While the current Argentine government tries to play globally smart, smiling to Obama first and signing a nuclear agreement with Russia a few hours later, Argentine people watch and think. Absolutely disappointed with those now in office and definitely not happy with those voted June 28th 2009 to transform a quasi totalitarian and corrupted regime in a democratic and transparent one, Argentines have plunged in what would look like one of the usual depressive states but constitutes instead a deep reflective mood.
Foreigners wonder why Argentines never seem to love their fellow citizens or even their country and why political family grudges always renewed themselves to be solved only by occasional violence. There are historical reasons, mainly a long conflict to create a truly democratic society that has not been properly digested by everyone and which is at the basis of some remaining racism and hatred based on class, culture or ideology.
This conflict had its peak in the mid-20th century when the Peronist movement succeeded to creating a largely inclusive middle class that shaped Argentina as the most socially avant-garde country in Latin America. The scars left by that movement toward equal rights are still there and while leaders in government who claim themselves as Peronists try to renew the old class conflicts, Argentines, and among them a vast majority of Peronists, have made an effort to move ahead. Their massive support for the farmers and what is called in Argentina “el campo,” that is, all the farm and country activity and production, show that things have truly changed in the past half century, and that the farmers and also the aristocratic “estancieros” from the past, are now Argentines like everyone else. More so, urban Argentines perceive they all belong to the same productive class, the class of those who work, Perón would say, no matter if as owners and entrepreneurs or hired on a salary or wages basis. The old Peronist revolution is over, in spite of the efforts some delayed leaders who have no new ideas make to bring it to life again. If the old is over, something new must be boiling beneath what still looks as an outdated landscape.
In fact, a new invisible revolution is slowly taking place: the empowered democratic society doesn’t accept any more to be ruled by people who abuse power to benefit themselves, become richer, or simply to fantasize over impossible budgets or lie about the real state of the finances. Argentines, who felt what they wanted for quite a while but had not the words to express it, have found in the past months a new vocabulary. They have rediscovered the meaning of the state institutions and the way the Republican Constitution has organized power to create always a balance to precisely avoiding abuse and corruption. They know now where lies the cause of so much collective unhappiness created by politicians without scruples working within paralyzed institutions. Argentines now understand. They can make by themselves, without any politician having now to lead or help, the right diagnostic on the state of the Republic and they can lead with their vote.
However, the invisible revolution has a second part: a coming of age on how Economy actually works. These days there is a rediscovery of Federalism’s financial meaning, that is, how taxes can actually be collected by provincial states and town councils. This, which may surprise Americans and even some, by now, more advanced Latin American fellows, is a major event in a country where the so-called (in the past) Federal leaders never talked about fiscal federalism and submitted without blinking to the powerful Centralized state.
There is also a rediscovery of what means a Central Bank and what inflation, that old well-known companion to Argentine economy, can do to impoverish all. The epiphany on capitalism as the medium to create enough wealth to keep society truly and thoroughly democratic will not take too long to show up. In regards of economy, people have as much questions as they previously had on abuse and corruption, and there is an increasing demand of leaders who can give the proper rational answers and explain what happened in the recent past, a code still to be cracked by a majority of Argentines historically fed by statism and anti-capitalism.
Local and foreign media look obsessed with every day political struggles, and often forget that the star of the political process to come, the true leader of change, will be no other than the Argentine people, finally with the will of power to change their fate. They woke up and know now that nobody will give to them the right answers if they don’t dare to ask the right questions. While journalists talk about the irrelevant, always behind facts, the invisible revolution is taking place, source of future events that will surprise more than one.
In the meantime, rags from a rusty past are held as a flag while living dead rule, mistaking history for eternity.