Monday, August 8

Civil society as a task

Executive President of Mexicanos Primero

The approval of restrictions on the operation of tax-deductible donations is the latest episode in a new wave of reactions against civil society from the government.

It is not the first, it does not seem that it will be the last, it is not exclusive to this federal government. I am of the idea that there is no single conspiracy planned in detail to dismantle the associations; It seems to me, on the other hand, that we are facing two lines with different motivations: a first, the very basic, angry and resentful reaction, against the actions of democratic counterweight that limit the plans of the authority. A second, on the other hand, comes from a troubled management of public finances that wants to carry out tangible work for well-being, but is not determined to raise large fortunes more aggressively. The team of fighters who pounced on the organizations is half tough and half technical.

The first angle is a typical reaction of the authoritarian mood and goes more or less as follows: “If you elected me, now my decisions are held. Don’t be asking me for reasons, don’t be pressuring me for results, don’t oppose my favorite projects. Let me work. If I announced actions and goals, don’t cross over to question the means. Above all, do not dare to make me feel that you have it clearer than I do ”.

This reaction is capricious, it is visceral, it is universal; It is typical of caudillista projects that did not become authentic proposals for social change. When the leader is the change, then really there will be no change; only as a caudillo, when it runs out, leaves or is supplanted.

The counterweight to the caudillo comes from a multitude of actors in the non-governmental space: community organizations that do not want work to be done in their environment; students who believe that their expressions are being restricted; the professional associations that foresee damages; CSOs that do studies and show that the numbers presented are wrong, or that the effect announced as an achievement is not such.

From a march, a pint or a sit-in, through a witty interview, an ironic article or an in-depth study, to a sarcastic song, a denunciation documentary, an amparo claim or a case in the Inter-American Court, the government’s critics They are candidates for the wrath of the hero, and therefore a favorite object of adjectives and revulsion; in real or fictitious form it must be shown that a) they are not authentic, because they work for my political opponents, b) have errors or limitations that disqualify them, c) something we can discover to them, that shows that they are not as honest, or well-intentioned as they pretend, or d) better all the previous ones, added and scrambled. You have to put them on lists to show them on the national chain, make them counter-periodic; throw a SAT audit on them; flatter them so that they come down, add them to collaborate, but be quiet; or threaten them to inhibit themselves, talk to their friends, supporters or privileged donors so that they no longer take them second. They must be discredited, in both senses: that they do not have credibility, and that they also do not have the money to carry out their actions, their studies, their press conferences or their sit-ins; you have to hit your financial base.

Those on the technical side, for their part, think that any deduction is a tax loss. They then oblige the recipient of donations to act as a spy for the government: an additional anti-laundering control, a pre-audit instance, the opportunity to catch someone with errors in their reports, or their fiscal address, or in their articles of incorporation. More and more regulation strangles the willingness to donate and deduct, and postpones the most severe collection of taxes a little. Every government loves to be the one that inaugurates and dispenses goods, and the diversity of civil society dislikes it. Popular sectors must be encouraged to distrust and resent them. Since civil society is a task, it must be presented as a privilege: since we get the means to voice these causes, we are not authentic; We have to step aside and let the officials do everything, and the great mass to expand their package as beneficiaries, and a few dozen more pesos to their scholarships. In the end, the enemies of civil society are not so different from each other.



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