Argentina: Capitalism is exhausted. For a government of the left and the working class

The crisis our country is experiencing is not only economic and social, but above all political. The governments of Macrism and Peronism continue to fail one after another. This semi-colonial capitalist system, dependent and at the service of those from above and those from abroad, is what no longer works. To carry forward a project of real equity and progress requires a different type of government: a government of the left and the workers, which paves the way to a radically different system, socialism. If we do not prepare ourselves to achieve it, we will inexorably go from bad to worse.

By Pablo Vasco

There is a deep social malaise, economic collapse and political misrule in Argentina. And these are not mere “feelings”:

  • In the face of daily poverty and malaria, popular anger has been growing.
  • Inflation and submission to the IMF pulverize the national economy.
  • And the government of Fernandez-Fernandez is going from one lurch to another, without solving its internal crisis and becoming more and more worn out each day, even in front of its own voters.

In short, a combo of elements that are quite similar to the one that produced December 2001. Although, perhaps, there is still more of a lack of control of power from above than a social outburst from below. But every day there are denials of resignations and memes with helicopters circulating. And nobody could truly state that the government of the Frente de Todos will end its term of office in December 2023, a date that right now seems really far away.

Faced with this generalized disaster, from the MST in the FITU we propose that the call for elections be brought forward, but unlike the right wing, which only wants to change faces, we propose to elect deputies for a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly where the people can democratically decide all necessary changes.

Let’s go for fundamental measures

If the current economic plan agreed and controlled by the IMF is sinking the country, the workers and the people, it is evident that the way out is to apply a diametrically opposed, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist alternative plan. In this emergency, the axes of such plan are an immediate increase in salaries, pensions and social assistance plans; freeze tariffs and re-establish the services; cease payment of that monumental swindle called foreign debt and reinvest those millions in creating genuine employment and reactivating the national economy; nationalize foreign trade and banking; annul the VAT on the family basket and heavily tax wealth(1).

Together with other measures, such as the reduction of the working day without lowering wages in order to generate new jobs and agrarian reform, these would be the first steps of a more integral productive reorganization plan, with democratic planning and environmental preservation. That is to say, the branches of production functioning in order to respond to social needs and not to the pockets of a privileged minority.

These measures must be accompanied by profound changes in the political regime, to democratize everything and eliminate even the slightest caste privilege. To elect judges and prosecutors by popular vote, with limited and revocable mandates, and to implement trials by popular juries. To abolish the Senate, that feudal remnant where Tierra del Fuego, with almost ten times less electors, has three senators, the same as the Province of Buenos Aires. A single Chamber of Deputies and proportionality with the country as a single district. Complete separation of the Catholic Church from the State and cancellation of all subsidies to religious education. That every political official earns as much as a school principal with ten years of seniority and is obliged to educate his children in public school and to treat himself and his family in public hospitals. Dissolve the police and intelligence services and dismantle the entire repressive apparatus, let’s create a new community security, preventive, not repressive, under social control.

Now then; the million-dollar question is how can such a plan become reality. And this brings us to the decisive question: which social class and which political sector has the potential to lead these structural changes?

The left and the working class

From the economic-social point of view, there is only one class that has the capacity to set up a system different from capitalism: the working class, the one that produces all the wealth of the country and the world, the class that is exploited by businessmen. Unlike the bourgeoisie, the working class is the only one that is not tied by any economic, political or military commitment to the IMF, the multinational corporations and imperialism.

The capitalist system produces ever greater social inequality, cyclical crises and a permanent decline in the standard of living of the masses, as well as wars and environmental destruction. There is no way to put an end to these scourges if we do not replace the irrational anarchy of the capitalist regime of production, where each bourgeois produces what suits him according to his individual profit, for a planning in accordance with the needs of society as a whole. For example: until when are we going to tolerate that in our country, which could feed 400 million people, six out of ten children in the Buenos Aires suburbs barely eat?

Factories can function perfectly well without the bosses, but not without the workers. And the same goes for the whole society. Of course, we consider the unemployed and  retired as an integral part of it, and, as their allies, the middle sectors impoverished by the crisis.

From the political point of view, those who support this emancipatory solution are only the left. Macrists, Radicals, Peronists, Kirchnerists and liberfascists, with their obvious nuances among themselves, are all staunch defenders of capitalism. They repeat it every time they have a microphone in front of them. And when we say left we do not refer to the reformist or social-democratic left, but to the revolutionary socialist left. Because we do not propose this or that partial modification to maintain this same existing system of exploitation and oppression, but to make qualitative, root changes.

