Left Image: Perón in military uniform in 1946. Right Image: Perón with his wife Eva Duarte
For the New Socialist Workers Party (PST) of Argentina 5/12/22
Peronism was a front of bourgeois sectors of Argentina, which opposed the United States. Argentina, until 1943, was a semi-colony of England, and supplied food to England during the Second World War. The Argentine bourgeoisie had business with England, fundamentally based on the beef industry. During the 2nd World War, Argentina was neutral in the war, following the dictates of British imperialism, which placed its semi-colonies in a situation of neutrality, so that ships flying white flags could supply London without being captured.
When the 2nd world war ended in 1945, England was an imperialism in crisis and retreat. The Argentine bourgeoisie was divided into two sectors: One that wanted to start business with the US, which was the new emerging imperialism, and the other bourgeois front was headed by General Juan Domingo Perón, who wanted to maintain business with England, and to resisting the US advance relied on the working class. This second bourgeois front became known as Peronism.
Peronism was a front that defended capitalism, and responded to the general interests of imperialism and the bosses. But being confronted with the sector that wanted to be linked to US imperialism, Peronism had to rely on the working class, and grant conquests to the working class, calling for permanent mobilization to counteract the pressures of the pro-US sectors. This contradiction between the bourgeois character of Peronism, and its oscillation between its bourgeois interests and the working class, explains at the same time its fundamental contradiction, and its fall.
Spruille Braden was the US ambassador to Argentina, and he launched an electoral coalition to win the country's elections in February 1946. The Communist Party and the Socialist Party supported Braden's bosses' coalition, following the line of the agreements of Yalta and Potsdam signed by Stalin with the US. Peron won the presidential elections under the slogan "Braden or Perón", the Labor Party of Argentina, based on the unions, supported Peronism. Peron dissolved the Labor Party, with which the working class was left without a party, since Labor was dissolved, its leaders were assassinated, and both the PC and the PS were with the US.
To gain the support of the workers, Perón gave the working class very important social gains. Argentina emerged from the 2nd war as a country with gigantic wealth, and this coincided with the development of the Keynesian regime of capitalist accumulation, or "welfare state" that developed on a world scale, which caused the post-war "boom", with a historical economic growth for capitalism. Argentina achieved significant economic development, and a strong welfare state in the 10 years that Peronism remained in power, in line with those that capitalism developed globally
Under the Peron government, the working class achieved high salaries, full employment, social benefits, massive unionization, the workers took vacations, their children were able to go to university, powerful social works, access to medicines, state health and education were formed. and free. However, with the irruption of Peronism, although the working class won important economic and social conquests, it lost its class independence since belonging to parties such as the Labor Party, the Communist Party, or the Socialist Party, which were then organizations with class independence, now they came to belong to Peronism, which was a bourgeois organization.
This marks the contradiction in consciousness that the Argentine working class has developed until today: A high union consciousness, a very organized, combative, and anti-imperialist class. But on the other hand, as a result of the arrival of Peronism, and the betrayal of Stalinism, the Argentine working class developed a bourgeois class consciousness, which believes that a bourgeois general, or his wife, Eva Peron, known as "Evita" popularized by Madonna in the film, and the song "Dont' cry for me Argentina", were going to benefit the working class. The ideology of Peronism is the ideology of class conciliation, the call to believe or trust in agreements with the ruling classes
Finally, England completely withdrew from Argentina, the US advanced in organizing a coup to remove Peron from power, and in 1955 the coup triumphed, and Peron had to go into exile in Spain. The workers asked Peron for weapons to face the coup, but Peron abandoned the working class to his fate, refusing to provide weapons, because that would have provoked a socialist revolution. Peron was an enemy of socialism, he persecuted the Marxist parties, and although he had encouraged workers' mobilization, his class limitations meant that he could not hold on to power.
The current crisis suffered by Peronism, with the government of Alberto Fernandez, and Cristina Kirchner divided government, and repudiated by the workers and the people, show the end of this bourgeois current. Kirchnerism was an attempt to survive for a couple of decades more to this movement, but its end is inevitable, to the extent that the world crisis of capitalism progresses. His disappearance is a very progressive phenomenon because it allows progress in the construction of a Marxist masses revolutionary organization in Argentina.
