[Marxism] Eagles don't catch flies, but honest people correct misinformers

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Dec 28 09:37:36 MST 2006


[Popetroni, as it was to be expected, does not like my account of 
events during the mid-70s. Won't debate with him (aquila non capit 
muscas) but I will simply rectify his many distortions. 

We shall follow the path of that Zionist, Chaim Weizmann, whose motto 
was "to truth through error". Perhaps in so doing we might find some 
use to his permanent littering of this list with misinformation too 
large and extensive to be dealt with seriously. 

Technicalities: 

In the following paragraphs, where reads "Nestor:" please refer to my 
former posting, where reads "Popetroni:" please refer to Our 
Clownship's last routine on the list. 

As to the remaining paragraphs, they're mine if not otherwise 
attributed. Eventual mentions of Popetroni on these paragraphs must 
be dealt with as with shorthand for "sepoy, anti-national, anti-
Peronist, irresponsible and misinforming ultra-Left". I guess we can 
agree at least that it would be quite cumbersome to reproduce this 
accurate definition once and again.]

Popetroni:

> Ay, ay, ay... Nestor, you really know nothing about these things, 
> isn't?

Of course, I don't have a single clue because I was living in a 
Thermos bottle by those times. 

For example, I was simply distributing, on the evening of March 23, 
1976, one of the couple of political publications which were calling 
aginst the coup and to the defense of the constitutional government 
of Isabel Perón. This, among other things I did to avert the coup so 
much aided by the objectively anti-working-class policies followed by 
the ultra-Left you, Popetroni [readers, please don't forget: "sepoy, 
anti-national, anti-Peronist, irresponsible and misinforming ultra-
Left"], so strenuously defend. 

What were many of those who Popetroni defends (now)  doing in those 
times is one of those things that, as the Quijote says, "peor es 
meneallo". As to Popetroni himself as a human being, I would rather 
keep a friendly silence, since I am still full of Xmas Spirit. But 
Popetroni the social product goes ahead, and -surprisingly enough for 
some- on this I can't but somehow agree:

> Let's correct some of the things that most overtly come from
> a fictional account of events:

Yes, yes, yes!!!!!!!!!!  Let us try to put a final end to our 
"Leftists"' efforts at dilluting their responsibilities in what 
happened. Thank you Popetroni for the excellent opportunity you give 
us. We don't expect to close the exhaust tube of the disinformation 
machine, but at least we might provide some antidotes to toxic gas 
thus produced and distributed. Popetroni begins like this:

> Nestor:
>
> "a) if that "weird alliance" managed to "briefly control the 
> state", it had at least a little to do with (1) the prescindent 
> attitude of the "democratic" anti-Peronist parties (electoral 
> calculation proved more important than the interest of the country 
> as a whole: if Peronists made a horrible administration, then 
> perhaps they might lose in the elections scheduled for 1977)"

Popetroni:

> The bourgeois opposition parties were NOT prescindent. In fact
> they were -- together with Peronist union bureaucrats --
> embarked in a campaign to convince the military to organize
> a coup.

Again, Popetroni speaks of "bourgeois" opposition parties and "union 
bureaucrats" as if they were a single bloc. We shall deal with this 
red herring later on[1]. But Popetroni's definition, _in the context 
he puts it_, brings with it a painful sense of uneasiness. 

Tell us please, for our own souls' sake, and if you can, Popetroni:  
If the opposition parties were "bourgeois", exactly _what_ was the 
party in government? Socialist? With López Rega? 

Or, rather, it was Fascist? Mr. Obrien has some clear definitions in 
this sense. Do you share them, Popetroni? 

Maybe you don't share them. Then, they were all just "bourgeois" 
parties. If _all_ were "bourgeois tout court", both the ruling party 
and those of the opposition, why were they so definitely confronted?  
Wouldn't a serious revolutionary have done what some did, that is to 
equate all "bourgeois" fractions and wage a relentless and 
unflinching struggle to isolate the working class from their 
influence? 

But then, _why all that fuss over the 1976 coup_? Weren't all the 
same thing? Wasn't the coup simply a bourgeois issue to which workers 
should have been completely "neutral"? 

Later on we shall read Popetroni himself answering these obvious 
questions: "The coup was a coup against us, the "Left", who were 
already becoming a menace". Allow me to smile condescendently at this 
piece of hybris, on which I will return later, dear and patient 
readers. But isn't it quite meaningful that most of the murdered and 
disappeared were Peronists and not "Leftists"? 

(Not to speak of the millions who had not been touched by politics, 
that is the mass of the population, and who saw their country 
destroyed and their own livings turned nil by deindustrialization 
imposed by a government that came to power, in more than one sense, 
thanks to the tremendous political mistakes of the diversified 
varieties of ultra-Left then operating in Argentina;  "Sire, this is 
worse than a crime, this is a mistake" said Talleyrand to Napoleon 
after the Duke of Enghien was shot)

Doesn't this hybris say _something_ at least about this 
"explanation"? (This is just for beginners. Others will be kind 
enough to stop laughing at Popetroni's pretense that the "Left" was 
ever a serious menace to the bourgeoisie in Argentina, and please 
follow us in this operation of surgery. Thank you all.)

