Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)


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One of the least unexpected expressions was the campaign launched in against motor- ized agricultural machinery by the prestigious Rural Society. An organized expression of Argentina's largest landowners, the Society emphasized while disclaiming any "sentiment of reactionary nationalism" that importing tractors would put money in the pockets of foreigners, whereas the use of horses would keep the money in Argentina, widen the market for local products such as alfalfa, corn, saddles, and the horses themselves, and create more jobs.

Since the Society had long benefited from Argentina's traditional commitment to free trade, the turnabout was a significant indicator of changing moods within the rural establishment. On the other hand, the signs within the landed sector by no means pointed in a single, unambiguous direction. For one thing, that sector was divided by a rift that widened consider- ably by the mid-thirties. This was the schism between the small ranchers of the interior and the big estancieros of the Province of Buenos Aires, which took the form of a battle between the new Confederation of Buenos Aires and La Pampa, and the venerable Rural Society.

The main point at issue was the effort by the Confederation to free its members from domination by foreign-owned meat-packing houses frigonficos , an issue greatly aggravated by the Roca-Runciman Pact. Members of the Rural Society, favored by the packing houses and beneficiaries of the pact, could only lose by upsetting the status quo. As immigration declined, however, migration from Argentina's own interior provinces to the cities increased to such proportions that there was no letup in the process of urbanization that had been going on apace for half a century.

As always, Greater Buenos Aires led the race by several lengths. By it was receiving some 83, internal migrants each year, and in the next decade the annual intake rose to 96, One result was that the metropolitan area's foreign-born element, which had stood at the extra- ordinarily high level of one half the city's total population from the s to , was cut in half by mid-century, declining to 36 percent in and 26 percent in All the while, the cityward trend of the nation's population continued at a steady pace. From 53 percent in , the urban share rose to 60 percent in , and Buenos Aires continued to lead the other cities by a wide margin.

This was between a third and a fourth of the nation's total population, which was estimated to be Some of the other cities were likewise growing rapidly, but none approached Buenos Aires even remotely in size. The two next largest, Rosario and Cordoba, had populations only about a sixth and an eighth as large as the capital city's. The others-old Santa Fe, Tucuman, and Mendoza, to the north and west; the newer La Plata, down- river some 40 miles from the capital; and Bahia Blanca, miles to the southwest of it-lagged far behind.

The disparity between Buenos Aires and the other cities, though enormous, was not surprising, for Buenos Aires was the country's economic, social, and cultural as well as political capital. Any good transportation map of the period would illustrate and help explain its wide margin of primacy: the city was the principal focus of the country's railway network, which was the most extensive in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world; of the country's vitally important seaborne trade; and of its international air service, which was just getting under Figures for the s are my estimates.

No national census was taken between and By this time the city gave the appearance of having completely recovered from the Depression, and it had much to offer to people of all tastes, especially, as in any other modern metropolis, the well-to-do. Along with its unexcelled beef and lamb served in many fine restaurants, its attractions ranged from horse racing in the elegant hippodrome and soccer football on several fields to libraries and museums galore and the nation's chief university, and from the world-famous tango singer Carlos Gardel heard on radio more than ever after his untimely death in a Colombian airplane crash to equally famous European opera singers in the city's mammoth opera house.

The streets and buildings of the city suggested by turns Seville and Madrid, in its older quarters; the United States it even had a district named Nuevo Chicago ; and, especially in its center, Paris. There the city on the Plata had in fact been made over since the s in much the same way as the city on the Seine by Baron Haussmann under Napoleon III. Outstanding features of this part of the city were new parks, new buildings, new avenues hacked through old buildings and opening wide vistas, and a considerable degree of architectural harmony, with French Renaissance most in evidence. Also outstanding, and yet typical, was the foot-wide, mile-long Avenida de Mayo, for which block after block of buildings had been sacrificed so that it might run in a straight line from the Palace of Congress built in , the centenary of independence , to the Plaza de Mayo, where stands the cabildo, the colonial government house, in which, official history says, the independence move- ment began in May Across the spacious plaza from the cabildo is the Casa Rosada Pink House , the executive office building, from the balcony of which Juan Peron was in a few years to deliver the first of his many moving speeches to descamisado hosts packed into the plaza below.

For one thing, it was small in numbers. Worse still, it was racked by internecine conflicts. The first major conflict arrayed socialists, representing liberal nationalism, against syndicalists, who were apolitical internationalists. The socialists won out in and, in the same year, in accordance with the Kremlin's Popular Front strategy, the Argentine communists' hitherto separate federation of labor dissolved to join the CGT. But in the Hitler-Stalin Pact started another internal struggle that by early 1 had split the organization wide open-just in time to aid, uninten- tionally, the military coup in early June of that year.

Consequently, throughout the Conservative Restoration the CGT was quite unable to improve the workers' unhappy lot. It could not even protect the basic right to strike, much less keep real wages from sagging in the latter half of the decade, although the Depression was over for most urban Argentines by this time. The smaller unions that remained outside the CGT were no more successful.

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Large numbers of internal migrants from the back country entered the urban labor market after , with far-reaching results for the organized labor movement in the next decade. At first the effect was hardly perceptible, for the existing unions paid little or no attention to the newcomers, and the latter couldn't have cared less.

