by Franz Verne
It is clear that this was always an inter-bourgeois dispute, between two right-wing factions, each representing their own interests and political agendas. And in this contest, the one with the least strategic backing lost. The fall of Vizcarra demonstrates a weakened Executive lacking governance, because – among other things – it never had a parliamentary bench to back it up and stop the onslaught of the Legislature, which did manage to reach a consensus on its block attack under the worn-out ruse of the “anti-corruption fight », When it was always clear that in both powers of the State the level of putrefaction is truly alarming. Now, with the seizure of power by Manuel Merino, who is doomed to convene a ministerial cabinet according to his parliamentary partners, a new distribution of power begins, let there be no doubt.
Peru is entering a new political crisis within the generalized panorama of a health and socioeconomic megacrisis that it was already experiencing due to the global pandemic. This time, Parliament approved the presidential vacancy against Martín Vizcarra under the argument of “permanent moral incapacity” due to a series of indications and blatant accusations about acts of corruption that would come from the time he served as regional president in Moquegua. Beyond going into familiar details about the defenestration process of Vizcarra and the inauguration of Manuel Merino (then President of Parliament), we are interested in focusing on the political core of the matter and its immediate impact on our people.
Character of the conflict
It is clear that this was always an inter-bourgeois dispute, between two right-wing factions, each representing their own interests and political agendas. And in this contest, the one with the least strategic support lost. The fall of Vizcarra demonstrates a weakened Executive lacking governance, because – among other things – it never had a parliamentary bench to back it up and stop the onslaught of the Legislature, which did manage to reach a consensus on its attack en bloc under the worn out ruse of the “anti-corruption struggle », When it was always clear that in both powers of the State the level of putrefaction is truly alarming. Now, with the seizure of power by Manuel Merino, who is doomed to convene a ministerial cabinet according to his parliamentary partners, a new distribution of power begins, let there be no doubt.
Now, the mess has been eminently political, without disrupting the economic factor. In this institutional crisis, Confiep has not been affected; on the contrary, he had no qualms about distancing himself quickly (via public pronouncement) from the vacant Vizcarra whom they abandon as a replaceable piece, as a worn out politician without his own party, as a bad strategist who quickly self-liquidated; and now they welcome Merino, a man with a traditional right-wing party (Popular Action) and a clear record in defense of the national status quo. And in this shebang, the Armed Forces have fulfilled the usual role: safeguarding the interests of the elite with greater capacity for socio-political control. While the presidency of Congress remains in the hands of Luis Valdez (Alliance for Progress),
With regard to the legality of the approved vacancy, it should be noted that two months ago, in the context of the first presidential vacancy attempt, the Executive presented a competency claim and a precautionary measure, in which it was proposed that Congress He could not vacate the President, since the assumptions of moral incapacity are too lax. The injunction was rejected and on that issue there is no going back, but the underlying demand still exists. So, for some analysts, the Constitutional Court generated, in part, this problem when it did not resolve the injunction in time. If he had admitted said measure at the time, he would have ordered Congress not to rule on any vacancy in application of the assumption of permanent moral incapacity as long as the underlying issue is not resolved in the aforementioned competence claim. And although the official pronouncement of the TC is still awaited, this could be a mere formal procedure that would no longer change the course of things.
Parliamentary left and popular clamor
The role of the left – in very general terms – at this juncture has been diffuse, scattered or inconsequential. During the development of the pandemic, there was a clear divorce between the parliamentary left and official progressivism regarding the demands and hustle and bustle of the affected population. There were processes of struggle or mobilization in neighborhoods and communities looking for food and basic subsistence mechanisms; Likewise, union protests were generated against massive layoffs and labor abuses, but they were neither picked up by the institutional left nor were policies in favor of these sectors generated. And today there is talk of moving towards a process of a Constituent Assembly and a new Constitution. As a political slogan it is encouraging, but on what basis? About what organized community? On what level of mass representation? With what left as a consensual vanguard?
