An important struggle is developing in Jujuy, Argentina – one of the most exploited and poorest regions in the country — in response to a reactionary and undemocratic constitutional reform being implemented by right-wing governor Gerardo Morales. The reform is being pushed through by the main ruling parties in Argentina, including the center-left Peronists, who control the national government and paint themselves as reformers and a “lesser evil” to right-wing politicians like Morales. In a clear repudiation of these policies, Jujuy’s working class, especially teachers and indigenous communities are leading protests across the region, including strike actions and road blockages.
The protests have faced strong repression. Today, Natalia Morales, an elected deputy of the PTS and FIT-U in the provincial legislature of Jujuy, and Luciano “Lucho” Godoy, a journalist for Left Voice’s sister network La Izquierda Diario were arrested in the northern town of Purmamarca.
Alongside Natalia and Luciano, at least 40 other people have been detained, and several protesters are missing; many people have suffered injuries from rubber bullets and teargas. The harsh repression in Purmamarca, where indigenous communities led protests and blockades, is the latest chapter in an intense explosion of class struggle in Jujuy to protest Morales’s reform and living and working conditions in Jujuy. For over a week, teachers unions have been staging mobilizations and strikes in cities across Jujuy to demand an end to the reform, against repression, and for higher wages. The protests have only grown in numbers and intensity in the face of a media blackout and intense police repression.
The authoritarian government of Gerardo Morales has been working to impose several attacks on Jujuy’s working class and oppressed, including cuts to teachers’ wages and other anti-democratic reforms to regional constitutions. Among his policies is the criminalization of the right to protest, including fines for protesting and threatening public employees with dismissal for participating in such actions. Morales is also expected to join the presidential ticket of the right-wing PRO (Propuesta Republicana) alliance which hopes to unseat the Peronist Partido Justicialista in Argentina’s 2023 general elections. These latest attacks in Jujuy come in the context of a historic structural crisis of inflation in Argentina and the burden of a heavy external debt owed to the IMF that is used to impose the economic agenda of U.S. imperialism, with the complicity of Argentina’s ruling parties. Meanwhile, it is the working class that bears the consequences of the debt and austerity, especially in regions like Jujuy.
Jujuy is also a center of lithium extractivism for multinational companies; and yet, despite being a resource-rich region, it has some of the lowest wages in all of Argentina. Morales, alongside the rest of Argentina’s ruling class, imposes these attacks to maintain the interests of imperialist capital in the region.
That’s why we call on workers, activists, and organizations here in the U.S. in particular to demand the immediate release of all arrested protesters, including Natalia and Lucho, in the face of the struggle and repression being led by workers and indigenous communities in Jujuy.
Alongside our sister organizations across the world, including the Party of Socialist Workers (PTS) in Argentina, we call on workers’ and social organizations to mobilize for a national day of action and strikes in solidarity with the historic struggle that has broken out in Jujuy.
As part of our internationalist campaign, we urge individuals and organizations to post videos, pictures, and words of of solidarity with the struggle in Jujuy, against the repression, and for the release of all those arrested, including Natalia and Lucho; please tag @left_voice, @izquierdadiario, @NatuchaMorales, @Lucho_Aguilar2, @PTSarg or send them to [email protected]
Solidarity with the struggle in Jujuy! Stop the repression! End the authoritarian reforms and attacks against workers!