Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Women in Uruguayan Communism: Contradictions and Ambiguities, 1920s–1960s

  • GERARDO LEIBNER

Abstract

This article examines the dynamics of women's participation in the Communist Party of Uruguay (PCU) from the 1920s to the 1960s. Despite its commitment to women's emancipation and to equality between men and women, the PCU's attitudes towards gender equality were often contradictory and its messages were ambiguous. Though it promoted women's participation, the Party oscillated between seeking to overcome social prejudices, upholding principled and dogmatic positions, and accommodating the conservative habits prevalent among the working class. Women were encouraged to take part in activities but not to assume leadership positions. The 1960s, ironically a period characterised by openness and political success, was a decade of regression in gender equality that stood in contrast to the Uruguayan Communists' long trajectory concerning women's rights.

Este artículo examina la dinámica de la participación de mujeres en el Partido Comunista del Uruguay (PCU) desde los años 1920 a los 1960. A pesar de su compromiso con la emancipación femenina y la igualdad entre hombres y mujeres, las actitudes del PCU hacia la equidad de género fueron frecuentemente contradictorias y sus mensajes ambiguos. Aunque promovió la participación de las mujeres, el partido osciló entre buscar superar los prejuicios sociales, sostener posiciones principistas y dogmáticas, y acomodarse a los hábitos conservadores prevalentes en la clase obrera. Las mujeres fueron alentadas a tomar parte en las actividades pero no a asumir posiciones de liderazgo. Los años 1960s, irónicamente un periodo caracterizado por la apertura y el éxito político, fue una década de regresión en cuanto a la igualdad de género, lo que contrastó con la larga trayectoria comunista uruguaya en relación a los derechos de las mujeres.

Este artigo examina as dinâmicas da participação de mulheres no Partido Comunista do Uruguai (PCU) entre os anos 1920 e 1960. Apesar do comprometimento em relação à emancipação e igualdade entre homens e mulheres, as atitudes do PCU no que diz respeito a igualdade de gênero foram muitas vezes contraditórias e suas mensagens, ambíguas. Apesar de promover a participação das mulheres, o partido oscilava entre buscar superar preconceitos sociais, manter posições morais e dogmáticas, e acomodar os hábitos conservadores prevalentes entre as classes trabalhadoras. Mulheres eram encorajadas a tomar parte das atividades, porém, não a assumir posições de liderança. Os anos sessenta, ironicamente um período caracterizado pela abertura e sucesso político, foi um década de retrocesso em relação à igualdade de gênero, em contraste com a longa trajetória de luta dos comunistas uruguaios pelos direitos das mulheres.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Women in Uruguayan Communism: Contradictions and Ambiguities, 1920s–1960s
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Women in Uruguayan Communism: Contradictions and Ambiguities, 1920s–1960s
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Women in Uruguayan Communism: Contradictions and Ambiguities, 1920s–1960s
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

This research was made possible through the generous help of the many activists who shared their memories and knowledge with me. It was supported by post-doctoral fellowships from the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC) and Yad Hanadiv (Jerusalem). Comments and suggestions made by the anonymous reviewers and the editors of JLAS were very useful in improving this article. Lastly, I also want to thank my colleagues and friends Rosalie Sitman and Gadi Algazi for their valuable help.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

1 Arrom, Silvia, ‘Historia de la mujer y de la familia latinoamericanas’, Historia Mexicana, 42: 2 (1992), pp. 379418. Historiography on Brazilian women developed first. Hahner, June, ‘Recent Research on Women in Brazil’, Latin American Research Review, 20: 3 (1985), pp. 163–79.

2 To mention a few: Jelin, Elizabeth (ed.), Ciudadanía e identidad: las mujeres en los movimientos sociales latino-americanos (Geneva: UNRISD, 1987); Chinchilla, Norma Stoltz, ‘Marxism, Feminism, and the Struggle for Democracy in Latin America’, Gender and Society, 5: 3 (1991), pp. 291310.

