[Marxism] Eagles don't catch flies, and all the rest [2 of 2]

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Dec 28 10:34:59 MST 2006

[Second part of two]

I will spare my readers this precious bunch of rotten flowers with 
offending smell, but for the essential affirmations so that they 
remain as proof of what I say:

> What it was the real problem is that the peronist bureaucrats
> were LOSING factory after factory at our hands, that is to
> say, to the left.


> On this, the Peronists in government agreed with the opposition

> Balbin: "Factory guerrillas" more dangerous than the other

> Isabel Peron: "Subversives at the factories are as destructive
> as those in the "montes.""

> Lorenzo Miguel (main Peronist bureaucrat at a rally honoring
> military fallen in the fight against guerrillas):

> "The army is doing their patriotic duty combating the
> subversives... and we are doing the same by stopping
> them at the workplaces."

Once the enormous mystification of a massive "turn to the Left" of 
the Arg working class is rejected (and yes, here you need to choose 
either you believe me or Popetroni, and yes, this is an IDEOLOGICAL 
choice for anyone not privy with the details of the social and 
political history of Argentina during the 70s), then these 
declarations have a different hue. They all seem "anti-working-class"
(even those by Lorenzo Miguel -Popetroni might add "those in
particular!"). But things are not as easy as Popetroni would like 
them to

The declarations by Balbín expressed, of course, the rage at the 
political activism of the working class of the factory owners and 
(most essentially, because it is to _this_ section of society that 
Balbín owed its political existence) of the agrarian petty bourgeois 
the Province of Buenos Aires and the petty bourgeoisie linked to the 
agroexporting structure. It was a slimy declaration, at that, because 
stepped on the uncontroversial fact that there _was_ a brutal 
escalade by
the Peronist right against political independence of the working 
class in
order to prop up a generalized anti-working- class program which 
would, in
the end, put shackles to the single class that would support the
government to the end.

The declarations by Isabel Perón must be dealt with in the context of 
murderous conflict _within_ Peronism and between Peronism and the
"Leftist" armed groups, where Popetroni and his likes don't want to 
that there were dead _on both sides_, and that blood had stained the 
of every politician involved. Unionists were targets for the 
as well as military. 

Which brings us to Lorenzo Miguel's statement. I would like to bring 
readers' attention to some almost Freudian features of Popetroni's
discourse, so that please excuse me if I abuse of the capacity of e- 
and reproduce it again:

> Lorenzo Miguel (main Peronist bureaucrat at a rally honoring
> military fallen in the fight against guerrillas):
> "The army is doing their patriotic duty combating the
> subversives... and we are doing the same by stopping
> them at the workplaces."

What is so terrible with this declaration? 

According to Popetroni, the ugly thing here is: (a) Lorenzo Miguel 
was the "main Peronist bureaucrat" (perhaps Popetroni laments that he 
not murdered together with Rucci?), (b) as such (and perhaps also as 
member of the Peronist -ruling party- leadership) he had been "at a 
honoring military fallen in the fight against guerrillas", and (c) he
declared there that the struggle of the military was equated by the
struggle of Peronist unionists at the factory level.

Let us watch at the thing closely. The government that the CGT 
supported (and the "62 Organizations" led by Miguel were the core of 
CGT) was under attack from illegitimate groups of armed citizens
-self-appointed "Left". Seemingly thanks to the intervention of the
objective (and sometimes the subjective) allies of that "Left" in the
Parliament, the government was not allowed not deal with it by means 
the Police, as it had been Perón's will, but by means of the Army. 

This attack by the so-called "guerrillas" (and we shall return to 
Popetroni's by no means fortuite ellision of inverted commas around 
this particular word) could, if unchecked, risk to become -as it 
became- the "pretext" for that government to be overthrown. 

The military (that is, the officers) were split: there was a 
nationalist sector, very weak, which also had a still weaker "popular 
populist" branch within; and there was a pro-imperialist sector which
Perón had managed to turn a bit weaker but could not weed out. 

