Opportunity and challenges for a bigger leap
After the general elections, one of the outstanding news that is impossible to hide, is that the left organized in the Workers’ Left Front (FIT-U) consolidated itself as the third national force. We share our analysis of the reasons for this political conquest, its national scope, its new seats. The perspectives that open up and the relationship between the elections and the struggles in each sector. And the political orientation necessary to prepare a bigger leap of the Left Front in the time to come.
By Sergio García
We are no longer living in the time when, intentionally and supported by electoral results, the mainstream media easily transmited the idea that there are only two possible options that take more than 90% of the votes. Although they always do this and will surely try to seek a scenario of polarization towards 2023, nobody can avoid saying that an important part of the population no longer votes for those two variants, and that a third national force has emerged, which is the unity of the left expressed in the FIT-U. This is a fact that took shape in the Primaries (PASO) and was consolidated in the general election. This very positive fact is part of a phenomenon that is not exclusive to our country, but is part of the world situation in general and of Latin America in particular. In the face of the crisis and erosion of the traditional forces that apply austerity plans, dissatisfaction tends to be reflected sometimes in rebellions and large street actions, sometimes in the emergence and electoral leaps of forces located on the left, and sometimes in a combination of both. In some countries this electoral leap was even greater, capitalized by sectors with a leftist discourse and a more conciliatory program that went into crisis as soon as they took office, like Peru, among others. This does not eliminate the positive fact that millions have chosen to vote for the more left-wing discourse that was there. The same is true in relation to the high vote for independent candidacies recently in Chile, which also expressed a positive search of an important part of the population, to the left of the parties of the Chilean regime. Now in Argentina, our Left Front takes an important electoral leap, comparatively still behind larger electoral leaps that took place in other South American countries, but politically and programmatically our front is more solid and clearly anti-capitalist and socialist, which in perspective is an element that plays in our favor, provided we know how to take advantage of it without being closed-minded. At the same time as our front, a right-wing pole also emerged, the libertarians, which is no coincidence either, but also part of the regional and world situation. In the face of the crisis, the emergence of new phenomena towards the more radicalized poles of the left and right is a clear element of the situation in the midst of the capitalist crisis. And it only reaffirms that we are living in a time of strong social and political polarization, and that this will tend to deepen in the context of governments tied to the IMF, as is our case and that of many other countries. In this context, the fact that in our country, nationally, the Left Front is the third force, is an encouraging and very positive fact that is part of the present and future trends. A fact that, dialectically, cannot allow us to forget the significant results that right-wingers Milei and Espert achieved in the political heart of the country. This is also part of the current reality that we will have to face in the time to come.
The votes and achievements of the FIT-U
Third national force, 1,300,000 votes in the whole country, more than 6% nationally, 20% more than what was obtained in the PASO, all data that show an advance from what was obtained in the previous elections of 2019 and what was obtained in the PASO of September of that year. Four national deputies elected, two provincial deputies in Buenos Aires, two legislators in CABA and a new conquest of enormous significance: a dozen councilors elected in the heart of Greater Buenos Aires, in the territory of the previously untouchable Peronist “barons.” For the first time, the left partially demolishes that wall that previously seemed unbreakable. That wall began to break, which is the primary expression of a deeper process that has the possibility of expressing much more in the future. It is undoubtedly the process to which we must pay more attention and not only in the electoral field, but above all in real life in the factories, popular neighborhoods and in the enormous youth without future. Because the electoral advance is the expression, in votes, of a process of dissatisfaction and rupture that comes from below and is challenged daily everywhere. With the results in sight, the news that the left is the third force and has entered the city councils for the first time, this new reality will encourage even more other sectors to come toward the left, those who are going to see us more and more as something important, visible and on the rise. Of course, the same happens in a greater degree in Jujuy, where one out of four people voted for the left, leading the FIT-U headed by Vilca to a historic vote. There, our MST also made its important contribution in the PASO and helped the achievement in this campaign by contributing that important number of voters. As part of the provincial conquests, our comrade Betina Rivero will take office in a few days as councilwoman in Palpala. Very good results were also obtained in several other provinces, reaching around 8% in Neuquén, Chubut and Santa Cruz, and around 7% in Buenos Aires and CABA and 6% in San Juan. In Salta we were close to 5% with an outstanding campaign by our comrade Andrea Villegas, achieving a very good vote, despite the fact that an important part of the votes that the PO previously contributed went to the list of Política Obrera. In important provinces like Cordoba, it was difficult to advance more and the polarization between the other forces was overwhelming. And in Santa Fe, forces of the center-left continue to have a prominent place, which for now occupy a space and prevent the FIT-U from advancing much more. Beyond these inequalities, throughout the country, the Left Front is a reality, in Entre Ríos, La Rioja and the other provinces.
