On the 6th, 7th and 8th of March, workers turned the table and opened a new chapter of national reality. We were thousands taking on the streets of the Capital and the most important cities nationwide. The estimated is about one million workers mobilized during the three days against the government.

By PSTU Argentina.

 

We said Enough! This cannot go on! We cannot stand any more layoffs, suspensions, taxes’ increase, attacks to collective contracts, prices’ raise, wage ceiling, etc. This is why we rallied against male-chauvinist violence and attacks to our families’ life conditions. We cannot stand anymore for the government to keep laughing on us, claiming everything is getting better and stating he doesn not understand the reasons behind the protests.

Which country do they live in? Poverty continues to grow, and in just one year the number new indigents reached 600,000, according to a UCA’s (Argentine Catholic University) report. Did they not see the more than 1000 pickets and soup kitchens organized this week by social movements, because the situation is unsustainable? On the top of that, they aim to increase the VAT from 21% to 25%, which will empty the pockets of workers and the people even more when the increase is reflected on the prices of everything we consume.

They claim there is no money for the teachers[1], but they just raised on 31% the salaries of the military, and they want to give a raise of 47% to the legislators. They continuously threat and attack teachers on the media while they pardon the debts of the mining, agribusiness and service companies. All of this without mentioning the millions they are paying to the usurers of the foreign debt. So, they have money for the vultures but not for the teachers.

Despite the threats, teachers continue on struggle. The strikes have high adherence and demonstrations are massive. There were 50,000 teachers in La Plata responding to Governor Vidal’s incitement. This is why we must double solidarity: to defend the public school and for the teachers to win.

The Strike Starts from Below

The triumvirate of the CGT finally had to define a date [for the general strike]. On April 6, workers are going to stop the country against Macri’s government.

After the events on March 7,[2] when they ran like cowards, they had no choice. Though they play fools and want to demonstrate strength now, we all know it was pushed from the base. It was the rank and file of the mobilized unions that imposed the strike.

Workers had a major victory and the government was weaker than before, after seeing his allies of the Unions’ leaderships wavering. In one day, workers gave a blow to the government and the guarantors of the “social peace” that were allowing the implementation of the adjustment.

This is not happening just in our country. In Mexico, it is against Peña Nieto. In Brazil, against Temer. And in the U.S. and the world, the fight against Trump is growing. In great part of the continent, the drums resound indicating we are preparing for the battle; we are going to face tough conflicts in the preparation of the general strike we need to confront the brutal attacks of the bosses’ governments.

To Take the Struggle in Our Own Hands

We must not confuse: we cannot have any faith in these leaders. They will try to use the strike to calm down the situation and they will betray us, as always. Neither can we fall into the trap of waiting for an election to punish through the vote. The election is too far away. We are on the streets and nobody will take us from here until our demands are heard!

And we will only accomplish this if we take the struggle in our own hands. We must call for mass meetings in every workplace to impose from below the strike and plan of struggle with demonstrations.

We need to encourage strike committees in every factory, school or workplace, voted by the bases, and look for the support of the population affected by the adjustment. We must prepare the day previously, with agitation and pickets, built in coordination.

We have to follow the example of General Motors’ workers, who rejected the agreement between the Company and the treacherous leadership of SMATA – which accepted 350 layoffs covered up as suspensions; we have to unite the factory as a whole and coordinate with every sector. This is how they voted, in a meeting with 1300 workers, the strike on March 30th together with the CGT San Lorenzo, pushing the coordination of struggles in the region.

This starts to show how the great battalions of the working class enter the scene, as they pull the rest of popular sectors behind them. The example of the oil workers of Chubut –who turned the proposal of the leadership around and avoided the layoffs– goes in this direction.

While closing this issue, both CTAs[3] keep the call for a national strike also on March 30, on the 35 years of workers ascent that marked the end of the last military dictatorship. Beyond this call, they need to start calling for the 6 immediately and unite the struggles.

As a part of this same fight, on March 24[4] we need to fill the Plaza de Mayo and every square in the country. We need to make the most of that day and bury those who, 41 years after the military dictatorship, still try to deny the genocide. We must be thousands against repression and to stop the persecution to activists.

Plan of Struggle Until We Defeat Macri’s Plan

The stage is set. The government does not stop attacking the workers and has no intention to retrieve. The struggle forced him to postpone the raise on transport fees, but the layoffs continue and they threaten to eliminate collective agreements in the name of “productivity”, and to impose limits to the teachers’ wage negotiation. They want to defeat them to discipline the working class as a whole.

We cannot allow it. We must not give the government any break. We know that all the time we give to the government will be used to implement the adjustment.

The workers have spoken on the streets and must keep mobilized until the defeat of this economic plan.

Only the unity of the workers in struggle can give a workers’ and popular solution to the crisis. The PSTU serves this task. We invite you to join us on this struggle.

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Translation: Guillermo Zuñiga.

Notes:

[1] Teachers have been on national strike since the beginning of March for wage negotiations.

[2] On March 7, demonstrators attacked the stage were the Union leaders were, after realizing they were making speech after speech to avoid defining a date despite their rhetorics in favor of the strike. See http://litci.org/es/mundo/latinoamerica/argentina/el-dia-que-los-vimos-correr/

[3] CTA: Argentine Workers’ Central Union

[4] Anniversary of the military dictatorship, the most important historic struggle day in Argentina since 1982.