Reflecting as a historian more than as a Peronist, I understand that Peronism has become part of the political culture of our people over seventy years and, as Ezequiel Martínez Estrada predicted in 1956, it will continue to be so, despite its enemies and thanks to them.
What is peronism? It is the idea of a government that combines national independence with industrial development and social justice, something that was experienced in better years and, with difficulties and setbacks, proved possible. The anti-Peronist essays (and Menem’s pseudo-Peronism) have been the opposite: a fraud, which increased social inequality, de-industrialized and indebted the country and oiled the exaction or flight of capital.
The world and Argentine society have changed, although the basic problems are the same. After the “cold war” the hot war between the powers continues, and globalization unleashes financial crises on the weakest countries. Our society has become more complex and fragmented, and the penetration of the new right depoliticizes, divides and confuses.
In its origins, Peronism was democratic in the sense of serving the interests of the majority, and less so in respecting institutional forms, which was the flank exploited by the adversaries; but from the new generations arose, responding to the demands for rights and freedoms, the democratic trend of Kirchnerist Peronism.
After the experience of triumphs, deceits and defeats in the history of this movement, the current situation is disappointing. There is no way out by reconciling with economic and transnational power. But the next stage, from the government or on the plain, could not be surrender or despair. Peoples do not commit suicide. With the “optimism of the will” that Gramsci said, the succession will have to be a new program and a renewed leadership capable of guiding the popular force in the arduous battle of the future.
*Hugo Chumbita is a historian and teacher.
by Hugo Chumbita