Argentina:XI Congress of the MST. Important advances and bigger challenges.

On December 14, 15 and 16 the National Congress of the MST was convened. Delegates from most of the provinces expressed the party´s growth and extension during the last period. We socialized this process of construction, its causes, the main political conclusions and the organizational tasks ahead. In a context of political strengthening and new challenges, we also decided to launch the presidential pre-candidature of Cele Fierro, to renovate and unite the left.

The Congress took place after several months of collective debate in which militants discussed and made contributions to the party´s policies. This exercise in party democracy covered the last months of 2018, during which we also intervened in the important struggles and events that defined the political moment. This is why the Congress reflected, in its opening rally and in the subsequent sessions, the new experience accumulated in the struggle against Macri and his accomplices, against the IMF and the G20, against the bureaucracy and the bosses.

An internationalist party

The Congress showed the important international advances of our Anticapitalist Network. We were accompanied by important international delegations from over ten countries. With enthusiasm and strong political unity, the Congress appraised the efforts the MST has been putting into building this international organization and ratified our compromise to continue doing so, with more dedication and more comrades disposed to take on internationalist tasks.

In profound debate about the international situation, we defined the main characteristics of the moment we live in, marked by the capitalist crisis, inter-imperialist disputes and a deep social and political polarization in central, emergent and peripheral countries. Avoiding the mistake of making unilateral or superficial analysis, we confirmed that, in the middle of the crisis of capital and the old political leaderships, new political phenomena emerge. And while, in a series of important countries, it´s the right wing that emerges, there’s an immediate reaction of struggle, social ascent and new political expressions against them.

Instead of only seeing the advances of the right, like some currents wrongly do, we concluded that, in response to Trump, the women’s movement and an enormous socialist organization emerged. Macri is facing a process of social struggles, Bolsonaro is confronted by the Ele Nao movement and a similar thing happens in other countries. Hence the importance of taking in the existence and dangers of these right wing expressions, but without overestimating them. On the contrary, we have to take dimension of the strength of the mass movements that confront them and will hamper their plans. We’re in the middle of an open-ended, albeit difficult struggle. We’re heading towards new and relevant confrontations and the appearance of new political phenomena. This is, towards more polarization and opportunities for the revolutionary left, for both international construction as well as in every country we intervene in.

The class struggle and the Macri government

In the debate about the national situation we took the political assessment of the last two years of Macri’s government as a starting point to analyze the current juncture and new perspectives. We revisited the conclusions of December of 2017, when the first big breakdown of the government happened after the pension reform vote, an event which saw the MST in the forefront of the struggle.

Since then, the crisis has deepened, as well as the weakening of the government and the popular confrontation of its austerity plan. On the economic level, there were two peak crisis points: one in April and another very serious one in August, that pushed the government against the ropes. That month and the next were the worst of Macri´s government, and that’s when we raised the slogan “Macri and the IMF must go” and “elections for a Constituent Assembly”. Meanwhile, Kirchnerism called to wait for 2019 and the FIT -and the PTS in particular- refused to say that Macri had to go, capitulating to the government in its worst crisis.

Our Congress deepened the analysis of the current situation, in which the government has managed to overcome its worst days and make it to the G20 summit somewhat more stable, with the 2019 Budget having been approved by both houses of Congress. It is obvious who are responsible for this change: the PJ who voted with the government in Congress and the Peronist trade union bureaucracy, who sabotaged the much needed plan of struggle. This includes the union sector linked to Kirchnerism, who, in the key days of struggle against the 2019 Budget, emptied the political center of the country and mobilized its base to Lujan (site of a Catholic cathedral and destination of a traditional procession, on the fringes of Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area), thus helping Macri. Clearly, bourgeois support of the government, the lack of an overwhelming process of mobilization and certain policies of social containment in Greater Buenos Aires and other important cities conceded by a government weary of the possibility of worsening poverty exploding in its face, also played a role. Of all these causes we highlight the treacherous role of the political and labor leaderships, because it has to do with the tasks we have before us in the political and labor levels.

