Mendoza: great victory for workers and youth

October 31, 2013

On October 27th we started a new chapter in our history. After a vigorous campaign, the FIT obtained 14% of the vote in Mendoza province and as a result PTS member Nicolás del Caño was elected to the National Parliament, one of three FIT national MPs elected across the country.

Over the last few months Del Caño has become one of the leading political figures in the province. People voted for him because they are sick of the traditional political parties which only represent the bosses.

Throughout the campaign the media promoted the candidates of the Radical Party and Cristina Kirchner’s Front for Victory, who took 47% and 27% of the vote respectively. They tried to scare voters by highlighting FIT policies on security, abortion and the legalization of marijuana, to which the FIT responded by drawing attention to the problems faced by workers and youth, such as precarious employment and the crises in education and health.

The FIT doubled the number of votes that it got in the primary elections in August, meaning that the voice of workers and youth will be heard in the National Parliament. Many analysts and politicians have tried without success to explain this phenomenon, others merely expressed their hatred and contempt of those who supported the only workers’ candidates.

They fail to see that behind the 14% there is a broad spectrum of workers and youth – those who are tired of a caste of professional politicians who live like millionaires and pass anti-working class laws, those who have been angry with the government for some time, and those who have become disenchanted with the increasingly right-wing policies of the government – all of whom now see the left as an alternative that will prevent workers from having to pay for the crisis.

During the election campaign, many people identified with Del Caño and put their hopes for change in the FIT proposals against precarious employment and casualisation, and for better education, health and housing. In Mendoza, most young workers and students are worried about the future, and had no confidence in the Front For Victory and Radical Party candidates. They supported the FIT campaign, treating it as their own, and turned out to vote for it on Election Day.

With this result, the FIT managed to secure the fifth Mendoza MP, a seat that was disputed with the Front for Victory candidate, Omar Félix. Del Caño is the first Trotskyist deputy to represent Mendoza province in the National Parliament. He is sharing the seat with PO member Soledad Sosa, who will replace him after two years. His responsibility is to represent the oppressed and to denounce the miseries and terrible living conditions caused by capitalism. This seat in Parliament will be at the service of those who in the last decade only had precarious employment, long exhausting hours at work and low salaries undermined by inflation.

We also have four Trotskyists in the provincial legislature: three MPs (Martin Dalmau and Fresina Hector of the PO and Cecilia Soria of the PTS) and a provincial senator (Noelia Barbeito of the PTS). Twenty-two year old Soria will be the youngest legislator in the history of the province. The FIT also gained six councilors: Martin Baigorria (PTS) in Godoy Cruz, Paul Lecea (PTS) in Maipú, Ulises Jimenez (PTS) in Las Heras, Facundo Terrace (PO) in Luján de Cuyo, Federico Telera (PO) in Guaymallén and Rubén Tomassetti (PO) in San Martín. With these seats Trotskyism will have a strong presence in the provincial legislatures.