The growing centrality of agro-mineral sectors and its ‘satellite’ industries (finance, commerce, farm machines, infrastructure and construction) has shifted the axes of political power from center-left alliances of urban middle class-working class and rural/urban poor to agro-mineral led mass power-bloc embracing urban small business, professional organizations, rural middle and even small farmers, disaffected urban consumers and fixed salaried employees suffering the ravages of high inflation.
Argentina: Throughout the first half of 2008, the leading agro-business enterprises with strong support from the provincial bourgeoisie, small and medium farmers organized massive and sustained lockouts, a multitudinous demonstration of 200,000 in Rosario and forced the Cristina Kirchner government to renegotiate a tariff tax on the windfall profits of grain and soya exports. The right-wing leaders of the boycott succeeded in weakening the popularity of the ‘center-left’ regime, calling into question its authority and ability to govern, while building political alliances with the urban financial and commercial sectors. Equally important, the scarcity of food (meat and grains) led to price rises, fueling inflation and provoking widespread discontent among the urban poor. There was little backing from the popular urban movements either in support of the ‘center-left’ regime or opposition to the rightist road blockages and boycott, except among sectors of the truckers unions. Clearly the rightwing agro-export-led hegemonized rural movement has replaced the unemployed workers movements as the dynamic sector of extra-parliamentary politics. As a consequence of the weakening of the Center-Left, the right-wing orthodox neo-liberals are likely to become the electoral beneficiaries.