Last Sunday, the revolutionary left won 6.21% of the votes in Neuquén. The Workers’ Left Front (Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores, FIT) participated in the elections for governor and parliament in this Argentinian province. In a highly polarized election, the FIT won slightly more votes than in the elections of 2015, holding onto the two seats they have had for the last four years.
Andrés Blanco, one of the two new legislators from the FIT, declared:
We are workers who make politics, and our seats are going to be at the service of the struggles of the working population.
Raúl Godoy, who served in the legislature for the last four years and was now a candidate for governor, added:
In a difficult election, in which the bosses’ parties spent millions and millions of pesos, we were able to keep the seats in the hands of socialist workers.
Both Blanco and Godoy are workers in the ceramics factory Zanon. In 2001, the Zanon workers occupied their factory to present its closure. For more than 15 years, they have produced under workers’ control. The Zanon workers are an example of struggle in Neuquén, Argentina, and the whole world.
All FIT representatives take a worker’s wage. They donate the rest of their salaries to workers’ struggles. The FIT in Neuquén is composed of the Socialist Workers’ Party (PTS) and the Workers’ Party (PO). Blanco and Godoy are from the PTS, while the second newly elected legislator, Patricia Jure, is from the PO.
After he completes his parliamentary term, Godoy will return to his job on the assembly line. In the province of Jujuy, on the other side of Argentina, the FIT elected the sanitation worker Alejandro Vilca and other workers to the parliament. The FIT also has three representatives in the National Congress.
The FIT shows that it is possible to elect revolutionary socialist workers to Congress. They are not there to improve the capitalist system. Instead, they are using the parliamentary tribune to support mobilizations and struggles against every form of exploitation and oppression. That’s why revolutionary parliamentarians spend more time on the streets – often confronting police repression – than in Congress.
The FIT’s election videos said that workers, youth, and women need their own political voice, independent of the capitalist parties. The campaign motto was to #darvueltaatodo”, i.e. turn everything upside down. Here is a selection of campaign videos in Spanish. Viewers may notice that Godoy often wears a t-shirt from Vio.Me, an occupied factory in Greece.