Many of them were illiterate peons fit only for unskilled jobs and, coming from the interior where there had been much intermarriage with Indians in colonial times, they were so swarthy that city people looked down on them as cabecitas negras and negritos. The myth that there is no racism in Latin America has little if any foundation in most parts of it, and none at all in Argentina. Moreover, these migrant workers from the back country were xenophobes and brought with them a tradition of caudillismo which in this context may be defined roughly as a tradition of "follow the leader.

As one writer has put it, the process of social polarization typical of societies in the decisive stage of industrialization was at work in Argentina during this period.

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Argentina had had an upper class since colonial times and a middle class of substantial size since the turn of the century. By the middle class was estimated to make up about a third of the population, and the Radical party, which controlled the national government from to , might be called its political arm.

This phrase could, however, easily trap the unwary into forming a very exaggerated notion of the middle class's unity.


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In fact, as studies by Argentine sociologists since the s have shown, it was not a class at all but an aggregation of disparate groups, ranging from artisans, shopkeepers, and white collar workers just above the proletariat to successful professional and businessmen just below the oligarchy. All of these middle groups had little or nothing in common with one another except that all stood somewhere in the middle ground between the top and bottom layers of Argentine society. Two facts about the composition of this so-called middle class in the s merit special attention.

One is that at that time it was still, as in earlier years, composed largely of persons connected in one way or another with the export-import economy and hence not disposed to challenge the internationally oriented policies that had passed for economic liberalism during the last half-century.

This was particularly true of the more conservative minority wing of the Radical party, the Anti- personalists, led in the twenties by Marcelo T. It was less true of the majority wing, the Yrigoyenists, but that had made little practical difference when the Radicals were in power, for although Yrigoyen talked of economic nationalism and indeed made it for the first time a subject of widespread public interest in Argentina, he did not translate it into a program for political action.

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It was probably just as well that he did not, for such a program could hardly be feasible without a strong interest group to take the lead in framing and promoting it. The second noteworthy fact about the Argentine middle sectors is that, as already suggested, such an aggregation in its likeliest form, a national bourgeoisie-composed of industrial entrepreneurs and businessmen— had not yet developed far enough during these years to be effective. Thus was social change intimately bound up with economic and political change in this period.

The important social changes that took place during its course have been summarized as follows. Before the Depression, it had not been unusual for skilled workers and members of the middle class to become small proprietors and entrepreneurs, but now the achievement of such independence in an urban economy was no longer possible, save in very exceptional circumstances. In the agrarian sector, the major change was one we have already noted: hard times stimulated large-scale migration to the cities, where the competition of cheap migrant labor not only held industrial workers back but tended to proletarianize the lower fringe of the middle class.

In contrast, the fortunate possessors of capital reserves profited at the expense of the needy. As a result, social mobility was curtailed and the structuring of modern social classes in Argentina became definitive; the middle class increased in size, but declined in independence and cohesiveness; and the urban labor force grew in size but not yet in strength and became less foreign and more native in its composition.

By the end of the decade the process of polarization typical of societies in the decisive stage of industrialization was well advanced in Argentina. Of the many details of social change that could be added, one of special interest relates to the institution of the family. Argentina at this time provided an important exception to the current rule of sociology that the family, being an integral part of the traditional society, is necessarily weakened along with it by the process of modernization. In Argentina the very opposite was true of the numerous class of migrant rural workers.

As members of the traditional ganadero society they had often lived alone for long periods and as a result their sexual unions had been irregular, and illegitimacy was common; but all this changed with the great exodus from rural areas to cities that began in the thirties, for even in the villas miserias shanty- towns of Greater Buenos Aires-and still more in its working quarters-members of this group began to develop for the first time the orderly, permanent relationship of the family.

In all three categories Argentina stood in the forefront of Latin America during the s. Concerning education, three points are to be noted. The first is that the great majority of Argentines were at least literate. The literacy rate of 85 percent at the end of that decade- the highest in Latin America except for Uruguay, where it was about the same-had been raised to that level from an abysmal 22 percent in , when the first national census was taken.

It is remarkable that so great an improvement had been made in so short a time— only a little more than half a century— and at a time of extraordinarily rapid population increase. The explanation may lie partly in the source of the increase, that is, in the fact the level of literacy was higher among the immigrants than among the Creoles, the native Argentines, but it almost certainly lies in the superiority of Argentina's elementary public school system. Again, alone in Latin America except for Uruguay, Argentina had for many years provided universal, compulsory education at that level.

Started in the s by Presidents Mitre and Sarmiento, the school system was still based in the s on a law passed in The second point to be noted is that, although this school system was democratic for those times, it had been supported from the start by the oligarchy that ruled Argentina down to and again after In explanation of this seeming paradox we are told that the oligarchs gave the public school system their support because, and only so long as, it supported their privileged position by, for example, instilling in the children habits of obedience and a patriotism laden with respect for the status quo.

Significantly, as soon as Peron changed the character of the educational system to their disadvantage, the upper classes shifted their support from public to private education. In the thirties, however, they still maintained their long-standing mutual assistance relationship with the public system of education. Begun at the University of Cordoba in , the Reform had had a great effect before and was to do so again after 1 , but in the intervening decade it seemed to be in a state of suspended animation.

