Tue Sep 26, 2023
September 26, 2023

Argentina: Uniting Struggles to Confront Austerity from the IMF, Government, and Bosses

The recent run on foreign exchange resulted in a new inflationary jump. Wages and pensions continue their downward trend.

The economy is stagnating, and possibly heading for a recession.

Sergio Massa has run to the IMF to ask for more money and is thus increasingly compromising our sovereignty and our resources for many years to come.

In her speech, Cristina Fernandez criticized the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, but proposes paying it and supports Massa, and thus protects capitalism as an untouchable “mode of production.” In other words, she has no qualms about making electoral theater but does not want to change anything.

Javier Milei defends the dollarization of the economy, a mechanism that would mean not only a brutal devaluation of our currency but new fetters on our sovereignty. He who speaks of “freedom” proposes to enslave us to the United States.

Together for Change (JxC), which saw its electoral triumph as easy, is now worried because it must prepare its arsenal of measures against the working class and the people if it is to govern.

Instead of supporting workers’ and popular struggles, the CGT, which is close to the government, has been busy receiving envoys from the US State Department. Moreover, it has offered its collaboration to Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (of JxC) to pass the anti-worker labor reform that is being prepared for after the elections, in exchange for being part of the business and receiving a cut.

All the bosses’ parties endorse Massa’s brutal austerity measures and are preparing worse ones for 2024.

They defend the huge corporate profits of multinationals and national bosses. For example,  Paolo Rocca of Techint was paid by the government to produce the pipes for the Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline. He is hiring precarious workers who will be fired when the work is finished.

Millions of workers, both those whose work is precarious and those who labor under contract are in poverty. And those responsible are in plain sight.

We cannot wait for the elections

Workers in the tire industry, nurses, teachers from different provinces, subway workers, and workers from different factories like Bedtime and Felfort, for example, are engaged in struggle. But these fights are happening separately because the leaderships are tied to the government and have worked to isolate the conflicts.

Some labor leaders and Kirchnerism demand a fixed raise for salaries, as if they were not part of the Government and capable of doing just that. And they do nothing to implement it.

We cannot wait. It is necessary to prepare the struggle from below, even if it is difficult. We need a unified struggle for wages, against layoffs, and against any attempt at labor reform.

We have to confront the austerity measures, the total surrender to the IMF, and the misery of it and the bosses’ plans for working people, which are being applied by the government and the opposition, with the complicity of the CGT, the CTA, and the majority of the unions.

It is a fundamental task to support and unite all the workers’ struggles with the popular struggles against crime and insecurity, against the tariff hikes, and in defense of the environment in the provinces. We must coordinate them by area and by union and go beyond the leaders and the “organic bodies” and “statutes” which they use only to divide us.

It is necessary to unite the activists and fighters, reclaim the delegates, and to build from below the list of demands and the plan necessary for the struggle.

We must prepare a forceful fight like the one the French working class is carrying out until we defeat austerity and the country’s surrender to it.

It will not be easy. There will be reprisals. But we cannot continue in this situation of permanent decline and abuse by the bosses. We cannot allow them to continue playing with our lives and those of our families.

For a fundamental solution

But it is not enough to fight for wages and jobs. It is not a matter of always defending ourselves, or of running away from poverty.

We need to open a debate among the working class. No solution will come from the elections. The day after our problems will continue. But it is a good moment to push forward the debate for a different, working-class, and popular economic program.

Bills have been presented, like those from the CGT,  to reduce the working week to 36 or 40 hours. But to be acceptable it would have to be without a wage reduction, as well as a minimum wage equal to the basic market basket (costs to families for basic goods and services) adjusted automatically according to inflation. It is a necessity.

However, the fact that those proposing these laws are the same government that forces us to take on extra work in order to make ends meet, means they are making a mockery of us. It is an electoral gambit, and they are playing us for fools. And furthermore, they are tying the reduction in hours to an increase in productivity.

We have to promote an integral industrial development plan for the country, which puts all the resources at the service of the population. We must start by refusing to pay the debt, seizing food and products whose prices are increasing without control, expropriating the big multinational and national companies, nationalizing energy, transport, and all the important levers of the economy, and putting them under the control of workers and communities. We must also completely control foreign trade so that there is cheap and quality food for all the inhabitants of Argentina. We must also nationalize the banks, and also put them under workers’ control to fully centralize financial activity and prevent currency speculation.

These, among other measures, will only be achieved by profound struggle.

We are in the month that celebrates the May Revolution. We need, as in 1810, a new revolution that breaks our colonial chains, achieves a new Independence, and starts us on the road to a new economic system by and for the workers, a Socialist Argentina, without IMF or capitalists.

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