3 Safa, Helen, ‘Women's Social Movements in Latin America’, Gender and Society, 4: 3 (1990), pp. 354–69.

4 Stoltz Chinchilla, ‘Marxism, Feminism, and the Struggle for Democracy in Latin America’, p. 295.

5 For example, Cosse, Isabella, ‘Infidelities: Morality, Revolution, and Sexuality in Left-Wing Guerrilla Organizations in 1960s and 1970s Argentina’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 23: 3 (2014), pp. 415–50; Marina Cardozo, ‘“Su lugar en la lucha”: Reflexiones en torno a las militantes en el Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Tupamaros entre comienzos de los 60 y fines de los 70 en Uruguay’, Actas de las III Jornadas de Historia Género y Política en los ’70, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 22–24 Sept. 2010; Grammático, Karin, ‘Las mujeres políticas y las feministas en los tempranos setenta: ¿Un diálogo (im)posible?’, in Andújar, Andrea et al. (eds.), Historia, género y política en los ’70 (Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires/Feminaria, 2005), pp. 1938; Salgado, Alfonso, ‘“A Small Revolution”: Family, Sex, and the Communist Youth of Chile during the Allende Years (1970–1973)’, Twentieth Century Communism, 8: 8 (2015), pp. 6288.

6 Rosemblatt, Karin Alejandra, ‘Domesticating Men: State Building and Class Compromise in Popular-Front Chile’, in Dore, Elizabeth and Molyneux, Maxine (eds.), Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2000), pp. 262–90.

7 Deutsch, Sandra McGee, ‘Gender and Socio-Political Change in Twentieth-Century Latin America’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 71: 2 (1991), pp. 259306.

8 Lavrin, Asunción, Women, Feminism and Social Change in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1995).

9 Such as the studies on the anarcho-feminist newspaper La Voz de la Mujer; the first was Molyneux, Maxine, ‘No God, No Boss, No Husband. Anarchist Feminism in Nineteenth Century Argentina’, Latin American Perspectives, 13: 1 (1986), pp. 119–45.

10 Chile is an exception, since prominent women's participation in protests against both the left-wing Unidad Popular (Popular Unity, UP) and the Pinochet governments have been the subject of serious study. Baldez, Lisa, Why Women Protest. Women's Movements in Chile (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Power, Margaret, Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine Power and the Struggle against Allende, 1964–1973 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002).

11 One exception: Weigand, Kate, Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). Weigand underlines the bridging role of American Communists between the two waves of feminism.

12 Ehrick, Christine, The Shield of the Weak: Feminism and the State in Uruguay, 1903–1933 (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2005).

13 Sapriza, Graciela, Memorias de rebeldía (Montevideo, PuntoSur-Grecmu, 1988) and Hilamos una historia. La memoria sindical desde las mujeres (Montevideo: Grecmu-Fesur, 1989).

14 See, for instance, Valobra, Adriana, ‘Feminismo, sufragismo y mujeres en los partidos políticos en la Argentina de la primera mitad del siglo XX’, Amnis, 8 (2008) (online at https://amnis.revues.org/666; last access 23 Sept. 2017).

15 Valobra, Adriana, ‘Formación de cuadros y frentes populares: relaciones de clase y género en el Partido Comunista de Argentina, 1935–1951’, Izquierdas, 23 (2015), pp. 127–56.

16 del Carmen Feijoó, María and Nari, Marcela, ‘Women in Argentina during the 1960s’, Latin American Perspectives, 23: 1 (1996), pp. 727.

17 Gould, Jeffrey, ‘Solidarity under Siege: The Latin American Left, 1968’, American Historical Review, 114: 2 (2009), pp. 364–5.

18 Schultze, Marisa Silva, Aquellos comunistas, 1955–1973 (Montevideo: Taurus, 2009).

19 Markarian, Vania, El 68 uruguayo. El movimiento estudiantil, entre molotovs y música beat (Bernal: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, 2012); To the Beat of “The Walrus”: Uruguayan Communists and Youth Culture in the Global Sixties’, The Americas, 70: 3 (2014), pp. 363–92.