The long hiatus may seem surprising, for the Reform of was no isolated event, but rather a continuation of a movement that had led to the founding of the University of La Plata in , and it soon took on a left- wing political character that should have guaranteed its high potential for troublemaking for decades to come. Going far beyond strictly academic reforms designed to modernize faculty as well as curriculum, it politicized the universities, identified educational reform with social reform, and squinted at the formation of an anti-imperialist union of the Latin American states.

Surely, one might think, there were enough irritants in the s to activate the Reform's troublemaking potential. That this did not happen can be explained only in part by the fact that the Conservative government took repressive measures. By the admission in of one of its own leaders, Carlos Sanchez Viamonte, the Reform movement had already bogged down by that time; yet the Conservative Restoration still lay several years in the future.

A more likely explanation is that, during the Depression, students who could afford to make a career of university politics were apparently too few to reanimate the Reform; or that malcontents felt that the universities were still the "bulwarks of reaction" that Sanchez Viamonte said they had become again in , and that it would be a hopeless task to try to reform them. In a National Congress of University Students, in an effort to revive University Reform by broadening it, defined it as inseparable from social reform; but the response was tepid.

The nearest equivalent in the s of the University Reform was FORJA Fuerza de Orientation Radical de la Joven Argentina , a left-wing youth group of the Radicals, organized in , which was made up mainly of university students and recent graduates. Disunity by this time characterized the academic as well as most other sectors of Argentine society. Although freedom of the press began to be curtailed in the s, it was still extensive and all branches of the press flourished.

The country's newspaper circulation was much the largest in Latin America and from two to three times as large as that of much more populous Brazil and Mexico. On a per capita basis Argentina stood second only to Uruguay, by a narrow margin. By the early forties Buenos Aires alone had twenty-six newspapers, of which nineteen were in Spanish and seven in foreign languages two each in English, Italian, and German, and one in French.

The two oldest, La Prensa and La Nation , were also regarded as the best of the lot and as equal in quality to the best in any other country. Both, however, were widely regarded as rather conservative and stuffy, and, as in more advanced countries, the mass circulation newspapers such as Critica, were those tailored to appeal to the masses. For the intellectual elite there were two magazines, Nosotros and Sur, which enjoyed international esteem.

For Catholics a new weekly journal, Criterio, offered discriminating guidance, mundane as well as spiritual; while sympathetic to fascism, it denounced nazism and coupled its appeal to national- ism with a summons to social reform that dissociated it sharply from the right-wing nationalism that was building up throughout this decade. Thanks partly to the Spanish Civil War of and the outbreak of the Second World War later in the latter year, Argentina's book-publishing business, already well established at the turn of the century, ended the decade in first place in the whole Spanish-speaking world.

Newcomers such as the distinguished Spanish publishing house Espasa-Calpe now stood in the forefront, but already there were well-established porteno firms, among them Guillermo Kraft, founded in by German immigrant Wilhelm Kraft and "naturalized" before the end of the century by publishing the works of the great Bartolome" Mitre and other Argentine classics. The s were the first decade in which radio was a major means of communication from the start. Its rapid spread since the mid-twenties had carried it all over the country within a few years.

In small towns as well as big cities even the families too poor to own a receiving set were reached much of the time by broadcasts from uninhibited loudspeakers that were as often located outside, on street corners or plazas, as inside the cafes or shops of their proprietors. One of the principal sending stations was government owned; the rest were commercial.

Here was a new instrument, potentially more effective than the printed word, for reaching the hitherto unmobilized masses, who did not at this time participate effectively in any of the country's most important institutions: in the political parties, in the labor unions, or even in the church. There was conscrip- tion, but for the draftees army service was hardly what is meant here by effective participation. Since about , however, European precept and example had helped to bring about a recovery that reached its peak in the s.

In the same year a branch of international Catholic Action was established in Argentina; it soon became an important factor in promoting "vocations" recruitment for the priesthood or religious orders and spiritual life and social action on the part of laymen, especially the young. The church also intensified its pastoral activity, creating new parishes and dioceses. Outstanding in all this activity was Santiago Luis Copello, born in Argentina in , who studied and was ordained in Rome, returning to Argentina in He started as assistant rector in La Plata in and rose steadily in the hierarchy until he was made archbishop of Buenos Aires in and a cardinal three years later-the first cardinal ever appointed in Argentina, and the second in all South America.

Under the Constitution of the church was state sup- ported, but as James Bryce commented in , Argentina was, "of all the Spanish-American republics, that in which the church has least to do with politics" and "that freedom of religious worship which is guaranteed by law is fully carried out in practice. Of course almost all Argentines, including Catholics, had for several decades been nationalists of one kind or another, but now a particularly virulent right-wing form of nationalism made headway and tended to break down the church's apolitical tradition.

A notable representative of this form of nationalism was a secular priest, Father Julio Meinvielle, who in published his first important book, A Catholic Conception of Politics. The book contained violent attacks on toleration and democracy as well as on Yankee imperialism, Jews, and communists, but its most significant feature was its proposal that those "pests and perils" be dealt with by reviving the traditional Hispanic "sword and cross" crusading spirit-that is, by joint political and, one might infer, military action by the Catholic Church and the armed forces of Argentina.

