Our America: How did it come to this?

By Emir Sader on February 25, 2024

the Milei phenomenon

The phenomenon of the extreme right in the world has already been widely analyzed. Trump’s favoritism to become president of the United States again reaffirms the topicality of the issue.

In Latin America we have to explain how we were – and still are – victims of the Bolsonaro and Milei phenomena – to limit ourselves to these two most serious cases.

There are not a few of us who did not believe that Milei could win the election and become president of Argentina. Those of us who thought that the political and cultural level of Argentines was going to be a sufficient obstacle to prevent someone with such an absurd approach such as Milei’s from winning the support of the majority of Argentines.

Something similar also happened in Brazil. How, between Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad, the majority of Brazilians could choose the former to be president of the country.

The left in Brazil and Argentina, as well as in other countries, always had to face mechanisms of rejection of great leaderships and popular movements. Peron in Argentina and Getulio Vargas in Brazil were – and, in a way, still are – ghosts for the right and the elites of those countries. Anti-Peronism and anti-vargasism – and their ccontinuation – were always instruments of the right wing to resist popular leaderships.

The difference between the two countries lies in the continuity of Peronism – and of anti-Peronism – and of the passage from anti-varguismo to anti-Petism or anti-Lula. The mechanisms are similar. The right wing stirs up the ghost of the return of Peronism or of the leaders that represent it as an obstacle to try to prevent the return of leaders of Kirchnerism or allies.

Milei was chosen as a supposed obstacle for Cristina Kirchner or another leader – Massa – to reach the presidency, with the democratic and popular policies they represent and which the right wing systematically repudiates.

The difficult living conditions of the people in the previous governments were factors that facilitated Milei’s victory. As well as anti-Peronism and anti-Kirchnerism as an ideology and as a political proposal.

Milei did not say what he was going to do. He simply appeared as the one who could prevent the continuity of Peronism or Kirchnerism. He only said that he would put an end to inflation, arguing that inflation had been produced by Kirchnerism.

Without understanding these mechanisms, Milei’s election cannot be understood. He is not a leader by himself, with his own proposals. He is an instrument of the right to defeat the left.

In Brazil, it was a legal-media bloc that managed to overthrow Dilma Rousseff, through an impeachment, with an accusation that, under no circumstances, would configure a case of impeachment (a change in the allocation of resources in the budget), as the judiciary itself later acknowledged.

This process was followed by the trial against Lula, his conviction and his imprisonment. This prevented Lula from being a candidate and facilitated Bolsonaro’s victory over Haddad. Anti-Petism and anti-Lulaism have been indispensable mechanisms for Bolsonaro’s victory.

One of the absurdities of those arguments is that during all the PT governments – of Lula and Dilma – the living conditions of Brazilians improved substantially.

The right wing had to appeal to accusations of alleged corruption of PT leaders and governments. This was the biggest image manipulated by the media to isolate and defeat the PT. The Judiciary played an essential role, together with the media, to defeat the PT. Suffice it to say that the Senate session that approved Dilma’s impeachment was presided over by the then president of the Supreme Federal Court.

Latin America was thus victim, almost simultaneously, of two more or less similar extreme right-wing phenomena. But, somehow, survives. Bolsonaro already as ineligible and as indicted, with great chances of being convicted and arrested.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – Buenos Aires