20 Gerardo Leibner, ‘Las ideologías sociales de los revolucionarios uruguayos de los 60’, Nuevo Mundo – Mundos Nuevos (2007), available at http://nuevomundo.revues.org/11682, last access 14 Oct. 2017; Camaradas y compañeros. Una historia política y social de los comunistas del Uruguay (Montevideo: Trilce, 2011); Nosotras (Uruguay, 1945–1953): las contradicciones de la escritura femenina comunista y sus significados sociales’, in Forgues, Roland and Flores, Jean-Marie (eds.), Escritura femenina y reivindicación de género en América Latina (Paris: Mare & Martin, 2005), pp. 507–21; Parti de masses, parti masculinisé? Les femmes dans le Parti communiste uruguayen (1946–1968)’, in Bergès, Karine, Burgos-Vigna, Diana, Rodrigo, Mercedes Yusta and Ludec, Nathalie (eds.), Résistantes, militantes, citoyennes: L'Engagement politique des femmes aux XXe et XXIe siècles (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015), pp. 139–52.

21 de Giorgi, Ana Laura, ‘La otra nueva ola. Jóvenes mujeres comunistas en el Uruguay de los 60’, Revista Izquierdas, 22 (2015), pp. 204–26.

22 Alfonso Salgado, ‘Exemplary Comrades: The Public and Private Life of Communists in Twentieth-Century Chile’, unpubl. PhD diss., Columbia University, 2016.

23 Ehrick argues that during the 1920s paternalistic attitudes (‘family wage socialism’) were predominant in the Uruguayan Left, coexisting with an egalitarian attitude that viewed gender inequality as a manifestation of class society. The Shield of the Weak, pp. 182–4.

24 Ibid., p. 182.

25 During the first half of the twentieth century, ‘creole’ in Uruguay meant a long-established native Uruguayan, in contrast with first generations of immigrants. It had no race connotation since Uruguayans labelled ‘whites’, aindiados or chinas (terms used for persons with indigenous traces: the former for men, the latter for women), mulatos and ‘blacks’ were all considered ‘creoles’.

26 Ehrick refers to the entry of Jewish immigrants into the Communist Party in 1929 and the founding of the Clara Zetkin Women's Centre: The Shield of the Weak, p. 197.

27 ‘Infiltraciones peligrosas’, El Plata, 28 Aug. 1932; cited by Sapriza, Memorias de rebeldía, p. 148. The original demonstration was called by women identified with various opposition factions. Under the conservative-authoritarian rule of Gabriel Terra, it was easier to express progressive positions on foreign issues. A peaceful women's demonstration was better tolerated than any demonstration by men.

28 The Communists rejected national symbols: ‘Bourgeois women at the service of the government and diplomats preparing for war organised a “pacifist” demonstration to deceive the masses. […] The event was carried out under the shadow of the bourgeois nation and all expressed patriotic sentiments, precisely the sentiments that the bourgeoisie develops to initiate war and maintain their irritating privileges’: Justicia, 30 Aug. 1932. Only in 1937 the PCU declared: ‘The Party supports great national progressive traditions […] the National Anthem, the flag …’: Gómez, Eugenio, Historia del Partido Comunista del Uruguay (Montevideo: Elite, 1961), p. 117.

29 An account given by two Communist veterans (with minor variations), interviewed separately in 2000. Neither was old enough to have witnessed or heard about the incident when it allegedly took place. The story circulated for many years as a didactic tale to distinguish their own sophisticated attitudes from previous, ‘primitive’ partisan ‘prehistory’.

30 Even in Trinidad, a small conservative town, two young women succeeded in involving many women in the ‘Aid Committee for Spanish Children’. Interview with Alcira Legaspi, Montevideo, Oct. 2000.

31 Sandra McGee Deutsch, ‘Hands across the Río de la Plata: Argentine and Uruguayan Antifascist Women, 1941–1945’, American Historical Association conference, Denver, CO, Jan. 2017.

32 As La Pasionaria was extolled as the quintessential figure of women's militancy, she overshadowed other outstanding Spanish militants. See Allison Taillont's concluding remarks in El modelo soviético en los años 1930: los viajes de María Teresa León y Rafael Alberti a Moscú’, Cahiers de Civilisation Espagnole Contemporaine, 9 (2012), pp. 136. On La Pasionaria's image: Yusta, Mercedes, ‘La revista Mujeres Antifascistas Españolas, o la construcción de una identidad femenina comunista en el exilio francés (1946–1950)’, Pandora: Revue d'Etudes Hispaniques, 5 (2005), pp. 119–31; Seco, Mónica Moreno, ‘“A la sombra de Pasionaria”: mujeres y militancia comunista (1960–1982)’, in Ramos, María Dolores (ed.), Tejedoras de ciudadanía: culturas políticas, feminismos y luchas democráticas en España (Málaga: Universidad de Málaga, 2014), pp. 257–82.