A process of rupture with Peronism is advancing
During the last month of the campaign, we began to experience incipient but very positive processes. From different sectors that are not part of the Left Front, we began to receive various signs of support and collaboration. From social referents who announced that they would vote for the FIT Unidad, the militants of several social organizations that are independent from the government and joined our election monitoring, young people who broke with the Communist Party and asked us for FIT- U ballots to distribute among their militants and periphery, workers who previously recognized themselves as voters of Kirchnerism, approached out tables in the street to tell us that now they would vote for the left, union members of the CTA’s that criticized their federation’s support for the government and announced that they would vote for the left in social media. In the popular neighborhoods, there was a greater turn out to our marches and rallies, in union events of support for the Left Front, like the biggest one we held in La Matanza, with interventions by workers of bus lines and several unions, where Peronism used to dominate with ease. Also independent feminist and environmentalist leaders, actively campaigning the vote for the left. This whole process of rupture with the old Peronism is only the beginning. It is the tip of the iceberg of a deeper phenomenon that can go much further. We will see how far and in what times. Because logically, with the triumph of Together for Change, now Peronism in all its wings will try to convince its critical bases that it is necessary to support them in order to not lose the presidential election of 2023. Will it achieve this more or less, in the context of the agreement it is negotiating with the IMF and will bring more austerity? At least we dare to say that it can only partially achieve it, that it will not stop a new layer of people moving away from those old structures and looking more and more to the anti-capitalist left. And our policy has to help this process of rupture to consolidate and widen, for the concessions and policies of class conciliation to weaken.
Firm politics and an audacious call For these reasons of enormous importance, in the Left Front we have to debate in depth what politics and orientation we should adopt toward this process. Starting with knowing that it begins by promoting right now the broadest mobilization against the new agreement with the IMF. There are already two spaces discussing the mobilization, the “self-convened against the debt” and the independent piqueteros movement. It is necessary to unite these two calls and the FIT-U has to be the protagonist in promoting it, and to call on many others who oppose this agreement, so that we all unite in the streets in a great day of struggle against the IMF and the payment of this scam, as part of other measures that we can debate and promote in the future. The important political and electoral achievements of this November 14 cannot be seen as a ceiling but as a new starting point to us a strong impetus to break through and advance much more in all fields. It requires audacity and a political offensive from our front. Throughout this year and in both campaigns (the PASO and general election) from the MST, through our main spokespersons and referents like Cele Fierro and Alejandro Bodart, and through exchanges in meetings and published texts, we permanently insisted that the FIT-U has the potential for much more a mere electoral front. That there are conditions to think of something deeper, more permanent. We have repeatedly proposed that we could become a great political movement or common party of tendencies, with a national coordination body that meets weekly, that debates and agrees on how to intervene in all fronts of struggle, jointly supporting and promoting the struggles and challenges for leadership in the workers’ movement and in the youth. Where each party continues to have its own independence and organization as a current. Which could work out, for example, how to actively and permanently incorporate independent sectors, intellectuals, social referents. How to give them a greater role, and not just supporting us with their vote in each campaign. We also have to think of proposals for grassroots sectors of other organizations that are moving away from Peronism, how to take advantage of this process and at the same time it can serve as an example to encourage others to move to the left. Our front does not consider these important political problems today. It is a political mistake and a delay to be corrected as soon as possible if we really want to take a much more qualitative leap from what has already been achieved. We have a very correct anti-capitalist, socialist and class independence program, which is our guarantee of the path we seek and a strategy of struggle for a workers’ government, which places us unequivocally against reformist and possibilist variants. With that program and that leadership, with all the political and militant strength accumulated by the parties that make up the FIT-U, we can summon, open new spaces, generate meetings and exchanges, to have an in-depth and frank debate on how to improve the Left Front, how to better prepare it for the great social and political struggles that are coming in the following years. It is not time for conservatism, or routine, or to tie ourselves to merely electoral formats. Revolutionary politics do not stop at that stage, they seek to advance more thoroughly and comprehensively. This is perhaps the best moment in many years to aim at placing the revolutionary left on a much higher plane than the one we have already achieved. And that is done with a program, politics and taking advantage of the opportunities and their timing, which are not eternal and need answers in accordance with the new situation that is coming.
