First conclusions of the elections in Argentina. Defeat of the government, great election of the Workers’ Left Front and polarization

By Sergio García MST-FITU Argentina

The general elections of Sunday, November 14 turned into a new defeat for the national government. This was expected: since its defeat in the PASO (primaries), the Front of All’s path to this Sunday was plagued by internal crises, infighting and the continuation of the austerity plan that it had been applying. That context made it impossible for the ruling coalition to recover in these two months and lost in most of the country’s provinces again, even by a larger margin in some places like Córdoba. Despite the fact that it ran a strong campaign in La Pampa to try to add a senator there, it was unable to avoid the defeat that now causes it to lose its quorum in the Senate that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner presides.

The Front of All, by allocating resources and activating its apparatus and the front’s social sectors more than in the PASO, managed to reduce the difference in the strategic province of Buenos Aires. Though it still lost in the Province, it was only by two percentage points behind Together for Change, avoiding a bigger fall than in the PASO, which would have caused the government more problems. This recovery and maintaining the first minority in the lower house (117 and Massa as president of the chamber, to Together for Change’s 116) are the things that allowed the Front of All a somewhat calmer night in its bunker, since things could have been much worse.

Peronism ended up getting 33% of the votes nationally, reaching just over 7,600,000. Like with every defeat, it had to show a somewhat more conciliatory speech last night. President Fernández spoke and called for a national dialogue and for the preparation of a new plan of consensus with the bourgeois opposition. As it is known, this plan begins with a new agreement with the IMF to pay a scandalous illegal debt, a scam orchestrated by Macrism, endorsed by the Front of All, and both will try to make the country pay with our resources.

The victory of Together for Change

As in the PASO, Together for Change obtained a political victory, and won in the vast majority of provinces, starting with the most important four: Buenos Aires, CABA (City of Buenos Aires), Santa Fe and Córdoba.

Like what happened in September, the coalition’s win is essentially a consolidation of its space and social base, with an increase in votes in November, but no qualitative growth. Its numbers amount to 42% of the national vote, 9,600,000, aided by a strong support from large media groups that gave it ample coverage these two months of the campaign. It is difficult for this space to advance beyond these numbers, because a majority of the population rejects them and has very recent memories of Macri’s disaster during his four years in government. Within Together for Change, there are also ongoing and upcoming internal struggles. They developed throughout the campaign and will intensify now, as they see an electoral victory in 2023 as a more certain possibility. It is no coincidence that Macri himself came out last night to celebrate and talk about starting an “orderly transition.” Meanwhile, another block of the PRO, headed by Larreta and Vidal seeks to lead the space, as does Patricia Bullrich from her own position. While at the same time the Radical Party is already using Facundo Manes, to claim a spot in the next presidential formula.

Polarization and growth outside the false divide

Another outstanding fact of these elections is that the forces located more to the left and more to the right have grown in comparison to the PASO. Altogether, these spaces achieved nine national deputies and outstanding votes in strategic districts.

Though the national media gave excessive space and support to the libertarian forces, in the end it was the Workers’ Left Front Unity (FITU) that again ranked as 3rd national force, growing by around 20% the votes it had obtained in September’s PASO. While the lists of Milei, Espert and similar lists at the national level also grew, they failed to surpass the numbers of the FITU.

The growth of these poles also places our country in tune with the processes that are being experienced in other parts of the world and our continent, where the exhaustion and crisis of traditional forces in the government and social discontent give rise to the emergence of new phenomena to the left and to the right that gain significant influence. In perspective, it will be necessary to see if they can advance much more within the framework of this political and social polarization that will increase.

A huge election of the Left Front Unity

Our front has come out of these elections ratifying its third position nationally and advancing much more than what we achieved in the PASO, jumping from 1 million to 1,300,000 votes this Sunday.

With these important results, among which some provinces stood out, we obtained four national deputies, two provincial deputies in Buenos Aires, two legislators in CABA and a significant number of councilors in different municipalities of Greater Buenos Aires, like Matanza, Moreno, Merlo, José C. Paz, and the final tally may also imply councilos in Varela and Morón, among others.

