Opinion . The Peronism of disappointment and the debate on the electoral growth of the right
The “surprising” resignation of Alberto Fernandez his re-election is presented as the most announced event on the national scene. The president has long seemed more like a specter of politics than a real actor. His relative strength within Peronism was based, essentially, on the impotence of all the factions, extrapolated by the (definitive?) decision of Cristina Kirchner not to compete electorally.
Victim of the social unrest to which his own adjustment leads, ruling Peronism breaks apart in a multiplicity of frictions. It is fractured before the eyes of a country that suffers from inflation and the precariousness of daily life. He splits, more and more, from the millions of wills that deposited him in power. leaders y directedin progressive differentiation.
Narrating that crisis of the Frente de Todos, in a recent article in Revista Anfibia, Ignacio Ramírez pointed out that “losing an election represents a democratic contingency, but the decomposition of a force that aspires to represent the interests of the popular sectors and defend a program of development centered on the national industry, the internal market and the distribution of income, is something else. It’s losing losing.”
He Front of All He supported that aspiration only in the discursive field. His own management was and is the empirical, real denial of any orientation to represent popular interests. From the initial adjustment to millions of retirees -going through the agreement with the IMF- until the current cuts of Massa, his state trajectory appears tainted by concessions to economic power to the detriment of the working majorities. This social and economic work is what drives the political decomposition that Ramírez describes. The Frenteto crisis is the legitimate daughter of his own adjustment policies.
The adjustment of Peronism is presented as extension of the one carried out by Macri. For the working majorities, they are evident as two failed companies that, from different ideological-discursive coordinates, contributed to the drastic collapse of the standard of living of millions. Of that double disappointment the fury feeds that gives body to the political-electoral growth of Milei.
That definition scratches the surface. In these failures one must also read the impotence of the “models” that capitalist politics offered to the popular majorities in recent decades.
The State: a deceptive political subject
Behind the crisis of 2001, kirchnerism came to power by publicizing the State as agent of profound social transformations. That idea emerged almost as a logical conclusion: the long neoliberal decade of Menem, Cavallo and De la Rúa had culminated in a dramatic crisis. With the popular rebellion of December, the mass movement buried that economic plan: it was in the streets where the decadent convertibility endedtoday claimed by Milei.
In the harsh 90’s, Menem’s neoliberalism had nurtured a fierce individualism. Growing from the impoverished hinterland, pickets, rebellions and protests had cemented a culture of collective action, which peaked in December 2001.
The “deification” of the State functioned as counter-tendency to that policy deployed from below. The “normal country” proposed by Néstor Kirchner implied that the social mobilization of the unemployed, women, workers or young people did not delineate or assume autonomous forms in relation to state power.
The Politics, as a collective activity, had to leave the stage. The State, apparent spokesperson for a “national and popular will”, assumed the representation of the interests of the great majorities. A rejuvenated version of the famous “from work to home and from home to work”, the new discursiveness imposed on everyone to attend to their own interests, leaving the management of the usual in the hands of state power. At most, those below were empowered to make union or corporate claims.
The political cooptation of multiple organizations -social and union- played an essential role in this work. Also adhering to the ruling Peronism, the so-called social movements added their share to “social stability.”
These conditions formed the mold of a complex and compound subjectivity. The Kirchner decade was the time of a mixture of political progressivism, Latin American discourse and accelerated consumerism, which was far from permeating the lives of all social classes.
Attending to confrontation with employer sectorsFrom 2008-2010, Kirchnerism promoted youth political militancy. He did so, however, by subordinating it to his restricted program of administration of the national capitalist state. Born under that limited horizon, a multiplicity of groups soon mutated into uncritical spokespersons for official politics.
an absent subject
Far from the discursive promises, the State revealed itself as a growing source of disappointment for millions of working families.
The call won decade left a bittersweet balance. In those years of growth “at Chinese rates” exorbitant figures remained in the portfolios of the big banks or in the bank accounts of rural employers. In addition, big capital found a safe haven abroad, safe from the limited controls exercised by state power. “They took her away”recited Cristina Kirchner on more than one occasion, to refer to business profits.