In Popetroni's schematic and wrong view of things these mysteries of 
life escape understanding as much as the mystery of the Trinity 
escapes mine. Perhaps it is not a matter of "bourgeois" and "Left", 
after all. We shall see below...

Popetroni:

> Balbin, leader of the UCR made it clear: "The time is up.
> The government should change or the days of the Republic
> are counted."

Popetroni, here, is rashly "telescoping history", as Jim Blaut liked 
to say. Popetroni refers to a declaration by Balbín issued during the 
latter days of the government of Isabel, and if I don't recall 
wrongly on the very late night of March 23rd, 1976 (hours before the 
coup). This was NOT the open position during the whole period. I was 
speaking of the period, not the day. Popetroni (not unintentionally, 
methinks) confuses it all. But let us probe this mystification 
further.

Of course the oligarchic-imperialist bloc, with a "left" and a 
"right" wing, was NOT "neutral" as regards the Peronist 
administration. Of course they were _against_ it from the very 
beginning, and even before it began. The Radical party was the 
"sheriff's horse" in the 1973 electoral race, and the "Left" created, 
under the aegis of the Communist Party, a "progressive" front that 
tended to erode the voting base of Peronism. 

But this is not what I was speaking about. And, at any rate, this is 
something I had tried to skirt elegantly, even though it 
_strengthens_ my own positions, because I wanted to stick to the 
basic issue (something Popetroni, in a fully understandable way, 
tries to avoid):  the fact that as regards not the Peronist 
administration -with or without Perón as masthead- but the enormous 
political blunders of the "armed Left", to call it mildly, the 
"bourgeois opposition parties" were _at first_ prescindent. 

Again: I am too diplomatic. In fact, they were even sympathetic, in a 
muted way, to these "young champions of social justice"... who eroded 
the power of the constitutional government, thus preparing the 
conditions for Balbín's final declaration of March 1976. 

It should be noted, in this context, that when Perón made his final 
return to Argentina in 1973, he was most interested in averting the 
(socialist?) fires that had begun to burn in the popular 
mobilisations between 1969 and 1971. In this sense, his most 
important move had been an attempt to find a "cold" way out of the 
hell of political violence that had been unleashed as far back as 
1955. 

His move was to offer his hand to Ricardo Balbín, the active head of 
the anti-Peronist bloc as President of the Radical Party[2]. Balbín, 
tired of his ever-losing performance, accepted this offering, thus 
opening a line of policy in that party which provoked an irate Raúl 
Alfonsín to declare later on that this attitude of his own chief was 
"Munichist".  All this with the applause of the "Left" and 
particularly of the most anti-Perón fraction of the "Peronist Left", 
who were his allies in the "Juventudes Políticas Argentinas".

Alfonsín was by those times the head of the "Left" wing of the 
Radical party, keep in mind. The historic core of this definition, of 
course, was a mystery to everyone in Argentina but for the cultivated 
"progressives" to whom he catered. What Alfonsín was saying was that 
Balbín was the Argentinean Neville Chamberlain, and that in accepting 
an agreement with Perón he was placing his signature under a wrong 
and ultimately self-murderous settlement with Hitler -that is, Perón.

As a logical consequence of such a position, Alfonsín was sympathetic 
to the "Left" and the "Peronist Left" Popetroni also likes so much. 
But let us go to the next piece of political fantasy:

> The union bureaucrats, on their side, started to break
> away from the government after Isabel Peron and the
> Econonomy Minister, Rodrigo, refused to comply with
> some concessions asked for by the Peronist tradeunionists
> to stop the pressure on them in factories and workplaces
> by workers led by the left.

"Some concessions"! "Workers led by the left"! 

Late in those years, I was in close relation, among other groups, 
with the telephone workers union. We in the Izquierda Nacional even 
had a list of our own there, and were managing to expand through what 
we proudly called the "June 27th" list to other unions. June 27, yes, 
for June 27, 1975 and the general strike that forced López Rega out 
of power. 

We in the Izquierda Nacional were following the state of 
consciousness of the working class very closely. Some of our comrades 
wrote essential pages on this issue by those times[3]. If by 
"pressure led by the left" we mean the most active and serious 
Peronist workers, we can't but agree: the class was in movement. But 
if we capitalize the word "Left", then Popetroni simply lies. This 
movement was not _directed by the "Left"_ as Popetroni wants us to 
believe (in order to hammer into our heads the ridiculous notion that 
the 1976 coup was not directed against Peronism but against the 
"Left"). 

This contention by Popetroni is more or less like those "workers of 
the University of Buenos Aires" who, as far as I know today, won an 
_inexistent_ victory in what Popetroni, in one of his usual littering 
marauder's incursions in the list, has "informed"us about as if it 
was an all-union event. That "Left" was never as important a force 
among the working class in Argentina, nor will it ever be, whatever 
Popetroni's dreams might be (more below). 

