Argentina: The unity needed for the left to become a third voice


By Sergio Garcia, MST leadership and member of the national coordination of the FIT-Unidad

The deadline for the presentation of alliances for the primary elections (PASO) of September 12 expires in three weeks. All the political and social debates in the country begin to take place in this pre-electoral framework. There is also a sharp debate on the left. We give our opinions and proposals in a series of articles.

Our country is going through a major health, economic and social crisis. There’s no doubt about it. The arrival of new shipments of the first dose of vaccines generates some relief but does not solve the underlying problem that affects hundreds of thousands and has already claimed the lives of more than 90 thousand people. The response of the state health system depends on the efforts of those in the first line of response and shows obvious signs of years of neglect by the State and successive governments. And the current government does not dare to touch the economic interests of private laboratories that have already taken out of the country more than one hundred million vaccine doses to the central countries. Only the Left has proposed to declare those laboratories as public utility and expropriate them to prioritize our lives. On the socio-economic level, increasing poverty hurts every month. Inflation that does not stop has resulted in thousands of new destitute people and pushed families into poverty. Informal wage earners are having a very hard time. And those who have a formal salary, for the most part, can’t make ends meet. Faced with this, the bosses prioritize their profits and the government supported by the union bureaucracy pushes for lower wage agreements. Once again, only the Left demands the urgent reopening of collective bargaining with wage increases above inflation and a strong tax on the rich to guarantee employment plans without precariousness and greater social assistance. Yesterday’s news of the government’s agreement with the Paris Club, with Guzman paying $430 million, is one more sign that in terms of submission there is no gap between the previous government headed by Macri and the current one. The same is true for the IMF: Juntos por el Cambio brought it back to the country and then the Frente de Todos set out to pay its illegal debt and maintain its monitoring of our economy.

Overcoming the polarization with the Left

There are thousands and thousands of working families who see their daily lives deteriorate, who are tired of this situation. Thousands had even voted for the Frente de Todos in 2019 to get rid of Macri, but today they see that the solutions do not arrive. To all of them, to those thousands of workers and young people, we propose to overcome this crisis with the Left. We must strengthen a powerful political alternative independent of all economic powers, and that alternative can only come from the Left. We are the only political and social force that proposes to break with the IMF and repudiate an illegitimate and unpayable foreign debt. We are the ones who propose nationalizing the banks and foreign trade to regain control of all our exports and imports, and of the flow of foreign currency and credit. We are the ones who want to end agribusiness and land concentration and diversify food production based on social needs. We are the ones who want to put an end to big private businesses and prioritize our lives, who want to urgently increase the budget for health and public education and end subsidies to the capitalists. We are the ones who want to put an end to all political privileges and separate the Church from the State. We are the ones who, in the face of the betrayal of the union bureaucracy, promote and support the ongoing struggles. With these and other programmatic points, we now have the challenge of truly appearing as an alternative for millions.

The proposal of the MST in the FIT Unidad

It is with this objective that we have been insisting, for a long time, that the anti-capitalist and socialist Left must appear with all our strength, that we must overcome all forms of electoralism and advance towards a great political movement together, a party with internal currents or tendencies that acts in common in all areas of the class struggle and the political struggle, putting agreements ahead and thoroughly debate our differences. We have made this proposal to the entire FIT Unidad without finding positive answers, but rather a sectarian vision and a political misunderstanding towards this need, which only leads to not overcoming the limits of an electoral front. Now that the elections are coming, we are also putting forward a strong and unitary proposal at the electoral level: we propose that the FIT Unidad, being the main unitary alternative with an anti-capitalist and socialist program, must propose to unite the entire Left through a great primary that guarantees unity and does not frustrate it with quarrels over candidates. This is what we have been publicly proposing because we believe it is imperative to give millions of workers a strong alternative.

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Some debates

Our proposal finds the FIT-U and the rest of the Left that isn’t part of our front out of divisionism, without a correct answer to this question. In other articles we refer to the wrong position of the Nuevo MAS and Zamora´s AyL, who reject or remain silent about this proposal, prioritizing their limited and sectarian projects and so far favoring division once again, as they have done all these years. On the other hand, within the FIT Unidad, there is no common vision and we see some very mistaken proposals. On the one hand, both PO and IS refuse to make use of the primaries when they can be useful to guarantee unity, so in fact they do not have any real unitary approach, but rather a schematic approach that does not work. And the comrades of the PTS, although they raise a call to expand the unity and the possibility of the primaries, they start from pretending, as Christian Castillo says in a recent interview, greater rotation times and being at the head of the lists. To this we must add that PO, in an article by Gabriel Solano, proposed that the basis for today’s agreement be the one reached in 2019 so that the place it occupies is not jeopardized. This means that both parties have a wrong vision of attempting to hegemonize a front that, in order to exist and grow stronger, does not need unreal hegemonism but rather a clear political visibility of all its members and a more balanced political placement on the electoral plane and at the top of the lists between its forces, so that all ideas and references contribute strongly in the political fight against the bosses’ parties. That unity is what is needed and not to generate more imbalances that only show a sectarian vision and a more electoralist character. As it has already happened many times, hegemonist claims end badly because they do not reflect the reality of national militant forces and their insertion, which in many cases are similar and even sometimes those who seek to hegemonize have less mobilization capability or have very few positions in the leadership of working-class and popular sectors. The possibility or need to go to the primaries is driven, among other things, by this context of wrong views.

The front and the unity that is needed

As we said, we are entering very important weeks of definitions. For our part, we will continue to insist on a political call for the FIT Unidad to propose the unity of the entire Left through the primaries. We believe this would be a great political event that would open greater possibilities in the general elections. A primary where everyone can put forward their ideas, their proposals and thousands of workers and young people decide with their vote. So that later the order of the electoral lists are based on those results; without any type of restrictions and of course without any minimum percentage “floors”. Such an agreement must be made with healthy working class criteria, which fully reflects the support that each list receives without any obstacles and with all the lists being part of the rotation of the seats that are achieved in the general elections, for the time given by the votes obtained in the primaries. We have to move forward on this path without wasting any more political time. Winds of struggle, social polarization and openings for the Left are blowing in the region. In our country, while we promote the ongoing struggles and prepare for greater social confrontations, we have the possibility of waging a very strong political battle in the upcoming elections. To do it better, we need to overcome these debates positively and assume the need to be a great alternative and a third political voice against both sides of the political rift. We reiterate once again our proposal to unite the entire anti-capitalist and socialist Left, to be open to incorporate social fighters, independent referents, intellectuals, to give room to all those who want to be part and contribute to a great project of the Left. Promoting this path is essential for the FIT Unidad, if we want our front to overcome the current moment by playing a leading and positive role. From the MST, as we have been doing through Cele Fierro and Alejandro Bodart, we are going to make every effort to achieve that great unity that is needed and the democratic mechanisms to guarantee it.

Bellow we present a series of articles that contribute to this debate