SPEECHES BY JUAN PERÓN AND EVA PERÓN
Note: Juan Perón was the president of Argentina in the late 1940s and early 1950s and
one of the most influential people in modern Latin American history. His wife, Eva, was
equally popular in Argentina for her work on behalf of labor unions, women, and the
poor. The two speeches below—one by Juan Perón and one by Eva Perón—articulate the
history and philosophy of Perónism, the name given to the political movement they
Assignment: Please answer the following questions after reading these two speeches by
Juan and Eva Perón. Your answers must be typed, spell-checked, and in complete
sentences. Your responses must make specific references to the reading assignment and
must be at least 2-3 pages.
1) From your reading of these two speeches, how would you define Perónism as a
political philosophy? What kind of political and economic system does Perón want to
create? Is it a form of democracy or a form of totalitarianism? And why do you think so?
What is Perónism?
By Juan Perón
Speech of August 20, 1948 by Juan Peron
In Congress a few days ago, some of our legislators have asked what Perónism is. Perónism
is humanism in action; Perónism is a new political doctrine, which rejects all the ills of the
politics of previous times; in the social sphere it is a theory which establishes a little
equality among men, which grants them similar opportunities and assures them of a future
so that in this land there may be no one who lacks what he needs for a living, even though
it may be necessary that those who are wildly squandering what they possess may be
deprived of the right to do so, for the benefit of those who have nothing at all; in the
economic sphere its aim is that every Argentine should pull his weight for the Argentines
and that economic policy which maintained that this was a permanent and perfect school
of capitalist exploitation should be replaced by a doctrine of social economy under which
the distribution of our wealth, which we force the earth to yield up to us, may be shared
out fairly among all those who have contributed by their efforts to amass it.
That is Perónism. And Perónism is not learned, nor just talked about: one feels it or else
disagrees. Perónism is a question of the heart rather than of the head. Fortunately I am not
one of those Presidents who lives a life apart, but on the contrary, I live among my people,
just as I have always lived, so that I share all the ups and downs, all their successes and all
their disappointments with my working class people. I feel an intimate satisfaction when I
see a workman who is well dressed or taking his family to the theatre. I feel just as satisfied
as I would feel if I were that workman myself. That is Perónism.
I have never been of the opinion that in this world there should be groups of men against
other groups, nations against nations and much less can I admit that men should be
enemies because they profess a different religion. How could it be admitted, how could it
be explained that anti-Semitism should exist in Argentina? In Argentina there should not
be more than one single class of men: men who work together for the welfare of the
nation, without any discrimination whatsoever. They are good Argentines, no matter what
their origin, their race or their religion may be, if they work every day for the greatness of
the Nation, and they are bad Argentines, no matter what they say or how much they shout,
if they are not laying a new stone every day towards the construction of the building of the
happiness and grandeur of our Nation.
That is the only discrimination which Argentina should make among its inhabitants: those
who are doing constructive work and those who are not; those who are benefactors to the
country and those who are not. For this reason in this freest land of the free, as long as I
am President of the Republic, no one will be persecuted by anyone else.
These are the Twenty Truths of the Perónist Justicialism:
1., True democracy is the system where the Government carries out the will of the people
defending a single objective: the interests of the people.
2. Perónism is an eminently popular movement. Every political clique is opposed to the
popular interests and, therefore, it cannot be a Perónist organization.
3. A Perónist must be at the service of the cause. He who invokes the name of this cause
but is really at the service of a political clique or a “caudillo” (local political leader) is only a
Perónist by name.
4. There is only one class of men for the Perónist cause: the workers.
5. In the New Argentina, work is a right which dignifies man and a duty, because it is only
fair that each one should produce at least what he consumes.
6. There can be nothing better for a Perónist than another Perónist.
7. No Perónist should presume to be more than he really is, nor should he adopt a position
inferior to what his social status should be. When a Perónist starts to think that he is more
important than he really is, he is about to become one of the oligarchy.
8. With reference to political action the scale of values for all Perónists is as follows: First,
the Homeland; afterwards the cause, and then, the men themselves.
