Argentina: The FIT-U and its dilemmas. For a great assembly that decides everything

By Sergio García

The political and economic crisis of the country, the ongoing social struggles and the proximity of the national elections accelerate all political debates. There are moments of uncertainty in the capitalist parties, in the “red circle” and nobody knows what the result of the PASO and the general elections will be.

The political debates also exist in the FIT-U, the political front of unity of the left, which is a great conquest that we have to take care of and defend among all of us. That is why we propose a big militant assembly to debate and decide everything in view of the elections to come, to strengthen ourselves in a massive, protagonist event, open to social and intellectual activists and to fellow organizations that support the FIT-U and participate in our lists.

Unfortunately, instead of debating proposals, our front is going through a crisis that prevents it from acting jointly when it is needed the most. Like any crisis, it could be an opportunity to change and improve is the correct conclusions are reached. Unhappily, today there is nothing but the continuity of an incorrect course plus hegemonisms that divide.

Old and new problems

As we have said many times, the FIT-U has many positive things and also important problems of origin, which today are combined with a leap in a course of electoral adaptation and pretended hegemonism of the comrades of the PTS.

The problems of origin come from the previous conformation of the FIT and it is the shared responsibility of the parties that gave the electoral aspect to the front without ever proposing anything better or deeper. We have repeatedly stressed this and we will continue to do so. The limit of being only an electoral front conditions the intervention of the front, it fragments forces, it does not allow a common response to major events, it does not strengthen all the militant force acting in the class struggle, nor does it open its doors to other activists of the social or independent left. It wastes the opportunity to act solidly in a huge crisis of the capitalist regime, by not intervening as a whole in all the planes of the political and social struggle, nor having a permanent functioning where everything is debated and decided democratically. The final result of not ceasing to be only an electoral front is to arrive at the elections without having political unity for the electoral struggle.

Adding a new and important problem, we are witnessing a leap in the most electoralist course and in the hegemonic pretension of the PTS, just when in terms of militants and social insertion it does not precisely show an advance, but a strong structural weakness in the workers’ movement where it does not play leadership roles anywhere. Something similar happens to it in the students’ movement and while it drags along years of a complete lack of understanding of the piqueteros movement, a process it watches from afar with abstentionism and absence from this struggle.

Thus placed and in need of standing out in the electoral field, it goes overboard in an electoralist course and in seeking sympathy in the rank and file of Kirchnerism, at the cost of not holding its leader accountable in any way for the enormous acts of corruption under her government, joining the discourse of proscription that Peronist spokespersons agitate. It tries to shield this policy by highlighting the importance of denouncing the judicial castes, which of course must be denounced and confronted, but without denouncing those who were in office and carried out enormous acts of corruption. The same happens in the face of the suspensions of elections in San Juan and Tucumán, where it is necessary to denounce with force the Supreme Court and its ruling, but putting at the same level the denunciation that the eternal candidates of the PJ should no longer participate, since an independent position is to unmask with the same force both the Court, akin to the right-wing opposition, and the PJ and its candidates and regimes that perpetuate themselves in order to bring about more austerity measures. The PTS in general prioritizes and gives more strength to the denunciation of the Court, for the same erroneous reasons.

Together with these political errors and other similar ones that leave the FIT-U with a more lukewarm position in the face of a reality that needs the opposite, in the electoral debates the comrades of the PTS also intend to place our front in a more closed position: that the other parties of the front support a presidential formula composed only by their party with Bregman and Del Caño. And from there, they also intend that in other places of importance they also apply a hegemonist criterion. Nobody who honestly wants a strong Left Front, unitary and open in the diffusion of all ideas and references, can support a closed and monolithic formula nor a general assembly that represents a single voice and a single idea, to the detriment of the rest.

This hegemonism and lack of unitary vocation was expressed in the closing of the PASO lists in Santa Fe, where they came to only one meeting of the FIT-U to say that they would not come to any other if PO did not self-criticize its political positions, something out of place, because asking for self-criticism is not a healthy method, debates exist and each one develops its positions. And concretely they did not come any more nor did they call any meeting nor did they make any proposal, and so there are two lists of the FIT-U in the PASO of this province; a unitary one of the MST and the PO, and another one of the PTS which added some comrades of IS who are functional to that hegemonism.

Carla Deiana and Jime Sosa, MST-PO Left Front candidates in Santa Fe

The error of this policy is also expressed in the struggles, in some, like the piquetero movement, by direct absence. And in others, to give a recent example in the important struggle of nurses in CABA, the PTS sent to the last mobilization only a couple of militants and with the only task of leafleting the actions of struggle calling to vote for Bregman-Del Caño. To that degree of electoralism reduces its intervention in this important sector. We do not consider this way of acting in workers’ sectors to be casual, since in general they have in the workers’ movement a mistaken policy of dividing and attacking new anti-bureaucratic leaderships, as they do in Garraham, in ALE and in other health sectors. The same logic has also led them to divide lists unnecessarily as in the Sutna and before in the teachers of Neuquén, just to mention two examples of others that exist to their credit. Ultimately, sectarian divisionism in the labor movement, electoralism in politics and hegemonistic attempts are all part of a political and trade union orientation which is opposed to a healthy working class and socialist method.

