[Marxism] Kirchner and prospects in Argentina
Sun Nov 14 09:35:32 MST 2010
I just translated this note by a friend (below). However, if you can read Spanish (or suffer Google translator, it's not that bad actually) I encourage you to go over the whole, or most, of the last paper 'el aromo' which was dedicated to the issues of the bureaucracy, the 'social' conditions which support it and the inanities of the intellectuals who support the government -case in point, Laclau, Zizek's "compinche", thinks Nestor Kirchner was a Gramscian!- among many other things.
I know comrades would not fall for the senselessness and distortions of Gorojovsky, but it's always good to take double precautions.
The intestate. The death of Néstor Kirchner and the
prospects of Argentina politics
By Fabián Harari
I thought it was a joke. I had not heard anything in the
morning news, so I demurely washed my hands of the matter. When I turned the TV
on again, that joke had become a reality: he was actually gone. Just like that,
abruptly, unappealably. Without the preambles and agonies which usually prepare
the mood and give time for secret meetings. Nobody believed he was going to die
and nobody had prepared for it. For three days, it was unclear what was to
follow. The state administration, the parliamentary fracases and the
negotiations around campaigns, posts and internal elections remained frozen.
The scale of the stupor is evidence of the quantity and quality of the
relations that this man tethered around his person. There is no doubt about it:
the bourgeoisie have lost their best cadre (in itself, this also is evidence of
its state…). It is not strange that it is mourning and that it will take some
time to rearrange the pieces.
The virtues of Bonaparte
Néstor Kirchner imprints his seal on a decade which, paradoxically, represents
the awakening of the Argentine working class, after prolonged lethargy. With
enough strength to forge alliances, impel and intervene in a political crisis,
provoke an insurrection and win a number of social victories, the working class
succeeded in detaining its enemy’s advance. However, due to subjective
weaknesses, it did not manage to impose its own solution. This scene sets a
draw. After a series of vacillations (with those who tried out for presidents: Puerta,
Rodríguez Saá, Duhalde ), the bourgeoisie attempts to break this tie through
a repressive maneuver (the repression of Puente Pueyrredón), but it must
rapidly retreat, yield to the demands and rearm itself for something different.
Duhalde himself starts this abrupt turnabout by giving 2 million social plans
for jobs (“Planes Trabajar”) and, as a good soldier of its class, he resigns in
advance to prevent the deepening of the crisis. That “something different” is Kirchner.
The democratic resolution of 2003 had not begun well. The
candidate of bonapartism had not only lost the elections but had only achieved
a meager 22%. Adding insult to injury, the opponent (recall: Menem) refrained
from going to a second-round election, speculating on a further sharpening of
the crisis. As Néstor himself used to reminisce, “I had
more unemployed people than votes”. If he wanted to carry forward his
presidency, he had to put the pieces together in a special way. And so he did
it. He performed as a real referee (who is never neutral). He froze up the
public services fares to prevent an outbreak of protest. He offered resources
to “piquetero” organizations and won quite a few of them to his side (MTD,
Barrios de Pie). He rolled back the rip-offs of the project of cooperativism to
a lot of organizations. Through transfers and concessions, he allowed for the expansion
of the CGT and the enthronement of Hugo Moyano (the current leader of the CGT) as
its leader, thereby creating a political base of workers in the formal sector
with higher wages. He seduced the disobedient petty-bourgeoisie, separating it
from the left through the politics of Human Rights, and taking in the way
Mothers, Grandmothers and Sons and Daughters [this refers to organizations who
seek justice for the victims of the military dictatorship of the 70’s]. But he
also delivered to the right: inefficient industries and public services
companies received subsidies. This added to the precarious conditions of
employment and, after 2005, the inflation which started to eat away at wages. As
far as political issues, he swept away anything that was in front of him. Not
only did he keep a part of the “piquetero” movement, but he also built up the
hopes of more than one leftist party (e.g. the communist party), he dissolved
duhaldism, and broke the radicalismo movement into pieces.
