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Argentina: Poverty and the Militarization of Society
Article published on 18 October 2008

by r-c.
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Argentina, a country with an area of 1.2 million square miles (3 million
square kilometers), used to be known as the world’s granary. Today, out of a
population of about 30 million people, nearly 15 million are recognized as
"lacking basic necessities." The state cynically uses this euphemism as a
cloak for what is commonly known as poverty, spiritual and material misery,
hunger and sickness. The capitalist economic model that President Menem
calls the "popular market economy" is condemning the majority of the people,
who are becoming poorer by the day, to be sacrificed for the escalating
profits of agricultural-export oligopolies. Millions of women, children and
old people are deprived of proper health care, education and housing.
Meanwhile, the system of financial roulette is emptying the pockets of those
who produce the country’s wealth.

Recently, more than 200,000 Argentineans have emigrated. Some are convinced
that they will find a sunnier, warmer life in the North. Others are fleeing
in anticipation of a new genocidal thrust by the military.

In fact, since April of 1987 the military, counting on the complicity of the
politicians, has been targeting the civilian population. We have been
experiencing an increasing militarization of society. Once again, men in
uniform are swarming out of the barracks. Cities such as Rosario are daily
overrun with federal police patrols on the ground and in helicopters.

The laws granting immunity from prosecution approved by Alfonsin (who was
suitably obedient in the end), the pardons granted by Menem, and the decrees
legalizing the intervention of the armed forces in internal conflicts,
together open a somber prospect. They facilitate the use of state terrorism
against popular protests and dissent by those opposing domination,
exploitation and, ultimately, capitalist barbarity.

The ruling classes, and their political front men who control the
government, are using the foreign debt (which might as well be called the
eternal debt, since it is unpayable) as an excuse for continued
exploitation. They present as indisputable the false alternatives that
public services can only be "inefficiently run by the state" or "efficiently
run by oligarchies linked to multinational capital." We libertarian
socialists know that there are valid alternatives to both: Public services
can be operated and managed by their own workers. We also assert that only
through the socialization of health care services can health be assured for
everyone. The complex problem of housing can be solved through the creation
of cooperatives in which members work together to build and maintain their
own homes. But all this would be admitedly quite difficult under the
prevailing system of capitalist exploitation and domination.

Still, we don’t think that it’s necessary to wait for some distant future to
fight for dignity and against exploitation. That is why, as a libertarian
organization, we are participating right now, alongside others, in the
resistance to the state sponsored plundering. We are completely opposed to
the social model which aims to create first- and second-class citizens
within one country. We are struggling and will continue to struggle against
this attempt to impose de facto South African apartheid in this part of the
world.

In our city, out of a population of nearly a million, more than 300,000
people are undernourished and living in miserable housing; more than 100,000
men, women and children are destitute. We know that the abundance of the
wheat fields is not reaching our children’s’ mouths because of the
manipulations by bureaucrats, clerics, politicians and bankers, perpetuating
social injustice.

Our problem has a name: capitalism. And so does the solution: self-managed
socialism. Only popular self-organization, the direct democracy of councils
and assemblies, self-management and libertarian confederation will
contribute to the liberation of all of us who inhabit the continent of "fire
and fear."

While continuing to resist the authoritarian advance, and working together
in solidarity, let’s not forget that there are no quick revolutions; they
grow from the ground up.

NO TO THE PARDON, NO TO THE AMNESTY FOR GENOCIDAL KILLERS, AND NO TO
MILITARIZATION! DEFEND COLLECTIVE LIBERTIES, ENSURE ALL LIBERTY!

SELF-MANAGE WORK, CONSUMPTION, EDUCATION AND ALL CULTURE!

IN THE FACE OF THE TERRORISM OF THOSE WHO DOMINATE US, WE AFFIRM LIFE
AGAINST DEATH AND INJUSTICE!

Grupo Impulso Autogestionario Casilla de correo 984

2000 - Rosario

ARGENTINA

Received, translated and distributed April 1990 by Charlatan Stew, P.O.B.
31461, Seattle, WA 98103


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