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TitleRichard Gillespie - The Peronist Left
TagsSocialism Bourgeoisie Argentina Left Wing Politics Labour Party (Uk)
File Size32.8 MB
Total Pages558
Document Text Contents
Page 1


Thesis submitted in accordance with the

requirements of the University of Liverpool

for the degree of Doctor in Philosophy by

Richard Henry Charles Gillespie

June 1979

Page 2


This thesis examines the left-wing tendencies which emerged within

the Peronist Movement during the 1955-76 period. Based upon 16 months

of research in Buenos Aires, the project was designed to examine the

factors which gave rise to radicalisation within Peronism, the political

performance of the major Peronist Left tendencies, and the guerrilla

methods employed by most of the organisations studied.

Socio-economic decline, the impact of external events such as the

Cuban Revolution, and exclusion from the political system

in the 1966-73 years of military rule) were found to have been major

factors in the radicalisation of sectors of the petty bourgeoisie and

working class in this period. However, it is clear from the evidence

that the radicalism of these class fractions assumed very different forms.

Though it is argued in the thesis that the Argentine national bourg-

eoisie has demonstrated that it is no longer capable of leading a signif-

icant and sustained "national liberation" process, the great problems

encountered by those attempting to forge an alternative revolutionary

alliance composed of the working class and petty bourgeoisie are also


The investigation revealed that whereas the petty-bourgeois comp-

onent of the Peronist Left tended to practise reformist politics, be

influenced by radical nationalist ideologists, and employ the methods of

the urban guerrilla, the working-class sectors, though not typical of

their class, tended to practise revolutionary politics, were far more

open to the indirect influence of Marxism, and used collective methods of

class struggle. While the petty-bourgeois element tended to embrace the

theory of revolutionary stages, temporally divorcing struggles for nation-

al liberation and socialism, the proletarian sectors tended to see the


Page 279

- 271 -

urged the promotion of militant trade unionism. Sabino Navarro was a

leader of the majority grouping which appealed for the immediate init-

iation of armed struggle, an appeal which for the most part was no more

than verbal bravado. Sabino Navarro was forced to form his own group

for this purpose in 1969 without the support of the verbal guerrillas.

Sabirio Navarro's group brought to the Montoneros a degree of

practical political experience, vital political contacts and military

proficiency. Is members were much better trained than the original

Montoneros, some of whose cadres like the doomed Maza lacked any mili-

tary training at all. They trained the Montoneros and their leader re-

organised the C6rdoba section before becoming overall leader of the

Montoneros soon after the death of Abal Medina. Sabino Navarro played

an important part in rebuilding the organisation after its near coll-

apse of late 1970 but he too was to the a young man's death. In July

1971 he was killed at the end of a three-day gunbattle in the C6rdoba

hills, reputedly surrounded by several hundred troops and policemen.

In addition to the incorporation of Sabino Navarro's tiny group,

the ! ontoneros were the beneficiaries of a process of convergence with

other Peronist guerrilla groups, seen in the formation of a weak coord-

inating body called the Peronist Armed Organisations (Organizaciones

Armadas Peronistas - OAP). As will be seen below, this process event-

ually led to the integration into or fusion with the Montoneros of

nearly all the Peronist "special formations" and the winning over of

major sectors of the others. Thus the Montoneros were able to survive

the repressive aftermath of the Aramburazo which claimed the life or

liberty of most of the original twelve. Luck also helped them - Norma

Arrostito, who had participated directly in the Montonero trial of Aram-

buru as prosecutor, was acquitted when she was subsequently tried by

the regime's courts. A further irony was that one of her judges,

Page 280

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Ambrosio Romero Carranza, had signed a statement of homage to Aramburu.

Although the Montoneros claimed that the Aramburazo was "the

first military deed carried out by a revolutionary organisation which

implied a political definition iii itself", the suggestions of Monton-

ero collaboration with the State security services which followed oblig-

ed them to'clearly define their political position through a number of

documents and interviews. In a document issued at the end of 1970,

they stressed their historical continuity with the national and popular

struggles of the past, identifying themselves with all'the usual heroes

of historical revisionism plus all the symbols of post-1955 Peronist

revolt, from General Valle's military rising of 1956 to the Uturunco

guerrillas of 1959-60. Apart from references to "traitors", no polit-

ical differentiation appeared to their Peronist hagiography, the Monton-

eros maintaining that:

