Argentina under the tutelage of the IMF

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«The return to the world of Argentina», one of the slogans of the campaign of macrism, was embodied under a very particular shape: the return to rescue orders to the IMF. The fact that this had happened when the government is already over half of its mandate, and when a new electoral competition testing Mauricio Macri’s ability to achieve his re-election appears nearby, shows clearly that we are witnessing the failure of a policy. In the official estimations, sustained economic growth and a fall in inflation were expected for this stage – the expected «second semesters». But the exact opposite happened. The rescue order was imposed by bank runs and an outflow of capital of considerable dimensions, demonstrating that the ‘red circle’ of international financial capital turned its back on one of its closest governments. On an international level, the peso has been the most devalued currency so far this year, surpassed only by Venezuela. The limits separating exchange and financial crises from economic crises are easily overcome, as well as the borders that separate them from political crises. It should not be ignored that the crisis erupted after the government won the elections and that many foresaw the success of the so-called «endure operative» -the reelection of the holy trinity of the PRO: Macri-Vidal-Larreta. Under these conditions, the emergency loan requested from the IMF operated as a lifeline that sought to rescue the Macrist government from what could have been its early departure. As we will demonstrate in this article, however, the agreement with the Monetary Fund is far from having closed the crisis. The government must prove its ability to overcome the economic crisis and, above all, to bend the ability of resistance of the workers and the popular masses. As the newspaper El País titled, after the days of December 18, Argentina is a difficult country to make an adjustment.

The return to the world

In Macri’s promised ‘return to the world’ lies a good part of the explanation of the Argentine crisis. It is clear that this can under no circumstances be taken as a purely national issue, resulting from fiscal issues or temporary restrictions of financing. Already, at first glance, it is proved by the fact that, with the differences that are proper because of local determinations, the run exchange, the outflow of capital and the devaluation of the currency include several peripheral countries, including Turkey and Brazil, but also reaches Russia and South Africa, out of a longer list. In all these countries, the crisis matrix, essentially, has followed a similar path: monetary devaluations are the result of an outflow of capital from the periphery to the central countries, first to the United States.

Macrism and most of the economists who respond in one way or another to the government are usually consoled with the fact that this outflow of capital was the consequence of the rise in the interest rate of the United States. They present as an explanation what must be explained, since the rise in the interest rate is the result of the crisis and not its first cause. It occurs that the increase of the rate of the Federal Reserve is the expression of the enormous public debt accumulated by the United States, of about 20 trillion dollars, and also of the private corporations since 40% of them have a debt classified as «high»,  according to a recent study’s indications. Like Argentina, the United States has twin deficits (fiscal and commercial) and is facing them in the same way: raising its interest rate in order to finance its own deficit. This rise, in addition, is enhanced by the commercial and financial war led by the government of Donald Trump. The policy of repatriation of capital announced by the tycoon requires a higher rate than the one that prevailed so far. Even in these conditions, many sectors of US capital prefer to stay abroad because of the tax benefits they have achieved. The increase in the rate is accompanied, therefore, by a reduction of taxes on capital within the United States, which in turn is a factor of aggravation of the fiscal crisis. This repatriation is not only at the expense of the peripheral countries but, above all, of the other imperialist powers. We are facing a ruthless struggle between the main imperialist powers associated with their respective monopolies to impose a new division of the world and lead the process of capitalist restoration in the former worker states, starting with China and Russia. The commercial and financial war is the result of global overproduction, both of goods and capital. Thus, the rise in the rate, far from being reduced to a minor financial issue, is the bottom expression of the world capitalist bankruptcy. If in 2008 this bankruptcy had its main manifestation in the mortgage crisis, now it seems to concentrate more strongly in the economies of the peripheral countries.

The deep crisis of the United States, with its unpayable public and private indebtedness, should lead to a devaluation of the dollar instead of an appreciation. A weaker dollar would also be favorable to US foreign trade, which has a gigantic trade deficit. Many macrist economists, seeing this underlying trend, affirm that the Argentine crisis is conjunctural and that, in the medium term, the dollar should reverse its upward cycle. However, a devaluation of the dollar will aggravate in another way the crisis of the peripheral countries. In the first place, its weak economies, characterized by low productivity, will have to face an even more intense trade war than the current one. A devaluation of the dollar, in addition, will lead up world inflation, which will be ‘imported’ in different ways by the rest of the countries. For Argentina, which already has high inflation and a trade deficit that is a record in its history, the passage from a revaluation to a devaluation of the dollar will be another form of aggravation of the crisis.