Now it was strengthened with each coup of the "guerrillas". Yes: each 
by the "guerrillas" srengthened the latter sector against the former, 
the point that during the last moments of the government they were 
able to
replace the Commander in Chief Numa Laplane, who was a conservative
Peronist that enjoyed the support of the Presidency with... Jorge 
Videla, the future dictator and criminal[6]!

In this context, the "union bureaucracy" led by Lorenzo Miguel was 
also from time to time subject to the murderous attacks of its armed
enemies so tenderly defended by Popetroni. José Ignacio Rucci (an
arch-bureaucrat, worse still than Miguel but _Perón's choice for the 
in 1973_, which is from the point of view of Arg politics of the age 
most important fact) had been murdered less than three years ago[7]. 
also believed to be under attack from the Left, because these 
("liberals with a bomb in the hand", as per Marx) called themselves 
Left, and of course everyone in Argentina agreed that they were! 

Miguel tried to rally the military to the government, and tried to 
show to them that the working class was not represented -as it really
WASN'T- by the murderous gangs who Popetroni pompously calls 
(and which had NOTHING to do with guerrillas, in fact, but enjoyed -
still enjoy- the prestige such a name offers to escape their 
responsibilities). Miguel also said a truth: that the groups of armed
citizens who rose against the government and murdered military and
policemen tried to win for their own cause the union leadership at 
local level, something that, in the end, NEVER occurred but Miguel 
and the
CGT leadership felt could not deal with. In fact, it was a political
issue: the clearer the relation between the "union" sections of the 
movements" and the "fighting units" of same movements became, the 
the grip of that "Left" on the working class turned out to be (but, 
of _every_ Left, and this is just another dimension of their 

Popetroni, here, considers it a sin that a union leader whose 
political belief -though not always union practice, which is a 
different thing- coincides with that of the mass of the working 
class, a member of the ruling bodies of the party that has been voted 
rule the country and which now is supporting a harassed government, 
considers it a sin, I repeat, that such a man goes to a military 
and declares his solidarity with the military who - formally- were
defending that _democratically elected_ government against groups of 

But for whoever wants to see things in their crude political meaning, 
is obvious that such an unionist forced to act as a politician, under 
circumstance, will try to reinforce the weak groups of pro- 
officers in the Armed Forces from the attack of the two pronged
oligarchic-imperialist machine that killed officers (and later on,
soldiers) from the "Left"[8], and from the "Right" was making the 
thinly veiled declarations of intention to overthrow the government 
could not manage nor put an end to those "guerrillas". 

For Popetroni, however, Lorenzo Miguel, Ricardo Balbín, Isabel Perón, 
the  oligarchic, anti-Peronist, anti-Communist, pro-US and monstruous
Videlista command of the Armed Forces were all united in their fear 
of a
takeover of Argentina -by the "Left"!!!!!  

One would like to say: "Oh, please, give me a break". But we have 
decided to make some good use of Popetroni's misinformation and will
remain on that job. One must end things that one begins. 

Further on, and resorting to just and simply another tenet by the 
"Left" which tries to cover up its own brutal and criminal mistakes,
Popetroni says that when I _explain_ that "against these "Leftists", 
of who believed to be Peronists themselves, Perón saw himself forced 
rely on his right wing. And, indeed, rely he did, something he was as 
prone to do as used to do" I am _endorsing_ something that the very
wording of the phrase shows I reject. 

Popetroni, once again, distorts my words and asks whether I feel that
"Peron was justified in agreeing to form death squads and kill 
and other Peronists as well as leftists and independent activists",
because "that is the way Peron and later his wife relied on the right 
kill those you said "believed to be Peronists."

This, of course, puts in my mind things I never believed. 

Please let us look at the attempt from closer quarters. What I had 
done was just to _describe_ the way that Perón could be expected to 
react. This is something that any old Peronist  -not to speak of 
Peronist cadre- could have guessed. And I tried to explain why the 
"Peronism" of the Montoneros highest cadre lacked some basic 
understanding of what was Peronism, particularly of the relation 
between the Leader and the mass of followers, a misunderstanding most
probably imposed by history on them ("God blindfolds those who He 
lost"?), but which an objective observation of the history of 
would have provided them with. 