Moreover, the "union bureaucrats" did _not_ simply "answer to 
pressure" in the sense Popetroni wants us to believe, not just from 
"the Left" (which had no weight at all in actual politics) but not 
even from "the workers", because they simply did _represent_ (though 
perhaps not fully) the average will of the workers. It was not a 
"concession" from an essentially treacherous rotten command to a 
raging base which was eager to overthrow that command together with 
the bourgeois regime, as the "Left" suggested and still keeps 
suggesting. It was, esentially, an act of political will directed 
_against_ the whole antinational bloc, "Leftists" included, which 
however, did not finish with its logical outcome: full conditioning 
of the Isabel government, up to the elections, by the CGT and the 
"bureaucrats"[4].

The June 27th 1975 general strike was not launched by Rogelio Coria 
(the arch-corrupt head of the Construction Union who ended his life 
as a landowner in Paraguay), nor Casildo Herrera (the leader of the 
Textile union who, in the events immediately related to the coup, 
publicly declared he was abandoning the ship). But it was certainly 
not launched by the "Left", nor was the "pressure" of that "Left" 
strong enough to launch it. On this, the pathetic "data" Popetroni 
provides us with at the final paragraphs of his own posting are as 
reliable as his opinions on my own positions on Argentinean politics.

The strike, Popetroni's shouting against it nonwithstanding, _was_ 
launched, essentially, by Lorenzo Miguel, the head of the metal 
workers union, a man of working class origin and most conservative 
policies who was also one of the heads of the Justicialista 
(Peronist) Party.  And believe me, nobody would dare exert too much 
pressure on Lorenzo Miguel by those days, either from the "Left" or 
the "right" (the reasons why, I prefer not to comment here, but they 
were related to the murderous character politics had acquired in 
Argentina during the mid 70s). Anyway, Lorenzo's decission had simply 
been an issue of sheer class instinct. 

In fact, during those fateful days everyone was sticking to its class 
instincts. The anti-Peronist "Left", and particularly those groups 
embarked in policies of "guerrilla against the bourgeois regime", 
too. 

Back to Popetroni now:

> Nestor:

> "and (2) with the pertinacy
> in error of some armed groups who insisted in waging "guerrilla"
> actions not just nor only against a military dictatorship"

Against this, Popetroni resorts to the usual method of gleaning out 
some particular cases from a mass of opposing evidence, in order to 
show that the "Left" was already getting to challenge "bourgeois" 
power. This self-delluding move, by the way, and let us disclose it 
for all times, is _exactly_ the same operation that they usually 
perform today in the "recovered plants" movement, when they raise the 
Brukman, the B.A.U.E.N. or the Zanón cases (where they have had and 
still have influence) while they deny any existence to the hundreds 
of plants that have been _recovered for the workers_ through the 
efforts of Peronist unions and sometimes even deputies and senators. 

So that I will skip over his low level "factualities" and go to 
political analysis,something he will not accept, but what can I do, I 
cannot abuse this list by countering his examples with a miles-long 
list of factories and workplaces who rejected the very "Left" that 
had obtained some self-glorified partial victories, thus convincing 
itself that they were already winning over the whole class 
POLITICALLY! Same considerations for his glorification of a 
"committee of over 100 factories" later on in his own posting.

This idea that when you have a "Leftist" union leader you already 
have the sign of a political change in the mind of those who choose 
her or him is another characteristic misinformation of that Left: 
people chose a union leader to lead the union, and this is 
particularly true at the lowest levels of the structure. If -under 
good conditions- a non-Peronist leader can defend me better against 
the plant owner than a Peronist one, I will vote for him as a plant 
delegate, of course[5]  

But this does not mean that my political will shall be placed where 
that _unionist_ wants. This is the kernel of Lenin's "What is to be 
done" and his polemics with the "economist" groups, a kernel that our 
"Leftists", so versed in the most minute detail of Old Vladimir's 
writings, skip over once and again. There are many ways to be a 
reformist. Acting as if you were a "revolutionary" but reducing 
politics to unionism is just one of them.

But let us stick to the single important part of his "rebuttal" here. 
He says:

"The guerrilla was already militarily defeated.  They were
no longer the factor, but just an excuse, for both the
government and the opposition."

Isn't it interesting to realize that the "guerrilla" was as well 
"just an excuse" for the opposition, who would not be overthrown if 
the "excuse" worked well, as it was for the government, who _would_? 
Is Popetroni taking us for fools? God forbid! 

Maybe _he_ is a fool? Well, ahem. Because, follow me please now in 
this exercise of reason: let us assume the fact that the "guerrilla" 
was "just an excuse", which it was. Then, what should have been the 
attitude of a serious Left (no inverted commas)? Should it have 
helped to make the government weaker, as Popetroni's so much beloved 
"Left" did, or, as the National Left did, defend it against its 
enemies? 

In fact, the phrase "The guerrilla was already militarily defeated", 
with exactly the same wording, was first emitted to my knowledge by 
Jorge Enea Spilimbergo in the late 1970s, against those who wanted to 
"justify" the coup against Isabel Perón as if the only way to defend 
a constitutional government of the "guerrilla" was to overthrow that 
government! 