This same "sword and cross" theme was played up by Colonel Peron in his rise to power in the mid-forties. Stated another way, Argentina's armed forces became increasingly involved in the political arena during these years, whereas no perceptible change took place in the relation of the military to the church, which remained good but showed no gain in fervor or intimacy. Politics was quite another matter. It has been customary to take the irruption of as the beginning of a military domination of the political arena which, whether open or con- cealed, has continued to the present writing.

As a rough approximation this view will serve, but it requires qualification and one cannot accept the corollary sometimes added that during the Conservative Restoration military intervention was made inevitable by the entrenched oligarchy's refusal to permit free and honest elections since it could not hope to win them. By closing the door to peaceful change, the argument runs, the oligarchy's refusal left its opponents, who were a majority, no alternative but to resort to force, and that meant invoking the aid of the military, who held a near-monopoly of force.

This explanation is quite misleading, both as to the role of the armed forces in public life and as to the relative responsi- bility of the government and the opposition parties for magni- fying that role. The fact is that the armed forces had played an important part in Argentine politics for many years past, as in the crucial revolt of , and what was new in was not that they or, to be more precise, a handful of them overthrew a particular government, but that this handful then went on to try to change the whole system of government.

They failed, but under the sham democracy of the next eleven years, domestic and foreign influences combined to convert the rest of the armed forces the great bulk of them to belief in a thoroughgoing revolution. Herein lies the significance of the s as regards their role in bringing about the failure of constitutional, representative government.

For political as well as other purposes, the armed forces were never a monolithic unit.

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By armed forces, we mean the officer corps; the great majority of the enlisted personnel was made up of draftees, was constantly changing, and had no voice in such matters. Interservice and personal rivalries divided them, as did widely different social backgrounds.

Most of the officers were now preponderantly middle class and came of Creole and immigrant stocks in nearly equal proportion. The upper class was still well represented and one of the capital city's two most prestigious clubs was the Circulo de Armas the other was the Jockey Club. So when we talk about the conversion of the armed forces to the cause of revolution, we are not necessarily talking about the whole officer corps, but only about the decision makers in an authoritarian, rank-conscious, and highly diversified organization.

Also, our concern here is not with the completion of this process of conversion, which even the coup of June did not complete, but only with the factors that contributed to it during the s. One factor was a combination of a widespread and growing sense of need for sweeping changes in Argentina with the like- wise increasing confidence of the officers that they were especially well qualified to provide the new technical skills that an industrializing country needed. Already in the s econo- mist Alejandro Bunge and others were warning that Argentina's agrarian economy was not capable of further expansion and must be diversified by a great enlargement of the minuscule industrial sector.

Few civilians heeded the warning at that time, but the armed forces were more receptive. This was under- standable, for industrialization, they believed, was essential for national defense and would require technical skills developed in army and navy schools, whereas the civilian educational system stressed the humanities, law, and medicine to the neglect of science and technology. Hence the choice of a military man, Colonel Enrique Mosconi, to head the government petroleum agency, YPF, founded in His speeches and writings linked the interests of his own military guild with those of the nation at large and the rest of Latin America.

In , for instance, he called for the development of industries needed by the armed forces, justifying the call by tying it to national defense and the integration of Latin America as a counterpoise to the influence of Europe and the United States. And in , after a vigorous statement of the same propositions, he cited the case of YPF as proof that "our country has reached the technical and administrative maturity required to organize and conduct with success the most difficult undertakings that characterize the complex economic structure of modern nations.

Many circumstances contributed to its growth. For one thing, the decline of the political parties, of which more will be said below, left the military as the only power group in the country with sufficient strength and prestige to rule it. Perhaps even more influential were the antidemocratic currents flowing from countries with which Argentina had strong ties, particularly Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, and Franco's Spain.

Italy had been the chief source of the massive immigration from to , and at the end of the s an important military mission, of which Juan Peron was a member, paid it a two-year visit, from which all participants returned much impressed by Mussolini's regime. Germany had developed strong economic as well as military ties with Argentina since The uninterrupted successes of both countries' aggressions after made them seem truly the wave of the future.

Yet the main result in Argentina was not so much to promote either fascism or nazism there. Rather, among the people at large, it was to breed apathy and multiply defections from democracy. All this strengthened the German-trained Argentine army's natural bent towards authoritarianism and a nationalism that was primarily Anglo- phobe because of England's domination of the Argentine economy. Another stimulus to the army's authoritarian predilection seems to have come from the Mother Country and second- largest source of immigrants, Spain.

There, a military dictator- ship under General Miguel Primo de Rivera in the s had achieved some success, followed by a disastrous experiment with republicanism and then, from to , by a bloody civil war. Starting with a military rebellion supported by the Catholic hierarchy, the war ended in the establishment of a military dictatorship under Generalissimo Francisco Franco, which spread abroad a kind of right-wing Hispanicism, called Hispanidad, that dovetailed with "sword and cross" conservatism in Argentina.

Argentina was only one of many countries in the Atlantic world in which, during the interwar years , the public lost faith in the whole system of representative republican government. In addition, however, although Argentina's political parties represented a diversity of economic and social interests, they left without effective representation two new, important, and growing groups: labor and the industrialists.