Some examples

The first workers’ government in history was the Paris Commune, in 1871. The result of a popular insurrection, it decreed workers’ self-management of the factories abandoned by their owners, created nurseries for the children of the workers, the secularity of the State and expropriated the property of the churches, cancelled unpaid rents and abolished interest on debts, reduced the salary of political officials and replaced the conventional army with a citizen’s guard. Within two months, the Commune was harshly repressed and defeated.

The first triumphant workers revolution was led by Lenin and Trotsky in Russia in 1917. Supported by the soviets, which were councils of workers’ delegates, peasants and soldiers, the Bolshevik government guaranteed bread for the working class, the longed-for peace and land for the peasantry, among many other social and women’s rights. In a few years, through expropriation and land reform, Russia developed its entire economy and raised the living standards of the masses.

But the internal civil war and the non-extension of the revolution to Germany led to stagnation and then to regression, embodied in the triumph of Stalin, his bureaucracy and his treacherous conception of “socialism in one single country”. If capitalism and its productive forces are global, socialism, as an overcoming system, cannot be less so. Of course it will not be a simultaneous process, but the objective is a continental and international socialist integration. Likewise, the Stalinist totalitarian regime has nothing to do with the model of socialism with democracy that we defend.

From 1917 to present times there have been anti-capitalist revolutions in several other countries, such as China (1949), the whole of Eastern Europe (post-war II), Cuba (1959) and Vietnam (1975). All of them implied indisputable social advances, in terms of health, education and welfare for their peoples. But their political leadership, instead of extending these revolutions, confined them within their borders, thus causing their bureaucratization and regression. In the case of China, the ruling bureaucracy itself restored capitalism and has transformed itself into an imperialist power that competes with the United States.

Beyond their subsequent course, all these historical experiences leave us very valuable lessons on the possibility and exercise of power by the working class, the positive points to value and mistakes to avoid.

Elections… and something more

We do not share at all the position of some social movements, which stubbornly refuse to participate in the political-electoral battle. If from the revolutionary left we do not present our own alternative and our own candidates to dispute when elections takes, that space will end up being occupied by the class enemies, that is to say, the capitalist political sectors. At the same time, it seems to us that focusing all militant energies on electoral participation, as some of the parties of the FIT Unity tend to do, is a big mistake.

While it is important to have left parliamentarians, the fundamental role of a revolutionary force lies in its ability to lead and influence whole swathes of workers and social sectors in the field of action, in direct class struggle. It is in leading unions, union opposition lists and factories, as well as popular neighborhoods, student unions and other sectors of the feminist, LGBT and environmental movements.

Why is this happening? Because the coming to power of a political force like ours cannot depend only on an eventual electoral result, but essentially on the development of the workers’ and popular sectors mobilization. Furthermore, in the event of coming to power, the bourgeoisie will not remain passive either, but will confront this government of the left and the workers. It is well known the failed experience of the “peaceful road to socialism”, which in 1973 in Chile was defeated by a military coup for not wanting to confront the capitalist-imperialist counteroffensive.

A left with a vocation for power

We already know how to set an early expiration date for those governments that disappoint the expectations of the working people in Argentina. We did so with Fernando De la Rúa at the end of December 2001 and in less than a month we overturned three other provisional presidents: Ramón Puerta, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá and Eduardo Camaño. We had no problem in taking them out: the issue is that we had no one to put on our side, in defense of our own interests.

What is more: just as in the 70’s, there were workers’ coordinators, after the Argentinazo of 2001 neighborhood assemblies were born, which in the case of the Capital and the Buenos Aires suburbs grouped more than a hundred in the Interbarrial in Parque Centenario and elaborated an alternative economic program. Together with the factories recovered by their workers and the unemployed movements, they were genuine forms of popular self-organization, embryos of a dual power in the streets parallel to the official power. These are valuable experiences that in some way will be taken up again and at the same time they anticipated. There are many economists, engineers and other specialists willing to collaborate with a government of rupture with capitalism.

Certainly, there has not always been capitalism, nor does it have to be endless. But unlike the bourgeois revolution against feudalism, in which the capitalists already dominated a good part of the economy and only had to get rid of the old feudal class, under capitalism the working class cannot build its own economy. To lay the foundations of a new society it must take power, for which it is necessary to convince and earn more and more political will. Hence the importance of strengthening the revolutionary party we have been building.

That is precisely why we need a left that goes far beyond its statements and grows with a vocation for power. The left forces that remain isolated must abandon their sectarianism and join the Left Unity Front, and this, in turn, must intervene in a unified manner in every area of social demands, postulate itself as an alternative to every significant event and, above all, open itself to the participation of independent left activism. These are the proposals of the MST to get closer to the objective that the crisis demands: a government of the left and the working class. If you agree, join our militancy!