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Milei's freedom

"Long live freedom, damn it!" It is the slogan that the Argentine Javier Milei roars in his political speeches. A signal that seems to have become the main slogan of the Western candidates, on the American continent. "Long live freedom!" It is the propaganda that Donald Trump also preaches in the US; and Eduardo Verástegui, in Mexico. The concept of "freedom" used by the candidates of capitalism and its imperialist development is accompanied by an invitation to fight for the fundamental freedoms, the abundance of those who enjoy life and earn what they have, against the "lefties" and "damned socialism, which only leads to poverty and death." It seems that the three characters had the same script. The (dis)qualifiers are the same, the syntax is similar, the objective is the same: to save the world, families and peoples, from the "left-handed."  

The three politicians mentioned define themselves as "freedom fighters." But... what is the content of the freedom of Milei and the rest of the troupe? The freedom to possess, that is, the freedom of property. That freedom —which must persist, in all its strength, intensity and vigor—is bourgeois freedom, damn it! That formalized conception of freedom which presupposes that an individual can only be free when he becomes an owner; That is to say: the more we acquire goods, the freer we are. Hence the phrase "the abundance of those who enjoy and earn what they have." The accumulation of wealth is consecrated and the individual considers the accumulation he achieves as a literal blessing.

Milei's freedom is nothing other than a "theology of prosperity, of accumulation, of consumption." The Bolivian philosopher Rafael Bautista explains it in the following way: the freedom/salvation that is pursued has a price and, the more freedom/salvation that is required, the more price it has. From this belief, living, as "living better", becomes, in Bautista's words, a constant "inversion of values." Thus, greed is the normative structure of a calculus of constant maximization: «Greed [is] the original foundation of a way of life, as a progressive accumulation of wealth and [is] deployed as a political economy at a global level. Therefore, a “rational action” in accordance with greed is not coveting for the sake of coveting, but greed made a form of life and, as such, it constitutes a principle of life that gives moral content to accumulation. It is not accumulated for the sake of accumulating, but accumulation is assumed as a “service to society”, which presents the crecimiento and development as a consequence of the accumulation. Greed is good; because it is not greed, but the form of calculation that makes maximization the engine that sets the economy in motion.

In this way, being an owner converts human relationships into commercial relationships and subsumes others as mediations for the achievement of their particular ends, that is, the individual reifies every relationship they acquire, for the purpose of calculating their interests. As Bautista emphasizes, greed, then, constitutes a principle of life. It is the engine, even moral, that expresses the religiosity of a world crossed by strictly commercial relationships and a devout religiosity that the modern individual communes in the new temples: the banks. It is not in vain that Karl Marx called capital the new god.

The freedom to possess is assumed, from that religiosity, as the freedom that civilized people must have, and some other trite phrases, which seemed to sweeten the ears of the parishioners; but which, in reality, is a freedom lacking freedom that literally invites death. Milei's utopia is the farce of a freedom that chooses harm to life.

In the book From the myth of development to the horizon of «live good»It describes, in detail, how, when faced with problems, when everyone makes their respective utility calculation, they realize that doing something does not generate benefits. If all benefit is limited to economic gain, then “what is useful and rational” is what generates profits; Therefore, if doing something does not generate profits, we do nothing. In this way, all of us, by exclusively pursuing our own interests, We win relatively, but we lose absolutely. That is what the irrationality of the rationalized consists of: "The result is that the irrationality of the rationalized - 'the exclusion' [these quotes are mine] of entire populations, the exploitation, the subversion of human relations by the calculation of utility and destruction of nature - is protected by current legislation itself. Since these irrationalities of the rationalized are the result of the laws of the market, the core of legality is always on the side of the destructive process. Therefore, when actions appear to limit these irrationalities, from the point of view of bourgeois legality, they appear as distortions and are denounced as limitations on freedom.

In a fragmentary way, the freedom of Milei - which is the freedom of the West - is the freedom of live better, which refers to having goods and maintaining a perpetual dissatisfaction of always wanting-to-have more. Although this logic is irrational, the hegemonic system, in the name of la freedom, decides that it is legal to exploit/dominate the other human or destroy non-human nature. That is, in the category of master Franz Hinkelammert, the curse that weighs on modern law. For this reason, they accuse socialism of being a threat and left-handers as enemies. Anyone who raises their voice against the irrationality of the modern/capitalist system is a unusual and extraordinary threat, which must be silenced and stopped at any cost (historically, they have already done so. Not only have they systematically sought to destroy the possibility of trying another way of life in our America and other global Souths, but also the conditions of continue to think theoretically about these possibilities; without forgetting the campaigns of discredit, deformation and distortion of the fundamental core of left-wing thought). That's why Milei implores the commitment to not let "left-handed people go one millimeter behind, even when it seems like they're right, because they never are!"

