• Ambassadors of the Working Class: Argentina's International Labor Activists and Cold War Democracy in the Americas

    Pages: 328
    Illustrations: 12 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction. From the Fringes of the Nation to the World  1
    1. In Search of Social Reform  23
    2. "The Argentine Problem"  44
    3. Apostles of Social Revolution  68
    4. From the Belly of the Beasts  102
    5. At the Turn of the Tide  132
    6. Political Declension  166
    7. A Bitter Pill 193
    Conclusion. Branding Mass Politics in the Americas  219
    Notes  233
    Bibliography  287
    Index  311
  • "Using the history of Peronist worker attachés, Ernesto Semán takes readers on a journey through the political, economic, and social history not only of Argentina but of the Americas as a whole. This is political, economic, intellectual, and transnational history at its best. This splendid book reveals how the attachés and their intense activism shaped the dynamics of early Cold War politics in the Americas, and Semán provides novel perspectives on Argentinian populism, its historical tributaries, and the way it enables us to rethink the legacy of FDR's New Deal." — Barry Carr, coeditor of, The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics

    “Wonderfully written and argued, combining transnational history, political analysis, and cultural studies, this account of Argentina’s worker attachés is transformative—not only because it tells the little-known story of union activists in the Argentine diplomatic service but also, and most importantly, because it sheds valuable new light on our understanding of Peronism.” — Javier Auyero, author of, Patients of the State: The Politics of Waiting in Argentina

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  • Description

    In 1946 Juan Perón launched a populist challenge to the United States, recruiting an army of labor activists to serve as worker attachés 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 Perón. 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 attachés' 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 Semán reveals, for example, how the attachés' 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 attachés’ project foundered, but not before US policymakers used their opposition to Peronism to rehearse arguments against the New Deal's legacies.

    About The Author(s)

    Historian Ernesto Semán is Assistant Professor at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and the author of five previous books, which include novels and political essays.
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