Argentina: a debate with Cristina Kirchner´s book

May 2, 2019 | Debates, Latin America

Just like Axel Kicillof´s book, released a few weeks ago, “Sinceramente”, by former president CFK, is electoral campaign material. It is shaped around a political strategy: feeding the expectation of an electoral front of Peronism to defeat Macri. It makes an assessment of her administration and anticipates an orientation/justification: the “chaos” of Cambiemos will be defeated by the Kirchnerist “order”. Our analysis and criticism.

In one part of the book, CFK says: (…) “I wonder what we did wrong for the people to elect a president like Mauricio Macri. The hegemonic media played a fundamental role in the deception and confusion of society? Yes, absolutely… that is indisputable. But there also was, and still is, something in our society, in us Argentines, that prevents us from building a durable and livable country… What do I know!” I begin this article with this quote, because it defines much more than an assessment of Kirchnerism´s electoral defeat in 2015. It is, above all, the conception of a kind of “mass ingratitude” that would explain the rise of the right to government. In this, CFK tunes in with the already continental vision of so-called progressivism.

García Linera, vice president of Evo Morales and organic intellectual of this current, is the best at explaining it: the right rises as a result of a cultural battle lost by progressivism. That is to say: it is not a logical social displacement of the vote as punishment for an administration that did not fulfill the expectations it encouraged, for administering capitalism and instead of questioning that limit, but an incomprehension of conscience. It is in the backwardness of the masses, in their incomprehension of the scope of “progressivism”, where the explanation of the emergence of Macrism in Argentina is to be found. People, in the end, have the responsibility. That is why, now, in this “second season” of progressivism, which seeks to return, it is politically standing towards the center-right in its commitments and loyalties with the bourgeois factions that rule. Let’s develop this point further.

The myth of the origin: in the beginning it was not the verb, it was Duhalde

Every political project has its myth of origin. It would be something like a historical reference point that justifies or explains it. In one of the chapters, the author tells how the agreement with Duhalde, which meant the support of the PJ apparatus and the union bureaucracy for Nestor Kirchner to become president, was stitched together. The controversy CFK presents on the matter is interesting. She says that she did not agree with the pact with Duhalde, due to his style and the “caudillo” forms. Her husband, on the other hand, a pragmatic politician, saw it as a tactical necessity. Finally, she recognizes that Nestor was right. However, what is striking is that, in any case, the delimitation of Duhalde is about “style” and “political form”, and not program or general orientation. It is a litigation of cliques of the same class, in the dispute over the bourgeois administration of the State, not an antagonism of opposing perspectives. In fact, the author does not say a single word about Duhalde´s most anti-labor and confiscatory of popular income economic measure, the devaluation of 300% of the national currency against the dollar. For the working class, that decision translated into a loss of income of the same percentage: 300%. Let’s be clear: it is no coincidence that CFK does not mention a single criticism of this reactionary decision to reinforce capitalist surplus value, since, together with the default imposed by the masses in 2001 and the exceptional international prices of soy, were the keys to the “Kirchnerist Miracle” of 2003 to 2007. CFK refers to the post-Duhalde period as the “virtuous period of the re-distributive economy”, at the service of feeding the false expectation of “recreating” that scenario with her candidacy in 2019. Nothing further from Argentina and the world of today. This is our well-founded warning.

On laws that were and were not

CFK defends that the period that her project was in the government had the merit of “never voting any anti-popular law”. As always, forgetfulness operates as a political resource to conceal or justify certain policies. It is obvious that Macrism is a superior stage of the offensive capitalist plan on the country and the whole region, but it is also good to remember some laws that were voted, others that were vetoed, those that were not treated and even some that were disapproved by the previous government, to contribute to rebuild memory from the point of view of the majority:

  • In 2011, the Anti-terrorist Law was approved in Congress, in line with the demands of the United States and the most reactionary sectors of society. Clearly oriented to repress social protest and suppress democratic rights.
  • The ruling majority bloc vetoed the Glacier Defense Law in its initial version and later grudgingly approved the second initiative, which was then blocked in its effective application. All at the request of mega-mining corporations, especially Barrick Gold.
  • In the twelve years of Kirchnerist governments, the abortion law was never discussed.
  • In all its years of government, the government refused to cancel the wage tax.
  • The YPF-Chevron agreement was approved, with confidentiality clauses in favor of that predatory multinational.
  • The audit of the external debt was never approved, nor a referendum to decide on its payment or non payment.

In short, to compare itself with Macrism in the matter of legislative progressivism seems easy, but a rigorous record of the history of 12 years of government presents revealing episodes. You have to put them in debate.

Before me, chaos: the bureaucracy and the Vatican, pillars of the Kirchnerist order

In the book, the former president presents a characterization of Macrism, which she summarizes as “neo-liberal chaos”. Suggestively, that reference is formulated very closely to  demands expressed by two others: on one hand, Hugo Moyano and the CGT, who stands out as one of the most typical union leaders in Argentine history, and to Pope Francis, who says he had misunderstandings with her husband because of the “greatness of both”. Reviewing: if Macri is “chaos”, then what comes after is the “order” represented by CFK and her project. At the same time, the perspective of the order that she anticipates has, in the union bureaucracy and the Vatican, two pillars on which she currently pursues her policy in her book. And at the same time, one more comment: associating Macrism with chaos supposes anticipating a justification of an “inheritance” she would receive, on which to base “the sacrifices that will have to be made” to restore the altered order in an eventual return to the presidency of the author from the book. Frankly, it is a road map for nothing progressive.

An x-ray of the real (capitalist) country: our political platform of self-defense

The social and political struggle of peoples, history, in short, does not follow a rational and logical course. Trotsky said that if this were so, “neither dictatorships nor revolutions” would be necessary. Mass consciousness in capitalism is hegemonically imposed by the ruling class that shapes the common sense of the majorities. Marxism serves as a method to identify positive tendencies to overcome the false ideologies of those who rule. A party that relies on this method, like ours, has a key task: to fight ideologically against this majority current by posing the tasks that can politically secure rights for the social majority. It is a permanent task of political clarification and sowing against all common sense, anticipating disputed forecasts and positive outcomes. The country´s structure -which did not start with, but was consolidated by Kirchnerism- has the fundamental economic resources under foreign control and requires measures of general reorganization. These changes imply confrontation with the owners of the banks, with the monopolies that decide the prices, with the concessionaires of public services and against all the political, judicial, trade union and media caste. There is no path of conciliation to consolidate permanent gains for 99%. For that reason, the task to assure rights that the socialists of the MST consider a perspective, rejects a front with political and trade union PJ-ism. It would be a corset for the needed measures. In the social block we need, the subject is the working class in movement, articulating a block of those attacked by capital. And politically, the subject is a party that struggles to unite the revolutionary left to support that orientation. That is the line we raise and for which we actively organize.

Mariano Rosa