Argentina

What kind of turn to a “chavista†style politics are they talking about?

June 28, 2009

Can we believe the newspaper La Nación and senatorial candidate Francisco De Narvaez that if the government wins we will see a turn to a “chavista†style politics? The candidate for the centre-right Union PRO has just declared that if Néstor Kirchner “wins in Buenos Aires province, there will be attempted nationalizations and he will rage against private property…He will come for the banks and their deposits†.

The campaign of the neoliberal right seeks to create a reactionary ideological climate in the face of a crisis of capitalism, as Mauricio Macri did when he announced that he would re-privatize Aerolíneas Argentinas and the pension funds. But in reality, while the government uses a “leftist†discourse for the crowds, the president met with hundreds of businessmen to ease their fears of greater state interference in their affairs through the funds held by ANSES (public pensions system). The high price of soybean on the international markets, which increases the ground rent of the state and permit’s the revaluation of the currency in Brazil and other neighbouring countries has tempered -for now - the business sector’s immediate demand for a large devaluation.

After the meeting with the business elite over the Techint affair, the President then met with the chiefs of the UIA (Argentine Industrial Union), Héctor Méndez, De Mendiguren and even the oppositionist Cristiano Ratazzi of Fiat. As opposed to making any proposal of “nationalization“, Cristina Kirchner gave them new concessions like the law of investments. And if there were any room for doubt, far from any “chavista“ threat during the conflict with the “countryside“ of any kind of state intervention with regard to state control of external trade, she announced new benefits for the primary grain exporters, also present in the meeting with the president of Bunge.

While the Kirchner’s campaign on the basis of “the defense of employment†the CTA itself says that in the last few months 130,000 workers have been affected by redundancies, reduced hours or lowering of their working conditions. Far from prohibiting redundancies as we propose from the front cover of this newspaper, the government props up businessmen with subsidies in the province of Buenos Aires where they send the police against those who struggle, as happened recently with the workers FP Impresora, who were resisting the massive layoffs which the bosses launched en in response to the workers ante affiliation to the trade union. The double discourse of the government reached its climax when the Minister of Labour, Tomada, declared in the assembly of the International Labour Organization “When we hear the word ’flexibilization’ a shiver runs down our spine. Could it be that cynicism produces goose bumps? Under his ministry 40% work informally, the minimum salary doesn’t cover workers basic necessities of a working class family and the primary form of work is precarious labour. If this is the result of the “model of accumulation with inclusion†after what have been six years of record growth and super-profits for businesses we can imagine what they have in store for the working class when the capitalist crisis hits Argentina full on. The government says it is going to contain the crisis through state intervention. But in favour of whom?

What has been presented as something like a nationalization in the case of the paper mill Massuh, is in reality a case of a bailout of the bosses where the workers lose their old gains outright. Let‘s say that, even though this is not the course of the government the nationalizations by Chavez are not friendly to the working class. And not only because Chávez pays businessmen like Rocca of Techint millions in compensation out of the public pocket, but also because –and this is fundamental- he seeks to tie the hands of the working class to impede their independent struggle. While 217 workers struggles have taken place in Venezuela already in 2009, President Chávez instructs the Ministry of Labour to approve the Law of Social Property in the nationalized businesses where he aims to end all trade union independence and integrate workers organizations and replace them with commissions integrated into the state, which has provoked the opposition of ample sectors of the workers movement and militant trade unionism

Political Independence and Trade Union Democracy

The abandoning of Duhalde by the De Narváez- Macri alliance presupposed the possibility of Kirchner, Scioli and the mayors of the conurbation winning in the province of Buenos Aires, which will bring with it the prospect of strengthening bureaucratic control of the workers movement. The political machinery of the pro-government trade union leader Baradel (leader of the teachers union of the province of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires, SUTEBA), at the same time as approaches Kirchner and Scioli is attempting to deny the completely legitimate electoral triumph of the combative opposition list in La Plata. The subordination of the trade union leadership to the bosses’ parties leads inevitably to the crushing of trade union democracy and the limiting of workers right to self-organization. Our perspective is to turn around the situation. Precisely because we fight for the working class’ right to independent political expression, through its own party, we defend full workers democracy in the unions, internal conditions, shop stewards bodies, in order to liberate the fill force of the workers against the capitalists and accelerate the experience with the bosses parties and the class conciliators.

Pino does not cast a shadow

This is the opposite of what leaders like Víctor De Gennaro propose - as he already did with Chacho Alvarez, he dedicates efforts to making us believe that there can be a “redistribution of wealth†defeating the resistance of the capitalists through the force of... Pino Solanas. Who could think that “prohibiting redundancies†or “ending with hunger in Argentina†, as the CTA proposes, could be achieved by following a media figure? What recovery of natural resources can there be without the social force necessary to impose it? Alongside whom does Solanas aim to oppose the “mine-owning capitalists who erase our borders from the map and transform us into the Potosí of the 21st century†? In the middle of a global economic crisis of historic proportions, Proyecto Sur is a weak proposal. The historic defeat of all the centre-left tendencies has been that of temporary phenomena which sooner or later, end up in the hands of the large capitalist parties, like Frepaso, or otherwise reduced to their minimum form of expression, like that of Zamora. What will the 10 deputies of “Self-determination and Liberty†contribute to the workers movement†?
In order that we the workers do not pay the crisis it is necessary to set in motion the social force of the working class, through its organizations, its methods of struggle, and the construction of its own party. From this perspective we are participating in the Frente de Izquierda de los Trabajadores, Anticapitalist y Socialista (Socialist and Anticapitalist Front of the Workers and the Left), and we call for the maximum collaboration with our electoral campaign work.