Popetroni derides my implicit question mark on the Peronism of the 
Montonero leadership of the time (not "the Montoneros", by the way, 
which were themselves a most complex thing), but this 
misunderstanding is the best proof of what I say. The first rule of 
Peronism was that Perón WAS OUT OF QUESTION. Whatever he did or say 
was GOD ALMIGHTY SPEAKING. If you did not understand that, then you 
were carving your way out of Peronism. And if you "became" Peronist 
without that first and foremost understanding, then you had not 
become truly Peronist.  Not, at least, in the eyes of Perón first of 

Now, on to the slanderous implications of Popetroni's "questions": it 
obvious that I did not _support_ Perón's reaction anywhere on my e- 
nor anywhere on this list in the long years I am a contributor. 

When you see someone at the point of grabbing an electricity-carrying
metal wire and you tell that person "Don't grab it, it kills!", you 
not endorsing the killing. You are trying to prevent it. 

When one comes to events human, however, sometimes class pressures 
make people believe that the wire is not metallic and that it carries 
electricity at all. Then, and precisely because one understands that
things are not _that_ way, one has to struggle against those who 
in a horrible mistake, because one foresees the final results, and 
to avert them. 

When talking of history, those who misinform by obscuring the fact 
that the wire _was_ metallic and it _did_ carry electricity must be 
dealt with in the way I do with Popetroni... 

When, like the Popetronis of this world, one does not want this 
understanding to take place, one then flies to the heavens of moral 
indictment and tries to kill the messenger. This is what Popetroni 
tries to do with his "questions", because they imply that not only 
yours truly -who probably is less than worthless- but also people of 
caliber of Jorge Enea Spilimbergo or Jorge Abelardo Ramos or the 
Nacional in general were in the end supporting a political 
that killed some of our most beloved comrades and sent Argentina 
into hell. 

The very insult of _posing_ such a question is slanderous, and it is  
an old red herring that now we are confronting for the nth time.
Stalinists were "chefs d'oeuvre" in this. Popetroni does not seem to 
left those lessons unattended.

More importantly, however, it is also an attempt to avoid the answer 
Popetroni and his "Left" must give the Argentinean people before they 
any right to pose questions: I have a gut feeling that, just as 
did when challenged by J. Bustelo to prove that I was a Menemist, he 
never answer this question in the open. But let us then, however
hopelessly, pose the main question again, because the whole issue 

"Did, or did _not_, Master Popetroni, the Montonero leadership and 
the ERP leadership _act as_ objective provocateurs against a 
democratically elected government, thus playing in the hands of the 
enemies of that government?" Once we have settled this, we might, 
accoding to the results of that first question, go ahead and pose the
second question: "What was it that the Montonero phenomenon meant 
Peronism?". After we do so, then we perhaps might pass on to what was 
ERP, and we might even try to understand how it was that the 
of that ultra-reformist milk-drinker Juan B. Justo turned redder-than-
terrorists (in the most strict Marxist sense of the word) at the same 
that the prosperous semicolonial Argentina that had given birth to 
Juan B.
Justo was disappearing never to return.  Maybe, after all these 
issues are
clarified, then we might return to Popetroni's "question".

But not before they are duly clarified.

As to his "rebuttal" to my "The University of Buenos Aires, for 
example, fell to the hands of the "Left Peronists", under the 
Rectorship of Rodolfo Puiggrós. Every "sepoy Left" critic of Perón -
either "Pure Left" or "Peronist Left"-will immediately stand on the 
toes, rise to its highest pitch and yell "It was not Perón, it was 
Cámpora, you liar!". Oh, please, let us be serious: this cannot be a
subject of serious debate", and since Popetroni once again resorts to 
Groucho Marx school of misinformation ("Will you believe _me_ or 
_your own
eyes_?") I will simply allow Xmas feelings to carry me away from his
falsehoods. But for one. Popetroni: "Never, ever the left Peronisr 
their allegiance to Peron or said anything remotely to what you said 

We seem to be falling into a stolid version of nominalism here. In 
politics, what matters most is not what you _say_, Popetroni, it is 
what you _do_. Truly left Peronists, of course, did nothing like 
confronting Perón. I may give a long list of such people, that in 
order to make some justice to great forgotten Argentineans might well
begin with Luis Alberto Murray, someone Popetroni probably does not 
know about (maybe he does, who knows). 

