[Marxism] Argentina

Carlos Petroni cepetroni at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 21 04:17:49 MST 2006


Few things about Nestor, Louis and Walter contributions:

For Nestor the facts are just immaterial to any discussion, whether
is about Argentina, Bolivia or Brazil.

That's is what more or less he said.  The only things that's
matters are his opinions. Whether he can't get straight the
name of organizations, the number of voters, number of
students, the fact that 8 candidates for Rector were
rejected, the fact that university workers received
their wages and even got a raise against his assertions
they did not... they are all irrelevant facts, simple
obstacles in the way of his opinions that need to be
brushed aside.


So, he has reduced the whole thing to a question of how
many students are mobilized one day:

"Why didn't the leadership bring those 45 000 students to any of their
mobilizations, in spite of their vociferous, heart rending efforts?
Why couldn't they reach their hearts and souls, although they turned
the passageways of Facultades such as Sociales or Filosofía true
labyrinths of cardboard and painted paper? They were completely
isolated in their protests, that is they couldn't bring to the 
streets _their_ mass of voters."

Well, the struggle for what the student federation calls
"democratization" of the university had been going on for
about eight months.

In the course of that struggle there were mobilizations of
6, 7 and 9.000 students, depending on the moment, the day
of the week and the time of the demo.

Of course, since most students also work, it is difficult
to mobilize larger numbers at times they are working. Demos
were larger when organized in the evenings.

In the number of people participating in a
particular struggle, the general political situation also
counts.  Today is not the most favorable, so less people
demonstrate.

Yes, the last one counted with about 1.500 or so.  Why?

The university is on the summer break. But, please
don't let that fact to get on the way of your opinions
either.

The place of the meeting the students wanted to protest
was kept secret until a day before the events and
was organized far away from campuses -- by the way, an
illegal move and transportation lines were suspended
in the area to make the presence of people to the demo
even more difficult.

There are no students at campuses right now, or rather,
85% of students are not going to courses at this
time of the year.

In evaluating the number of participants in a demo
is necessary to take into account the general political
situation and also these small detailed factoids.

But, even if the political conditions are not fully
favorable, the demos organized by the students were
important.

Yesterday, on the commemoration of the events in 2001--
when De La Rua was forced to resign -- there were
15.000 people, mostly mobilized by the same forces
Nestor hates so much.

But he prefers to eulogize a meeting, the day before,
with couple of dozens of participants.

I have many criticisms of the leadership of both the
Student Federation and of some of the left organizations.
But I have to spend the time defending them
in front of a mostly foreign audience because
Nestor's positions on them are no only not accurate,
based on distortions, but also the closer I have
seen to political slander.

On the exchange with Louis:

Carlos:


Or of course, you believe that the government in place is
the true representative of the working class and
revolutionaries and maintain that the students are
the nest of counter-revolutionary white armies paid by
the imperialists to destabilize the revolution.

Louis:

Of course I believe that, Father Carlos. I am Lucifer after all and  love to wallow in sin against socialism.

Carlos:

I wasn't referring to you, but to the core beliefs of Nestor. Didn't you notice
that whether he is talking about Brasil or Argentina or Bolivia, any left
criticisms of actions of those governments are treated as  basically
pro-imperialists, promoted by the local US embassies  and essentially
of a counter-revolutionary character? 

In other words: if you assumed that I was talking about something you believe
I apologize for my bad English.

It was a case of "I'm talking to you, my daughter, so you can listen my son
in law." (Marx).


Walter actually hit on a head of a nail:

"Those of us who aren't in Argentina, and who don't know the ins and
outs of its politics can, I think, derive some idea of what the culture
of the country is from its cinema culture. Here in Los Angeles where
there is an art-house chain which shows lots of foreign films, we've
had a run of Argentine movies recently. The one I enjoyed best was
called CAUTIVA which looks at the consequences of the dirty war as
one teen-aged girl comes to realize that her parents aren't really her
parents. She doesn't want to accept the truth, but eventually there
is no way she can avoid it. This NYT review, as others, all make the
same complaint that the director isn't suffiently even-handed toward
the thief-parents who knew how the child had come into their hands.

