Peronist Loyalty Day regards the mass-mobilization to release then imprisoned Colonel Juan Peron. It occurred October 17, 1945 as the rest of the world roared with World War II. Argentina has roared with the rise and fall of Peronism ever since.
As Kirchnerism cannot be explained without the UCR’s implosion after the economic disaster inherited by President De la Rua then Menem, the PRO’s rule today cannot be comprehended without understanding the incumbent demise of Peronism, or with that the fall of the decade-long Latin American populism streak.
Like other Latin American left-leaning authorities, Peronism’s more conservative branch found in the north remains among the most enduring Peronist entities during in-office conservatism – historically and currently.
They generally include northern province governors who for years have advocated that the nation pay them bonuses for occasionally ambiguous social programs – such as yet unfinished electrical installation in parts of rural Chaco – but also to survive the Anti-Pink Tide.
Many can be found attempting to fill the black hole left by corruption-accused President Fernandez de Kirchner – such as up-and-coming Salta Govenor Juan Manuel Urtubey.
Others reside on the polar opposite of keeping a relatively low profile, hoping to ride out the rough political tide of today for tomorrow’s center-leftist rejuvenation. Chaco’s Capitanich brothers, Jorge and Daniel have done it before and appear to be repeating this tactic of mature, subtly power-maintaining patience.
Kirchnerista Leaders Post-Kirchner
Therefore, the situation leaves vehement social opposition to Macri mostly in the hands of Kirchneristas – Peronisms’ declaredly center-leftist sector.
Embattled by a tightly lost presidential election and a parade of scandal allegations against more than 50% of Cristina’s administration, those Kirchnerista authorities who have remained also lead their own battles.
Many either appear to be too entrenched to have anywhere else to go – i.e. Anibal Fernandez, Daniel Scioli, Carlos Zannini, Axel Kiciloff, Alicia Kirchner, Maximo Kirchner, Lazaro Baez and Hector Timerman – , compromised their original Kirchernista Peronism for mutually beneficial alliances with the PRO – i.e.: Sergio Massa, Diego Randazzo and Diego Bossio – , or pray for the conservative government to shoot themselves in the foot and jump on the first opportunity to fill that black hole – i.e.: Juan Manuel Urtubey.
Loose, Change, Get Compromised or Fight to the Death
Can the Peronism of the past survive? Then the same must be asked whether the conservatism that launched military dictatorships of the Operation Condor era could survive in today’s socio-economic, political ambient, either.
The answer – possible, but decreasingly probable.
Bullets that once downed Western allies “gone rogue” have matured into bills that down those allies’ successors’ national debt and even at times investment bank accounts abroad.
The upcoming Latin American 2020 political scene is already screaming for players to make a choice. Renovation or continued demise are the candidates of this even questionably democratic election. Debt, prolonged terms in power, increased insecurity, failing oil infrastructures, iron fist back lash against 20th century far-right policies, and political rogue status against traditional local and foreign powers have temporarily weakened the populist brand. And consumers are being marketed its competitor brand for “salvation”.
If the populist branch wants to survive – in or beyond Argentina – , it must renovate its taste while keeping true to its content.
Modern Agility Required
So can overall Peronism survive? – Absolutely.
Every country needs a party “of the people”. The traditional far-right know this, and thus even during the Cold War, never fully killed it. Having an “enemy” to point fingers at is a beautifully brilliant and universally comprehendible tactic to maintain supporters and unite an otherwise highly diverse citizenry against a common goal. Agreement transforms into unity, and unity a single entity in which to either uplift or repress – regardless of ideological tendency.
A part from strategic existence purposes, Peronism also continues through historical nostalgia, sociological agility, monopoly on being the main alternative body to the ruling government, and subtle power veins – including in academia, the police, worker’s unions, media, and according to opposition, allegedly alternative black market measures such as money laundering.
Two Worlds…At Least
One problem is that history does not wait.
The turbines of global economic system are outside these suburbs and continue to generate social, cultural and educational inequality widening the gap between the included and excluded, perhaps as never before in human history.
These two worlds, the poor and the rich, are not antagonistic because it does not regulate the class struggle but the dyad exclusion-inclusion.
Most live in the middle of these two voltages, making this intermediate a wrecking triad of old certainties, myths and social constructions that sought to by some for a century and something the existence within Argentina and Latin America. No longer are they literary musings.
By losing, Peronism – symbolic heritage as a party of the people – has occasionally managed to merge with the times. The problem, much like the debate within the Catholic Church and the Jewish religion, is that to adapt to new times implies running the risk of not just temporarily going “out of style”, but risking disappearance. Closed in itself, it implies becoming weakened and compromised, at best – the dilemma of survival of every human group that loses dominance of its social function.
Not being universally allied to workers’ unions on social subjects of mass influence, having no sense of singular alliance with any sector of the armed forces and to lose prestige among the Catholic entities (not faith nor Christianity); Peronism is currently being diluted.
It stands at mercy of its own ability to adapt to times but maintain identity, as well as the successes and failures of the PRO.