33 An idealised biography of Arévalo: Gravina, Alfredo, A los diez años proletaria (Montevideo: Editorial Problemas, 1987, 2nd edn).

34 Their meeting in Paris at the Women's Democratic Federation's Conference was celebrated: Un encuentro histórico: Pasionaria y Julia, dos mujeres que personifican dignamente a sus pueblos’, Nosotras, 12 (March 1946).

35 Vladimir Hernandez, ‘Jose Mujica: The World's “Poorest” President’, BBC Mundo (Montevideo), 15 Nov. 2012, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20243493 (last access 24 Sept. 2017).

36 Massera, Carmen (Garayalde), Problemas de la cultura y la educación (Montevideo: EPU, 1946); Arévalo, Julia, Crónicas de un mundo de heroísmo (Montevideo: EPU, 1946); de Centrón, Celia Mieres, Idioma español, segundo curso (Montevideo: EPU, 1947).

37 Valobra, ‘Formación de cuadros y frentes populares’.

38 In 1937, 7,063 textile workers were registered as such; in 1941 the number was 9,029, and in 1947 it stood at 12,232. Frega, Ana, Maronna, Mónica and Trochón, Ivette, Baldomir y la restauración democrática: 1938–1946 (Montevideo: Banda Oriental, 1987), p. 81.

39 See the memoirs of Rodríguez, Héctor, 30 años de militancia sindical (Montevideo: CUI, 1993), and Huidobro, Eleuterio Fernández, El tejedor: Héctor Rodríguez (Montevideo: Tae, 1996).

40 Enrique Rodríguez, Informe al primer congreso ordinario de U.G.T., Montevideo, April 1944.

41 Sapriza, Hilamos una historia, pp. 27–8.

42 Justicia, 14 Dec. 1945.

43 Interview with Sarita Rozentraub, Montevideo, Oct. 2000.

44 Diario Popular, 2 Jan. 1945. The clinic was owned and run by the Women's Union of Uruguay. Attempts to repeat Capurro's successful experiment failed. One such failure is recorded in ‘Clínica propia de La Teja y Pantanoso’, El Popular, 29 March 1957.

45 For a detailed analysis, see Leibner, ‘Nosotras (Uruguay, 1945–1953)’. Nosotras was founded in Jan. 1945. Julia Arévalo was chief editor on behalf of the PCU, while a group of young Communist women did most of the writing and editing, usually without payment. During its first two years, Nosotras was able to pay part-time salaries to its main editors and a secretary. It started as a women's magazine entirely produced by women, but, with the PCU's growing financial difficulties, it stopped paying salaries and began to rely partly on editing services and copy supplied by male reporters working for Justicia, the PCU's main organ.

46 Nosotras 10 (Jan. 1946), p. 7.

47 Irene Pérez's summary of the women workers' convention, Nosotras, 11 (Feb. 1946), p. 17.

48 Zajar Shapiro, ‘La mujer en la URSS’, ibid., p. 4.

49 Pictures of happily smiling Soviet women working in factories or on collective farms were published in nearly every issue of Nosotras from late 1945 on.

50 ‘La delegación femenina al Congreso Mundial de Mujeres en Paris’, Justicia, 9 Nov. 1945. Participation in the conferences of the Women's International Democratic Federation contributed to the creation of a certain political culture. The Uruguayan representatives talked with pride about their struggles and learned from their comrades. Soviet, East European, French and Argentine Communist women were the most influential in those congresses. See Second Women's International Congress: Account of the Work of the Congress which took place in Budapest 1–6 December 1948 (Paris: WIDF, 1949).

51 ‘Hablemos de su recuerdo, Nosotras, 77 (Aug. 1952).

