Any political project that involves overcoming the underdevelopment, current dependencies and poverty of the social majorities in Latin America and the Caribbean, also means facing enormous challenges that go beyond any simply reformist project.
Juan Diego García
It is not enough that a political project aims only to decrease the enormous structural deformation of economies, primitive forms of political order and to overcome conscious or unconscious feelings of inferiority in comparison with the cultures and metropolises of the advanced West, which turn the national feeling into a kind of (almost always) grotesque caricature of the elements expressive of the national community.
All these challenges should be duly considered an agent of effective development, that surpasses the simple reforms of the popular governments and that in practice is nothing other than the always desired revolution.
That is to say, a radical change (that goes to the roots) of all the instances in which daily life unfolds, deeply linked to the past and that will determine the future.
There is no bourgeois ruling class capable of carrying out this enterprise because, if it did, it would completely affect their own interests as a parasitic, wasteful and thieving class, whose fate depends in many ways precisely on currently being organically linked to the metropolises.
Others must then assume the task of national emancipation.
The reforms of the past, the so-called “developments”, undoubtedly fulfilled a positive role in many aspects but only managed to change the forms of dependence: so many goods with little added value are no longer imported, now they are produced at home, in many cases by foreign companies or in alliance between them and national businessmen.
Even less is left behind by the neoliberal policies of recent decades that in no way respond to their own needs, as they are no more than adjustments to the new needs of international capital within the framework of the present and violent Third Industrial Revolution.
Practically all the governments in the region are, fundamentally, neoliberal, so in the absence of a social agent that assumes the challenges of development in the ranks of the Creole bourgeoisie, it is up to the subordinate classes to find out who among their own can assume such a historical challenge and, in a particular way, what form of organisation is in a position to assume the role of innovation in the process.
Naturally, the traditional questions about which class, party, forms of the social majority’s participation and above all how to storm the skies, cannot ignore the past (which leaves behind so many lessons, in every sense) or even less fail in the search of new, effective and above all efficient solutions.
The challenge would at least satisfy several tasks.
One of them is to promote a project of economic development that intends to overcome the condition of single suppliers of raw materials and cheap labour to the metropolitan markets, that is, to impose the task of overcoming the current structural imbalances and to carry out – in today’s conditions – the industrialisation / modernisation that was never carried out or even half completed.
Some of the objectives of this industrialization will be the classics (goods manufacturing, above all), but also a determination to achieve mastery of new technologies (cybernetics, nanotechnologies, new products, alternative energies, etc.) to establish a link of a different nature to the current one with the world market and thus gain a particular niche in that complicated economic fabric.
None of this means that either the cyclical crises of the capitalist system or the contradictions inherent in its nature disappear.
However, there is no doubt that the living conditions of the majority would improve markedly and give the country more autonomy and real possibilities of exercising national sovereignty. Furthermore, such development of the productive forces is an indispensable requirement for building a new, non-capitalist order, whose character for now will be no more than speculation, in the best sense of the term.
Such a project involves drastic changes in many aspects. In consumption, for example, new priorities that emphasise savings can have uncomfortable impacts especially for the middle sectors (and some employees) that now enjoy certain benefits and privileges compared to the poor majorities of these countries.
It will take a general commitment, democratically achieved to generate a national purpose of sufficient entity that allows at least one generation to assume the changes in consumption, accept the rules of a new labour discipline according to the challenges and above all to not fall easy prey to either the many measures of foreign harassment and trade embargos (which are totally in opposition to these emancipatory projects) or the actions of all those within the countries who have always benefited from dependence and underdevelopment and – not a few, unfortunately – who end up identifying with the ruling class to the detriment of their own interests. You know, there is never a lack of those who long for the chains…
Among those social majorities to which a change of these dimensions is of great interest, undoubtedly the salaried masses (traditional and modern, which are already the majority) constitute the decisive nucleus to winning at the polls.
These sectors are also indispensable in any of the other alternatives that are implemented, especially for their daily mobilisation and support in every work centre, educational institution, neighbourhood and street, that is, where every day people are building a new country or – as they do currently – suffer it. The ruling subject – the avant-garde in traditional terms- can be a party or popular front of parties and organisations that demonstrate the ability above all for collecting experiences, formulating plans, pointing out tactical changes in the development of events, interpreting the signs of immediate happenings and develop the appropriate slogan.
They must be innovative enough to go forward, overcoming the old dilemma of not being too far ahead in slogans and proposals, losing contact with the social majorities, much less lagging behind them, since they are ultimately the true creators of the process.
There is nothing definitive about it and the past is only a reference point to always be viewed through a critical lens.
On this continent, even those who embody the harshest forms of repression, the military, in many cases have led major changes and have left their barracks to break the Gordian knot of backwardness and national oppression.
It suffices to remember generals such as Plutarco Elías Calles and Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico, Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala, Juan Velasco Alvarado in Peru, Juan Domingo Perón in Argentina, Getulio Vargas in Brazil, Omar Torrijos in Panama and more recently, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.
(Translated by Hannah Phelvin)