As the thirties wore on, the decline of the party system continued. After , the government parties, united in an uneasy alliance called the Concordancia, were originally three: National Democratic, Antipersonalist Radical, and Independent Socialist. Belying their labels, all three were conservative, the first of them most of all. Some of their members were of the "liberal Tory" type, but they were unable to shape party policy. As a result, Argentina passed through the whole of the Depression decade without any equivalent of the social reform legislation adopted at that time by its next-door neighbors, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil, not to mention the United States with its New Deal.

Moreover, none of the Concordancia's constituent parties had strong popular appeal. The Independent Socialist party, never more than a splinter group, disappeared in As for the National Democratic party, it was so notor- iously elitist that the Concordancia had to call on the less unpopular Antipersonalists for its presidential candidates in both the national elections of this decade, and Even so, the Concordancia kept itself in power only by systematic fraud and corruption "patriotic fraud," its leaders insisted , with the army in reserve as a kind of Pretorian Guard.

The largest of the opposition parties, the Radicals officially the Union Civica Radical, or simply UCR , had a long record of trying to involve the military in politics. They had done so ever since their party began to take shape in the s, stirring up military revolts when out of power and playing politics with the armed forces when in power, which was only from to The former scenario was repeated from to , when several military revolts actually took place.

All, however, were small-scale affairs and were soon snuffed out by loyal troops. After the last of them, Alvear induced his fellow Radicals to depart from their traditional rule of "abstention and revolution" when out of power and to resume participation in all political activities, including elections. To people in other countries this would seem a thoroughly commendable course, but measured on a Spanish-American scale of values it shocked many Argentines besides Alvear' s co-religionists as a gross betrayal of principle. As a result, it deepened the discredit into which the Radical Party fell, along with all the other parties, during this decade.

A more tangible result was an anti- Alvear movement of young left-wing Radicals that led to the formation of FORJA, an intellectual-political cenacle directed to popular nationalism and the restoration of Radical "intransigency," in As we have already seen, the hard core of FORJA ended by merging with the Peronist movement, to which it contributed a number of ideas, including the importance of collaborating with the armed forces in structuring a new nationalism and of taking a third position between capitalism and communism and between rival great powers.

The Socialist party, founded in the s, had always included some of the brightest and best Argentine intellectuals, but it was strong only in Buenos Aires. The much younger Communist party, too, was small and exclusively urban. Among intellectuals it was overshadowed by the Socialists, and although it made some headway with the workers as the decade wore on, it had little or no success with two groups in this sector: the anarchists, who had long been stronger in Argentina than in any other Latin American country, and the migrants from the interior, who responded more readily to the call of a caudillo than to the doctrine of either Marxist party, Communist or Social- ist.

For these and other reasons that have been suggested above, we may agree with Argentine political scientist Alberto Ciria that in Argentina the period we are considering marked the beginning of the end of political parties as that term is under- stood in Europe-and, we might add, in the United States. The temptation to make such linkages is strong, but they break down in some notable instances, such as the Golden Age of Spanish literature, which coincided with a decline verging on disaster in Spain's political, economic, and military affairs.

And while it is true that Argentine writing in the thirties was intro- spective, the term could be used in a favorable sense signifying a perhaps overdue self-appraisal. Even more important, it is no less true that much of this writing was vigorous and seminal, though often irritating to readers with different tastes; that new writers did appear and established writers expressed themselves in new ways; and that while quality is a matter of opinion, leading authorities have attested to the generally high quality of what several of the writers of this decade wrote— which is about as much as can be said of most decades in the history of any country.

One was a profound pessimism; the other, a paradoxical combination of a new, bristling kind of nationalism with continued semicolonial dependence on foreign, especially European, thought. He and his foe are both shunning their social practices as unacceptable for future generations Sarlo Borges problematizes the function of traditional justice vs.

Those belonging to the second group relied on killing to maintain order and the first did not. It seems that leading up to the duel el gaucho moreno belongs to the first category, seeking justice but never having spilled blood.

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However, he includes himself in the second group alluding to the outcome of their duel. Having put down the guitar and taking up the knife, he changes from one seeking justice to one running from justice. Borges seeks to liberate the gaucho figure that can be eternally written and rewritten, interpreted and reinterpreted. In this article Dove suggests that the Borges of the s believed that a national myth was missing from Argentine cultural production. While Borges became more and more averse to historical revisionism and a strong critic of Lugones, both authors supported similar beliefs.

Dove continues by asking what it means to lack a phantasm and reversely what it would mean to have one. He maintains a literary malleability and an aesthetic representation, much like Santos Vega. These two short stories provide a response to both literary and social traditions. Comparatively, these two short stories and their gaucho characters are similar.

Each allows the protagonist to participate in a duel to the death. In the second, the silent gaucho hands off the knife to another to participate in the duel. The continual rewriting of the duel in which the gaucho dies alludes to another important element of the gaucho as a symbol of the 20th century Argentine imaginary.

Martyrdom becomes an important characteristic of Argentinity. It makes dying a choice; it makes it seem as though the inevitable could be avoided but that the gaucho faces it head on and asks for death. These authors perceived Peronist populism as existing in direct conflict with their individualism as well as the ability to choose that they felt was central to being Argentine.

