The national elections have passed, the government will change and the anti-capitalist and socialist left will have a great responsibility in the country that is coming. The electoral results were modest for the left and show the objective difficulties of the situation as well as political problems within the left that must be corrected. Which are they? How do we improve the position of the left? What changes are needed? What role can this great unity play in the future? We contribute the analysis and proposals of the MST in 5 points.
The electoral victory of the PJ opens the doors to a new country, which will have many aspects of continuity and also some changes in the way of carrying out an austerity plan and a new agreement with the IMF. From the revolutionary left, we believe that the substantive solutions that millions of workers, the feminist-dissident movement and the youth need will not be achieved with this new government. Because there is no way to achieve structural and qualitative changes without breaking through all the political, economic and social scaffolding of this decadent capitalist regime and system. And far from this, the Fernández government is heading toward an attempt to impose a social pact with the employers and the union bureaucracy to contain workers and people´s demands, while deepening the model of dependency, repression and environmental disaster with Vaca Muerta, megamining and agribusiness, while guaranteeing the external debt fraud. We are heading toward that country, in a context of popular rebellions in various countries that show what is coming like a mirror. Argentina will not be oblivious to these processes and social convulsions. Sunday’s elections had that horizon as a framework.
1. A situation of polarization and punishment vote
It is very clear that the political situation of the last weeks before October 27, concentrated with great force a huge punishment vote against the government that demonstrated the fatigue of millions with the IMF austerity plan, combined with a strong polarization product of the momentum that the government infused in its campaign the last month, where it played all its cards to improve as much as possible, achieving a comeback. These two issues, in addition to the actions of the mainstream media, led 90% of the population to choose between one of the two proposals, as if the general elections were in fact a kind of run-off.
It is evident that these objective conditions worked against the other four lists, it is not by chance that all fell in votes from the primaries to the general election in the presidential category. Logically, the left was not immune to this setback and we also felt the consequences of a very polarized election. Undoubtedly, the context of these elections was not the most convenient for forces like ours that plan to turn everything around, when a majority opts for a “punishment vote” and the lesser evil, to put an end to a present marked by crisis and economic and social disaster. Our campaign was, in the end, very conditioned by the weight of this reality.
2. The results of the FIT-Unidad
It is in this difficult context that we have to know how to appreciate that about 600,000 workers and young people have supported us with their vote for the presidential formula and about 800,000 for legislative positions. They are the concrete expression of an important sector that resisted the polarization and consciously sees in the left a real proposal for change. It is an electoral base that was reduced in relation previous years but that, at the same time, must be appreciated and defended, as an important point of support to think about how to surpass these levels of support, reach new and important sectors that today are won to lesser evilism. That the unity of the left is the fourth national force is also a reality from which to start towards new objectives.
With these results, the left does not obtain national deputies in any province, which is a negative fact, because no new seats in Congress will be occupied. We did conquer a seat in the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires that will be shared by rotation of all the forces of the FIT-Unidad. The total balance sheet of the left in a year of many elections includes the two provincial deputies and one city councilor obtained in Neuquén, two provincial deputies and one city councilor in Córdoba, a deputy of the City of Buenos Aires, and we still have the provincial elections of Salta ahead of us, where we aim to elect a provincial deputy and a city councilor in the Capital, a difficult but possible feat. Though these conquests are inferior in quantity to what was achieved in the previous election, we value them all the same and make them available to the struggles that will come. In the case of the MST, we highlight that in Córdoba we obtained our deputy in solitude, prior to the constitution of the FIT-Unidad, a seat that our comrade Luciana Echevarría will occupy for four years from next December.
3. Some debates
Just as the important objective causes that marked this election and the electoral setback of the left cannot be denied, it is also evident that there are historical and current political causes problems that cannot be minimized or hidden, there are responsibilities of the left itself that we have to discuss frankly and in depth.
On this issue, as we publicly stated at the beginning of the primaries, we believe that it took too long for the FIT to decide to expand the unity of the left, which was a long-standing demand and necessity. We ended up forming the FIT-Unidad at last minute before the presentation of alliances and after having been divided in many provincial elections in the previous months.
We do not see this as a new problem that came up this year prior to our inclusion, but fundamentally as a previous mistaken dynamic; After the best elections of the FIT, when it had the highest level of responsibility and opportunity in his electoral peak, it never had a policy of proposing a larger unity, of expanding democratically, of opening and responding to the expectations instead of disappointing. The FIT closed itself to this necessity of greater unity for several years while obtaining positive results in provinces like Buenos Aires, Salta, Jujuy or Mendoza, and there was no bold policy from that position to broadly agglutinate the entire left and better respond to that opportunity. So the best moment was lost.
When the FIT decided to open the possibility of an expansion, it had already receded in several provincial elections this year, like Córdoba, Santa Fe, Mendoza and Jujuy, among others, so the conformation of the FIT-Unidad was very correct but also late and defensive.
Even expanding the unity this year, both in the assembly of lists and in the campaign itself, hegemonistic positions were maintained, of scant openness to actually integrating new figures in visible and leading positions, also expecting to organize every event with the logic of imposing those who head candidate lists over those who do not, a mistaken and electoralist criteria that contributes nothing to taking advantage of the real strength of each organization of the front in all its dimensions.
Within the framework of a very correct policy in general, there were also political errors during the campaign, such as not boldly intervening in the political crisis after the primaries, with some of the FIT-Unidad forces emitting more trade unionist than political responses during those decisive days. There was also a deficit in how to denounce the candidate Fernández more strongly. We saw at times a refusal to criticize him more harshly in the face of what was coming, as if this were the best way to reach his base, when defending the vote of the left was best to clarify the character of the future government in depth. On several occasions, in particular the PTS, chose to criticize Massa and the governors more collaterally, as if that were enough. That a part of our votes finally went to Fernández reaffirms the importance of having been more emphatic in criticizing him.