52 Nosotras, 8 (Oct. 1945).

53 Ibid.

54 In a single issue of Nosotras, for example, there is an article by Y. Umansky entitled ‘In the USSR Women Have the Same Rights as Men’ (p. 23), a letter signed by Klavia Zenova, member of the Supreme Soviet and forewoman in a big Moscow factory, criticising positions on the Cold War adopted by Eleonore Roosevelt (widow of former US president) (p. 8), and a portrait article on the life of Ana Pauker, Foreign Minister of Romania (p. 19): Nosotras, 32 (Aug. 1948).

55 The discourse of Costa Rica's Communist Party towards women's mobilisation included similar contradictions. However, the existing research focuses on public discourse and does not include practices. Since Communist Parties around the world had the same textual references, similar public discourses are likely to be found, whereas practices depended much more on divergent and specific realities. Sáenz, Eugenia Rodríguez, ‘Madres, reformas sociales y sufragismo: el Partido Comunista de Costa Rica y sus discursos de movilización política de las mujeres (1931–1948)’, Cuadernos Inter.c.a.mbio sobre Centroamérica y el Caribe, 11: 1 (2014), pp. 4577.

56 Nosotras, 32 (Aug. 1948), p. 2.

57 Nosotras, 34 (Jan. 1949), p. 18: ‘¡Carestía no!, dijo la Convención de Unión Femenina del Uruguay.’

58 For example, Regina Kanonich and Beatriz Soares Netto, ‘El Municipio desaloja a las familias pobres en Maipú y Ramón Anador’, Justicia, 3 Aug. 1951.

59 For example, Amanda Canale's interview with Ema Cabrera about her daily life as a textile worker, ‘Así vivo y trabajo’, Nosotras, 77 (Aug. 1952).

60 Justicia, 22 July 1951. The newspaper's report concerned the Women's Committee of Villa Dolores, which had collected women's signatures for a petition supporting peace and demanding that the municipality provide enough stock for local butchers' shops.

61 ‘Dirigen la gran campaña’, Justicia, 4 April 1952.

62 In 1950 Julia Arévalo was the second candidate on the PCU's list for the Senate; Amalia Polleri was 13th on the PCU's list for the Chamber of Deputies; author and intellectual Carmen Garayalde was first on the list of PCU candidates to the Electoral Board. In 1954, Julia Arévalo was the second candidate for the National Government Council and second candidate for the Senate; Alcira Legaspi was an alternate (substitute) for Senate candidate number 4; on the list of Deputies, Rosa Dubinsky was number 9, Irene Pérez 18, Amalia Polleri 21. They had no real chance of being elected but the PCU placed them in prominent positions. In 1954, Carmen Garayalde and Erlinda Gutiérrez (a worker) topped the Communist list for the Montevideo City Board of mayors.

63 A photo-report about the PCU cell in a Jewish medical society referred to six members, four of them women, and praised the ‘outstanding activist’ Rosa Dembovich: ‘La agrup. mutualista israelita’, Justicia, 20 Jan. 1950. Another report described the Communist cell at the Frigorífico Nacional company, which included six men led by a woman: ‘La agrup. comunista del Frigorífico Nacional’, Justicia, 15 Feb. 1952.

64 This was very similar to the later attitude of Argentina's PRT-ERP (Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores–Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo), as described by Cosse, ‘Infidelities’ .

65 Leibner, Camaradas y compañeros, pp. 198–207.

66 Since the early 1960s, the official documents of the PCU have referred to the moral scandal of July 1955 just as ‘the 1955 crisis’, ‘the cult of personality deviations’, ‘the violations of Party norms’. See Leibner, Camaradas y compañeros, pp. 229–34, 265–8.

67 I base this assessment on 20 interviews which I conducted in 2000, 2003 and 2004, and two more in 2013.

68 Leibner, Camaradas y compañeros, pp. 287–94.

69 Leibner, ‘Parti de masses, parti masculinisé?’, pp. 143–4.

70 The few outstanding working women's leaders who were being reported on had already been prominent during the preceding period: Irene Pérez, Blanca Peralta and ‘Tita’ Cogo. See El Popular, 10 Aug. 1958, p. 7 and ‘La palabra de la mujer trabajadora. Un reportaje a la dirigente sindical Amalia Cogo’, El Popular, 30 June 1968.

