Argentina: In the FIT Unidad Primaries, (R)evolutionize the Left!

Argentina: En las PASO del FIT Unidad, ¡(R)Evolucionemos la izquierda!

By Pablo Vasco and Sergio García

The legal deadline to register the lists of candidates for the primaries that will take place on September 12 closed on Saturday, July 24, at midnight. In the case of the Left Front (FITU), we are going to compete two lists throughout the country: List 1A “Unity of the Left”, led by the PTS, versus our list 10R, of the MST, with the slogan “Let’s (R)evolutionize the Left”. Below, the political reasons for this internal competition within the FIT Unidad.

Of course, all the forces that are part of the FIT Unidad share the same anti-capitalist and socialist political program, with a detailed series of points that give a Left response to the main problems of the working people and the country. It is the basis that unites us. Although issues of representation arose in the debates prior to the closure of the lists, the real debate in these primaries of the Left Front is not one of candidacies. What actually exists are political nuances and differences regarding how to turn the Left into a great alternative and how our front can expand and grow much more.

To give just one example, Romina del Plá, the comrade who follows Nicolás Del Caño in the list in Buenos Aires, publicly rejected the idea of ​​opening the front to other sectors of the Left, such as Manuela Castañeira (Nuevo MAS) and Jorge Altamira (Politica Obrera). That is, instead of putting forward proposals to try to solve or facilitate that great pending task that is to achieve the unity of the entire left, as activists strongly demand, the PO leader directly shuts the door in a sectarian and wrong way.

It is not a minor issue. It is true that the Left Front already brings together the majority of the Left in our country. But the majority is not all: we have to keep struggling. The forces that are not part yet must be called and/or pressured to join, also giving them guarantees of a democratic and non-decorative inclusion. That is why, in our view, sectarianism is an old vice to be banished from the ranks of the Left if we want to become a strong alternative.

In the FIT Unidad, make all voices visible

To explore until the end the possibilities of an agreement for the FIT Unidad lists, the MST made a balanced and integrated proposal because we are committed to working for more unity, not less. Specifically, we proposed that the four candidacies that have stronger chances of being elected and greater visibility in the political center of the country – first national congressperson for the City of Buenos Aires and for the Province of Buenos Aires, first Buenos Aires city legislator and first Buenos Aires representative for the third section – should be headed one by each of the four forces of the FIT-U and second in another candidacy. We proposed that the MST choose last on this occasion, to facilitate the agreement. This would guarantee that all the member forces could express their views.

Unfortunately our criterion was not accepted, expressing a different frontist conception. We also proposed that if there was no agreement in the Province of Buenos Aires we could have a primary in that district, but advance in an agreement in the city of Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, but this was not accepted either. Evidently, the only option offered to us was to accept as a whole a proposal where only one part of the front has all the representation, the main spokespersons and also 90% of the rotation time in office … something very similar to single-thought.

This reassures an important conviction we have: in our FIT Unidad and in the Left as a whole, a big change is needed, a revolution to open a new and better course. There is no place for the hegemonist pretension of imposing restrictions to enter into the rotation of the seats[1] nor the personalism of the same parties leading the lists, with the same figures, always, everywhere. We think it is wrong that two parties, of a front that today brings together four parties, monopolize all the heads of the lists with positions that have stronger chances of being elected, to the detriment of others. This is detrimental in two ways: not only does it prevent the addition of other forces of the Left, but it also renders the members of the front invisible. Rather, it is necessary to give an example contrary to the traditional parties: once two legislative terms have been completed, return to the usual militancy and that in the front there is a more real rotation and space for all voices and views to be able to express themselves in depth. That diversity adds and attracts to the FIT-U, instead trying to silence and close the front makes it weaker.

In addition, to pretend that these criteria for the creation of unilateral and hegemonist lists be based on supposed polls or electoral results from years ago, which today have no objective basis, is -to say the least- a profoundly electoralist method that should apply between socialist and anti-capitalist parties, where other more comprehensive criteria must prevail to build a front.

We need to build a new culture on the Left, where political discrepancies do not imply new ruptures but rather that in the same programmatic and organizational framework we can coexist with the nuances and differences. Hence, we are going to these primaries to express all our ideas, since in this way we contribute to make the Left appear as a stronger alternative and at the same time we are going to strengthen the FIT Unidad in the primaries, guaranteeing that more ideas are expressed, and then we will go all together in the November general elections against the bosses’ parties.

Let’s (R)evolutionize the Left

Our central message for these primaries is very clear: the Left needs a revolution and to be able to also integrate independent personalities, anti-bureaucratic union fighters, feminist, LGBT, environmental and human rights activists that share our Left program. In Argentina, the independent Left militancy is as numerous or more numerous than that organically grouped into the various parties that exist. Why not take into account all that force? We have to do everything necessary for them to join the Left Front, have a leading role, give their opinion and decide.

We must allow ourselves to think of bolder organizational forms, such as a broad political movement of the Left, where there are different tendencies that exchange ideas. That is, to overcome once and for all the role of a merely testimonial Left and not settle for just obtaining a couple of seats, which is valuable but certainly not enough if we want an increasingly strong Left to intervene together in each struggle, so that it affects the reality of the country and so that it grows as a political option with mass influence.

An alternative that aims to govern

The rebellions and the recent experiences of Chile, Peru and Colombia show us that throughout Latin America we are going to times of greater conflict and social and political polarization. And obviously our country is not an island alien to this process of profound changes and political-electoral radicalization towards the Left. Already in the last provincial elections in Jujuy we surpassed the PJ in the capital and we won in important working-class cities such as Palpalá. Why not start preparing now to go for the mayoralty in two years?

We must therefore foresee a prospect of more conflicts, abrupt changes and even a new “2001” in the style of the Argentinazo, because sooner rather than later they are going to come. That is why it is very timely and necessary to take advantage of the primaries of the Left Front to debate what strategic project of the Left is needed for the times that are coming, because the country’s crisis is going to worsen and we are the only political force willing to affect the interests and the privileges of capital.

Our project as MST within the FIT Unidad is that of a non-sectarian or dogmatic Left, firmer and also more daring to confront the two political forces that take turns in power to manage this capitalist system: Pejotism and Macrism. A Left that advances as a strong alternative and runs to govern the country and take the necessary measures. The magnitude of the capitalist crisis that we are going through, and that the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated, puts us on the Left before a double challenge: proposing anti-capitalist measures as a solution and, at the same time, calling on the millions of workers, women and young people who day by day have been disappointed with this national government, which talks big but always ends up wrinkling in front of the powerful.

In the face of these primaries of the FIT Unidad, let’s put all our efforts throughout the country in the campaign for the MST lists: Let’s (R)evolutionize the Left!

[1] The FIT-U internal regulations, which we have signed under objection, establish an undemocratic minimum of 20% of the vote to enter the rotation of the seats that are won.