They demonstrated their criticism by borrowing the gaucho and modifying the character in order to make the gaucho barbarian an iconic symbol of continued aesthetic creation civilization. By metaphorically tying the civilization or barbarism dichotomy in a knot with no ends—a snake eating its own tail—authors like Borges showed that there was a complexity to sociocultural production that goes beyond a simple black and white comparison.

The gaucho according to Borges was characteristically ironic and able to project complex personas of both civilization and barbarism. These writers were not shy about their criticism and often published anti-Peronist texts. One example of these critical works is the short story written under the pseudonym H. Borges and Bioy Casares write the story as a parody of the descamisados.

The authors portray the narrator and those with him as blind, unthinking followers. This was a typical rhetorical tool used by the bourgeoisie in reference to the descamisados in order to negate popular volition toward Peronism. People did not choose Peronism, they were blindly led into it. While the narration takes place in the city, the contrast between rural and urban is made quite clear.

As though referencing the same south as the short story by the same name, Borges rejects the idea of a common, pure origin. As the group of men move towards the center of the city, the narrator describes the environment. These suburban landmarks reference an urban topography that the column must tread through to reach the city center.

In the prologue to the anthology Borges and Bioy assert that it is not the collective gaucho literature that is national, as Lugones argued so fervently two decades before, but rather individual literary production that is a symbol of national identity Olea The gaucho was part of the national discourse and an essential piece of the national vocabulary.

While he would choose Sarmentine-styled liberalism over Rosas-styled nationalism that fact remains that both literary iterations maintain an important hold over how Borges viewed the Argentine political paradigm through a gaucho lens. They also believed that this generation of rural poor were intrinsically tied to Rosas style federalism and therefore to barbarism. So in when the descamisados marched and danced through the streets and converged on the Plaza de Mayo, the oligarchy felt it was an invasion of their space by the rural poor and by association, the gaucho.

Daniel James describes eyewitnesses testifying to people dressing in gaucho attire and riding the streets on horseback It is within the context of fear of invasion and the polarizing effects of a civilization vs. As the story continues, the narrator describes those who live in the home and to what social class they belong. The brother and sister are both educated individuals with a love of music and European art.

They hold the upkeep of the house above all else, including relationships and family. The term refers to hair color, which was typically darker among mestizos from the interior. Working class individuals earned wages working in industrial labor. Many of these jobs were physically difficult and workers may have ended the day covered in sweat and grime. While the cabecita negra was part of the working class, he was also generally a supporter of Peronist populism.

This comparison insinuates that their existence is one without active participation in social and political discourse. They are left without agency and are subject to the whim of strongmen around them. Just as dirt and dust are disturbed, fly about and then settle again, immigrants from the interior experienced similar circumstances within national boundaries— they were displaced by industrialization, left without a home until they were able to relocate in the cities and settled into working class neighborhoods Romero The gaucho, and the indigenous people before him, faced similar persecution, displacement and cleansing.

As the story progresses, the siblings hear or imagine that they hear something within the house. They unthinkingly and apathetically cede the house to the invaders, room by room, until the siblings are forced to leave and the story ends as the door closes and leaves them out in the street. His enigmatic lack of detail about the invader leaves it as a nebulous apparition open to interpretation. The house may indeed be haunted by the spirit of Santos Vega or other gauchos looking for a place to stay in the city—a modernizing rural-to-urban sociocultural movement.

Brett Levinson brilliantly suggests that the story can be read as a political, social, economic, literary and cultural invasion. In a sense the reader is moving through and domesticating making order of an unread or wild text. The work of the gaucho then becomes a literary, textual domestication requiring an educated readership. While overtly a text creating fear of the unknown invasion there is also plenty of criticism to be had that is geared toward the home-owners as well. Yet even more removed from society is the sister who sits at home and knits day-in and day-out.

The brother even references certain knitting projects she was working on to chronologically mark invasion of the home. The liberal elite unconsciously go about their daily routine without societal participation leaving behind a participatory void to be filled by the working class. This was the fate that the oligarchy feared. The text does not mention any active rebuttal to the invasion, yet a secondary perspective shows that it took an invasion either real or imaginary for them to be reintroduced into the public sphere.

Through their loss, they become reacquainted with the city and with society. However, the debate over who belongs and who does not continues. Liberal elites began to come to terms with Peronism as the country experienced a crisis of liberal democracy in which elected governments were displaced by military dictatorships. Lanari describes the agent in much the same way Sarmiento and even Mansilla described the gauchos and the Ranqueles. Un animal. Otro cabecita negra. Yet Rozenmacher identifies the assailants as a working class woman and a policeman.

Both have faces, described in some detail and both are active participants within the urban social sphere. At one point in the story, Lanari invites the policeman and the ailing woman to his house for a drink so he would not be seen in the street interacting with them. Era como si de pronto esos salvajes hubieran invadido su casa. Lanari has little to do with the two people standing in his home it is the reversal of authority roles. He is also shocked by the dynamic of servant and master that has switched in that moment.

The violent reversal acts symbolically as an association of the inclusion of the working class in Argentine politics and the encroachment the liberal elite felt upon their material security. There were other writers rethinking Peronism in much the same way Rozenmacher had done. Rodolfo Walsh is another example of an author who at first did not support Peronism, yet by Walsh was a member of the revolutionary movement called the montoneros, a clear inscription of the early gaucho moniker and a pro-Peronist movement.