71 ‘Mañana acto femenino del Partido Comunista’, El Popular, 4 June 1962.

72 Ibid.

73 The acronym of the Left Liberation Front, created and led by the PCU in 1962, was chosen with reference to Fidel Castro, who was extremely popular with the Uruguayan Left. The Cuban revolution was warmly welcomed by the PCU, which maintained good relations with its leaders and appropriated its revolutionary symbols, charged with masculine connotations.

74 In the Chilean Communist Party, the only other Latin American Communist Party with constant parliamentary representation during the 1960s, an internal struggle was conducted in order to have a first woman in parliament. After a failed attempt to promote a female candidate in 1959–60, 23-year-old Gladys Marín became in 1965 the first Communist woman in the Chilean parliament: Yazmín Lecourt, ‘Relaciones de género y liderazgo de mujeres dentro del Partido Comunista de Chile’, unpubl. MA thesis, Universidad de Chile, 2005.

75 Information about Sonia Bialous' career and family background was obtained from her daughter, Silvia Dutrenit. Personal communication, May 2003.

76 To cite an example of the attitude typical of Communist men at the time: Rita ‘Chicha’ Ibarburu was a highly regarded activist. From the 1940s she was a reporter for PCU's newspapers and formed part of its propaganda teams. For more than a decade, until 1973, she was Secretary Editor of Estudios, the Party's theoretical journal, and trusted assistant to Rodney Arismendi, the Chief Editor. Since she was married to Alberto Suárez, the PCU's Organisation Secretary, and married couples were not allowed to be part of the same organ, she was not eligible for the top party leadership forums. Without children, both were able to devote themselves fully to politics, but he did not step aside for her.

77 ‘Incorporación a la Comisión Femenina de la CNT’, El Popular, 4 July 1968.

78 ‘Mujeres obreras manifestarán junto a UGT el 2 de setiembre’, El Popular, 24 Aug. 1958.

79 A Communist activist from Nuevo París, a working-class neighbourhood, mentioned that his own father criticised him in the late 1960s for allowing his wife to work part-time. If young married mothers faced such social pressure when working, one can surmise how difficult it must have been to be politically active. Interview with Oscar Fernández, Montevideo, Aug. 2013.

80 On one occasion, textile strikers demanded the restitution of a worker dismissed for ‘being married and not declaring that when receiving the job’. ‘Por la reposición de la obrera despedida en Fibratex’, El Popular, 15 July 1958.

81 Felina ‘Chichí’ López was a dedicated activist from the 1950s, unmarried and without children. In the 1960s she became Organisation Secretary of the Communist cell in the Hilanderías del Uruguay spinning factory. Even for her, an experienced organiser, leading positions outside the factory were mostly inaccessible. Interview, Montevideo, Feb. 2004.

82 The activism of many married Tupamaro men was backed by spouses who looked after their children and were labelled ‘peripheral activists’. Aldrighi, Clara, Memorias de insurgencia (Montevideo: Banda Oriental, 2009).

83 Julia Arévalo, ‘La mujer en las luchas obreras y populares’, El Popular, 4 June 1962.

84 Valobra, ‘Formación de cuadros y frentes populares’, shows that in the late 1940s segregated women's cells enabled the development of women cadres in the PCA and simultaneously limited women's prominence in its structures.

85 As conveyed by two activists during interviews: these were invited to join women's cells, but preferred to remain in ‘mixed’ cells.

86 On the changing habits among young leftists during the 1960s, see Markarian, El 68 uruguayo, pp. 132–7.

87 De Giorgi, ‘La otra nueva ola’, pp. 210–11.

88 ‘Amable fiesta realizó el círculo Juvenil Unión’, El Popular, 21 July 1958.

89 Rosita Dubinsky, ‘Nuestras futuras gaviotas … En fábricas, campos, liceos y escuelas, en barrios y oficinas la mujer combate y forja su unidad’, El Popular, 10 Jan. 1964.

90 ‘Nada las detiene en su lucha contra la miseria’, El Popular, 3 July 1962.