Regarding the recent mobilizations in various parts of the country, it is true that these are citizen marches originally convened against the spurious Congress and its illegitimate vacancy, it is true that there is a presence of opportunistic politicians seeking to fish in a troubled river (Guzmán, Forsyth, Mendoza, Humala , etc.), it is true that its general character is liberal and functional to the defense of a supposed corrupt and corrupting democracy, it is true that it is not a working-class protest. But it is not correct to make a derogatory analysis or to revile the bulk of the mobilized mass as if it were a simple bourgeois parade. Right now this mobilization has brought together many people who are not going to defend Vizcarra, because we see the presence of workers and students who are not in favor of the vacated government,
There are several detainees who will be processed, there are wounded by tear gas and pellets, there is widespread repression. And this should call us to immediate solidarity and to seek to deepen the current scenario of social conflict. The moment must be tightened to move from institutionalist defense to popular protest, to move from diffuse indignation to open class struggle, focusing that vacancy is irrelevant or harmful if the abolition of the Fujimori Constitution that we suffer is not considered.
It seems that this social demonstration is clarifying its course of not defending a particular vacated regime or politician, but rather that it goes against the seizure of powers by right-wing political sectors interested in polarizing the country with their own agenda. Then, it could be opportune to continue tense the moment and lay open criticism from the streets towards the economic model and its reactionary Constitution.
Therefore, “criticisms” from a certain puerile sectarianism or biased purism against the demonstrators in action are rejected. We can disagree, we can question citizenship forms, we can — and we must — confront institutionalist demands, but we do not repeat the attacks of the reactionary right itself, disqualifying the mobilized people as simple “vizcarristas.” It is urgent to have a more objective and militant reading to interpret social processes that may be outside our “correct leftist meter”, but that are still social spaces of direct incidence to build demands of greater historical significance. And from this,
Old chips on the new board
Before it became official, it was already known that Antero Flores-Aráoz would assume as Prime Minister of the illegitimate government of Manuel Merino. And beyond remembering all the racist, elitist, homophobic, arrogant, defender of the corrupt and reactionary profile of this character (something that is obviously true), it would be interesting to see the background and the political message of this acceptance in that position key.
As is known, Flores-Araóz was a deputy for the Fredemo (ultra-liberal party) in the early 90s, then he was a congressman for the conservative Christian Popular Party (PPC) during the Fujimorato, he was also president of Parliament (2004-2005), He was also a permanent representative of Peru to the OAS (2007), later he became Minister of Defense (2007-2009) of the second government of Alan García, and then we saw him running – unsuccessfully – to the presidency of Peru for the Party Order that he himself founded and disappeared. Today he is vice president of the Republican Coordinator (a conglomerate of ultra-conservative politicians, denialist leaders, leaders of “With my children you don’t mess with me,” followers of conspiracy theories, retired high-ranking military personnel, self-confessed fascist, etc.).
So, this recent dispute between the right-wing, between factions of the traditional oligarchy (entourage behind Vizcarra) and the new provincial bourgeoisie (partners and immediate surroundings of Merino) in the eyes of big capital had to come out of its trap and generate an air of confidence to the owners of the national economy. If already transnational entities such as the Bank of America showed their concern about the “populism of Merino”, Confiep had to intervene to calm the waters and place a creole and elitist guarantor for the attempt of the provincial right.
Therefore, it is clear that the new Flores-Araóz cabinet must radiate confidence in the national and foreign big bourgeoisie. They should be concerned that so far no president of the region has greeted them. And it is necessary to see who will appoint in the Ministry of Economy, Defense and the Foreign Ministry, which are always key positions that paint the true profile of a regime.
And now that?
Move towards a Constituent Assembly process? Constituent Popular Assembly? New Constitution? On what basis? Are there conditions of form and substance for such an aspect? Is there any tangible difference between Vizcarra and Merino that makes it possible to demand the termination of the current Constitution?
Civil disobedience and insurgency against an illegitimate government? What is the reading on the correlation of forces in the popular field? What balance to draw from the recent role of the parliamentary left? Is there a representative left at the mass level? What is the scenario for 2021?
Everyone leaves? And how do you achieve that? What comes next? Is there a clear political spectrum to the left that allows us to see what can happen after this juncture? With what sectors, within the social movements, could a mass articulation be generated? General Strike until defeating the current regime? What or who assumes the call? What are the trade union centrals in our country today?
The questions are many and must be resolved in the heat of the developing popular process itself. An alternative must be built from below that clarifies the panorama and directs us towards a north in the interests of the working class and social movements. It is necessary to move from citizen outrage to confrontation with the economic model and the political system, in addition to extending and intensifying popular protest at the national level. Clearly it is time to bet on direct mass action and solidarity with the mobilized people and put on the table for discussion the frontal rejection of the Fujimori Constitution, its defenders and its false critics. Based on this dynamic, it is possible to prepare a General Strike and an articulated platform of struggle to establish a viable solution to the crisis generated.