February 8, 2022
With the beginning of another agreement reached with the IMF, we begin another chapter in the chronicles of fiscal imperialism. The IMF granted Argentina the largest loan in history at the request of Mauricio Macri’s government. As quickly as the dollars entered the country they flew out, with scenes worthy of an action movie (which was publicly admitted by the former president himself). This credit is now being refinanced by the current Peronist government that campaigned in the elections with “No to the IMF” as one of its central themes. Far from the facts were those promises of “Argentina de Pie” (Argentina on its own feet) or of not paying the debt by further impoverishing the population. The beginning of the agreement is here and from what has been announced so far it can already be seen who, once again, will pay for this swindle.
The opposition, Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), who was demanding the end of negotiations with the IMF, is now welcoming the beginning of the agreement. It is not surprising, as while in power, their government seemed to praise everything that implied an increasing dependence and loss of sovereignty and, if they criticized it, it was because they didn’t consider it went far enough.
In the current government, the Frente de Todos (the Peoples’ Front) is facing a political crisis within its ranks spectacularly expressed after the electoral defeat in the PASO. This crisis has concrete signs of discontent, such as Máximo Kirchner (son of current Vice President and former President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner) resigning his leadership due to disagreements with how the negotiations with the IMF are developing. However, no one has yet taken a direct action to prevent the agreement from being executed.
In the face of internal and external criticism, the government argues that the responsibility for having had to reach this situation lies with Juntos por el Cambio. After having taken on the debt, the current government inherited a disaster they must now fix as best as possible. That the previous government left a calamity, there are no doubts, therefore it is directly responsible for the hardships experienced by the working people. However, now, it is the current government that legalizes this disaster, allows the quarterly revisions, and agrees on the conditions under which the working people will once again pay for a party that others enjoyed.
Martin Guzman, the current Minister of Economy, said in an interview given a few days after the agreement in principle was signed, that “not to refinance the debt was to go into the unknown.” He is right. The unknown would be a path that would benefit the working people, because so far the known is that with each refinancing, more harm is brought to the popular sectors more debt is accumulated. On either side of the political aisle, the Argentine capitalists, even with important disagreements in the form, share, like their peers in the other dependent countries, the path of greater submission to imperialism, either in the form of foreign debt, or in the form of increased plundering of natural resources by the multinationals, or by adapting labor conditions to what the multinationals require. This is how the structural decadence and dependence of Argentina continues to increase, and with them the poverty and misery of the majority of the population, even if the governing forces alternate.
Is there an alternative?
Many may think, based on the arguments given by the government, that, although it is regrettable, there was no alternative but to agree, because if not, “Argentina will fall out of the world” or will go downhill or it will be impossible to promote growth. In line with this, the Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, declared that there was no other alternative for Argentina but to move forward with this agreement.
From the perspective of the capitalist system, it is so, there is no possibility of remaining “independent” of the mandates of imperialism while preserving the current economic system. The capitalism in which we all win with a exporting country of raw materials that will grow, or by developing a national industry that will displace the multinational companies, does not exist except in speeches. But from this perspective, we workers have no choice but to resign ourselves to live a little worse and worse, aspiring at most to a few fleeting good moments.
If, on the other hand, we approach the question from the point of view of the interests of the working class, there is another alternative. It begins with breaking with the IMF. But it is not limited to that: the rupture with the IMF must start with a Second and Definitive Independence that establishes another model of the country, opposed to the present one, where the economy is planned according to the needs of the majority of the population.
How could we achieve this?
We must begin by defeating the agreement with the IMF and the government’s plan. This will not be won by itself, but requires the majority of the working class be ready for confrontation. It is necessary to combat the ideas that have been planted by all the bosses’ variants and the union bureaucracy regarding the impossibility of non-payment. For the organizations and independent activists who intend to defeat this agreement, this is a task of the first order.
Furthermore, we must face head-on the government’s trade union and social movement leaders, who are not only accomplices but also the architects of the anti-worker plans.
These leaders and the union structures that support them are the ones that today are at the service not only of containing the anger but also of dividing, isolating, and sowing in the heads of the working people the lies spread from the top.
To overcome these obstacles and succeed in orchestrating a massive and mobilized response, we have to begin to self-organize from each workplace. This means everyone: whatever sector they belong to, whatever union they belong to. We must be coordinated in struggle. We must form committees or commissions to guarantee what is decided in assembly and to break the ties and the fragmentation imposed on us by the union structures. We must take the problems into our own hands: nobody will do it for us.
Words aren’t enough: let’s follow the example of the Chubutazo
The moment to mobilize and express repudiation of the agreement are now. The PSTU (Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores Unificado) believes that the next actions should be called with working class methods. That is to say, based on the mandates that come out of assemblies held in the workplaces. The broadest unity is necessary, and we must call on all those who spoke out against the agreement to mobilize in the streets.
The PTSU also believes that the fight won’t be won without escalation; it will not be won if we limit ourselves to actions from time to time. It is necessary to prepare a progressive plan of struggle with forceful measures, (such as the blockade of the ports, refineries, oilfields and main industries) that affect the profits of the big winners of the agreement with the IMF: the multinationals and businessmen. In December 2021, the people of Chubut showed the radicalism that is necessary when they mobilized to reject the continued looting of the province’s natural resources (called the Chubutazo). To stop the government and IMF’s adjustment plan that is akin to a national looting, and we should follow the example of Chubut and take to the streets.
For an Argentinazo led by the working class to impose another model of the country
We want to tell the truth to the working class: there will be no real sovereignty and no substantial improvement of the living conditions of the working people without social revolution. For that to happen, an intervention with revolutionary methods led by the working class is necessary. While it is important to take advantage of the space of Parliament to denounce the character of this state and this regime, it is not there where we will achieve any real triumph for the working people.
We recently marked twenty years since the Argentinazo, the moment of revolutionary uprising at the beginning of the century. We must learn from that recent experience to prepare for a better future fight, with the working class at the head. If we can achieve that, we will finally put an end to the plundering and subjugation of Argentina and the consequences it brings to the working people.
Original article published in Spanish here
Translated to English by Dolores Underwood
February 8, 2022