It has been one month since the rebellion in Chile began, and one week since the coup in Bolivia. On Saturday, thousands of Trotskyists filled an indoor soccer stadium in Buenos Aires for a massive internationalist rally. The Ferro stadium, which has a capacity of 4,500 people, was packed. As rebellions continue to spread throughout Latin America—in Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Chile, and now Bolivia—the most class conscious workers in Argentina expressed their support. The event was organized by the Party of Socialist Workers (PTS), the largest organization within the Workers Left Front (FIT).
Thousands of workers and youth came to hear speakers from Chile. These speakers included Beatriz Bravo, a young postal worker from Santiago; Lyam Riveros, a student from the University of Valparaiso; and Nicolás Bustamente, a worker from Antofagasta. All three are members of the Revolutionary Workers Party (PTR), which is the Chilean sister organization of the PTS.
Bravo called out: “We want Chile to be the tomb of neoliberalism. We want this force to inspire the youth and the peoples of Latin America, to put an end to this shit system.” The stadium responded to her speech with a chant: “The working class is one and has no borders!”
Lyam spoke as a representative of the “youth without fear” who have taken to the streets in Chile to topple the regime that was inherited from the dictatorship. It wasn’t just the hike in subway fares that provoked the rebellion—it was hatred of a system in which education and healthcare are totally privatized. Lyam also criticized the reformist leaders who are “calling for a dialogue with the government that is murdering and repressing us.” He explained that “we are trying to build up a revolutionary youth that unites with the workers’ movement.” And he called on the youth in Argentina to take an example from Chile and get organized.
The last speaker from Chile, Nicolás Bustamente from Antofagasta, spoke about the Emergency and Protection Committee that workers and young people had established in that northern city in order to unify their struggles. “We have the power to get rid of the government and the entire Pinochet regime”, he declared. “We need to multiply the number of coordinating committees in schools, universities, and workplaces.”
The event also included a commemoration of Eduardo Molina, a Trotskyist leader of many decades who passed away a few months ago. Eduardo was not only one of the great Marxist intellectuals in Latin America, but also an organizer of revolutionary workers in Bolivia.
Bolivian immigrants in Argentina then came onto the stage with their national and indigenous wiphala flags to denounce the coup. Yuri Fernández, a Bolivian immigrant and worker in the occupied textile factory Brukman as well as a member of the PTS, invited everyone to a big demonstration against the coup that will take place on Monday.
The rally then got a message from Julia Alandia from La Paz. She is a leader of the Revolutionary Workers League—Fourth International (LOR-CI), another sister organization of the PTS. She spoke about the mobilizations against the coup. “Given the strengthening of racist and fascist groups, the response of the workers and the people was not long in coming, with indigenous women on the front lines” she said. But at the same time, Evo Morales’ party, the MAS, “is attempting to negotiate with the coup leaders behind the backs of the people.”
The event was closed by Myriam Bregman and Nicolás del Caño, the most prominent representatives of the PTS.
Bregman recalled the bloody legacy of U.S. imperialism in the region, including the “Plan Condor” in the 1970s, which was “a true international of terror” that kidnapped, disappeared, and assassinated thousands of activists. The recent coup in Bolivia shows that this policy has not changed at all. She called for the expulsion of imperialism—including the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—from the region.
Del Caño was the presidential candidate of the FIT in the recent elections. The whole campaign was focused on solidarity with the rebellions in Ecuador and Chile—the campaign’s closing rally was a protest at the Chilean embassy in Buenos Aires. After the election, PTS leaders—including Del Caño, the sanitation worker Alejandro Vilca, and Raúl Godoy, a worker from the occupied ceramics factory Zanon, all visited Chile to support the rebellion. Del Caño spoke about the perspectives for revolution:
By itself, the enormous energy of the masses on the streets of our continent is not enough. With their humble forces, our comrades of the PTR are giving a small example of what it means to have a revolutionary party that can lead this enormous workers’ and people’s power to victory. Imagine what would happen if there were a large revolutionary party in Chile to develop coordinating committees, prepare the general strike, throw out Piñera, and impose a free and sovereign constituent assembly!
The PTS and the FIT got modest results in the election: just shy of 800,000 votes, or 3%. But revolutionary socialists were nonetheless on the national stage, including the presidential debates. Millions of workers heard their ideas. When a similar rebellion breaks out in Argentina, this preparatory work will pay off.
The internationalist rally was a call to construct a working-class and socialist alternative, so that the rebellions in Latin America can triumph, forcing the capitalists pay for the crisis. This is the exact opposite of the reformist and “progressive” forces in the region, which are holding back the mass movement. While right-wing governments and the armed forces are murdering protestors on the streets, reformist leaders propose a “dialogue” with the murderers of the people.
The rally expressed solidarity with the rebellions in Chile and Bolivia. But implicitly, it also had a message for workers and youth in the United States. We need to unite with revolutionary socialists on the other end of this double continent to fight against imperialism and capitalism. We also need to draw strength from the struggles of our siblings who are fighting against the same capitalists and politicians that we are. The PTS rally, following the gigantic FIT rally in October, shows that there is much we can learn from the Trotskyists in Argentina.
Based on an article in La Izquierda Diario