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The macro and the micro

With Lula imprisoned, Brazil’s elections are flawed from the very root. It is the modus operandi of the neoliberal right in Latin America to infame and finally imprison popular leaders. The idea is to prevent them from running for office because of the number of votes they have. This, in a first reading, plays in favor of these leaders. If they fear them so much, if they have to resort so much to muddy them and put them behind bars, it is because they recognize the broad popular support they have. All the efforts of the judges are explained from that perspective. Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Lula in Brazil and CFK in Argentina are persecuted for the same reasons. To prevent them from fulfilling their electoral potential. If the intellectuals of Carta Abierta propose CFK’s candidacy, it is because they know that she is the figure who neoliberalism fears the most. The Macri government and its legal arm, Judge Bonadio, will do everything possible to imprison CFK. They also speak of a “presentable Peronism” formed by Massa and his three companions. Why “presentable”? Because it is functional to the ruling party. Something that Cristina is not. She is not the one who’s dividing Peronism. If something like that is being said, it is to demonstrate that CFK is functional for Macri. Peronism should convene a great primary, and whoever wins it will represent it all of it in the October elections. If this does not happen it is because Cristina would win it for by a long stretch and the “presentable” Peronism could not play the role of “responsible opposition” that it currently plays.

Walsh, in his (1977) Open Letter from a Writer to the Military Junta, begins his analysis of their economic plan by affirming that it is “dictated by the International Monetary Fund” with a recipe that applies indistinctly to countries with great differences. As we can see, the economic plan of the Macri government has its antecedent in that of the dictatorship. This we’ve known for a long time now. The originality lies in the fact that a president has never presented himself to the world of finance as a “great dancer”. Why did Macri dance with a Wall Street millionairess on the same Tuesday that there was a general strike in his country and the president of his Central Bank was resigning? Was it a mockery, a provocation? Then he asked the country to fall in love with Christine Lagarde. There’s a a great campaign slogan for CKF here. If Perón raised the choice between him or Ambassador Braden (“Braden o Perón”), CFK can raise the choice between her or the president of the Fund: Christine or Cristina.

The elections in Brazil are decisive for the future of the continent. Dilma Rousseff was displaced by a soft or parliamentary coup. Lula, behind bars, appoints his successor. But it is not the same. And the danger is great. The State Department does not want populism in Latin America. It wants the hegemony of neoliberal governments. But these governments have great difficulties in sustaining themselves. Populism has sown uncomfortable seeds. Its leaders are in force. And its bases are mobilizing against austerity.

Neoliberalism seeks zero deficit. Which is what it calls “the macro”. But in order to finance the balance of payments, to pay the debts it incurs from not producing wealth, it is forced to permanent austerity. Thus, it collects money by robbing the internal market. It transforms itself into a collecting government. It deprives everyone. The retired, the teachers, the disabled. It lowers salaries, fires thousands of employees and workers. It is rapacious. Wherever there is a peso it goes looking for it. Besides, since it doesn’t want the dollar to go up, it has to dry the economy of cash. If no one has money, no one will buy dollars. If nobody buys dollars, the price of the North American currency will remain stable. But this carries enormous social costs. It doesn’t care. That’s what the immense repressive apparatus is for. It can’t drown everything. At some point we have to stop financing the macro with the micro. Within the internal market are small and medium enterprises. What do they need to survive? Domestic consumption and accessible credit policies. Low interest rates. Interest rates can be transferred to the final product without making it unattainable. But the neoliberal government takes the rates to the clouds. Thus, SMEs cannot afford them. As a result, they stop production. They off workers. Consumption decreases. The dialectic between production and consumption is the fabric of a possible country. If there is an internal market, there is a buyer market. This market feeds the national industry. It produces for the interal market. And the market (which is formed by the inhabitants of a country) consumes what the industry produces. In order to do so, it must have resources, that is, labor. All the great classics of the economy thought of full employment societies. Marx’s surplus value (also glimpsed by Smith) was produced in the factory. They did not think of societies without work. It is impossible for a country to function properly with a poverty rate exceeding 35%.

Populism focuses its efforts on the micro. Its thing is capitalism of the internal market, production and consumption. The micro. Neoliberalism governs for big business, for big capital, for big landowners. The macro. It neglects the internal market and translates that neglect into disdain. In the internal market there are the poor, the mopes, the negros, those who believe they have rights that they do not have. It wants to commodify each social subject in the place which was assigned it by the productive apparatus. But a social subject is not a thing. A basic drive of the subject is to always seek to be what it is not, to be something different. This possibility is the center of his free being. Neoliberalism not only impedes his freedom, but it nihilizes him by turning him into infertile nothingness . It makes him feel like he doesn’t count. It pushes him to the edge of a cliff. And from there to delinquency there’s only one step. The productive worker ends up a resentful delinquent. Neoliberalism is inhuman.