Argentina: Massive FITU May Day rally

This International Workers’ Day, the Left Front Unity held a massive rally at the historic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. The front’s main public figures spoke and various leaders of current working class struggles and the independent piquetero movement took the stage. We share the speeches delivered by Alejandro Bodart and Cele Fierro, who closed the event.

Alejandro Bodart’s speech

I bring you the greetings of the International Socialist League, comrades, which my party, the MST, is part of. A fraternal greeting to all the militants of the Left Front. And to the activists who have come to this important event today.

We are experiencing a very complex situation for humanity. Capitalism is going through what is perhaps its worst crisis since we know it as the dominant system. To save the profits of the corporations, to protect the privileges of the bosses, they are applying savage austerity plans.

But they are preparing to apply much more brutal plans. They know that these plans will not pass without repression, which is why regimes are becoming more and more authoritarian.

All the democratic liberties that we won with struggle are in danger in the coming period. They are encouraging hate speech to stigmatize those who protest, the piqueteros, migrants, Native peoples, women, LGBT people.

The germ of fascism is re-emerging in almost every country. They will stop at nothing. They are destroying nature and they will continue down that path to guarantee their profits.

And as if this were not enough, the drums of war are sounding once again. The competition between different imperialists presents us with a horizon on which we may witness a third world war with unimaginable consequences due to the nuclear capacities of the powers that are vying for hegemony. The only ones who can stop barbarism are the workers and the revolutionary left, comrades.

We are witnessing tremendous struggles. The working class will not let them pass without a fight. We are seeing this in France, in England. On our continent rebellions occur every few months from country to country. There is struggle in Asia against regimes of exploitation and oppression. Palestinian comrades are fighting against the genocidal State of Israel. People are fighting in Western Sahara, they are fighting in Ukraine for such an elementary right as that of self-determination, for no power, neither international nor regional, to decide their destinies. People are fighting against hunger in Africa.

But the struggles of workers and peoples have a problem. The workers fight with their arms tied, without class based and democratic leadership in their organizations, without a strong revolutionary left that can defeat capitalism. And that is why it’s so hard to achieve resounding victories.

We revolutionary socialists have a great responsibility in how we are going to face the coming period. And we have to reflect on ourselves, because there are many things to improve.

The Left Front is a very important achievement, but we have to discuss that it has limitations. It is only an electoral front and what is coming in this country are very important struggles, comrades. We can’t respond only with votes. We have to organize to intervene in the struggles in strength.

The Front has to overcome its limitations and we have to discuss how to organize thousands and thousands to face the attacks that we are going to have to face in the coming period. And we can’t confront them only with more parliamentarians. It’s very good to have more parliamentarians and we want more and more, but we need a Front that exceeds the electoral question.

And at the international level, comrades, we need to take steps to build an alternative for the masses. Small chapels are insufficient for these times. We need to discuss how we can, from different traditions, move forward in unity in the regrouping of the revolutionaries, in advancing towards a new tradition superior to all of ours.

From the ISL, we are humbly trying to work with people different to ourselves. It’s not easy. It’s always easier to work with someone who thinks 100% like you. But, unfortunately, that which is easier does not solve the problem of leadership that the international working class has. That is why we have to make efforts to see if we can, in the coming period, move towards a great regrouping that responds to the most pressing need of our class.

We can play a very important role. In Nicaragua, the unitary commission that we put together between different currents that are here today was qualitative in achieving the freedom of many of the political prisoners.

Look, comrades, we have differences on many issues. We have differences in Ukraine, about what to do in Ukraine. But this cannot be an excuse to not make efforts to see if we can mobilize against NATO, against the expansionism of Russian imperialism, against the new Chinese imperialism, which wants to dominate the world to do the same as the Yankees.

We need to discuss how we can move forward, and that is why we bring you some proposals. In Milan, the left, the Italian extreme left, is calling for an international meeting so that we all discuss the new situation. We are going to participate.

In Africa, the ISL is organizing a pan-African congress and many organizations from different countries have already signed up to meet and discuss how we face colonialism, exploitation, hunger, not only in Africa, but how to take steps to regroup at an international level.

We have to discuss whether the Argentine left is going to take up the challenge, if we can convene from here, from all the forces of the FITU, and open to more forces of the revolutionary socialist left, a great international conference, not only of Latin America, but of the world, for the revolutionary Marxists of the world meet and discuss how we are going to face the stage that is coming our way. We promise to work hard with that perspective.

Comrades, the working class is one and has no borders. Let us make every effort in this historical period to rise to the occasion and not remain in the quarrels of the past or the small apparatus fights. Let’s respond to the needs of our class. Let’s put that above the rest.

Long live May Day! Long live the working class, which is one and has no borders! Long live the program of the socialist revolution, comrades!