Of course, none of this could have been done without the rent coming from the
agrarian and oil sectors, that is true. But the problem cannot be reduced to
these terms. First, because it is not true that without the recuperation coming
from ground rent revolution was around the corner. Secondly, because money does
not forge alliances by itself. In other words, capital is not God in solid
form. It takes a notable capacity to organize all these alliances in a
relatively stable movement and sustain them for seven years. Thirdly, because
the crisis is, precisely, an economic crisis which, as all crisis, must be
resolved in the political arena. Lastly, because failing to recognize the
kirchnerist alignment does not allow us to envisage where all this is going,
once the one who commanded it is departed.
The fact is that Néstor Kirchner demonstrated the political
qualities which were necessary to occupy the fitting place in the most
difficult moment for the Argentine bourgeoisie, and come out of it gracefully. His
case is evidence of the capacity for production of cadre of a class, on the one
hand, and the calamitous state in which bourgeois politics was, on the other. His
achievements have no points of comparison with those of the founder of the
peronist movement. If the data of the press are correct, there were less people
in his funeral than those who went to mourn Sandro  (40,000 approximately)
and less than those who came out for Alfonsín (the president of Argentina who
assumed power in 1983 when the dictatorship ended, coming from the radicalismo
movement –of antiperonist origins- ) with 70,000. His stature can only be
measured with this fact: he partially reconstituted the politics of the
bourgeoisie and provided it with breathing space. Like Perón, he concentrated
his action as the necessary arbiter in class conflict. And like his
predecessor, he bid his farewell before the creaking got too bad. But only
Children, and stepchildren
In King Lear, Shakespeare warned the absolute monarch of the
dangers of recanting power, or worse yet, doling it out. Unless a strong hand
showed itself, it would all be wars and treachery. In this piece (a true
masterpiece which disembowels the laws of political dynamics), the monarch took
the work of preparing his succession. But even when it was done with a certain
degree of anticipation, the bid was unadvised. In this case, the situation is
even worse: the leader did not only lack enough time to direct a succession,
but he could not even prepare his testament.
He had to turn back. If he wanted to survive, he had to go
retrace the road. The institutional normalization (the term for the
reestablishment of full bourgeois hegemony) required eliminating the
concessions and social victories in a country whose capitalism, if it wants to
be competitive, cannot afford a decent like for the working class. That
turnabout meant breaking the alliances in the least painful way possible for
the regime. As long as agrarian rent remained vital, there was no need for
harsh interventions. But when it starts to show alarm signals, it would have to
take recourse to the scalpel. The death of Néstor Kirchner does not modify
these tasks significantly, but it brings forward the political crisis that they
In his last night, the ex-president had three issues between
him and sleep: the murder of Mariano Ferreyra ,  he argument with Moyano and
the “treason” of Scioli . The first, because it threatened an investigation
which could lead to the very entrails of power: the Secretary of Transport and
Julio De Vido . Pedraza  was a political corpse, but he was not going to
give up without talking. In any case, he could not permit that the railroad
sector approached, not even closely, the situation which had taken place with
the underground train system and the struggle for an independent trade union. Not
even as a possible hypothesis.
Secondly, because, with the comatose state of Balestrini ,
the trucker (Moyano) had a right to claim the leadership of the province as
first vice-president of the Partido Justicialista-PJ (Justicialista party, the main
Peronist party). Néstor had programmed a collegiate body to avoid the battering
of Moyano, but the latter moved ahead and convoked a congress of the party.
Kirchner and the governors emptied it out, but he (Moyano) managed to make
himself voted nonetheless, without giving information on the number of
delegates. As a threat, the ex-president approved that judge Oyarbide  provided
data to the judge Bonadío, who investigates the truckers trade-union for its
connections with the “medicines mafia” (the racketeering of adulterated
medicines which has been reaping rapidly growing profits in the Kirchner period
and, some maintain, involves the government and its milieu). That last night,
Hugo (Moyano) has asked Néstor to put the brakes on the proceedings, and
received a “door slam” negative. The second vice-president of the PJ of the
province is another Cristina (not Cristina Kirchner) whose name the reader will
begin to hear more frequently: Cristina Álvarez Rodríguez, Infrastructure
minister of the province of Buenos Aires. That is to say, the one who handles
all the money for public works. Cristina built the group Peronismo 2020,
aligned with Scioli.
