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Sam Adams


A ‘Revolution’ and a Few Lessons

(July 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 27, 5 July 1943, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The revolution in Argentina, engineered by former President Castillo’s army officers, is now several weeks old. It followed a Hollywood pattern. Top officers led by General Rawson pulled a coup. No sooner had they ousted Castillo, when Rawson resigned. He could not form a new cabinet. His successor as president is General Pedro Ramirez, who was War Minister in Castillo’s cabinet. A few days after fleeing Buenos Aires, Castillo returned to the capital and resigned his office!

General Ramirez appointed himself president (read: dictator). Yes, he appointed himself head of the state. Just as the masses in Argentina had nothing to do with this “revolution,” they had nothing to do with electing Ramirez to office. As a matter of fact, Argentina has been ruled dictatorially for some years, and during this period has been a German and Italian “sphere of influence.”

Behind the new regime in Argentina stand the reactionary pro-fascist industrialists and big landowners. They stand behind this regime, as they did when Castillo ruled, not only for reasons of foreign policy, but as much because these regimes enable them to rule the economy and exploit the people of Argentina without difficulty.

What the Officers Have Done

What has this new regime accomplished in the short period of its existence? It promised to hold a presidential election on September 5. It has now cancelled indefinitely this election. The new government (read: dictatorship), which had heretofore acknowledged that it was a provisional, i.e., temporary, regime, has issued a decree ending its “provisional” status. It is now the real government!

What else has it accomplished? Well, the new state power appointed a fascist by the name of General Basilic Pertine as mayor of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Appointed, mind you, not elected. This fascist is one of the directors in a half dozen German firms which have been blacklisted by the U.S. State Department. He is the leader of the pro-Nazi elements in the army. Fascist papers continue to be published and distributed freely. Democratic papers and working class periodicals of every variety are suppressed. The new regime is now reaching out to take over and control the leading radio chains.

But what did the U.S. State Department do about this new regime set up by a group of fascist and semi-fascist army officers? Why, it immediately recognized the new government and thereby gave it an official status. And that’s not strange. The State Department, in charge of carrying out American foreign policy, finds itself traditionally at home with reactionaries the world over. Remember how quickly it recognized the fascist dictatorships of Mussolini, Hitler and Franco? What the State Department fears most are the people and action of the masses who might assert their economic and political rights against all reaction.

State Department, Past and Present

This Argentine revolt and the quick recognition of the new dictatorial government by the State Department brings to memory the manner in which the State Department acted on the question of recognizing the workers and peasants government of Russia after the masses overthrew the Czar. For more than fifteen years, the United States refused to recognize the new government, which represented the overwhelming majority of the people and their desires.

The State Department would have nothing to do with the governrnent of Lenin and Trotsky because it was an anti-capitalist regime. It wasn’t in a great hurry then. On the other hand, it joined the reactionary world chorus against the new, young and weak government, Moreover, the Wilson Administration also joined the interventionist forces and sent American troops to occupy Russia in an attempt to overthrow a government set up by its people.

Yes, Russia was finally recognized by the Roosevelt Administration. But it was Stalin’s Russia which was recognized not the Russia of Lenin and Trotsky. It was the regime of the new bureaucracy that as acceptable to American capitalism, not the regime of the workers and peasants.

So it is not really strange that the State Department recognized the Argentine officers’ regime immediately after it had seized the reins of government. That the people had nothing to say about it did not matter. That the people did not elect General Ramirez as president, also did not matter. So long as it is not a regime of the masses, a regime of the workers and peasants of Argentina. If it were government of the majority, the State Department would take more than enough time to consider such recognition – if it ever would recognize a workers’ government.

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