T. Cliff


(Summer 1962)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.9, Summer 1962, pp.31-32.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

George Pendle
Oxford University Press. 21s.

This is a condensed picture of Argentine’s past and present. The central part of it is a study of the Peron period; it provides a very useful illumination of Peronist Bonapartism – a balancing between Argentinian workers and landlords, Argentinian nationalism and Yankee imperialism.

Peron established complete state control of the trade unions. Only friendly union leaders were recognised, others were smashed. At the same time, however, considerable concessions were made to industrial workers – a big rise in wages, compulsory annual holidays with pay for all workers, mass housing projects, etc. He also made deep inroads into the vested interests of the big landlords by instituting a state monopoly over the buying and selling of agricultural produce, in the interests of industrialisation and national independence. He used the deep anti-Yankee feelings prevalent to get a mass base on which he could rely.

The limitations of this Bonapartism are also shown clearly. The state monopoly of trade in agricultural goods caused inflation, and did not secure increased production, but on the contrary discouraged it. Lack of capital resources accentuated by wasteful malinvestment and by a worsening of the international terms of trade led to increasing inflation, a slowing down of economic activities, and finally compromise with US business interests in an effort to attract American capital.

The Peronist theme of a national independence was thus harmed. Concessions to the trade unions were cut. The balancing act of Bonapartism came to an end.

Peronist support among the workers declined. The army, tired of workers’ resistance, dared to intervene (encouraged by the Church). In the end the central limitation of Peronism was shown up – the fact that Peron left intact the old state machine and above all the army; he did nothing to arm the workers.


Last updated on 12 March 2010