Argentina: progressives, Fernández and the left

Argentina and the defeat of Macri. Chile and the Piñera disaster. Bolivia and the coup. Bolsonaro questioned. New events bring the debate about progressivism to the continental political reality. What role does it occupy in Latin America? Where are Fernández and the PJ positioned? What role do we have on the left? From the MST in the FIT Unidad, we address these current issues.

He is not yet acting president, but Alberto Fernández (AF) is already showing signs. In Mexico he met with AMLO to encourage a new progressive pole in the region. Then he hosted and lectured at the meeting of the Puebla Group in Buenos Aires. Before the coup in Bolivia, he interceded to receive Evo in Mexico and criticized the United States. We could say that they are signs of an international policy that is partly different from that of Macrism, which, as we know, is of due obedience to US plans in the continent acting from the Lima Group together with the more right-wing governments.

Fernández´s first political movements were only partly different, because at the same time, he made others: he contacted Trump to propose “good relations” and ask him for help in the renegotiation with the IMF. In Mexico he met with Claver, Trump’s advisor for Latin America, and at least so far, he does not say that Argentina will leave the Lima Group. At the same time, he wants to have good relations with Piñera and tries to help prop him up while the people confront him. And he held a cordial communication with Macron, the French president and a symbol of the repression of the yellow vests.

Recent history

With the bad moment the rightist governments are going through and the coup in Bolivia, so-called progressives are positioning themselves as a variant of replacement, with the idea of ​​being called on to solve the crises. In most cases they speak as if they were oblivious to the previous electoral rise of right. A serious historical analysis would reveal, among other facts, that the progressive Dilma applied a brutal austerity plan in Brazil, lost the social support she had and, on that basis, the Brazilian right threw her out of power with an antidemocratic impeachment and then placed Bolsonaro in government.

A somewhat similar process was experienced in Argentina years ago. The lack of real solutions, inflation and poverty, plus high state corruption led to Macri taking advantage of discontent and, with a massive vote punishing Kirchnerism in 2015, reaching the government. Then he took office to multiply the problems and is now defeated. His reactionary government was a byproduct of the previous government’s failure. Macrism rose thanks to the support he received from Peronism voting his laws for years when he was mayor of Buenos Aires. Once in La Rosada, he also had the support of the PJ in Congress and in coordinating austerity measures with Peronist governors. It was thanks to the OJ opposition and its union lackeys that Macri did not fall earlier, and the population paid the costs.

The supposed progressives of Nicaragua commanded by Ortega and Murillo have been developing an austerity package agreed on with the IMF and a fierce repression of the youth and the people who came out to confront it. Nothing of Sandino’s legacy is in that regressive action. In a Chile in revolution, with hundreds of thousands of young people and workers facing the rightist Piñera and his Pinochetist regime and Constitution, the so-called Chilean progressives of the PS-DC (Socialist Party-Christian Democrats) Concertación with the support of the PC (Communist Party), has been part of the disaster of an unequal country model that the people now want to tear down. Now, again, those old apparatuses, along with the new Frente Amplio (Broad Front), refuse to demand that Piñera leave. The historical fallacy of so-called progressivism, as we see, lives on both sides of the Andes and extends from Patagonia to the Caribbean.

With the coup in Bolivia, progressive voices also give incorrect answers. The social leader Juan Grabois wrote: “like Perón in 1955, Evo Morales chose time and not blood”, thus justifying his resignation. The sad reality, past and present, is that Perón in ‘55 left the workers on their own and did not avoid a bloodbath, which the resistance to the coup plotters plaid with their lives. Evo’s resignation emboldened the right more, and still today the confrontations with workers and peasants continue, as they put their strength and blood against Camacho and his henchmen. That is reality. That we are together in the street against the coup and imperialist plans does not eliminate the need to mark Evo’s serious mistakes in his 14 years of government and in these last days.