Made in Argentina

This impact of the global crisis in Argentina operates on a concrete reality, which acts as an aggravating factor. The so-called ‘gradualism’ was nothing more than assuring the capitalists the continuity of millionaire subsidies, given the impossibility of applying a fee of greater proportions, given the dollarization of the so-called regulated prices of public services. For that, over $100 billion in debt were used in two and a half years of management, in addition to the inflow of short-term speculative capital – the so-called carry trade. This bargain came into crisis in December of last year, when after the great shock of the days of December, the government operated a devaluation that consumed an important part of the benefits of this financial capital invested in Argentina. When everyone talked about Macri’s re-election being assured, the capitalists “voted with their feet”, taking their funds to countries like Egypt, which offered superior short-term returns.

Another ‘native’ factor of the Argentine crisis is the level of bankruptcy reached by the Central Bank. This was the result of a growing accumulation of liabilities, the so-called Lebac, which grew under the Macrist government by almost 600%. The government argued that the Lebac had an anti-inflationary effect, since they were used to remove from circulation the pesos issued by the Central Bank to buy the dollars that came in for debt or for short-term financial speculation. However, contrary to what was maintained, the mountain of Lebac, which currently exceeds one trillion pesos, is an additional factor that increases the price rise. This is because its renewal, put mostly in the short term, requires a huge interest payment that is only possible with a new issue. And to ensure that, at the time of expiration, the renewal is made, higher interest rates must be offered. Thus, the final combo is more emission and high rates, which tend to raise the financial cost of the entire system of interest rates of the economy, aggravating its costs. It was enough, however, that speculators could not be assured a stable exchange rate so that, at the end of their bicycle, the profit obtained would be made in dollars, so that the outflow of capital is accelerated and a significant devaluation is consumed.

The species disseminated by the former president of the Central Bank, Federico Sturzenegger, was denied, for whom the Lebac did not represent a danger because its issuance had as counterpart the accumulation of reserves. When the bank run broke out, at the current exchange rate, the Lebac with maturities of less than two months represented approximately 65,000 million dollars, almost 70% more than the net reserves of the Central Bank. The Lebac were a parasitic means to accumulate reserves that serve as collateral for the payment of the debt, compromising the economy as a whole, and, in particular, the Central Bank’s patrimony.

The dollarization of tariffs, gasoline and more in general of almost all the prices of the economy, including the food that is exported, transformed the Argentine economy into a time bomb with a short fuse. The devaluation executed after the run is transferred with speed to the prices, stimulating even more the inflation. Dollarization is not dictated by an objective need, as evidenced by the fact that 80% of the gas consumed is produced in the country. Something similar happens with naphtha. As far as food is concerned, dollarization was the direct result of the elimination or reduction of withholdings, depending on the grains and the products exported. Withholdings do not only have a collection role, whose reduction has a fiscal impact, but also serve to disengage the internal price from the international price. Far from a monopoly of foreign trade that a workers’ government would establish, withholdings, however, are a regulatory principle to prevent the importation of world inflation into the national economy. Under Kirchner’s government, the retentions were used as a source of revenue to pay more than 200,000 million dollars of foreign debt and to finance subsidies to other branches of capital.

The dollarization and the elimination of withholdings are factors that aggravate the ongoing binge, opening the possibility of directly unleashing a hyperinflation that would lead to the fall of Macri. Given this, the government seeks to apply the Rodrigazo in installments, negotiating with the capitalist sectors a more gradual transfer of the devaluation to prices. This policy of intervention was the cause of several crises and clashes between Macrism and its capitalist social base, which ended up, in general, imposing its point of view to the government. They are also the underlying cause of the Cabinet crises, which led to the exit of Aranguren and Cabrera -ministers of Energy and Production, respectively- and the change in the leadership of the Central Bank. A clear example was what happened with the suspension of the reduction of withholdings on soybeans, which the Minister of Finance, Nicolás Dujovne, had agreed with the IMF. The soya capital, a fundamental pillar of the government and which placed the president of the Rural Society as Agriculture Minister, threatened with a new Resolution 125, which immediately pushed Dujovne back. With the oil companies and the privatized ones, the situation faces more acute contradictions. As previously agreed, given the devaluation that has occurred so far, the increase in the gas tariff in September should be more than 60%, which would immediately impact the price of electricity, since the electricity generation matrix is ​​on the base of gas. A rate hike of these proportions would really be a crushing blow to the entire economy. In relation to naphtha, something similar happens. The devaluation and the increase of the barrel in the world market left the price ‘backward’ by 40% – if one considers the price path armed by the former minister, Aranguren. However, given the danger represented by the application of a rate of these proportions, the new minister came with the program to re-discuss the contracts and the increases established. The immediate response was a fall in the stock market and a new jump in the dollar, which brought it to the threshold of 30 pesos. The share value of YPF fell by almost 70%. With the electricity and gas companies, the same happened. Given this, the government immediately retracted: it reported that the contracts with the oil companies will be respected and authorized the increases in gasoline higher than those that were provided in Aranguren’s plan.

