Raúl Zibechi: Argentina from below

From Desinformémonos (20/11/2023) …

With the triumph of Javier Milei, a cycle of Argentine politics closes, a cycle that began in December 2001 with the popular insurrection that overthrew the government of Fernando de la Rúa and his neoliberal policies without anaesthesia. The leadership that will occupy the administration of the State will have freer hands to dismantle social policies and repress those who resist.

The popular organisations that during these years were built around social plans that they themselves distributed among their base will no longer be able to continue move along the same delegitimised path. Contrary to what many progressives think, those at the bottom will no longer be hostages to leaders who, by distributing crumbs, also controlled their steps.

For the autonomous agents/groups of society, hardened in resistance to both conservatives and progressives, the wide avenue of resistance opens up that will be populated by new agencies that need to resist, to survive. It is the only sector/layer of society that can self-criticise what it has lacked in the last two decades, since progressives can only blame the people for having “voted wrong”, because they are convinced that they are never wrong.

We are also faced with revenge: from males fearful of the advance of women; from military rapists who find their opportunity; from capital that dreams of crushing resistance. That is why we need autonomous spaces where we can be what we are, and defend them collectively from these threats.

The global and regional scenario does not allow for the slightest illusion about any possible truce in the offensive/storm of the above against the below. Financial capital and its accumulation through dispossession do nothing more than intensify, with more and more death projects. Wars, predation and death are no longer visible on the horizon because they have become the daily lives of the girls and boys of our peoples.

What is at stake is neither more nor less than life itself, since the ambitions of the 1% consist of creating a global Gaza Strip – made up of favelas, slums, slums and callampas -, where we pile ourselves up as a surplus population and where we are controlled at rifle point; a large globalised concentration camp. This is a policy that they have been perfecting for almost a century, first in colonies like Algeria and Vietnam, with their “strategic villages” or concentration camps to “take away water” from the guerrillas’ fish, and then, progressively, in all the worlds below.

Gaza is the horizon and inspiration of the ruling classes during this stage of dispossession, which allows them to clear territories to convert life into merchandise. That is why militarisation, para-militarism and drug trafficking are deployed against the peoples, to encourage migration and the abandonment of the countryside. We cannot have the slightest illusion in electoral and statist political projects, because they will continue to promote this project of confinement and death with new and more sophisticated methods, as demonstrated by all progressive processes. To trust in the rights given to us, without building power from below, is like walking into a dead-end alley.

Therefore, participating on the field of electoral contests is playing into the hands of the project of domination from above. Only resistance can prevent us from being locked up in open-air prisons and engender hope for a new world.

We have less and less education and worse health, the quality of our food has collapsed, decent housing and employment are increasingly distant. The daily life of people has been degraded to levels never imagined, to the point that entire generations will not have pensions of any kind and their life expectancy will only shorten.

It makes no sense to continue complaining to the State for education, health, work and housing because they no longer care. They only think about accumulating wealth and power. Not only do they not need us to exploit us in non-existent factories, but they also do not want us as consumers of objects of little value.

Everything we need for life we must build with our hands. We can expect nothing from above, from the State or from private companies. It is about taking another path, that of building autonomy with dignity.

A friend from the Timbau favela in Rio de Janeiro, whom I asked about the results of the Bolsonaro government, writes: “Those who do not build popular power when the centre-left governs, for obvious reasons, are afraid when a government arrives against which it is necessary to struggle”.

The main problem, says Timo, is “the complementarity between the centre-left governments that destroy the movements and the right-wing ones that destroy the social facade of the State; a perfect combination”.

Among the urgent reflections needed, one consists of dismantling the supposed progressive-conservative opposition or, in other words, the right-left. Both serve the same model of dispossession. Both defend the militarisation of our lives.

On the path we need to travel, Zapatismo is a necessary inspiration. Not a model to copy. As we look about us, our continent is covered with resistances and autonomies, all different, anchored in diverse ways and means. They all wager on life and understand that there is no other way.

Each sector/group of society, each town, each neighbourhood and each collective experience will do it in its own way, with its times and based on its history. Nobody builds something new overnight. This takes a lot of time, which is why we must look far ahead, overcome the short timeframes of the political parties and the State, thinking about the generations to come and not about the emergencies that devour us.

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo taught us that we can face even the most ferocious enemy, and that we can defeat it if we put our bodies with determination and without fear. That teaching is a treasure that we keep in our hearts. Now it’s time to learn to build the world that those above us deny us. For that there are no recipes or manuals, it’s about organising ourselves to walk collectively. The rest, we will learn.

This entry was posted in Commentary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.