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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Nationalism, Peronism and the Changing Face of the Gaucho: However there are engaging rhetorical elements that forever bind the gaucho with Argentine political and cultural rhetoric. These works represent a sampling of Argentine literary discourse fomenting the use of the gaucho as a rhetorical device employed by various political projects in their effort to assign meaning to social conflict in the 20th century.
The study of literature about the gaucho, its similarities to literature about the descamisados, and the socio-political rhetoric that surrounds them both sheds light on Peronism, nationalism and dictatorship in the 20th century. Picking up on innovations found in historical revisionism, Peronism appropriates the gaucho and other popular culture icons in order to construct a counter- culture politics that would oppose Liberalism and contemporary elites of the s.
The inclusion of the gaucho in the discourse surrounding Peronism is not limited to supporting the cause. Peronists lauded both federalism and the gaucho as sites of resistance against perceived alliances between liberalism, imperialism and global capitalism, and anti-Peronists labeled federal polity as barbaric. By the s we begin to see the intellectual left reexamining their relationship with Peronism and slowly changing their perception of the Argentine imaginary.
Peronism therefore is the centerpiece of discussion in this chapter as it maps onto gaucho rhetoric discussed in previous chapters. Argentina tried to maintain neutrality during World War I in order to retain strong commercial ties with some of its biggest trade partners. The unsettled Argentine economy upset the indignant middle class and fueled a movement towards bolstering domestic markets within its ranks. During the second decade of the 20th century, Argentina continued to experience restricted investment of foreign capital while Great Britain, France and Germany reallocated funding for post-war reconstruction.
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With public discourse focusing on domestic investment of political and economic resources, issues of social justice and equality outweighed immigration in the public limelight.
Heading a national suffrage movement, and speaking out for labor protection laws, Yrigoyen ran reformist campaigns and voters supported him through two terms in office as president Rock Nationalism in the mid 20th century maintained strong protectionist ideals. Because of political and economic instability, the working class looked to labor unions and the growing socialist movement for support and protection.
While the working classes united under ever-growing labor unions, the political leadership looked to rebrand themselves under multiple forms of nationalism against the oligarchy and rely upon revised historical accounts to back up their protectionist political agendas Spektorowski The rural exodus to cities created shantytowns and a growing migrant working class known as the descamisados shirtless ones.
They sacked appointed government officials, dismantled union control of ports and deported anarchists and Communist leaders. Political turmoil marked the infamous decade with seven presidents in just ten years, adding to the unreliable political environment and overall feeling of distrust. One of the few voices to be heard clearly during this time was rozenmacger of the nationalists whose rhetoric had been used negea enflame the revolution in the first place.
Nationalism within the ranks of both political and military structures emphasized age-old rhetoric of national pride, autochthony and social participation. Nevertheless, the national imaginary differed greatly from one Argentine to the next.
According to Nicolas Shumway, nationalism has: Whether the pendulum of political influences swung towards nationalism or liberalism in Argentina, the question remained the same. How does Argentina maintain its identity while participating economically in the international community? The rhetoric of gaucho stoicism became both the problem and germqn resolution to matters of national identity. Between and military dictators sought to stabilize Argentine politics while most of the rest of the western world was at war.
Though the nationalist military looked for Argentine answers to Argentine problems through restoration of a dictatorial patriarchy modeled after the 19th century Rosas regime, it was through populist nationalism that politicians ceunto able to garner public affection Winston According to Colin Winston, Argentina in still maintained the vestiges of 19th century political ideologies alongside new political tendencies of socialism, communism and anarchism.
Pedro Pablo Ramirez was dictator for nine months and then he too was removed from power in rozenjacher similar fashion. Edelmiro Farrell was dictator between and Farrell called for free elections to fill the presidency in gegman stead. Liberalism and nationalism overlooked rural migrant and urban immigrant groups and left a large portion of the Argentine working class ignored rozenmachwr non-participants in the political process.
These marginalized descamisados demanded a voice in the discourse of national belonging and looked for that representation from an unconventional figure in the national polity Winston While in this post, he made powerful allies with socialist movements and union leaders.
Germán Rozenmacher ( of La Argentina en pedazos)
The new Secretary of Labor sought nera eliminate poverty and thus gained a huge following among urban working class communists and socialists. Just a few days later, things would change drastically. A question rizenmacher arises: I would argue that it seems to highlight the fact that the gaucho character remained an important rhetorical device in Argentine social and political discourse well into the twentieth century.
The reasserted gaucho character indeed merits critical attention within the socio-cultural context of Peronism. Central to their debate is the idea that the urban working class was divided into two separate groups, a new and old working class and that either one or the rozenamcher was responsible for the October 17th demonstration James The old working class consisted of European immigrants who were formed in socialist, communist or anarchist traditions and who maintained an active ideological participation in national politics.
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Support for the idea of a demonstration sponsored by the old working class assigns demonstrators an active and participatory role in shaping the soon-to-be Peronist government. On the other hand, the new working class consisted of rural Argentine migrants arriving in the cities. To understand what Peronism was we have to remember those million[s]… who in the four years from to moved from the countryside to the city.
