Politics always has been financed, as it was possible; norms that regulate it have been ineffective. It seems that all the parties have call on contributions of doubtful legitimacy to finance their campaigns and support their activists. Today, with hypocrisy and in a synchronized way selective allegations have been formulated against transforming governments. The purpose: to proscribe leaders who retain popular support and oppose neoliberal policies.
Different parties and groups have financed politics as they could. On the one hand, economic power contributes fortunes, declared or undeclared, to ensure public policies that protect their privileges, including public works contracts. They counted on the backup of aligned media and budgetary resources as they got into power to control the State. On the other hand, there are popular-base movements that do not have such quantities of resources at their disposal to confront them. They need to mobilize supporters and modest campaigns financed with small contributions, resources from local or national budgets that they are able to control and it seems also with a fraction of what is obtained by concentrated groups in public works contracts.
Sure there are norms that regulate politics financing (amounts, sources, and procedures are specified) but a few respect them. What prevails is “every law has its loopholes” to circumvent regulations; there is no lack of ability or generalized hypocrisy for getting around such porous legislation.
Norms that regulate politics financing try to level the conditions in which different political forces operate but is so much different the economic power that backs up one or the other that such leveling is inexistent. The powerful with vast resources, the rest with poverty of resources. In addition, the media concentration associated with or acquired by the economic power and think tanks financed to obtain ideological coverage.
The drama is that, in both strands, people with sincere beliefs coexist with greedy rabbles eager to appropriate resources that are not theirs. In this whirlwind of interests, very diverse layers of leaders and activists emerge, some honest, other opportunistic together with a bunch of amanuenses, prosecutors, judges and journalists that operate against the interests of the majorities.
They form a cambalache (junkshop) as the Tango goes. Values, speeches, mottos, proposals of those who deceive impudently thinking in making profit or preserving their posts intermingled with the messages of those who fight for the general wellbeing and are silenced, brushed aside. Voices of one and others do not reach us with the same sonority and continuity.
Where marketing and imposture prevail, it is not easy to differentiate decent from rabble, those who work for the general wellbeing and care for the planet from those who concentrate wealth with avarice assaulting against the environment and people. Motivations are concealed; prebends for a few and punishment for many are trafficked; oppressors are sold gathered in tricks manuals. Within this whirlwind of biased information and cartoons that arrive steadily to prevent the reflection, how can we discern the understanding of what is happening?
When it is impossible to make a well-founded assessment of a reality that is presented to us trimmed, we could call on a non-negligible option. Focus on a handful of critical dimensions, such as, analyze the trajectories already travelled, evaluate public policies carried out by each political strand, compare proposed objectives and obtained results, until identifying those who are favored and those who are adversely affected.
It so happens that beyond the manipulation of statistics and interpretations that hegemonic power imposes, the situation of population majorities offers evidence of what is lost and conquered. From there, clarification regarding what is happening and the reasons that explain it can begin.
History and present
From remote times, humanity has seen concentrating dynamics of varied greediness and ungodliness. Groups and peoples conquering other groups and peoples; appropriating wealth and squeezing the defeated and vulnerable. Great suffering for the punished. Such concentration, that is economic and decisional, today, has grown exponentially; the engines that support the process are in full motion. The appropriation of value has become more sophisticated and new submission modalities have been implemented through colonizing minds, molding subjectivities. No more just with “strike with thy rod,” although the open repression can be activated every time that is needed.
Concentration of wealth and decisional power compromises the environment, fragments entire societies, breaks down solidarities, and devalues life, dignity, and respect for others. Concentrated groups have generated a speculative supernova centered in (primary and secondary) financial circuits that operate far away from majorities, although their dynamic also projects over the real economy and the acquisition of reinsurances in lands and other natural resources.
The now-turned-into skippers of the planetary destiny see large majorities of the world population as unnecessary; for them they are leftovers, they interfere, are useless to maximize profits even if later they could join their markets to expand the bubbles of very high volatility in which they operate. Therefore, economic power explores every type of new niches that allow them to reinforce their accumulation trajectory. For that, they associate with local groups that hand over their people: large enterprises and rentiers, sectors of politics, the judiciary, media and think tanks.
Nevertheless, even in this context the desires of equity, peace, and justice do not disappear. In each social spring, leaderships germinate which, by questioning the submission, are capable of leading beyond the fencing. Concentrated power knows how to identify such threat.
