April 2nd: British out of Malvinas. 34 years passed since Malvinas’ war, the formula the dictatorship believed to have found to remain safe. Instead, it ended with the Armed Forces finished as a political actor, when they had to surrender after running into something that was not part of their plan. On one hand, in spite of what Galtieri believed, the US did not support the plan; instead, they were supportive of the imperialist interests, and aligned with the British: they could not allow for a semi-colony to stand in the way of an imperialist power by force, it could be a bad example for the rest of the oppressed countries. Besides, he did not expect the great anti-imperialist mobilization their adventure caused.

By: Nepo and Alicia Sagra

 

The great anti-imperialist mobilization

In front of the possibility of recovering Malvinas, a historical national demand, the people overcome the fear of the dictatorship and went onto the streets. Demonstrations on May Square where massive. Inside the factories, and around the working neighborhoods, there was a boiling anti-imperialist sentiment, and a clear hate for the British pirates. Women from these neighborhoods gathered in the Obelisco to knit socks and scarves for the soldiers. On TV, millionaire fundraisings where made to contribute for the war against the British. From the most humble sectors, chocolate and cigarettes were donated to the soldiers. And while this was happening in the Capital City and Gran Buenos Aires, in the south of the country the anti-imperialist sentiment and mobilizations were even greater.

This feeling even transcended national boundaries. Outside the Argentine Consulate in Peru, there were ranks of people volunteering to fight the war against the British. There were demonstrations in support of Argentina through all Latin America. The Cuban government even offered military aid, and the same measure was voted in the Peruvian parliament.

But the response was not the same everywhere. Among middle class sectors, artists and intellectuals, the hate for the dictatorship was so strong they convinced themselves the “democratic” British could not be worse. It is from here the “peace” demand came, supported by the church. “Peace” was also the most important slogan of most-left wing movements.

Our party, the PST, did not hesitate for a second, despite all its arrested, dead and disappeared comrades. From the first moment on, we stood beside the anti-imperialist mobilization, on the defeat of England and the triumph of Argentina, while denouncing the dictatorship for its poor conducting of the war, and for not taking the necessary measures to lead to a triumph. The back then recently founded IWL-FI made a great international campaign against the British imperialism, and in support of Argentina.

We were following Trotsky’s advice: he said in the 30’s, if a hypothetical war took place between the fascist Brazil and the “democratic” England, he would not hesitate to take Brazil’s side against the British, because a defeat of the imperialism would mean a triumph for workers all over world, as their main oppressor would be highlt weakened.

The dictatorship did not want to defeat the imperialism

In fact, Galtieri’s dictatorship did not want to end the eternal negotiation process on Malvinas, but just to make a demonstration of force in order to take some advantage. This is why he did not take one single serious measure in order to win the war: British investments and properties in Argentina were as safe as always during the war, and the external debt’s payment was not interrupted; we did not break with the international organisms that tied us to the dominance of England and USA; the people was not armed by the government, and there was no coordination with the open aid offered by different countries, nor with the anti-imperialist forces that were battling the British Empire, like the IRA, in North Ireland. The dictatorship just stared, while imperialist forces punished all the oppressed countries by slaughtering the abandoned Argentine troops that stood in their way, without any opposition but the isolated attacks made by the brave Argentine pilots.

The explanation for such ineptitude is not on the personal cowardice of the military chiefs, but in the congenital submission from the Argentine ruling classes, of which the dictatorship made part.

The anti-imperialist mobilization caused the fall of the dictatorship

On the contrary of what the official propaganda says, it was not with Alfonsín [1] the dictatorship ended. The anti-imperialist sentiment was so strong that, after giving false public reports of Argentine military triumphs, the dictatorship surrendered to the British following the Pope’s guidelines, which caused a violent reaction of the mass movement, leading to the end of the dictatorship. It opened one of the periods of major liberties our country ever saw. Empty houses and apartments where occupied, also terrains, and new neighborhoods emerged. The families of the soldiers assaulted the barracks at La Tablada when the military did not allow them to see their sons, just arrived from the islands. To bring closure to all this, new elections were called and the government of Alfonsín came to rule.