But the "Left" Peronists Popetroni lumps together with the truly Left 
of Peronism _did_. To begin with, and just to keep within the bonds 
Argentina in the mid-70s, by supporting Cámpora against the will of 
to be President of the country himself, and in a thousand other ways
(their own political alliances not the lest important) including, by 
way, direct dealings with the military during the Operativo Dorrego
instead of allowing the President, that is Perón, to do any deal 
the military and the government, as it was mandatory from every point 
view. Perón, like _any_  Bonapartist leader in a Third World national
movement, did not accept "dual power" within his own movement. 

Popetroni, later on, tries to bring confusion to clarity by 
intentionally mistaking a quote with an explanation. 

I write 

«In fact, during his own speech against the Montoneros, Perón himself
asked at Plaza de Mayo: "You have the Universities, what else do you 
There are more than a dozen socialist parties in Argentina, we are
Justicialistas.", that is: "We put in your hands the formation of the
future élites, what else do you expect a bourgeois government to give 
Organize your party if you want, but don't try to denaturalize mine, 
to use the University as a step towards power against me and the 
will of the people who voted _me_, not _you_», 

and Popetroni "innocently" responds: 

"Three quarters of the quotes above simply never existed."

In fact, what you can read "above" Popetroni's "precision" is _a 
single_, very short quote (and by heart), which is the opening quote, 
an explanation that even Popetroni might understand, introduced by 
words "That is...". What really matters is _not_ that 3/4 of the 
never existed. What matters is that the first quote _did_ exist, and
Popetroni can't deny it. So, he again skirts debate. Oh, this is 
already. But we are near to the end. Let us go ahead, brave warriors.

The above allows Popetroni to state the following string of 
banalities:  "The intentions of Peron was to use the left and govern 
the right and expected the left to quietly accept that.  They mostly 
so but then he started to humiliate them in public and started to 
them, intervene the universities and gave a free hand to the union
bureaucrats to hunt them down..."

The intentions of Perón were, simply, to lead a national bourgeois 
revolution. The intentions of the "Left" cadre that suddenly 
discovered themselves "Peronists" were to shunt the road to socialism 
"taking Peronism from within". In the end, a politically suicidal 
to avoid the hard work of building a socialist formation within a 
front where Peronism seemed to be _all that there was_. 

From the point of view of an orthodox Peronist, they were "left wing
Vandoristas"[9]. They wanted to use for their own benefit the faith 
of the
masses in Perón as a caudillo and leader. This, Perón saw from the 
beginning (even when he observed in disgust the casual manners with 
these young newly spawned Peronists behaved at the living room of his
house when on a political meeting with him). And he acted 

We in the National Left also alerted against this. Perón can't be 
_blamed_ for acting as what he _was_: a bourgeois politician in an 
embattled semicolonial country of Latin America, the product of an 
alliance of the working class and the Army which had returned after 
almost 20 years in exile and had no Army to rely on, a national 
bourgeois leader trying to control its own movement and party. 

But, what is so wrong with saying that those who tried to turn 
Peronism into a socialist party instead of building their own party, 
course, should accept that they are to blame for this opportunist and
self-defeating attempt? 

It is not true that, as Popetroni wants us to believe, the "left 
peronists... turned the other cheek". Of course they were not a 
homogeneous bunch, and with many of them we in the National Left were 
still are (and will remain) in the best relations. Some among them 
the other cheek", as a good Peronist must do (In fact, a good 
Peronist not
only had to "put the other cheek", he had to chant glory to Perón for
having hit him.) Others quit Peronism or active politics. Still 
turned coats in 1976. 

