Footnotes for Latin American and Caribbean Peoples39 Integration Day Rebelion

Footnotes for Latin American and Caribbean Peoples' Integration Day Rebelion

It brought tears to share with thousands of colleagues the intense days of the Popular Integration Day in Foz do Iguaçú, a milestone that, from its conception, has the aim and responsibility of overcoming the transience of an event.

The day is also linked to a long process of resistance and struggles against colonialism, military dictatorships and the neoliberal wave that gradually swept the inhabitants of these countries.

It is therefore necessary, beyond the chronicle, to rescue and reflect on the distillation of some concepts expressed and to proceed with the essential debate that, as I said, can hopefully take root in the soul of the people.

From emotion to reflection

Without the people who support them, there is no integration, said former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica, setting a clear course for efforts to build a common home in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The concept is extremely revealing for those who continue to see only the elite assembly of a political model of purely interstate integration. It is not new – just as integration efforts are not new, as the veteran Uruguayan fighter also pointed out – but it is imperative.

In our view, reorienting integration efforts toward popular support has to do with understanding one of the factors underlying the extreme right's recent involutionary advances: the population's righteous antipathy to the bureaucratized political system due to its distancing from the social basis.

A divorce that is exploited and amplified by the media, part of the framework of concentrated capital, to amplify errors but above all to create parallel realities that distance the majority from transformative social and political activities and place them in Lull dreaming and consumer addictions. .

If we project the phenomenon onto a regional level, the integration between governments proposed in purely institutional terms is far from being a factor of rapprochement between peoples, but ends in an entelechy of acronyms and regulations, absolutely incomprehensible and distant. This alienation can only culminate in rejection by the population.

In addition, this rejection is fully justified when integration is centralized and used by companies to protect their interests or for aggressive geopolitical purposes that are far removed from the common good.

It is enough to look at the current example of the European Union and the ongoing rebellion of its workers and peasants, which, as the protest is diverted from its best goals by fanatical representatives, ends up giving grist to the mill of fascism.

In this way, regional integration “with the people” should correspond to political practices that center a real and non-declarative role of the people and are not limited only to the leadership or the vanguard sectors. This gives rise to the need for a radical reform of the nature of social organization and decision-making, tending towards a progressive decentralization of power, as they have claimed, with its own characteristic nuances and, to give just a few examples, the Bolivarian call of Hugo Chávez (Community or nothing!), Zapatismo with its snails of good government and even the defense of federalism and/or municipalism, today significant and surprising factors of resistance in Argentina against the disintegrating attack of the national government.

Man as the main actor

In his speech at the closing event of Foz Day, Mujica presented interesting lessons regarding the need and benefits of integration to improve the deplorable situation of the group that we usually call “City”, although many of its members may be people who influenced by false individualistic promises do not always see themselves as such.

Mujica called for going through a first phase with possible questions that are difficult to reject and that could facilitate understanding on the social basis of the benefits and survival requirements that continental integration entails.

Integration is not an end in itself and does not bring success, but rather improves people's lives. In addition, in order not to be an empty signifier, a useless slogan, it must be designed with precise images, taking on color, shape and plasticity and arousing passion… All of this was referred to by the former Uruguayan president in some way, even in Allusions to a flag and an anthem.

Without addressing these valuable and practical suggestions in particular, this reorientation of Latin American and Caribbean politics and integration presents us with important dilemmas that, if we want to move beyond rhetoric and demagoguery, we cannot ignore.

Aristotle, in his definition of demagoguery, warned of the danger of “flattery to the people,” and the romanticization of the masses, so typical of fascism and authoritarianism, could have a negative impact on the search for ways to effectively liberate the subject. collective.

People are not uniform, neither in their living conditions, nor in their cultural landscapes, nor in their generational memories, nor in their internal motivations, so it can be a strategic mistake to assign them a unique intentionality based only on one place of belonging.

The basis of unity

But beyond diversity and difference, sometimes outrage and the need to build social and political power in the face of shame also create harmony between populations. And when the flame of a shared project sets the hearts of groups on fire, there is no barrier that can stop it.

These projects are based on values ​​that are not as visible as the immediate demands, but in the longer term give sustainability, coherence, depth and effectiveness to the revolutionary action.

Values ​​that, on the one hand, are related to elements present in the historical memory of each people, but which, by definition, to be revolutionary, must provide new elements that do not necessarily correspond to traditional practices or assessments.

Without a doubt, the current Vice President of Colombia, Francia Márquez Mina, referred to these elements to be changed in her speeches during the conference and repeatedly and vehemently called for the overcoming of patriarchy and racism in society to be taken very seriously a better world.

Footnotes for Latin American and Caribbean Peoples39 Integration Day Rebelion

Likewise, the conviction of having to go far beyond anything that hinders the desired convergence of diversity and the sum of forces was very present in the spirit of the conference. To this end, it is advisable to look at the mirror of divisionism, represented by the personalism, the inner ferocity for organizational control, the way in which dissidents are treated, or the tendency to impose identities and organic slogans of each group on the others , is caused.

As MST activist Messilene Gorete, member of the meeting's coordination, emphasized with wisdom and experience: “We are here because of what unites us.”

And what connects us, what can act like a weld, an element of a lasting fusion, amid the pressure of discourses that tend to disperse, fragment and diverge? Will it be enough to reject imperialism and its tricks? Will it be enough to condemn the obscene accumulation of capital in a few hands while millions suffer hardship? Will it be enough to condemn the capitalist system and show solidarity with everyone who suffers from violence, discrimination and exclusion in various forms?

All of this is important to clarify direction, but perhaps it is not enough to forge the powerful utopia that will allow us to shape the future.

So let us ask ourselves again: What can be this value that connects people, that integrates people across all differences, to guide us and lead us into a different reality?

There is no doubt that what is essentially common to us, what makes us part of a community, what binds us together, defines us, moves us and calls us, is the humanity that is present in each of us.

If in this way we could move beyond an inherited identity or place of birth, if we could combine our daily efforts to confront the negative forces of the system with the intention of valuing the humanity in those around us, if we could also could sensitize people to the possibility of holding on to this comprehensive humanism. This will be a major step towards unity and integration and towards a new and different world. Not just from below, but also from within.

Javier Tolcachier is a researcher at the World Center for Humanist Studies and a communicator at the international news agency Pressenza

Rebelión has published this article under a Creative Commons license with the permission of the author and respects his freedom to republish it in other sources.