9. Politics does not constitute for us a definite objective but only a means of achieving the
Homeland’s welfare represented by the happiness of the people and the greatness of the
10. The two main branches of Perónism are Social Justice and Social Welfare. With these
we envelop the people in an embrace of justice and love.
11. Perónism desires the establishment of national unity and the abolition of civil strife. It
welcomes heroes but does not want martyrs.
12. In the New Argentina the only privileged ones are the children.
13. A Government without a doctrine is a body without a soul. That is why Perónism has
established its own political, economic, and social doctrines: Justicialism.
14. Justicialism is a new philosophical school of life. It is simple, practical, popular and
endowed with deeply Christian and humanitarian sentiments.
15. As a political doctrine, Justicialism establishes a fair balance between the rights of the
individual and those of the community.
16. As an economic doctrine, Justicialism achieves a true form of social economy by placing
capital at the service of the national economy and this at the service of social welfare.
17. As a social doctrine, Justicialism presides over an adequate distribution of Social Justice
giving to each person the social rights he is entitled to.
18. We want a socially just, an economically free, and a politically independent Argentina.
19. We are an organized State and a free people ruled by a centralized government.
20. The best of this land of ours is its people
History of Perónism (1951)
By Eva Perón
The working class forces have triumphed, thanks to the humble, good men and the
workers who saw in Perón not only the social reformer, but also the patriot, the man who
brought security to the nation, the man who would fight so that when he retired the
country would be bigger, happier, and more prosperous than when he found it. These men
made the triumph of Perón possible. This is why we Argentines may enjoy our social
justice, and our economic independence which grows greater every day, thanks to the
patriotic effort and extraordinary vision of General Perón. We Argentines are proud of our
sovereignty, and, as I said on the 1st of May: “When our flag parades along the roads of
humanity, the men of the world remember their hope, like a lost sweetheart dressed in
white and blue to show them the way to happiness.”
This is why we, the Perónistas, may never forget the people; our heart must always be with
the humble, the comrades, the poor, the dispossessed, for this is how to carry out best the
doctrine of General Perón; and so that the poor, the humble, the working forces, and we
ourselves, do not forget, we have pledged to be missionaries of Perón; to do this is to
expand his doctrine, not only within our own country, but to offer it to the world as well,
as a hope of the rewards always wished for by the working classes. . . .
General Perón has defeated both capitalism and communism. He has defeated capitalism
by suppressing oligarchy, by fighting the economic forces, the Bembergs and the trusts. La
Prensa, that capitalistic cancer, was not suppressed by Perón, but by the paperboys and the
working force. But could the paperboys, the most humble workers of the country, have
confronted the powerful paper, through a strike against a business that had so much
support, especially from the outside, if there had been no justice, no government which
would let them discuss freely and on an equal basis with their bosses? Before, the poor
paperboys would have been machine gunned, drowning their hopes forever.
Perón has also defeated internal capitalism, through social economy, putting capital at the
service of the economy, and not vice versa, which only gave the workers the right to die of
hunger. The law of the funnel, as it is called, the wide part for the capitalists and the
narrow part for the people
Perón suppressed imperialist action. Now we have economic independence. He knows well
all the insults he will receive for committing the “crime” of defending the country. Some
Argentines allied themselves with foreigners in order to slander him because General
Perón was the first to make foreign powers respect Argentina, and treat it as an equal.
General Perón took communism away from the masses, for justice and greater well-being
replacing it with syndicalism, about which I would like to say a few words.
Syndicalism supports justice and Perón, but this does not mean that syndicalism
participates in political action. It is simply a doctrine of social justice, and its creator,
Perón, is now above all politics, because the Argentine syndicates (trade unions), by
forming syndicalism, that is, by placing themselves within the doctrine of justice, are
authentically representing their members; that which before was discussed with guns is no
longer discussed; conquests are defended, which is very different. Syndicalism and the
Argentine syndicates, within the doctrine of social justice, support Perón politically; they
do not support parties or party candidates, because there will never be another Perón,
despite his imitators, whose works are always disastrous. The working classes, by supporting
Perón, support the leader of the Argentine workers and not the leader of any political
party. Perón is the nation, Perón is work, and Perón is well-being.
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