“He relief It is a positive emotion that is felt when something disgusting either painful ends or it does not happen.” The definition – one of the possible ones for the term – adjusts quite precisely to the feeling that millions of people had when a few minutes after 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, the official results of the presidential election began to be known. Javier Miley He was still in the running for the runoff, but had lost pole position. The television graphs showed him second and His victory in the first round had not been consummated – not even close.
That event disgusting what could take place is easy to understand. In a country punished for years already too much long crisis, something even worse could still happen. The previous days, a blue dollar that crossed the psychological barrier of 1,000 pesos was scary and Javier Milei not only seemed to enjoy it, but also intentionally promoted it. The feeling of imminent catastrophe made many reach Sunday the 22nd holding their breath, waiting with fear for the new palazo that reality could bring us. José Natanson says in The diplomatic world that Milei in those days “promised to destroy the only agreement that December 2001 left us: the idea that anything can happen in Argentina except an explosion.” For a part important part of the population, that seems to be true (while there are others who can’t take it anymore and want to kick the board one way or the other).
The previous weeks had done the same thing on another level. It seemed too harsh to be true that a team of deniers of the last military dictatorship and climate change entered the Casa Rosada, enemies of all elementary democratic rights – especially those of women – and sycophants of the worst years of neoliberal surrender that still exist. They live in the collective memory.
Another reflection on relief, however, forces us to put the magnifying glass on the political use that a sector of the political regime gives to fear to promote a the state in which which furthermore, as we will say below, is illusory. An attempt to take advantage of the legitimate rejection that the extreme right of La Libertad Avanza provokes in broad sectors, to ask for support to try to perpetuate the policies and the disastrous path that brought us here.
The very long Argentine electoral campaign, full of heart-stopping twists, perhaps could not even have been imagined by even the most creative of political thriller scriptwriters on streaming platforms. It is enough to watch the previous season again to find ourselves debating the promotion and triumph of Javier Milei in the PASO and wondering how this event had been possible. The danger now is to lose sight of the structural reasons that continue to act as a background to the Argentine crisis, the harsh social situation and the exhaustion of the political regime.
We do not want to debate the causes of the Milei phenomenon again here in extenso because we have already addressed them many times. But it is good to remember them, because even under the foam of Massa’s victory in the first round, they continue as the background of the national reality. They tell us not only about the past and present, but they also help us try to outline some things about the future. When we talk about this extreme right we are referring to a phenomenon that has national specificities but that has relatives in the international arena within the framework of the crisis of neoliberalism; that finds other causes in a pandemic that left profound social and political consequences; in a patriarchal reaction to the women’s movement; and, above all, in a growing and persistent discomfort with a political regime that year after year only offers worsening living conditions for millions. First Macri, then Alberto with Cristina and then -and during-, Sergio Massa. Not for nothing did Javier Milei choose the complicated as a target of his far-right demagoguery. He was an easy enemy who was fed up with millions after the failure of one government after another.
The paradox then is that the political regime, with its economic and social disasters, created the conditions for the rise of Javier Milei and today Javier Milei, due to the fear it generates in broad sectors, offers the conditions for a part of that same personnel traditional politician of the regime that brought us here, embodied in Sergio Massa, try to survive and recreate and perpetuate the policies that led us to the current situation. The fear factor, combined with a fair dose of economic relief measures of electoral timing that did not compensate for what was lost but sought to give the “sensation” of a Government that “does something” versus another candidate who wants to throw us alive to the lions of the market, did its job. This is the only way to explain that a Government that, applying the IMF plans, has the highest inflation in 32 years and poverty rates only surpassed in Argentina in the 2001-2002 crisis, appears to have chances of re-election..
However, the current photo – and the one left by the runoff – are very illusory. The position of the left before the second electoral round is taken from a perspective placed on the policies of a very recent past that brought us here, in a current situation that is tricky and above all in a future that predicts difficult times for us. Because if it is true that Javier Milei must be rejected for all the aberrations that it represents, it is no less true that if Sergio Massa wins, when the votes are finished being counted, the IMF, its adjustment plans and extractive looting will be there and, Now, without the electoral makeup of the occasion, new devaluations, fiscal adjustments and extractive plans will be the order of the day. The causes that led to the rise of the liberal right and the very deep crisis of the political regime, too.
And just as this crisis has already produced great changes – such as the outbreak of Together for Change -, it also has the emergence of a new socialist and worker political force inscribed as a possibility and bet, which breaks the eternal mechanisms of blackmail that, Always calling us to resignation and the lesser evil, they have brought us here. On November 19, nothing ends, but another stage begins, in which a new Government, weak from the beginning, due to votes and institutions, will apply new adjustment plans that will encounter social resistance. One thing is certain: we must get out of the trap and imagine another possible future, another historical bet, because “madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”