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Latin American Conjunctural Analysis

category international | anarchist movement | opinion / analysis author Saturday October 05, 2019 02:19author by Various Latin American anarchist political organisations Report this post to the editors

Latin America, an untamed and rebellious land, heiress of centuries of struggles and resistance, where magic invades realism, where we are going through a critical situation in ecological, humanitarian and social terms. Today we are facing a turning point, where threats to our bodies and territories are increasingly concrete, which is why indecision and half measures must be fought with positions and proposals. It is our historical duty, as anarchists, to generate spaces for debate and criticism, where we prefigure the days of struggle that lie ahead. In turn, it is necessary to propose new categories of analysis in order to point much more accurately at those who subject us today.




Latin America, an untamed and rebellious land, heiress of centuries of struggles and resistance, where magic invades realism, where we are going through a critical situation in ecological, humanitarian and social terms. Today we are facing a turning point, where threats to our bodies and territories are increasingly concrete, which is why indecision and half measures must be fought with positions and proposals. It is our historical duty, as anarchists, to generate spaces for debate and criticism, where we prefigure the days of struggle that lie ahead. In turn, it is necessary to propose new categories of analysis in order to point much more accurately at those who subject us today.

During the last decades, our territories have served as a space for the geopolitical struggles of imperialisms: China, the United States, Russia, Turkey, among others, plot their interests on the spaces we inhabit. Due to this, it is necessary to break with the old analysis of the Cold War, where the interests of the US were deployed on the continent without any counterweight. Today there are many actors in this geopolitical struggle. We can not fall into myopia and direct all our criticism only to the US. Of course, today in that geopolitical struggle, it tries to secure this area as its "backyard" that it always intended it to be, but despite having high levels of responsibility for misery in vast territories, they are not the only ones who carry out an imperial policy.

We are facing a strong advance of the right and extreme right throughout Latin America. On the phenomenon of world scale, since various parties of these orientations have been growing electorally in Europe for three decades now, in countries of the former Eastern bloc they have been reborn with unusual vigor, and in the rest of the continent various expressions of these signs gain space. In the US, Donald Trump is a sample of the same phenomenon, with the particularity that has had effects on his imperial policy for the Latin American area and the world.

Already under the Obama administration, the US supported and organized the coup in Honduras in 2009, initiating this gradual turn to greater control over what they call their "backyard." This coup had its continuity in the coup in Paraguay in 2012 and the "soft coup" in Brazil in 2016. This environment facilitated the electoral rise in Argentina of Macri in 2015 and Duque in Colombia in 2017. The only country where there was "Progressivism" was in Mexico, and this is very relative.

The right has organized its "return" to the front of governments. In each country they have developed a strong campaign against "progressivisms", they have made an axis in corruption - in which all the political sectors are involved, as it has become clear in Brazil with the Lava Jato - but they have also organized at the Latin American level, always counting on imperial support.

These governments - Macri and Bolsonaro - have added support to the Lima Group, to that set of recalcitrant governments that shout "democracy" outward but apply anti-popular and repressive policies inside. And particularly in the case of Bolsonaro already speaking directly against bourgeois democracy, installing the idea of dictatorial governments directly. It is this group of countries that has served as Latin American coverage for the coup attempts of the Venezuelan right supported by the US. They openly handle the possibility of an open-minded US invasion, as in the old era, using the mechanisms of the OAS (Organization of American States) and the TIAR.

This continental turn to the right is not minor. The capitalist system, after a fierce application of neoliberalism, allowed certain popular "changes", some improvements, some "loosening" to improve domination and constant looting of those below. In the so-called "progressive" period there were certain social policies to contain poverty, of varying degrees according to each country. They had as common denominator to allow some improvement in the life of the poorest sectors of society, but in managing poverty, no real work policies were generated, the poor were left in the place of welfare recipients, or at most, at the hands of outsourced and precarious work, where it is the State itself that outsources tasks, enriching companies or NGOs and generating a much more precarious and rights-free working class.