The difference with Popetroni's "Left" is that while we in the 
National Left extracted all the conclussions from this verification 
and supported the government because we knew that the pretext was a 
pretext, the "Left" strove to struggle against it and turn it still 
weaker. We were coherent with our findings, Popetroni's "Left", not. 

Or perhaps, in a most repugnant sense, which brings us from stupidity 
to crude sadism, it _was_? Popetroni tries to justify himself by that 
piece of deformation that I have already dealt with above (Peronists 
somehow preparing a coup against a Peronist government out of fear 
for the "Left" and its immediate takeover of the working class, and 
other nonsense too elementary for any serious person to pay attention 
to it). 

I will spare my readers this precious bunch of rotten flowers with 
offending smell, but for the essential affirmations so that they 
remain as proof of what I say:

> What it was the real problem is that the peronist bureaucrats
> were LOSING factory after factory at our hands, that is to
> say, to the left.

[...]


> On this, the Peronists in government agreed with the opposition

> Balbin: "Factory guerrillas" more dangerous than the other

> Isabel Peron: "Subversives at the factories are as destructive
> as those in the "montes.""

> Lorenzo Miguel (main Peronist bureaucrat at a rally honoring
> military fallen in the fight against guerrillas):

> "The army is doing their patriotic duty combating the
> subversives... and we are doing the same by stopping
> them at the workplaces."

Once the enormous mystification of a massive "turn to the Left" of 
the Arg working class is rejected (and yes, here you need to choose 
either you believe me or Popetroni, and yes, this is an IDEOLOGICAL 
choice for anyone not privy with the details of the social and 
political history of Argentina during the 70s), then these 
declarations have a different hue. They all seem "anti-working-class" 
(even those by Lorenzo Miguel -Popetroni might add "those in 
particular!"). But things are not as easy as Popetroni would like 
them to be.

The declarations by Balbín expressed, of course, the rage at the 
political activism of the working class of the factory owners and 
(most essentially, because it is to _this_ section of society that 
Balbín owed its political existence) of the agrarian petty bourgeois 
of the Province of Buenos Aires and the petty bourgeoisie linked to 
the old agroexporting structure. It was a slimy declaration, at that, 
because it stepped on the uncontroversial fact that there _was_ a 
brutal escalade by the Peronist right against political independence 
of the working class in order to prop up a generalized anti-working-
class program which would, in the end, put shackles to the single 
class that would support the government to the end.

The declarations by Isabel Perón must be dealt with in the context of 
the murderous conflict _within_ Peronism and between Peronism and the 
"Leftist" armed groups, where Popetroni and his likes don't want to 
see that there were dead _on both sides_, and that blood had stained 
the views of every politician involved. Unionists were targets for 
the "guerrilla" as well as military. 

Which brings us to Lorenzo Miguel's statement. I would like to bring 
my readers' attention to some almost Freudian features of Popetroni's 
discourse, so that please excuse me if I abuse of the capacity of e-
mail and reproduce it again:

> Lorenzo Miguel (main Peronist bureaucrat at a rally honoring
> military fallen in the fight against guerrillas):
>
> "The army is doing their patriotic duty combating the
> subversives... and we are doing the same by stopping
> them at the workplaces."

What is so terrible with this declaration? 

According to Popetroni, the ugly thing here is: (a) Lorenzo Miguel 
was the "main Peronist bureaucrat" (perhaps Popetroni laments that he 
was not murdered together with Rucci?), (b) as such (and perhaps also 
as a member of the Peronist -ruling party- leadership) he had been 
"at a rally honoring military fallen in the fight against 
guerrillas", and (c) he declared there that the struggle of the 
military was equated by the struggle of Peronist unionists at the 
factory level.

Let us watch at the thing closely. The government that the CGT 
supported (and the "62 Organizations" led by Miguel were the core of 
that CGT) was under attack from illegitimate groups of armed citizens 
-self-appointed "Left". Seemingly thanks to the intervention of the 
objective (and sometimes the subjective) allies of that "Left" in the 
Parliament, the government was not allowed not deal with it by means 
of the Police, as it had been Perón's will, but by means of the Army. 

This attack by the so-called "guerrillas" (and we shall return to 
Popetroni's by no means fortuite ellision of inverted commas around 
this particular word) could, if unchecked, risk to become -as it 
became- the "pretext" for that government to be overthrown. 

The military (that is, the officers) were split: there was a 
nationalist sector, very weak, which also had a still weaker "popular 
or populist" branch within; and there was a pro-imperialist sector 
which Perón had managed to turn a bit weaker but could not weed out. 

Now it was strengthened with each coup of the "guerrillas". Yes: each 
coup by the "guerrillas" srengthened the latter sector against the 
former, to the point that during the last moments of the government 
they were able to replace the Commander in Chief Numa Laplane, who 
was a conservative Peronist that enjoyed the support of the 
Presidency with... Jorge Rafael Videla, the future dictator and 
criminal[6]!