4. The negative role of those who divide
The forces of the left that have worked all year to divide instead of making themselves available to contribute to a great unity deserve specific scrutiny. We refer in particular to the Nuevo MAS of Castañeira and to Luis Zamora. And towards the second stage of the campaign, the PO Tendencia also adopted a position that was hostile and not constructive. These forces have openly showcased their desire to see the FIT-Unidad obtain poor results.
The Nuevo MAS turned its back on the demand for unity on the left and privileged its media exposure, though it was far from being able to overcome the primaries. And in the general elections it deepened its marked sectarianism that is functional to the parties of the regime. It did nothing in support of the candidacies of the FIT-Unidad and on top of that, having said in its campaign that the essential issue was the candidacy of a woman, it quickly “forgot” that maxim and in the City of Buenos Aires decided to support the FIT-Unidad and Zamora at the same level, when it knew perfectly well that this weakened the possibility of a comrade, Myriam Bregman, to be elected deputy. The Nuevo MAS worked consciously against the left obtaining new deputies. This is how far the disaster of a divisive policy has come.
About Zamora, we can only add that he pays with a very bad election result for his divisionism and personalism of all these years. His result was well below previous elections after declining once again to join the unity of the left. Unfortunately, that divisionism in fact helped the last Congress seat to be attained by Macri´s PRO instead of the left.
In the case of the PO Tendencia, which did integrate the FIT-Unidad lists in some places, within the framework of its internal political fight, moved further and further away from the front until it ended up not overseeing or doing anything in the campaign. And through its main public figures, it used its presence in the media and the publication of articles centrally to criticize the FIT-Unidad. It has not made any positive contribution to this front, which, given its public assessment, it seems to move away from.
5. Our proposals for the left to advance
When we decided to form the FIT-Unidad, like we said at the time, we were convinced to contribute to a new and large unity on the left, even knowing that we were offered unfair and unreal positions in relation to the relative strength of the front´s parties. Precisely because we do not have an electoralist strategy, we decided to accept anyway, to open the possibility of a common experience in front of the vanguard and left activism and for this to lay the foundations of a superior unity in the future. This way we contributed to the joy that the announcement of the constitution of the front generated in thousands of supporters of the left.
Now a different stage begins, to which we also want to contribute. We are proud militants of the unity of the left and therefore, while we build our revolutionary party, we promote and defend the unity as a political necessity in against all the parties and institutions of the system. Hence, all the proposals and criticisms we make aim to improve the situation of the FIT-Unidad and to overcome this moment positively in the future.
So we start with a central definition; if you continue to act the same, there will be no different results but further retreat. That is why it is necessary, based on the positive aspects of this unity, to also advance in everything that must be changed, as the only way to strengthen it.
In this sense we share a series of ideas and proposals:
* In the first place, we see that it is very important that the FIT-Unidad remain active and respond to the new situation that begins in the country and Latin America. The common activity carried out during the campaign should be extended to support ongoing struggles, to jointly promote combative unionism, to conform unitary lists in new union or student elections, to intervene in the feminist and LGBT movement, and with new actions in support of the struggle of the Chilean people and other countries of the world.
* We propose to begin to overcome the limited stage of electoral agreement, to materialize the necessity of a permanent political front of the unity of the left in the intervention in the class struggle and to respond to any national political debate. Because deep down it is not just about seeing if we achieve a little more or less parliamentary representation, which is already important; it is about seeing, strategically, if we are going to be able to place the revolutionary left as an alternative for power in the eyes of millions, in an international context of capitalist crisis, the rise of struggles and social polarization. We have to carry out that project.
*Onward, on this basis of intervention and the important political and programmatic framework that the front has, we believe it is essential to operate more in accordance with the reality of the front´s parties and not according to past electoral results. A fully democratic method of agreement and consensus and with fraternal and patient debate of the disagreements or differences that exist.
* While we intervene in the current situation, there is an open debate about what kind of agreements to make in the following elections. For us, these future agreements have to allow for a real in depth integration of each force, either by agreements reached or by democratic mechanisms such as internal elections or some other variant that guarantees the active and thorough participation of all political forces and public figures. There are no more unreal power relations, nor immovable candidacies. There must be full freedom for any organization to be a real protagonist and thus make its contribution to the common front, as part of the renewal and the necessary diversity that adds visions and more political strength.
* We must also have a policy for new sectors that want to be part. We have received the support of intellectuals, artists, environmentalists, union leaders, social movements and some left wing groups. If we want to move forward, we must also think about the future inclusion of these elements and that they feel that in the FIT-Unidad there is a place where they can really be part of, contribute and build, and not just support with their vote or their signature. * The great challenge of this important unity achieved between comrades of the PTS, PO, IS and our MST, is to overcome, improve, learn from all the successes and mistakes. Have a positive and at the same time critical view of everything that is needed. Not to close our eyes to the problems that exist or continue as if nothing had happened, but bet on changing what is necessary to strengthen the unity of the anti-capitalist and socialist left on new bases of common work and maintaining the same political strategy towards a workers´ government and socialism, facing all the political variants of the capitalist system.
Immediately, we propose the convening of a meeting of the National Board of the FIT-Unidad to exchange analysis and proposals, develop a new common political declaration to distribute strongly among workers and the youth, and begin a common intervention in the new political stage that opens, in which the FIT-Unidad will be tested.