But some of the Montonero cadre _did_ answer: for example, they 
allied themselves with, among others, Alfonsín. And some among them 
also tried to put the corpse of José Ignacio Rucci on the table on 
negotiations. Back to Popetroni now:


"Perón tried to keep the repression within the bounds of the
Constitution, and sent to Congress some laws which would have made
the struggle against the "guerrillas" a matter of Police and not of
the Army. However the opposition of many deputies of "Left"
Peronist origin (who have learnt a lot since those days, thank God)
closed the way to the changes he wanted to introduce to the
legal framework of police action."


"Sure, Nestor, keep revising history."  

Certainly so, Popetroni. I am a National Left Historical Revisionist 
Argentina, which in our own country means something different than
elsewhere, it means a national-popular antiimperialist historian. I 
am not
a historian. I am a geographer and politician. But of course I will 
history. Popetroni cannot give me the lie for the above, so that he 

"Peron made an speech after the attempted take over by guerrillas of 
Azul Garrison where he call for their elimination. He talked about 
the use
of civilian, unofficial groups to check up the left and authorize the
first  violent actions against them, other leftist and even 
who questioned him too much at press conferences..."

Well, there you have the provocations. First things first: does 
Popetroni support the attack on the Azul Garrison, yes or no? By the 
Perón had spoken of those issues long before, already in Madrid, and 
people linked to Montoneros would guess what he was decided to do if 
"special formations" did not subordinate to his will and the ERP kept 
its provocations against a democratically elected president. 

Again: I am not endorsing the method. I am just telling you what was 
to be
expected. As to provocations to "Leftist" journalists, I prefer not 
answer because this would bring us to a whole new thread on the 
of some "Left wing" journalists in Argentina.

[Again, I will not deal with Popetroni's record of the June 27 
general strike. Not because it in any sense defies my own exposition, 
because as usual Popetroni believes that "a coordinating committee of 
100 factories" could bring the nost industrialized country in South
America, and a country still attached to Peronism and a working class
solidly organized by a complex and all- encompassing union system, to 
standstill of the magnitude it did. 

Had what he says been anything but a minor development, detached from 
mass of the class instead of linked with it, not only we would not 
had a coup. Probably we would have had a revolution in Argentina. But 
didn't have it, thus I will not even go to the sources to challenge 
detailed chronology. This, also, because I don't have my sources 
and maybe when I have them here I will. 

At any rate, what Popetroni does not -nor can- deny is that the CGT 
leadership, at the very least (not that I am _saying_ this, but I 
want to stress that not even Popetroni can deny it) took the burden 
on their own shoulders and expelled López Rega and his gang. This is
something no "committee of factories" could have done. 

On the whole issue of the June 27th strike we shall return later, 
however, because it may be of interest to Marxmail readers.  But this 
been too much even for a hard-skinned one like me. I hope those who 
with me to this point are not as exhausted as I am. 


[1] In fact, the "bourgeois" parties hated the "union bureaucrats" 
(save for a few) more than they hated the Isabel regime itself. There 
plenty of examples of those times, but the best example is, perhaps, 
of the hatred of Alfonsín against the "union bureaucrats" in 1983, on
which we might also speak because it has a lot of points in common 
that of the "Left". And which goes a long way ahead to explain, by 
way, the unambiguously sympathetic attitude of Alfonsín towards many 
that "Left" during the mid 70s.

[2] Balbín was the permanent candidate of the Radicals to be the 
President of the country, save for one single opportunity, where he 
miscalculated and the Chair fell in the hands of Arturo Illía, a 
fraudulent Radical president who got there in 1963 by means of the 
proscription of Peronism and betrayal to promises made by the 
Radicals to Perón that if he was proscribed they would not go to the 
-Balbín thus rejected the candidacy, only to see Illía take his stead 
get to the Pink House

[3] There was, in fact, a strong debate on the meaning of these new 
data of reality; the Izquierda Nacional itself was getting to 
influence interesting fractions of the working class. This we 
couldn't but greet enthusiastically. Was at last reality claiming for 
idea? Was it just a small fraction of the class? What policies should 
follow to spread these ideas among other workers? What was to be the 
of our comrades in the unions? We made ourselves lots of questions in
those times. Some we answered correctly, on others we were proven 
and still others were left unanswered when the whole historic path 
had been opened up by the Cordobazo came to a sharp close in 1976. 
what we did not do was to extract from that growth of our forces the
self-defeating conclusion that we were already ripe for a socialist
takeover of power in Argentina because the working class was "turning
National Left".