In this context, the "union bureaucracy" led by Lorenzo Miguel was 
also from time to time subject to the murderous attacks of its armed 
enemies so tenderly defended by Popetroni. José Ignacio Rucci (an 
arch-bureaucrat, worse still than Miguel but _Perón's choice for the 
CGT in 1973_, which is from the point of view of Arg politics of the 
age the most important fact) had been murdered less than three years 
ago[7]. They also believed to be under attack from the Left, because 
these Anarchists ("liberals with a bomb in the hand", as per Marx) 
called themselves the Left, and of course everyone in Argentina 
agreed that they were! 

Miguel tried to rally the military to the government, and tried to 
show to them that the working class was not represented -as it really 
WASN'T- by the murderous gangs who Popetroni pompously calls 
guerrillas (and which had NOTHING to do with guerrillas, in fact, but 
enjoyed -and still enjoy- the prestige such a name offers to escape 
their political responsibilities). Miguel also said a truth: that the 
groups of armed citizens who rose against the government and murdered 
military and policemen tried to win for their own cause the union 
leadership at the local level, something that, in the end, NEVER 
occurred but Miguel and the CGT leadership felt could not deal with. 
In fact, it was a political issue: the clearer the relation between 
the "union" sections of the "armed movements" and the "fighting 
units" of same movements became, the slighter the grip of that "Left" 
on the working class turned out to be (but, alas, of _every_ Left, 
and this is just another dimension of their political effect).

Popetroni, here, considers it a sin that a union leader whose 
political belief -though not always union practice, which is a 
different thing- coincides with that of the mass of the working 
class, a member of the ruling bodies of the party that has been voted 
to rule the country and which now is supporting a harassed 
government, he considers it a sin, I repeat, that such a man goes to 
a military parade and declares his solidarity with the military who -
formally- were defending that _democratically elected_ government 
against groups of armed civilians. 

But for whoever wants to see things in their crude political meaning, 
it is obvious that such an unionist forced to act as a politician, 
under such circumstance, will try to reinforce the weak groups of pro-
government officers in the Armed Forces from the attack of the two 
pronged oligarchic-imperialist machine that killed officers (and 
later on, soldiers) from the "Left"[8], and from the "Right" was 
making the most thinly veiled declarations of intention to overthrow 
the government that could not manage nor put an end to those 
"guerrillas". 

For Popetroni, however, Lorenzo Miguel, Ricardo Balbín, Isabel Perón, 
and the  oligarchic, anti-Peronist, anti-Communist, pro-US and 
monstruous Videlista command of the Armed Forces were all united in 
their fear of a takeover of Argentina -by the "Left"!!!!!  

One would like to say: "Oh, please, give me a break". But we have 
decided to make some good use of Popetroni's misinformation and will 
remain on that job. One must end things that one begins. 

Further on, and resorting to just and simply another tenet by the 
"Left" which tries to cover up its own brutal and criminal mistakes, 
Popetroni says that when I _explain_ that "against these "Leftists", 
many of who believed to be Peronists themselves, Perón saw himself 
forced to rely on his right wing. And, indeed, rely he did, something 
he was as well prone to do as used to do" I am _endorsing_ something 
that the very wording of the phrase shows I reject. 

Popetroni, once again, distorts my words and asks whether I feel that 
"Peron was justified in agreeing to form death squads and kill 
Montoneros and other Peronists as well as leftists and independent 
activists", because "that is the way Peron and later his wife relied
on the right to kill those you said "believed to be Peronists."

This, of course, puts in my mind things I never believed. 

Please let us look at the attempt from closer quarters. What I had 
done was just to _describe_ the way that Perón could be expected to 
react. This is something that any old Peronist  -not to speak of 
Peronist cadre- could have guessed. And I tried to explain why the 
"Peronism" of the Montoneros highest cadre lacked some basic 
understanding of what was Peronism, particularly of the relation 
between the Leader and the mass of followers, a misunderstanding most 
probably imposed by history on them ("God blindfolds those who He 
wants lost"?), but which an objective observation of the history of 
Peronism would have provided them with. 

Popetroni derides my implicit question mark on the Peronism of the 
Montonero leadership of the time (not "the Montoneros", by the way, 
which were themselves a most complex thing), but this 
misunderstanding is the best proof of what I say. The first rule of 
Peronism was that Perón WAS OUT OF QUESTION. Whatever he did or say 
was GOD ALMIGHTY SPEAKING. If you did not understand that, then you 
were carving your way out of Peronism. And if you "became" Peronist 
without that first and foremost understanding, then you had not 
become truly Peronist.  Not, at least, in the eyes of Perón first of 
all.

Now, on to the slanderous implications of Popetroni's "questions": it 
is obvious that I did not _support_ Perón's reaction anywhere on my e-
mail, nor anywhere on this list in the long years I am a contributor. 

When you see someone at the point of grabbing an electricity-carrying 
metal wire and you tell that person "Don't grab it, it kills!", you 
are not endorsing the killing. You are trying to prevent it. 

When one comes to events human, however, sometimes class pressures 
make people believe that the wire is not metallic and that it carries 
no electricity at all. Then, and precisely because one understands 
that things are not _that_ way, one has to struggle against those who 
persist in a horrible mistake, because one foresees the final 
results, and wants to avert them. 

