Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Revolutionary Socialists in Argentina Are the Only Ones Campaigning in Defense of Abortion Rights

With less than a month until the midterm elections in Argentina, the center-left government is pivoting to the right. An anti-abortion politician was just named head of the cabinet. The only political force that defends the right to abortion is the Workers Left Front – Unity (FIT–U).

Nathaniel Flakin

October 24, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
PHOTO: Emiliano Lasalvia / AFP - Getty Images

The feminist movement in Argentina fought for decades to win the right to legal, safe, and free abortions. In the final days of 2020, abortion was finally legalized by the Argentinian congress. The procedure can now be obtained in hospitals until 14 weeks of gestation. The center-left government of Alberto Fernández claims credit for this milestone in women’s rights. Many institutional feminists have taken government jobs, and with midterm elections set for November 14, are campaigning for Fernández’s Frente de Todes (Front of All).

Since his party suffered a defeat in primary elections on September 12, Fernández has pivoted to the right and named Juan Luis Manzur as head of the cabinet. Manzur once served as Health Minister under Cristina Kirchner (the current vice president), and later as governor of the province of Tucumán in Argentina’s far north. Manzur is a member of the far-right Catholic sect Opus Dei and a fierce opponent of women’s right to self-determination. In 2019 in Tucumán, when an 11-year-old girl who had been raped sought an abortion, Manzur’s officials forced her to deliver a baby against her will.

The supposedly “feminist” Fernández is not only trying to shore up support with governors from the right wing of Peronism. His reforms have important loopholes. The abortion law still allows doctors (such as Manzur himself, who is a surgeon) to be “conscientious objectors,” meaning that many women have a “right” to an abortion yet still cannot obtain one.

So, paradoxically, a sector of the feminist movement in Argentina will be out campaigning for rabidly anti-choice politicians. Fernández’s coalition, they believe, represents a “lesser evil” compared to the right-wing coalition led by former president Mauricio Macri, who would attack women’s rights even more viciously. 

Yet there is an alternative to these two patriarchal bourgeois projects. The third political force in Argentina is the Workers Left Front – Unity (FIT–U), which received more than 1 million votes (or 5 percent of votes nationally) in the primaries. The four socialist organizations that make up the FIT–U have been fighting for the right to abortion for decades. Their flags and banners filled the front rows of the protests when the law was finally passed. 

Feminist campaign ad of the FIT-U, with Myriam Bregman

While for more than a decade Kirchner and Fernández refused to take any steps toward legalizing abortion, the organizations that make up the FIT–U were fighting as part of the “Green Wave,” the massive feminist movement. The front’s representatives in congress were introducing bills and consistently voting in favor of abortion rights. Since it was founded a decade ago, the FIT–U has campaigned for comprehensive sex education in schools as well as the complete separation of church and state. They do not hope to win these demands in elections — rather, the use their seats in congress to help build an independent feminist movement.

To win not only equality before the law, but also equality in all aspects of life, Argentina’s revolutionary socialists combine feminist and socialist demands. For example, when poor families occupied land in Guernica, it was mostly women who were trying to get housing for their families. Politicians from Fernández’s party ordered a violent eviction so that a golf course could be built. The FIT representatives, meanwhile, were in the front lines of those fighting back against the police. Similarly, when factory workers at the PepsiCo plant in Buenos Aires went on strike four years ago, the workers’ leaders had connections with the FIT–U, and the front’s members of congress joined the protests — and were hit by rubber bullets alongside the strikers.

The Workers Left Front includes the socialist women’s movement Pan y Rosas (Bread and Roses) which fights for the demands of women workers: for women’s commissions in workplaces, for free daycare for all, and for equal pay. But the FIT-U is not just about winning reforms — its program calls for a government of working people, based on mobilization and self-organization. Eliminating capitalism would destroy the material basis for all forms of oppression and discrimination.

Socialist feminists are the only ones with a consistent feminist program. And in Argentina, revolutionary socialists are the only ones campaigning for the right to abortion.

Facebook Twitter Share

Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French, and in Spanish. He has also written an anticapitalist guide book called Revolutionary Berlin. He is on the autism spectrum.


Latin America

‘You Have to Change Things from the Root’: Interview With a Young Immigrant

Left Voice interviewed a 23-year-old immigrant, factory worker, and student, who told us about his experience crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and about the life of Latin American youth in the United States.

Left Voice

April 5, 2024
A square in Argentina is full of protesters holding red banners

48 Years After the Military Coup, Tens of Thousands in Argentina Take to the Streets Against Denialism and the Far Right

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Argentina on March 24 to demand justice for the victims of the state and the military dictatorship of 1976. This year, the annual march had renewed significance, defying the far-right government’s denialism and attacks against the working class and poor.

Madeleine Freeman

March 25, 2024

Declaration: End Imperialist Intervention in Haiti, Solidarity with the Haitian People

The “Multinational Security Support Mission” announced by the United States marks a new imperialist-colonial intervention in Haiti by the United States, the UN, and their allies.

The Fight against Javier Milei Has Set The Stage For a Whole New Wave of Struggle

The defeat of the Omnibus Law is a key victory for the movement against Javier Milei’s austerity plan and attacks on democratic rights. It shows that the working class and oppressed have the power to fight against the advance of the Far Right in Argentina and across the world.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

February 9, 2024


Liberal Towns in New Jersey Are Increasing Attacks on Pro-Palestine Activists

A group of neighbors in South Orange and Maplewood have become a reference point for pro-Palestine organizing in New Jersey suburbs. Now these liberal towns are upping repression against the local activists.

Samuel Karlin

April 12, 2024

“We Shouldn’t Let this Stop Us”: Suspended Columbia Student Activist Speaks Out

Aidan Parisi, a student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, was recently suspended and has been threatened with eviction from their graduate student housing for pro-Palestinian activism on campus. Aidan talked to Left Voice about the state of repression, the movement at Columbia, and the path forward for uniting the student movement with the labor movement and other movements against oppression.

Left Voice

April 11, 2024

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine — Interview with Nancy Fraser

The University of Cologne canceled a guest professorship with the philosophy professor from The New School. In this interview, she speaks about Germany dividing between "Good Jews" and "Bad Jews," her politicization in the civil rights movement, and her time in an Israeli kibbutz.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 10, 2024

Pro-Palestine Activists in France Get Summons from Anti-Terrorist Police

As part of a repressive campaign against the movement for Palestine in France activists have gotten summons from “anti-terrorist” police. The movement for Palestine in the United States must oppose all repression of our movement here and in Europe.

Samuel Karlin

April 9, 2024