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Juan Rey

Peron’s Hot Seat

Discontent Grows Apace with Crisis in Economy

(16 January 1950)

From Labor Action, Vol. 14 No. 3, 16 January 1950, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 29 – The economic crisis in Argentina has cruelly exposed the totalitarian deception of the workers and middle class, to whom Juan Domingo Peron promised prosperity and economic independence.

The wave of discontent is so great that the petty Argentine dictator has increased his attempts to frighten the independent bourgeois press, the Nation and La Prensa, which day after day calmly dissect the policies of the executive power. Totalitarian gangs, led by the servile deputies of the official party, assault the above-named organs, intervene in their management and “control" their books, in order to deprive public opinion of its only source of independent information and judgment.

The workers’ press, among others the Socialist Vanguard, organ of the Argentine Socialists (reformists), was silenced a long time ago. Now the turn of the bourgeois press has arrived; but the petty dictator lacks the courage to attack frontally and utilizes the services of his parliamentary lackeys.

Since the workers continue to show their discontent against the Peronist fraud by repeated strikes, the native Bonapartist regime attempted to distract them with the organization of a fraudulent “Day of Loyalty to President Peron.” The tamed CGT (Argentine Federation of Labor), taken over in true Nazi-Stalinist style by Peron’s agents, shamelessly organized a servile workers’ demonstration for the dictator. But the triumph was short-lived.

Discontent Spreads

In the province of Tucuman. the sugar center, the workers organized a strike in defense of their interests. This scarcely pleased the dictator. The totalitarian police arrested one of the trade-union leaders, the worker, Aguilar, subjecting him to cruel tortures. After two weeks, the mutilated corpse of Comrade Aguilar (whoever struggles against this tyranny is our comrade) was found in a suburban ditch.

There was such a. tremendous feeling of indignation among the workers that 200,000 sugar workers in the Tucuman district declared a strike as a sign of protest against the foul crime committed by Peronism. Here is the true response of the proletariat to the Peronist fraud.

The discontent even penetrated the subjugated parliament. The Radical deputy Caettano declared that Peron had enriched himself at the expense of the nation; what holy indignation the dictator displayed! A military tribunal passed judgment on Caettano in spite of his parliamentary immunity, stripping him of his rank as colonel in the Reserves. The tamed parliament of Peronist lackeys deprived him of his immunity and wanted to hand him over to the police assassins.

Happily Caettano had a good sense of smell and took refuge in Uruguay’s capital. Servile Peronist justice pursued him with its charge that he had offended and slandered the nation’s chief.

All this demonstrates the political disease gripping Argentina, and the crisis of Peronism.

A Bonapartist dictatorship had been established in the heart of Latin America, a dictatorship of the totalitarian type, which threatened to dominate the entire continent. The excellent economic conjuncture which favored Argentine agriculture during the war permitted a rise in the workers’ standard of living and the creation of new industries. Flushed with success, Peronism lost its head and thought this would last for a long time.

End of the Road?

But the lean years have arrived. The crumbs “generously” thrown to the “descamisados” (the poor workers) have lost any real value because of devaluation and inflation. The period of "founding new industries” has come to an end simultaneously with the decline from the export peak for agricultural products, barred from world markets by American and Canadian competition. Peronism’s “social” farce has ended as it turns its face toward the conservative landowners.

The regime has entered the period of convulsions from which it can only be saved by complete capitulation before the bourgeois and big landowning class, and by the complete cancellation and repudiation of the “national revolution.”

The fall of Peronism would be a mortal blow for all the petty dictatorships in South America – Odria of Peru, Chalbaud of Venezuela, Gomez of Colombia, Trujillo, and the others of the Caribbean.

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