Galeano and the mood of the middle classes (was Re: Cheerful Tidings...by Eduardo Galeano)

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Sun Dec 3 16:20:05 MST 2000


En relación a Cheerful Tidings...by Eduardo Galeano,
el 3 Dec 00, a las 16:26, Saul Thomas dijo:

> Cheerful Tidings...
>
> Eduardo Galeano
>
> Culture of imports, society of imposters, kingdom of the fatuous.

Thank you, Saul, for this.

Galeano has been growing up with time, his understanding of Latin America has
only increased and deepened with the years (a great feat for an Uruguayan from
Montevideo, indeed!), and his prose has been stripped off its lacrimogenous
musings that still plagued such a good book as _The open veins_.

I think it is a particular moment in the River Plate, and Galeano is giving
witness of that moment. Hope in the system, even in individual salvation within
generalized wreckage, is beginning to die at the shores of the lion-colored
river.  The middle classes are slowly facing the fact that none of their
leaders will be able to give them a way out. The different experiences have
been tested to the end, and all of them have failed.

In Uruguay, the most probable future scenario will be that of a Frente Amplio
government against a bloc, the bloc of the Nacional (Blanco) and Colorado
parties, which will be welded forever against the Frente Amplio. This Frente
Amplio will give voice (and will attempt to give action) to the vast masses of
Uruguayan wage earners and to the petty bourgeoisie of Montevideo, which will
be a hard task in the current conditions. Suffice it to say that every
Uruguayan knows the secret of the relative stability of their society: half
their population lives abroad. What would an American say of a system that
makes, say, one hundred million Americans live abroad? Well, this is beginning
to become the common sense feeling in Uruguay.

And, across the river, what do we see? All the illusions of our middle classes
have melted away as the different "ancien regime" options were tested. Military-
oligarchic dictatorships (from Videla to Bignone, 1976-82), "scrupulous" petty
bourgeois presidents who did not dare kill the monster and were swallowed by it
(Alfonsín, 1983-1989, who had to resign before his term), a roguish gang of
petty bourgeois and declasses from the poorer provinces who looted the State
and sold out the country to foreign capitals (Menem), and now a "serious,
impollute" right-wing "statesman" who headed a coallition of middle class and
wage earning petty bourgeois to power, only to waste all its political capital
in less than a year.

The answer to all this experience has been the massive strike that slapped the
face of the establishment and forced the representatives at the Congress to
reject the outrageous Article 58 of the law for the 2001 Budget. This did not
mean too much in practical terms, because (a) the new "Economic emergency" laws
allow the Executive to perform all the instructions by the IMF no matter what
the Congress says, and (b) the Executive declared immediately upon the
decission that "they were to perform their duty no matter what does the
Congress say".

The petty bourgeois in Argentina has at last discovered the naked and dark
future that lays ahead. While in an imperialist country we would be at the
doors of some form of fascism, what we may expect here is a radicalization of
the whole society, as displayed during the strike.  More than 70% Argentineans
believe (and they are right) that 2001 will be worse yet than 2000. Thus, the
mood changes because the last experience of the "ancien regime" has been
traversed. There does not seem to remain too much of a place for new electoral
tricks.

At the same time, a gang of "establishment Leftists" has begun, these last
weeks, a joint operation against the Izquierda Nacional to which I belong. Not
that we are very important, but their Pavlovian reaction reveals the systemic
fear (in a structural sense) of a radicalization and renationalization of the
new generations. So that they began to strike against us, in their old usual
slandering ways, just in case.

Bad news for them. We shall answer. We were waiting for this great moment to
arrive. We shall step on their articles in order to reinsert ourselves in the
Universities. And at the same time, while working class militancy rises, while
the jobless masses block roads in desperation and decission, and while our
military watch what goes on in Venezuela, the economic system lives it Twilight
of the Gods (crumbling under the weight of fast increasing imports, not so fast
increasing exports, destruction of the domestic market, and financial
asphyxia).

Everybody here is beginning to discover that the model is already doomed, or WE
are doomed. And Galeano is expressing this certainty with his wonderful
articles.

I guess we in the River Plate shall give material to the imperialist press very
soon...

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar





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