Saturday, November 05, 2005

Don't Listen to Corporate Media

Chris Matthews called violent protestors in Argentina "idiotic". He called them idiots for destroying their "own" town. Matthews is not alone in such short-sightedness. Most of the mainstream media portray corporate property as somehow beneficial to the general public. In fact, most Americans would likely agree with this point of view despite reality. That is, we somehow stumble blindly through life believing "our towns" belong to us. However, look closely at what these "idiots" were destroying: multinational banks, Burger King, McDonalds, etc.

The "piqueteros" of Argentina (the large majority of the violent protestors) have been struggling since the dramatic collapse of the Argentine economy in December 2001. Their means of protest became control of the streets and highways with blockades. Through these blockades they have been able to pressure their government to face problems that capitalism and neoliberal institutions have caused. they have forced an otherwise moderate politician in Nestor Kirchner to respond to their pressure. However, these protests also represented an opportunity for the "piqueteros" to step up the pressure with an international audience watching.

To the "piqueteros" the Fourth Summit of the Americas (Mar de Plata, Argentina 11/04-11/06) represents everything that has gone wrong in Argentina and Latin America in a "race to the bottom." Noting the outrage most Latin Americans feel towards the neoliberal plans that emerge from these summits and that has led to widespread increases in poverty, it is not hard to understand these riots. What's more, the property these Argentines are destroying is definitely not theirs. In fact, such property is an affront to the working class around the globe. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon reminds us that "property is theft." So where Chris Matthews sees the breaking of corporate glass as "idiotic", I say it is a necessary step towards recognizing the negative effects of corporate greed. We can only hope that this is the start of an ever-intensifying pressure on the glass-ceiling of capitalism.