In politics, a slide usually combines illusions with disappointment. During these hours, a fraction of the population begins to look out the truth of the mileist adjustment. Hopes announce an initial crunch, even lagging in speed when compared to the dizzying rise in prices and the socio-economic disaster that seems to begin. He disenchantment has ground to stand on.
The fierce devaluation announced by Luis Caputo (118%) acts as a prologue to an even fiercer acceleration of inflation. The TV screens are populated with impossible prices. They also show the infinite queues that surround each service station. The basic mechanics of the “anti-inflationary plan” boil down to the simple formula to brutally impoverish millions of people for to reduce their consumption.
Graphing these tensions, The unrest begins to invade supermarkets, butcher shops and neighborhood businesses; crosses avenues and streets; He travels by train and by bus. “Milei practically said that it wasn’t going to touch us. Last night I heard that the bondi is going to go up, the gas is going to go up.” Not even a week has passed since the new government has been in office.
Sorting your own accounts, governors and officials proceed to various modalities of adjustment. San Luis and Santiago del Estero become the vanguard of attacks against state workers. In the private sector, the transport employers -always ready for blackmail and extortion- report problems paying bonuses.
Order and adjustment
The libertarian story falls apart in the face of the needs of adjustment. A fundamental freedom, that of demonstrating and protesting, is converted into a crime. Focused on social organizations, the Bullrich threat against those who block streets is directed to set of popular masses. Through coercion, it aims to build a social environment that legitimizes the repression of protest.
The political-ideological operation stumbles upon an objective limit: the global nature of the adjustment. Bullrich and Milei announce repression not only against unemployed organizations, but also against workers who resist layoffs or the collapse of their salaries; who decide to complain against the announced power cuts or high rates; to women who defend the rights they have won or fight for new ones; to the youth who decide to defend public education.
Trying to contribute to this reactionary climate, the right-wing Espert launched brutal threats against Myriam Bregman and Nicolás del Caño. In his repudiated request for “jail or bullet” something else must be read: the encouragement of various types of “copitos”; to the actions of right-wing and ultra-rightists like those who – just over a year ago – attacked the life of Cristina Kirchner.
A legitimacy destined to erode
A few days ago, interviewed in elDiarioArJuan Manuel Abal Medina stated that Milei is “a very strong president, paradoxically, because precisely he does not have governors, deputies, he does not have leaders to whom he owes anything (…) Milei is the owner of 99% of the votes.”
The president’s political capital emerges, in part, oblivious to this multiplicity of apparatuses. However, the reasoning addresses a debatable premise: the almost total fidelity between voters and the president-elect. The facts are, however, more complex.
Voted “with a blocked nose” to displace the ruling Peronism, Milei operated as lesser evil for Bullrich’s legion of voters. At the same time, in its core voters (30% of the PASO and the general elections) it is necessary to account for a high component of rejection of the old coalitions. A intense repudiation still state of affairs defined by the constant worsening of living conditions. Today this fraction of the population is witnessing a catastrophic collapse of its living conditions. How far will your tolerance go?
The problem is confusing essence and appearance. A square (half-populated, let’s add) applauding the chainsaw is not equivalent to millions endorsing any adjustment. In the thick handwriting of electoral contract between Milei and his electorate it was read that the adjustment “would be paid for by the caste.” This was emphasized in campaign spots and presidential debates, messages that reached the entire country massively. Despite some analysts, the popular masses did not vote to be economically destroyed.
Story and reality
The liberal-libertarian narrative was buried at the door of the Casa Rosada. After Caputo’s announcements, the State appeared as a confiscatory machinery: increase in withholdings; increase in the PAIS tax; restitution of salary tax; elimination of retirement mobility. From Washington, instantly, Kristalina Georgieva welcomed the minister’s words. Harsh fiscal adjustment to continue a looting that, restarted by Macri in 2018, continued in the years of Alberto Fernández, Cristina Kirchner and Massa.
The adjusting ferocity underpins the attempt to access international financing. However, the first papers from financial consultants demanded more specific numbers, continuity in the adjustment and even a new devaluation. Making the apothegm of Nicolás Avellaneda his own, International speculators asked for “more hunger and thirst” of Argentinian men and women.
The forces of heaven, the forces of earth
The official offensive confirmed the conservative character of the bureaucratic union caste: They shot them with a chainsaw and responded with a request for a hearing, Lucho Aguilar wrote in this medium. Going back to “unsaddle until it clears”, the CGT chose strong rhetoric only to request a place at the decision-making table. The term “governance” reappeared in the jargon of the Daer and the Acuña.
This conservative character is not determined by individuals. Politically tied to Peronism, the union bureaucracy fulfills a social role: office of guarantor of the (mis)called “social peace.” It acts – as the revolutionary Leon Trotsky once wrote – as “the internal police of the labor movement.” By doing so, it disorganizes and paralyzes the social force of the exploited men and women.
Faced with the devastating offensive that Milei proposes, union leaders may be forced to go beyond their original intentions. If it spreads and deepens, social unrest may force them to temporarily leave the comfort of their armchairs. The eventual scenario raises a nodal question. With what strategic perspective to fight? How to defeat an adjustment that appears savage and ferocious against the entire working people and the ruined or semi-ruined middle classes?
Reviewing the struggles that occurred in the last years of Alfonsín, Adrian Piva points out that they appeared powerless in the face of the economic chaos that the phenomenal rise in prices implied. On the pages of Accumulation and hegemony in Menemist Argentina describes “the defeat of the dominant union strategy (…) focused on the wage struggle as a mechanism for channeling the capital/labor contradiction (…) Overall, the action of the working class in the face of hyperinflation tended to be characterized by withdrawal and the dispersion .
Something of that “strategy” begins to appear in the speeches from the union leadership, which assumes “solidarity” with the fights that may occur, but avoids any perspective that involves the entire working class. “No one is talking about a general strike,” summarized Omar Plaini at the door of the Uocra.
The plan Milei proposes a social catastrophe for the working and popular majority. Las forces of heaven accompany a new looting to the standard of living of millions, done in the interest of the most concentrated capitalist class. It is necessary oppose them the earthly force that nests in the millions of exploited men and women that inhabit national territory. Just one great fight of the entire working class and the poor people can prevent this critical scenario from unfolding and consolidating. That social force find one of your more powerful expressions in the general strike; in the ability of the working class to paralyze the country, hitting -politically and economically- big capital and the Government. Propagating that perspective is essential. Fight in every workplace and in every neighborhood to take steps towards it, too.
It is Wednesday, December 20, the streets of Buenos Aires and throughout the country will be the scene of the first forceful mobilization against the national government and its virulent adjustment plan. You have to be. It is the first step on the path to defeating an adjustment that seeks to reshape the country in a reactionary way.