Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

National Strike After Death of Two Teachers in Argentina

Ten weeks ago, teachers in Chubut, in southern Argentina, began a strike because the government is refusing to pay them their salaries. On Tuesday, two workers who were returning from a protest were killed in a car accident. As a result of massive outrage, there is a national teachers strike today.

Ana Rivera

September 19, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share

Teachers in Chubut have been on strike for 10 weeks. But on Tuesday, their struggle suffered a major blow. Two teachers, Jorgelina Ruiz Díaz and Cristina Aguilar, died on their way home from a protest. Shock waves reverberated around the nation, with a working class that is tired of paying for the economic crisis. Today, all the teachers in the country are on strike, holding the government responsible for the teachers’ deaths. 

For the past 10 weeks, teachers in the southern Argentine province of Chubut have been on strike. They aren’t demanding a pay raise but are merely asking to get paid. As a result of Chubut’s fiscal deficit, the government said it does not have the money to pay the teachers. The provincial coffers have no cash but only debt bonds. For this reason, teachers are only receiving parts of their salaries every month.  

This comes in the context of a massive economic crisis in Argentina and a huge devaluation of the Argentine peso after the primary elections last month. The whole working class is being squeezed, and salaries that used to get people through the month no longer do. And now teachers in Chubut aren’t even getting paid these meager salaries. 

Over the past 10 weeks, teachers in Chubut have held numerous demonstrations—along with students and the people of Chubut—at picket lines and school takeovers. Public education in general is currently severely underfunded due to budget cuts made to meet IMF payments. Despite the duration of the Chubut teachers’ strike, the national government of Mauricio Macri has not responded at all to the teachers’ demands. Neither did the winner of the primary elections, the Peronist Alberto Fernández, address the issue. This is because Mariano Arcioni, the governor of Chubut, is Fernández’s political ally. In fact, he is part of the Frente de Todos coalition, which is headed by Alberto Fernández and the ex-president Cristina Fernández. 

On Tuesday, two teachers—Jorgelina Ruiz Díaz and Cristina Aguilar—were returning home after a protest. They got into a horrible car accident and died. 

Their deaths reverberated around Argentina. Immediately, teachers and community members took to the streets, setting fires in front of the legislative building. A video which has been circulating in Argentina shows flames in front of the legislature and the trembling voice of a teacher, holding back tears as she said, “The government officials are giving themselves raises. And we haven’t even gotten paid. We are putting our lives on the line to fight this fight.” 

The Infantry arrived soon after to repress the struggle. 

The daughter of Jorgelina Ruiz Díaz posted the following on Facebook: 

My mother is gone. I’m not going to see my mom anymore. I repeat it again and again to try to accept it. She is gone forever. She went down fighting, with the energy that always characterized her. Where did you get it, Mom?

Since 2005 [she has been] in the fight, demanding what she deserved. She wanted to be a teacher, but her job did not pay the bills. She wanted to be in the classroom and live with dignity, something so basic! What are these times, when you have to defend the obvious?

My mother will never return to the classroom again. Even that was taken away from her. And they took our mother away from us.

Your struggle goes on forever. I love you with all that I am.

These words stand in stark contrast to the government’s cynicism: on the same day that the accident took the lives of Jorgelina and Cristina, Chubut’s 2020 budget project was unveiled, proposing a 100 percent salary increase for the governor and high-level functionaries. 

The national government did not bother to backtrack after these deaths. Macri affirmed that the budget for the provinces had already been allotted and there would be no new disbursements.

The Argentine Education Workers’ Union, the national teacher’s union of Argentina, organized a national strike today, due to the anger and resulting crisis triggered by the deaths of the two workers. As a result, teachers around the country are not in the classroom today as a protest to these needless deaths: deaths for which the government is responsible. 

However, the union, led by Kirchnerism, has not responded to the seriousness of this conflict. They called the strike but urged people to stay home; they did not call for a national protest.  This is in line with Alberto Fernandez’s speech that asked the workers “not to be in the streets”—an attempt to guarantee an orderly electoral transition in October. 

While Macri will probably be defeated in the elections and will leave the government, there remains the disastrous consequences of the debt held by the IMF and impending increases in austerity. Chubut’s government is not led by the right wing but rather by Fernandez’s ally. This just goes to show what a Fernandez government will mean for the working class: austerity and struggle. 

On the other hand, the Workers’ Left Front, which is part of the opposition to the union bureaucracy, proposed a two-day national strike with mobilizations in the street and a break with the IMF, so that the foreign debt is not paid and the money is redirected to education, wages, and the basic needs of the working people.

Today’s national strike is a statement: one that says that government is responsible for the deaths of Jorgelina Ruiz Díaz and Cristina Aguilar. And it is a statement that the workers of Argentina won’t willingly pay for the crisis generated by the IMF, its national partners, and the policies of imperialism.

Facebook Twitter Share

Labor Movement

Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Temple’s Grad Worker Strike Ends with Important Victories 

The last report on the strike from a union teacher at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jason Koslowski

March 17, 2023

Teachers and Education Workers Set to Strike! Tens of Thousands Rally in Los Angeles 

A three day strike was announced by two education unions at a rally attended by tens of thousands of members. The workers are calling for increased wages, reduced class size, and an end to harassment by their employers.

Julia Wallace

March 17, 2023
A sign drawn on a small whiteboard, in trans pride colors. Text: "CUNY Graduate Center and Professional Schools Workers for Trans Rights" Beneath the text is a chain of 9 smiling stick figures in different colors, all holding hands

CUNY Union Chapter Unanimously Passes Resolution in Support of Trans Rights

The Graduate Center chapter of PSC-CUNY, the faculty, staff, and graduate worker union of the City University of New York, passed a resolution pledging support to all workers fighting the anti-trans bills nationwide.

Olivia Wood

March 12, 2023


At Least 39 Migrants Die in Fire at Detention Center in Mexico. The State Is Responsible.

The events of March 27 marked one of the darkest chapters in the Mexican State’s anti-immigrant policy, a policy that is increasingly subordinated to the interests of U.S. imperialism.

The French Union Bureaucracy Walks Back Demand for Complete Withdrawal of Pension Reform

After calling to put the pension reform “on hold,” the Inter-Union has requested “mediation,” even though the French government has rejected outright the proposal, showing that compromise is impossible. This proposition symbolizes the Inter-Union’s strategy of defeat. We urgently need to organize the rank and file to broaden our demands and generalize the strike.

Damien Bernard

March 30, 2023

“Lesser Evil” Biden Wants More Border Patrol Than MAGA Republicans

Over the weekend, Biden bragged about his support for even more resources than “MAGA Republicans.” to “secure the border” on Twitter. This is “lesser evilism” in action.

Molly Rosenzweig

March 28, 2023
Customers clear shelves of water Sunday at Fresh Grocer in West Philadelphia.

A Chemical Plant Just Poisoned Philadelphia’s Water: A First-Hand Account of the Crisis

A company dumped thousands of gallons of poisonous chemicals into Philadelphia’s drinking water. This is an on-the-ground account by a Philadelphia worker and socialist.

Jason Koslowski

March 27, 2023