Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas

Buenos Aires
23 de octubre de 2017

NEW PRESIDENT RODRIGUEZ SAA SET TO ROB THE PEOPLE"S VICTORY

24 Dec 2001   |   comentarios

On December 19 and 20 the Argentine masses ousted the government of De la Rúa and his hated finance minister, Cavallo. In came the Peronist Rodriguez Saa, a behind-the-scenes manoeuvre aimed at stripping the people from their victory in the streets. His designation was a true conspiracy against the people: those that endorsed every single anti-working class law engineered by De la Rúa and all his austerity packages and also had shared responsibility for the vicious crack-down on protesters, have now appointed the new president. First, their aim was to defuse the widespread anger of the masses, thus taking away from them the decision-making power they expressed with their actions. Thousands angrily demanded "All of them out" in front of the Congress and in Plaza de Mayo, thus showing their hatred for both the defeated government and the clique of bosses politicians loyal to the interests of the capitalists and the IMF -the Peronist cronies among them. No matter how much they crank up demagoguery, they defend the interests of the minority of bankers and bosses controlling the national economy as fiercely as the ousted government -they have clearly shown this in the ten years of Menem"s government and also in the provinces they govern.

The great mass action of the last few days not only did oust the government, but also dealt a massive blow to the political régime as a whole. In an attempt to enhance its legitimacy and usurp the popular victory, the new government is trying to gain a wider social base. In the last few hours, many old and hated enemies of the working class have shown up in the governmental palace -governors that have nastily cracked down on workers, Menem"s stalwarts such as Scioli or Grosso, and the flexibility-prone bosses of the entrepreneurs union. Once again, the union leaders have also met with Rodriguez Saa, in an attempt to subordinate the workers" interests to those bosses rallied in the so-called "Productive Lobby". The trade union barons, Moyano, Daer and Barrionuevo, have all rushed to support the new government -in clear contrast with their passivity and cowardice in the face of the repression. The so-called opposition trade union, the CTA, also stayed in the sidelines. The government is trying to get the collaboration of more prestigious mass leaders: the leaders of the Asamblea Piquetera (its chairman D"Elía declared that he will collaborate with the new administration in the implementation of the social schemes). Even Madres de Plaza de Mayo chairwoman Hebe of Bonafini met the president. This populist gestures went hand in hand with the hand-over of 10.000 job schemes to the armed forces guilty of genocide.
Right from the start, the Peronist government is busy trying to play the exploited masses and the oppressed one against the other -the middle classes against the workers and the urban poor; employed workers against the unemployed; those who still have something from those in sheer destitution. They know that if the inchoate alliance between the workers and the people were to develop, their privileges would have their days numbered. In an attempt to defuse the mass actions, the government has just announced a series of measures that will at best be a pittance. The government promises at most (and few believe it) to create one million jobs... all of them paid for with coupons, in a re-run of the previous "workfare" schemes, i.e, a mere bourgeois charity that runs against the just demand of genuine jobs the picketers and unemployed are raising. The creation of a worthless "third" currency (on top of Patacones and coupons) will bring about a devaluation of the wages, by giving non convertible notes to the workers while the capitalists hoard pesos and dollars in wait for a forthcoming devaluation. Make no mistakes: the suspension of foreign debt payments was imposed because the Argentine economy was matter-of-factly in default, which the mass burst-out just worsened. Far from renouncing the debt, which would mean breaking the submission to imperialism, the government has already announced that is seeking a relief to restart the payments later. The US Department of State has just announced that the new Argentinean government has declared it intention of keeping its close links with the United States and has also reassured it will go for renewed support in the "war against terrorism".

A NEW STAGE

The revolutionary days opened a new phase in the class struggle. The actions in Buenos Aires have been a great example for the masses struggling against IMF-imposed austerity and the servant local governments, not only in Latin America but all over the world. For the first time in Argentinean history, a labor and popular rebellion has overthrown an elected government. This is an independent action carried out against the will of the bureaucratic leaderships of the mass organizations. The sacrosanct democratic legality and the inviolable private property, defended by these leaders and centreleftist like the ARI or the Polo Social, were challenged by various social layers: the urban poor that seized the food in the supermarkets, the dozens of thousands -mainly middle class- that rejected the siege in the cities, and eventually the youths who fought back the forces of repression in Plaza de Mayo corageously. But the power of the oligarchy of bankers and bosses ruling the country -the same ones that supported the military dictatorship and the anti-labor governments of Alfonsín, Menem and De la Rúa- although threatened by the mass outburst, still remains in place. Peronism has now taken office to defend their interests.

