Defying the neoliberal prescriptions: The organic veins in América Latina

03.11.2019 - Javier Tolcachier

This post is also available in: Spanish

Defying the neoliberal prescriptions: The organic veins in América Latina

Javier Tolcachier

22/10/2019

Evo won! The process of change won. By a small difference, after the count, the officialist binomio overcame the barrier of ten points over the second, Carlos Mesa. The representa tive of neoliberalism was the ex-vice president of “Goni”, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, the responsable of the virulent oppression of social movements in the Octubre Negro of 2003, since then a fugitive in the United States. After his precipitated renouncement Mesa had occupied the Executive during the following twenty months.

As was foreseen, the opposition does not respect the results and now calls on their followers to refuse to recognize the triumph and the reelection of Morales Ayma. They claim fraud, that they would claim over any adverse result, in the first or the second round. As the last escaped their hands, the tone becomes violent and golpist.

In the legislature, the Government lost its ample supremacy–two thirds–but conserves the majority in both chambers.

With this victory, the winners are the poorest sectors of Bolivia, the campesinado, the workers and the lower middle class in process of social improvement. The progressive and leftist forces celebrate it jubilantly in different corners of Latin America and the Caribbean..

After the logical wearing away of a period of more than thirteen years in government, the emergence of a new generation in Bolivia, the dirty war of disgusting false news, the secessionist and racist exacerbation, the appearance of an ultra right evangelist candidate and the conspiracy work of the United States; what is the key to the new triumph of the first Indian and campesino president of Bolivia?

The organic veins of the Proceso de Cambio

The democratic legitimacy of the victory of the governmental binomio is not only given by the electoral mathematics (over 40% and a difference of 10% over the second), but by the support and representivity that was conferred on the government by the campesino-indigenous and workers social organizations. The first, initially grouped in the Pact of Unity, later in the CONALCAM, represent the integral span of the discriminated rural popularion, banned until 2006 from all decision and power in public policies.

These were the forces that made up the resistance to the last stretch–neoliberal–of an exploitation of centuries. They constitute the complex popular organization that gave life to a sovereign and plurinational revolution, that brought cultural dignity in the intent to widen the democratic frontiers of a racist and plutocratic state alienated by the oligarchy and servile to the multinational interest.

The power of the campesino-indigenous organization is related to a demographic matrix whose way of life and historical memory exhibits strong community traces. Even if now some 70% of the Bolivian population live in urban areas, the internal migration has transferred this mental structure to the peripheric sectors of the cities.

For their part the workers, largely represented by the Confederación Obrera Boliviana (COB), are the live memory of a long and painful struggle of miners and other workers to overcome the vexation and acquire the most elemental human rights. Inheritors of the nationalist Revolution of 1952, they complete the conglomerate of uprisers who -with sometimes very critical support- form part of the popular accumulation that sustains the Process of Change.

The popular legitimacy of Evo Morales has much relation to his poor and campesino origins, but it is mainly founded in his trajectory as a cocalero social leader and builder of campesino-indigenous unity of all regions and his political instrument, MAS-IPSP. A tool through which these organics managed to occupy institutional space and achieved influence in public policies.

At the same time, Evo Morales has fulfilled the role of mediating in the urban-rural tension and to establish an unstable balance between the original culture of Good Living and the desires of human development depending on the advance of a former very precarious economy. A paradox that increases if one thinks that this revolution based the electoral triumph of last Sunday on premises of stability and growth.

White-lightblue ballot boxes

The immense majority of Argentines hoped for the triumph of the opposition headed by Alberto Fernández seconded, from an undeniable political centrality, by the ex-President Cristina Fernández. The social debacle produced by the neo-liberalism of a delincuential mob gave them enough reasons.

The victory of the Frente de Todos was the product of the unity of (almost) all the sectors (almost) opposed to the Macrist policies. The double “almost” expresses from one side the eternal Trotskist isolation, whose political raison d’être feeds itself from a self-referred vanguardism, legacy of the assassinated founder of this current, Lev “Trotsky” Bronstein. The justicialistas governors of Salta and Cordoba did even not participate of the front.

The second “almost” refers to a collection of leaders, legislators, governors and organizations that willing or extorted, largely supported Macrist policies or at least did not explicitly confront them.

What is certain is that the unity of this electoral political alliance expresses the popular will, a fact that one saw in the ample margin that resulted from the voting on Sunday the 27th, concluding the nefarious period and returning hope to an asfixiated Argentine people. A people disposed to face the consequences of their political errors and “move forward”.

