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MARCH 24: A CROWD RISES FOR MEMORY IN ARGENTINA

Source: https://movimentorevista.com.br/2019/03/24-de-marco-uma-multidao-se-levanta-pela-memoria-na-argentina/

The light sun drove the late autumn afternoon in downtown Buenos Aires. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the demonstration in memory of the 30,000 missing. This is how the main newspapers reported.

The end of March has a symbolism for our countries. In addition to the arrival of autumn, two events, separated by only one week in the calendar, stained the history of the two countries with blood forever. It was on March 31, 1964 that the military deposed João Goulart, with majority support from the bourgeoisie and Imperialism. On March 24, 1976, the military, again in consonance with imperialism and with Argentina’s high bourgeois summits, in collusion with the majority of the clerical elite, overthrew the regime to impose a dictatorship. The coup was given to put an end to the growing politicization of the Argentine working class, which after Cordobazo of 1969 began to organize itself as a way of intervening for a workers’ and popular escape to the impasse of Argentine capitalism. After the collapse of the governments in Brazil, Uruguay and Chile, it was time for the Argentine tragedy.

The acts of Sunday 24th were multitudinous. They marched hundreds of thousands of Argentinians in the center of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, La Plata, Rosario and in several cities of the country. The strength of the demonstrations, traditional in the calendar of the social movement, infected the entire political climate of the country, putting Macri on the defensive for his stance of attacking human rights. These were two distinct concentrations, because, unfortunately, the sectors linked to Kichnerism avoided adding to the traditional march of the Encounter of Memory, Truth and Justice; the demonstration of the EMVJ was followed by nourished columns of the social and political left.

The banners and slogans reminded us of the 30,000 disappeared, a figure that sectors of Macri’s government try to relativize in their narratives, the defense of human rights and against the current political arrests against workers fighters and activists from indigenous peoples. Estela de Carlotto, president of the Association of the “Abuelas” of Plaza de Mayo, called for unity and denounced that the current government has not made an effort to solve the cases in question, where many causes are in the justice system for recognition, such as the cases of grandchildren that have not yet been found. The democratic climate in the streets contrasts with the political polarization that the country is experiencing. March 8 marked the resumption of the struggle of women, who in 2018 led the “green tide” for the decriminalization of abortion. The success of March 24th has inflated broad sectors of activism to continue to take to the streets, against the government and to deepen the democratic claims. The recent cases of corruption that the news is exploiting are related to activities linked to the secret service and espionage, an issue that none of the previous governments had the courage to face.

The deep roots of the broad democratic consciousness of the Argentinean people lie in the revolutionary aspects of the fall of the military dictatorship. The intense mobilizations, which challenged fear and had in organizations such as the Mothers and Grandparents of the Plaza de Mayo their best known symbols, together with the entry on the scene of important sectors of the working class, guaranteed a relationship of forces that can never be changed, as a whole. Despite the incompleteness and the trams and negotiations of the neoliberal governments, the democratic tasks when the dictatorship fell left deep marks on the popular conscience. Many soldiers, torturers and genocides went to the dock. A slogan that is raised by all popular sectors is “neither forgetfulness nor forgiveness” when it comes to the crimes of the dictatorship.

Bringing it to the Brazilian reality, it is noted that the treatment given to the crimes of the Brazilian dictatorship is the opposite. In the process of re-democratization of the 1980s, despite the drive of the workers’ and popular struggle, the milestones of the so-called transitional justice system were incomplete. The pact built around the 1988 constituent and the even lateral presence of the military in Brazilian public life did not go deep into the need for a real, fair transition, with the military, its system of command, never being judged as they deserved. The very existence of military courts, the non-organization of unitary civilian police bodies, the freedom with which intelligence systems operate in the “democratic” years were inconclusive tasks. The price of the bill to be paid is, for example, the presence of the military in Bolsonaro’s government. The left and the Brazilian vanguard should take into account the Argentine experience to fight for a greater centrality of the struggle of memory. The acts of March 28 (date alluding to the death of the student Edson Luis, a Brazilian martyr killed by the dictatorship) and March 31 are important dates to rescue this agenda.

Based on Argentina’s democratic conscience, the country faced new uprisings such as the Argentinazo of 2001, which defeated the country in the first place.

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