It is not only lefties who denounce the irrationality and illegitimacy of the false freedom of the West: the rebellion of planetary limits is the cry of the subject, which manifests the self-destructive nature of that freedom based on suicidal logic. In the words of Bautista, "the limits rebel, even in us, to show us the irrationality of a rationality that systematically destroys all types of community relations, to impose on us exclusively social relations between individuals opposed to each other, in their pure calculation of individual interest.

Freedom is a community fact: liberation is only possible by liberating others. How can I talk about freedom, if my human and non-human neighbors live oppressed by my consumption model! Freedom must be removed from the colonial framework of interpretation. Values ​​are only guaranteed to the extent that they are reproduced. That is to say: freedom (Rafael Bautista insists) is important because it allows us to choose life. You are free to choose life or death, not to choose things that the market offersThe subject is a subject because he is subject to life: not to his life, but to all of life..

The unfortunate thing is that many left-handed people, colonized by freedom to own, they end up trapped in the logic of a system in decline. Some have internalized this naturalized concept of freedom so much that it seems that they are not able to visualize another way of living: "With the live good"Elections are not won"; «We have to connect with the feeling of what people expect»; «We can have a luxury socialism or communism, which takes advantage of the “goodness” of technologies and digitalization». The approach to social problems is systematically approached from the civilizational project of modernity, such as the lack of quantitative development of a society of consumption and capitalist accumulation. Overcoming poverty, from this perspective, is measured by the quantity of goods and services in a valuation that is established within the modern-Western capitalist understanding of life. These are the determinants, but also the effects of the civilizational crisis. Said more explicitly: we also have the system within us and it conditions not only our way of thinking, but even our way of looking. It is clear that one of the great problems of the 21st century is survival. In a historical context of depletion of essential goods for life, exacerbated by imperialist aggression and looting of territories, an immediate sense of preservation emerges that reduces people to only worrying about "animal" needs. This control of perception eliminates or weakens the ability to think about the true causes of our problems and about possible and feasible alternatives to get out of the labyrinth of a system in decline. Thus, we simplify life from the automatic thinking that the dominant irrationality has imposed on us and we end up becoming reproducers of the political criteria of the live better, associated purely with having, with the quantitative, which is the most opposite to life and which, as the Argentine-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel deplores, practically castrates the probability of life.

In this moment of ecosocial crisis, ethics is a historical crossroads. The current challenge of ethics is to stop the destructive process of life, caused by the logic of capital. There arises the critical principle of ethics and the option for the oppressed of the system. Enrique Dussel would say, "not only for the poor, there are also women, oppressed races, and the ecological problem." This implies (in the sense in which this philosopher of liberation warns) not only criticizing the system, but also diagnosing the causes of the evils and the possible alternatives for the future. Otherwise, it is impossible to proceed to the transformation. 

Every act, to have a claim to goodness, must be governed by three principles. This is what Dussel's critical ethics argues: 1) that it sustains life (the life of all, including that of Mother Earth); legitimacy (it is valid and legitimate to the extent that those affected can participate symmetrically); feasibility (that it is empirically feasible).

As left-handed revolutionary militants, we have the responsibility to think (ourselves) in the context of the crisis that humanity faces and that is expressed, in a concrete way, as a socio-ecological crisis. Deep down, what is in crisis is the modern-capitalist civilizational project that, with its bourgeois way of life, is leading humanity to cancel the possibilities for the reproduction of human life. The problem is that this civilizational project has developed an entire ideological and scientific justification that has ended up imposing on the collective imagination the creed of capitalist progress/development, as the only possible option of existence. In this scenario, we have to assume the battle of ideas towards the construction of civilizational references designed from the reproduction of life and live well in community. Hence, the need to carry out pedagogical, training and communication work that proposes a cultural transformation, so that we stop thinking about the meaning of life in relation to insatiable modern-capitalist consumption and get ready to build truly human relationships. and community, that focus on the satisfaction of real needs and solidarity between peoples.

Only free reciprocity can found community. As we wrote in another "Thinking in depth", recovering Franz Hinkelammert, what is indispensable - which is coexistence, the common good, peace, care of the Earth - does not and cannot enter into the calculation of utility made by the modern world-system, since it is based on the maximization of the profit rate and the growth rate of a market economy. The commitment to freedom means a commitment to the useless, which is what is truly indispensable. That is true freedom: freedom from responsibility, freedom to choose life. Long live the freedom (of possessing and dominating), damn it? Even when? At what cost?

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