When talking of history, those who misinform by obscuring the fact 
that the wire _was_ metallic and it _did_ carry electricity must be 
dealt with in the way I do with Popetroni... 

When, like the Popetronis of this world, one does not want this 
understanding to take place, one then flies to the heavens of moral 
indictment and tries to kill the messenger. This is what Popetroni 
tries to do with his "questions", because they imply that not only 
yours truly -who probably is less than worthless- but also people of 
the caliber of Jorge Enea Spilimbergo or Jorge Abelardo Ramos or the 
Izquierda Nacional in general were in the end supporting a political 
development that killed some of our most beloved comrades and sent 
Argentina headlong into hell. 

The very insult of _posing_ such a question is slanderous, and it is  
also an old red herring that now we are confronting for the nth time. 
Stalinists were "chefs d'oeuvre" in this. Popetroni does not seem to 
have left those lessons unattended.

More importantly, however, it is also an attempt to avoid the answer 
that Popetroni and his "Left" must give the Argentinean people before 
they earn any right to pose questions: I have a gut feeling that, 
just as Popetroni did when challenged by J. Bustelo to prove that I 
was a Menemist, he will never answer this question in the open. But 
let us then, however hopelessly, pose the main question again, 
because the whole issue lies here:  

"Did, or did _not_, Master Popetroni, the Montonero leadership and 
the ERP leadership _act as_ objective provocateurs against a 
democratically elected government, thus playing in the hands of the 
enemies of that government?" Once we have settled this, we might, 
accoding to the results of that first question, go ahead and pose the 
second question: "What was it that the Montonero phenomenon meant 
within Peronism?". After we do so, then we perhaps might pass on to 
what was the ERP, and we might even try to understand how it was that 
the grandchildren of that ultra-reformist milk-drinker Juan B. Justo 
turned redder-than-you terrorists (in the most strict Marxist sense 
of the word) at the same time that the prosperous semicolonial 
Argentina that had given birth to Juan B. Justo was disappearing 
never to return.  Maybe, after all these issues are clarified, then 
we might return to Popetroni's "question".

But not before they are duly clarified.

As to his "rebuttal" to my "The University of Buenos Aires, for 
example, fell to the hands of the "Left Peronists", under the 
Rectorship of Rodolfo Puiggrós. Every "sepoy Left" critic of Perón -
either "Pure Left" or "Peronist Left"-will immediately stand on the 
toes, rise to its highest pitch and yell "It was not Perón, it was 
Cámpora, you liar!". Oh, please, let us be serious: this cannot be a 
subject of serious debate", and since Popetroni once again resorts to 
the Groucho Marx school of misinformation ("Will you believe _me_ or 
_your own eyes_?") I will simply allow Xmas feelings to carry me away 
from his falsehoods. But for one. Popetroni: "Never, ever the left 
Peronisr denied their allegiance to Peron or said anything remotely 
to what you said they said."

We seem to be falling into a stolid version of nominalism here. In 
politics, what matters most is not what you _say_, Popetroni, it is 
what you _do_. Truly left Peronists, of course, did nothing like 
confronting Perón. I may give a long list of such people, that in 
order to make some justice to great forgotten Argentineans might well 
begin with Luis Alberto Murray, someone Popetroni probably does not 
even know about (maybe he does, who knows). 

But the "Left" Peronists Popetroni lumps together with the truly Left 
wing of Peronism _did_. To begin with, and just to keep within the 
bonds of Argentina in the mid-70s, by supporting Cámpora against the 
will of Perón to be President of the country himself, and in a 
thousand other ways (their own political alliances not the lest 
important) including, by the way, direct dealings with the military 
during the Operativo Dorrego instead of allowing the President, that 
is Perón, to do any deal between the military and the government, as 
it was mandatory from every point of view. Perón, like _any_  
Bonapartist leader in a Third World national movement, did not accept 
"dual power" within his own movement. 

Popetroni, later on, tries to bring confusion to clarity by 
intentionally mistaking a quote with an explanation. 

I write 

«In fact, during his own speech against the Montoneros, Perón himself 
asked at Plaza de Mayo: "You have the Universities, what else do you 
want? There are more than a dozen socialist parties in Argentina, we 
are Justicialistas.", that is: "We put in your hands the formation of 
the future élites, what else do you expect a bourgeois government to 
give you? Organize your party if you want, but don't try to 
denaturalize mine, nor to use the University as a step towards power 
against me and the general will of the people who voted _me_, not 
_you_», 

and Popetroni "innocently" responds: 

"Three quarters of the quotes above simply never existed."

In fact, what you can read "above" Popetroni's "precision" is _a 
single_, very short quote (and by heart), which is the opening quote, 
and an explanation that even Popetroni might understand, introduced 
by the words "That is...". What really matters is _not_ that 3/4 of 
the "quotes" never existed. What matters is that the first quote 
_did_ exist, and Popetroni can't deny it. So, he again skirts debate. 
Oh, this is boring already. But we are near to the end. Let us go 
ahead, brave warriors.

The above allows Popetroni to state the following string of 
banalities:  "The intentions of Peron was to use the left and govern 
from the right and expected the left to quietly accept that.  They 
mostly did so but then he started to humiliate them in public and 
started to kill them, intervene the universities and gave a free hand 
to the union bureaucrats to hunt them down..."