Walsh wrote in his book Caso Satanowsky that he rejected the dichotomy of civilization vs. The topic of her location allows for a discursive common ground between possibly opposing forces—conservative oligarchic military and one who seems to be a popular journalist looking for information. He appears to feel guilty for not reverencing Eva and equates such social piety with national belonging. Once again gaucho culture and politics return to a contemporary context of Peronism.

Just as the military sequestered and disappeared thousands of people years later, here the colonel a literary representation of elite military government sequesters one of the most important symbols of the descamisados in an effort to validate his national identity and belonging. Walsh is critical of conservative military rule and documents how he perceived the government usurped, hid and tried to erase cultural symbols of national popular movements.

Walsh and Rozenmacher offer examples of Liberal elites reconsidering Peronism when faced with military authoritarianism. Texts such as those discussed in this chapter were important literary responses to nationalism, modernization and Peronist populism. They expressed the fears, stereotypes and desires of a few Argentines who were willing to create an Argentine imaginary—An imaginary in which some belonged and others did not. What makes these texts relevant to this study is the continuous return to the rhetoric surrounding the gaucho and use as a platform for social critique.

Borges understood the gaucho as an intrinsic connection between the physical space of the Rio de la Plata and the Pampa and the autochthonous creation of literature. As critics study texts written during post-Peronism, it seems entirely plausible that the literary tradition continue. The gaucho and the rhetoric surrounding his literary form have defined Argentinity since its founding and will continue to be an important part of the discourse surrounding inclusion and exclusion for societal participation for years to come.

Buenos Aires: Editorial sudamericana, Madrid: Alianza Editorial, Once again the allegory of the river, las orillas and the detrital material found therein become important rhetorical devices to both define and describe the gaucho and national sociopolitical rhetoric. No matter which gaucho was present, he becomes a symbol of what Rosas-style nationalism can offer to twentieth century Argentina. The exchange between the old, silent gaucho and Juan Dahlmann seal his fate to die in the street at the hands of the compadritos.

Fierro responds that he gave them good counsel. He and his foe are both shunning their social practices as unacceptable for future generations Sarlo Borges problematizes the function of traditional justice vs. Those belonging to the second group relied on killing to maintain order and the first did not. It seems that leading up to the duel el gaucho moreno belongs to the first category, seeking justice but never having spilled blood. However, he includes himself in the second group alluding to the outcome of their duel. Having put down the guitar and taking up the knife, he changes from one seeking justice to one running from justice.

Borges seeks to liberate the gaucho figure that can be eternally written and rewritten, interpreted and reinterpreted. In this article Dove suggests that the Borges of the s believed that a national myth was missing from Argentine cultural production. While Borges became more and more averse to historical revisionism and a strong critic of Lugones, both authors supported similar beliefs.

Dove continues by asking what it means to lack a phantasm and reversely what it would mean to have one. He maintains a literary malleability and an aesthetic representation, much like Santos Vega. These two short stories provide a response to both literary and social traditions.


  • Las ideas de esos hombres/ The Ideas of Those Men: De Moreno a Peron (Spanish Edition).
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Comparatively, these two short stories and their gaucho characters are similar. Each allows the protagonist to participate in a duel to the death. In the second, the silent gaucho hands off the knife to another to participate in the duel. The continual rewriting of the duel in which the gaucho dies alludes to another important element of the gaucho as a symbol of the 20th century Argentine imaginary. Martyrdom becomes an important characteristic of Argentinity. It makes dying a choice; it makes it seem as though the inevitable could be avoided but that the gaucho faces it head on and asks for death.

These authors perceived Peronist populism as existing in direct conflict with their individualism as well as the ability to choose that they felt was central to being Argentine. They demonstrated their criticism by borrowing the gaucho and modifying the character in order to make the gaucho barbarian an iconic symbol of continued aesthetic creation civilization.

By metaphorically tying the civilization or barbarism dichotomy in a knot with no ends—a snake eating its own tail—authors like Borges showed that there was a complexity to sociocultural production that goes beyond a simple black and white comparison. The gaucho according to Borges was characteristically ironic and able to project complex personas of both civilization and barbarism. These writers were not shy about their criticism and often published anti-Peronist texts. One example of these critical works is the short story written under the pseudonym H.

Borges and Bioy Casares write the story as a parody of the descamisados. The authors portray the narrator and those with him as blind, unthinking followers. This was a typical rhetorical tool used by the bourgeoisie in reference to the descamisados in order to negate popular volition toward Peronism. People did not choose Peronism, they were blindly led into it. While the narration takes place in the city, the contrast between rural and urban is made quite clear.

As though referencing the same south as the short story by the same name, Borges rejects the idea of a common, pure origin. As the group of men move towards the center of the city, the narrator describes the environment. These suburban landmarks reference an urban topography that the column must tread through to reach the city center.

In the prologue to the anthology Borges and Bioy assert that it is not the collective gaucho literature that is national, as Lugones argued so fervently two decades before, but rather individual literary production that is a symbol of national identity Olea The gaucho was part of the national discourse and an essential piece of the national vocabulary. While he would choose Sarmentine-styled liberalism over Rosas-styled nationalism that fact remains that both literary iterations maintain an important hold over how Borges viewed the Argentine political paradigm through a gaucho lens.

