Argentina after the resignation of the Vice President

Les Schaffer godzilla at
Thu Oct 19 07:46:52 MDT 2000

[bounced from unsubbed Nestor]

Since L-I moderator Johannes Schneider has been kind enough to resend
this posting in Spanish (due to formatting reasons it had reached
well over the 40 kb limit, and he took the pain to reformat it), I
thought I should translate it for everyone's benefit.

An analysis on the resignation of Vice President Alvarez follows. The
analysis has been drafted by a comrade of mine at the Partido de la
Izquierda Nacional, and is now being distributed in leaflets here.
But you can consider it mine, even personal.

Resignation of Vice President Alvarez


The resignation of Carlos Alvarez as Vice President closes the
short chapter of an Alliance conceived of as a ruling agreement that
should have lasted a whole period. Politically speaking, the Alianza is
destroyed, no matter what formalities might be imagined
to generate a formal continuity. The crisis was prompted by a
decision of President De la Rúa, who ratified in their posts government
officials directly involved in corrupt practices, reinforcing by the same
movement the most reactionary component of his administration. It was
an unmistakable sign, which rent asunder the progressive and the conservative
wings of the Alianza. De la Rúa, this grey and dull character, rose
to Presidential responsibilities, to a decissive extent, thanks
to the vote of the "progressive" layers of the middle class
represented by the party of Alvarez, the FREPASO. What was he
thinking about when he made up his mind on the cabinet modification,
when he rewarded unscrupulous parvenus such as Flamarique and
Patricia Bullrich, while at the same time he ratified the best representative
of usury as a head of the intelligence service, and included still another
conservative to the government as chief of cabinet? Maybe he thought he
would be able to still merrily use the Frepaso leadership as a cover up
for the reactionary nature of his administration, hiding it behind the timeless
values of social progress and ethical purity in the administration of public matters,
while he kept an impunity agreement running, on his right side, with
Menem and Menemism?
A risky bet for someone who has little more in his head than the hollow
impressionist moves suggested by the equally hollow ad-men
around him. It was simply too much. The progressives coincided seamlessly
with the conservatives in the need to preserve and reinforce the
socio-economic model inherited from Menemism. They would make any
kind of gestures and postures to win over the confidence of the representatives
of international financial parasitism and domestic monopoly
corporations. They were decided to support any measure that would
be deemed necessary to earn for themselves their support. But they
_did_ differ on how the mandate bestowed by the ruling circles was to be


The popular Chacho [nickname of the Vice President, NMG] said during his
mediatic explanation of his resignation, that he was "convinced
that we are facing a final crisis in the ways politics is done". What his words
actually announces was the inception of a political operation that
seeks to rebuild a field for the center-left, a field that has been
completely blurred away by the cruel light cast by the truth of the
Alianza government.  The brave tribune of Palermo Viejo [an upper
middle class quarter in Buenos Aires] had supported, with a spirit
of sacrifice worth admiring, the new labor code which imposed a
flexibilization-precarization of working conditions such as
requested by the IMF; he had swallowed the tax reform, directed against
the middle classes and the popular sections of our society while favoring
the "juridic security" of the speculators at the Stock Exchange and the
financial industry; he said nothing against the cut in the wages of state
personnel, etc.  He had been acting as the Good Angel of the "progressive"
Minister of Economy Machinea and his neoliberal programme. But he realized
that all his credit among the petty bourgeoisie was running away like water in
the hands, due to the collapsing economic policy and the atmosphere of corruption
and impunity in which the administration of tasteless De la Rúa  was beginning
to be wrapped up. Thus, the chief of the Frepaso decided to return
to his origin: a political force which will support the model (that
is, open imports, fixed exchange rates, privatization and foreign
ownership of economy, a State subordinate to the interests of monopoly
capital, and whatever additional measure that strengthen the
current pattern of accumulation based upon the hegemony of foreign banks and
domestic monopoly groups in asociation with the imperialist corporations)
BUT, ah, yes, with administrative probity and transparency! It is around
the campaign against corruption that the camp of the center-left is reorganized.
But the ongoing political operation is still more ambitious. The parties of
Cavallo and Béliz, to the right of the "progressives", are
also working in a similar political construction.  What both
moves are pointing to is at a modification in the axis of alliances of
the political model that keeps what is substantial in its contents untouched.
If the manoeuver is succesful, it may hit the ranks of the dissidence in
the Radical party and of Antimenemism in the Justicialista [that is
Social Justice, ex "Peronist"] party.  It may also reach some
provincial parties as well. Just cast a glance at the list of
supporters of Carlos Alvarez as short as he announced his

Once again, the "ethic and moralizing" discourse of our protagonic
heroes is a gravity center that rearticulates a host of values and
aspirations of vast social layers, nauseated by ten years
of ostentatious corruption, frivolousness and abuse of power under Menem,
and also outraged by the continuism of the Alianza administration, even on this
plane of life. It is, from any point of view, a false axis:
if we remit the structural problems of dependency (booming growth
of foreign  indebtedness, peaking unemployment and underemployment,
increasing precarization and overexploitation of the workforce,
soaring social marginalization, etc.) to the plane of public ethics
and "healthy administration" the aspirations of large tracts of the
society for a change are taken to a dead end. Chacho Alvarez and
his mates are returning to their origins also in this sense. It is worth remembering
that, in 1993, the Frente Grande [the group of Alvarez, hegemonic
in the FREPASO] was the end result of a political operation
organized by a rejuventated petty bourgeois leadership, where the future
head of the center-left and Pino Solanas, with the assistance of the
Communist Party and full support of the newspapers Clarín and Página 12,
joined forces in order to elliminate the popular, democratic and antiimperialist
wing that had developed in the Frente del Sur. It was clear already by then that
formal democratism of liberal origin has the greatest political role.  It is one
of the instruments of ideolgoic domination used by the circles in power to
impose a direction on the middle classes, thus blocking the possibility
of an opening towards the working class.  It is under the sign of this
democratism, which has emptied of sense the original institutions of
popular sovereignty, that the reorganizations of the middle class against
the socially democratic, rich in mass support, governments, have taken place.
Yrigoyen was combatted as a "demagogue", Perón as a "fascist", and
in our own times, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is put
a "tremendous" and "demolishing" adjective on his back: populist.
Mass media are ruled by a mixture of ignorance and bad faith, and
so are the large party apparatuses. But this cannot hide away the class
roots of this political operation that the "center-left" has already begun,
and in objective combination with moves that take place at the liberal
right. The Alianza government, in just ten months, has finished with
its ability to raise any hope in the vast middle layers of society, and
the crisis, that advances in full speed, makes it twice as necessary to
reformulate the alliances on which status quo is estabilized.


Menemism and the right wing of the Radical party around De la Rúa have already
reached the same conclusion. The President and his predecessor thus
secretly mett, on Sunday September 3rd., and in the dark put new
value to the impunity agreement sealed in the "transitional" p
riod, and agreed on carrying the scandal of bribery in the Senate
 to the dead end of a subject justice. All this, at the time most
journalists are asleep. Menemism had an immediate, lightning speed, reaction,
after the resignation of Alvarez was known; they immediately offered support to
De la Rúa (as a contribution to "gubernability", which allows us not to make
any further comment on how the line of continuityevelops in the "center-right"
between the Pink House (the House of Government) and the Sultanate of
Anillaco (where Menem has his summer residence).  Menem, a restless
speaker for international financial parasitism and vulgar agent of the
Department of State of the USA, a character most Argentinians hate and
despise, has triumphally reappeared as a guarantor of the administration
of a president who does not blush when he claims to be "heading the moral
leadership of the Nation".  This is too grotesque a farce, and the rotten
marrow of traditional leaderships all too evident.  Thus, political
relocations, and the ongoing reformulation of the systems of alliance,
are simply the display of a crisis in representativity, which anticipates
a crisis in hegemony of the diverse forces that work in order to
reproduce the current semicolonial model.


A historic cycle is worn away.  Peronism was the last opportunity that
Argentina was offered to raise to the level of an independent capitalist
country.  Facing the old agro-exporting country, under the heel of
a financial and landowning oligarchy in association with British
imperialism, the endeavour that more than half a century ago was
attempted by the then Colonel Perón was a notorious step ahead in history.
That is why heon the support of the working masses, during a whole
historic period.  This progressiveness has finished long ago.  The recurrency
of crises in old and new traditional forces are the most evident expression
that that historic path cannot be begun again if we do not give to earth
a political and social order that condemns the whole country to an
irrepressible decadence, and steals the future away from millions of
Argentinians. The crisis of representativity, in the meantime, does
its job. On the one side, it generates reordering after reordering within
the party structures, and on the other it gives increased clarity to the
definition of antagonic blocs. Workers as a whole, and vast tracts
of the middle classes, have no place at all in the programmes that
strictly stick to the imperialist "globalization" regime.  For the time
being, and through the rebel CGT, the CTA and the CCC, workers
are waging rear guard battles.  But the lines of a new, vast national-popular
movement with a radically anti-imperialist bias are also generated through
these side combats.  Workers and wage earning petty bourgeoisie have
already reached the outermost limits of union struggle.  The crisis,
at the same time, has brought to maturity the best conditions for the
construction of a political direction in the movement of the masses
by reorganizing the middle layers of the system of working class cadres.
It is in that direction that workers and the whole national-popular bloc
will wage the next strategic battles: in the direction of setting the homeland
free from dependency on the imperialist order, and in the direction of
emancipation of any form of class exploitation and unequality.

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