Journal of Latin American Studies


The Limitations of Ideology in the Early Argentine Labour Movement: Anarchism in the Trade Unions, 1890—1920

Ruth Thompson

The origins of the labour movement in Argentina, which date from a period when the country was developing rapidly and had an important place in the world economy, have received little close attention from historians. Generally, the years before 1930 have been neglected in favour of the study of developments associated with Perón and Peronism. Such secondary literature as does exist consists largely of personal memoirs, whose authors were, understandably, parti pris. The more general studies tend to underestimate the extent, variety and sophistication of trade unionism before 1930, and also to contrast the style and ideology of the unions with that of the Peronist labour movement. Most notably, Argentina is widely quoted, along with Spain, as one of the countries where anarchist and/or anarcho-syndicalist ideology and practice dominated the labour movement.