FMLN: a transformation of the Salvadoran economic model?
The Capitalist production scheme,
as any other historical system of production, envelopes a group of economic
relations that are produced among the members of a society, as a multi-cellular
tissue that forms an economic structure. These connective tissues are the
result of the society’s adaptation to its production relations (the
ownership of the means of production and the division of tasks), the
distribution activities (how the product and the surplus are distributed in
the society), and the consumption relations (which are the result of both
the production and the distribution).
In order to adopt alternative means of production it takes more than a set
of regulations. It would be necessary to attack the foundations of the
economic relations in which the present model rests. In other words, it
would be necessary to reconsider the relations between the aforementioned
tissues: the production, the distribution, and the consumption, which make
the development of the model possible.
In fact, the regulation mechanisms of the production work to permanently
adequate, as it evolves, the development of the productive forces (the
human, the natural, and the technological resources) to the economic
structure and vice versa. These modifications do not question the ownership
of the means of production. The economic structure will be defined in the
same way (Feudalism, Capitalism, et cetera), although it will be possible to
talk about stages. A production model can be Capitalist, but it can be
inclined towards a Neoliberal Capitalism, or towards a “welfare state”
without necessarily turning into different means of production.
Theoretically, that is why the possibility to go from a short-term change to
a Socialist production model is actually remote. However, some people intend
to say that the FMLN is perfectly capable to go through that change. The
effort to build a society with those characteristics will take more than an
election process, especially in the present conditions. No one can instantly
change the production model with just a decree. The way to regulate the
binomial Market/State can only be the axis of discussion of the economic
platform when it comes to consult on the possibility of a left-wing
administration. It is not realistic to talk about a “revolution from above”
able to immediately change the production model of the country.
It is important to consider that in a global society, the way in which El
Salvador operates is affected by its connection with the global Capitalist
system. This is an obstacle for the transformation of the Salvadoran
economic structure, since, in a way, it still has to keep trying to adapt
itself to that environment.
In spite of those surroundings, what seems critical about the limited action
margin that the FMLN might have is its relation with the dominant production
model. In other words, the Capitalist production model will keep becoming
more complex if there are no strategies to face its attack. From this
perspective, it has been easy for ARENA to “get in line” with an economic
stoic posture, and go “wherever the market might take it” because it favors
the business elite. That is the reason why El Salvador became a peripheral
country with an open and a dependant economy, subjected to the services of
the capital, unable to generate its own economic alternative.
What changes can be expected from the 2004 presidential economic program of
the FMLN? The transformation of the economic model can be expected, but the
transformation of the production model is not possible; not yet, anyway. The
reasons are simple: the context does not allow it, and it would affect the
stability of the governmental administration. This means that it is not very
realistic to expect the expropriation of the Capitalists and their
investments there where the assets of the State have been already privatized.
In the words of Sanchez Ceren, the general coordinator of the FMLN, “all
that will be nationalized is the government”. The possible collision with
the status quo of the global capitalist system and its imperial nucleus, The
United States, are strong variables that cannot be ignored.
This adverse scenario is definitively real. The Salvadoran hegemonic
business block does not want to lose the benefits that ARENA gave to them.
That is why from the golden ring of the Salvadoran Capitalism the voices of
the right-wing block and the organic intellectuals who defend the model in
question have launched a propagandistic offensive. This action intends to
discredit the image of the FMLN. It refers to it as the “shark” that will
affect the stability of the economy by putting an end to the dollarization.
That negative propaganda mentions that the business owners will be
expropriated from their assets, and that “the country will be turned into a
Cuba” where disaster is at the order of the day because “The business
companies will be forced to reduce the number of their activities. The
unemployment level will increase, and plenty of other problems will be part
of a vicious circle”. (See El Diario de Hoy, Editorial, 05-13th-03, page
Other public figures, such as the ideology president of ARENA, Mario Acosta,
refer to the FMLN as “the branch of evil”, as a Communist party, and as the
promoter of the class struggle. Therefore, he thinks that the country is
destined to suffer an economic disaster under the direction of the FMLN. On
the other hand, Rose Links, the Ambassador of the United States, did not
hide her discontent for the possibilities that the FMLN has to win the
presidential elections. She seems worried because the discourses of the FMLN
might “put China, Cuba or Vietnam as a role model, or that they speak about
negotiating the end of the privatization process when there are American
business companies that have invested to develop the key sectors of the
national life, which might assume that their investments are in danger”.
All of these perspectives are wrong because all of them are founded in
suppositions as well as in the fallacious axiom that states that “the
Neliberal economic model based on the free market is infallible, and its
flaws –if any- are minimal”. Nothing could be further from reality. Without
any regulations or changes in the way the wealth is accumulated, problems
such as poverty, unemployment, delinquency and emigration will be
intensified in a way that, far from becoming another Cuba, the real danger
is to become an Argentina. In that country, the Neoliberal policies
prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (FMI, in Spanish) produced an
Because of this campaign of “economic terror” and orchestrated
disinformation, it is necessary to say that the economic policies of the
FMLN are not about an a priori structural change of the Salvadoran
Capitalist production model. The evidence: the five subjects in which it
bases its economic axis. The inspiration for the creation of these subjects
seems more like a reaction to the Neoliberal policies than an original
alternative creation that might be helpful to build a radically different
Those five subjects are:
1. The dollarization. Their proposal is to recuperate the “monetary
independence” and the circulation of the Colón.
2. The privatization. They intend to stop the process of the future
privatization scheme and examine the ones that have been executed,
especially in the case of the pensions and the ones with a retroactive
3. The free trade agreements. It is necessary to change the perspective of
these agreements, since those treaties are discussed behind the backs of the
citizenry, and they bring negative effects for most of the population.
4. The large business companies. Their activity is guaranteed “as long as
they follow the law and the precepts of social justice”.
5. The price of the services. They intend to reduce the charge for the
electric service, the telephone, and water, in order to alleviate the cost