The chain of failures is not limited to the energy and tariff issue. Sturzenegger’s substitute, Luis Caputo, has not been able to advance with the commitment signed with the IMF to reduce the stock of Lebac. He had to take the interest rate to even higher levels and postpone indefinitely the repurchase by the Treasury of the so-called non-transferable bills held by the Central Bank. This is because the government simply does not have the capacity to finance itself in the market to obtain the funds that allow it to buy back those letters. The Caputo-Dujovne pair advances in a dollarization of the economy, replacing debt in pesos with one issued in dollars, which, at the end, will represent a more serious crisis leap and a default. Already at the present, the insurance against Argentina’s default surpasses those of Greece. The dollarization of debts and contracts, in a country that faces a structural crisis to generate foreign exchange, is doomed to produce major crises. It is not by chance that the inspirer of these measures was none other than Domingo Cavallo.[1]

The crisis has reached the point where it is not possible to make, exclusively, the workers pay for it. In other words, there are capitalist sectors that must suffer, themselves, the cost of the invoice. Any capitalist crisis is a devaluation of capital and destruction of the surplus part through a process of bankruptcies and mergers. During the first two years of the Macrist government, a voracious debt that leveraged the economy was used, creating a bubble that was now punctured. The fall of the stock market is the expression that the capitalist profits in retreat are not conditioned by the inflated value of the shares. Thus, the crisis touches its core: the fall of the benefits of capital, which can only be transitorily overcome by means of debt, at the cost of preparing major crises.

This process is leading to a crisis in the social base of macrism and a division in the bourgeoisie. The oil companies collide with gas and electricity transportation and distribution companies for the price paid at the wellhead. The Argentine Industrial Union protests against the user interest rates that benefit the banks. The Chamber of Construction threatens massive layoffs before the public works site that the government has arranged to comply with the fiscal targets signed with the IMF, while the soy producers do not want the reduction of withholdings to be touched, despite the huge benefit that is implied by the devaluation of 60% so far this year. These shocks occur in a picture of an economic recession that has already begun with enormous brutality and is causing an economic and social collapse. This recession threatens to affect the subscribed commitments that should be amended with new adjustments. This is what happened in Greece, where the economic adjustments led to the failure to comply with the goals imposed by the IMF, which imposed, then, new adjustment targets, which also failed to reinforce subsequent adjustments.

The political issue

Every crisis becomes such when it reaches a political dimension. Politics are concentrated economy, according to Lenin’s maxim, which brilliantly managed to graphize the dialectic between economics and politics. In the case of Argentina, the main factor of political crisis is the resistance of workers to pay the bill for the capitalist crisis. This resistance was manifested openly in the recent days of December last year, when on two occasions a crowd gathered around the National Congress, challenging both the Pejotist union bureaucracy and the police repression unleashed by the government. The call of the leadership of the CGT to not to attend the mobilization convened by the left and combative sectors of the workers’ and people’s movement was directly ignored by very large sectors of the workers, within which we must also include intermediate sectors of the bureaucracy that control sectional unions or internal commissions. The street confrontation with the security forces, which occurred in the days of December 14, in turn, was far from negatively affecting the mobilization that was to take place four days later. On the contrary, repression encouraged mobilization, which grew in number and consistency.

