No to the pact with the IMF. For a workers’ solution to the crisis
“Down with the regime of hunger and looting of those who ruled in the last decades. For a working class socialist alternative»
Ten months after the assumption of the government of the Fernándezes [Alberto and Cristina] and Massa, it looks weakened, bogged down, affected by an internal political crisis, on the verge of a mega devaluation of the peso and, above all else, sinking working people’s living conditions.
The national and popular narrative begins to collapse like a house of cards.
The land occupations or the independent mobilizations of health and education workers, as well as some strikes and factory occupations for wages or layoffs, are just the tip of the iceberg of a huge social boiler that raises pressure with half of Argentina mired in poverty and a third of the population without work.
The pandemic is inserted as one more component of the associated health and economic failure.
The center of the policies with which the government faced Macri’s inheritance was the rescue of the bondholders of the debt, ignoring its illegitimacy, which was destined to the flight of capital and the usury of its interest rates. This was seen from the first moment with the economic emergency that suspended retirement mobility, to put millions of people who contributed their entire lives to the will of the presidential finger.
They rule speaking against Macri, but with Macri’s 2019 budget. Which allows them a completely arbitrary management of public finances, but not for the benefit of any who «are in most need» as they proclaim, but to completely paralyze public works and attack health and education.
In fact, the quarantine has failed because the health system was not centralized – due to the opposition of the private medicine lobby – and massive tests to follow the route of the virus were not enforced.
The passage of Argentina to the first world places of infections and deaths per million inhabitants, highlighted the social misery, the overcrowding, the transportation crisis, the poor wages of health professionals who fight to save lives lives at the risk of losing their own and due to the lack of protocols that has as an axis the preservation of the workers’ health and not the “business costs”.
A regime prostrate before imperialist pressure
Once a swap was achieved under the conditions of the creditors, the swapped bonds themselves have collapsed. What brings to reality not only the infeasibility of Argentine capitalism to get the country ahead, but also the very deep tendencies of the capitalist world crisis.
There is no solution through exportations as in 2003, because unlike the «Sino-North American coupling» of that time, which powered the world economy, we have a trade war that has plunged the world market into depression.
The pandemic only aggravated a world capitalist crisis that was already characterized by the generalized flight of capital from the so-called emerging countries to the central nations, by trade wars, by protectionism and military confrontations, translated into a geopolitical dispute of the powers in Latin America that it aggravates the colonial pressure on our nations.
The popular rebellion in the middle of the pandemic in the US itself, and the first evidence of a second wave of popular rebellions in Latin America, in the middle of the quarantine -in Colombia, in Chile itself, against the coup in Bolivia- indicate that the cycle of political crises and popular uprisings has not ended. It has only been postponed fragilely by the pandemic, accumulating new and explosive contradictions.
In this picture, the ruling peronist alliance maintains its alignment with Trump in the Lima group, created precisely on the Guaidó coup.
The Argentine vote against Venezuela at the UN, in conjunction with the repressive regimes of Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and the US, is a leap in this pro-imperialist line.
Our complete independence from the Maduro government, sustained by the army and the corrupt Bolibourgeoisie, including our rejection of the persecutions and repression against workers in that country, does not prevent us from denouncing the policy of the UN, which supports the coup in all of America Latina and has several coup attempts in Venezuela itself.
From the swap to devaluation
If the resolution of the swap only gave way to the rise of the dollar, the surrender to the clutches of the IMF, which has already landed to try to guarantee its own debt, could be a lead lifeline, accelerating the rates of the crisis unloading on the working masses.
The devaluation is underway. The super-restriction on buying dollars has in fact doubled the exchange gap, making import costs more expensive, which will translate into the prices creating inflation, on one hand. On the other hand, the limitation of dollars to corporations and provinces is a factor of paralysis and economic recession.
Economic disorganization is spreading.
The successive «packages» of concessions to local capital, with a reduction in withholdings, huge increases in gasoline, concessions to mining companies, moratorium on evaders, debt bonds in pesos tied to the dollar, the sharp recoil with the intervention of Vicentin, the liquidation and indefinite postponement of the «solidary contribution» of fortunes [a watered down tax proposal on wealth], have not appeased the capitalist pressure for the devaluation.
The super-restriction on buying dollars, which essentially hit the middle class, now affects companies that don’t have the dollars to operate.
Of course, capitalist corporations are not depriving themselves of criminal maneuvers such as underbilling exports and overbilling imports, which is bringing the Central Bank’s reserves to zero. That would be the moment when devaluation goes out of control.
The announced finale – and quite known to Argentines – is a megadevaluation.
The devaluation adds gasoline to the desperate situation of the ten million people who depended on the IFE (family emergency income), now interrupted as an offering to the IMF mission.
