Argentina: Debate with the PO. The policy towards bureaucracy and the preparation of the national strike

In Periodismo de Izquierda with the title “Letters and meetings with the bureaucracy. That is not the way to build the strike nor the unity” (6/7), we criticized the erroneous “campaign” for the strike the PO is promoting. Days later, the response arrived (“Tell me what you are boasting about…” PO web 6/10) in which, chicanery aside, the PO ratifies its line. It is not about a secondary debate. It is a core aspect of how the revolutionary left must intervene in the workers’ movement.

By Guillermo Pacagnini

Undoubtedly, the grave situation of the workers’ and popular movement requires the call for a strike and a national plan of struggle. As we pointed out in the note, the bureaucracy is fundamentally responsible for the fact that there has not been a national strike for years; not even an action that responds to the workers’ needs, their demands and organization. In spite of this, the conflicts in health, teachers, the tire industry, among others, are growing, which add to the social cauldron fed for weeks by a powerful plan of struggle of the piqueteros. And, beyond the inequalities, there is a common denominator: where there is no combative leadership at the forefront (as in the health sector of Río Negro or the Sutna), phenomena of overflow and self-organization are beginning to take place, as is the case of the teachers of San Juan and also in La Rioja. It is not generalized yet, but it marks a tendency in the face of a bureaucracy which, due to its integration with the governments, prevents these struggles from converging and generating a dynamic of a general strike and facilitates the action of the counteracting objective factors which, although the PO ignores them, exist and must be taken into account at the time of defining an integral policy.

On the policy towards the bureaucracy

The correct thing to do is to denounce the traitorous role of the bureaucracy and demand that it raise the demands of the bases and carry out actions. Moreover, according to the stage of the class struggle and how the bureaucracy is positioned, the proportion of the components of this algebraic formula varies. But, in order to weaken it, to further the mobilization and the new activism, it is always necessary to denounce and demand.

The PO has historically had a unilateral orientation and elaborates its policies detached from the characterization of the conjuncture and the location of the traitorous leaderships.

For decades it refused to demand and criticized us when we did it from our current. Now it has taken a Copernican turn and, almost without denunciation and in an uncritical manner, demands the strike and… “a congress of mandated, occupied and unemployed delegates” and raises expectations in achieving it with interviews to the CGT and the CTA (that of Godoy, it seems that that of Yasky does not enter into its calculations).

When there were bureaucratic sectors that went to the opposition and articulated mobilizations, as in 2010 when the CTA split, the PO maintained a sectarian and abstentionist position. Our union current intervened in that process with an independent and classist policy and organization, challenging the activism that had expectations in the emerging CTA-A, in its debates, congresses and mobilizations with public materials and alternative policies. The PO refused to intervene in this process of unity of action and weakened the possibility of articulating a classist and anti-bureaucratic pole within it.

But when the bureaucracy of the big unions and the centrals is integrated into the government, has been in absolute inaction for years and the workers who struggle are beginning to self-determine and organize independently, the PO washes its face by planting expectations that it is going to launch a strike and organize the famous congress of the employed and unemployed. Far from “exculpating the CGT”, as the PO says, we denounce it, we call to promote organization from below and, in this framework, we demand the strike and the plan of struggle.

In its controversial eagerness and in order to cover up its policy, the PO resorts to lies. Saying that we “subordinate” ourselves to the bureaucracy by “joining the board of CICOP through the officialism dominated by the PCR”. All false. Its absolute marginality in the health union leads it to ignore (let’s say) our founding role and the independent, combative and democratic nature of CICOP.

About the strike and the unity

The PO has made the “campaign for the strike” its leitmotiv of the moment. We have already said that campaigning for the strike is correct and helps to install its necessity. But transforming this policy into the central axis, together with the “interviews” with the bureaucracy, becomes a propaganda shortcut that does not serve to build the strike. The PO is lying through their teeth by saying that they have already installed it, that they have “placed the national active strike in the reality of the entire workers’ movement, offering a way out…”. This is not only self-proclaimed and exaggerated, but also mistaken, because it disarms activism about the tasks that must be carried out to install in important sectors of the workers’ movement and above all those who are struggling the denunciation and the demand for the strike and to prepare it from below.

The PO also puts the piquetero movement as the center to demand the strike. This is twice as erroneous now that there is a very important process of struggle in the neighborhoods and among the unemployed, superior to that of the workers sectors in conflict. And its articulation with the working class and the sectors of struggle would strengthen not only the struggle of both sectors, but also the preparation and the demand for the national strike. That is why when we demand an active policy of unity of the employed and unemployed, beginning by articulating between the Plenario del Sindicalismo Combativo and the Unidad Piquetera, they respond in their note that “we pretend that the UP acts as an appendix of the PSC”.

The political struggle is not only electoral

Once again, the PO separates the social struggle from the political struggle. They say in their article: that “we go out of our way” because the Unidad Piquetera acts as an appendix “fundamentally of the FIT-U…” and that this is “…of a clear electoralist nature”. For a long time we have been arguing against this mistaken conception that delays not only the development of the struggle but also the process of replacement by a new leadership. For the limits of the trade union and social struggle to achieve genuine work, wages in line with the real market basket and, in short, an alternative workers’ and popular plan that aims to liquidate the capitalist model. Raising the trade union and social struggle to the political level is essential for the processes of the workers’ movement to move forward. The unity of the fighters and the left is solidified in strengthening the FIT-U and taking this unity to the class struggle and the workers’ movement. This debate is far from being “factional” as the PO claims in its article,nor is the political struggle reduced to the electoral field, as they write.

It is the PO who has been opposing that union and picketers’ issues be debated at the FIT-U Table. A contradiction in terms, since the parties of the FIT-U are the fundamental promoters of the PSC and of the leadership of several militant unions, and a common policy would push forward these processes, for example, to dispute towards the national strike. If this articulation were to materialize, it would strengthen the FIT-U, class activism and all the struggles of the workers’ movement. To separate this fight and these instances weakens the dispute for a new trade union and political leadership. In reality, to separate the FIT-Unity from the processes of struggle and organization of the workers and their vanguard is not only a trade unionist but also an electoralist conception such as the one the PO insists on implementing.

We defend the debate in the field of the revolutionary left and combative unionism. Fraternal, without chicanery or misrepresentation. For us it is vital to move forward in union, social and political unity to support struggles and militant activism, to promote assemblies and delegates’ meetings, to prepare and demand the national strike and the necessary plan of struggle. For these tasks it is key to promote genuine coordination by location and to nationally strengthen and broaden the PSC, not a congress organized by the CGT. It is to strongly promote the struggle of the independent piquetero movement, to unite it to the struggle of the occupied working class and to unite it to the political struggle together with the FIT-U.