They also believed that this generation of rural poor were intrinsically tied to Rosas style federalism and therefore to barbarism. So in when the descamisados marched and danced through the streets and converged on the Plaza de Mayo, the oligarchy felt it was an invasion of their space by the rural poor and by association, the gaucho. Daniel James describes eyewitnesses testifying to people dressing in gaucho attire and riding the streets on horseback It is within the context of fear of invasion and the polarizing effects of a civilization vs. As the story continues, the narrator describes those who live in the home and to what social class they belong.

The brother and sister are both educated individuals with a love of music and European art. They hold the upkeep of the house above all else, including relationships and family. The term refers to hair color, which was typically darker among mestizos from the interior.

Working class individuals earned wages working in industrial labor. Many of these jobs were physically difficult and workers may have ended the day covered in sweat and grime. While the cabecita negra was part of the working class, he was also generally a supporter of Peronist populism. This comparison insinuates that their existence is one without active participation in social and political discourse. They are left without agency and are subject to the whim of strongmen around them.

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Just as dirt and dust are disturbed, fly about and then settle again, immigrants from the interior experienced similar circumstances within national boundaries— they were displaced by industrialization, left without a home until they were able to relocate in the cities and settled into working class neighborhoods Romero The gaucho, and the indigenous people before him, faced similar persecution, displacement and cleansing. As the story progresses, the siblings hear or imagine that they hear something within the house.

They unthinkingly and apathetically cede the house to the invaders, room by room, until the siblings are forced to leave and the story ends as the door closes and leaves them out in the street. His enigmatic lack of detail about the invader leaves it as a nebulous apparition open to interpretation.

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The house may indeed be haunted by the spirit of Santos Vega or other gauchos looking for a place to stay in the city—a modernizing rural-to-urban sociocultural movement. Brett Levinson brilliantly suggests that the story can be read as a political, social, economic, literary and cultural invasion. In a sense the reader is moving through and domesticating making order of an unread or wild text.

The work of the gaucho then becomes a literary, textual domestication requiring an educated readership. While overtly a text creating fear of the unknown invasion there is also plenty of criticism to be had that is geared toward the home-owners as well. Yet even more removed from society is the sister who sits at home and knits day-in and day-out. The brother even references certain knitting projects she was working on to chronologically mark invasion of the home. The liberal elite unconsciously go about their daily routine without societal participation leaving behind a participatory void to be filled by the working class.

This was the fate that the oligarchy feared. The text does not mention any active rebuttal to the invasion, yet a secondary perspective shows that it took an invasion either real or imaginary for them to be reintroduced into the public sphere. Through their loss, they become reacquainted with the city and with society. However, the debate over who belongs and who does not continues. Liberal elites began to come to terms with Peronism as the country experienced a crisis of liberal democracy in which elected governments were displaced by military dictatorships.

Lanari describes the agent in much the same way Sarmiento and even Mansilla described the gauchos and the Ranqueles. Un animal. Otro cabecita negra. Yet Rozenmacher identifies the assailants as a working class woman and a policeman. Both have faces, described in some detail and both are active participants within the urban social sphere.

At one point in the story, Lanari invites the policeman and the ailing woman to his house for a drink so he would not be seen in the street interacting with them. Era como si de pronto esos salvajes hubieran invadido su casa. Lanari has little to do with the two people standing in his home it is the reversal of authority roles. He is also shocked by the dynamic of servant and master that has switched in that moment.

The violent reversal acts symbolically as an association of the inclusion of the working class in Argentine politics and the encroachment the liberal elite felt upon their material security. There were other writers rethinking Peronism in much the same way Rozenmacher had done. Rodolfo Walsh is another example of an author who at first did not support Peronism, yet by Walsh was a member of the revolutionary movement called the montoneros, a clear inscription of the early gaucho moniker and a pro-Peronist movement.

Walsh wrote in his book Caso Satanowsky that he rejected the dichotomy of civilization vs. The topic of her location allows for a discursive common ground between possibly opposing forces—conservative oligarchic military and one who seems to be a popular journalist looking for information. He appears to feel guilty for not reverencing Eva and equates such social piety with national belonging. Once again gaucho culture and politics return to a contemporary context of Peronism. Just as the military sequestered and disappeared thousands of people years later, here the colonel a literary representation of elite military government sequesters one of the most important symbols of the descamisados in an effort to validate his national identity and belonging.

Walsh is critical of conservative military rule and documents how he perceived the government usurped, hid and tried to erase cultural symbols of national popular movements. Walsh and Rozenmacher offer examples of Liberal elites reconsidering Peronism when faced with military authoritarianism. Texts such as those discussed in this chapter were important literary responses to nationalism, modernization and Peronist populism.

They expressed the fears, stereotypes and desires of a few Argentines who were willing to create an Argentine imaginary—An imaginary in which some belonged and others did not. What makes these texts relevant to this study is the continuous return to the rhetoric surrounding the gaucho and use as a platform for social critique. Borges understood the gaucho as an intrinsic connection between the physical space of the Rio de la Plata and the Pampa and the autochthonous creation of literature.

Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition) Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)
Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition) Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)
Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition) Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)
Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition) Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)
Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition) Las ideas de esos hombres: De Moreno a Perón (Spanish Edition)

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