15 de agosto de 2019

[Editorial] Faced with the collapse of Macrism we work to promote workers´ intervention

[Editorial] Faced with the collapse of Macrism we work to promote workers´ intervention

The Left Front-Unity must develop a massive campaign by agitating in favor of a program for a solution to the crisis. Photo credits: Ojo Obrero Fotografía

Versión en castellano

The elections have buried the Macrista government. Due to its magnitude, the defeat has become irreversible, not only on a national level but also in the province of Buenos Aires. Those who hoped that María Eugenia Vidal would bring Mauricio Macri the votes necessary to make his dreams for reelection in October come true were proven wrong and by a long stretch. The defeat suffered by governor Vidal, who until Sunday was presented by pollsters as the leader with the best image in the country, has been even more severe than Macri's. In the few districts where Macrism was victorious, it won by much fewer votes than expected. Such is the case of the City of Buenos Aires, where, for the first time after many years Macrism lost in the boroughs of the southern zone, giving expression to the acute social polarization that has been accumulating as a result of policies based on a sell-out to real estate capital.

The Macrista defeat showed the failure of the all the policies dictated by the IMF. The ‘flexibilization’ measures, for the government to use the loans to finance capital flight and temporarily avoid a new crash, dictated by the Fund, were of no use whatsoever. The general collapse of the economy, the recession that has been going on for almost a year and a half, the impoverishment of the population as a result of falling wages and pensions, all created the inevitable conditions for an unmitigated, and as we have said, irreversible defeat.

Compulsive transition

The margin achieved by the Fernández-Fernández formula is of such magnitude that it amounts to their consecration as a new government. However, this consecration is blocked because the Paso primaries are conceived only as internal elections, whose purpose is to designate the candidates for each party or alliance. This ‘detail’ creates a difference with what happened in 1989, when Alfonsin turned over the reigns of power to Menem ahead of time. This could not happen now for the simple reason that Alberto Fernández has not yet been elected to anything. If Macri decided to resign, he would be replaced by [Vice President Gabriela] Michetti, and if she also declined to take office, [President of the Argentine National Chamber of Deputies / Lower House Speaker] Emilio Monzó would do so.

But although it is an option that cannot be ruled out, given the depth of the crisis, the truth is that Macri resigning the presidency would also have to be accompanied by his resigning as presidential candidate. Such a decision would leave their political force out of all lists nationwide, not only those of legistlative candidates, but candidates running for provincial governors, also, starting with [Chief of Government of the City of Buenos Aires] Horacio R. Larreta.

The overwhelming defeat of Macrismo and the institutional limitations that keep it in power when it is already a political corpse, has resulted in a crisis-riddled transition. In the face of the deceased Macrismo is the winning formula Fernández-Fernández, which in fact operates as a double power within capitalist politics. In this context, the days remaining between now and October 27 is an eternity and changes in the cabinet capable of enabling a governability pact with Peronismo-Kirchnerismo cannot be ruled out. It is likely that the capitalist class will attempt to drive that kind of a bargain and that the governors' league will also push in the same direction. The “good, long” telephone conversation between Macri and Fernández follows that line of governability during the crisis of transition. Actually, as demonstrated in Chubut, which is experiencing a state of pre-general strike, the crisis threatens to spread throughout the national territory.

Exchange-rate plunge and economic bankruptcy

The exchange rate plunge and the collapse of the Stock Exchange and bonds markets that followed the election results highlight an operation at the hands of Big Capital with the aim of dictating the conditions for the government handing over power, and at the same time are an expression of Argentina's economic bankruptcy. The devaluation of the peso will aggravate the recession and the inflationary process in the coming months. Nobody dares rule out as well the possibility that the crisis will result in hyperinflation, given the impossibility of the government to renew its debts in pesos, imposing the need for a huge monetary issue in a recessive scenario. The rise in the interest rate set by the Central Bank will fail in its purpose of avoiding a run towards the US Dollar but, in the meantime, will further aggravate economic stagnation. The collapse in the bonds market is compatible only with a country on the verge of default. The auction prices on debt securities expiring in 2020 already anticipate the wheeling and dealing that a renegotiation of the debt will involve. Those who buy bonds with discounts of 50% or 60% today will be able to accept a 20% discount, as has just happened in the Ukraine, and earn exorbitant amounts in the short term.

The declarations of Alberto Fernández before this run against the national currency are in tune with his prior calls in favor of a devaluation. Instead of denouncing the market crash, Fernández said the markets responded in that fashion because "they were scammed." While the people are shocked by the blood letting they see inflicted upon their country by a group of capitalist parasites, Alberto Fernández presents international usurers as victims of a scam. Similarly, the devaluation would not be a decision imposed by speculators but rather an act of adapting the economy to some kind of new reality. At this point there is no doubt that Alberto Fernández wants Macrismo to do the dirty work of applying austerity measures on an unusual scale to pave the way for his government. The “direct line” that was established between “Alberto and Mauricio”, according to the presidential tweet, is the red telephone connecting the two devaluationists.

