Teachers of the Patagonian province of Neuquén have been demanding better salaries by means of strikes and roadblocks. On 4th April the province administration ordered a ferocious repression during which teacher Carlos Fuentealba was virtually shot to death by a policeman. The repudiation was immediate. The CTA (Central of Argentine Workers) called for a national strike of teacher and other state workers and a day of mobilisation for Monday 9th April and the CGT (General Workers’ Confederation) was compelled to join the repudiation; even though they only summoned for a one-hour strike in the industrial branches and two hours for transport. On that day over 30 000 people marched in Buenos Aires, a similar number in Neuquén, which means 10% of the total population of the city which was entirely paralysed due to the massive support from shopkeepers and other social sectors. Thousands also moved in other important cities of the country, such as Rosario, Mar del Plata, Salta and Rio Gallegos. The following text is a statement issued by FOS (Workers Socialist Front of Argentina) and the communiqué of solidarity with the struggle of the Argentine workers extended by the Brazilian Conlutas.


 


STRIKE AND MOBILISATION ON MONDAY 9TH


Those responsible for the repression against workers of education are to be punished.


Assemblies and plenary meetings to demand general strike and plan of struggles from CGT and CTA


 


Teacher Carlos Fuentealba is dying with his brain irreversibly shattered. Teachers of Neuquén as well as those of other provinces are fighting for salaries and were brutally repressed by the police sent by Governor Sobisch. A cartridge aimed at barely two metres distance was the murderous weapon.


That was not an isolated fact nor brutality of a crazy man. In the neighbouring province of Santa Cruz, schools were militarised following the instruction form Kirschner himself. There were raids with Molotov bombs on teachers who were holding a “Dish Fair” to raise funds to go on with their struggle as over half their salary had been discounted from them. Also in Salta teachers were ruthlessly repressed.


CTERA* and the CTA summoned for a national strike of teachers and state workers to repudiate the event and to demand punishment of the murderers.


This is a raid on all the workers and the toiling masses who have no other weapon than the strike to defend their salaries and protect themselves from the inflation which keeps on growing.


This attack is a threat addressed to all workers willing to stand up for their rights. That is why it is the bounden duty of all the working class to respond to this crime. CGT has the duty to join the strike. Where is Moyano and the other leaders: with the murdered teacher of with the murderous police? They have to speak up for themselves.


 


Those responsible for the crime


The policeman who shot the deadly weapon is arrested. But that is not enough. Others are also answerable and their guilt is to be perfectly clear to the eyes of the population. Governor Sobisch is to resign for he is the commander who issued the order to repress. National government is to blame as well. When he sent Gendarmerie to militarise the Province of Santa Cruz, he triggered a mechanism that shot Carlos Fuentealba. That goes to show how this government reacts to workers’ demands.


It is no coincidence that the kidnappers of Julio López are still free. The kidnappers are policemen of the type that is required to be able to shoot straight into the head of a worker of education.


That is precisely why, because they need this type of police in order to repress the demands of the toiling masses, that governments, both national and provincial will not carry out the task of cleansing the armed forces and security forces thoroughly.


But that is not the end of the list of culprits. Even the leaders of CETERA, who are now crying out for strike, they had left the fighting provinces alone. The agreement between Yasky and the national administration was to determine the roof of salary agreements for teachers and it drove him to betray those he was supposed to represent.


Strikes in the provinces constituted an attempt at protesting against the isolation to which teacher were doomed because of the betrayal of their leaders.


But repression in Santa Cruz started 15 days ago. And Yasky did nothing about it. Last week a strike against the repression in Santa Cruz would have prevented the repressive operation in Neuquén. That is why Yasky and other leaders of the teachers are also responsible for the events in Neuquén.


 


That they do not get away with this is a need for all of us


Different branches are fighting for salaries. Metallurgic workers, tyres, telephone and underground and railway have rejected the offer of the employers and are preparing steps to be taken. If this crime is not punished, if liability is limited to a single policeman, then the message is clear: a worker who fights for his salary is a worker whose life is in danger.


The government cannot solve the problems of inflation or of environment or of health and education. The provinces are broke. And the multinational are still looting on the country. But if it is workers who claim for their dues, then the response is repression.


Looters are not repressed, nor those who caused the bankruptcy of the country. Only those who complain about the results of all this are repressed-


Workers’ response to the attack on Fuentealba is nothing but sheer act of self-defence.


 


A hard answer


The CTA strike is just a first answer, but it is not enough. Thos responsible have to be in jail. Sobisch has to resign and Kirchner cannot get away with it either.


Monday must be the first step towards a progressive plan of action until we put an end to repression and achieve a decent salary equivalent to the cost of living of a family. But we cannot sit and wait for the CTA and CGT leaders to call for that action. We must begin by having assemblies in all the workplaces, impose a meeting of all representatives with a valid mandate to discuss, resolve, and carry out the nearest actions.


The teacher in Neuquén is dying because he fought for his salary. Our answer must be that repression will not stop us from claiming for we are due.


It would be very important that fighting provinces summon a National Encounter for Salary and against Repression and help to coordinate struggles and get CGT and CTA to take up a real plan of action for all our demands.


MONDAY 9TH, EVERYBODY ON STRIKE!


NATIONAL STRIKE OF CGT-CTA WITH MOBILISATION AND PLAN OF ACTION


ASSEMBLIES IN ALL THE WORKPLACES AND PLENARY MEETINGS OF REPRESENTATIVES WITH MANDATE TO VOTE IT AND ORGANISE IT


LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE OF THE TEACHERS!


PUNISHMENT FOR ALL THOSE RESPONSIBLE OF THE ATTACK ON THE NEUQUÉN TEACHER


SALARY INCREASE FOR EVERYBODY, BASIC SALARY EQUIVALENT TO THE MONEY NEEDED FOR A FAMILY TO LIVE ON.


FOS-LIT-CI


5/4/07


 


ALL OUR SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY WITH THE STRUGGLE OF THE ARGENTINE WORKERS.


        National Confederation of Struggles (CONLUTAS) wishes to express our unrestricted solidarity with Argentine workers, mainly the teachers, who are at present in struggle in their country in defence of their salaries and repudiating the murderous repression that has just claimed the life of a worker (Carlos Fuentealba) in the province of Neuquén.


The demand of the Argentine teacher, a decent salary, is the same claim of all the workers in Brazil and the entire Latin America: they fight to have a decent living standard and confront the policy of looting the multinationals practice against our countries with the tacit agreement of our governments.


The murderous aggression that claimed the life of a comrade in Neuquén is part of the same policy of criminalisation and ruthless repression to all workers and social movements struggling in the entire Latin America in defence of their rights and interests. This is the only response we can expect from rulers such as Sobisch and Kirchner who are committed only to imperialism and the great multinationals.


It is because of all those reasons that we assert that the struggle of the Argentine workers is the same struggle as that of the Brazilian workers and of all the countries in the region. We also assert that in our opinion there is a need for a coordination of our struggles all over the continent. If the enemy attacks us in a coordinated way in all our countries with full agreement from all our governments, we, the workers, also have to coordinate our struggles so as to challenge them and defeat them.


Our solidarity to the relatives and friends of the murdered teacher. In every way available to us, we are joining the struggle of our Argentine brothers.


Be of good spirit, comrades! Carlos Fuentealba is present also in our struggles and it is through that struggle that we shall overcome!


 


Sap Paulo, 09th April 2007


 


National Coordination of CONLUTAS 






* Teachers’ national Trade Union