Argentina: on the crisis on the Workers’ Party

The crisis and rupture of the PO (Workers’ Party) was made public days ago. We share our first opinion on the issue.

The first fact is that this is not the only crisis in the Trotskyist movement, since we are going through a period in which there are important crisis in different organizations from different countries, as a reflection of bad political and methodological responses of their leaderships to the problems they have faced. We will soon write in depth on these issues.

In some of these examples, electoral debates have mistakenly caused these crises. The case of the PO is also related to this, since it is clear that Altamira´s debates with the current majority began with the defeat of the PO in the 2015 primary elections of the FIT and his displacement, since then, as the central political figure of the PO. It is evident that this is a key fact, joined by a series of debates. But it is clear that a rupture and crisis of such magnitude cannot be explained with differences around the slogan “Macri must go” or the utilization of “constituent assembly”. The crisis happens for other reasons, where the dispute for the leadership and electoral policies have central importance, which reflects some sort of malformation inside the PO, since an electoral problem, which means a tactical, not strategic, problem, ends up causing such crisis. It is also a weakness that the entire debate takes place with a national character and without an internationalist framework, which is never good. When it comes to the methodological issue, we consider that what we are witnessing is wrong, and divergent from the best traditions of Bolshevism. It is not the first time that the PO uses this methodology to treat differences, the difference is that now it happens with its founder and other leaders with many years in the organization. It cannot be ignored that Altamira himself has great responsibility for this, because it was him who educated the new generations in this mechanism and also who, somehow, also does not seem to respect party organisms and majority decisions. We believe in a different method. When there are strong political debates in an organization, it must not be mixed with defamations or moral questioning. The debates should be had out in depth, like the Bolshevik Party did (led by Trotsky and Lenin). At the same time, it must be remembered that democratic centralism is key for a revolutionary party and in normal times works one a way, but can be easily adapted in abnormal or exceptional cases. There must be a way to guarantee that the majority can carry out what is decided because it is its right as majority, but also the minority must be able to express itself and even carry out its experience if it asks to do so.

In the history of the MST we have had examples of great debates, in which we have guaranteed the expression of all opinions in the printed press and there was even a period with two newspapers, though the minority finally chose not to take part of the Congress and ended up creating a new organization.

This shows that, though sometimes a division cannot be avoided if there are many differences, there must still be a space for those differences to be expressed, because it is democratic and educational, and, in the end, helps clarify the political debate.

For this to work, the right of the majority is always to carry out what was voted, while it is also its role to act as leadership of the whole organization and offer democratic guarantees. The role of the minority begins with understanding that they are a minority, something that, when egoism and other Bonapartist characteristics reign, as in this case, does not happen. In the case of this crisis in the PO, we believe that the majority and the minority do not assume these roles and there are only public attacks without a way out, and that is why it has come so far.

In order to give an initial and simple opinion on this issue, and because the FIT-Unidad is in the middle of a political electoral dispute against the bosses’ parties, we hope that the different sectors of the PO, that are part of the front and claim to support this unity of the left, continue doing so and contributing to the campaign, trying to keep its internal debate from affecting the front we have built with much effort, which is a conquest of thousands o workers that were expecting it.

Enrique Silva