Extractivism, both of the progressive governments of different signatures and of the liberals, as a neocolonial regime and dynamic prevailing throughout Latin America, has only deepened the unequal exchange between territories and the international division of labor as historical expressions of the class struggle, intensifying the exploitation of large volumes of nature (commodities) towards export. The geopolitical rearrangements have outlined new strategies to increase the circulation of goods to the industrial centers, opening routes in places never before thought, such as the IIRSA-COSIPLAN series of projects; new designs of free trade agreements such as TPP-11(which includes Mexico, Peru and Chile as Latin American countries); disputing the last natural-community goods of the planet. Its consequences have brought questions inherent to this dynamic of exploitation of nature, opening important processes of deterritorialization through local and global migrations; the loss of biodiversity; the increase in violence against feminized and racialized bodies (women and other sexualities - non-binary and trans-), including the "hired killer", and finally the cases of corruption that we have seen with the Odebrecht Case, which involves a network between different States.

It should be mentioned that the hegemony of progressivisms in the 2000s intensified the looting and plundering of our territories, since their programs "with social emphasis" were based on the extraction of natural goods and their sale to industrialized countries. In this sense, progressive governments redistributed crumbs from a time of boom, of growth in the international price of commodities. They managed some salary improvements and social policies, but the fundamentals of the system were not touched. These policies had as a common denominator to raise the living conditions of the poorest sectors of society, which played simultaneously as an element of social containment, while building state apparatus plagued by an affluent and parasitic political caste.

At the same time, the Latin American ruling classes multiplied their profits and the gap between rich and poor increased. But the rich did not want to lose the administrative control of the State. It is their State, part of their class power lies there, and is condensed in their institutions. They were not willing to allow "upstarts" to take control of it for a long time. A few years they could stand, while fixing the house after the looting of the '90s. But they were getting impatient.

Does this mean that "progressive" governments are the necessary exit and that they are the antithesis of the right? NO. First, in addition to allowing a historical enrichment of the local and multinational bourgeoisie, progressive governments redistributed few resources at a time of growth in the international price of raw materials. After that boom, economic difficulties and the crisis returned. But they did not use this "bonanza period" to invest in the generation of work at the industrial level, nor was there any Agrarian Reform or radical transformation of services to the population, etc. The progressive governments allowed a large-scale landing of natural goods extraction projects in the continent: large mining, oil, soybean and forest plantation projects, hydroelectric… all for the benefit of multinational capital, especially Chinese in recent times. All this within the framework of the IIRSA Plan, a looting plan designed from the USA. The general lines of the system were not modified, they simply adapted to the new stage, which now having a certain popular consensus, was easier to fully implement the looting policy.

The redistribution of wealth was concise. But as we said, the fundamentals of the system were not touched: neither private property, nor the redistribution of wealth or power relations. Even so, the bourgeoisie and the more conservative sectors were not willing to tolerate Lula, the Kirchners or whoever does not come from their kidney [direct translation]. A clear class hatred travels the continent and distills its poison on the villages.

But also in this period there have been two processes that have had their peculiarities in this framework: the Venezuelan and the Bolivian situations. In Venezuela, driven by Chávez at the time, multiple "communes" have been developed, which some press releases say, nowadays have a negligible volume of people involved and some development in economic, cultural and social activities, without linking some with the State. There has been a break there compared to the previous period, where even the military, bureaucrats and bolirricos [a play on words between Bolivarian and rich] wanted to control this process and take full hands of the money that had been invested in this experience.

In Bolivia, a "plurinational state," halfway, but where the indigenous and peasant movement has had influence, the same one that starred in 2000 and 2003 in the insurrections of the "gas war" and "the water war", knocking down governments and putting a stop to neoliberalism. It is that mobilization that prints a different character to the historical processes that the peoples live. Recall that in the previous period, the continent was shaken by broad popular mobilizations that caused more than one government to fall.

The situation in Colombia deserves a special chapter, where after the "peace agreements" have been signed, more than 570 social militants have been killed. A sector of the FARC has returned to the armed struggle, which shows that there is no guarantee or possibility of pacification in the country. The paramilitaries, drug trafficking groups and the Army continue to articulate increasing violence towards those below. Colombia lives in constant war. However, the media shows its government as "democratic," being the Latin American country that receives the most military support from the US, and that is vital to its interests. Even in the possibility of an escalation or conflict on the border with Venezuela.

In recent years the Colombian popular movement has been leading important struggles, especially peasant and indigenous organizations, where the processes of land seizures and recovery have been more than relevant along with agricultural strikes.