This was his third problem. The governor of the Buenos Aires
province and vice-president of the Justicialista party had begun a
rapprochement with the dissident peronism movement, through the “group of 8” (8
critical intendants, among them Bruera and Massa ) and José Pampuro ,
the nexus with Duhalde, who was kicked out of kirchnerism.
These three ruptures, which could have been amortized, will
explode, each one in its own way. The case of Mariano Ferreyra already has a
sixth arrested suspect. In an action with little forethought, and somewhat
desperate, the government promised to pass the 1,500 “tercerizados” (workers in
informal conditions) to permanent plant . It is, except for the
intervention of some miracle, the end of Pedraza in the leadership of the Unión
Ferroviaria. He is thus to lose his assets in the Roca railroad line and his
overall mandate is in grave peril because, who will these 1,500 compañeros vote
for? Those who gave their life to get normal job conditions or the boss who
wanted to stop them at gunshot?
The other two problems synthesize the heart of the bourgeois political
structure: the Buenos Aires province. With Kirchner deceased, there is no
reason for some of the leaders of federal peronism to hold back and return to
the fold. Felipe Solá  seems to have signed up and De Narváez  had
already stricken up conversations with incumbent akin to the government. The
bridge is Scioli, then there is the usual refuse, unpresentable characters for
any election like Duhalde, Rodríguez Saá, Puerta and Barrionuevo. On the other
hand, the lures of the PRO  will also be eroded in the proximate future.
The obstacle to all of this is, in principle, Moyano. Not because of his
“style”, but because he requires the sustenance of transfers to his trade-union
in order to maintain his social base. After the funeral, Moyano met with Méndez,
the incumbent of the UIA –Argentine Industrial Union-, and with De Mendiguren . He offered to formalize the Economic and Social
Committee to maintain the “peace”. The industrial groups put the condition that
he lifted his profit sharing project in the deputies’ chamber. The trucker
suspended the project, but this will not be enough.
If the rapprochement with federal peronism begins to
prosper, the whole arc represented by Pérsico, D’ Elía, Madres (Mothers of
Plaza de Mayo, who seek justice for their children and victims of the military
dictatorship) y la CTA (Spanish: Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos, is a
trade-union federation in Argentina)  will have to abandon the kirchnerist
experience. Perhaps this will be the opportunity for Pino Solanas  to amass
people for his project (including the unification of the CTA). In the
radicalismo movement, the figure of Cobos  the guides which impelled him
(Aguad, Morales) will begin to haze in favor of Ricardo Alfonsín , who
will try to show himself as progressive leader, but without the awkward
alliances which peronism usually demands.
At last, the Lady...
It is not about establishing an immediate forecast, but of
pointing at a tendency. The political motions augured a crisis after the
elections of 2011. This crisis will come to a head because the bourgeois
leadership will attempt to close the cycle of this era. These motions will not
be painless. More than one party will be put to the test and more than one
party will stay in the middle of the road. The left will not have an easy
scenario, but it has an opportunity to grow in a dynamic which will be marked
by a transitory confusion of the enemy’s ranks, as the product of the death of
one of its generals, with no testament of order of succession.
Beyond whether these new alliances will be forged, as things
are today, the candidacy of Cristina Kirchner in 2011 will hardly be
questioned. Looking at the polls, there is hardly anyone to take her place. However,
the problem is in the alliances which will support the lady. If kirchnerism
breaks up, it appears more probable that the president will stay in an Alliance
with sectors of the right, once it is purged of its more unpresentable
characters. The one who will operate and truly lead this space will be Daniel
Scioli. Those who join up (Solá, De Narváez) will surely request a garment in
exchange, but today this is only speculation. The only way such resolution
would be avoided with the entering in the scene of an intransigent Máximo
(Kirchner’s son) and his “Cámpora” [Máximo Kirchner’s political group], which
is a whole mystery in itself.