The latent tendency to popular rebellion was present of different forms under the macrist government. The crowd that filled Plaza de Mayo against the benefit of 2×1 for genocides, granted by the Supreme Court with the government’s open endorsement, quickly forced the Congress to meet in an emergency session and annul that possibility. Other manifestations of the state of popular rebellion were the growing mobilizations of women, who conquered, thanks to their tenacity, the opening of the parliamentary debate on the right to abortion and then the half sanction in the Chamber of Deputies. The struggle of women, which has an international dimension, acquired in Argentina a persistence that highlights it. The mobilizations against gender violence and for the right to abortion took a mass dimension, especially in the youth. The women’s strike of March 8th also showed that, within a movement that is characterized by its polyclassist composition, a wing favorable to the interests of the workers was highlighted. The document read before a crowd at Plaza de los Dos Congresos reflects that influence in a very clear way. Not just because did it deserve the repudiation of the right and even editorial articles against the Trotskyist influence among women. The founding group of the movement Ni Una Menos split and a part of it, linked to Macrism, denounced that the movement was ‘politicized’ and had moved away from the original flags. Sectors of women belonging to the strata of the bourgeoisie or the wealthier petty bourgeoisie accompany the claims to the point of questioning the capitalist regime of domination. Its program is the rise of bourgeois women in bourgeois society, but they reject the necessary general social transformation that women must play in order to emancipate themselves from all types of exploitation and oppression. Macrism enabled the parliamentary debate of legal abortion, before the need to recover the political initiative and avoid new manifestations against it. But the movement, in its real composition, is placed in the path opposing the government. Kirchnerism, which operates in it, carries the burden of having denied this right during its twelve years in office. The weight acquired by the left is not dominant, but it is prominent. Although macrism was the one that enabled the debate, the truth is that a mass movement like that of women, winning the street in a recurrent manner, is an objective and subjective obstacle for a government that must apply an IMF war plan.

In this picture of growing popular mobilization, the distinctive feature of December 14 and 18, 2017 was that the working class was at the center of the rebellion. This energetic action had a more important impact than the electoral triumph that Macrism had achieved less than two months before, to the point that it opened a general crisis that created a new political situation in the country. All the forces and parties had to reconsider their strategies and their presentation to the masses since this popular rebellion. Peronism-Kirchnerism, guarantor of the Macrist governance that voted for the government more than one hundred laws in the National Congress, began a process of differentiation so as not to be dislocated before the new situation created. The union bureaucracy, whose main fractions had agreed to a unification of the CGT through the designation of a triumvirate that integrated its most important wings, suffered the impact of the rebellion directly. First, with the rupture of his triumvirate, which passed to a better life, and then with the separation of the Moyanist sector, which after having voted and backed Macrism, passed to the opposition promoting limited actions of the apparatus in coordination with Kirchnerism.

This popular resistance, which imposed very clear limits on the capitalist offensive against the masses, intertwines the political and economic crisis, since the economic ‘exit’ to capitalist bankruptcy involves a radical modification of the relations between social classes – that is, between capital and the working class. The December rebellion prevented the approval of the labor reform, one of the main demands of the capitalist class against the workers. The claim to eliminate the compensation regime, overtime and, more generally, end the ultra-activity (the automatic renewal of collective agreements) should be postponed because the government found that it lacked and lacks adequate political resources to do that.

The breadth of the workers ‘action frightened the union bureaucracy, which is fully aware that its parasitic caste interests, and to a large extent entrepreneurial, enters in total contradiction with the workers’ sovereignty over their union organizations. The pact sealed by the majority sector of this bureaucracy with the government, allowing it to sign low wage increases and isolating the conflicts that developed against dismissals in the State, was far from being useful instruments to overcome the crisis. It was thus that neither the wage negotiations of 15% increase in installments nor the transitory defeat of some struggles opened a new cycle of valorization of capital. Far from it, the low interest rate announced in December led to a speculative process against the peso and a flight of capital.

Peronism and Kirchnerism, in its different aspects, also suffered the impact of the workers’ rebellion of which they were not part. The majority sector of the PJ, which in the Senate is headed by Miguel Angel Pichetto, voted the law of robbery to retirees. Kirchnerism did not, but its political strategy is to fight for the unity of all Peronism, i.e., with Pichetto and company. After the popular rebellion, all the fractions sought to rearrange themselves, seeking not to appear before the population as active collaborators with the Macrism. The call to form a united anti-Macrist front with an eye on the 2019 elections not only represents a way to put pressure on the left and workers’ activism to renounce an independent policy, but also a way to disguise the boycott to the struggles in progress. Given the magnitude of the crisis in process, the program of Kirchnerism is limited to proposing different types of «emergencies» (food, tariff, etc.), as a way to cushion the social consequences of the adjustment, but without offering an alternative fund program. In his speech, that would be postponed for the time when they recover the government at the end of 2019. In this way, they become guarantors of Macri’s governance, since they do not question his general policy and much less pose the task of defeating it on the streets.