Paragraph from Nahuel Moreno's text on Peronism:
"The Peronists were bourgeois sectors that resisted the Yankee colonization, relying on the working class to defend -with their methods and not those of the working class- the country's independence. When a critical situation endangers the bosses' order, it it tries to strengthen itself from the base by calling on the workers' organizations to collaborate. Then the so-called Popular Front is given, Peronism was a kind of popular front, without the PC. In that sense we can say that Peronism was a manifestation of the Popular Front, Although it did not have a classical form, we call the classical form the one that occurred, for example, in France.
It achieved it under openly totalitarian forms. This contradiction confuses many superficial observers who thought they saw a fascist regime in Peronism. In reality, the support of the working class for Peronism, as well as its desire to achieve and maintain it; It was what allowed him to resist for more than a decade and in some cases obtain partial victories against Yankee imperialism. This, as has been said, was paid at the price of totalitarian control of all activity in the country.
And it was so because the anti-Yankee bosses, in order to prevent any democratic loophole from facilitating the Yankee plan of penetration, had no other means than the already mentioned one of tightly controlling all national life, from worker activity to bosses or imperialist activity. This makes Peronism find itself in a permanent contradiction. On the one hand, it gives continuous improvements to the workers to maintain their adherence. In this sense, it constantly widens and expands the trade union organization of the proletariat; but on the other hand he is forced to control it tightly.
This contradiction, however, is not the only one; Peronism, by giving conquests to the working class and promoting its union organization, extending it to all sectors, is the most socially democratic government that the workers have known. That is to say, that in the workshops and factories, in the depths of labor relations, it was a democratic regime. But this characteristic ends at the very door of the workplace to give rise, outside it, to a closed totalitarianism. This totalitarianism was strong while the economic situation allowed the enthusiastic adherence of the workers, making the lack of freedom in the country tolerable. .
Despite its fabulous façade and its attempts to organize and negotiate with opposing forces, Peronism fell. We, the only ones who predicted the inevitable fall of Peronism, if it persisted in its bosses' method of not mobilizing the masses; that we said that we had no confidence in Perón's methods, nor in his leadership; that in spite of this we fight in the first row together with the Peronist workers against the Catholic mobilization, we have more than enough right, today, to analyze who was right.
Let's start by saying that there are many ways to try to defend the country's independence. A landowner may want to defend the country's independence; a pattern too. But they will defend it in their own way, because in addition and above all they have to defend their profit. Peronism was that. An attempt by the bosses to defend the country's independence, defending the profits of the bosses. To defend national independence it had to use the support of the working class. This inevitably led him into a contradiction when, at the same time that he tried to lean on the labor movement, he defended the bosses' profits that arise precisely... from the exploitation of workers.
The bosses came out on top in this struggle, precisely because -although it sometimes collided with sectors of the bosses- the Peronist government was basically a bosses' government. The Peronist government was a manager of the bosses, with the peculiarity that it treated the workers well, because it needed their support to defend its company (the country) against very powerful adversaries (Yankee imperialism that wanted to colonize us). This boss character of the Peronist government lost it. Perón wanted to fight the bosses-imperialist conspiracy through the army and the police, which are organized to serve the bosses and imperialism precisely.
Perón did not want to give the weapons to the working class, because once they had them at hand, they would not only liquidate Perón's enemies but also their own enemies: the bosses and imperialism. On the other hand, Peronism did not extract the workers' improvements from the bosses' profits. He granted these improvements at the expense of the middle class, which gave rise to a tremendous antagonism between the two working classes. This antagonism was used in a great way by imperialism and by the bosses.
The poor economic situation made the Peronist government lose the support of the bosses and accelerated the opposition of the middle class; even some sectors of the working class began to view the country's political course with apathy. The Church took advantage of all the weaknesses of the government. Peronism instead of arming the working class, instead of forming a cabinet made up of democratically elected workers' representatives; instead of making the economy and the armed forces run by the working class, that is, instead of doing everything we pointed out, it allowed the military and economic technicians at the service of the bosses to govern the country.
It was not a miracle then that these technicians responded to the Church and the coup d'état, instead of responding to the government elected by the vast majority of the country. Peronism was defeated by the Church because it was not a workers' government, nor did it govern with a workers' program, nor with officials elected democratically by the workers..."
Nahuel Moreno. And After Perón, What?" 1953