Surrounded by the expectations, not only of Argentina but of half the world, the ultra-right Javier Milei started 2024 with a series of setbacks and, despite the promoted intentions of the self-styled “forces of heaven” to remove the state from its role as a regulator of the economy, they were met with obstacles in the two remaining powers, Judicial and Legislative, and in political and social sectors.

Faced with this scenario, Milei, who lacks a political structure in Congress and believes that the masses will follow him, ordered his main advisors to prepare a call for a vote to consult society on whether or not to support his measures. “He is scared,” El Destape reported. The fear responds not only to the fact that the more than a thousand articles to repeal 41 laws and modify another 300 are not advancing, but also that the markets perceive that the laws he sent to extraordinary sessions will not come out.

Milei assures that the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) and the omnibus law seek to remove it from the backs of society when what they remove it is the protection of the state from the big corporations, which are the only ones that are favoured.

As we enter the first month of the “libertarian” government, the court rulings and the opposition’s objections to support in Congress the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) and its so-called Omnibus Law, put in check the plan of strong adjustment and profound deregulation designed by national and transnational business corporations to change the economic matrix of Argentina.

Never before has a government attempted to legislate by decree in a massive, tumultuous and chaotic manner, says Raúl Zaffaroni, an Argentinean criminal lawyer, judge, jurist, notary public, criminologist, professor emeritus at the University of Buenos Aires, and former member of the Supreme Court of Justice, who appeals to the Constitution.

“Congress cannot grant the national Executive, nor the provincial Legislatures to the governors of provinces, extraordinary powers, nor the sum of public power, nor grant them submissions or supremacy by which the life, honour or fortunes of Argentines are at the mercy of any government or person. Acts of this nature carry with them an irrevocable nullity and will subject those who formulate, consent or sign them to the responsibility and punishment of the infamous traitors to the homeland,” he insists.

Last Sunday, Milei called the deputies “useful idiots” and of doing “stupid things” that slow down the advance of the DNU and the omnibus law. “Let it be clear that they are responsible. I did what I had to do: I sent the adjustment programme, a very orthodox shock programme. We are not going to negotiate anything,” he warned. “They did not go along with the bond tender and that caused the country risk to rise. Politicians have to have a consciousness that if we don’t do what we have to do, they will be plunging society into an enormous crisis,” he said.

The right-wing daily La Nación admits Milei’s ignorance of the law when a military crisis was triggered by his signing of decrees establishing changes in the army, as he did not know that appointing an army chief (Carlos Presti) from a younger class meant automatically retiring 22 generals. “He gave the order to fix the problem,” he told the press.

The government has only 38 deputies, seven senators and no governors or mayors. If the package of laws is not passed in the legislature and the market presses with the widening of the exchange rate gap, Milei’s governability will be seriously affected, warn the hegemonic press. But there is speculation that he can “buy” some votes in exchange for perks.

The judicial victory of the Central General del Trabajo (CGT), the main force in the trade union movement, and the national strike announced for 24 January poses a serious threat to the right-wing extremist’s chainsaw plan. He knows that if he loses this game, his political image will be severely affected and the unions will quickly start to demand a strike in the face of the inflationary escalation that eats into the acquisitive power of the workers.

Milei demonstrates not only improvisation when it comes to governing, but also a US-style image that is far removed from the reality of his country. He admires Donald Trump, trades in misogyny and says outrageous things to get attention. But despite what Milei shouts, the Pope is not an emissary of the ‘evil one’, nor is the climate crisis ‘a socialist lie'”.

The British newspaper The Guardian once again published an editorial against Milei, where they point out that within his government “there are elements of fascism, elements borrowed from the Chinese state and elements that reflect Argentina’s history of dictatorship”. They also compare him to former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was in office for 45 days in 2022.

He sums up his first month in office as follows: “Massive cuts; demolishing public services; privatising public assets; centralising political power; sacking civil servants; removing restrictions on corporations and oligarchs; destroying regulations that protect workers, vulnerable people and the living world; propping up landlords against tenants; criminalising non-violent protest; restricting the right to strike”.

The British newspaper confirms that Milei’s government programme was drawn up by the think tank Atlas Network, the US-based far-right international (1). Steve Bannon is considered the chief guru (and financier) of the global far-right. After fomenting hate campaigns in the US from the Breitbart News website, Bannon’s supremacist project landed in Europe.