FIGHT FOR A NATIONWIDE ASSEMBLY OF WORKERS AND JOBLESS TO BUILD UP WORKERS POWER

The ruling classes and their political servants took due notice that the masses in the streets imposed a new balance of forces, and are now busy trying to swindle the masses and make them retreat. But making millions forget that direct mass action is a formidable weapon to accomplish their aspirations is no easy task. It is now critical for workers to go ahead and build their own independent bodies, which can then grow into an alternative power to that of the ruling classes. Should they not do so, it will be the hated bourgeois establishment, the native and foreign exploiters and their subservient union bureaucrats the ones that will remain in charge at the top. The PTS, in its widely circulated special issue of LVO in the thick of events, stated that the main task of the hour is to convene Assemblies of workers and the jobless, with delegates every each twenty workers at a national, provincial and regional level. The Asamblea Piquetera leaders are against such measure tooth and nail: they just made no good of the resolutions dictating it be convened and they ducked the fight during the dramatic days of December 19 and 20. The fighting unemployed unions such as the MTR, Neuquén"s MDT, or the CTD Aníbal Verón; unions such as Neuquén"s SOECN (that have called for such an assembly), the miners in Rio Turbio, the shop-stewards of Córdoba"s electricity workers and the telephone workers union (FOETRA, Buenos Aires branch), the CGT San Lorenzo, the antibureaucratic factory committees in different unions, among others should champion such Assembly. The lack of such bodies and the non-existence of a revolutionary party with mass influence, all play in the hands of the government and the capitalist factions, making it easier for them to hold down the revolutionary dynamics at work in the mass actions. All our efforts have to be aimed at the creation of new centralised bodies that bring together all the demands and ways of struggle. These working class bodies should then coordinate with students" organisations, small shopkeepers and poor farmers to move ahead to the people"s and workers" alliance, one that should stage a mighty general strike to push ahead with our demands.

A LABOR AND POPULAR SOLUTION

The development of such bodies is key so that the demands coming from the most impoverished layers in society are met: no more hunger, bread and work for all, build an alliance with the exploited and the oppressed to overthrow the capitalists"s power and usher in a workers and people"s government. Only a program cutting deep into the bosses" profits and capitalist property altogether, expropriating the expropriators, shall be up to the task of meeting the burning needs of the masses. The flagrant contradiction between millions of starving people on one hand, hypermarkets stuffed with goods on the other, is a vivid picture of the deep contradictions at work in the capitalist régime: the few concentrate in their hands a staggering wealth whereas the majority barely survives. A first emergency measure should be the seizure of the stocks of food in the supermarkets as a part of the struggle against hunger. The distribution of food should be organised and controlled by committees in the neighbourhoods and the pickets" organisations. This emergency measure should be directed towards the goal of nationalising the food distribution companies under workers" control.
But putting an end to hunger demands putting an end to mass unemployment. The measures of the government do not provide any real solution in this regard. We should fight for the distribution of all working hours among the unemployed with a salary equal to the cost of living for an average family. An emergency public works plan must be launched to feed, to house, educate and provide medical care, all under control of the workers and picketers.
All sackings must be stopped right now, and every factory or workplace that goes into bankruptcy and sacks its workers should be nationalized under the direct management of its workers. We could start right now with crisis-ridden companies such as Neuquén"s Zanón, Renacer in Tierra del Fuego province, EmFer in the province of Buenos Aires, or the sugar mill La Esperanza in the province of Jujuy. On top of this, nationwide control of production by the workers shall be implemented, to prevent the bosses from benefittig from the crisis.
All privatised utilities should be re-nationalised under the control of customers" committees, as well as private pension funds. The task of the hour is not to go for a foreign debt moratorium, a measure the new Rodríguez Saa government has taken out of sheer necessity, but the country should renounce the external debt altogether. Argentina must break away from the IMF, and nationalise the banking system to guarantee the deposits of up to $100,000, prevent a massive outflow and hand in cheap credits to small farmers and ruined shopkeepers. The state monopoly on foreing trade must be brought in to prevent the bosses from manoeuvering with cash flows. Such are the elementary measures of an emergency plan of workers and the people, one that should be democratically voted for by the workers and the people, thus finishing off the anarchy of capitalist production. All of these would be a genuinely progressive solution for the majority that ousted De la Rúa from the government.
In the fight for their demands, the workers, as the dramatic events in these days have once again shown, will come up against the repressive forces of the capitalist state. First, we should demand the release of all those jailed for fighting, and in the name of the 31 brothers and sisters killed, we should demand the police and the repressive forces be disbanded. We must build self-defense pickets that should end in the setting up of a workers" militia.

FOR A FREE AND SOVEREIGN CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

Rodríguez Saá"s interim government and the call to presidential elections with tickets bearing multiple candidates are a swindle. Such multiple-candidates-ticket system has the key purpose of maintaining the Peronist Party together and guaranteeing the victory for the Peronists in March and later on in the 2003 presidential elections. At the same time, the deputies and senators that were also repudiated by the people and could not even show up in the protests, remain in their posts. These elections are intended to be minor change so that nothing really changes. They want the "legitimacy" of millions of votes to keep on governing against the workers.

Faced with the pacts carried out behind the backs of the people, we have to fight for a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly, so that the people can discuss democratically and in freedom the way out of the crisis. The assembly would have to combine legislative and executive powers, putting and end to the current division of powers, abolish the Supreme Court - that cast of corrupt judges - and organise the direct election of judges. The members of the Constituent Assembly should be elected by the direct vote of everyone aged16 or over without distinction to sex or nationality. Their mandate should be recallable in order to put an end to the "representatives of the people" who swindle their electors. The candidates for deputies to the Constituent Assembly could also be promoted through local assemblies, close to their city and town, to ensure that they know the needs of the local people and making them easier to control. During the term of their mandate they will receive a salary equivalent to that of an average teacher or worker, to put an end to rich politicians and to make government cheaper.
The designation of Rodriguez Saa has made clear that such way out will be delivered by the ruling cliques. Even to open the road to this kind of democracy it is necessary to sweep away the current power with a general strike and with a great national uprising that finishes the task initiated during the revolutionary days of December 19 and 20.
The fifht for a Constituent Assembly might thus trigger the mobilization of wide mass layers, paving the way for the only real solution: a socialist workers"s revolution ushering in a workers" and people"s government and initiating the transition to socialism.

PTS
24-12-2001









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