Argentina in the doldrums (was Re: New Cacerolazo in Buenos Aires city)

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
Sat Dec 29 07:57:31 MST 2001


Hello. This answers to a posting by Gustavo Westerkamp on the Marxism list. But 
I think that it deserves widespread dissemination.

En relación a New Cacerolazo in Buenos Aires city, 
el 28 Dec 01, a las 23:30, Gustavo Westerkamp dijo:

> Dear camarades : A new cacerolazo is taking place in the central
> square of Plaza de Mayo .The people is going from all the boundaries
> of the city to require the supreme court to resign to their places
> . As you know that court has absolved Ex president Menem the champion
> of liberalization , and corruption .

The mobilisation against the Supreme Court had begun after a calling by the 
Association of Labor Lawyers. However, some of the constituency of the march 
yesterday night was moved by less, er, laudable motives.

> 
> Also is askin to many corrupt members of the goverment to resign . the
> people dont want to delegate more to the corrupt politicians of the
> establishmnet their representation.The people is giving form to
> popular assemblys that are shaping the new form of representation.We
> are at the edge of a new age.

"The people" this time is a deceiving word, in fact. What we had yesterday 
night was quite different from what we had on the 19th of december. It was a 
mobilisation of the "cultured" sectors of the lower middle classes, and of the 
high middle classes. The deeply popular element, the ordinary people, was quite 
absent. The mobilisation began yesterday night in two characteristic uppity 
middle class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires (Belgrano and Caballito, there's 
even a joke in a facetious map of Buenos Aires designed by Geno Díaz in 1970 
where Caballito is aptly defined as the quarter of "ascending and aspiring 
petty bourgeoisie" or something to the effect). From those sources, the 
movement spread elsewhere in the city. An important difference with what 
happened on December 19th, which was informed to me by at least three persons, 
is that while on the Dec 19th mobilisation passengers of city buses (obviously 
disrupted from normal traffic by the mass of people) shared the feelings of the 
manifestants, and joined in cheers with them, yesterday night most passengers 
of the buses were very upset and wondered "what do these want now". In the same 
line, popular neighborhoods, as a contrast with the 19th, were not that much 
affected. In my own neighborhood, it was a much smaller meeting than on the 
19th, and it was reduced to the most "intellectual" core of the neighborhood.  
Ordinary people were absent, this I can testify as eyewitness.

Reasons why? The mobilisation was essentially fueled through Internet, which is 
far from a popular thing here. And this is a meaningful issue.

The basic request of the petty bourgeois "intelligentsia" and "half-
intelligentsia" that constituted this mobilisation was the expulsion of Carlos 
Grosso, a former Buenos Aires City Major who was appointed by Rodríguez Saá to 
an official post of minor importance. Grosso is much hated (not without 
reasons) by the population of Buenos Aires.  There was also a side request, 
that was that the Court should resign (which is good in fact, much better than 
the request that Grosso resigns). 

To wit: Grosso resigned immediately, yesterday night. This is something that I 
hope the fools who went to the streets will take into account, and compare with 
the criminal and heinous attitude of the "democratic" and "civilized" Radicals. 
And as to the Supreme Court, one of the promotors of the "cacerolazo" against 
the Court is beginning to appear as a candidate for a high post in the Labor 
Ministry.

But I am afraid that the glue that pasted the whole thing together was not 
precisely of such a high moral quality.

One of the things that is in debate right now, far higher away from the petty 
bourgeois moralistic requests of the mobilisations, is the question of who 
shall pay for the enormous default and drainage that has suffered Argentina, 
particularly during the last weeks of the rule of Cavallo / de la Rúa.