Cornering transforming leaderships
Transforming leaderships have always been combated, discredited, accused of every type of crime and dishonesties. Economic power needs to destroy its aura, undermining popular support because of the threats they represent, as well as to instruct and discipline many other eventual followers in search for new courses.
At the beginning of the century, there were transforming experiences that were able to extend rights and level a little bit the great inequalities. Peoples mobilized, lives were improved, democracies talked again; dominators smelled danger. They called on to charge against those leaderships.
Economic power and its geopolitical expression assisted by intelligence services knew about corruption and used it for decades. They certainly knew how politics was financed because they were the ones channeling the undeclared resources towards akin political parties (and something for their opposition as a reinsurance). They also knew which part of those contributions was deviated towards personal benefit of some.
With this information, dominators conceived a new strategy to stop transforming attempts: make selective accusations of corruption, not their own or the ones they lead but those that well formatted could send popular leaders that retained popular support to prison or leave them apart from electoral processes. They took advantages of whistleblowers, repentants, maliciousness of every caliber and origin. They used judicial complicities to cover up their spurious objectives with a veil of false legality. Unknown judges became champions of pretended fights against the corruption of some but not of everybody.
Of course, it was not about unveiling the billions that economic power and their accomplices have appropriated and flight towards fiscal havens; they were also not interested in investigating about the surrender of national sovereignty with debts of doubtful origin and need. The purpose was to show the fraction of the illegal flow that could have been used by popular sectors, a leadership that mimicked proceedings done by dominators without counting on the impunity they had. A serious research bias was established, developed with vast number of violations to the prevailing procedural guarantees.
Undeclared contributions made by transforming forces were exposed, hiding the fact that they were extremely lower figures than the major systemic robbery that economic power practices. It did not matter to denounce large corruption, but rather bring to jail or corner up majoritarian leaderships. For that, they availed themselves of media campaigns, akin judges and prosecutors, using traitors either bought or threatened for their criminal past. They imposed the hypocrisy that misinforms and manipulates the unwary to make them denigrate popular base leaderships. The Adagio a mi país (Agade for my country) already showed poverty’s sadness, resentment; that there is no fortuneteller or king that could lead the way and that only one traitor can stand a thousand courageous people.
Questions and propositions
Does it call attention that this strategy of harassing popular leaderships has been practiced simultaneously in various countries? Smear campaigns in almost a copycat move, identical scripts and actors, with the same purpose of proscribing candidates with strong popular support to manipulate electorally captured democracies by economic power and its accomplices.
Can the colonizing of minds and the ability of dominators to mold subjectivities be counteracted? Can they continue camouflaging media operations, confusions deliberately produced by launching an unstoppable and constant overflow of issues and information that tries to cover up what is important, decisive, decent, our agendas?
Alienation mechanisms that deviate and sterilize the determination of many people function relentlessly. However, there is much more of value beyond consumerism, or the spectacle that makes us groggy, or nihilism. Will we be able to clarify others and us?
With effort, understanding grows regarding how hypocrisies, lies, half-truths, fake news, persecutions, defamation, and so much more work. Today, they try to impose the “si pasa, pasa” (Argentinean saying, “If it goes through and nobody notices it, let it go through”), attempt after attempt of subduing to trim down rights; but if they slip without achieving its purpose, they reach out for surrogates to keep on with the same imposed trajectory.
It is worth remembering that peoples tend not to condone affronts against their rights. History shows that, sooner or later, maneuvers and collusions are unmasked and reverted.
Today, it is critical to prevent further fragmentation of the popular field, which can be strengthen despite the eternal meanness, candid purisms that end up being functional to concentrated power, infiltrated traitors that surreptitiously undermine convergences. Will we be able to do so preserving our diversity that enriches social movements and the course towards fuller democracies? Even though they have pierced our understanding and will power, there is more than enough freewill to recognize the talent of new leaderships, which can facilitate the convergence of majorities and mobilize the huge social energy that nests in every community.
Processes are open to unforeseen outcomes; there are no unique paths or eternal systems. Ernesto Sabato ironically said that “Eternal Systems have a characteristic: are very short lived. They all aim at Absolut Truth, but history of philosophy is the history of Systems, that is, the history of the Collapse of Systems.”
In this context of advances and setbacks, of renewed complexities, of search for new courses, pains and hopes, determination, clarification, and social organization will remain as critical pillars of a better future we will end up achieving. Do not disbelieve or forget.
If you like this text, by filling out the form that appears in this page you can subscribe to receive once a month a brief summary of Opinion Sur English edition.