That cycle did not mean the same for a substantial portion of the working majorities. Poverty never pierced the 25% floor. Labor conditions continued to rise in precariousness, leaving Menem’s heritage practically intact. Inflation, that constant scourge to the worker’s salary, emerged in 2006-2007 and unfolded in the following years. In 2014, responding to the fierce lobby of big financial capital, Axel Kicillof proceeded with an open devaluation, which severely hit workers’ wages and already hurt retirements.
Meritocracy and State
let’s change it came to power carrying the banners of a senile neoliberalism. Ideologically opposing individual solutions to the role of the State. Macri, a formally successful businessman and manager, appeared as the incarnation of that “model”. At the center of this discursive construction was a prominent place meritocracy: ideology of social ascent based on effort and personal merit. The “entrepreneur”, a kind of self-constructed businessman, appeared as the archetype of this story.
That system of ideas entered into crisis too early. The macrista company sank the country quickly. Indebtedness, persistent inflation, tariffs, company closures and layoffs; adjust to your living conditions. The discrepancy between promises and daily material reality became notorious. The “entrepreneurs” -the vast majority- crashed to the ground shortly after they began to flap their wings.
That failure cemented the return of Peronism. All its wings knew how to come together in that impoverishing wait that was called “Hay 2019”. While the Macrista CEOcracy indebted and sank the country, the workers and the people were summoned to give time to time, betting on the electoral replacement. The bureaucratic union leaderships were part of that work.
He aim was once again conjure the power of the streets. But it was there that Macri’s “permanent reformism” had been knocked down. That attempt at neoliberal adjustment had collided head-on with a massive and combative resistance in front of the National Congress. ran December 2017a date that the right-wing opposition is unable to forget.
The crisis of the statist story and the electoral rise of the right
He Front of All returned to power recreating an anachronistic mysticism. The State was once again presented as a subject of social redemption for the great majorities. But the farce invaded reality. Under the new management, state power appeared as a continuation of the Macrista heritage. The agreement with the IMF, renewed in 2022, made the country a permanent vassal of imperial economic power. The social crisis only worsened.
He Milei’s electoral growth is the son of that conjunction of failures. For millions of people, the “role of the State” is associated with persistent inflation, falling purchasing power, collapsed public hospitals, schools with infrastructure problems, or expensive and poor transportation. The State appears as an inefficient and expensive machine, incapable of assuming the responsibilities that are formally its responsibility. The recitation of the rabid right against “the political caste” finds a powerful nutrient there.
In that political rage it is also necessary to distinguish the widespread frustration in the face of the generalized crisis. Effort or individual merit are irrelevant in the face of an economic catastrophe that eats away at the daily lives of millions of people.
that this discomfort take a path to the right It is inseparable from the political and social passivity for which Kirchnerism and Peronism worked in these two decades. Holding back the trends to street action and the class struggle stopped the deployment of a subjectivity that attended to politics as a collective action. By limiting the actions of union organizations, they contributed to an awareness that sees solutions only in the individual field. Yeah, run by bureaucracythe unions appear as guarantors of inaction in the face of the adjustment, why would a worker or a worker resort to them as a fighting tool?
of photos and movies
It would be quite wrong to consider the still as the film. The Argentina has always had a tradition of social conflict. The streets have been and are the scenario to settle a multitude of conflicts. The constant passivity of the union leaders is built on this fear. The recent call of the CGT to a “broad consensus” has the value of a request; of the pitiful attempt that “the above” come again with solutions to the crisis, seeking to prevent “the below” from offering theirs by appealing to the methods of class struggle. As has happened countless times.
At the same time, it would be equally wrong to see a strong political identity in the rage that fuels Milei’s electoral growth. There converge all kinds of discomforts. They do not constitute, however, an open endorsement of the furious adjustment plans proposed by the libertarian. There are also certain illusions. The dollarization appears as a promise of a better future for the depressed purchasing power. In practice it is, however, a colossal attack on the income of working people. Its mere implementation would imply a savage devaluation. A decision that big capital now fears, essentially because of its consequences in the field of class struggle.
The international experience is a source of teachings. Reactionary political demagogy elevated various figures to political power. The political-electoral defeats of Trump, Bolsonaro or Boris Johnson -and even of Macri himself- are there to illustrate the distance between the bombastic promises of “dynamite everything” and the actual possibility of doing so.