Before the pact with the IMF, the pejotism and the employer opposition in general agreed with the government that its approval did not happen through the Congress. In this way, they sought to avoid a large national mobilization against the IMF and, at the same time, avoid establishing a clear political position. However, the preparation and approval of the 2019 Budget now remains, which must contain the adjustment plan agreed with the IMF. If Peronism votes in favor, it will be unmasked before the workers as an accomplice to Macrist adjustment; if they it votes against, it risks colliding with international financial capital; and if it is divided, as it may possibly happen, it will end up being a blow to the policy of the opposition unity towards the elections of 2019, an orientation that, in particular, is promoted by Kirchnerism.

The political crisis moved with all its strength to the interior of the ruling party. The disputes are not only between the UCR and Elisa Carrió[2], or between it and the government, but at the small table of PRO, where there is a division between the couple Larreta-Vidal and Marcos Peña[3]. The adjustment agreed with the IMF led the government to want to transfer water, gas and electricity services to the City and the province of Buenos Aires. Thus, Larreta and Vidal will be those who must assume directly the responsibility of the rate. A worsening of the crisis could escalate the political clashes within the ruling party and its most intimate clique. There is a wing of the great capital that seeks a drastic modification of the cabinet, which even reaches Marcos Peña and his replacement by some governor of Pejotism. The variant of a coalition government is inscribed as an emergency measure, although it clashes with the disputes and divisions that multiply within the bourgeoisie.

Pact with the IMF. The crisis continues

Against those who assume that the agreement with the IMF eliminates or reduces the contradictions in the opposition, in fact, the opposite will happen: it will expose in a clearer way the opposing class interests that represent each sector of the opposition. The government has launched to blackmail the opposition, showing itself before financial capital as the only sector that guarantees the defense of capitalist interests. However, the limits of these government maneuvers are enormous and are dictated by the fact that the agreement with the IMF is far from ensuring that the crisis is overcome. Far from it, the pact with the IMF will bring with it new crises and clashes with the masses, but also within the capitalist class. The possibility of a new exchange rate run and a capital flight are still latent, and may be triggered, either by events of the international or local crisis, or by a combination of both. In fact, when it had been several weeks since the pact was announced and after the «emerging market» rating for Argentina was known, we had several more runs that led the dollar to the edge of 30 pesos, the stock continued to fall and the interest rate of the Central Bank rose in the secondary market to 60%. A few days after that announcement, the Central Bank had to intervene again to avoid further devaluation, but as on previous occasions, without success. This attempt to contain the Rodrigazo can give rise to a new bank run, which will push back the government, and bring the dollar to unthinkable levels. Carlos Melconian[4], who represents a wing of macrism, speaks of a dollar at 41 pesos.

The $50 billion loan itself announced by the IMF and the government is in question. It happens that their disbursement will be in installments, conditioned to the general progress of the economic adjustment and the fulfillment of the established goals. The significant reduction in public spending for next year must exceed the current exchange rate of 220,000 million pesos. This is a very high figure that is only possible with a paralysis of public works and a reduction of real wages of state workers in all its estates. Inflation for the current year, which will surely exceed 30%, will also impact on the level of consumption of families. It opens a recessive scenario promoted by the government itself, to try by that route to pass the war plan against the workers. Increasing inflation will pose additional pressure on the exchange rate, to avoid a new appreciation of the peso, to repeat the history of what happened with the 2014 devaluations of Kirchnerism and the 2015-6 of Macrism. A greater devaluation will create more pressure on tariffs and gasoline, adding fuel to the fire of the bank run.

