Under the title “Encourage us to transform!”, the Forum of Communication for the Integration of Our America (FCINA) released a document containing the Forum’s reading of the current political situation.
In its most general statements, the text points out that “the global pandemic has deepened the conditions of precariousness of the majorities generated by capitalist financialization”, also showing the shortages and inequalities produced by the neoliberal order.
“The health emergency also created conditions” – the description continues – “for a radical increase in the use of digital technologies, which multiplied the profits and power of the corporations that control the main platforms that mediate relations and searches on the internet.
In this way, says the collectively authored statement, “the transition to new forms of life, work, education, health, culture, mediated by digital technologies and characterised by the privatisation of public space and even intimate life, is accelerating”.
It goes on to explain how new technologies and “green” innovation are embraced by investment funds and capital in general as a way of reconverting capitalism, having as its programmatic horizon the plan promoted by the World Economic Forum known as the “Great Reset”, which envisages, among other things, a model of technocratic world government dominated by big business hand in hand with artificial intelligence, which will supposedly find solutions to climate change and make up for the “deficiencies” of the democratic system.
This process of reconversion of capital, far from bringing solutions, has increased poverty, inequality and the exclusion of the majority, bringing with it an increase in control and repression, the analysis points out. Meanwhile, migration resulting from environmental, economic, military or violent crises is on the rise, affecting labour markets and acting as an escape valve for depressed economies.
The communicators express that in the midst of this general panorama “a reactivation of hope in popular forces can be observed, with the vocation to generate positive transformations. In the social and political sphere, the protagonism of a young generation and of women is emerging, claiming spaces and new rights, at the same time as there tends to be a generalised claim against environmental degradation, the rejection of centralism and top-down forms and mandates”.
On the other hand, they consider that, as a reaction to these advances and to the instabilities produced by the vertiginous transformations, backward currents with confessional backing are also gaining strength, led by violent characters raising racist and misogynist proclamations.
The geopolitical context
In geopolitical terms, the Forum points out that “the rise of China and Russia as actors on the world stage has weakened the unipolar hegemony of the United States and the West in general, giving rise to a struggle in all fields for the preservation of pre-eminence or the opening of a new multilateral balance”, making Latin America and the Caribbean the territory of this dispute.
In this context, regional integration of a sovereign nature, one of the FCINA’s main areas of work, “means not only the possibility of cooperation within the region, but also a need for scale in order to influence this new world scenario”.
On the Latin American and Caribbean political context
The document reviews the popular victories in Bolivia, Peru, Honduras and Chile, preceded by those of Argentina and Mexico, which together with the resilience of the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and with the exception of the defeat of the progressive option in Ecuador, allow us to speak of a socio-political environment more favourable to social justice and Latin American integration.
However, the communicators warn that “internal tensions derived from the power relations between the oligarchic bloc of real power and popular organisations”, added to the permanent attempts at external interference via the co-optation of judicial bodies (lawfare), among other manoeuvres, make progress relative and augur instability.
In this scenario, the upcoming elections in Colombia and Brazil take on a central role.
In Colombia, situations of violence, harassment and murder of journalists and human rights defenders continue to worsen, a situation that should not go unreported. For the same reason, they make explicit “the maximum support from the media to the popular movements and to the political emergent resulting from the unity of the forces of the left, as a possibility of overcoming the conflicts derived from the existing concentration of power”.
On the other hand, in Brazil, fundamental for its specific weight in the political balance and the possibility of regional integration, the current government’s necropolitics in the face of the pandemic, the increase in misery and hunger, galloping unemployment, the rise in the prices of basic inputs in the basic food basket or fuel, have generated nostalgia in the majorities for the era of Lula’s government. This scenario, together with the PT pre-candidate’s determination and skill in rebuilding a national project based on the broad unity of forces, have made him a possible winner in the first round.
Despite the encouraging outlook, the analysis continues, “the transforming forces are warning of the need to remain calm and not fall into naivety. There is a pact of elites and what is in government today is a military party, whose key figures are its key players, which heralds a tough road ahead. The battle of ideas and the need to neutralise lies and institutionalised hate speech will be crucial,” they say.
Spaces for regional integration
In this international and regional scenario, the document states that “official initiatives for sovereign integration continue with an attenuated dynamic and, in all cases, without recovering or opening spaces for popular participation”.
Mention is made of the case of CELAC, which despite its relative revitalisation by the Mexican administration, is increasingly adopting a style of pragmatic commitments, as well as the paralysis of Unasur and the neoliberal reappropriation of Mercosur, the result of the presence of right-wing governments in the region.
ALBA-TCP retains the character of an anti-imperialist trench, but is nevertheless affected by the objective difficulties of its components.
In this field, the paper highlights the emergence of popular integration initiatives such as the International Peoples’ Assembly or RUNASUR, “which promote the direct, inclusive and equal participation of the peoples in sovereign processes of integration and institutional refounding”.
The communication sphere and the digital sphere
The articulation of 40 communication networks, media and regional social coordinations grouped in the FCINA, underlines “the fundamental importance of the dispute of narratives, which is why the democratisation of the communication spectrum, including digital spaces, continues to be a priority for the advancement of the aspirations of the peoples”.
In the field of the media, it specifies, “the disrespect or cancellation of legal norms achieved in the arduous struggle for popular communication, the neoliberal defunding or elimination of public media, the inequitable distribution of state advertising in favour of the hyper-concentrated media, their progressive transnationalisation together with the monolithic cartelisation of stigmatising discourses against revolutionary or progressive alternatives affect the possibility of essential transformations that guarantee informative diversity and a balanced public opinion”.
In the face of this, the text states, the popular governments still tend in this field to inaction or to the propagandistic instrumentalisation of communication. In both cases, to the detriment of popular, community-based and pluralistic communication”.
Finally, it emphasises the incidence of digital technology in almost all aspects of social activity and the monopolistic appropriation of digital logics and environments by capital, which makes it essential for the popular camp to fight for its re-democratisation.