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Carl Davis

Any Line Will Do – If It Helps Russian Reaction

Stalinists Embrace Argentina’s Dictator

(16 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 37, 16 September 1946, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

In the manner of quick-change artists, which accurately portrays their adaptability to rapidly changing political lines, the Argentine Stalinists have announced their support of Peron’s dictatorship. Behind this sharp reversal of political position is the new diplomatic and trade pact between Stalin’s Russia and Peron which the Kremlin propagandists described as between “two freedom-loving and democratic peoples – Argentina and the Soviet Union.”

As soon as Russia changed its policy toward Peron, the Communist (Stalinist) parties in this hemisphere adopted the new line automatically without allowing their membership and following a moment’s breathe to adjust themselves to this change. At its recently held Congress the Argentine Communist Party declared:

“The Congress voiced its determination to fight against such attempts (American imperialist maneuvers against Peron) and to go into the streets with the Peronist masses should any reactionary (!) movement endanger constitutional order and stability ...

“Relations between Communist and Peronist workers are excellent at this time.”

Thus, within the twinkling of an eye, Peron, the “military dictator,” the “semi-fascist,” the “Nazi collaborator,” who seized power through a coup and a rigged up, strong-armed election, becomes the representative of “constitutional order and stability.” If this appears to be an aberration on the part of the Argentine Stalinists, remember that it reflects, the line given them by Moscow which dishonestly links the dictatorial regime and the masses who oppose it by speaking of “two freedom-loving and democratic” is true, That the Argentine people are “freedom-loving and democratic” is true, but what has this to do with the Peron regime which oppresses them? The sentiments of the people of Argentina no more describe the regime of “colonels” than do the aims and aspirations of the oppressed Russian masses describe the brutal police regime which rules over them.

Background to Change of Kremlin’s Line

The whole incident is an excellent example of the perfidy of Stalinism. During the war, the Stalinist Party of Argentina, its sister organizations in South America, and the most vocal of all, the Communist Party of the United States, kept up a steady chorus of denunciation of Peron, and the American State Department because it did not immediately break off relations with him. Peron was charged with being an ally of Germany; Argentina was declared to be a haven for fascists.

Even Argentina’s formal severance of relations with Germany did not strengthen its position in the Pan-American Union or the United Nations. Peron’s regime was being paid off by the Allies for its wartime neutrality, that is, for taking advantage of the war to play off one side against another in the interests of Argentine nationalism – for profits which would accrue to its financial, industrial and landlord class.

Reflecting the war alliance between Russia and the United States, the Stalinists and their fellow travelers demanded a rupture of relations with Argentina and the adoption of a policy of intervention which could only mean the destruction of the independence of the country. The demand for this rupture, however, overlooked the conflict between the United States and Great Britain over who shall establish economic preponderance in Argentina. It was this conflict which prevented a rupture with Peron. Had the U.S. severed its relations with Peron, Great Britain would have had a clear field in the one South American country in which she still had considerable interests. And at the San Francisco Conference it was the U.S. that proposed Argentina’s admission, and Russia that opposed it with a loud clamor from Stalinists everywhere.

In the meantime, neither the British nor American rulers, gave much thought to Russia. They did not think that with the end of the war Russia would join this rivalry. But Russia did. It recognized the regime which only yesterday it denounced in the fiercest terms. And just as quickly as the Kremlin changed its policy, its hirelings and agents throughout the world echoed the change.

The whole situation is indeed a little embarrassing to many Stalinist organizations which up until almost yesterday demanded a break with Peron and measures to overthrow this “reactionary” and, “fascist” who in no way represented the people, of the country. And now? Now the regime has become “democratic,” “freedom-loving,” and representative of the “masses.”

Stalinist Parties Are Agents of Russia

This switch of line on the part of the Stalinists not only confirms the charge that the Communist Parties of the world are Russian agents whose main purpose is the advocacy and defense of Stalinist dictatorship and foreign policy, but it also reveals that for them the terms “reactionary” and “fascist” have a changing meaning. Thus, “reactionary and fascist,” in the Stalinist dictionary, does not mean individuals, groups and movements in capitalist society which oppose the interests of the people, democracy, social progress or socialism. No, in the Stalinist language, “reactionary and fascist” have come to mean those who oppose Stalinism. “Democratic and freedom-loving” people, and “socialists,” are those who agree with or support Stalinist policy, no matter how truly reactionary it may be.

Throughout eastern Europe, the Russian puppet regimes are composed not only of Stalinist henchmen and the secret police, but of native fascists, reactionaries, anti-Semites and characterless, unprincipled people. On this side of the ocean, the reactionary, dictatorship of Peron is now “freedom-loving,” and his organized and subsidized totalitarian mobs and military aides have been transformed into the “masses.”

A reactionary, imperialist regime in Russia produces a reactionary policy both domestic and foreign. As in other parts of the world, the Stalinists in this hemisphere carry out the imperialist policy of their bosses in the Kremlin. Bearing this in mind, it should be clear why the justifiable opposition of the masses of Latin and South America against U.S., and in part, British imperialism. must not be allowed to become a support for Russian imperialism and the native dictatorships?

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