By Carlos Aznárez on September 8, 2016.
Ten months are not a lot to a country, but in Argentina, under the current neoliberal and deeply retrograde government, they feel like a century. Mauricio Macri hasn’t held back when it came to imposing adjustments on all the whole population —except on the business class linked to transnational companies, soybean producers, the rural aristocracy and the elites with historical relations to the 1976 dictatorship.
In only 300 days, Macri’s government has fired workers, increased rates on all public services and caused an inflation that is currently reaching 50%. The soup kitchen that people set up to feed the hungry ones in their neighborhood amidst the lowest point of last decade’s crisis are returning. More and more families are forced to rummage through other people’s trash cans, and, and there are uncountable people sleeping on the streets during the coldest winter in a decade.
Macri’s foreign policy means kneeling before the US, in the same way as Carlos Menem did back in the 90s. Suddenly and for no apparent reason, the Argentine President began pointing at Venezuela as the great enemy of the country and speaking about his concern for global terrorism. Furthermore, he’s concerned about Venezuelan coupist Leopoldo López and cries to the heavens for “his human rights to be respected”, and
set up, with his peers in Paraguay and Brazil, a crude maneuver in order to take Venezuela down from the pro-tempore presidency of the Mercosur.
In fact, the 3 countries, as well as many others, have a confessed desire to make the Pacific Alliance project come true —which means nothing else than submitting the sovereignties of our countries to the free-trade treaties that Washington promotes.
And as if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s the human rights issue —right here in Argentina, not in the places where Macri likes to pretend he cares for them. The human rights situation has gotten unimaginably and this is very worrisome in a country where 30 thousand were disappeared and murdered three decades ago. Progress was being made by bringing late but necessary justice and imprisoning the culprits for those crimes. But Macri’s government thinks differently and it has begun setting murderers with life sentences free, and granting others home arrest (which is commonly violated and people have reported seeing these murderers around their neighborhoods). The argument is that these are “poor old men” and that they should enjoy their last days surrounded by their families. For example, Miguel Etchecolatz, who apart from all the crimes he committed during the dictatorship is publicly known to have ordered the kidnapping and murder of Jorge Julio López —a key witness in a case that would imprison him for life—. Luckily, the Argentine people reacted so powerfully that the government had to postpone those plans for now.
Is resistance enough?
Many have opposed to the policies of Macri’s party and have resisted and struggled against them. Not a single week has passed by without some public protest against the rate hikes and layoffs, which have left 170 thousand state and private employees unemployed. There have been some major protests such as “noise marches”, roadblocks and even factory occupations. There have also been great local and federal marches with hundreds of thousands of people demanding Macri to stop the destructive policies that are hurting our economic and social lives.
In this context, little by little, as if they were testing the ground, the police and the gendarmerie have begun to exert repressive force on some of these demonstrations.
The main actors in all of these protests have been, on one hand, organizations of a new kind, such as the Central of Workers of Popular Economy (which nucleates broad sectors linked to informal economy and some unions that are more combative than the traditional ones) and a great amount of self-convened people, who are fed up of the crisis and are enraged with bourgeois politicians that are more concerned about their own interests than with people’s necessities.
Nobody can deny that there’s resistance, nor that it has had some degree of effectiveness, even though it’s insufficient for the sort of problem we’re facing. There’s fragmentation and lack of unity between our forces. There are many isolated fires but we need a huge bonfire to light up this night that has set upon us.
We are lacking a true leadership, leaders that are born in the struggle and not in the comfortable armchairs of power. Many young people are joining the protests —due to their youth, they haven’t experienced the brutality of repression and sometimes they believe that all it takes to change our system is to cast a vote every four or six years. Few know that these democracies, which are heavily guarded by the Empire, are useless and nothing more than a leash for our desire for freedom and revolution. They often don’t question the bourgeois state which is no longer the welfare state but a paternalistic one that creates an unhealthy dependence.
Evidently, every one of these issues should be discussed if we want to arrive to a solution that doesn’t repeat yesterday’s mistakes. We mustn’t go back but move forward, seeking to destroy capitalism, setting our eye on socialism and not taking shortcuts nor using euphemisms that only slow down processes.
We must be autonomous in the face of power and avoid the temptation of an easy way out: we won’t get out of here through trusting bourgeois parties nor believing in elections, but through struggle. As Raimundo Ongaro used to say: “these are times when we must unite the grassroots and get organized as we struggle”.
Source: Resumen Latinoamericano