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Poets and Prophets of the ResistanceIntellectuals and the Origins of El Salvador's Civil War$
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Joaquín M. Chávez

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199315512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199315512.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

The Making of the Internal Enemy

The Making of the Internal Enemy

(p.133) 5 The Making of the Internal Enemy
Poets and Prophets of the Resistance

Joaquín M. Chávez

Oxford University Press

The chapter studies the dialectics between counterinsurgency, social mobilization, and insurgency that heralded the civil war. It studies the impact of the “July 30 masssacre,” a mass killing of university students carried out by army and public security forces in San Salvador in 1975 and similar events in the radicalization of popular politics. It traces the formation of ANDES, the first independent teachers’ union that defied authoritarian rule in El Salvador. Repression and psychological warfare against striking teachers in 1968 and 1971 were key events in the radicalization of the teachers’ movement and the escalation of clashes between social movements and public security forces in the 1970s. State agencies, paramilitary groups, and business associations articulated symbiotic public discourses that depicted the unionized teachers and peasant activists as incarnations of the “internal enemy” or the footsoldiers of an international communist conspiracy that sought to undermine “democratic” institutions in El Salvador to justify the repression. The chapter also examines the first large-scale army operation against peasant communities in northern San Salvador in May 1977 as a turning point in the initiation of the armed conflict.

Keywords:   state terror, psychological warfare, state propaganda, anticommunism, unionized teachers, student movements, July 30 massacre, peasant movements, rural counterinsurgency, polarization

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