Argentina: Campaign Against the Debt, the IMF and the Pact With the Government. Some Debates on the Left

The government´s decision to send a bill to Congress with the aim of negotiating the total payment of the our country´s illegitimate and fraudulent foreign debt, led it to vote this law in conjunction with all Macrism. The consequence of that vote with no “schism” and the coming agreements with the IMF and “vulture” funds will bring more austerity to our country. The elimination of pension mobility, the request that workers not ask for wage increases and the decision in Buenos Aires to deny them an increase that had already been agreed, are the first signs of what is coming.

Only the FIT-U voted against that bill in the Chamber and mobilized to the gates of Congress, repudiating this new plunder and disseminating a national political declaration among workers and the youth. This fact highlighted the political importance of the presence of the unitary anti-capitalist and socialist left that is organized in our front. While the entire ruling and opposition political arc is in favor of paying this illegitimate debt, only the left said no, maintaining a coherent and historical position against the scam of the debt.

Sectarianism and Distortion of Reality

In the rally held in front of the Congress, all the forces of the FIT-U agreed and proposed to organize a great campaign against the payment of this fraudulent debt. (1) As part of that campaign, the MST participated in a speak-out of a series of organizations and individuals called “For the Suspension of the Payment and Investigation of the External Debt” where we presented our criticism of the debt and the pact between the government and the IMF. A simple street action, under a correct slogan, that included the signing of a unitary pronouncement demanding the suspension of the payment of the debt. This action helped to put this struggle in the spotlight while the pro-payment bill was being discussed in Congress and this debate was growing in public opinion.

We have received an unusual criticism from other parties of the FIT-U, the PO and PTS, for our participation in this initiative. They even wrote articles making a capricious controversy about whether we have a “third position”.

First, the PO, in an article signed by E. Salas, said that this activity would supposedly be “incompatible” with the front’s policy because the convening statement does not contain all the points we raise in the FIT-U statement, because it supposedly “places the government on the same side as those who question the payment of the debt” and because some of its hundreds of signatories are related to the government. (2)

Then the PTS comrades who wrote on their website that we would have made a “new mistake” because: “the MST signed the declaration of the Autoconvocados and participated in a rally with them hours before the FIT-U rally held at the doors of Congress when debt bailout bill was being treated”… without notifying “to the FIT-U Board”. (3)

In their considerations they express not only sectarian visions but facts that do not conform to reality. On the one hand, it is said that the Autoconvocados text does not criticize the government. And it is clear that, despite being a brief and limited declaration of unity of action against the debt, it is globally correct.

In the Autoconvocados declaration, the government’s bill is expressly criticized because it leaves aside “any questioning of the legitimacy of the accumulated debt and the agreement with the IMF and it gives the executive a free hand to negotiate how to continue paying…” It criticizes that the government “announces its intention to renegotiate the debt as quickly as possible, without transparent negotiations and without adequate public information”… It states that “it is time to question the origin of the debt and what use the loans were given, as well as the conditions imposed by the IMF with others creditors, and to denounce the agreement with the IMF and the debt as a mechanism of domination”. It also denounces the “application of policies of plunder, pollution, exclusion and loss of labor and social rights…” It demands the “suspension of all payments and the agreement with the IMF” and “FOR THOSE WHO BENEFITED FROM THE SCAM OF THE DEBT TO PAY!”.

In their desire for a polemic, the comrades forget that the slogan “suspension of payment and investigation” that is the axis of the text, is clearly against the government that wants to pay without investigating. So, what is the problem with participating in a speak-out under that slogan and expressing there the entire policy that we raise in the FIT-U? Secondly, it is obvious that a brief statement for the suspension of the payment of the debt will be partial and not comparable to the FIT-U statements that express a much higher programmatic political agreement. But, in order to carry out a unity of action around a correct slogan, we cannot oblige the other sectors to adopt the entire policy that the FIT-U raises.

The essential basis of unity of action, as any worker knows, is to agree on the central slogan, despite the existence of debates on other issues, maintaining political independence, raising and debating one’s own positions in that unitary framework, and promoting the greatest mobilization possible, which is an essential element to defeat the debt repayment policy and the ongoing austerity. All these conditions were very present in the activity that our party participated in.

Behind the false accusations and polemics, neither the PO nor the PTS respond to the essential issues: is the central slogan correct or not? Did the activity held in front of the Congress that expressly repudiated the bill that was voted favor the mobilization against government´s policy or not? Did our intervention in that event, raising all the points defended by the FIT-U and calling for a great unitary campaign, enhance the possibility of carrying out that campaign or not? Did it not position the FIT-U for leading it? These are the things that they do not answer, the ABC of unity of action that seems to not appear on the agendas of these comrades who manifest a notorious lack of vocation for disputing leadership.