The unity of forces that includes diverse political sectors (from the Theology of Liberation, from the national left, communists, humanists, Bolivarians, radical Alfonsinists, small and median enterprises, campesinos, among others), is held together around the Peronist movement. A movement whose structure is tied from its labourist beginning with sindicalism– sometimes more bureaucratic, in others more reivindicative–and counts on a significant political base of provincial and municipal governments. These governments, in provinces and municipalities less favoured, provide many jobs that combined with a structure of social assistance put together an undeniable structure of power. From them come an important amount of votes and mobilization, and represent also a federalist counterpart to the omnipresent portuary inheritance from colonial history, a centralism that Macrism condenses as symbol and political presence.

To these organic political forms, one must add popular movements, that generally act in the peripheries where misery spreads. The combination of revindications of urgency (habitat, programs of work and self-construction, social salaries, strengthening of popular economy) together with a multiplicity of direct actions of human development, have projected these movements to establish themselves as important columns of expression and popular action.

In Argentina other organic expressions have proliferated . Feminist initiatives, activities in favour of the environment, coalitions of democratic communication, organisms of human rights, cultural nets, that together with innumerable social, cultural and sportive activities extend an organic map that vertebrate Argentina.

The eastern side

The Uruguayan case, demographically similar to Argentina with respect to European immigration, presents a different political map. Uruguay was a pioneer in the realization of coalitions of the left with other progressive sectors. The Frente Amplio, actually in government, condenses the struggles of organized labour in the solely sindical union CNT (today PIT-CNT) and the sedimentation of the Uruguayan students movement–united in the FEUU since 1929–. It gathers in its heterogeneity the forceful political work of the leftist parties, the political branch of MLN-Tupamaros, and through the complimentation of forces against the dictatorship, includes some sectors of the Partido Colorado and the Partido Nacional in defence of democratic freedoms, strongly rooted in Uruguayan society.

This framework allowed the Frente Amplio to conquer successively the political territory that had before been captured by the batllismo colorado. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity in its interior, necessary for the accumulation of forces, constitutes not only the explanation of their strength but also the ideological coming and going and the contradictions in their route.

Today the political dispute in Uruguay has turned to the right. Three consecutive mandates in the government of the Frente Amplio, the paradox of an older society and the youth with a post-neoliberal memory in dialectic mode, let the right gain terrain with the discourse of citizen security and the “anti-political”. For their part, the Frente Amplio manages to assert the weight of an objective situation of a relative economic stability.

The danger of social collapse that Argentina shows is not fully identified with what could happen if an ultraliberal takes charge, because the Frente Amplio undertook a route little inquisitive of systemic structures. On the other hand, the conservative swing of the world and the region also affects the scenario of common sense, taking out oxygen from the progressive agenda, above all if this fades away.

The reactivation of the Lacalle dynasty in the National Party, the intent of the Partido Colorado to recover or maintain its influence and the comeback of the military in the political scene under the sign of the Cabildo Abierto, in the figure of the destituted and now processed ex commandant in chief of the army Manini Ríos, configure the conservative constellation. In order to impede the continuity of the progressive coalition in the Executive, the opposition should present, in an almost secure second round, a difficult but not improbable unity. Everything indicates, nevertheless, that the Frente Amplio will be the most voted force in the first round, prolongating a legislative majority.

Even if the prognostic is still uncertain, the activation of the organized social fiber and perhaps the echos of the frentetodista triumph in Argentina will be of great importance.

From oppression to rebellion

Popular uprisings succeed in Latin America and the Caribbean, product of the application of IMF’s programs of doubtful fiscal efficiency, cuttings in social investment and an increase in living costs. The multiplication of massive expressions of popular discontent emanates from a globalized context of financial economy that annuls the demands of social welfare of a population with a growing consciousness of its rights.

In Ecuador, the initial leading role of the transport sector and the students, and the impressive posterior indigenous mobilization incarnated a popular complaint that was later extended to other social sectors.

In Haiti the grave human abandonment of a country in the hands of a corrupt elite and militarily occupied by multinational forces, provokes recurrent uprisings of the population. The fiction of democratic government that incarnates the businessman Jovenal Moise is hardly sustained by the will of the “Core Group”, composed of representatives of UN, OAS, the European Union and the Embassies of the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Spain and Brazil.

Confronting the ignominy, a coalition of campesina and popular groups brought together in the Patriotic Forum assume the proposal of an institutional and economic transformation, sovereign, without external guardianship.

In Chile, the young secondary students – such as occurred in the Revolution of the Penguins in 2006 – headed the rebellion of the “Massive evasion” facing the increase of the cost of underground transport, arousing the decided support of the population already weary of a neo-liberal dictatorship of four decades.

The strong social organic Chile that brought Salvador Allende to the presidency and was destroyed or exiled by the assassin regime of Pinochet, has begun to rebuild itself. The resistance is based on the students articulated with union sectors and sectorial actors who work against the ambiential plundering, the private system of pensions, feminist, Human Rights and diversity groups, among others. The exhaustion of bipartidism as a formula of conservation has given space to the Frente Amplio whose social insertion will be put to proof in the next municipal and regional government elections (2020).

