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Nacionalismo (Argentinian political movement)


Nacionalismo was a right-wing Argentine political movement that around 1910 grew out of the "traditionalist" position, which was based on nostalgia for feudal economic relations and a more "organic" social order. Nacionalismo eventually drew quite a bit from European fascism, but was always militantly Catholic and drew equally from clericist traditions, as well as from the European counterrevolutionary tradition of the 19th century. Its advocates were writers, journalists, a few politicians and many colonels and other junior military officers; the latter supported the Nationalists largely because, for most of their existence, they saw in the military the only potential political savior of the country. The group violently rejected liberalism and representative democracy, detested communism, were mostly anti-semitic and supported the Roman Catholic Church.

Nacionalismo at times advocated social and economic reforms in favor of workers and the poor, but in a corporatist rather than socialist manner. This can clearly be seen in the policies of Juan Domingo Peron, who came out of the Nationalist milieu (though he was also specifically influenced by Italian fascism) and came to power in the so-called "Nationalist Revolution."

As an ideology, Nacionalismo was militarist, authoritarian, and sympathetic to the rule of a modern caudillo, who the Nationalists were frequently either hoping for or reinterpreting history to locate in the past. Along these lines, a major part of the intellectual work of Nacionalismo was the creation of historical revisionism as an academic movement in Argentina. Nationalist historians published a number of works challenging the work of the liberal historians who had forged the dominant historical narrative of Argentina, and presented 19th century dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas as the kind of benevolent authoritarian leader that the country still needed.

While the nationalists themselves never really managed to maintain political power despite participating in a handful of successful coups throughout the 20th century . Their lasting legacy, however is twofold: first, their enormous influence over the political discourse of contemporary Argentina, where right, left and center have all been heavily influenced by their discourse, in part through second-hand clerical and military influences, and in part through Peron's adoption of some of their ideas and language. Second, the most recent military coup in Argentina was largely directed and conducted by Nationalists in the Argentine armed forces, and most certainly dictated by their ideological legacy. With hindsight, the ironic part of this enormous slaughter was that the main guerrilla group that the government was attempting to undermine and exterminate was also heavily influenced by Nacionalismo, though their political convictions were very different from those of the military officers.

References

Hodges, Donald C. Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance. Albequerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976.

Rock, David. Authoritarian Argentina: The Nationalist Movement, Its History and Its Impact. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

The Heritage of World Civilizations Volume 2: Since 1500'. Pearson Prentice Hall

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