Will Mauricio Macri be Capable of Provoking the Desired Unity of Argentina’s Popular Left?

By Carlos Aznárez, Director of Resumen Latinoamericano on November 23, 2015

Elecciones_2015Mauricio Macri won by a small margin but he won, and that is what counts in these tricky ballot elections.

The percentage of votes obtained by both candidates in last Sunday’s presidential election in Argentina is enough to demonstrate a country divided into two parts. However, the enormous fragility in the level of politicization of those who voted for the new “guru” of the Argentina right or those who voted for Daniel Scioli, – who claimed to represent “other project”, serves to verify that in the vast majority of cases people did not vote because they were solid for the candidate or for ideological reasons. It was an election of smoke and mirrors that confused the people so they did not have any type of defense against to confront the sloganeering of daily promises that they will never see fulfilled.

If this sounds like an exaggeration, all one has to do is look at the current Latin-American map, where Aecio Neves of Brazil, Keiko Fujimori of Peru, Peña Nieto of Mexico, Cartes or the Capriles of Venezuela, are governing or pretend to do so by using similar recipes that now Mauricio Macri will put into practice.  This is not to mention the so called“progressives” that every day look more like them in Chile and Uruguay.

The support received by Macri appears to be temporary and conditional with two well defined variants. The first and most dangerous is comprised of those nostalgic for the economic private and neo liberal policies of the 90s. There slogans are similar to the recent statements from the Brazilian right that went so far as to vindicate the last military dictatorship. These are usually upper-middle and middle class voters who are eternal “admirers” of the pro-North American bourgeoisies and friends of European transnational corporations, people possessing a level of revenge, resentment and xenophobia very similar to those expressed by the Venezuelan escualidos or the Miami Cuban qusanos. To get a glimpse of their thinking just read their insults and profanity that these “citizens” write in their social media pages.

The other variant is made up of those who supported the newly elected President because of their rejection – also conservative – of the Kirchner movement that despite the fact that they represented a model of greater inclusion for the popular sectors did not move in the direction of the full distribution of wealth. This strain may be aligned with the foreign policies of progressives but they remain a stubborn defender of the multi -national capitalist model. They are in no way supporter of the progress made towards socialism in a number of countries.

Some of the reasons for the triumph of the right represented by Macri was from the lack of political will and short-sightedness on ideological level that existed during the “Kirchner” period now ending. In addition it was pride and an emphatic refusal to take criticism from the popular camp. And finally there was a big problem created by the absence of internal democracy leading up to how each candidate was “selected” to run. These causal reasons ended up in massive rejection in the voting booth.

But beyond the internal and external reasons, the truth is that now is not the time to be crying over spilled milk. This new era of the right in Argentina is very closely linked to the imperial advances already present on the continent and this will speed up attacks on many advances made by the popular struggles.

All of them are important, for example the results of this election will have a direct influence on the pockets of Argentinean workers accustomed to discussing their salaries with their peers. This new Government will try to crush this by working hand and hand with the bosses and private groups, most whom are connected to the multinational corporations. Although it wasn’t talked about this during the campaign a currency devaluation has already been announced and that will have a decisive negative factor on the purchasing power for basic needs and goods. Also State workers will be targeted by this new twist of the advanced of neo-liberal policies. State workers, who were notoriously abused during the previous government, will very likely be in the strategic list of layoffs in Macri’s plans.

Another area that the president elect is trumpeting even before his mandate begins is to attack the human rights policy of the current government. They may have had their faults and deficiencies especially with the impunity allowed the police and other security agencies against the poor, but they did make positive steps in bringing to justice members of the military dictatorship responsible for the period of genocide.  The Macri movement and its followers on the other hand have issued a promise to end the trials of the military and civilians responsible for the 1976 coup, under the guise of “reconciliation”, and to restore their freedom. It is necessary now that various organizations of the popular left close ranks with those who voted blank or against Macri with the human rights organizations and build a wall that defeats the announced impunity.

Already there is a clear sign of the direction that the newly elected government is taking on foreign policy by threatening the Bolivarian Revolution. Connecting immediately with the policemen of the world, whose headquarters are in Washington DC, Macri has said he will do all he can to expel Venezuela for Mercosur while referring to Maduro as a dictator and calling for the freedom of coup maker Leopoldo López and the right-wing Mayor Antonio Ledezma.

The intention in this case is such a dangerous one that it deserves attention to counteract it. Macri who is a close carnal friend of the United States and Israel, of the paramilitary Alvaro Uribe, of the Spanish fascist José Maria Aznar wants to remove the influence of Venezuela on the people’s movements of Latin America, and will use all the force of his new office to achieve it. In this same direction Macri is trying to ingratiate himself with the World Zionist lobby by promising to repeal the memorandum of understanding with Iran.

Facing each one of these threats, the Argentinean popular movement needs to end its fragmentation to be prepared to practice self-defense before any attempt to trim their freedoms starts to take place by the unleashing of xenophobic campaigns and the creation of a social climate that will advance sectarian policies and McCarthyism. That way the country will not become a mirror of what was raised by the US Secretary of State John Kerry when he called for, “militarizing politics and societies to confront the enemies of the West”. It is necessary that a unified response in front of the severity of the institutionalization of the more reactionary right generates a unified response. The pettiness and the small islands approach needs to be abandoned.

It is not the time for mediocre gestures. Let’s not forget that half of the country did not vote for Macri. Now is the time to consolidate popular unity by upholding the teachings of Evita, Che, Hugo Chávez and so many other Latin American and Caribbean Patriots.  It is time for the popular movement to become the hotbed of a deep resistance that slows down those who come to grab everything and who are against the masses while they try to hide their greed with balloons and circus gestures.