Gabriel Solano: “On the left there are differences, I would never say that Cristina is not corrupt”

gabriel solano I had only one condition: I didn’t want to “negotiate” the title, a typical tug-of-war that book writers have with publishers. “If they didn’t accept the idea, I would go elsewhere, but it was a job that was built around that idea, precisely,” he recalls now, from his office as a Buenos Aires legislator. But the publishing house Planeta accepted the proposal, and “Why did democracy fail?”, the idea/title that the Trotkist leader had, became a book that is already on the street today.

The text is based on a question that already carries a complex statement: that the Alfonsinist thesis that democracy cures, educates and eats proved not to be true and, therefore, the steps to follow must be reconsidered. That is why Solano, who is on his way to starring in an internship in the Left Front on behalf of the Partido Obrero, did not want to negotiate the title, even though he knew it was provocative. He is convinced that the crisis of democracy has to do with the crisis of capitalism, and he wants to propose an alternative.

News: In this complex context of economic and political crisis, isn’t that title very risky?

Gabriel Solano: I think that there is a society prepared for that title, in addition to the fact that at this point in my life and my militancy I have earned the right to criticize democracy without anyone accusing me of being in favor of the military dictatorship. But no one can say that this is not a failure, with the poor that exist and the economy as it is. Some propose different explanations, especially Kirchnerism, which has that explanation that democracy fails because it is a failed democracy, he says, because private corporations have more power than the government, the right maintains that democracy was distorted because public spending grew a lot . But no one has a claim to this because it hasn’t worked.

News: Is it a local or international crisis?

solano: There are two planes of analysis. I do not consider that the problem is national. There is a widespread vision that the world is doing well and Argentina is doing badly, and that what is done around the world should be done here. I don’t have that vision, I think the world is screwed up, there is a war, a financial and banking crisis, the right wins in many places, there is an assault on the Capitol and several other things. The problem is international. it is democracy that is in crisis. Argentina has its particular characteristics that aggravate it, it is true.

In the book it also seemed important to me to demonstrate that democracy is a factor of corruption of the left. Democracy allowed the left to become deputies, legislators, set up an NGO, be executive officials. If you go to the door of Social Development, those who work there are all from the left, they are the Revolutionary Communist Party, they are from Libres del Sur, etc. This is how the revolutionary principles are lost. So the left mutates to say that democracy is a kind of jar that any content enters. But it does have a clear content: it is based on private ownership of the means of production, on land ownership, on financial ownership, it is based on the political legal principle that the people do not deliberate or govern, but which it does through its representatives. So it is not that democracy is a generic thing that can be used for one thing or another indistinctly, it is not like that, if we even have laws today that were established in the last dictatorship.

So, there may be better and worse governments, I don’t deny that, but it’s not that democracy has no content, it does have content. For example, democracy is not the free expression and will of individuals either, it is not like that, that is a liberal vision that is not consistent with reality. The vote is conditioned by the struggle, by the fights, by the corporations, it is not that people are going to vote freely. If they tell you if you don’t vote for this you lose your social plan, if you don’t vote for this you lose your job. You vote conditioned by a context. If I’m in Santa Cruz or Tierra del Fuego and I don’t vote for this one, the promotional regime ends and I’m left without a job, if I don’t vote for this one in San Juan, the mining regime ends and I’m left without a job.

News: But aren’t those subjective constructions?

Solano: They are real pressures that exist. In the 2019 elections after PASO, the dollar jumped 40% in one day. Sometimes the bourgeoisie’s fight plan is not to march, it is to make a run on the currency, it is a devaluation. There is no such freedom to vote, acts conditioned by the context that exists.

News: But one thing is the context and another that there is no freedom to vote.

Solano: It’s okay, when you walk into the dark room there’s not a guy who puts a gun to your head. But look at the experience of Lula, who lost the elections three times before becoming president. In that last one I remember because it was a little bigger, that Lula came first and then ended up losing. In the middle came the IMF and the bankers to say that if Lula won, a bullfight would come, the investments would go, you would lose your job and you would end up losing votes. In the end, Lula ended up arranging with the IMF so that they no longer make that claim to him.