In a recent meeting of the UIA (Argentine Industrial Chamber of Commerce) commented on by the newspaper La Nación, the industrial capitalists pointed out that the ‘change of model’ demands a devaluation far superior to the one already carried out. The US dollar futures market price of 70 pesos for year’s end may not even be enough. The capitalist demand is to proceed to a devaluation of the cost of the force of labor on a highly unusual scale, similar to that put into effect at the moment the one-to-one dollar-peso parity was brought to an end in 2001. This would be the competitive dollar called for by Fernández. This is what he meant when he said he wanted the rebirth of a government similar to that of the first [President Nestor] Kirchner [elected in 2003].

We have to clarify the uselessness of this approach to the workers, since Macri’s three devaluations  have already failed and “did not fix capitalist competitiveness” and are even more ineffectual in the context of the commercial and currency war that has escalated over the last few weeks. With Macri in full control, before his defeat, capital flight climbed off the charts as a result also of a generalized flight taking place in emerging countries. We also wish to call attention to the fact that neither the defeated government nor the victorious PJ (Peronista) formula reject the IMF's labor and pension reforms. "Albertism" has its own way of carrying out these reforms by means of flexibilization agreements signed by the trade union bureaucracy, such as the murderous oil industry collective bargaining agreement that the future president has just defended. The same applies to the retirement pensions system that is not “sustainable”, unless the total amount of employer contributions from Menem until now are replenished, a plan completely foreign to the Fernández and to [politician Sergio] Massa [a member of the Fernández’ coalition], one of the executors of the gutting of the Anses [state-owned pensioners retirement fund].

Take the initiative

The "measures" announced by Macri and greeted by Fernández, who calls them “overdue”, are a loincloth to cover up the historical fall in the purchasing power of workers' income: that is the function of the one-time "bonuses". And for retirement pensions, simply nothing. Even the additional devaluation brought on immediately, which pushed the dollar to 63 pesos, right after the announcement, already neutralized the miserable amount of 2,000 pesos. While the Fernández-Fernández formula passively looks on as the country bleeds to death, leaving Macri to pay the political cost of unloading the economic bankruptcy upon the backs of the people until the end of his term, the workers need to take action in order to avoid being the ones who must foot the bill for the crisis yet again. This need clashes with the unusual operation put into motion by Kirchnerism, the trade union bureaucracy that responds to it and the 'progressive' sectors with links to the popular movement, to call for calm and meekly await  the October 27 elections and then the handing over of power on December 10. On the social networks, also, the Kirchnerists have spoken out to qualify as Macrista maneuvers all calls to take to the streets and confront the wage devaluation imposed by the capitalists.

Potentially, this need on the part of workers to take to the streets to defend their elementary rights and the policy of containment and complicity that Peronismo-Kirchnerismo is displaying, may become the first clash between Fernández-Fernández and those who have massively just voted for them. A clash of this type would show the contradiction of a people who want to end permanent austerity and, at the same time, intend to achieve that objective by voting for a capitalist force, which is preparing to govern side by side with the bankers, industrialists and by refloating a pact with international capital to ensure financing for the payment of the [foreign] debt.

For those of us who struggle to emancipate the workers from the tutelage of the bourgeoisie the obligation presents itself, in this phase of the crisis, to promote the mobilization of the working class for their demands. Against rising inflation, for an emergency wage recomposition, with a minimum salary of 35,000 pesos, adjustable monthly in line with inflation and for the elimination of the earnings tax on wages. Against the devaluation of retirement pensions impose an immediate increase to 35,000 pesos, as established by the Ombudsman in Defense of the Elderly, and defend an adjustable wage at 82% [of the last earned wage]. Given the unemployment that does not stop growing, impose the prohibition of lay-offs and suspensions, and the distribution of working hours [among all willing to work without lowering salaries]. Against the price mark-ups and the inflationary spiral, we propose the opening up of the accounting books of companies and businesses under the supervision and control of workers. Against the attempts to advance in labor reform, reject the passage of any bills into law, as well as the flexibilization of collective bargaining agreements.

Faced by the bankruptcy of the country and the looting carried out by the capitalists, we must fight for the nationalization of banking and foreign trade, for the intervention of the stock market, control of the exchange rates and the repudiation of the usurious debt. We propose to end the IMF regime and open the way for a solution of the workers and the left by means of a comprehensive social reorganization defended by a workers' government.

With these proposals we must take to the streets, to demand a 36-hour active strike and a Congress of rank-and-file delegates of all unions and union centrals to discuss a program for a workers solution to the crisis and plan of struggle to impose it. To fight for this solution, the class struggle trade unionism organized in the Plenario Sindical Combativo (Combative Union Plenary) will win the streets on Friday 23, in a united action of employed and unemployed workers.

The Left Front-Unity, which has just obtained an important electoral result in spite of the polarization existing in the political arena, must develop a massive campaign by agitating in favor of a program for a solution to the crisis and calling on the workers to intervene. In this context we insist on our call to the parties that make up the Left Front-Unity to hold a national Congress to deliberate and vote on a program and a plan of action. More than ever, the election campaign must be carried out in close unity with the struggles and with the direct action of the workers.

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