Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Kenneth Paul Erickson

Committee Members

Irving Leonard Markovitz

Patrick V. Peppe

Ronald Schneider

Hobart Spalding

Subject Categories

Political Science


Focusing on the Peronist period from 1943 to 1955 as the high point of a transitional process between two patterns of dependency on foreign capital, the study explores the dynamics underlying the pendular cycle so characteristic of Latin American political life–the dialectical movement between some variant of populist rule and that based on military power as a means of repressing popular aspirations. Peronism emerged in the context of contradictions within a developmental pattern based on an alliance of the export producing, landowning oligarchy with foreign, primarily British, commercial and financial groups. The developmental model promoted by the Peron government in turn, was geared principally to urban labor and local capitalists producing for the domestic market.

The coalition Peronism was based on could only be held together under conditions allowing for increased wages along with higher profits for national capitalists. In the absence of such advantageous conditions, a populist-nationalist regime is driven by its commitment to pursue development within the framework of capitalist social relations to cut back on the consumption levels of its popular base. Such policies result in increased working class militance which undermines capitalist accumulation. This brings the military to power.

The military rulers then use the coercive power of the armed forces to back up an economic project serving the interests of the oligarchy and multinational industrial and financial capital. Whereas populist-nationalism used material incentives to gain stable labor relations, the military enforces labor peace through intimidation, torture and murder. This forceful restructuring of the foundation of the nation's economic life not only harms the working class and popular sectors, but also erodes the position of bourgeois sectors based on the production and distribution of wage goods. The stage is set for the reemergence of some variant of populist-nationalism as a formula for exercising state power.

Finally, military repression will return once the new regime is unable to provide material benefits for its popular base while also meeting the increased demand from foreign capital for whatever surplus the Argentine economy is able to generate.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.