This business about the need to be fair and even-handed toward the
fascists seems to be a recurring theme lately. The L.A. Times guy 
who went to Cuba for the Havana festival had the same qvetch in
relation to Pan's Labyrinth, a film taking place in Franco Spain."

Carlos:

There is a "cultural" war of sorts going on, not only in
Argentina, but also in Chile.

After three decades of "democracy" and after everything
was done and said, there is an underlying struggle for
the truth, justice and yes, retribution, for the "dirty
war."

In Argentina, some 200 murderers of that period were
put on trial, about half of them sent to jail.  But the
question remains: there are still thousands of them
walking amongst us, enjoying privileged pensions and
even working for the state.

The rhetoric from Kirchner and Bachelet is one of
"human rights", but their actions are soft against
the death squads of the past.

Death squads were massive during the dictatorship, but they
were born during the last Peronist government before
the military took over.

Many Peronists today in Congress, at the head of unions
and other official positions, were accomplices or 
participants of the crimes of death squads during the
military government and before, during Isabel's government.

Others, like the leader of ARI (a bourgeois party), Lilita
Carrio or the President, Nestor Kirchner, while not directly
involved with the crimes of the military or Isabel's 
government, were profiting during the so called "lead
years."  Carrio occupied a position in a local tribunal and
Kirchner enriched himself while appearing in photographs
supporting his province's military authorities during the
military government.

Alfonsin, the first President in the "new Democracy",
from the bourgeois UCR party and other politicians from
his party called for the coup d'etat thirty years ago.
When he was elected President in early 80s, he 
enacted laws of amnesty for most criminals of the
dictatorship.

Menem, who won the elections to replace Alfonsin,
who was himself detained during the dictatorship,
but treated well and spared, continued Alfonsin's
route of pardoning military murderers.

Many Peronists and liberal politicians.
Corporations like Mercedes Benz, GM, Chrysler and
Ford -- as well as national oligarchs -- actively
collaborated with the assassins. Some of them turning
in left activists to the death squads, some of them
allowing torture chambers to function in their
own establishments.

The main covers of the most important newspapers in the
70s (Clarin, La Opinion, La Nacion, etc) openly called
for the military to take power in the 70s and to pardon
the killers in the 80s.

Some, like Jacobo Timmerman, who owned La Opinion were
in time also victims of the state terrorism (he was
kidnapped, tortured and released later on, after his newspaper
was confiscated.)

The Catholic Church established a "negotiating team" in
harmony with the military dictatorship in the 70s to
pressure families of the "disappeared" to remain silent.

No political regime can murder tens of thousands of people,
establish 530 secret concentration camps, jail hundreds of
thousands, sell the children of the murdered and 
appropriate their belongings, rape the women and throw
people alive from airplanes without a broad support, or
at least indifference, of most of the ruling class.

So much was the pressure of the ruling class to accept
the "wrongdoings" of the military dictatorship in the
70s and early 80s, that even the Communist Party decried
the "anti-Argentinean" campaign abroad that demanded
human rights and justice.

So it is not surprising that there are demands for
"forgiveness", "even handedness" and "reconciliation" coming
from all spheres of bourgeois politicians all the while
they talk about "human rights, memory and justice."

They have their own interests to protect.

With all their faults, shortcomings, petty sectarian
squabbles, wrong political positions, a number of left
organizations are the only organized faction of society
that still demands complete and unconditional justice.

Because its fragmentation, the left is not effective, even
though, if counted together, they amount today for
about 10% of the national vote and I believe they
potentially represent much more.

On the question of "No reconciliation, no pardon, no
forgiveness", however, they are not alone.  Particularly
among the very young. And it is my believe that, if 
they changed their strategy and form a united front, they
would represent a serious force to reckon with.

That's the only potential source of social change in
Argentina -- and I believe in Chile where a high
school, militant, massive movement emerged this year
called "Los Pinguinos" (The Penguins).  And the
struggle is AGAINST reconciliation, the lesser evilism
of Kirchnerism and "progressiveness" (the code word of
the reconciliators.)

That's why in spite its problem, needs to be defended as
a movement against slander.  And that's what explains
Nestor anger at the left.






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