The end of the year is usually an intense period in our country, and 2017 is not the exception. The government wants to advance with his plan, as he promised to the US when he won the election, in October this year – his servile dependence from imperialism and multinationals is no news to us. So, Macri tried to impose the last strike before the end of the year: the tax and pensions reforms.
By PSTU Argentina.
A categorical rejection
What the government probably did not expect is the categorical rejection to the reforms: the CGT, the CTA, all sectors and major segments of the population thought it was ridiculous to “send the weakest to the wall,” to impose the adjustment to the ones that have worked their entire lives to earn a misery, or to children and disabled.
A great first round
Macri hurried the vote to difficult our organization, calling the voting session for the next day. It was a historic day: we forced the suspension of the voting resisting the brutal Gendarmerie repression for hours; repression that continued when the demonstration was already over and that took over 40 people detained. We saw that we could win the fight on the streets.
A harsher second round
After the defeat, the Government prepared better for the second battle. To convince us that the reform was progressive was practically impossible, so it appealed to the most opportunistic sector, the “opposition” governors and parties, and it proposed some kind of “compensation” – a ridiculous bonus for retirees, disabled, and beneficiaries of the Asignación Universal por Hijo (Universal Allocation by Child – social protection program), and it threatened the governors with cutting budget for each province.
With this (as expected) it gained several adherents from this cave of thieves that is the National Congress, ensuring the quorum. However, it could not stop the mobilization on the streets. Even the CGT, causing more confusion than clarity, had to support the strike.
The “Operation Terror” did not work. On Monday, there were more people at the Congress Square than on past Thursday. Knowing there would probably be a strong repression, we were organizing the resistance with our workmates.
We resisted for hours until the repression was so strong that it was impossible to stay near the Congress.
But the day did not end there: the accumulated anger made us go back to the streets later that night: entire families at the Squares in their neighborhoods and in the Capital went back to the Congress, showing once again that fear will not bend us.
A major help: Peronist votes and absences
After dawn, the cave of thieves made a verdict: despite it all, they voted the reform. To it, the government counted with the help of Peronism – 19 favorable votes, plus the absence of 10 deputies that should have been present and voted against, what would cause a tie.
By the way, among the coward helpers, there was deputy Scioli, the same one that in 2015 was supposed to be the solution to the adjustment.
No money for the debt
With this reform, the government would be saving 100,000 million. What does he want the money for? The answer is simple: to pay interests on the foreign debt. In the budget for 2018, there is a prevision of 100,000 million more, on interests, than in 2017.
This is the most graphic way to show how this upside-down Robin Hood that rules us actually operates: it takes money from the retirees to give it to the debt vultures.
The fight continues
While we were writing this, we could hear the pans and horns outside repudiating the voting.
If something is clear after these intense days, is that the Congress, full of corrupt ones, has nothing of democratic. It votes for an elite, ignoring the will of the vast majority of the population and workers. Thus, we cannot trust the Parliament to fight our battles, as they tried to make us believe along 2017 – especially Kirchnerism, that spent the year calling to vote for them as they would stop the adjustment.
These days left major lessons for the thousands that mobilized, and one of the main ones is that our fight is on the street, and we can only trust our own forces.
The CGT, once again, did not rise to the circumstances. The story would be different now if the CGT were to lead the demonstration and to prepare a plan of struggle to defeat the government. On the contrary, the CGT was not even present, and it released a statement during the repression repudiating “the violent ones” and calling not to react to the police repression. Shame on them! We cannot fight with this leadership. We need to take them down!
Let’s prepare the fight for 2018
We still have battles ahead for the few days that we have left, and we need to prepare the fight for next year. We have to demand immediate derogation of the pension reforms, and we have to prepare the struggle against the labor reform, next one on the agenda.
The leadership that really wants to confront Macri’s adjustment – the CTA, the Corriente Federal, now the UOM too, have to stop the symbolic strikes and preparation of the struggle for the future and call a Meeting of representatives from all sectors and industries to prepare the plan of struggle that we need, to defeat Macri and his plan. Workers’ will of struggle was more than proved, so there is no excuse left.
But we cannot wait for them to do it for us. The struggle begins in each workplace, demanding meetings, assemblies, plenaries and so, that truly respond to the fight we are facing. We need to build a real Plan of Struggle and Active General Strike to stop Macri and his adjustment and repression plan.