May 21, 2022 10:36 pm

A party government that loves to party

The Argentine government loves to march. he’s partying, although many of us wonder what he has to celebrate, what makes him so happy. In November he marched to celebrate the electoral defeat. In December, the Day of Democracy. Now he is threatening to support a march against the Supreme Court. I guess he will soon call a march in honor of the “Argentine economic miracle.” The oneiric sentence of Joseph Stiglitz is an invitation to do so. Although, given the precedents with Chávez, his pampering sounds like a kiss of death. What to say? The marches are the San Perón of the 21st century. But beware of treating them like folklore, like foam without substance, smoke without roasting. It looks like Macondo but it is reality: it reminds us that democracy is like Cinderella’s shoe, a fragile object in which the great Peronist foot has never been comfortable.

We have become so accustomed to seeing the government organize marches that the enormity escapes us. of the phenomenon, the disfigurement it inflicts on democratic grammar. The golden law, although not written, of democratic regimes is that the government governs and civil society marches, protests, criticizes in a thousand ways and in its multiple expressions. It was not the White House that brought Martin Luther King to the Congressional esplanade in Washington, nor the Elysee that triggered the French May in Paris. By mobilizing, society controls the government, limits it, forces it to account. Democracy is this, first of all: limited power. If and when those who are marching today were a government in the future, then the roles will be reversed: it is a minimum criterion of responsibility. I remember the time that an Italian prime minister, cornered by protests, raised the hypothesis of a march in support of his government. His antibodies spiked and he found himself so overwhelmed by the criticism that he had to swallow the idea instantly.

But not in Argentina In Argentina, the one that marches is the Government! He celebrates himself, taking advantage public resources! Instead of respecting the autonomy of civil society and submitting to its control, it intends to channel it, control it, intimidate it. It is an abuse of power, it is the grammar of totalitarian regimes. It is what the fascists, the Nazis, the communists did, the model of the Perón, Castro, Chávez. It’s funny that President Fernandez once defined himself as a “left liberal”: ignorance or bad faith, it shows that he has no idea what it means.

Nothing demonstrates this better than the marches in question. The first, that of the “victorious defeat” was so grotesque as to induce many to sacrifice all consideration to hilarity. Error. It matters little, was the message, who wins at the polls, since the only true people is the people of the faithful who march in the streets, the people of “true believers.” Only he embodies the collective moral ego, guards the immortal culture, forms the community in which the sense of belonging to the homeland is expressed. Did the vote reward the “colonial class”? To the “anti-people”? Well, “we will continue to govern with the people”, the march meant, our people, the “chosen people”, no matter how minority they may be. They call it “national thought” but it comes from afar, it is that of the entire European anti-enlightenment tradition, from the German romantics to the Spanish reactionaries.

This estrangement from the principles of liberal democracy, the chronic contempt for its procedures and its ethos they stand out even more in the second march, the one held “for democracy.” Poor prostituted word! Is there anything less democratic than celebrating democracy alone? Is there a political liturgy that should unite everyone more than this? No way! Giovanni Sartori, lover of paradoxes, said: “Democracy is a pompous word to call something that does not exist”. As “village”, on the other hand. Precisely for this reason he feared the abuse of the term: who, at this point, does not define himself as a democrat? As a good theoretician of democracy, therefore, one of the most lucid of the 20th century, he never stopped advocating limited government, the balance of powers, respect for minorities. And to invoke the people of the Constitution, a voluntary association of individuals, in opposition to the people, the “natural” community of faith, ethnicity or culture, the source of all intolerance and abuse. A good “liberal”, leftist or not, should know. But I doubt that President Fernández knows. How to explain, if not, the blessing of Daniel Ortega, the predilection for China and Cuba, the love for Iran and Venezuela, the fatal attraction for Putin, for everything farthest from democracy on Earth? Foreign policy is not an inert appendage that can be twisted at will, but the mirror of what we are and want to be: that is how it was for Perón, friend of every dictator; so it remains.

The third march, in fact, the one that Kirchnerism intends to carry out on February 1 against the Court Supreme, is directly coup. I hate using high-sounding terms, so abused that they have lost much of their evocative power. But how to call coercion against a constitutional power? The attempt to de facto change the institutional balance of the democratic order? Seen closely, the immediate intention is evident: the control of Justice, the impunity of Cristina Kirchner. But seen in a broader perspective it is even worse, it is the umpteenth manifestation of a despotic political culture, determined to monopolize power and disassociate itself from the Western liberal tradition. There is little to do: no matter how much the chameleon changes color, no matter how much Peronism adopts the language suggested by the bon ton, it always ends up bursting the buttons of the democratic dress that she reluctantly puts on: it fits her, it is “a orangutan with sacoleva”, to use the beautiful title of a classic Colombian political history book. His march is always the same, the march on Rome.

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