The provinces, another scenario of the crisis
Another edge of economic disorganization appears in the provinces that cannot exchange their debts, nor obtain the dollars for expiring dates, nor do their budgets bear the weight of bankruptcy. There is even a point, in which the taxes become sterile because of the lack of capacity to face them due to popular consumption.
When the quarantine is almost a fiction, after six months, popular consumption has fallen in September.
The destruction of wages, frozen and lowered through suspensions and layoffs, the fall in the purchasing power of pensions, and unemployment that has jumped to 29%, have plunged half of Argentines into misery and have destroyed the domestic market.
The provincial governments attack pension systems like Córdoba, Entre Ríos and the province of Buenos Aires itself. Other cases, such as the provinces of Chubut and Río Negro, have fallen directly into default.
In Salta, the Minister of Health has fallen before a mass popular protest due to infections and deaths in Oran, the second city of the province.
The municipal strikes and especially those of UTA [bus ] drivers in the interior of the country are part of this picture of provincial crises.
The presidential promise to rule with the 24 governors has remained in the memory and the concept of everyone for themselves, spreads.
Down with the unwritten social pact of UIA-CGT-Government
The political support of a government that already seems old due to its worn out based on the inhibition created by the pandemic, on the difficulty in intervening with workers posed by the acute economic recession, but fundamentally on the pact of the Industrial Union, the General Workers’ Union and the rest of the union bureaucracy with the government. Including the social organizations of the official trio linked to the Vatican.
This unwritten social pact is costing workers a lot, in social misery, destruction of pensions, and even in infections and deaths due to the complete failure of health policy that has placed us among the most affected countries in the world.
The right has not come out of its own macrista failure, and if it has not been completely divided it is because the government gives them every day reasons to resurrect, although basically they have no alternative to the plan or the lack of an official plan, whatever you’d like you call it.
It is the bourgeoisie itself that is adrift, divided, with internal clashes and with no alternative way out of the crisis. This is proven by the fact that while they demand subsidies and tax cuts of all kinds, they support the debt swap and the IMF, which implies an increase in fiscal resources, not reductions.
The political task of those who defend the workers is not to support the government in the name of destabilizing the right, but to confront all these variants of the bourgeoisie that have led to the current bankruptcy.
From a macrista failure we are going to a peronist failure.
The fiscal adjustment demanded by the IMF has already been applied by the government against state workers and teachers throughout the country.
The social explosiveness of the policy of reducing spending was highlighted by the police riot in the Kicillof’s province, which ended with the concession of 40%, but as an exception to those who are the instrument of repression of the workers.
That money is not for doctors and nurses who give their lives. Neither for those who educate our children nor for state and municipal workers.
And to give the increase on the salary to the police, they appealed to withdraw resources from one jurisdiction against another, confessing that the adjustment is underway. The message of Kicillof and Berni was “for the workers it is not enough”.
The permanent retreat of the «progressive» feints does not have the government as a victim of pressure from the right. It regresses by its own nature and by the social interests on which it relies, be it the case of Vicentin or so many others.
This is also the case with legal abortion that the President transformed into the flag of civil rights when he had to cover the attack on social rights. But he was also shipwrecked in his commitment to the reactionary clergy to have them with him at the time of containing the social revolt.
The government is also responsible for the reinforcement and barbarism of the repressive apparatus that has lots of victims like Facundo Castro throughout the national geography.
Berni’s stubborn defense at the head of the 100,000 fearsome men of the tenebrous Buenos Aires expresses the ultimate definition of Kirchnerism when it comes to which state and which social regime it defends.
This can be seen right now in the eviction policy at Guernica and hundreds of settlements of homeless working families.
The crisis of those at the top
The fact that the Supreme Court begins to have definitions that arbitrate in the crisis, only indicates that the natural institutions of the constitutional regime are shipwrecked.
That is why a fierce fight has been unleashed for the control of the judicial apparatus and even of the Court, which includes impunity for cliques complicated by State corruption, with espionage and power negotiations, whether of Kirchnerism or Macrism.
The magnitude of the crisis raises the question of the continuity of the cabinet and the definition of the center of political gravitation within the ruling coalition. Capital demands that Alberto Fernández reinforce his personal authority to carry out the agenda of the Techint, the Bulgheroni, the banks or the agrarian capital, which is the same as the IMF: labor reform all the way through, thorough pension reform, more taxes and rates.
Workers have to address this scenario of acceleration of the crisis, in the awareness that a debacle of this magnitude raises which social class pays for it, and in turn, which of them takes the reins of the exit that inexorably entails an economic and social reorganization.
By the working majority or against it.
We refute the talk of false progressivism of certain Kirchnerist currents in the sense that power is in the hands of «a government in dispute.» Cristina Kirchner shared the political headline in the debt restructuring, in the theft to retirees, in reducing the parity bills to ashes, in the call to the IMF, in supporting Berni against all odds.
