By: Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton* / Source: Rebelion.org / The Dawn / November 24, 2015.-
Argentine capital has reconquered the Executive Power after the electoral triumph of presidential candidate Mauricio Macri on Sunday, December 22. He is the candidate of the capitalist forces, but also of great portions of the middle and popular classes linked to right-wing Peronism, which made it possible for him to win with 51,42% of the vote. Thus, he defeated, by a mere 2 percentage points, officialist candidate Daniel Scioli, who obtained 48,58% of the votes. This is the first triumph of the Argentinian right in ballots since 1916. It took a century for a coalition of their parties to obtain the government legally. Throughout the twentieth century, the Argentinian right had always took the State by armed force. This is the first time that they win it by ‘democratic’ means, that is, by decision of the citizenship. Hurrah for the Argentine capitalist democracy.
The victory of the Argentinian right is a victory of capital. It will allow them to consolidate, expand and deepen their infrastructural power in all sectors of civil society and, above all, to begin with the expansion and deepening of the market. In such a way, neoliberal domination will begin a new stage, aimed at solving a relative loss in its hegemony, cracked and beaten by Kirchnerist governments in the last 12 years (2003-2015).
That said, when it comes to explaining Macri’s electoral triumph, I will argue that this outcome is a result of, on one hand, the utmost and most resounding success of kirchnerism and, on the other hand, of its greatest political historical failure. Allow me to explain:
The main goal of Kirchner’s governments (Néstor Kirchner, 2003-2007 and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, 2007-2015) was to ‘normalize capitalism’, correcting the excesses of neoliberalism but not seeking its radical transformation. Their administration restored and normalized capitalism in Argentina, that was its greatest success. At the same time, it was their failure, since kirchnerism did not have the ability nor the will to build a viable alternative to neoliberalism, much less to capitalism.
After 12 years of progressive and popular government, Argentine society chose to retake the path of neoliberalism, which had been seriously injured, not defeated, in the years 2001 to 2003. Indeed there were significant and necessary social and economic advances for the Argentine working class and lower class. Civil rights of the fourth and fifth generation were extended, such as same-sex marriage in 2010. But it didn’t abandon the devastation of nature through mining extractivism or soy production, for example. We all know that, with such policies we can’t defeat capitalism.The defeat of kirchnerism is the defeat of a strategy of social, economic and cultural reformism, a kind of populism inspired in Ernesto Laclau, that is, full of empty symbols. Which are useless in designing and building an alternative to capitalist exploitation.
We shall wait for memories of 2001 to 2003 struggles to give impulse and power to social and political resistance to the nascent macrism. It is the only way in which the people of Argentina will be able to overcome ‘this bitter and dark moment’ and that again ‘sooner than later the great avenues will be opened’(1) for the social and popular movement in Argentina to walk them. For this to happen, reformist and populist ways created by Peronism must be left behind, and take a revolutionary and social path. If not, ‘normal’ capitalism will continue its historical progress to devastation and exploitation of human being and nature.
51,42% of the Argentine citizenship has chosen this devastation. That does not mean that the 48,59% that voted for kirchnerism chose a form of capitalist administration that was much different. It was only capitalist devastation with a more humane facade. But maybe, the 6 million Argentines that voted blank or did not attend the ballots had the social and political conscience to know that either one of the candidates did not offer anything other than the beginning of the last and superior stage of normalization of Argentine capitalism initiated by Néstor Kirchner, in 2003.
Argentina, like Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and other countries in the region started, years ago, the reinforcement of structures of neoliberal power of the capital. This reinforcement encouraged the right-wing opposition forces in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay and, above all, increased the political pressure by the U.S. on the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. For internal reactionary forces of Venezuela, Mauricio Macri triumph acted like a balm and an encouragement to face the elections on December 6, in which they obtained a resounding triumph.
Kirchnerism defeat, lastly, should open a political stage of opportunities for Argentine anticapitalist left to abandon their isolationist, fragmentary and fringe positions and begin a process of building a popular alternative that seeks to overcome not only neoliberalism, macrism and peronism but also their own old traditional and useless political recipes.
This is also valid for lefts of other Latin American and Caribbean countries. The task of stopping the advance of the neoliberal capitalist right will not be accomplished by progressivist political movements but by a left that recovers anticapitalist stances with strength and conviction.
* Doctor in Political Science. Academic.
References to the last speech of Salvador Allende to his people before the Armed Forces took power and murdered him on September 11, 1973.