And the cherry on top: they intend to invalidate the initiative in question due to some of the signatories. Who subscribes to any unitary pronouncement, runs the risk of contradicting his/her own policy, not the other way around. If someone signs against the bill that was treated in Congress and against the debt and wants to defend the government, he/she would have a great contradiction and a big problem precisely because the government is going to pay the debt without investigating it. It will be those opportunistic and capitulating sectors who will have to explain the enormous contradiction between what they say and the government they mistakenly defend.

Promoting the Left is Not to Refraining from the Dispute

We believe that, based on the FIT-U´s correct policy, it is not only licit but very necessary to deploy it with force and dispute in favor of it in all possible places. We believe that not doing so and not disputing in these areas does not strengthen our front and gives up space to sectors that tend to reconcile with the government. Basically, what happens is that the PTS and PO comrades have a sectarian position because they do not know how to carry out unity of action and also an abstentionist position because they do not dispute our common policy in other areas. This is not new, it is a self-promoting characteristic that comes from before. Just to remember one example: the same thing happened when the G20 Summit was held in Buenos Aires, a space of unity of action against it was formed and what was then the FIT did not participate as such in any of its events, refraining from developing its positions there, when there was no one in those activities to support the government at that time.

In the midst of this debate and in the face of the arrival of the IMF next week, our front met again on Thursday and we have put out a new and very correct political statement that announces that the FIT-U will mobilize and a rally in Plaza de Mayo on Wednesday 12 against the presence of the IMF and the government´s pact with it. The statement includes, at the proposal of the MST, the call to other organizations to mobilize that day together. As a result, a meeting of the FIT-U was achieved with a group of organizations that are signatories of the Autoconvocados declaration, in which we proposed that they converge with our mobilization and not with the one that government-related sectors like the CTEP, CCC / PCR, Barrios de Pie, Evita, some unions and others are calling to march the same day against the IMF but in support of Fernández and his negotiation. It will be up to the organizations with whom we met yesterday whether they finally decide to march independently with the left or yield to the government, and logically we will strongly criticize those who yield. But it is very correct to be making this unitary attempt that did not begin at the meeting we held this Friday, but with the MST´s correct decision to participate in the speak-out where we began to exercise this policy of bringing them closer to the positions of the FIT-U, having discussions and proposing a great campaign.

This policy can be achieved or not, but if we want to promote the FIT-U and make it bigger we have to try. The incorrect policy proposed by PO and PTS is that we sit down and look from the outside instead of actively intervening to develop our policy and a greater unity of action on the street against the IMF and the politics of the Fernández government.

This polemic about political and tactical issues must be placed on this plane, without writing, as PO does with certain hysteria, that “the activity of the MST is incompatible with the policy of the FIT-U”, when the opposite is being demonstrated. To carry out a healthy debate, it is unnecessary to make completely unreal and disproportionate definitions that fall under their own weight since the FIT-U, with the MST as an important protagonist, will continue together and in the street defending our entire common policy.

To conclude, we did not want to leave out that Altamira’s “PO Trendency” intervened in this controversy with the sole objective of acting on the PO´s ongoing crisis. In his text he makes no contribution to this debate or to the fight against the IMF and the Fernández government. He only writes past and present falsehoods that show that the “new group” still has the same sectarian and slanderous logic of its origins. Although they intend to differentiate themselves and mutually insult each other, the Tendency and the official PO, continue to share the same inability to develop activities of unity of action when there is a concrete task such as the struggle for the non-payment of the debt that merits it. In this, they appear as two sides of the same coin.

For a Great March on 12F Against the IMF and Government Policy

These debates, like others that may arise in the future, are licit and express that our front has a strong and solid programmatic and political agreement and at the same time there are differences that should not be hidden but discussed, trying to draw conclusions in a positive way, because the FIT-U is the greatest expression of unity on the left and we have to make the greatest efforts to gain more influence and strength in the coming period. Precisely the debates that we put on the table have to do with the need to enhance the front´s leadership in the real political processes, starting by organizing a great mobilization and rally next Wednesday against the presence of the IMF and the government’s policy of paying that illegitimate and fraudulent foreign debt. And continuing to develop a dynamic and unitary campaign to empower the left and the FIT-U in the eyes of millions of workers, popular sectors and the youth.

Sergio García and Guillermo Pacagnini


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