Today the right attacks with everything directly against life. Proof of this is the fires in the Amazon, where governments such as Bolsonaro give a "white card" to prey on nature and promote indigenous genocide for the benefit of large agricultural capital. It is an expression of an aggressive proto-fascism to an extreme degree, which does not repair the means to expand the deployment of the capitalist system. It is the neoliberalism imposed with total aggressiveness and applying the maximum of the British Empire, "shitting on all the consequences.”

A strong tightening of the bolt [a metaphor about a screw]

The Latin American bourgeoisie needs to resume the helm of the government throughout the continent. It needs it to impose a major adjustment, a hard adjustment like the one that Macri has imposed since 2015. But we think that the right already has strong bases of support: in Peru they have not lost the government at any time, including all corruption scandals possible; in Colombia the ultra right controls the government with Iván Duque (governs through uribismo) and in Chile the already dissolved "Concertación" has ruled under the Pinochet-ist and neoliberal logic. A non-negotiable launch pad.

Many of the turns came from progressivism itself or its allies. Lenin Moreno in Ecuador was Rafael Correa's successor and took an important turn at the political level both internally and in the region. Michel Temer gave a parliamentary "soft coup" being the Vice President of the government of Dilma Roussef.

In Uruguay, various members of the Frente Amplio have made references aimed at separations from Venezuela and qualify the government of that country as a "dictatorship", in line with the Lima Group and the OAS. Some of them like José Mujica, who until yesterday received money at the hands of Venezuela, today shows himself as what he is: an opportunist who changes position according to how the wind blows. Now Venezuela does not send more money due to the economic blockade and the crisis in the country, generated and deepened among other organizations by the OAS, whose Secretary General Luis Almagro, was placed there with great help from Mujica himself. It can be said that among the "progressives" are characters from all over the world, worthy of a chronicle of humanity's greatest infamies.

In Uruguay there are elections in October-November, as in Argentina. The dispute is the degree of adjustment and stick: if the Broad Front achieves its fourth government there will be an adjustment and turn to the right of a lesser degree than if the opposition wins, but the discussion is the degree of adjustment. And it will be accompanied by repression; this is already being seen in the mobilizations against the installation of the third pastera [concrete mixer] in the country, where the police go out to defend the interests of multinational capital under a progressive government. The right plain and simple, comes with the hard and pure neoliberal libretto.

The alliances woven in many cases by these "progressive parties" are characteristic of a horror film: the PT allied itself with the most rancid and reactionary right in order to have the votes in parliament ... buying them with money as well, as it has been demonstrated in both frames of Mensalao and Lava Jato.

But it is here that the right puts to full operation, mechanisms of the system that at other times did not see this impact: the judicial system has been used as a device of power pointing per se at the corrupt, but several judges are the new "crusaders" for austerity and justice. Right now it has been shown that the plot of corruption is broader than we can imagine and that the game on the right to remove anyone from the road does not repair the mechanisms used.

The right wants total political control. And retake through negotiations which allows the operation of the State: tenders, bribes, purchases, various businesses, from which it was never absent, but their voracity has no limits. There is a kind of "genetics" that tells you that no matter how much "progressive governments" govern for them, they protect their businesses and their class interests, that they contain the poor and reinforce the repressive apparatus, this "progress" does not come from their crib, they are not bourgeois of pure strain. For the bourgeoisie, they are not trustworthy, although they have done their homework very well. There is a class instinct that this Latin American industrial-rural-financial-commercial bourgeoisie expresses there; a clear class hatred they have thrown into the streets with unusual force. They do not want to lose or "pinch" their power. They are not even willing to tolerate palliative measures, let alone talk about reforms of a certain depth, as happened in past decades with populism or developmentalist or liberal-reformist governments. They are neoliberals of pure strain; in their blood is the hatred of those below and the constant thirst to turn the world into a business.

And for that business to work for them, more and more state terror is necessary. The attacks come from all sides, with labor and pension reforms, budget cuts in education, a blind eye for fires, deforestation and killings of indigenous and poor people. On the other hand, the electoral left continues with its institutionalist and demobilizing discourse of the bases. In Brazil, trade union offices call one-day strikes "general strikes" and do not seem to be able to dissociate themselves from the so-called "Free Lula" slogan. However, our efforts continue to promote the organization from the base and support struggles with direct action, such as sit-ins of indigenous people in the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI), against mass layoffs in that public health body and sit-ins in universities.

