[Marxism] FWD: Argentines Burn U.S. Flag to Protest Sending Troops to Haiti
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Fri Jul 2 07:26:47 MDT 2004
Today we are oranizing a great national march against the wave of
police crimes and police inactivity that amount to a general strike
of the "security" forces, which strike counts on full support of the
media. By "we" I mean the whole social movement in Argentina,
differences blurred for this event by the murder of Martín "Oso"
Cisneros, a recent police crime that took place at less than half a
mile of my home, and around the corner of the site of one of our
social organizations, Aukache.
More on this, on the last two paragraphs of this posting. But I
began with this paragraph my comments to the piece of news sent by
David W. because I believe this issue to be the adequate answer to
the stupid, elitist and in the last instance reactionary move by
Quebracho (this posting tries to explain the reasons for such heavy
BTW: it is a long time since most people on the leftist and
progressive movement in Argentina wonder whether Quebracho is not
heavily infiltrated by agents. I don't know, nor do I care. The
fact is that if they were _all_ agents, at least they would be on
someone's payroll, and it would be a step ahead. Unfortunately,
there are enough fools in Argentina (particularly in Buenos Aires) to
do the same job for free...
This action we are organizing today is important to understand why
these news on a micro-sect burning an US flag lack the
"revolutionary" impact that David would like to see. They oppose
_mass action_ on concrete local issues where imperialist penetration
finds expression in everyday life terms to _small group action_ on
abstract issues that can interest only on the symbolic plan.
Fact is: burning an American flag (or a dozen) in Argentina is as
effective a political action as burning an Argentinean flag (or a
dozen) in the US, sorry to harm American patriotic pride. People
simply don't care about such a thing, however painful it might be for
American Legion veterans, and however sympathetic it might sound to
These are typical "for-the-news" actions, not serious politics. And
this is the way people take them, as a part of the "political show of
What really matters in Argentina today is whether you are critically
supporting the weak and not wholly reliable Kirchner government
against the IMF, against the mass media (which -I will stress it more
than once on this posting- have become the _actual_ political party
of reaction, like in Venezuela), and against the police forces who
are in a state of silent but open rebellion against the
This is so because the administration is slowly (too slowly for my
taste) but steadily cleaning them of corrupt and overtly criminal
officers, and curtailing the delictive benefits they obtained in half
a century of degradation (shares in any kind of common crime you can
think of, this is very well depicted on the _El bonaerense_ film that
Louis Proyect did not like too much). This degradation, which was
particularly intense during the Proceso but had begun decades before,
has turned them into almost just another branch of organized crime:
this was the price paid by the ruling classes to have them handy when
repression was necessary, and the whole thing began with the illegal
shootings of 9 June 1956. The recent crime of Martín "Oso" Cisneros
has been the last expression of this struggle of the police forces
against the administration --and people in general.
And _this_ is the burning issue today.
Anything else is a symbolic gesture without popular impact. BTW:
There was not only flag-burning at Quebracho's action. Tyres were
burned, rubbish was distributed on the streetwalk, the monument to
the heroes of Malvinas was dessecrated, etc. A wonderful way to gain
the sympathy of passers-by and a good image on the media.
Unfortunately, these actions may gain the sympathy of David Walters
but there are few like him in the Argentinean people, and this is not
meant against David at all, it is simply meant for common sense.
The important thing here is the political meaning of the action, and
at this level we must bluntly state that such "revolutionary
mobilisations" only serve the worst interests. Not only for the
reasons above, but for a more important one: they hamper and slow
down the current process of change in the political consciousness of
the Armed Forces. And this is not only bad, this is a political
crime, because the Armed Forces in Argentina are shifting from their
old positions, where the main enemy was the _internal, domestic_
enemy (that is: their main task was occupation of their own land
against their own countrypeople), towards a more "national and
popular" approach, where "total national defense" forces them to seek
the enemy elsewhere.
The combined lessons of the Proceso, Malvinas, and the "rotten
democracy" (1976-2001) have, at last, begun to infiltrate into the
usually hard skulls of the military, this is a basic fact, and
actions such as that by Quebracho don't exactly help this
infiltration to accelerate its tempo.