Contradictions of the so-called progressivism

The word “progressive”, so present in the Puebla Group, hovers over, in the essence of its meaning, to be a progressive, democratic project, for the welfare of the majority, for more civil rights and alien to the evils that rights represent. But you cannot define as progressive or positive, political-economic projects that sustain a capitalist regime that, beyond the various forms that it adopts according to who heads it, in the short or long term damages the lives of millions. And all so-called progressives hold that they will continue managing this decadent system.

In the Argentine case, the now progressive Fernández considers Vaca Muerta an engine of his government and a question State: a project that combines the handing over of our strategic resources to corporations with harmful and destructive extractive methods such as fracking. Nor do we forget that the polluting mega-mining that the PJ governors that embrace Fernandez today defended for years, will also be part of the priorities of the new government. “We have a lot of minerals to exploit,” said AF.

We also do not forget that this 21st century progressivism in its local variant intends to continue with the same IMF that Macri brought back. We will soon enter a renegotiation of the immoral and illegitimate debt with Fernández’s previous clarification that Argentina will not ask for a take away and pay everything. We hear him in the media explaining that it is “a debt incurred by a democratic government” and that is why it must be paid. Democratic? Macri never said in his campaign that he would bring the IMF, then he brought it without even going through Congress, agreed what he wanted, cheated his voters and the entire country and leaves us an unpayable debt. Is that what the future president calls democratic?

These days, the design of the next government and who will integrate it is being configured. Thus we began to see Gustavo Béliz, a man of Opus Dei, as a future official with Fernández; Sergio Massa as future president of the Chamber of Deputies. Former Macri ally and past right-wing Peronist Felipe Solá, touring countries almost like a brand new chancellor; liberal economist Nielsen in meetings with investors and the financial elite. During his visit at the CGT, Fernández announced that they will be part of his government. It is hard to find a word that describes this ominous, eternal and millionaire union bureaucracy and at the same time having a minimum “progressive” gleam. I won’t steal those friends from you, Fernández.

The role of the left and the FIT Unidad

Tensions are coming and the role of the anti-capitalist and socialist left, especially the FIT Unidad, will be key, as it is the expression of the greatest unity of the left achieved in many years and because it occupies a place in political life and social struggles.

From that place, the first thing that must be vindicated is that we are wherever it is needed; in every just struggle in the street. And when necessary, like these days with the coup in Bolivia, developing the broadest unity of action to face imperialism and all its lackeys. We march in unity and at the same time independently, with our opinions and criticisms.

On the street and in every political debate we are an independent alternative to the entire capitalist regime, its government and its parties. We are a unitary and working class political construction, with a program of deep transformations under the strategy of socialism and workers’ government, which, ultimately, is the only really progressive solution.

We understand the electoral decision of those who voted for Macri to leave, and we share the desire for a better country, without social inequality and with a future for the youth. Understanding those expectations does not mean silencing our criticisms. We have the responsibility of openly saying what we believe. Faced with a mixture of progressive discourse with austerity measures, IMF, corporate rapine and a regressive social pact, we will face that model by promoting and supporting every fair struggle of the workers, the feminist movement and the youth.

The role of the left and the FIT Unidad at this stage is to be an active and alternative political actor, offering an alternative for everything. It is to point out, as we did during the electoral campaign, that there is another way possible, without debt or IMF, without corporations, without union bureaucracy, anti-rights sectors and rich churches.

The unity of the left is the only national political force that will stand before the new government in defense of our social rights and in search of conquering others. Within this task, promoting and strengthening the unity of combative unionism acquires a hierarchy of the first order. Also in the feminist movement against a government very aligned with the Vatican and its regressive plans.

On that path, sooner rather than later, we will find ourselves in the struggle with our important social base and also with sectors of honest voters of Peronism. One of the most important tasks will be, from consolidating our political space, building bridges to reach new sectors, so that our ideas are further inserted. We need a dynamic and renewed FIT Unidad, on the offensive, able to improve and expand itself, based on our anti-capitalist and socialist program as an inalienable north. The MST is preparing itself throughout the country for these tasks. And so we contribute to these political objectives in the face of the challenges that come.

Sergio Garcia