Did you know it was the anarchists who named the Argentine bills? In this note we tell you why the names of the pieces of the bakery are so curious. In general, “vigilante”, “ball of fraire”, “sacraments”, “nun's sigh”, are names that aim to mock different levels of the state. These labels give an indication of the importance and historical weight that the anarchist movement had in our country. .
A dozen sacraments
Today, if we go to the bakery and order a “sacramento” in any province of Argentina, they will understand us. However, this meaning comes from a good distance and dates back to 1800. It was in 1880 that Ettore Mattei arrived in Argentina. Europe had become a dangerous place for anarchist militants and Buenos Aires seemed a safer place to continue fighting for workers' rights. Five years later he also arrived in the city of Plata Enrico Malatesta.
The first union
Mattei and Malatesta were the great leaders of the movement that led anarchism to cross the puddle and flow into our country ; they formed, separately, two groups that acted independently. However, in 1887, both came together to found the Cosmopolitan Society of Resistance and Placement of Bakers. This was the first bakers' union in Argentina, whose ideology was based on direct action and revolutionary strike.
Malatesta was responsible for the drafting of the statutes, the first article of which was “Achieving the intellectual, moral and physical improvement of the worker and his emancipation from the clutches of capitalism.” On the other hand , Mattei served as managing secretary of the guild. He also served as editor-in-chief of El Obrero Panadero , a dissemination tool for the union, which was published from 1894 to 1930.
The Eternal Strike
One year after the union was founded, bakers decided to organize a strike to demand improvements in their working conditions. Rents and food had risen and wages were not reaching. Among its requirements were a 30 per cent increase in wages, a kilo of bread per day, weekly pay of wages and the elimination of night days.
The strike lasted ten days and not only managed to meet the demands of the workers, but it helped to promote the creation of other anarchist workers' organizations. In addition, to record their triumph and their ideology, the bakers decided to bake sweets whose forms and names mocked different social estates . These denominations referred to the police, church or army.
In this way, some elongated sweets were called vigilantes, referring to the sticks with which the policemen were armed. Others, stuffed with cream or dulce de leche were called bombs and cannons, as a mockery of army weaponry . And the Church wasn't left out of this mockery either. They also called some pieces as “sacraments” and “nun's sighs.” The latter were synonymous with the “friar balls”, generating a cross mockery.
What began as a symbol of resistance and an internal code of militancy became definitive and iconic bakery titles. Finally, these labels fell deep, and when the time came, even the oligarchs classes used these terms. At present, these names are still being used . However, the revolutionary origin of such names is not so well known to the population.
More than a century after the emergence of the anarchist movement , the vestiges of that struggle remain part of our daily vocabulary. It should be noted that different Argentine governments did their utmost to eradicate the country's movement, including repression and murders during the 20s and 30s of the twentieth century. However, anarchist names in the Argentine gastronomic world continue to originate in revolutionary ideals.
Argentina, nacida en Córdoba. Investigadora en el área de lingüística. En formación constante sobre las Letras y sobre la vida, gracias a la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Mis experiencias en viajes me llevaron a aprender cada vez más idiomas y querer conocer diversas culturas desde adentro. Pienso en la escritura como una herramienta para transformar el mundo y volverlo un espacio justo y equilibrado.