A million persons who came from the most backward areas of the Republic, poorly clothed and undernourished, without education or any political experience.
A million men who had never known the benefit of democracy. Santos Vega, the iconic and legendary spirit of the gaucho, germxn only haunted the plains with his folkloric melodies, he was also present in the city.
While rural poor may have continued to be illiterate upon entering the cities, they could still pass pieces of rural culture from one generation to the next through their lyrical storytelling and oral tradition. Likewise, the urban middle class may have adopted the music and stories of the Pampas and shared them, not as personal cultural lineage but as national cultural artifacts.
Carretero lists page upon page of tangos, milongas and waltzes, with names referring to cabecta gaucho, his national value and enigmatic character. These songs demonstrate reverence for the cultural icon and his continued national influence at the popular level Carretero The nineteenth century literary representation of the gaucho as an independent nomad carries over into the urban space of the compadrito. While the compadrito may be the illegitimate literary son of the gaucho, there is a distinct difference between the gaucho and cagecita compadrito.
As Guillermo Tedio says in his study of Borges and the compadrito: He is displaced both physically from the Pampa as well as displaced vocally as a player in Argentine social construction by those who are writing him— those who are creating him. The compadrito became a cultural marker for rebellious peripheral independence through its literary creation.
It may also have been important in bringing the proletariat together in social environments and in disseminating national ideologies of authenticity, autochthony and social justice from both Liberals and Peronists.
Gestures of compadrito cultural participation through music—the tango, popular literature and story telling—all add to the cultural discourse surrounding Peronism. They reworked Argentine history in order to represent Rosas-style nationalism positively. The case of Argentine historical revisionism is particularly poignant in relation to the creation, production and adoption of social rhetoric surrounding the gaucho for application to the urban working-class.
And the gaucho through historical revisionism became the standing icon for autochthony. Second, revisionism as a tool for political justification was a major rhetorical weapon in the Nationalist arsenal. Finally, the gaucho and his connection to the land were at the center of their cultural construction.
These four works, among many others, sought to influence national politics indirectly by rewriting history. Many writers and cultural critics revised historic accounts and recreated national personalities in order to promote autochthony and the gaucho continued to be a fundamental part of that dialogue.
He emphasized the central role gauchos played in maintaining a discourse of national identity from a nationalist perspective. However, through historical revisionism the gaucho took on new titles and new urban identities. While he reached for a French counterpart in naming his followers, he also chose a term that reflects the literary representation of the gaucho.
He was an independent, free spirit who was living poor but living proud. And by being more gaucho-like, through a nationalist perspective, they also became more Argentine and more central to the discourse of belonging. Writers molded their Argentine imaginary to suit them—an imaginary just as selective and exclusive as previous iterations. In his early works Jorge Luis Borges perceived Argentina as a creation of individualism and violence combined with a codependent relationship with the land—la tierra argentina.
When speaking of his understanding and fascination with the gaucho and the Pampa, Borges said: This voice could be the voice of an Argentine imaginary that depends on the Pampa and its culture for its identity in life and death. Borges believed that the gaucho was the human embodiment of the Pampa—the personal incarnation of la tierra argentina Obras, He lets us see a connection between Pampa, gaucho and compadrito through his work.
His texts often return to the gaucho as fertile ground for continued literary creation and manipulation. In doing so, he has repeatedly turned to the ideas and symbols offered him by the literary, historical, and individual experience of his country […]. He posited that the protagonist was not a hero but a knife-wielding ruffian Sarlo For Sarlo, Borges reinterpreted the civilization vs. This gaucho code egrman be interpreted as valor or as delinquency depending one who was using it The law makes delinquents.
Borges uses the gaucho in multiple texts to juxtapose and complicate justice and law along with civilization and barbarism. He rewrites the gaucho as both an aesthetic creation of autochthony and as an iconoclastic cueno of nationalist symbolism. Borges reconstructed the gaucho as an anti-nationalist symbol without any fabecita to government or national borders.
The gaucho therefore is not nationally tied down but is cabceita an autochthonous symbol of spatial belonging. While Borges saw that the gaucho became the literary representation of rozenmacger through revisionists hands, he perceived that the gaucho could be rewritten and recreated with a contemporary figure like the compadrito and thus constructed a parodic representation of the nationalist icon in the compadrito Britton He understood that the gaucho had been rewritten previously and existed more as a fluid literary creature than something preserved in a historical mold.
He understood the malleability of literary figures and felt it was important to be able to maintain that malleability for future cultural production because the gaucho is such an important part of the vocabulary of identity discourse in Argentina.
As a cultural icon, the gaucho has the ability to overcome political schemas while still spatially being tied to the Rio de la Plata region. Therefore, the gaucho can represent varying social and political ideologies while maintaining a spatially national reference point. Eran sufridos, castos pobres.
La hospitalidad fue su fiesta. Irony makes for a complex interpretation cabevita the gaucho and may shed light on the difficulty that Sarmiento had in defining Facundo solely as barbaric and why Mansilla questioned his own civilization when interacting with gauchos and their way of life. Irony adds complexity to the literary figure and allows the gaucho to cross ideological boundaries between civilization and barbarism.