A Century Of Defamation And Corruption: The Lawfare From The Grito De Alcorta Until Today

In the following pages, which the reader is about to furrow, two will be our major paths.

In the first, we will sail in 1912, when the agrarian rebellion known as ‘Grito de Alcorta’ broke out in the province of Santa Fe, by the name of the town that was its epicenter. And the anchor of the historical-political analysis will be in 1916, the year of the presidential election of the radical candidate Hipólito Yrigoyen and the murder of the Santa Fe agrarian lawyer Francisco Netri.

Therefore, we are not going to analyze but tangentially the legal and etymological sides of defamation, slander and insult. We will focus on the specific and focused meaning of the use of infamy in the short but intense span of the agrarian conflict. And, during those four years, in their respective uses in the field of justice (lawfare) and in the media.


Honor is an ancient cultural construction, and civilizations have provided themselves with mechanisms that sought to preserve it, protect it, and avenge it. Even if the various national laws distinguish in each respective penal code the false imputation and the improperness of the unjust attribution of authorship for the commission of a non-existent crime, here we will use these denominations indiscriminately. All of them, in colloquial language, have in common the trait of being harmful to honor.

In other words, we will use these words according to humor (or moodiness) and the expressive needs of the authors.

Every time we say infamy, we will be telling lies, defamation, slander, insult, disqualification, stigmatization.

All that ponzoña that pays the fertile ground where, afterwards, post-truths are cultivated and harvested. From there, historical adulteration is nourished, which uses them as its source.

We propose to analyze the collusion of the Judiciary's activism (lawfare) with the mass media to use infamy as an offensive tool at the service of the economic-political interests of the dominant and privileged minorities.

We will seek to design and reconstruct how at the beginning of the 20th century a triangle was set up that today won a side to a quadrilateral.

At the time of the murder of Francisco Netri, the press, the courts and the militants of the popular camp formed the nodal points and delimited their three sides. Today, in addition to the gale of technological tools, a fourth side has been added to serve the same design to that geometric figure: the illegal and illegitimate use of the State's information services.

The second point is that defamation, slander and insult are a necessary but not sufficient part of the greed and drive of extermination when the discredit of fighting politicians is sought.

For the demolition to be complete, the mechanism must be articulated with the media monopoly of diversified interests and judicial lawfare. This detail is structural rather than interstitial: for the infamy to materialize in a political fact, its mass requirement is a basic requirement. Only those who are able to return to infamy a mass act can endow it with body, and enjoy it. Without mass, the discredit is reduced to the old town gossip, relatively harmless, stripped of its potential to demolish, explode in the public sphere and break into the political scene.

And, to be massive, infamy and discredit need the professional action of the media. If any of your forces desert the infamous machine, disqualification for political purposes is like a revolver with a bait. Who controls or guides the media has the key that transmutes rumors, gossip and gossip in exclusions and effective interdictions, high impact on public opinion. The most indefensible of the stories becomes accepted "common sense established", of enduring political damage.

It follows that the media is a weapon consubstantiated with interests and purposes of the concentrated economic powers and the political superstructure, which are their owners. At the time of the Scream of Alcorta, those who forged and established the current opinion on “… the agitators, the violence of the strikers, 'the one that took' Netri, the fields of Justo or the house of Repetto” were, to use a definition coined later, "rich newspapers."

From such a generalized descriptive axiom Arturo Jauretche would derive a practical consummation: we give "… says La Nación, says La Prensa" the sacred character of a unique and immutable truth.

Today we would have to add "they say" new media – because at that time they did not exist – such as radio, television, or social networks. Before informing objectively, the main purpose of the immense and powerful communication conglomerates is to manipulate public opinion, in order to reproduce and prevail their own ideological and economic interests.

At this stage, “rich newspapers” are not just Clarín or La Nación and their television and digital pseudopods. We must add the sub-products of Big Data: the large volume of structured and unstructured data that results from two billion people at least twelve times a day inserting into gigantic memories what they like and what they don't.

As impressive as it is, the amount of data collected is not the most important, but its use. Big Data can be analyzed, both to make decisions in strategic businesses and to … win national elections. The case of the referendum by which Brexit supporters, or secession and repudiation of Great Britain to that European Union which in 1975 the British electorate had embraced with another referendum, is well known.

The economic power of concentrated interests and their ability to penetrate even the last corner of the national territory determine the predominance of the media over the political will of a good part of society, which sees through the eyes and speaks through their mouths.

Only power – the real one, which counts – has the ability to transform its "story" into "truth" for society as a whole: in an established common sense. That is called power, the one without which everything is illusion.

Defamation, slander, insult are only effective as an instrument for the manipulation of the masses if they are used from or to power, which obviously does not designate only those who perform formal government.

The only possibility of governing differently, with another paradigm, is to break that vicious circle. In this light we will analyze how the affront intervened at the time of the Cry of Alcorta: it was a device of power that served to discredit a legitimate claim. Strike leaders were defamed for the purpose of attacking the agrarian strike. And we will link that judicial and media offensive with the present.