[4] In fact, it is  _here_, not elsewhere, where you find the lethal
influence of bourgeois nationalism in Peronism: the union 
of the working class being unable to understand the role the working 
needs to have during a national revolution in a semicolony.

[5] I try -not always with good luck- not to be a sectarian fool. I 
voted myself for such unionists more than once. 

I will just recall two, which date back to the times involved in this
explanation à propos Popetroni's misinformations: 

In 1974, I was working at Escala, a small factory whose personnel 
catered to the metal workers union. I supported a very combative 
(anti-Peronist) Trotskyist woman as my delegate, and I am still proud 
did. By the way, she was NEVER harassed by the "union bureaucrats" as 
as she did _her job as the union and the mass of her voters 
it_: representing us the workers of the plant. She was decent, honest 
wise enough not attempt to transform her post in a political anti-
representation, which is the mental operation the "Left" always does 
its stale Reformist and Tradeunionist getaways from political 
realities in
Argentina. She never imagined that she had been voted to take the 

As a student in 1973 at the Faculty of Natural and Exact Siences I 
chose delegates of the then TERS -the front group in U politics and 
political breeding ground of what was to become the Partido Obrero 
today- to the leadership of my Centro de Estudiantes, as a counter to 
asphyxiating influence of the Communist Party (by those times the 
organizations did not make part of Centro de Estudiantes life, and 
this is
just one more of the gross errors that bourgeois ideology brought to
Peronism); I must also say I was not equally satisfied with the 
results of
this vote as I was with those of my union vote at the metal workers' 
local a year later. 

But this is an entirely different issue, and the girls at the TERS 
were by far among the most gorgeous ones the Faculty over, something 
to be surprised about given the particular political methods of
recruitment they resorted to by those times and the particular social
sectors where they thus catered for their militants! Anyway, nobody 
beat the girls of the FAUDI (former youth of the Communist Party, 
anti-Peronist Guevarists, soon to become extremely pro- Peronist 
in a couple of years) at nearby Faculty of Architecture. I must admit 
I spent more time at Architecture than at Sciences, and not only for
reasons of wrong vocation...

[6] I guess that Popetroni would explain us that all this enjoyed 
full support (against the growing "Left"!) of the soon-to-be-
overthrown President Isabel Perón herself and soon-to-be-arrested 
Lorenzo Miguel, who was to be sent to the "Pontón Recalada", a prison 
in the middle of the River Plate!

[7] I am not _justifying_ the brutal answer by some union 
bureaucrats. I am just putting things in their actual perspective. 
Perhaps this is the time to say, if anyone wants to understand what I
mean, that some of my own comrades were killed by that answer, most
notably the beloved Carlos Llerena Rosas (who by the way has been
reivindicated almost expressly a couple of days ago in an official 
by Carlos Cheppi, the current President of the National Institute for
Agrarian Technology where he worked and where he was kidnapped by a 
of right-wing Peronist unionists only to be murdered a few hours 

[8] Perhaps some day we shall talk about the glorious feats of these
"guerrrillas", such as the "glorious" attack on the Batallón de 
de Monte in Formosa

[9] Augusto Timoteo Vandor was a Secretary General of the CGT who, 
during Perón's exile in Spain, tried to build his own version of a 
Labor-based party by proclaiming allegiance to Perón while he was 
preparing to replace him _at any practical purpose_ while agreeing 
with the oligarchic post-1955 governments that the so beloved Leader
remained safely in Madrid.

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