Armies and Politics in Latin America

By Abraham F. Lowenthal; J. Samuel Fitch | Go to book overview

omy is a temporary phenomenon; over time, dominant classes will regroup or a new power bloc will emerge. Finally, the armed forces, even when they appear to be leftist leaning and enter government in a situation of high relative autonomy, are, in the last analysis, unreliable leaders of revolutionary movements.


Notes
1.
For Marx's and Engels' major statements on the concept, see Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy ( New York: Random House, 1906), "The Working Day," pp. 255-330; Grundisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (rough draft), trans. by Martin Nicolaus ( Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1973); Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte ( New York: International Publishers, 1963); and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Correspondence 1846-1895, trans. by Dona Torr ( London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1936), "Letter to Conrad Schmidt," p. 480.
2.
See Antonio Gramsci, Notas sobre Maquiavelo, sobre la Política y sobre el Estado Moderno ( Mexico City: Juan Pablos Editores, 1975).
3.
Nicos Poulantzas, Clases Sociales y Poder Político en el Estado Capitalista ( Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1969).
4.
Ibid., pp. 331-333.
5.
Ibid., pp. 394-395. By its nature, Poulantzas argues, the capitalist state is led by a hegemonic class, but this does not deny the state's relative autonomy vis-à-vis the power bloc, or the hegemonic class or fraction within it.
6.
Gramsci does not limit high relative autonomy (Caesarism) only to a situation of equilibrium of "fundamental" social forces but urges the analyst to examine the relations between principal groups (socioeconomic and sociotechnical) of the dominant classes and the auxiliary elements that are guided by or subordinated to their hegemonic influence, paying particular attention to peasants and military groups. See Gramsci, Notas, p. 88.
7.
Poulantzas, Clases Sociales, pp. 331-332. ( Poulantzas concedes that this notion is not sufficiently developed analytically but argues that it nonetheless has value.)
8.
A complete study of relative autonomy should include a qualitative examination of favorable opinion of policies by fractions of the dominant class, the policies' effect on their objective interests, and the policies' impact on the interests of the bourgeoisie in general.
9.
Concerning political regimes prior to 1968, see Henry Pease Garcia, El Ocaso del Poder Oligárquico: Lucha Política en la Escena Ofícial, 1968-1975 ( Lima: DESCO, 1977), chapters 1 and 5; Julio Cotler, Clases, Estado, y Nación en el Perú ( Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1978); and Laura Madalengoitia, Burguesía y Estado Liberal ( Lima: DESCO, 1979). The political regimes from 1930 to 1950 had as one of their primary purposes the control of anti-oligarchic forces, namely, the APRA.
10.
This point will not be elaborated upon here. The importance of national defense to military ideology is fundamental but does not displace the other elements mentioned. It served as a factor to join the heterogeneous elements of the armed forces faced with the ideological implications of the socioeconomic reforms. Alfred Stepan discusses the maturation of the military's outlook in The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), pp. 127-147.

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