Ambassadors of the Working Class: Argentina's International Labor Activists and Cold War Democracy in the Americas
Ernesto Seman (Author)
DescriptionIn 1946 Juan Peron launched a populist challenge to the United States, recruiting an army of labor activists to serve as worker attaches at every Argentine embassy. By 1955, over five hundred would serve, representing the largest presence of blue-collar workers in the foreign service of any country in history. A meatpacking union leader taught striking workers in Chicago about rising salaries under Peron. A railroad motorist joined the revolution in Bolivia. A baker showed Soviet workers the daily caloric intake of their Argentine counterparts. As Ambassadors of the Working Class shows, the attaches' struggle against US diplomats in Latin America turned the region into a Cold War battlefield for the hearts of the working classes. In this context, Ernesto Seman reveals, for example, how the attaches' brand of transnational populism offered Fidel Castro and Che Guevara their last chance at mass politics before their embrace of revolutionary violence. Fiercely opposed by Washington, the attaches' project foundered, but not before US policymakers used their opposition to Peronism to rehearse arguments against the New Deal's legacies.
Duke University Press
25 August 2017
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