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Hispanic American Historical Review 80.3 (2000) 628-630
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Claridad y el internacionalismo americano
Claridad y el internacionalismo americano. By Florencia Ferreira De Cassone. Buenos Aires: Claridad, 1998. Index. 309 pp. Paper.
Revista Claridad appeared in Buenos Aires, usually on a monthly basis, between 1926 and 1941. It featured a wide range of essays and articles about and by major figures of [End Page 628] the socialist and what might be called "progressive" Left in Argentina and Latin America. It was edited by a Spanish immigrant, Antonio Zamora, who wrote most of the editorials and exerted a strong influence over the content of the review. The revista was closely associated with Argentina's Socialist party, but under Zamora's direction it sought to maintain an independent position, unaffiliated with any particular political group. While the revista was forced to cease publication due to a wartime shortage of newsprint, the publishing house that was co-founded with it continues to exist and indeed published the volume under review.
Ferreira de Cassone justifies her study of Claridad by arguing that it was, among other things, "el órgano más representativo del pensamiento de izquierda en nuestro país" (p. 23). Given the extensive material provided by the revista, she chooses to focus on the emphasis Claridad placed on "revolutionary internationalism" and Latin American solidarity in the face of European and North American imperialism. Important contributors to Claridad in this regard were men like José Ingenieros, Manuel Ugarte, Alfredo Palacios, and particularly Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, all of whom shared a vision of what has been described as continental nationalism.
The author begins with a general introduction of the revista and its importance as well as some of the methodological difficulties involved in studying such material within the general framework of the history of ideas. She provides considerable context concerning the cultural and publishing world in Latin America's main center of such activity, Buenos Aires, and a description of the role of Zamora in establishing the enterprise; in addition, she explains Claridad's position with regard to the famous division in the 1920s between the writers of Boedo (a street in the working-class district of Buenos Aires), with their social orientation, and the writers of Florida (the fashionable shopping street in the heart of the city), with their more aesthetic literary interests, with Claridad firmly in the camp of the former. This is followed with a description of the various collaborators and some of the nuts and bolts of the publication and its format. A section on the editorial policy delineates the revista's position on various important issues of the 1920s and 1930s, including its general sympathy for the Bolshevik Revolution, if not for Moscow-directed communism, its opposition to fascism and dictatorship, and its support for the Spanish Republican cause in the Civil War.
In the second half of the book, Ferreira de Cassone analyzes Claridad's opposition to imperialism, which begins with a strong condemnation of United States's actions in the hemisphere, but gradually moderates as Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and Good Neighbor policy take effect and as the Axis and the threat of fascism loom on the horizon. Another chapter deals with the impact on Claridad of the University Reform movement, with its continental scope and shared positions on such matters as opposition to dictatorship and imperialism. The revista deals with various aspects of the movement during this period, including reports on international student conferences, and features contributions from figures associated with the Reform.
Much of the latter third of the book is taken up with a detailed description and analysis of how Claridad covered developments in other Latin American countries, usually [End Page 629] through essays and reports from natives of the countries in question. Peru receives principal attention as the home of Aprismo and because various Peruvian leftists found exile in Buenos Aires in these years. A conclusion argues that while the aspirations of the socialist left have yet to be realized in Latin America...