Cele Fierro’s speech

Good afternoon, an embrace from here to all the militants of the 4 parties, to the comrades that we share each struggle with, who are also here today in this great rally of the left on the international day of our class.

Here are those of us who organize in each workplace to confront the bosses, the bureaucracy and the government. We also take into our hands the construction of a political alternative. An alternative on this side of the fuse, independent of all capitalist governments. And we already have a base. The main forces of the left have achieved unity with a very solid, anti-capitalist and socialist program.

We are the only political force that plans to overcome this decadent, neocolonial, plundering, subjugating capitalist system, which exploits, contaminates and frustrates all hope for a future with rights, liberty and happiness.

The economy is on the edge of a precipice, the government’s improvised, counterpunch, emergency measures, or rather co-government of the FdT with the IMF, are showing the complete exhaustion of this country in the hands of the bosses, in the hands of the banks, of the seed pools. And the shock therapy programs that they prepare, like Milei or Bullrich, with dollarization and 20 dollars salaries, open a scenario of social unrest because this extraordinary people, this working class with historical memory, will not allow it.

The exit is to the left, with profound measures, hard against the capitalists: we must break with the IMF, provide a general increase in wages, pensions and social assistance. Put an end to precarious labor. Take the decisions ourselves. Nationalize the banks, take control of foreign trade, so that we can decide what is produced and according to what needs. Only the left, with the workers, can carry out this program.

The political, economic and social crisis is enormous. And whoever wins, whoever governs, the situation of our people is going to be worse. They are going to turn up the heat in this pressure cooker, which could explode.

That is why it is essential that we step up together. Our role is central. We have to become a great political movement, a front to go to the struggles, a permanent political front that not only participates in elections, but also discusses how to intervene in the class struggle. The struggle for more seats is important, but it cannot be the only one. We cannot settle for that. We must advance in the debate on how to act together in the face of relevant political events. We have to overcome the merely electoral nature of our front and discuss how we prepare for what is coming. 

Because if they are already applying austerity on us, imagine after the elections. It will be brutal: Everyone wants to make our working conditions more flexible, they are coming for our pensions, they are coming to privatize what little remains, to blow up social assistance, to plunder our resources and destroy our territories. And there will be resistance, there will be struggles.

We need a political front that can rise to the occasion and be prepared to face it! The crisis is going to deepen, we cannot rule out a new 2001, and it must find us united, providing a common political response. At this point, it is essential that the FITU overcome these limitations, that it become an active player in permanent reality. We cannot continue giving that advantage!

Additionally, we have to be a summoning force, to find mechanisms to bring aboard the independent, social, and activist left, many of whom are present today. We cannot shut ourselves in and believe that we have already solved the problem of revolutionary leadership. We have to summon people from our program, far removed from sectarian positions. We can become a real alternative in our country, let’s not give the opportunity away. Because we have to be clear, if we don’t take steps in that direction, to occupy the political space, others will. The false progressives, beyond any sweet discourse, do not break with the limits of capitalism and are responsible not only for the austerity but for opening the door to the right.

And now, facing this year marked by the elections and the crisis, efforts must be made to have a single list, in which all forces have representation and visibility. It would be ideal to not end up in Primary elections. What would be ideal is to apply a working class method, a great assembly: summon all our membership, the activists that vote for the FITU, comrades from human rights organizations, activists who resist the bureaucracy in each factory, those who organize to fight poverty in the social movements and the piqueteros, the women and the LGBT activists who confront the anti-rights attack, the youth who lead the socio-environmental struggles, those whom we share each struggle with shoulder to shoulder, and among all of us decide: Which are the best candidacies, the best positions, how do we integrate everyone, so that everyone feels integrated, and thus have a unified campaign to respond to everything that our people are suffering. There is no need to be afraid of real democracy. If this is unfortunately not achieved, there are the Primaries. We shouldn’t dramatize or make a novel out of this either. And as we have always said, our candidacies, those of the MST, are at the service of making our front bigger and stronger, to stop squandering opportunities in all fields.

Today, we can come out of this rally with more strength, building from the collective to multiply the influence of the FITU, to prepare ourselves with everything for the challenges of the coming stage, in which the left can be the protagonist, depending on what we do.

We reject all lukewarm, possibilist, pessimistic options. We are optimists of the working class, optimists of our working class, socialist, revolutionary proposal, to govern this country, to make profound changes, to turn everything around, to make way for that socialism with democracy for those below for which we fight as our strategy. We no longer have anything to lose, we have, on the other hand, a world to win.

Long live the working class! Long live the FIT Unity! Let’s continue the struggle for a workers’ government and socialism!

May Day. Account of the FIT Unity rally in Plaza de Mayo.