The former Trump adviser also set his sights on Latin America, working alongside President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Bannon chose Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, the former president’s son, to be the regional leader of the global political grouping called The Movement, defined by its members as the “International of the New Right”.

Increases, everything increases

The price of meat has increased by more than 50%, urban and suburban transport tickets by 45%, while the price of international airline tickets has doubled. Medicines increased in price by 140 per cent. Food prices rose 32.5 per cent in December, in addition to increases in fuel and prepaid medicine. In less than four weeks the president’s negative image rose from 50.1 per cent to 55.5 per cent.

The increases are so rapid that when one arrives at the supermarket or pharmacy checkout, the prices are much higher than on the shelves.

Everything that they want to change is destined to disrupt, disorganise and damage the lives and daily lives of most of the 46 million Argentines. The elimination of tools used to contain the prices of sugar, electricity, transport and hydrocarbons has brought increases in all areas.

The liberalisation of consumer contracts – with banks, credit cards, virtual wallets, health services, rents, communication services, and insurance, among many others – has already begun to translate into tariff increases. The lack of control (they are all eliminated) and clarity open the way to corporate scams.

The democratic verse

The priority objective of the government of the “libertarian” ultra-right and its allies is to change the roots of the Argentine model of accumulation, even if this requires turning the country’s legal scaffolding upside down.

Crisis magazine points out that libertarians have a populist conception of power that understands that the only legitimacy is held by the leader who receives the popular mandate, a very intense idea that borders on the religious. It is a right-wing that sees itself as morally superior. It does so in the name of good Argentines, in the name of the good, trying to impose the vision of moral superiority.

The Portuguese writer José Saramago prophesied that “the fascists of the future will not have that stereotype of Hitler or Mussolini. They will not have that tough military gesture. They will be men talking about everything the majority wants to hear. About goodness, family, good manners, religion and ethics. In that hour, the new devil will emerge, and few will perceive that history is repeating itself”.

The rise of new denialisms (of the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, climate change, HIV/AIDS, the coronavirus pandemic, the migrant crisis, the genocide of South American dictatorships under Plan Condor) is verified by the rise of extreme right-wingers in European countries, in the United States and also in Latin America, who drink (and get drunk) from the fountains of the past.

The internationalisation of negationism

In October 2017 we warned (1) that “the capitalist international exists, it is mobilised by the far-right libertarian movement (in English they call them libertarians) and is obviously very well financed: it operates through an immense conglomerate of foundations, institutes, NGOs, centres and societies linked together by barely detectable threads, among which the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, or the Atlas Network, stands out” (2).

The network, which helped alter political power in several countries, is a tacit extension of US foreign policy – the think tanks associated with Atlas are funded by the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a crucial arm of US soft power and directly sponsored by the Koch brothers, powerful ultra-conservative billionaires, they added.

Unfortunately, the hypotheses put forward a few years ago that contemporary denialism was part of a process of “regurgitation of the past” have proved false. The French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet refused to argue with denialists because he considered it like arguing with someone about whether the moon is made of cheese or not.

The Guardian concludes that “dark money junk tanks and the Atlas Network are a highly effective means of disguising and accumulating power. They are the channel through which billionaires and corporations influence policy without showing their hands, learn the most effective policies and tactics to overcome resistance to their agenda, and then spread these policies and tactics around the world. This is how nominal democracies become new aristocracies”.

Let’s be clear: a government is not democratic for having been elected by the ballot box, because finally, the only democratic thing left to the people is the right to vote every four or five years for candidates it did not elect.

Much less can a government like that of libertarian Javier Milei, who justified the dictatorship, called for the supremacy of public power, and wants to ban everything from the right of assembly to the right to strike, and to repress citizen resistance, pickets, pots and pans and national strikes, be called democratic.

This ultra-right-wing president manages politics as propaganda, with a tweeting logic that allows us to perceive lies all too quickly. He shouts “Viva la libertad, carajo” and demands that Congress delegate to him the sum of public power for the four years of his administration.

They call themselves “libertarians” and want to limit gatherings of three or more people on public roads, as in the dictatorship. The workers have already promised him the first national strike on 24 January.