Plenary session in Pilar and “ A thorn in the side” of Alberto Fernández’ social pact
The National Plenary of Employed and Unemployed Workers held at the campsite of Sutna (Pilar) was a significant political event. Numerous national media featured it prominently.
Representatives of Chubut teachers participated; together with those of the factories facing closures and layoffs; those of anti-bureauctratic workers' forces; activists facing judicial charges; and several leaders of the Frente de Lucha Piquetero, fresh from their camp-out protest on the 9 de julio Avenue in downtown Buenos Aires, headed by the Polo Obrero. The only absence was that of Luz y Fuerza power workers union (Córdoba), which had previously sent in their message of support.
So, the call made by the Plenario Sindical Combativo (PSC / Combative Trade Union Plenary) brought together the fraction of the labor and piquetero movement that has been most consistently facing the austerity measures of Macri and the Governors, challenging the truce upheld by the trade union bureaucracy for three years in the name of governance, and now being reinforced to ensure an "orderly" transition.
This combative fraction that the mainstream newspaper Clarín said “brings pressure to bear on Macri and is upsetting Alberto Fernández” offers a characterization and prepares a path to fight against the social pact for which the virtual new president, the CGT and the UIA are working hard. Alberto Fernández's call to leave the streets revealed "a thorn in the side" of the future president right from the start.
The general statement that was agreed upon – presented by the organizing table and enriched by the central reports and the debates in the commissions – establishes a clear delimitation against Peronism, against all the wings of the trade union bureaucracy and traces a line of intervention based on the call for the reopening of collective bargaining agreements, the occupation of factories closing their doors, the distribution of hours without affecting salary in order to end unemployment, a minimum wage of $ 35,000 and other demands linked to substantive measures such as breaking with the IMF and the Nationalization of banking and foreign trade.
In short: it defines a political field for the independent action of the working class in the short term. As Alejandro Crespo pointed out in the opening section, "it responds to the program of struggle that the working class wants to hear, and not to truce, surrender and resignation".
The main resolution – to hold a large-scale national day of mobilization, rallies and roadblocks on September 24 – will place on center stage this unity of the employed and unemployed, against the social pact and in support all the urgent demands. "We are not – Crespo added – with those who say we have to go home to sleep or with those who call upon us to leave the streets." It is not a proposal aimed at activism, but rather to take to the mass of our trade unions the initiative of struggle voted by the PSC and agitation on the part of the whole of the labor movement. Teachers who participated on Saturday, for example, will move for a day of strikes and mobilization in the plenary session of the teachers’ struggle of Chubut on Tuesday as well as in the provincial plenary session of delegates led by the combative sections of the Suteba teachers´ union in the province of Buenos Aires. The same thing occurred on August 30 with the strikes led by the Sutebas de La Matanza and Ensenada, Ademys and AGD-UBA. It is about taking action in the living process of the clash between classes, through the political struggle against the trade union bureaucracy and the factors that obstruct its development.
In the perspective of the Lanús congress
The plenary session defeated the questioning "from within the assembly" attempted by a sector referenced in the North Zone Space (that includes comrades who broke with the Partido Obrero) and other groups.
From that space it was proposed in a text to erase all delimitations against the PJ and its agents in the labor movement, to smooth out the approach to the millions of workers who voted for the Fernández-Fernández presidential formula. A huge mistake and a capitulation to nationalism.
The call to change the proposal to expand coordination into a dissolution of the PSC simply collided with reality: the initiative to call other sectors, employed and unemployed, to an open plenary session was launched at a rally on August 30 that was an initiative of the PSC, which was then motorized by the PSC executive table together with other organizations.
That is to say, the plenary session does not oppose but rather inscribes itself in the perspective laid out by the PSC in Lanús; and this was explained by several of the speakers from the stage and in the commissions.
Employed and unemployed
The most determined alignment (the Polo Obrero together with the PSC executive table) of the piqueteros movements, which reject the truce, with the anti-trade union bureaucracy unions – which was seen in the plenary session, as well as earlier in the August 22 rally and on 9 de Julio Avenue resisting repression – constitutes a "leap in quality" in the strategic task of breaking the division that the bourgeoisie seeks to impose between employed and unemployed workers.
It is a triumph for the positions that the Partido Obrero has always defended. Ever since "the pickets of Cutral-Co, Mosconi and Tartagal", remembered by Cristina Mena of the MTR-April 12, in her speech on behalf of all the piquetero organizations present (greetings also came from Torre and Barrios De Pie).
The evocation of the great National Assemblies of Employed and Unemployed Workers that took place from 2002 up to the first years of Kirchnerism was also an obligatory memory. The positive difference with that moment is the greater development of class-struggle consciousness in the unions and that of the left, which gives the movement a political projection that it had not reached in the past.
In that context we must understand Hebe de Bonafini’s statements against Nestor Pitrola and Nicolás del Caño (which obtained the wide repudiation it deserved of the entire plenary). It is not just an outburst, but rather, as Alejandro López de Ceramistas de Neuquén pointed out, they "direct the attack" towards the leaders who express on a political plane this regrouping of struggle, independent of the bosses’ alternatives.
Without violating the character of the united front of trade union organizations, several of the speakers, including the closing speech by Romina Del Pla, also called to develop that key battle to win the consciousness and the vote of the workers, who mostly supported the presidential formula of the Fernández, for the alternative of class independence materialized in the Left Front-Unity.
A guide to action
The united front is not only a resource to promote unitary mobilization but also to dispute the trade union bureaucracy leadership of unions, shop steward committees and union delegate bodies. The recent experiences of the Frente de Unidad Ferroviaria (Railway Unity Front) of La Roca, of Amsafe-Rosario and of the elections of school counselors in Aten, where multicolored lists won very important districts, ratify this. With this resource, we are currently facing the creation of lists for the elections in UTE and ADEMyS.
The "36-hour active strike" is our great organizing slogan: a bridge to the masses we seek to catapult into action, as put forward by Romina Del Plá. The CSC-PO endorses the congress of mandated delegates of all unions, as voted by the AGD assembly and reported by Ileana Celotto, in her speech. And as we expplained in the commissions.
The agenda we voted for includes the mobilization for the dropping of all charges against the comrades of the 60 [Buenos Aires bus line]; for the freedom of Daniel Ruiz; for the dropping of all criminal charges against Chiquito Belliboni and Oscar Kuperman; for a massive participation in the Plurinational Meeting of Women and dissidents in La Plata.
The declaration and resolutions, which must be taken to each workplace, are a guide for action against the social pact and the truce, in this tumultuous period we are going throu