A militant electoral campaign for a working class party

June 09, 2009

La Verdad Obrera calls on all its readers, those involved in current struggles or union organizing, secondary and university students, as well as the militant women’s movement, to join us in the tasks of agitation and propaganda that the PTS is undertaking all through June, as part of the Left Front, together with the comrades of Izquierda Socialista and the MAS.

The need for a militant campaign is part of the political struggle to help prepare ourselves for oncoming events. The recent bankruptcy of one of the greatest symbols of global capitalism, US octopus General Motors, is a blow to those who in recent months have been spreading an ‘optimistic’ view of a recovery of the international economy, that’s undergoing a historic, Wall Street-based crisis since the ‘black September’ in 2008. As former US President Bill Clinton stated on his journey in Buenos Aires, while dining at a fashionable Recoleta restaurant next to Kirchner: "the worst is over now." However, bankrupt GM’s 21,000 workers due to be fired will join the massive unemployment figure that’s expected by the ILO to hit 220-239 million people worldwide this year.

‘In view of the calamities caused by imperialism, multinational corporations and their bankers now try to convince us that the problem can be solved with a little more state intervention. But actually the billions spent by states have failed to prevent the impoverishment of workers and the people. They have only saved the capitalists themselves that caused the crisis. And what’s more, this is leading to a dramatic rise of public debt in the US, threatening the American state with bankruptcy. Facing the crisis, there’s no room for middle ground. It’s us or them. Capitalism is not over. We need to encourage the common action of workers and peoples to end this system of hunger and poverty and to establish workers’ governments in the prospect of socialism’.

These definitions are part of the common statement adopted by the organizations that make up the Left and Workers’ Front, Anti-capitalist and Socialist. Based on them, we publicize a clear programme that says that capitalists must pay for the crisis. In addition, we note that this will only be possible with the social force of the working class, its methods of struggle and organization, and with the leadership of an independent party of its own.

Most workers do not yet share this view, but these ideas will make their way. In contrast, the millions of votes that the Kirchners will get are based on the fallacy that it will be possible to keep recovering wages and maintaining employment ‘provided the model stands’. CGT trade union chief Hugo Moyano said that in Argentina dismissals are still ‘drop by drop’. Nevertheless, estimations put figures up to 200,000 jobs slashed so far this year. The deputy minister of labour, who runs as a candidate on the government-backed ticket of banker Carlos Heller, defended the so-called ‘redundancy containment policy’. This is made up of costly subsidies granted to large multinationals such as Volkswagen, Peugeot and Iveco with money taken from the state-run pensions fund, partly freeing them from paying the wages of 66,000 workers. Another Kirchner-ite candidate, CGT’s lawyer Héctor Recalde lies shamelessly when he argues that ‘while in other countries millions of jobs are lost, here we are discussing pay rises.’ But no sooner had 300 workers in automotive factory Pilkington asked for better wages than they had to face massive layoffs. They finally succeeded, but they had to fight hard, openly confronting the union leadership and their gangsters. Actually, the government is limiting pay rises below the inflation rate and delaying collective bargaining in order to earn themselves the bosses’ confidence before the elections, as well as promising to avoid massive sackings. But employers clearly anticipate that they will do just the opposite after June 28th. As soon as they leave aside any commitment to maintain social peace, they will blackmail the government, demanding a new devaluation of the Peso so that wages plummet ‘or else there will be layoffs.’

There is no "lesser evil" for the workers among the options raised by the capitalist parties in these elections.

If the mainstream opposition, such as the alliance between the ‘dissident Peronists’and the new ‘managerial right-wing’ represented by Macri and De Narváez on one side, or the ‘Civics’ represented by Carrió and the Radical party on the other, are reinforced in the polls, then the way will be paved for devaluation, the return of the IMF and fiscal adjustment. This is demanded by the agricultural employers, by means of Parliament-lobbying to reduce export taxes. In the same vein, the industrial bosses’ chamber, the UIA, is asking the government to protect the interests of Techint in the face of the limitations imposed on their business by the recent nationalizations of the Chávez government in Venezuela. Nevertheless, a victory for the Kirchners will not prevent the bosses from attacking the workers. Furthermore, as it has happened every time the government strengthened itself, its agents of the CGT union bureaucracy will be reinforced too. Thus, they will be able to relaunch an offensive, together with that veritable ‘anti-strike committee’ which is the Ministry of Labour, against union rights as championed by the workers of the Buenos Aires Subway and their new trade union. Selective dismissals against militant shop stewards, as well as harassment against anti-bureaucracy activists will intensify, as it is already happening in the industry.

The election campaign that the PTS and the Left Front are carrying out is also fighting openly in the field of ideas not just against the big capitalist parties but against those variants that are helpless when it comes to bringing together the forces we need to organize for the class struggle in the oncoming months and years. The electoral growth of the centre-left around media figures such as Pino Solanas, as it was yesterday with Luis Zamora, building a media-based phenomenon like the old Frepaso without any organized force or party, will be a dead weight for confronting the crisis. The participation in our ticket of hundreds of fighters, workers, students, intellectuals throughout the country is intended for building, from every workplace, school and university, a great working class party, with roots in the mass organizations.