We are going to refer to how defamation, slander and insult open the door to false accusations of corruption, enhanced by the collusion of lawfare and mass-media offensive, with the political sense of damaging the image of local leaders fighting against Corporations and the establishment. The alleged corruption does not always begin and end in the terms set by defamation. Pure and hard corruption also exists. But that is another chapter – another book -: how national and popular governments should achieve greater transparency in their management.

As we suggested above, the methods change, but they did not change the purposes, nor the spotted good (the honor), nor the tools: if you are rudimentary they have become more technified, they were never harmless or harmless.

The media tell news that is not the truth, but a convenient truth. The one that is most conducive to the interests of those who manipulate the media. The fallacy of half truth, which is half a lie, is no less poisonous. The German national-socialist regime, the Nazis and particularly Joseph Goebbels, their Propaganda Minister, knew very well, who made a "scientific" use of the repetition of truths out of context, half-truths, half-lies or lies. very direct.

In the 1990s, Tom Wolfe, who was going to die in May 2018 when he was already considered one of the parents of “new journalism,” published his novel Ambush in Fort Bragg. At that time, the silly box reigned: “… those were three children of the third television generation. For them, television was not a means of communication but an atmosphere that was breathing. Television penetrated people's lives in a way as natural as oxygen, and it never occurred to anyone to stop it, just as it would occur to no one to deny air to the lungs. ” In such a way that the box was not stupid, but rather it drowned the viewers. This had happened at the beginning of the last century with newspapers and other print media, then with the radio, and it happens today at the dawn of the third millennium with memes, trolls and fake news, which we will refer to later.

During all these years, in Argentina and a good part of Latin America, corruption had played a central role in the electoral debate and political action. In both the public and private spheres, corruption is always a pledge of the daily dispute in our countries.

The attacks on Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina; the parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff and Lula prison in Brazil; the jail of the “correísta” vice president of Ecuador, Jorge Glas; the complaints about the son of the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet; the dismissal of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president of Peru; the triumph of Nayib Bukele in El Salvador; the attacks on Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela: in all these processes (as of course also in others) there is a dominant content, promoted and favored by the most powerful military country on the planet, the United States. That content is corruption.

Until there, this would not mean any ethical or moral problem for the national and popular field – and if there were, it would be tactics and strategies to deal with it – because nobody is willing to defend corrupt. As long as the corrupt are effectively and as long as those facts that are imputed to them are judged by competent, competent courts and within the framework of all constitutional guarantees.

A great American, Abraham Lincoln, wrote: “The reason, the cold, calculating and dispassionate reason, must provide all the materials of our future, support and defense. Hopefully these materials are integrated into collective intelligence, solid morality and, in particular, respect for the Constitution and laws. ”

There have been no examples of respect for these principles, neither the case of Lula, nor that of Glas, nor that of Cristina Fernández, to name the loudest. It is transvestite political persecution, with infamous objectives and proscriptive purposes, which only seek to destroy the leader's relationship with his people.

It is to the national and popular field that corresponds, then, to solve the intrinsic of how to stand from politics against these maneuvers. Such is the key to the issue. The infamous operations are the infantry that opens the way for the other tentacles of the maneuver to operate: the biased judges.

Another notable American, earlier in time, George Washington, said that “… firearms are second in importance, only after the Constitution; they are the teeth of people's freedom ”(first president of the United States between 1789 and 1797, to put the appointment in its temporal context).

Today we must weave the popular protection mesh that serves to dismantle these infamous maneuvers. And the lawfare – as we will see along these pages – again has little, although they dress it differently to camouflage it and make it more harmful.

The truth is that corruption, by the hand of defamation, slander and insult, left the philosophical limbo of morality and ethics to periodically descend to the pedestrian world of pre-election political debate. It is no longer just the object of discussions on the moral or ethical level; It is also an electoral value. This is undeniable. And, unfortunately, it is managed by the concentrated sectoral interests of media hegemonies.

It is the power, almost in its purest form. Immense and intense. Built brick by brick thanks to the gifts and privileges that the monopoly groups received and continue to receive from the "political class", part of which they looked the other way while they raised that wall of ignorance and misinformation that is the current communication. The other part of that "class" did not directly understand the game he was in.

The infundio as a way of doing politics in Argentina (and as a way of being an informant) is an old weapon of the conservators of the status quo, of the powerful, of those who can really hurt. To do this, they use the combined management of lawfare, media, post-truth, and their own electoral candidates who seek to collect in votes the discredit and despair generated by infamy in the popular sectors; to go for the first magistracy of the Republic, to impose financial and extractive models of a neoliberal net court, or to go to Congress to defend and vote and vote laws against the people.

We will try to detect the burial mounds that our history could have left us in its course. In The Last Encounter, a dazzling Hungarian writer of the last century, Sándor Márai, wrote: “Everything always happens because yes, and in the way that has to happen, in the way that can happen, that is the truth. It is not worth investigating the details, when everything is over. But in the essential, in the true, it is worth investigating, because if not, what have I lived for?

In those details of the essential we will stop, not to err, not to make the path wrong again.