Some evident examples of the most recent weeks: under direct orders
(and on the spot supervision) of President Kirchner, Gral. Bendini,
Commander in Chief of the Army himself, has taken out the portraits
of Videla and Bignone (the opening and closing Presidents of the 1976-
82 Proceso) of the gallery of Directors of the Military High School;
and in a clear gesture of derision he did it with gloved hands, as if
he did not want to have them stained by the faces of these criminals.
Even the Navy, the most reactionary of the Armed Forces, has
recognized its role in the 1976-82 period through a strong statement
by its Commander in Chief, Admiral Godoy, which execrates the
leadership of those times. The Air Force had also done same, much
earlier, in fact.
Yes. At last, the Argentinean Armed Forces, that classical example of
reactionary pro-imperialist militia, seem to be shifting (and for
good) not only towards rejection of the crimes committed almost 30
years ago, but of _the whole conception that presided over them since
1955_. The new military generations want nothing with all those
commanders and high officers who led the institution to that hell of
murder and depravation. This is _fact_. Hard, interesting, and
At the same time, under the new commands, the Armed Forces are
beginning to involve themselves in industrialization again, which is
the royal way to turn their minds towards a true conception of "total
defence", the starting point for revolutionary military nationalism
the Third World over in fact. The Commander in Chief of the Army has
declared, publicly, that "every military unit will be a unit of
production", thus opening up a potential -and concrete, not
discursive- road towards a new wave of military industrial
nationalism, the most hated nightmare of imperialists in the River
In short: the Armed Forces, for the time being, have been lost by
reaction, and this is a most important point because this means that
it is easier for the popular camp to win them over now than it has
been for the last 50 years. Actions such as that by Quebracho can
only slow down this process.
Imperialists have helped us and due honor to them can't be avoided:
after the Proceso, the establishment threw on the military all the
blame for the crimes, while the civilians who organized the social
and _political_ crime (the most terrible of all crimes, as the
disappeared Montonero journalist Rodolfo Walsh recalled on his last
piece, the "Open Letter to the Military Junta" of June 1977) remained
unblemished and even glorified as "democrats" who had not been strong
enough to bend the crudelity and barbarism of the military.
A Chilean version of this nauseating posture can be seen on Isabel
Allende's version of the 1972 coup, particularly on "The House of
Spirits". Groups such as Quebracho and many others (in more senses
than one, Hebe de Bonafini's branch of the Plaza de Mayo Mothers too,
which is as painful to see as serious to record) simply offer a
"Leftist" expression to this basically pro-imperialist view.
This general policy by the oligarchic command and the oligarchic
groups did not pass unnoticed by the new military generations, who
decided not to be used by these criminals again. Every time a
"Leftist" organization hammers on the military with their ultra-left
infantilism, they are struggling to send them back to the arms of the
oligarchic and imperialist politicians and policy makers. In the
end, this is the only thing they can think of: "bad" and "good",
military and civilian, dictatorship and democracy, exploited and
exploiter, a low quality brunch of Platonic categories swallowed
every morning to feed their petty bourgeois rage.
So much so for the military. But the establishment has also lost a
lot of terrain on the civilian ground, too. Almost 30 years of _full
gas_ free-trade, free-enterprise, pro-imperialist governments has
brought right wing politicians to impotence, even in their "popular"
expressions such as those that either still belong to the Radical
Party (Moreau, Alfonsín) or those that left it and attempted an
independent road (Carrió). They are fully discredited and they can't
bear on serious politics. That is why, in a sense,
(a) the media have unsuccessfully attempted to generate new "decent
people" leaders out of such scumbags as López Murhpy, Macri or, more
desperately yet, Neuquén's neoliberal Governor Sobisch,
(b) the same media have been trying to launch towards the political
sky a new "non political", "civil society" star in the person of Mr.
