GHIGLIANI Pablo Esteban
congresos y reuniones científicas
Acme and Decadence of the Labour Reforming Movement in Argentina: the labour movement and the policies of social security. By way of balance
Conferencia; 35th Linz Conference: The 20th Century of the Labour Movement?; 1999
Institución organizadora:
Annual International Labor History Conference (ITH)
The end of the century and of the millennium: how to avoid the temptation of reflecting on the history of the labour movement and the importance it had in shaping the features of our societies? Though the labour movement was the core of all the redeeming hopes a hundred years back, today, in the view of many people, it is definitely dead as privileged protagonist of the anticapitalist policy. However, for those of us who hold that the crucial fact of social life is the struggle around the extraction of extra work, studies on the working class and the way in which it is organized are still unavoidable. If, as Marx warned, "success shall never be achieved with the master key of a general historic-philosophical theory whose main virtue is being above history", that should not constitute an obstacle for the development of authentic and productive class analyses incorporating among their goals the approach of relationships and the political-institutional struggles among the classes, and within themselves. In Argentina, the constitution of a working class and its organization as labour movement is a phenomenon that took place exactly at the turn of the last century. The direct result of European immigration and the establishment of the first industries "some of them no greater than artisan workmanship" their economic and political struggles signalled the development of our national history. However, to acknowledge today the central role the working-class struggle played in the past implies another acknowledgment: that we are in the presence of a situation of sustained retreat for the Argentine labour movement that is made most manifest in the field of labour law and social security, having effects on its organizational structures. In contrast, as from the 1940s the strengthening of its unions organization turned it into a socio-political protagonist whose presence was strong in the national political scenario. Dominant classes faced this phenomenon with a complex combination of negotiation and repression in which the class conflict combined "as from mid 1950s" with another, a wider political conflict that went beyond the sociological level, one which marked the national political life for a considerable number of years: that of Peronism-antiPeronism. That is why we state that a retrospective view proves this present of weakness not to be the steady sign in the history of the working class in Argentina.