While the palaces are formulating laws and crisis projects, more economic liberalization, less rights for the people and more profits for the exploiters, the repression in the streets of the cities represses the discontented and tries to keep the people in the silence of the bullet.

In the countryside and forests, the root of a Latin America that has not enjoyed the bonanza of the "left" in government, not only the burning and the ecocidal advance of the landowners in making victims, but also the systematic genocide of the rural towns and native populations, whose bodies continue to accumulate as a direct result of the advancement of the the extreme right in the continent.

Argentina: Take care of their governance or defend our salary

The numbers thrown in the last elections showed nothing different to those which has been living in the street, in the neighborhoods, in the workplace. Even in this legitimizing instance of the system - such as representative democracy - the desperation of the popular masses has been expressed in the face of the scrapping of the country. We can start by arguing that the miscalculation - as much of the consultants as of the political class - of the electoral result, is related to their low level of knowledge of the life lived at the bottom, of the rejection of the popular sectors to the chilling policies of hunger, unemployment and exclusion of Macri and the IMF. The social, economic and political landscape, which the oppressed have been experiencing, is increasingly complex and pressing. In a recessive context, in the middle of an inflationary spiral and unprecedented indebtedness, the peso devalued immediately after the elections by 25%. This was immediately transferred to the price of the basic basket and fuels, in a deliberate period of time granted by the national government, before launching 10 measures as an incentive, in an attempt to engulf the popular classes again. The result: a resounding salary reduction. But, it is not our intention to extend too much in the numbers, to describe the proportion of the damage done in the last speculative move of the financial sectors and the Government.

But this period of adjustment that has been going on for almost a decade, deepened by Macri-ism at huge levels, we know is going to exceed the “end of cycle” of change. Among the candidates, in the background, adjustment modalities are discussed. That is why Alberto Fernández's endorsement of bringing the dollar to $ 60 pesos is consistent. Nor should we ignore that we are already in a context of crude advanced neoliberalism throughout the region, in a continent where US imperialism tries to regain hegemonic control.

In this dramatic scenario, we must analyze that two specific institutional exits are clearly explained immediately. One is the one proposed by the leaders of the Frente de Todos, which consists specifically in doing nothing, waiting until seated until December, taking care of the flow of votes and safeguarding the governability (as this implies the banking of Macri's anti-popular measures). As we have been arguing, the social crisis caused by the advanced neoliberalism, was directly proportional to the crisis of lack of political participation of the oppressed class for a long period. Recall that we come from decades of restriction above the popular participation, through mechanisms of cooptation, patronage and bureaucratization, when not outright delegitimization and repression of social protest. This "non-participation paradigm", it could be seen there at the beginning of 2016, when in full conflict over layoffs in the public sector and in Red Ridge, the Kirchnerist dome called to kill in the squares (the "resisting with endurance"). In short, this exacerbated call to “not cacerolear” [protests where people bang on pans] - even trying to stop the forced measures from the guilds - does not hide anything other than the care of its electoral percentage, to the detriment of preventing higher levels of poverty and unemployment for the people.

The other exit to this blow against the pocket of those below, has to do with what is proposed from the combative sectors of the labor movement and popular organizations, such as the possibility of organized resistance from the street. As soon as the devaluation happened, we could see the response of some of these sectors, such as the mobilization of ATE Capital and the unemployment of the Metro Delegates in CABA, as well as the cuts of Commerce Employees in Rosario. The plan of extended struggle of the state in Chubut, without a doubt, is an example of organized resistance to the government's scythe. Social movements, urged by hunger in the neighborhoods, also came out with popular pots throughout the country, within the framework of a large-scale police operation.

From organized anarchism we are aware that there is no widespread climate of popular effervescence, much less deep rebellion. There is struggle, discontent and high expressions of rejection of the social situation, but we know well that we are far from a "Que se vayan todos” [“they must all go” motto that emerged spontaneously in the course of popular protests, pickets and cacerolazos that characterized the December 2001 crisis in Argentina], and that trade unions and social movements lack a representative class program. However, it becomes clear that social humor does not have the same times [direct translation] as the electoral calendar. It is clear that the political class as a whole is more afraid of the idea of a social outbreak than that of 10% more poor. Even before the imminent triumph of Alberto Fernández, the Kirchnerist leadership prefers a triumph with little margin and social disbelief to a popular overflow with pressure on the streets. At this point we must be cautious. Knowing that there are popular sectors that have placed hopes in the vote and in progressive electoral proposals - and who long as us for a society without exploitation - it is necessary to challenge them and urge immediate resistance through popular mobilization.

