Matías Pacheco, Federico Chimonetti
In Argentina’s presidential elections, the right embodied in the Macri-Pichetto formula was ultimately defeated in the first round by just under eight percentage points. The “Frente de Todos” was imposed, with Alberto Fernández as the candidate for President and Cristina Fernández as the candidate for Vice President. Hundreds of thousands celebrated the electoral defeat of the right wing and its neoliberal project, the main vehicle of North American interests in the southern country, in the streets of Buenos Aires late into the night.
Another blow to the neoliberal counteroffensive
The right-wing counteroffensive to the advance of the peoples after the heroic anti-neoliberal rebellions of the end/beginning of the century is being dealt a major blow throughout Latin America. The social upsurge in Chile that has rocked the country which until recently had been the most prominent model set by the right wing in our countries, the strong mobilizations in Ecuador and Haiti against the IMF, the electoral victory of Evo in Bolivia, Bolsonaro’s instability in Brazil, the Bolivarian government’s resistance in Venezuela to US imperialism’s coup, the massive marches in Uruguay against the repressive security reform and its electoral defeat in the plebiscite, the electoral coups against Uribism in Colombia, are some of the testimonies of the retreat of this model. In Argentina, the mobilizations at the end of 2017 against the neoliberal pension reform, mortally wounded the Cambiemos project. Yesterday’s results are simply the electoral culmination of that popular street triumph.
The Argentine people join the continental anti-neoliberal resistance with an extremely important chapter. Mauricio Macri was the main battle horse of Yankee imperialism (loan of 50 billion dollars from the IMF) and yesterday he was defeated in the first round. The supposed opening of a right-wing cycle in Our America crackles in the heat of popular mobilization, which demonstrated that it was nothing more than an expression of desire on the part of the empire’s publicists.
The right and a disturbing recomposition
Having said that, it should be pointed out that Macri’s candidacy achieved a worrying recomposition between the primary elections of August and the final elections of yesterday. In those, the Fernández-Fernández formula was imposed by 18 points; in these, the gap was reduced to less than ten points. The officialist formula exits the Casa Rosada with an election of 40% and a social base that during the last weeks occupied the streets as it had not done during recent years.
The balance sheet shows us that the triumph in Argentina is not synonymous with a definitive, or at least lasting, coup against the most aggressive fraction of capital, a matter that we thought possible after the August primaries. In spite of the social and economic catastrophe it brought about, in spite of the plundering management it promoted, macroism will continue to be the main actor in the opposition. With yesterday’s numbers, the Frente de Todos y Juntos por el cambio will have parity in the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation (120 to 119), with the incoming government having a significant advantage in the Chamber of Senators (37 to 29).
With the unavoidable support of the major media, macrism has recovered by radicalizing its anti-popular discourse and the polarization around it. In the coming years it will seek to consolidate a social right with the capacity to mobilise that has revealed the existence of a profoundly xenophobic, classist and anti-rights movement.
It is vox populi that Macri proved to be an absolutely unviable government. Nevertheless, it was strongly recovered in an ideological election against the “populisms” of Latin America. Ultimately, a very important portion of our peoples continues to be colonized by a profoundly anti-popular ideology. How to build majorities within this framework remains a strategic question of the first order for the forces of the left.
The necessity and principal challenge of building majorities around projects of deep, radical changes, with the necessary popular push, is not only a problem in Argentina, it is a symptom of the region amidst the new winds that blow. Popular victories cannot be limited only to temporarily defeating the political representatives of neoliberalism.
A transition full of significance
Decisive battles will be waged in the coming months. Argentina is on the verge of default. The GDP debt ratio exceeds 90% and the Central Bank is practically bankrupt. The bulk of the IMF loan has disappeared. Through devaluations and inflation, the market has succeeded in making people pay for the bulk of the crisis. This process will worsen in the coming days. The government is announcing unavoidable exchange restrictions in order to prove itself responsible and to protect its electoral achievements.
It is fundamental that the Argentine people do not enter the new cycle carrying a defeat on their shoulders, further worsening their social situation. It is for this reason that all demands that put a brake on a deepening of the adjustment via salary degradation and dissolution of the currency acquire central importance. For this, popular mobilization will be vital in order to secure the electoral victory in the social arena.
Sustaining and developing expectations
The triumph of the Fernandez-Fernandez formula has generated an enormous popular expectation that must not be abandoned, but must be strengthened and developed. Chávez and Evo have taught us that triumphs over imperialism and the right to exercise sovereignty are not achieved through mobilisation, but precisely because of it. In this sense, the calls made by the president-elect Alberto Fernández to leave the streets do not contribute to the deployment of forces required to defeat the plans of neoliberalism, the central expectation of the electorate that turned massively against Macri yesterday.
Alberto’s government will arrive strongly conditioned by the right and leading a heterogeneous political front. Once again, it will be the popular movement, its clarity and its capacity for mobilization that will ultimately define the course of this historic event.
A new chapter was added to the battle that Latin American peoples are developing against neoliberalism in the region. To change everything that must be changed. Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, different countries, different models, the same enemy. The region takes a new step in defense of its future.
Long live the struggle of the Argentine people! Long live the struggle of the peoples of Latin America!
Translation by Internationalist 360°