The intentions of Perón were, simply, to lead a national bourgeois 
revolution. The intentions of the "Left" cadre that suddenly 
discovered themselves "Peronists" were to shunt the road to socialism 
by "taking Peronism from within". In the end, a politically suicidal 
attempt to avoid the hard work of building a socialist formation 
within a national front where Peronism seemed to be _all that there 
was_. 

From the point of view of an orthodox Peronist, they were "left wing 
Vandoristas"[9]. They wanted to use for their own benefit the faith 
of the masses in Perón as a caudillo and leader. This, Perón saw from 
the very beginning (even when he observed in disgust the casual 
manners with which these young newly spawned Peronists behaved at the 
living room of his house when on a political meeting with him). And 
he acted accordingly. 

We in the National Left also alerted against this. Perón can't be 
_blamed_ for acting as what he _was_: a bourgeois politician in an 
embattled semicolonial country of Latin America, the product of an 
alliance of the working class and the Army which had returned after 
almost 20 years in exile and had no Army to rely on, a national 
bourgeois leader trying to control its own movement and party. 

But, what is so wrong with saying that those who tried to turn 
Peronism into a socialist party instead of building their own party, 
of course, should accept that they are to blame for this opportunist 
and self-defeating attempt? 

It is not true that, as Popetroni wants us to believe, the "left 
peronists... turned the other cheek". Of course they were not a 
homogeneous bunch, and with many of them we in the National Left were 
and still are (and will remain) in the best relations. Some among 
them "put the other cheek", as a good Peronist must do (In fact, a 
good Peronist not only had to "put the other cheek", he had to chant 
glory to Perón for having hit him.) Others quit Peronism or active 
politics. Still others turned coats in 1976. 

But some of the Montonero cadre _did_ answer: for example, they 
allied themselves with, among others, Alfonsín. And some among them 
also tried to put the corpse of José Ignacio Rucci on the table on 
negotiations. Back to Popetroni now:

Nestor:

"Perón tried to keep the repression within the bounds of the
Constitution, and sent to Congress some laws which would have made
the struggle against the "guerrillas" a matter of Police and not of
the Army. However the opposition of many deputies of "Left"
Peronist origin (who have learnt a lot since those days, thank God)
closed the way to the changes he wanted to introduce to the
legal framework of police action."

Popetroni:

"Sure, Nestor, keep revising history."  

Certainly so, Popetroni. I am a National Left Historical Revisionist 
in Argentina, which in our own country means something different than 
elsewhere, it means a national-popular antiimperialist historian. I 
am not a historian. I am a geographer and politician. But of course I 
will revise history. Popetroni cannot give me the lie for the above, 
so that he turns to 

"Peron made an speech after the attempted take over by guerrillas of 
the Azul Garrison where he call for their elimination. He talked
about the use of civilian, unofficial groups to check up the left and 
authorize the first  violent actions against them, other leftist and 
even journalists who questioned him too much at press conferences..."

Well, there you have the provocations. First things first: does 
Popetroni support the attack on the Azul Garrison, yes or no? By the 
way, Perón had spoken of those issues long before, already in Madrid, 
and many people linked to Montoneros would guess what he was decided 
to do if the "special formations" did not subordinate to his will and 
the ERP kept with its provocations against a democratically elected 
president. 

Again: I am not endorsing the method. I am just telling you what was 
to be expected. As to provocations to "Leftist" journalists, I prefer 
not to answer because this would bring us to a whole new thread on 
the falseness of some "Left wing" journalists in Argentina.
 
[Again, I will not deal with Popetroni's record of the June 27 
general strike. Not because it in any sense defies my own exposition, 
but because as usual Popetroni believes that "a coordinating 
committee of over 100 factories" could bring the nost industrialized 
country in South America, and a country still attached to Peronism 
and a working class solidly organized by a complex and all-
encompassing union system, to a standstill of the magnitude it did. 

Had what he says been anything but a minor development, detached from 
the mass of the class instead of linked with it, not only we would 
not have had a coup. Probably we would have had a revolution in 
Argentina. But we didn't have it, thus I will not even go to the 
sources to challenge his detailed chronology. This, also, because I 
don't have my sources handy, and maybe when I have them here I will. 

At any rate, what Popetroni does not -nor can- deny is that the CGT 
leadership, at the very least (not that I am _saying_ this, but I 
want to stress that not even Popetroni can deny it) took the burden 
on their own shoulders and expelled López Rega and his gang. This is 
something no "committee of factories" could have done. 

On the whole issue of the June 27th strike we shall return later, 
however, because it may be of interest to Marxmail readers.  But this 
has been too much even for a hard-skinned one like me. I hope those 
who got with me to this point are not as exhausted as I am. 

N O T E S

[1] In fact, the "bourgeois" parties hated the "union bureaucrats" 
(save for a few) more than they hated the Isabel regime itself. There 
are plenty of examples of those times, but the best example is, 
perhaps, that of the hatred of Alfonsín against the "union 
bureaucrats" in 1983, on which we might also speak because it has a 
lot of points in common with that of the "Left". And which goes a 
long way ahead to explain, by the way, the unambiguously sympathetic 
attitude of Alfonsín towards many in that "Left" during the mid 70s.