In fact, Cavallo left the country with less than 4 bn dollars in liquid 
reserves, while he declared he was holding 18 bn dollars. This means that it 
will be still more difficult to put an end to the "corralito" (that is, little 
stockyard) that has been imposed on deposits in the banks than it was expected. 
There is simply no money to honor this debt, the debt of the financial system 
with the Argentineans who had some money in the banks. There are 70 bn dollars 
captured there, and the proposition of Rodríguez Saá is obviously to return 
that money in non-convertible money so that it remains captured within 
Argentina and it cannot be extracted. Please understand this: every cent of all 
those savings that could be extracted now would immediately fly away from the 
country. This is one of those cases where personal interest and patriotism 
collide, and this is why I think that the Pancho Villa solution is the only one 
that can work here.

Yesterday morning, some judge enforced the Buenos Aires Municipal Bank (the 
bank of the city of Buenos Aires, an official institution) to return u$s 200 
000 to a person who had deposited them as personal savings there. In the 
afternoon, a ruling from the Supreme Court declared the decission void, and 
that this person would have to return the money to the bank.

This sparked a hysterical rage among petty and mid investors, who are beginning 
to discover the deep meaning of what has been happening in Argentina during 
these last decades. It is this state of rage, together with the sturdy anti-
Peronism of the middle classes (which stupid measures such as the appointment 
of Grosso by Rodríguez Saá cannot but enhance), that glued the variegated mass 
of people together yesterday night.  It was very funny (?) to see aristocratic 
ladies clapping and banging the pans of their kitchens at the corner of Guido 
and Callao, for example. Most probably, the pans were amazed to see that it was 
their owners, not the maids, who were waving them for the first time in their 
life.  It was very meaningful to see these ladies and their husbands spurt 
their anti-Peronist rage against the Government, which of course was 
intolerable. These same people were proposing the arch-criminal Manuel Solanet 
for Minister of Economy during the mobilisations which threw de la Rúa down 
(they had mobilised against Cavallo BECAUSE CAVALLO WAS TOO MILD, and the 
course of events robbed them of that victory). Now, they want to de-Peronize 
Rodríguez Saá as soon as possible. So that, again, there is more to all this 
than a mere catharsis of the petty bourgeois "cultured layers" of Buenos Aires. 

What we are witnessing is, IMHO, a strong movement from the most reactionary 
corners of our society to bend the will of the President, to have him kneel 
down in front of the Great Electors of the Justicialista Party, and to impose 
either a catastrophic devaluation or a dollarisation which put the whole burden 
on our people's shoulders. It is within this general framework that we must 
understand the -of course- _formally_ justifiable mobilisations of yesterday 
night.

It is my impression, that once more in its long carreer of blunders, the petty 
bourgeoisie of Buenos Aires has worked in the hands of its butchers without a 
slight idea of what has happened. And in its also long carreer of blunders, the 
Peronist government has needlessly trodden on the toes of the said petty 
bourgeoisie.

In a terrible sense, we are facing the same dilemma of 1955. At that fatal 
year, Perón had tho chose between murdering his own people or advancing against 
the oligarchs. He did none of those. He simply resigned and accepted exile. 
Now, the horizon is beginning to bring a similar option. Either with the people 
or with the oligarchs, this is the dilemma of Rodríguez Saá. He has the option 
of accepting the 90 day limit to his rule, which will -if accepted- vaporize 
the eventual capital that he could accrue from a dynamic, patriotic 
administration (that is, he would also opt for a kind of exile, an exile from 
national politics and a resignation to his aspirations to become a national 
figure).

As I keep saying: we shall see. Today, we are in the doldrums. The 
mobilisations of yesterday night have helped us into this situation IMHO.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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Compañeros del exercito de los Andes. 

...La guerra se la tenemos de hacer del modo que podamos: 
sino tenemos dinero, carne y un pedazo de tabaco no nos 
tiene de faltar: cuando se acaben los vestuarios, nos 
vestiremos con la bayetilla que nos trabajen nuestras mugeres, 
y sino andaremos en pelota como nuestros paisanos los indios: 
seamos libres, y lo demás no importa nada...

Jose de San Martín, 27 de julio de 1819.

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