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The Patagonia Rebellion was a series of strikes and uprisings by Argentinian workers that took place between November 1920 and early 1922. Its end result was the establishment of the third socialist state that survives to 1936.


The 1918 Metalworks Strike[]

In late December 1918, a strike broke out at a metalworks factory in Buenos Aires. On January 7, 1919, a shootout between strikers and police, troops, and firemen killed five. The army and police forces then attacked the 200,000 workers at the funeral procession on killing at least thirty-nine and injuring many more. As a reaction, ten thousands of protestors began to strike once again, while the police, the military, and right-wing groups reacted with pogroms in working-class neighborhoods. Around this time, the far-right Liga Patriótica Argentina under Manuel Carlés was founded and responsible for various massacres in Buenos Aires. The events, later known as Semana Trágica, led to the deaths of several hundred strikers, while thousands were injured.

This event was significant in Argentine history because the first modern far-right political party was founded, and in its short history the LPA would grow to become the most influential political part in all of Argentina in less than 20 years, while this strike would be the precursor to the eventual mobilization of the Patagonian peasantry and radicalization of Anarchists within Argentina.

First Patagonian General Strike[]

Less than 2 years after the Metalworks Factory Strike, Patagonia entered a state of upheaval as strikes broke out over the dropping price of wool. Without any sort of government promise or aid, a general strike was declared several months later in 1921, and government troops were mobilized shortly after. In order to de-escalate the situation, Buenos Aires promised economic reform, improved wages and conditions. The strikers agreed to the proposal, and soon after peace returned to Patagonia, though it would be short lived.

Second General Strike and Escalation[]

Unrest returned in Patagonia after landowners refused to accept the government proposals of fairer working conditions in October, leading to strikes breaking out. At first these strikes were small, but with the help of Antonio Soto, the strikes spread across Patagonia. A small group of these workers turned violent with the help of Alfredo "El Toscano" Fonte, leading to isolated incidents of workers killing their owners and raiding their ranches. A few weeks later, Santiago discreetly contacted striking workers and began supplying them with materials and occasionally weapons, making the strikers even more powerful than Buenos Aires could have predicted.

As the strikes escalated and the number of casualties increased, President Hipólito Yrigoyen decided to sent the cavalry once again south, this time to squash the uprising without mercy. Initially, the strikers thought that the army was once again going to negotiate with them, as the approaching cavalry troops were led by Colonel Héctor Benigno Varela, the same man who had struck a deal with the strikers back in May. However, they were eventually informed by runners that Varela had instead come to crush them; this strengthened the strikers' will to fight. At Estancia La Anita, to the south of Lago Argentino near the Chilean border, Soto's men met Varela's forces. Though the army had superior weapons and training, it proved insufficient when outnumbered ten to one and the rebels gained a decisive victory.

With this victory, Anarchist agitation against the state finally escalated. With the help of Soto, thousands more participated in the general strike, and cities like Trelew, and most importantly, Puerto Madryn fell into disarray as the working class revolted against government authority.

Loss of Patagonia[]

By early 1922, much of Patagonia was occupied by the newly proclaimed Patagonian Worker’s Front, and after Puerto Madryn fell to the rebels Buenos Aires began to panic. Soto also reluctantly allied with "El Toscano", who would support the strikers with weapons and helped them to burn down ranches and lynch their owners. Government control was already non-existent in Patagonia at that point and most landowners fled north. Via telegraph, the strikers established contact with the CORA and FORA cells in Buenos Aires, where as a consequence a general strike was called as well, leading to a complete escalation of the situation. The anarchists in the capital also contacted the Commune of France, asking for weapon supplies for their brothers in arms in Patagonia. Remaining weapon stocks from the Weltkrieg and the French Civil War were shipped to Patagonia, making the anarchists able to compete with government forces.

At first, Soto had hoped to spread the revolution to the north of the country as the rebels had not suffered any decisive defeat. In April, Soto’s men were prepared to meet Yrigoyen’s forces and March north of the Rio Negro, but in an unexpected turn of events, government forces burned all bridges connecting the Rio Negro to the rest of Argentina. Due to this, the expected confrontation between both sides never happened, and instead an eternal stalemate began.



Patagonian history would change forever after the rebellion. The ensuing chaos led the peasantry to victory, albeit a cautious one. In the years following its secession from Argentina, life in Patagonia changed significantly. Patagonia would be the closest example of a successful and functioning anarchist society, but to an extent government does exist in the region, known as the Trade Unions Congress. The TUC is the lifeblood of the revolution, and is the reason Communists, Anarchists and Syndicalists are able to stay in a fragile yet unbroken coalition together, all led by the veteran of the war, Antonio Soto. Patagonia doesn’t involve itself in global politics, tending to focus itself on internal issues and problems, mostly their northern enemy, which is far stronger, and in case of war breaking out, may just be able to crush the Anarchists in the south.

The 1920s were a rough decade for the Patagonians, as food and materials were in constant short supply. Without enough factory workers, weapons couldn’t be produced, and before 1925 there was a legitimate fear of a collapse, which only stopped with Chilean aid. The Patagonians in recent years have made improvements to their army, in part thanks to the International, and more specifically the Commune of France’s expeditionary forces and transfer of experienced Bolshevik generals to Patagonia, while Antonio Soto has made plans to industrialize and militarize the FOP after the Christmas Coup.


Not immediately be changed by the FOP’s victorious revolution, but Chile nonetheless saw itself fall into stagnation. Unable to appease its population, and since Patagonia provided little material benefits, the Chilean state began to falter, especially after the British Revolution and Great Depression. Santiago, before the Chilean Revolution wanted to annex Patagonia, something which wasn’t kept secret but due to the dire situation in the FOP, the TUC had no choice but to go along with Chile. Chile made its attempts successful by integrating and transforming Patagonia as a puppet state by 1926. Exploiting Patagonia didn’t help the increasingly lackluster situation back in mainland Chile. With the news that Chile became bankrupt under president Carlos Ibañez Del Campo, the people of the country rioted. The Chilean people and military already had sympathies with syndicalism, and in the following weeks the situation escalated. Santiago was seized, Ibáñez fled while Chile turned into a syndicalist state.

In Puerto Madryn, the people enthusiastically supported the Chilean Revolution with hopes that Chile would redefine relations with the FOP, and subsequently, it did. First under revolutionary Arturo Puga, he began to aid in Patagonia’s development, buildings ports and infrastructure for the purpose of using the FOP to counter Buenos Aires’ influence in South America. When Marmaduke Grove became chairman, he and Antonio Soto began planning to industrialize and rearm themselves, starting by 1936.


Argentina would be the first major nation in the Americas to turn to National Populism. The rebellion in Patagonia, while successful, had consequences. The LPA grew a massive following in the years after the rebellion, while the military radicalized, and the rest of the country purged any other socialist influences in the country. Most wanted Patagonia gone, but Argentina would never fully stabilize itself after retreating north of the Rio Negro. Governments came and went, until finally, on Christmas Day of 1935, the popular Manuel Carlés toppled the Buenos Aires government, which sent shockwaves throughout Patagonia and Chile. Now, Argentina is more aggressive than ever, which makes it seem almost inevitable that war will break out soon, before 1940.

See Also[]