We are reaching a year´s end with major crisis in the background, heading towards months of social, feminist, anti-repression and other struggles. Towards possible new confrontations, with economic instability, a high country risk index and -for the international financial world- the specter of default on the horizon. In this perspective, the first task defined by the Congress is to take part in the struggles and the emergence of new workers and students leaderships. We will maintain our policy of calling to confront and defeat Macri and the IMF´s austerity plan on the streets, while promoting and strengthening classist syndical unity. And we will continue to intervene with strength in the feminist and dissident wave that has had new expressions in the recent mobilizations for Lucia and now against Darthés.

Provincial and national elections; the pre-candidature of Cele Fierro

We also defined our electoral policy, with the decisions that reality imposes. We will take on the provincial and national elections with a clear proposal: against Macri and the PJ in all its variants, we need a great third space of the whole anti-capitalist and socialist left. Once again, we ask the FIT and other organizations of this space to unite in the struggles and in the elections. With the clarity of having a serious and revolutionary proposal and not being accomplices of those who divide and benefit the old parties and the bureaucracy.

In the early elections that will be held in many provinces, the MST will put up a fight, reflecting our extension and militancy. Thus we will start in the first half of the year with campaigns in the elections of Neuquén, La Pampa, Chubut, San Juan, Tucumán, Catamarca, Santa Fe, and in Córdoba and Entre Ríos, where we have the possibility of winning seats in those legislatures. Later provincial elections will also see us disputing.

For the national elections, aware of the need to fully reflect the feminist wave and the leading role of the working and student youth, we voted to launch the pre-candidature for president of Cele Fierro. Because, in addition to fighting to unite the left, we also believe in the need for its integral renovation. From this pre-candidature, which we will promote with the national figures of Alejandro, Vilma and others from each province, we will continue proposing to unite the left in the elections, through a great primary of the left or some other method to guarantee unity and avoid division.

Towards a bigger and stronger MST

In a next point of the Congress we analyzed our intervention during the last months, reviewed our strengths, our successes and also the things to improve. Like any revolutionary organization, we took a day to look into what we did and how we got here, in the current reality and dynamics, a collective debate to improve with a critical and constructive working method.

A useful debate that started from verifying that we are in the midst of an advance, with more new comrades across the country, with more cadres and consolidating a party with a clear national extension, one of the most important of the left. The whole course of the Congress was marked by an enthusiastic spirit and strength in the militancy of a party that grows and plays visible roles in every political event of importance in the country.

We value the foundation of ANCLA in 2017, which is today one of the main classist labor organizations in the country. Also the development of Juntas y a la Izquierda, which has been a protagonist in each feminist struggle in the last period, showcasing that growth with the largest column of the left in the ENM (National Women´s Conference) of Trelew, and more recently in the mobilization for Lucia in Plaza de Mayo. Not coincidentally, but as a reflection of an exciting rise and organizational growth, more than half of the delegates of Congress were female comrades.

The Congress also showed our growth in the student movement, expressed in many young delegates and in the prominent presence of youth in each action in different provinces. Also in the advance in high school student unions, and in the victory in the enormous Faculty of Medicine of the UBA and in the recovery of the leadership of the Fuba (federation of student unions of the University of Buenos Aires).

Along with this, the sector of comrades that represented our territorial political work, showed the importance of a militant development in the big popular cities, where a revolutionary party can not be absent. And representatives of the Ecosocialist Network reflected the importance of having a revolutionary socio-ecological policy to intervene in those struggles.

With this reality as a base, we voted to consolidate and continue this path of advances. Maintaining the construction in the youth and the intervention in the feminist and dissident processes as priorities, and to work in dynamic sectors of the working class as a strategic and neuralgic center of our intervention and dispute.

For these and other tasks, both international and national, the strategy of building a party ready for everything, of comrades who dare to face new challenges, disposed to move to another city, province or country if necessary, was the final drive of the proposals and resolutions of our XI Congress. After these debates, the delegates democratically elected the national leadership.

With the conviction that knowledge and learning happen in the real world, through interventions, accepting difficult tasks, the study of politics and theory, we will be passionately part of every one of these tasks in coming times. This is where new advances will come, as well as new challenges that we will face every step of the way.

Sergio Garcia