Argentina: The FITU, the confluence and the Plaza against the IMF

By Sergio García

The magnitude of the mobilization of last Saturday the 11th in Plaza de Mayo against the IMF and the payment of the foreign debt, called by the Left Front Unity (FITU), bringing together over a hundred organizations to convene the rally together, was undoubtedly a central political event of recent days. The event did not pass unnoticed by friends or strangers, and it deservingly occupied the heights of last weekend’s news.

A Plaza against the foreign debt was the right call

On Saturday and Sunday, the entire arch of the mainstream media had to refer to this day of struggle, which had its epicenter in Plaza de Mayo, but was also national, with significant actions throughout the country. In one way or another, the strong multitude that filled the Plaza and the surrounding streets had to be highlighted.

The enormous mobilization and show of social force against the IMF was the product of a confluence and unitary call by many political, social, working class and human rights organizations, marking a path of unity in the struggle that is very correct. At the same time, such common action also revealed the articulating and prominent role of the Left Front Unity, whose initial call made it possible to begin to build this initiative of struggle and unity, and a unitary space against the IMF that will continue. This is how the largest example of political and social mobilization against the payment of the foreign debt and the agreement with the IMF was achieved. It is an immensely progressive development, which has placed the left in the foreground of the national political debate.

This was possible, not only because the FITU correctly made an open call, but also because of the undeniable reality of the front´s leap in the recent elections, which positioning it as the third national force. It is this place won in the national political arena that gave the FITU the possibility and responsibility of taking the initiative, setting a perspective and calling on various sectors, which is very correct and indispensable in the fight against the IMF and also in other political and social struggles.

The government and the street

The scale that the call was building up in the previous weeks, even affected the forces of the government coalition, who have been debating what kind of agreement to make with the IMF and suddenly found themselves with a Plaza de Mayo full of workers and young people against the agreement and the payment of an illegal and fraudulent debt looming on the horizon.

The government reacted days before by calling for a mobilization on Friday the 10th, on the anniversary of the return of democracy, trying to avoid losing the street and the Plaza. They brought Lula, Mujica and musical bands to guarantee a strong presence with Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández. They managed to appear with an initiative to dispute the political debate, but they failed to obscure in the least bit the following day´s massive anti-IMF mobilization and left opposition to the government that was demonstrated by tens of thousands and followed with attention and sympathy by thousands and thousands, including sectors of the government’s own social base.

The fact is that the two Plazas, one day apart, also have different programs and perspectives. Some journalists related to the government try to show both as progressive. However, reality is unavoidable; at the government´s Plaza, the agreement with the IMF and payment of a scandalous debt were ratified. At the Plaza of the left and the FITU, the only political and social voice against this fraud and a proposal to break with the IMF was raised in a unitary way. There are two paths, and only one, the one put forward by the left, is an alternative to the model of austerity and submission.

The official discourse of the government coalition Frente de Todos (Front of Everyone) says that they are going to agree with the IMF without austerity, but with an economic plan to first generate growth and then pay and honor the debt. Such an idea does not resist a deeper analysis. First, because austerity measures have been implemented since the first month of the Frente de Todos government. Every month that inflation does persists, every deterioration of wages, every diminished or under-executed health, education and welfare budget, is hard de facto austerity. In addition, during 2021 alone the IMF was also paid more than 5 billion dollars that should have been used to respond to social needs. This is the reality that millions of working families live in, sustained with the sinister endorsement of the CGT union bureaucracy and the leaders of the CTA’s. All the rest is fantasy.

Furthermore, the motto of economy minister Guzman and President Fernández of “grow first to be able to pay” is also a proposal that goes against the country´s sovereignty. Because it means that everything we do to grow will also be used to pay off the illegitimate debt. In the end, everything heads into the coffers of the IMF, who requires, and will most likely get, some reforms and fiscal adjustment goals. The IMF will agree with the government and also find the support of the right wing Together for Change bloc, far right exponents Milei and Espert, and many others in Congress. Only the Left Front Unity will reject this new robbery.

What now?

After the enormous mobilization against the IMF and the payment of the foreign debt, two paths are reinforced. On the one hand, the government will continue with its negotiations until it reaches an agreement with the IMF that, in one way or another, will tie our country to its economic plans and objectives.

At the same time, the strong political and social articulation built since the FITU´s open call will debate how to continue this political and social struggle. While parliamentarians of the Frente de Todos like Santoro tour news outlets to explain that the correlation of forces is insufficient to not pay the IMF, the enormous unitary mobilization built by the left is evident proof that there is plenty of social force to undertake a truly independent and sovereign path, breaking with the model of submission to international credit organizations. It is not the millions of working families and the youth who do not want to break with the IMF; the government is responsible for those chains, by privileging the agreement, submission and full payment of the debt contracted by the previous president Macri.

In this context, the Left Front Unity and the MST call to continue in the street against the entire multi-year plan, the austerity and the payment to the IMF. Towards this objective, our party has been promoting the need for a strong political promotion of our front, the need to generate more calls and spaces of confluence. Accordingly, we have been strong protagonists in the promotion of this unity against the IMF, contributing one of the main columns of the march to Plaza de Mayo, with several thousand comrades in the column of the MST. Next week, a new meeting of the FITU will take place with all the organizations that participated in the common mobilization to Plaza de Mayo. There, we will discuss how to continue this struggle, what new steps to take. Everything is at the service of facing the overall austerity plan on the streets. And along that path, continuing to strengthen the political struggle against all the parties of the system and the regime, for which it is necessary to strengthen the Left Front Unity and thoroughly promote it in the eyes of millions of workers and youth. Opening channels and more calls within the framework of our anti-capitalist and socialist program. A few days from the twentieth anniversary of the Argentinazo of 2001, the best tribute to that revolutionary feat is to thoroughly prepare the social and political struggles that will come in 2022, promoting each concrete struggle and fighting to transform the left into an option for power for millions of people. This is what we are working towards.