[Marxism] Argentine and Britain during World War II (further explanation)

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Oct 6 07:32:11 MDT 2005


Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 24, Issue 15"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:6 Oct 2005, a las 5:03

>    Paddy already mentioned the Irish, and Nestor the Argentinian who 
> had not interest to cast their blood for the hated British colonial 
> master. The same certainly applied to millions in the actual colonies.
> 

It is very important (and further strengthening the argument by Lüko) 
to understand what was the actual feeling of Argentineans towards 
Britain up to a very late moment in the 20th Century, not before 1982 
(Malvinas) and certainly not before the 1950s.

The first and foremost thing to understand here is that Argentina was 
born as a possibility through warfare with a British invasion.  It 
was during that invasion, in 1806, that the first local armed bodies 
(that is, the first element of political independence and popular 
sovereignty) came to life in Buenos Aires.  These bodies, which 
_elected_ its commanders, were the basic component of the future 
Revolution of 1810.

But the complex history of Latin America, and particularly the global 
defeat of the Argentineans by the Buenos Aires centered oligarchy 
with Bartolomé Mitre in the early 1860s concealed all this.  August 
12, the day of the Reconquest of Buenos Aires (on that date the 
British troops surrendered to our own -mostly popular militia- 
forces) had been a national holiday up to that moment.  But after 
Mitre the date receded to a secondary place in our history, and now, 
it is almost forgotten.

The Mitrista oligarchy was essentially pro-British.  Mitre himself 
wrote a History of Belgrano and a History of San Martín to explain 
how the independence of Argentina was the product of a partnership 
between British and "civilized" (that is, oligarchic) interests in 
Buenos Aires, and that the civil wars had been the struggle of 
"civilization" against "barbarism".

The host of immigrants who came to Argentina after the Mitre 
Presidency were drilled in this version of history.  At the same 
time, the agro-exporting semicolony that came to life under 
oligarchic leadership became a thrifty Kuwait of meat and grain.  
Thus there appeared a material base for some sympathy towards Britain 
in Argentina.

In fact, the Argentineans admired the British, were almost to the 
last man ignorant of their role as colonizers of their own country, 
and hated the United States (who, among other things, competed with 
us in the international markets of grain and flour, etc.).  The 
middle class nationalist revolutionary groups (such as Jauretche's 
FORJA) or the early Argentinean patriotic authors (Scalabrini Ortiz, 
the foremost researcher of the roads into economic subservience) 
began to have a clear image of what was happenning only during the 
1930s, after the thrifty semicolony was blasted from within and from 
without both by our oligarchs and British interest in organizing an 
English speaking Commonwealth.

In fact, the first chapter of Scalabrini's masterpiece, "British 
policies in the River Plate", bears the name "Discovering the issue", 
and shows how ignorant Argentineans were of British domination.

These groups were never too massive.  They had a strong influence on 
the military, which coupled with a general pacifist trend in the mass 
of the population, greatly explained the fact that Argentina would 
not enter the war for Britain.  But there was still another reason:  
Britain herself wanted Argentina to remain neutral, so that the agro 
exports to Smithfield and other ports would be undisturbed.

When the imperialist (mostly US) pressure to force Argentina to join 
the "anti-Fascist" war effort raged, the Argentinean military, in a 
very confuse and strange government, cut the oligarchic Infamous Era 
(1930-1943) for good, and began the process through which workers and 
patriotic military joined efforts to build up an independent 
Argentinean capitalism of Latin American dimensions.

Even in those times, however, anti-British imperialism was not a 
strong feeling in Argentina.

During the 60s and 70s, it was so obvious that Britain's star had 
faded down in Buenos Aires, and US power was growing so enormously, 
that Argentineans did not even have the time to bid good bye to the 
old metropolis.  One of the most important consequences of the 1982 
war for Malvinas is that the link with the original 1806 struggles is 
slowly beginning to take root.

Thus, even a mildly "pro-British" semicolony would not shed its 
children's blood for the imperialist powers. 

Este correo lo ha enviado
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
[No necesariamente es su autor]
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"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
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