News: Couldn’t today’s crisis be fixed with a very good government, for example?

Solano: What I see here is that there is a kind of awareness that we have a systemic crisis and not a government crisis.

I differentiate it a lot: if the problem is a government, it is solved with another government, if it is a bad president, it is solved with another president. But if the problem is the system, another system opposes it. I think that this is raised in some way and that people see it, I don’t know with what degree of conceptual articulation, but even Milei, who is not an anti-system variant, wants to force reality to show herself as anti-system. If it is not changed, I don’t know what will happen, nobody knows what will happen, but Argentina is going completely backwards.

News: In this sense, part of what Milei proposes has something of a utopia: the destruction of the Central Bank, the elimination of the “caste”, etc.

Solano: I think it has to do with the failure of Kirchnerism. Milei’s course is as follows: the State does not have to intervene, capital does not have to be regulated and they are all communists, from Larreta to the left. And that hits because this claims to be a left-wing government and all the measures it takes go wrong. In other words, the population sees that the government’s intervention measures are even aggravating the preceding crisis. So Milei says let’s not do this and well, she succeeds. The reaction to the government of 2001 was more from the left. As a political conclusion, I think that lThe left has to emphasize its independence from its separation from Kirchnerism because Milei grows because of Kirchnerism (and partly because of the macrismo that also failed). If we remain attached to Kirchnerism, we fall into the flip, it looks like we are part of those who have governed when this is not the case, when our ideas were never implemented. This is a debate within the Left Front.

News: Do you think the idea of ​​associating the word “left” with Kirchnerism is entering into a crisis?

Solano: I think that the possibility of manipulating has a limit that is reality itself. hToday Cristina and Massa govern, Alberto was reduced to almost a figurehead, they don’t even let him use the presidential plane. Today Cristina is the one who is ensuring that the policy of Massa and the Fund is applied. That clashes with the reality of a progressive story. Now, a part of the left is still clinging to Kirchnerism, because since Macri is in front, the logic of the lesser evil is used. So you have to fight all this, if the left remains attached to Kirchnerism in a situation where Kirchnerism is receding… And the speculation of sticking to see if some votes fall here is a very short-term view, which leaves aside the strategic interests that one has and it is not clear that it is effective. We are not in favor even if it were effective because it would be electoral and not politically effective for our purpose, but it is not clear to me that it is effective in that short-term term.

This is clearly manifested in political positions. I I would never say that Cristina Kirchner is not guilty of acts of corruption, not politically (which is clear) but also personally. And it manifests itself in another matter: this attempt to thrive within Kirchnerism does not have the strategic objective of overcoming Peronism by building a great political and social force. That is our big fight. This is also part of the pressure from democracy with the Left Front, so people want to be deputies, senates, etc. And that is somewhat inconsequential, nothing happens with all that.

It is an argument that underlies the idea that the left does not seek to be a force of power. So we have to see how we build a force that can influence reality, and that can only be done with a huge social political construction.

News: There was a lot of fuss inside the left over a photo of Myriam Bregmann (ndR: PTS leader and FIT internal competitor) on a mural that read “Viva Perón”. How did you like the image?

Solano: It seemed to me that it was not a mistake. One tends to think of mistakes as if the mistakes were not a consequence of your policy. The mistake many times is that you do one more but your policy. I would never have taken that photo. Never, because I am clear that the Argentine left has to overcome Peronism, that the problem of the Argentine left has always been to be a follower of Peronism. So that photo seemed to me, how can I tell you, transparent. The divergences were clear.

News: Beyond the programmatic debate, do you think that some disenchanted front player can see them as an alternative in these elections?

Solano: Yes, I’m going to the next. We want the votes of anyone, because if not who is going to vote for us, everyone already voted for someone, except for the one who has just entered the electoral roll. I want whoever voted for Kirchnerism or Macrismo to vote for me, but now: I don’t want them to vote for me making me the Kirchnerista or Macrismo, I want them to vote for me as a break from Peronism to socialism. If I don’t do that then it doesn’t matter at all, and really, it’s a vote that comes and goes, it doesn’t change anything in the end.

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