The “De-Malvinization”

With the return of “democracy”, the Argentine bosses and their politicians used the defeat as an excuse not to fight imperialism. Due to the military inferiority of Argentina, every demand for sovereignty should be made through the UN organisms. It is worth to mention, the full veto power the United Kingdom has in such organisms makes any demand useless.

This tendency to treason by the ruling classes is explained because, for them, our country is nothing but a commodity on sale from their own property. At most, they will negotiate the selling price. It is so like this that, while solemnly claiming for the sovereignty on the islands, thousands of “little Malvinas” were spread through the Argentine territory: companies, banks and oil deposits from where foreign capitals sack, exploit and even repress us if we dare confronting them. Vaca Muerta or Famatina[2] are two main examples of this. Not to talk about the great “Malvina” the external debt is, which robs, through fraud, the sovereignty of our own finances.

Malvinas, the imperialism and the struggles

The working class and the people have always fought against the control of imperialism over our country, and against the adjusting and repressive governments. Because exploitation and submission of the country to the foreign capitals puts them in a position where they need to fight harshly to live with a minimum dignity. This is why the working people supported the war while fighting the dictatorship, with which they settled matters after the coward surrendering.

This is why only the working class and the people can kick the imperialism out of the country and the islands. Imperialism can be defeated by unifying the struggles around the country, the struggles of other oppressed countries, and the struggles inside the oppressor countries, all of them against imperialist dominance. The only thing we need to do is take the agents of imperialist dominance out of the head of the lead of everyday working class struggles, to chose a new leadership to respond at the height of the struggles and tasks we have ahead.

This is the new combative and consistent leadership we are trying to build from PSTU, and we call everyone who wants to fight all the way to defeat imperialism and its puppets, to build it with us.

From the Malvinas war to the end of dictatorship

We interviewed Jorge Cura, former detainee of the genocide dictatorship, nowadays militant of PSTU in the city of Saladillo, in Buenos Aires. We asked him to tell us what was the relation of Malvinas War with the fall of the dictatorship.

“The people were already mobilizing against the dictatorship. The “Multipartidaria”[3] had been created, and people were increasingly coming onto the streets. On March 30th there is a mobilization of workers and the CGT to May Square, and three days later the Malvinas was occupied. It was a desperate action by the military dictatorship, which thought it would make the people forget the penury they were suffering.

And it was also an example of struggle of the Argentine people, because of the great mobilization. Of course, we lost the war and a lost many people. In Saladillo, for example, some people organized as war veterans from Malvinas, and they have told us about the terrible penuries they lived.

The dictatorship had to leave. There were new elections and, for the first time in Argentina, in front of a bloody dictatorship like the one we lived, the people went onto the streets and, vindicating also the sovereignty over Malvinas, overthrew the dictatorship.

Then came the domestication made by the pseudo-democratic politicians, who also submitted the country into an each time greater socio-economic disaster, giving us over to imperialism, and trying to make the people forget about Malvinas. But in 2001 the people went to the streets to throw down a government, this time a “democratic” one, as another demonstration of the strength the mobilization of the working class and the people has”.

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Notes:

[1] Raúl Alfonsín was the first elected president, in 1983, after years of military dictatorshop.

[2] Vaca Muerta (Death Cow) is a host rock for major deposits of tight oil and shale gas. Although in Argentine territory (province of Neuquen), it was on hands of Repsol-YPF when discovered, in 2010. The proven reserves of around 927 million barrels put Argentina in the second place of world shale oil reserve. However, the oilfields are in hand of imperialism.

Project Famatina was a mega-mining project in La Rioja province to extract mainly gold from Famatina Hill, destroying the resources of the area, besides causing irreversible ecologic damage and illnesses to the population due to the use of heavy metals and, mainly, cyanide.

In both cases, the population resisted the imperialist exploitation of resources because of the damage to the field and population. Such mobilizations were highly repressed by the government, supporting the imperialism interests.

[3] Multipartidaria was a unity of action coalition created in 1981, of which several different parties and tendencies (from peronismo to revolutionary left) to organize and mobilize the people, putting pressure on the dictatorship. It was actually making effect, forcing the dictatorship to take measures to control the masses, one of which was the Malvinas war.

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Originally published on Avanzada Socialista nº 106, March 31st 2016.

Translation: Guillermo Zuñiga.