Overflowing and transcending the “solution from above” approach is a vital issue to restore confidence in the strength and organization of those below, so that this resistance that shows being there is vigorously expressed. The popular response to the plundering of the Government and financial capital cannot be expected. Given the dilemma of taking care of their governance or defending our salary, we will always go for the second one and ensuring that the methods that strengthen those below are present.

Chile: the neoliberal "model" works ... for those above

In the Chilean region the system of domination managed by the dominant bloc has intensified and deepened its neoliberal policy. In these two years of Piñera's government, there has been little to nothing of social rights that the dominated class possess which has been dismantled, and in turn it has intensified its repression against the sectors in struggle.

In the world of wage labor, labor flexibility instruments have been strengthened, expressing this: the Youth Labor Statute, and the Law Initiative that has sought to increase the precariousness of work under the false discourse of reduction of hours of exploitation, canceling the possibility of collective bargaining with employers and making work conditions more flexible. On the other hand, the Tax Reform ensures the safeguarding of the profit rates for local and transnational entrepreneurs, in a context of crisis and economic slowdown, considerably damaging the dominated classes.

In the territories, the Law of Social Integration has consolidated the monopoly of land access to the real estate world, eradicating the production and management communities of the city and its territories, making it impossible to carry out self-managed and participatory projects. Extractivism and the commodification of land and water, today our territories have a serious ecological situation, with an increasingly complex water crisis, expanding the areas of sacrifice and the alteration of ecosystems, as happened with the pollution of the drinking water in Osorno, where the commodification of water sources is visible through health companies; the situation of Puchuncaví-Quintero that has not been resolved; the death of rural life, flora and fauna in areas devastated by drought.

We are currently viewing a resurgence of the repressive apparatus and the criminalization of social protest. Safe classroom law, Short Terrorism Agenda, Migrant Law, are clear signs that the state apparatus updates and deepens its control and disciplinary tools. Hitting the oppressed class strongly: street vendors, horticulturalists, migrants, Mapuche communities in resistance and secondary students. In addition to the above, the murder of fighters and social fighters such as: Macarena Valdés, Camilo Catrillanca, Alejandro Castro, and the increasingly frequent feminicides in public spaces, homo-lesbo-transphobia and racism, shows us the State of Permanent exception in which we live.

A new period of struggle and resistance opens

Nobody has given anything to the people. All times are of struggle, all periods are complex. Now that the right and ultra-right has retaken control of governments and "progressivisms" turn in that direction to a greater or lesser degree (case of the Peronist re-articulation in Argentina or an eventual triumph of the FA with a parliamentary minority in Uruguay, for example), opens a new stage of struggles, of varied and complex resistances. Because all governments will come for cutting rights to some degree or an adjustment plan. There is no longer growth to distribute, only misery and the club. Therefore, governments and the ruling classes will graduate the levels of adjustment and repression: there will be some more intense, others softer, and others blatantly of extreme class violence.

That is why the levels of popular struggle will intensify. Neoliberalism brings resistance. They know it, so they strongly bet on the milicada [Argentine term for a group of soldiers]. But peoples also know, intuit and yearn for a different society. The people know that it must curb so much dispossession, if it is to stop so much arbitrariness. There is a history of struggles of our indigenous peoples, black quilombolas, the workers of the city and the countryside, the students, the different expressions and levels of direct action that have taken place in the continent. Heroic gestures that mark a path; current, recent struggles, which summon broad sectors of the people, to continue down the streets, to occupy and recover land, to defend life.

These coming times require politically organized anarchist militants to intensify the militant effort and try to provide the necessary tools to the popular camp to resist and advance in a long-term perspective.

A long process of struggle summons us. A long road of yearnings and hopes, of shared experiences, of pains but also of victories, of advances. Especifista anarchism has much to say and a role to play in the construction of that different society. In our organizations and militant spaces there is room and space for all those who seek higher levels of militancy and commitment, for all those who put their best at the service of the cause of those below.

It is from below that Socialism will find its militants and builders. We can say that the only alternative to this world of barbarism is Socialism, and that Socialism will be Libertarian or it will not be!!!



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