The MST in the rotation of the elected seats
As part of the political conquests of having won seats in different and important districts and categories, our party will participate in three very important political spheres and in city councils in different provinces. In the province of Buenos Aires and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA), as a result of the very strong campaign and political struggle led by our comrades Alejandro Bodart and Cele Fierro for the MST in the FIT Unidad, we were able to enter various important rotations. Our comrade Vilma Ripoll, a well-known militant, will enter the rotation of a national deputy seat for the province. Our comrade Guillermo Pacagnini, current secretary general of the Cicop, will also enter the rotation of a seat as provincial deputy for Buenos Aires. And in CABA, our comrade and nurse union leader Caro Cáceres, will enter the rotation of a seat as legislator of the city, where next year Vanesa Gagliardi, will take office as our share of the rotation in the seat obtained in the previous elections. Along with them, an important number of comrades from five municipalities, La Matanza, Moreno, Merlo, José C. Paz and Florencio Varela, will also enter in the rotation of city councilors (this historical feat in Greater Buenos Aires is reflected in a separate article). In addition to all this, as part of this year’s elections, Betina Rivero will also assume her seat in Jujuy, as councilor of the important city of Palpala. In addition, we will enter the rotation of a seat in the council of Neuquén with comrade Juan Bari, which was won in last month’s local election. This is in addition to our rotation of another seat in the council of Neuquen’s capital city, obtained in the previous elections, in which Priscila Otton will take office. Also, in Salta, our comrade Carlos Zarzuri takes office this week as provincial constituent, joining the rotation achieved in the elections held months ago. Accompanying this step forward in our political location with strength, in Córdoba our comrade Luciana Echevarría, continues for two more years as provincial deputy.
Join the MST to fight for more
By Cele Fierro
The election results are a reflection of growing sympathy with the left. They are an expression of the discontent with the traditional parties and of the growing social and political polarization that now puts Argentina more in tune with the world situation. They are a conquest of years of struggle, of political coherence and of a project that is the only one that, in the end, proposes the emancipation of the working class. It is a conquest of the unity achieved. It is one more step in the construction of a political alternative of those from below. This conquest brings with it enormous challenges, in the MST we consider that it is necessary to continue strengthening the front so that we become a real alternative for the working people as a whole. On this key point, there are debates on how to do it and we want to outline our proposal here.
To go beyond the electoral, the unity conquered on the electoral plane has to be transferred to all planes of the class struggle. Today more than ever, the strength and support that the FIT Unidad has won must be capitalized in everywhere. We have to work jointly in each workplace, fighting against the treacherous bureaucratic leaderships, against the government and the bosses. We have to strengthen the Plenary of Militant Unionism (PSC), adding new delegate bodies, internal commissions and unions, to fight the bureaucracy for the leadership of the unions together. We also have to work together in the neighborhoods, with the social and piquetero movements. We have to act with unity in the processes of struggle where the youth is the vanguard, against job precariousness, for socio-environmental causes, in the women’s and LGBTQ+ movements that organize for our rights and fight for a project that confronts patriarchal capitalism from a classist, socialist and internationalist feminism. Developing the FIT Unidad in all spaces of struggle and organization of workers, women and youth is a key task.
To become a rallying center for the sympathy that we have managed to conquer and was reflected in the support in the elections, to be transformed into organization. We have to summon all the sectors of workers who voted for us to build together with the forces that today make up the Left Front Unity to make it bigger. To summon the organizations of the social and independent left, as well as the political left to join this project. To call on those comrades who saw the Front of All favorably after the Macrist disaster and are now completely disappointed, to be encouraged and take that step to get organized and strengthen a left alternative. To provide a space for coordination and organization to the sectors that split from the government. We have to make our front bigger, broader and stronger. We have to be broad in the organizational aspect, to summon, to gather everyone, and to be very strong in the programmatic aspect, defending our anti-capitalist and socialist program.
A great political movement. We have the opportunity to break the ceiling self-imposed by sectarianism and dogmatism, if we overcome the electoral stage and call on different sectors to join this collective development on the basis of the FITU’s program. To create a great political movement, where our parties would interact in a permanent way, where all debates would be carried out in a democratic way, without hegemonies. Diversity is what strengthens us, each one contributes and adds from their positions, far from that false conception that “debating divides,” on the contrary, it strengthens us. A political movement where the identity of each of our organizations would not be lost; that would defend our program, and contain democratic organizational mechanisms for the rest of the independent sectors to have a space for debate and decision making; as well as the strength that organization provides to then go and apply commonly discussed politics. This is our proposal, it is the one we raise to continue making the Workers’ Left Front Unity big, so that we can be in better conditions to fight the battles to come.
Join the MST to promote this project. This ambitious perspective for the left to grow, and even to prepare ourselves to stand as a viable option for government in the face of the social struggles and abrupt political changes to come, is neither automatic nor a calm and gradual process. Rather, it will be a path, at times, with tension, with debates and clash of ideas and projects within the left itself, to respond well to the new processes that will surely arise. It is probable, perhaps sooner rather than later, that the political crises will worsen in our country and the question of power will be rethought in a revolutionary way, in the style of the Argentinazo of 2001 or similar. What cannot happen to us, is for the rebellion to attack and oust the capitalist government in power, but not have a strong alternative of our own to provide a positive solution to the crisis and achieve a government of the workers and the people. That is why we invite you to organize with us, to join the MST to strengthen this project for fundamental changes, starting by coming to our internationalist event on Saturday, May 4th in Plaza de Mayo.