Myriam Bregman for CABA, Nicolás Del Caño and Romina del Pla for the province of Buenos Aires and Alejandro Vilca with a great election in Jujuy were elected national deputies. Our MST, as a member of the FITU, is part of this enormous triumph through all our membership that carried out a very strong campaign and our leading comrades who were great protagonists, like Alejandro Bodart and Cele Fierro, spokespersons for our politics and campaign.

At the same time, the MST also advances with this political victory and will participate in the seats obtained, entering in the rotations; Vilma Ripoll will do so as national deputy, Guillermo Pacagnini as provincial deputy of Buenos Aires, nurse Carolina Cáceres as legislator of CABA, and various MST comrades will be councilors in all the municipalities where the Left Front manages to enter, which is an important advance for our party.

The result obtained, around 1,300,000 votes and 6% of the national vote, is not only important because of its volume and quantitative growth, but also expresses a qualitative phenomenon. The entry of comrades to the City Councils reflects, as our comrade Alejandro Bodart pointed out at the FITU bunker, “that containment dam that is Peronism began to break and hundreds of thousands of workers and young people disappointed by the government are coming with the left… the workers’ house is not the one they have mistakenly inhabited for decades, the workers’ house is the one the left is building, which proposes a program of tough measures against imperialism and big business, and a path of ‘struggle, struggle and struggle’ to fight the austerity that comes from the hand of the agreement with the Fund.”

The deep cracks that exist in the historical leadership of the Argentine working class, Peronism, begin to generate much more space and opportunities for the anti-capitalist and socialist left. A rift between that old party and its social base that grows in every factory, workplace, popular neighborhood, among millions who no longer support the conditions of hunger and misery that the government of the Front of All has imposed in our country to pay the fraudulent foreign debt and privilege the profit of big business.

The challenges to come

One million three hundred thousand votes, coming from the working class and the youth, places the FITU before the great challenge of taking advantage of this result, the seats obtained, the growing militant force of the left, at the service of the triumph of the struggles of the working class and all oppressed sectors in struggle. And this begins with a strong rejection of the upcoming agreement with the IMF. The result also poses the need to advance and make a qualitative leap in the struggle against the rotten union bureaucracy for the leadership of the CGT as well as the complacent CTAs, who are responsible for passing the austerity plans of each government and guaranteeing the “stability” of the super-exploitation plans. Another challenge is to advance in the organization of the popular neighborhoods, to continue advancing among the youth and in the dynamic environmental and gender struggle movements.

For all this, as we proposes throughout the campaign, it is necessary to take the very good results as a starting point to strive for much more. Precisely the crisis of Peronism, the discontent and the notorious search to the left of a swath of the population, place us before the challenge of taking a leap: something that can only be done by maintaining a solid and firm attitude in the socialist program and project that we defend, and at the same time an open attitude to call on thousands and thousands of disappointed workers and young people from the bases of organizations that are in crisis.

Now more than ever, as we head into a situation of political instability, of greater social struggles, of possible abrupt turns of the situation and of a dynamic and exciting perspective, not exempt from possible convulsions and revolutionary actions, is when the Workers’ Left Front Unity has to be put forward with all our forces.

Let’s not forget that we are the third force, but still very far from the first two, and to advance much more toward influencing and organizing much larger sections of the working population and youth, we have to overcome the front’s current state as a merely electoral front, we have to take the leap toward building a great political movement that acts permanently, that steps up in all areas of the class struggle, that calls on and gives a prominent place to the numerous independent activists who already support us and play a leading role in the social left.

From the MST in the FITU, we have been fighting for this perspective and we put all our militant strength and our ideas and proposals at the service of these political objectives, towards the strategy of the workers’ government for which we fight. To make these politics bigger and stronger, we invite you to organize with us and to participate in the meetings and assemblies that we will hold in the next few days in your city to debate the assessment of the elections and how we can organize for what is to come. Starting with participating in the huge rally we will hold in the Plaza de Mayo on December 4, for the inauguration of the Congress of the International Socialist League (ISL).