The moment demands the urgent intervention of the workers…
The workers fight heroically in the most diverse places of our geography, as shown by the wave of land occupations through which the working people have taken into their hands the basic lack of a roof for their families.
The 2,500 families that are organized in Guernica to fight for a portion of land to build their homes are bearly the most visible and massive of a wave of such settlements in the four cardinal points of the country. The repressive response of the regime in each province portrays its parasitism to solve workers’ problems.
The same thing can be seen in the brave struggle of the workers of the cotton company Vicentin in the north of Santa Fe, who have just resumed the strike that they carried out for 75 days, even in the midst of the capitalist dispute that unleashed the monumental and fraudulent bankruptcy of this huge economic group.
This tendency of struggle is evidenced in the auto-convocations of drivers of the interior to break the surrender of UTA [bus driver union] bureaucracy; in the self-organized strike of missionary teachers that ripped an increase after the surrender of CTA’s union bureaucracy; in the tenacious struggle of Río Negro’s rural workers for their wages; in the strikes of Conadu Histórica [national university teachers union] at national universities; of the Dánica [margarine plant] workers against the attack on their labor contract; of the aeronautical workers of Latam; as well as the struggle of the tire workers with Sutna’s leadership that broke the parity ceilings.
At the beginning of the quarantine, the meat workers of the Penta Meat Plant– from a Kirchnerist employer- were brutally repressed by Berni’s police and continued their struggle.
And so on, we could continue to enumerate at length workers’ struggles that take place throughout the national geography.
This presents us, fighters and the left who intervene in the popular movement, the challenge of a strategy for organizing workers that can only be guided by the common interest.
For this, the Partido Obrero proposes to defend to the death the tool of the united class front.
Which is valid for the fight of the youth, for work, for education, against the precariousness that submits them to super-exploitation.
It is the role played by the Plenario de Sindicalismo Combativo [Combative Unionism Plenary] and anti-bureaucratic fronts in labor organizations, as in the women’s movement for legal abortion, around the responsibility of the State in sexist violence, or the environmental movement against capitalist depredation, which is related to labor and social depredation.
The unions belong to the workers, not the union bureaucracy. We demand the break with the government from all the workers’ centrals: CGT and CTAs.
But we do not expect anything from the union bureaucracy that has made pacts with all governments. This is why we promote assemblies and plenary sessions of delegates mandated by all the labor movement’s demands: salary equivalent to the family basket, 82% mobile, distribution of available work hours without affecting salary, nationalization and putting the every company that closes under the workers’ management.
The CGT does not have a mandate to make a pact with the government and the IMF.
We promote a Congress of delegates with rank and file madates, of the entire labor movement.
…and the left in the crisis
The working-class and socialist left has enormous responsibilities, because the great leaps and turns in popular consciousness take place at these types of historical crossroads, such as those experienced in 2001 and in the prior.
The popular anger grows every day due to the collapse of the living conditions of most of the population.
The Cambiemos [coalition led by Macri ] opposition has called protests with Argentine flags but closes ranks with the government on all strategic issues that oppose the interest of the workers.
The tenacious intervention in social struggles is a distinguishing characteristic of the left.
We stand out for the development of a program of political independence for the ruling blocs. Those who, during the last decades, have been responsible for the hunger and looting of our wealth.
The common program itself developed by the Left Front since the beginning of the pandemic calls us to win the political initiative in the face of Copernican political turns that we are going through:
The centralization of the health system under the control of workers from the sector; protocols developed and controlled by workers to preserve health against the pandemic; the massive investment needed in health, the granting of $ 30,000 insurance for those without any income, an immediate land plan and 100,000 homes for the homeless, through a progressive tax on large fortunes capable of raising u$s 20,000 million; the defense of pensions, 82% and the Anses ending with informal jobs and with the reductions of pension contributions; the distribution of available working hours among all workers to put an end to unemployment; the fight for a salary equivalent to the family basket; the non-payment of the illegitimate and usurious foreign debt and its investigation; the nationalization of banks, strategic resources and foreign trade.
This program is part of a workers’ way out of the crisis. The ultimate goal of the Left Front as a tool for political independence from the national labor majority is precisely the government of the workers.
We propose to the Left Front a national campaign of political action, of acts and mobilizations to intervene in the crisis with our slogans and with workers’ way out.
At the same time, we propose to prepare the convocation of a second Latin American and US Conference, to give continuity to the great regrouping achieved in view of the struggles that are already sweeping the continent and that will surely deepen.
Now is the time to win the political initiative of the working-class and socialist left that the stage demands through a plan of action and political and mobilizing struggle.
Manifesto approved unanimously at the XXVII Congress of the Partido Obrero