[2] Balbín was the permanent candidate of the Radicals to be the 
President of the country, save for one single opportunity, where he 
miscalculated and the Chair fell in the hands of Arturo Illía, a 
fraudulent Radical president who got there in 1963 by means of the 
proscription of Peronism and betrayal to promises made by the 
Radicals to Perón that if he was proscribed they would not go to the 
polls -Balbín thus rejected the candidacy, only to see Illía take his 
stead and get to the Pink House

[3] There was, in fact, a strong debate on the meaning of these new 
data of reality; the Izquierda Nacional itself was getting to 
influence interesting fractions of the working class. This we 
couldn't but greet enthusiastically. Was at last reality claiming for 
the idea? Was it just a small fraction of the class? What policies 
should we follow to spread these ideas among other workers? What was 
to be the role of our comrades in the unions? We made ourselves lots 
of questions in those times. Some we answered correctly, on others we 
were proven wrong, and still others were left unanswered when the 
whole historic path that had been opened up by the Cordobazo came to 
a sharp close in 1976. But what we did not do was to extract from 
that growth of our forces the self-defeating conclusion that we were 
already ripe for a socialist takeover of power in Argentina because 
the working class was "turning National Left".

[4] In fact, it is  _here_, not elsewhere, where you find the lethal 
influence of bourgeois nationalism in Peronism: the union 
representatives of the working class being unable to understand the 
role the working class needs to have during a national revolution in 
a semicolony.

[5] I try -not always with good luck- not to be a sectarian fool. I 
voted myself for such unionists more than once. 

I will just recall two, which date back to the times involved in this 
explanation à propos Popetroni's misinformations: 

In 1974, I was working at Escala, a small factory whose personnel 
catered to the metal workers union. I supported a very combative 
(anti-Peronist) Trotskyist woman as my delegate, and I am still proud 
I did. By the way, she was NEVER harassed by the "union bureaucrats" 
as long as she did _her job as the union and the mass of her voters 
understood it_: representing us the workers of the plant. She was 
decent, honest and wise enough not attempt to transform her post in a 
political anti-Peronist representation, which is the mental operation 
the "Left" always does with its stale Reformist and Tradeunionist 
getaways from political realities in Argentina. She never imagined 
that she had been voted to take the Winter Palace.

As a student in 1973 at the Faculty of Natural and Exact Siences I 
chose delegates of the then TERS -the front group in U politics and 
political breeding ground of what was to become the Partido Obrero 
today- to the leadership of my Centro de Estudiantes, as a counter to 
the asphyxiating influence of the Communist Party (by those times the 
Peronist organizations did not make part of Centro de Estudiantes 
life, and this is just one more of the gross errors that bourgeois 
ideology brought to Peronism); I must also say I was not equally 
satisfied with the results of this vote as I was with those of my 
union vote at the metal workers' union local a year later. 

But this is an entirely different issue, and the girls at the TERS 
were by far among the most gorgeous ones the Faculty over, something 
not to be surprised about given the particular political methods of 
recruitment they resorted to by those times and the particular social 
sectors where they thus catered for their militants! Anyway, nobody 
could beat the girls of the FAUDI (former youth of the Communist 
Party, then anti-Peronist Guevarists, soon to become extremely pro-
Peronist Maoists in a couple of years) at nearby Faculty of 
Architecture. I must admit that I spent more time at Architecture 
than at Sciences, and not only for reasons of wrong vocation...

[6] I guess that Popetroni would explain us that all this enjoyed 
full support (against the growing "Left"!) of the soon-to-be-
overthrown President Isabel Perón herself and soon-to-be-arrested 
Lorenzo Miguel, who was to be sent to the "Pontón Recalada", a prison 
ship in the middle of the River Plate!

[7] I am not _justifying_ the brutal answer by some union 
bureaucrats. I am just putting things in their actual perspective. 
Perhaps this is the time to say, if anyone wants to understand what I 
mean, that some of my own comrades were killed by that answer, most 
notably the beloved Carlos Llerena Rosas (who by the way has been 
reivindicated almost expressly a couple of days ago in an official 
speech by Carlos Cheppi, the current President of the National 
Institute for Agrarian Technology where he worked and where he was 
kidnapped by a gang of right-wing Peronist unionists only to be 
murdered a few hours later)

[8] Perhaps some day we shall talk about the glorious feats of these 
"guerrrillas", such as the "glorious" attack on the Batallón de 
Infantería de Monte in Formosa

[9] Augusto Timoteo Vandor was a Secretary General of the CGT who, 
during Perón's exile in Spain, tried to build his own version of a 
Labor-based party by proclaiming allegiance to Perón while he was 
preparing to replace him _at any practical purpose_ while agreeing 
with the oligarchic post-1955 governments that the so beloved Leader 
remained safely in Madrid.

Este correo lo ha enviado
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
[No necesariamente es su autor]
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"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
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