In short, the agreement with the IMF is one more chapter of the developing crisis; in no way does it mean its cancellation, much less its overcoming. The committed disbursements, even if they were executed in full, are far from covering the different types of deficits that the Argentine economy has. The dollarization that the government decided to promote, replacing debt in pesos with another one denominated in dollars, has not served to lower the interest rate that continues to skyrocket. This dollarization represents a huge mortgage for the country and anticipates new default – in fact, Argentina’s default insurance outperforms Greece’s. In the future scenarios of tougher clashes between classes and divisions within the capitalist class open up. On the outcome of these clashes and on the impact of the global crisis on Argentina will depend the fate of Macrism. The very survival of the government is at stake, either because it does not complete its mandate or because the worsening economic crisis condemns it in advance to an electoral defeat. A ‘lame duck’ is not the most appropriate government to handle a Rodrigazo.

The struggle of the workers movement

The specific weight of the political situation has shifted to the workers’ movement and the popular masses. The war plan against the workers designed by the IMF will surely generate an intensification of the class struggle. The street will become the privileged stage of politics, conditioning the action of all the forces in presence. The opposition has intensified its political activism, seeking to ingratiate itself with the subjective turn against the government. Those who voted Macri’s laws now appear in stages mounted at Plaza de Mayo. The CGT itself, which has been in the first row of the Guarantors of Macrist governance, has had to make a general strike without enthusiasm, before the evidence that its task of containment cannot be carried out from the total passivity. Despite the passivity of the leadership, the strike on June 25th was massive wherever you looked. Employers ‘attempts to weaken it failed because of the workers’ willingness to stop. However, the minimum claims brought by the CGT to the government were not taken care of, because they would have contradicted what was signed with the IMF. Not so much in economic terms as in political. Macri must now try to reestablish the presidential authority hit by the crisis if he wants to save his government. For this, it requires going through the test of a struggle with the workers, which he will seek to win with the support of international financial capital and the imperialist states, which meanwhile are supporting Macrism to influence more decisively in Latin America. It is, however, the offensive of a government in crisis, divided and questioned by its own social base. Under these conditions, the possibility of defeating this offensive is on the agenda. In a very clear way, the question that arises is that of the leadership of the workers and their organizations to defeat the offensive of Macri, the governors and the IMF. This approach should preside over the activity of this stage, and delimit fields with bourgeois forces, especially Kirchnerism, which is placed in the field of those who seek to ensure Macri’s governance.

The union bureaucracy, both CGTs and the one that militates more clearly in the opposition field, do not have as an axis to prepare the workers movement for a decisive battle. Its policy goes through a deterioration of the government in view of the elections of 2019, underpinning some variant of Pejotism. In short, they are a factor of restraint and containment. The long path traveled by the union bureaucracy in its integration to the State and the regime has given it a perfect awareness of its parasitic caste interests, which in many cases acquire an even capitalist content. The bureaucrats see an independent action of the workers’ movement as a direct danger to these privileges. The already famous robbery of the CGT lectern was the perfect metaphor for this antagonism between the bureaucracy and the workers. The fight against the ongoing struggle raises, objectively and subjectively, the question of a new direction of the workers movement.

In Argentina, in recent years, a new workers’ activism has been forged, which in its best expressions acquires a clear class orientation, which is a political factor acting in the class struggle. This activism has had brilliant triumphs, such as the conquest of the direction of Sutna, an industrial union won against the union bureaucracy’s left wing   – the Yasquyist Kirchnerism. A part of this activism also made its experience with the alternative unionism of the CTA, which showed its insurmountable limitations showing that it is another variant of the nationalization of the unions. This activism, therefore, reached a very high point of political evolution after having gone through experiences and battles in the class struggle. The struggle for a new leadership of the labor movement does not take place in a vacuum, but it must start from the projection of these experiences through new initiatives of action and organization.

The National Plenary of Workers of June 23rd, which emerged from a call by the Sutna, voted  some points precisely in that direction, in a plenary of delegates with a mandate. It is no coincidence that the unions, internal commissions, delegates and groups that attended the call placed as central slogan «For a new direction of the workers movement.» Thus, they showed the absolute understanding of the total incompatibility that exists between the union bureaucracy in all its variants and the need that workers must develop an independent action against the war plan in progress. The call to fight and regroup for a new leadership of the workers movement turns the organizing forces of the National Workers’ Plenary into an alternative of power within the unions. This strategic approach does not mean to stop promoting the limited and framed actions that the union bureaucracy can eventually call, but, on the contrary, it is a call to participate in them in the most determined manner, as part of an independent political strategy.