You may be interested in: Speeches by Cele Fierro and Alejandro Bodart at the massive FITU May Day rally.

The FIT-U we are defending in the PASO

We are facing a problem: although the best is a unitary list, we are very far from that possibility. And this problem is not solved by accepting an electoralist course or unipartisan proposals, which are not even democratically debated with the militant base and sympathizers of the front. We do not support this course because it would weaken the FIT-U and question its existence in the future, since the front exists because it is independent at all levels of all the capitalist forces, whether progressive or far-right, and exists on the basis that no one wants to arrogate to himself a disproportionate and unreal political representation that makes invisible the representations and ideas of others.

The Left Front needs solid political proposals and alternatives against all other fronts and candidacies by deploying our anti-capitalist and socialist program. It needs to have a common strategy on the process of struggles beyond the elections, it needs at the same time proposals that are unitary, convening, open, no more closed and political visions of a single party. And this does not have to do with the data of a survey or with what would be the best result in an election, but with understanding politically how negative would be the result of a front that does not open to more voices, each time wants to reflect less and monopolize more.

If there is a crisis and a horizon of going to the PASO in different lists, it is due to political debates where there are clear differences, combined with hegemonic pretensions and the lack of an open and democratic debate with all the militancy and the thousands of sympathizers that support us.

Our proposal

For all this on May 1st in Cele Fierro’s closing speech, we developed two central ideas: one to strengthen the FIT-U overcoming its status as an electoral front for something much deeper, a debate that is key to the medium and long term. Our other proposal was to resolve the political and electoral debate by calling for a big militant assembly so that thousands of workers and young people could debate and decide everything; the policy, the type of campaign and the candidacies. A big assembly of all the militancy of the FIT-U open to social activists, intellectuals, sympathizers of the front and fellow organizations. A big assembly with real participation, decision and collective debate. Last Wednesday, in the launching conference of his pre-candidacy for governor of Buenos Aires, our comrade Alejandro Bodart, reaffirmed the need to call for this democratic event that puts everything up for debate and decides with the participation of thousands.

You may be interested in: Alejandro Bodart announced his pre-candidacy for governor of the province of Buenos Aires for the FIT-Unity

There are only a few weeks left until the date for the presentation of alliances, where the FIT-U has to present its alliances and to know with which list or lists it will participate in the PASO. And in the framework of the divergences raised, there is no possibility of a common list if a frank and democratic debate where the whole militancy takes part is not opened. We hope that all this is reflected upon and that no one refuses to allow a real debate.

Vilma Ripoll, Alejandro Bodart and Cele Fierro, MST references in the FIT Unidad

Unfortunately it seems that it will not be like that, since in a recent article Guillo Pistonesi of the leadership of the PTS (*) has just rejected any type of event and democratic assembly saying: “we do not coincide with calling for a ‘congress’ or ‘assembly’ where we should put under the vote of comrades of struggle who do not necessarily agree with the political orientation of the FITU our program and candidacies. In the PTS there is permanent deliberation of the entire militancy and those who willingly take part in our open assemblies, who are the ones that democratically vote the program and the candidacies that represent them the best.” This is a defensive and mistaken argument that does not explain why that same militancy cannot come and debate together with the militancy of the other parties of the FIT-U and together with our sympathizers. What is the fear? Why shouldn’t we put the whole of the political ideas and pre-candidacies up for debate? Why not listen to what social activists, intellectuals and fellow organizations have to say? Why cannot the entire FIT-U deliberate jointly? Is it because of the fear that other ideas or candidacies gain more relevance in reality or in a massive event? The reality is that the comrades of the PTS have decided a long time ago to carry out their own campaign for their own candidates. For that dividing policy they decide to reject any democratic instance and a deep and real debate.

We will continue the coming days insisting on our united proposal and calling the parties of the FIT-U that want a front with a perspective of strengthening unity in the struggles, independent of all the capitalist variants, without mistaken hegemonisms, without an electoralist character and with a democratic and truly united method to form the lists, to act jointly in this decisive political struggle not only for these elections, but also for the future. And we call upon thousands of sympathizers of the FIT-U, fellow organizations, activists who support us in every election, intellectuals and workers, social, environmental, gender and human rights leaders with whom we share daily struggles, to collaborate in this challenge by contributing to strengthen a united and strong course in the Left Front Unity.

(*) Debate. The PASO of the Partido Obrero, published in La Izquierda Diario.