Manual Broken Promises?: The Argentine Crisis and Argentine Democracy

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Lanham: Lexington Books, This collection of essays intends to examine the effects on Argentina's democracy of the crisis that exploded in December To this end, the editors' introductory chapter offers a working definition of that crisis.

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Their argument navigates between a subjective, endogenous perspective and an objective, exogenous view of how to identify a crisis. On the one hand, the authors postulate that the word crisis refers to "the effects of sharply worsening perceptions held by the citizenry as a whole or by some strategic subgroups of then prevailing political conditions"; on the other hand, they assert that "a sense of crisis" would persist until "a new pattern emerged that became widely known and accepted" p.

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To assess the presence and duration of an occurring crisis, observers should look for indicators of public confidence in democracy and democratic institutions. Poor indicators would signal the existence of a crisis; their improvement would point to its termination.

Broken Promises?

The "Argentine crisis" is thus defined as a crisis of public confidence in democratic institutions. Their arguably restrictive definition of a crisis soon meets its limitations when it confronts the topics discussed in the articles that make up part 2, "The Causes of the Crisis. This disjunction would be rooted in the type of capital [End Page ] accumulation prevailing in the mids: roving banditry, which purportedly annihilated domestic industry, created massive social exclusion, depleted state coffers, weakened public institutions, and thereby impeded the consolidation and successful performance of representative democracy.

Marcelo Sain's work on the police of Buenos Aires Province points to an entirely different object.

History of Argentina's debt crisis

By depicting the policia bonaerense as a structurally corrupt, inefficient, and essentially rogue organization, Sain characterizes the Buenos Aires provincial administration as a failed state, incapable of guaranteeing basic human rights to a population permanently threatened by the delinquent behavior of those recruited to fight crime. In Argentina, the election results show that all three bourgeois candidates are rolling up their sleeves to implement austerity, cut down spending and have workers pay for the crisis. A bold, combative voice found resonance in almost 1 million voters and expressed a pole of resistance.

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The Left Front obtained better results than center-left, lukewarm candidate Margarita Stolbizer, positioning itself as the only alternative to the candidates of capitalism and austerity. Furthermore, in contrast with other left or center-left political phenomena around the world, the Left Front and particularly the PTS has been building workplace resistance, rank-and-file organizing and combative caucuses among workers and students.

The upcoming years will be tough for the majority of workers and students in Argentina. Budget cuts and layoffs will be accompanied by the criminalization of protest and persecution of social activism.

Broken Promises?: The Argentine Crisis and Argentine Democracy by Lexington Books (Hardback, 2006)

The Left Front has become an indisputable pole of working class resistance and independence, a reference for the left in Argentina, and will be at the forefront of the militant organization of workers and students fighting against the attacks of capital. The Democratic Process in Argentina. Citizen Responses. Crisis Democracy and the Military in Argentina.

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State and Foreign Responses. Will Foreign Allies Help? Argentinas Relations with Brazil and the United States.

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