The people continues to mobilise challenging the oppression. Social Unity, a conglomeration made up of over one hundred social organizations and movements, called a General Strike. In addition to the demand of lifting the state of exception and the decriminalization of protests, there are demands for governmental renuntiation and the convocation of a Constituent Assembly with popular participation, to overthrow the Constitution imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980.

The reactionary organics

Both in Ecuador and in Chile, as a violent response to the just protest, the governments of Moreno and Piñera brought the army to the streets, decreed a state of exception and a curfew typical of dictatorial times.

In Honduras the popular anti-golpist mobilization led by the Libre party in consonance with the Liberal Party and the ex-candidate Nasralla, faces the repression of an illicit government linked to the mafias of narco trafficking. In Peru the political and judicial apparatus is in failure. In Colombia, the institutional and paramilitary violence, the assassination and permanent threat against social leaders, the economic concentration and opposition factionalism prolong a popular agony for decades. In Brazil a puppet without party is the institutional face of a military and US tutelage. In Guatemala, political fraud and the lack of solid popular alternatives drown for the moment any expectations of change, the same as in Paraguay.

The Pentecostal churches and the Catholic hierarchy act as decisive repressive elements in the area of subdued sectors. Between the folders of a religiosity that connects with neglect and the lack of sense, there are false moralizing discourses and a colonialist influence that undermines the possibilities of real and profound social and human transformations.

For their part, the hegemonic media operate in the field of subjectivity with a well oiled system of censorship, disinformation and twisting. The monopolistic social digital networks become a field of communicational disputes, in which flow both indispensable alternative coverage along with false news, contra-insurgent lies and direct attacks.

The extreme right Republican apparatus has put in the center of its operations a multifold war against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and all progressive movements in Latin America, together with an aggressive worldwide offensive against the nations that do not obey the hegemonic pretensions of the declining worldpower.

The “organic” apparatus of local conspirative action in Latin America and the Caribbean is formed by a conglomerate of foundations and (Non?) Governmental Organizations , financed by US agencies. They construct and train leaders, operate wars of commonsense and intrigues opposed to the emancipating processes in the region.

Neo-liberalism, an organic dissolvent in a world in decomposition.

Rebellions require a group of activist leaders and the adhesion of an ample popular majority around simple and undoubted common sense. Revolutions, if they usually derive from circumstantial revolts, also imply visions, leadership and a consistent organic structure, capable of projecting the immediate to the median place and sustain the secure contra-revolutionary response of the established power.

Hence the power situates among its primary objectives to nullify in advance the possible alternatives, behead and delegitimise rebellions and destructure all movement that threatens to become an axis of transformations.

Neo-liberalism, far from being only an economic scheme, is an ideological vector that looks to disconnect the individual from his social environment, cultivating meanings of competence, accumulation, meritocracy and social stratification. This strategy pretends to relieve all collective factors, indispensable for a social transformation which is consistent and permanent.

Nevertheless, the penetration of this ideology, which presents itself as the nemesis of the ideologies, is not due only to the refined and omnipresent dispositives working to install it. It is the growing destructuration of the times that facilitates it.

The dynamics of a system that has reached its planetary limits promotes its own decomposition. The aceleration of technological change and its implications clash with the habits and memory of a human conglomerate with aging tendency, opening profound generational rifts. The old ties lose consistency and the fragmentation expands.

Revolution and recomposition of the social network

Before the human eyes is extending the imperious necessity of new horizons that collect the best of the last historic run and deepen the humble construction and the sense “of a social revolution that drastically changes the conditions of life of a people, a political revolution that modifies the structures of power and, definitively, a human revolution that creates its own paradigmes to replace the decadent present values”. [1]

The present and future revolutions must necessarily undertake the reconstruction of the deteriorated social network. To face the wave of xenophobic nationalisms, fundamentalism, mysoginy, social disciplining and exclusion, promoted and channeled by the system through its rightwing forces, this reconstruction must place as a fundamental premise of its scale of values the full recognition of humanity in everyone and its implications in personal, interpersonal and collective life.

This bond of primordial humanity, this attitude of recognising a possible “community in diversity” can represent in the present world a orienting kern to advance in the struggle for social justice, political liberation and the effective realization of human rights for all.

(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop and Joan Remple)

– Javier Tolcachier is a researcher with the Centro de Estudios Humanistas de Córdoba, Argentina and a communicator with the international agency of news Pressenza.

[1] Silo. Cartas a mis amigos. Séptima Carta. Ed. Centaurus. 1era. Edición (1994) Buenos Aires.

Categories: Central America, Indigenous peoples, North America, Politics, South America
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