91 Covering a protest by meat workers, El Popular’s journalist spoke with ‘women workers and with some wives of workers'. Instead of talking about salaries, as he had done earlier with the men, the dialogue focused on hunger and shortages. ‘Los trabajadores de la carne se mantienen en pre-conflicto. Mujeres del Cerro hablan sobre la cruda realidad en que viven’, El Popular, 20 July 1958.

92 Gould, ‘Solidarity under Siege’.

93 Markarian, El 68 uruguayo, p. 78. Markarian, ‘To the Beat’, convincingly shows how flexible the PCU was in adapting to new youth cultures. By allowing a variety of cultures to coexist, the Communist Youth was able to unify thousands of young people around its main political mission.

94 The 1960s young communist interviewed in 2000, 2003 and 2004 were Luis Carlos Barboza, Adhemar Bas, Marissa Battegazzore, Lina García, León Lev, Tatiana Oroño and Ramón Rivarola. Leftist criticism of the PCU in the 1960s alluded only to revolutionary strategy, not to the Party's conservative attitudes. Araújo, Ana María and Tejera, Horacio, La imaginación al poder: 1968–1988 (Montevideo: FCU, 1988); Tristán, Eduardo Rey, La izquierda revolucionaria uruguaya, 1955–1973 (Seville: CSIC, 2005); Leibner, ‘Las ideologías sociales’; María Ferraro-Osorio, ‘En 1968 la mayoría de los uruguayos fuimos jóvenes: o la entrada en disidencia de una generación’, Nuevo Mundo – Mundos Nuevos (2009), available at http://nuevomundo.revues.org/56227, last access 14 Oct. 2017; Markarian, El 68 uruguayo.

95 Leibner, Camaradas y compañeros, pp. 300–27; de Giorgi, ‘La otra nueva ola’; Markarian, ‘To the Beat’.

96 I disagree with de Giorgi's argument that ‘the Communist discourse, centred on equality, did not allow them to develop a political practice that would allow them to perceive socio-cultural differences that goes beyond what they defined as the main contradiction’. As I have shown, in earlier periods the discourse of equality did allow Uruguayan Communists to perceive gendered relations of power and differential conditions.

97 Feijoó and Nari, ‘Women in Argentina during the 1960s’.

98 ‘8 de Marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer’, El Popular, 7 March 1965.

99 ‘La Agrupación UTE elabora petitorio de presupuesto; activa participación de las trabajadoras’, El Popular, 22 June 1968.

100 Wladimir Turiansky, leader of AUTE, later admitted: ‘we were blind to the issue’. Interview, Montevideo, Feb. 2004.

101 Francisco Ramírez, ‘A un año de la muerte de “Tania”, la guerrillera’, El Popular – Revista de los Viernes, 6 Sept. 1968.

102 The PCU did not rule out the possibility of resorting to armed struggle in the near future. Leibner, Camaradas y compañeros, chap. 13.

103 ‘Dos muchachos ejemplares’, El Popular, 22 Sept. 1968.

104 Ibid.

105 ‘La demostración femenina del jueves’, El Popular, 28 Sept. 1968. While the bourgeois women – politicians or wives of politicians – were described as ‘Señora’, the communists were named without this title. The UTU is the Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay, a technical university.

106 At FIdeL, Segunda Convención del Comité Universitario, 6–9 May 1965, there was no mention of women's demands. FIdeL, Plataforma de lucha (1966), listed ‘feminine’ demands as: ‘extension of health and maternity insurance coverage’, ‘women's right to work’, ‘retirement pension coverage for all working-women’, special protection for ‘motherhood and childhood’, ‘kindergartens and nurseries in companies’.

107 ‘Comités femeninos del FIdeL encaran vasta movilización’, El Popular, 6 April 1963.

108 Safa, ‘Women's Social Movements in Latin America’.

* This research was made possible through the generous help of the many activists who shared their memories and knowledge with me. It was supported by post-doctoral fellowships from the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC) and Yad Hanadiv (Jerusalem). Comments and suggestions made by the anonymous reviewers and the editors of JLAS were very useful in improving this article. Lastly, I also want to thank my colleagues and friends Rosalie Sitman and Gadi Algazi for their valuable help.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed