Some reflections on Argentina

jaquero jaquer0 at
Thu Dec 20 22:48:46 MST 2001

The spontaneous popular uprisings in Argentina mark a qualitiative change in
the political situation in that country with potentially historic
importance, not just for Argentina, but the world.

That because the country has a large and fairly well organized labor
movement, in which a left wing that is more combative than the traditional
union bureacrats has already emerged, as well as a living tradition  of a
powerful national movement through which the working class expressed many of
its aspirations and achieved significant conquests.

The central immediate issues at stake -- first and foremost the payment of
the foreign debt, and then the whole panoply of neoliberal economic treason,
from privatization to convertibility at a one-to-one parity -- are decisive
for the Third World.

Argentina has one of the largest debts of any third world country.  An
Argentine moratorium of debt service payments, which is impossible to avoid,
should be immediately followed by similar moratoriums by all the other
countries of the Third World. But even if it is not immediately supported by
similar actions by other countries, Argentina's default itself will lead to
the country risk premium shooting sky high, and making thereby the debt
burden on other Third World countries impossible to bear.

In the Latin American context, for several years it has been evident that
there is a growing crisis of legitimacy of the existing bourgeois regimes.
Even with billions of American dollars and hundreds of American mercenaries,
the local Colombian administration (such a servile puppet of imperialism
does not deserve to be referred to as a "government") has been unable to
quash the guerrilla insurgencies. The mass movement that erupted in Ecuador
a year or two ago was temporarily stymied, but it has not been dealt a
crushing, decisive defeat. In Venezuela the old corrupt two-party regime has
wound up in the trash can of history with a vigorous sweep of the Bolivarian
revolution's broom, and it looks like many big landlords will soon join
their class brethren from the political parties in  the museums of
antiquity. In México, the U.S.-supported one party regime of the PRI has
been broken, and some of the crimes of the PRI governments, such as the
Tlatelolco massacre and the campaign of disappearances of student
activists-- are beginning to be exposed.

The gusano, which used to be a distinctively Cuban social type, is becoming
transformed into a Latin American-wide phenomenon. In Miami you can now find
Venezuelan gusanos, Colombian gusanos, Ecuadorean gusanos, Mexican gusanos,
and it will be interesting to see whether the Argentine gusanos are going to
wind up in Miami or, following their anglofile tradition, if they wind up in
Britain instead.

There is one factor in Latin America which is of special importance to this
region, although, of course, it is not without significance to the Third
World as a whole.

And that is the existence and survival of the Cuban revolution, which,
despite all the imperialist slanders and attacks, remains a powerful example
that is especially immediate for the toiling masses throughout the

Cuba's existence is proof irrefutable that the revolution is possible, that
the people can make it, that no force on this earth is capable of stopping a
people determined to win its national and social liberation. And that one
can not just survive quite well without becoming a colonial subject of

This is not, of course, the first time that promising revolutionary
developments have been seen in Latin America since 1959. But things are
different now. Reformism in the workers movement is much weaker
strategically than it has been before. This for a couple of reasons. One is
the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in the USSR. Another is the post-Cold
War mode of imperialist exploitation, which is materially destroying the
relatively privileged layers of the working class and pettite bourgeoisie in
the semicolonial countries. And a third is that reformists of various
stripes have become increasingly identified with and pliant tools of
neoliberal imperialist policies.

Nothing is fore-ordained, nothing is "inevitable", everything will be
decided in the course of the actual struggle. But while the imperialist
bourgeoisie was distracted marvelling at the murder machine they were able
to deploy to Afghanistan, Argentina blew up, and it isn't the kind of
problem that can be solved with stealth bombers and anglo-imperialist

This is the real deal -- as real as it gets.


PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list