The program voted by the National Plenary of Workers will undoubtedly be of great importance, because a new leadership of the workers’ movement needs to overcome the limitations of previous experiences, which never went beyond bourgeois nationalism, even with radicalized essays that sought to become related to socialism. The program currently requires showing the workers and the entire country what is the strategy of the working class to face the current crisis and to avoid a new national bankruptcy. The question of the non-payment of the external debt and its total investigation and confiscation of those responsible for the indebtedness; the nationalization of strategic resources, starting with oil and gas, but also electricity generation, transport and distribution, such as the nationalization and general planning of public transport and cargo; the nationalization of foreign trade, at a time when imports are used by capital as an instrument to destroy conquests and lower wages, and when the international trade war intensifies at the expense, first of all, of the peripheral countries; the nationalization of the banking, to avoid the runs exchange rates and the flight of capital, and to concentrate national savings for an industrial development plan. A program of this kind, accompanied by immediate demands, such as the reopening of all wage negotiations, the reject of dismissals and suspensions, has a value of political struggle and delimitation, which shows that the struggle for a new direction of the workers movement means a change of political strategy, that bites once and for all the experience of Peronism and opens the way to the fusion of the workers’ movement with the left.

The Left Front

Undoubtedly, the growth of the combative tendencies in the workers’ movement occurred alongside the development of the Left Front in Argentina. They were phenomena that gave each other feedback, in the same way that it happened in the student and women’s movement. Since its founding in 2011, the Left Front went through different stages, including electoral and even political setbacks, but without losing a political presence thatallowed to increase the visibility of the revolutionary left in Argentina. This enormous conquest, in a country with a great tradition of nationalism, to which the left made a systematic follow-up, must now be revalidated in the light of the new created political situation. In short, the Left Front must take the initiative.

The conditions for a subjective turn of the masses towards the left are gathering. The Kirchnerist experience ended in an electoral defeat with the right, that is to say, it was disavowed by the masses themselves. Now, the Macrist government is experiencing its own crisis and should apply the pact with the IMF of uncertain end. An opportunity is presented to the Left Front, this is to offer a strategy opposed to both employer blocks, highlighting, first, the need to confront and defeat the war plan against workers. To do this, the FIT itself must mobilize to ensure the success of the National Workers’ Plenary on last June 23rd. The agitation of a program, outside of the class struggle, would lead the FIT to an early electoral campaign, exactly what the bosses’ opposition and macrism want.

The great crises also engender the great subjective turns of the masses. But these turns require a conscious action by political forces, because otherwise they can dissipate or be neutralized. It is what marks the experience of Greece, or closer to us, of Bolivia and Venezuela, where the left could not face nationalist experiences. In Argentina, the Left Front has grown up battling against Kirchnerism; that was his baptism of fire. Now it must prove its progressivity, when the right-wing government that relieved Kirchnerism faces its first great crisis. Our call to FIT to promote a national campaign, which includes the defense of the National Plenary of Workers, and a plan of events in the provinces and a great national act,  points in that direction, in the same way as a unified action in the parliaments.

This action plan should be presided over by the transition program we have developed, which, in turn, raises a question of power: if Argentina will live a new experience of bourgeois governments, which will condemn us to assured failures, or if the workers will govern.

Gabriel Solano, national leader of Partido Obrero, is a legislator for the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

[1] Minister of Economy under the presidency of Menem and then De la Rúa. He was the author of the convertibility plan under Menem, which debuted with a huge devaluation and brought, as a consequence, a major attack to the workers. He is also known for having arranged the «corralito» (prohibiting the withdrawal of deposits), which caused a confiscation of the savings, at a time when the convertibility plan was exhausted and the country was on the verge of default. The confiscatory policies of Cavallo were the trigger for the popular rebellion, the so-called «Argentinazo», in the year 2001, which precipitated the fall of the government of the Alliance, presided by De la Rúa.

[2]  Leader of the Civic Coalition, one of the parties that is part of the ruling coalition, Cambiemos.

[3] Horacio Larreta, head of Buenos Aires Government; María Eugenia Vidal, governor of the province of Buenos Aires; Marcos Peña, Chief of Staff of Macri’s government.

[4] Macri’s cconomic adviser, who was in charge of Banco Nación in the first stage of his mandate. It is distancing itself from the government, demanding a more drastic adjustment.

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