion.
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