Eduardo Duhalde commands the political apparatus
of the Justicialista Party in the Buenos Aires province. Having been the
president who ceded power to Kirchner, he confirmed on December 23, 2009 his
intention to run again for the Presidency. Stating that former President Néstor
Kirchner “has now become addicted to power”, he will face whichever candidate
backed by current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a primary within
the Justicialista Party.
Sandro, famous singer of romantic ballads.
Ferreyra, 23 year-old militant of the trotskyist party Partido Obrero who was
murdered by the hooligans of the Union Ferroviaria for participating in a
protest in support of workers who were enduring precarious labor conditions.
Daniel Scioli is the current governor of the
province of Buenos Aires, he started in politics in the menemist movement,
largely to improve its decaying image.
The current President's Minister of Planning and
Public Works, who is having a fight with Moyano for the subsidies of the
Secretary of Transport.
José Ángel Pedraza controls the Union
Ferroviaria –the main railroad union - who has a long-standing history of
managing the politics of its bureaucracy with hooliganism and was backed by the
government, until the murder of Ferreyra at least.
The vice-governor of the province of the Buenos
Aires province and president of the Justicialista party of the province since
2009, who has been hospitalized since April-2010.
Norberto Oyarbide, a controversial judge who has
dealt with important cases, from the prosecution of the military junta to the
investigation of government functionaries since the Menem period and including
the Kirchner presidential couple itself.
Pablo Bruera, incumbent of the La Plata section
of the Justicialista party.
Sergio Massa, Justicialista Party
politician who was the President's Cabinet Chief from July 2008 to July 2009,
until the current incumbent Anibal Fernandez took the post. He oversaw the
transference of private pension funds to the ANSES -the social security system.
José Pampuro, member of the Justicialista Party,
was formerly a Defense Minister and is currently a senator for Buenos Aires
Province. He serves as the Senate provisional President and is second in line
for the presidential succession.
The very reason the protest had been organized
for, which ended tragically in the murder of the 23 year-old militant of the
Partido Obrero at the hand of the Unión Ferroviaria hooligans.
Felipe Solá, politician of the Justicialista
Party (Peronism) and was the governor of the province of Buenos Aires until he
left office in 2007. Solá left duhaldism to align with the Kirchners for some
time but the then became estranged from the leadership of the Kirchners and
left their Front for Victory to sit as a dissident Peronist. Ahead of the
elections of June 2009, he has been working with Francisco de Narváez and
Mauricio Macri to present a united centre-right coalition of fellow dissident
Peronists and the Republican Proposal (PRO) party.
Francisco De Narváez, politician who ran for
governor of Buenos Aires Province on the PRO (in the right of the political
spectrum) ballot in the 2007 elections in Argentina. He is currently a member
of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.
PRO, Center-right political party of the
opposition to the government.
Jose de Mendiguren leads the Ministry of
Production, created in 2008 as a division of the Ministry f of Economy and
dealing largely with plans in agriculture, stockbreeding and commerce.
(Spanish: Central de los Trabajadores
Argentinos, CTA) is a trade-union federation in Argentina. Its general
secretary is Hugo Yasky. It was formed in 1991 when a number of trade unions
disaffiliated from the General Confederation of Labor (CGT). Though the CTA is
a multi-tendency organization, it is led by unionists with a Social Christian
viewpoint. There are also Peronist, Communist and Trotskyist minorities in the
Fernando (Pino) Solanas, [Argentine film
director, screenwriter and politician. An outspoken critic of the Menem
government who was physically attacked for his views. In 2009, Solanas was
elected as National Deputy for the city of Buenos Aires on the June 28th
parliamentary elections, as his party Proyecto Sur became the second force on
the city by collecting the 24.2% of the votes.
The current vice-president. Cobos, who was
governor of the Mendoza province, comes from the radicalismo movement but he
was kicked out when he joined the Kirchner candidacy. Later he aligned with the
opposition and his expulsion was revoked.
Aguad and Morales are members of the Union
Civica Radical, main party of radicalismo.
Ricardo Alfonsín, son of Raúl Alfonsín.
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