"one cannot speak of a division of the popular forces into Left

and Right because the combative sectors of Peronism continued
seeking the revolutionary path, differentiating themselves in-

creasingly from the negotiating and blackmailing bureaucracy". 1

Though the logic of this argument is obscure, what is evident is that

the Montoneros failed to discriminate between those sectors fighting

for a mere return of Per6n to power and those seeking a socialist

transformation. Ignoring class analysis, their view of Peronism being

composed of a bureaucratic and a revolutionary tendency reflected their

prioritisation of methodology over ideology. The revolutionary ten-

dency for them was made up of those who had struggled, through coup

attempts, general strikes and especially guerrilla warfare, irrespec-

tive of ideology and political objectives.

Three characteristic Montonero features can also be seen from

1. "Documento: Hablan los Montoneros, " op. cit.

Page 557


MPH - Movimiento Peronista Montonero
(Montonero Peronist


MRA - Movimiento Revolucionario Argentino
(Argentine Revolution-

ary Movement

MRP - Movimiento Revolucionario Peronista
(Revolutionary Peron-

ist Movement)

MR 17 - Movimiento Revolucionario 1 de October
(17th October

Revolutionary Movement)

MSB - Movimiento Sindical de Base
(Rank-and-File Trade Union


MSC - Movimiento Sindical Combativo
(Combative Trade Union


MVP - Movimiento de Villeros Peronistas
(Peronist Shanty-Town

Dwellers Movement

NACLA - North American Congress on
Latin America

OAP - Or izaciones Armadas
Peronistas (Peronist Armed Organ-


OCPO - Or nizacibn Comunista Poder Obrero
(Workers' Power

Communist Organisation)

OLA - Organizaci6n Para la
Liberacion de Ar ntina (Argentine

Liberation Organisation)

OLAS - Organisation for Latin American Solidarity

PB - Peronismo de Base
(Rank-and-File Peronism)

PB - Peronismo de Base Comando
Nacional (Rank-and-File Peron-

Nacional ism, National Command)

PB 17 - Peronismo de Base 17 de Octubre
(Rank-and-File Peronism,

17th October)

PCA - Partido Comunista de la Argentina
(Argentine Communist


PCR - Partido Comunista Revolucionario
(Revolutionary Communist


PI - Partido Intransigente
(Intransigent Party)

Pi - Partido
Justicialista (Justicialist Party)

PM - Partido N. ontonero
(I"Iontonero Party)

PPA - Partido Peronista
Autentico (Authentic Peronist Party)

PRC - Partido Revolucionario
Cristiano (Revolutionary Christ-

ian Party)

PRT - Partido Revolucionario
de los Traba adores (Workers'

Revolutionary Party

Page 558

- 550 -

PSA - Partido Socialista Arpentino
(Argentine Socialist Party)

PSIN - Partido Socialista de Is Iz uierda Nacional

Party of the National Left

PSRN - Partido Socialists de la Revoluci6n Nacional

Party of the National Revolution

PST - Partido Socialists de los Trabaladores
(Socialist Workers


PSV - Partido Socialists de Vanguardia
(Vanguard Socialist Party)

SITRAC - Sindicato de Trabs adores de Concord
(Concord Workers

Union - C6rdoba)

SITRAM - Sindicato de Trabs adores de Materfer
(Materfer Workers

Union - Cordoba

62 de Pie - 62 de Pie Junto a Perlin
(62 on Foot with Perlin)

SMATA - Sindicato de Hecanicos Afines
del Transporte Automotor

Car Workers Union

SUD - Sindicato Universitario de
Derecho (University Law Union)

UCR - Uniion Civica Radical
(Radical Civic Union)

UCRI - Uni6n Civica Radical Intransi
me (Intransigent Radical

Civic Union

UCRP - Uni6n Civica Radical del Pueblo
(People's Radical Civic


UES - Union de Estudiantes Secundarios
(Secondary Students Union)

UNES - Union Nacionalista de Estudiantes
Secundarios (Secondary

Students Nationalist Union)

UOCRA - Union Obrera de la Construcciön
de is Re üblica: Ar ntina

(Construction Workers Union of the Argentine Republic)

UOM - Uniion Obrera Metalürgica
(Metalworkers Union)

UTA - Unibn Tranviarios Automotor
(Transport Workers Union)

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