Blumberg, our own version of a Chauncey Gardiner, a move that
initially looked unstoppable but soon reached its natural limits and
faded away like a flatulence in windy Patagonia, and
(c) it was Peronism, and not the "Left", who has been injected a
surrogate of new life by the wave of popular hatred that peaked on
Maybe someone remembers that on those very days almost everybody on
the "Left" expected Argentineans to take a dozen of Petrograd Winter
Palaces, but I sent some posting to the list with a cautious forecast
("days of reorganization are in front of us"), which I think was the
most accurate thing a serious observer could do at the moment.
What lay behind all the steam of popular rage was not a clear
understanding of the inner works behind the complete destruction of
wealthy, industrial, Argentina, but definitive rejection of the
pegged currency system, first and foremost, and a somehow primary
necessity of profound reformation of at least the _formal_ political
system, not a desire to revolutionize the capitalist mode of
Moreover: during the Presidential elections that healed the political
architecture shaken on December 2001, people didn't even choose the
most audacious path to the fulfillment of their original wishes (the
Rodríguez Saá ticket, whose programme and campaign were and still are
the most advanced and revolutionary available on the serious
political fringe). Partly they were scared by a gigantic media
campaign (more on this later), partly R.Saá's political mistakes
(some of them very serious) handicapped him, but in the end what the
Argentineans preferred was a milder version of the same general
programme: Kirchner, who reached Presidency through an agreement with
the last representative of the "rotten democracy" (and mastermind
organizer of the 28 Dec parliamentary coup against R. Saá).
It must be said that this strange "Prez without a party, acting in a
country without a State" is _doing what he promised_, something that
may be not enough for revolutionaries, since we don't even feel
satisfied by his small promises, but is certainly a novelty in
Argentina. The last elected President who kept his word here was...
General Perón, 30 years ago. The general mood is now that "at least
we have hit on something good". This compliance with his word is
what explains most of his great current support.
Back to Quebracho and similar outfits: such groups believe that by
simply pushing into police stations, organizing roadblocks
everywhere, and loads of testosterone (without too much awareness of
_What is to be done_, nor any space for popular or even militant
analysis), revolution is around the corner. Of course, they don't
see a hue of difference between Menem, Alfonsín, de la Rúa, R. Saá,
Duhalde or Kirchner. It is all the same shit for them. In Dec,
2001, they believed to be at the doors of Paradise, because they
hoped that they would reach power through direct mass action without
any clear political programme. This is why they can't but observe in
despair the "resurrection" of "traditional politics", and worse yet,
of the "arch-rotten Peronism".
Since these bombastic, foolish and ignorant groups are raised as the
actual representantion of the "Left", normal people try to get their
representations elsewhere ("Better bad but known, than good but
unknown", the ages old Spanish saying, becomes here "Better bad but
known, than obviously worse").
Now, the Quebracho line isn't but the general trend of the "Left"
carried to an extreme: thus, the destruction of political credibility
of the "Left" goes hand in hand with the discredit of the Right,
which in the end leaves us with a single electoral body which can
somehow represent, however mediated and deformed, popular interests:
Peronism, or some new formation that steps ahead from Peronism
without rejecting it as a reactionary fatamorgana, as the "Left" has
been consistently proposing (even from "within Peronism", like
Quebracho) since 1945.
And this is why Kirchner is slowly (too slowly, and this is a serious
issue) attempting to build up a new kind of popular representation
through a rainbow of "Kirchnerist" groups.
Now it may be understood why, under these conditions, the true
political parties of reaction are the police forces and the media.
The ruling classes, both supported by and prisoners of these two
functional lackeys, can't but greet with repressed joy such actions
such as the one Quebracho has staged.
What they can't stand is the action that we around the murder of
Martín "Oso" Cisneros, which will take place today. On this, I will
send an article (in Spanish) to the list. It is the text I prepared
for a leaflet to be distributed on that action by my political group.
But I think it is also a good piece of political journalism.
Hope smeone may profit from it.
Respuesta a: [Marxism] FWD: Argentines Burn U.S.
Remitido por: David Walters
Fecha: Jueves 1 de Julio de 2004
> And here we go...
> Argentines Burn U.S. Flag to Protest Sending Troops to Haiti
> Leftist activists on Thursday set fire to the flags of the United
> States and the United Nations on the terrace of the Argentine Defense
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
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"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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