Argentina: Solano-Ripoll and a great assembly that decides everything to strengthen the Left Front Unity

Over the weekend of May 20-21, the National Electoral Conference of our MST in the FIT-U  was held, and the comrades of the Partido Obrero also held their own conference. At both events, as we already made public on Saturday afternoon, proposals for pre-candidacies were voted on, beginning with the Solano-Ripoll presidential formula and the call for a large assembly of the left where everything can be debated and decided on: politics, program and candidacies. Toward this great event we also propose the candidacies of Alejandro Bodart for governor, Néstor Pitrola deputy and Romina Del Pla senator of Buenos Aires. And in the City of Buenos Aires, Cele Fierro legislator, Vanina Biasi chief of government and Jessi Gentile deputy.

By Sergio Garcia

This joint and unitary call marks a very clear policy and method. We propose that the entire membership of the FITU and also organizations and figures who are friends and sympathizers of the front, debate and decide with their vote, in a large assembly, all pertinent issues.

This is specified in the joint text issued by the MST and the PO when it says: “We agree today to call an assembly for deliberation and resolution of the left forces and activists that fight throughout the country to decide the policy, the program and the candidacies of the left and agree on a joint intervention to strengthen the struggles. Both forces highlight the appeal to all the forces of the FITU, to popular organizations and social and intellectual figures that support our front, to participate in the assembly, to promote a common slate of the left against the bosses’ blocs responsible for the catastrophe the country is in. At this event, we will propose to constitute a common list for the elections on the basis of defending the Left Front Unity as a pole of class independence to fight for a workers’ government and socialism. Knowing that the Left Front must overcome its condition of being a merely electoral front to become a channel for the political mobilization of the thousands of people who are confronting the austerity measures, who are mobilizing in the neighborhoods, the unions, the youth, and all the movements of struggle.”

The reasons for an important political agreement

The agreement we reached with the Partido Obrero was discussed in depth at our conference, with the participation of a large number of delegates in person and many others online from many provinces. The unanimous vote in favor of the agreement was the concrete expression of the political understanding of the moment of crisis that the FITU is going through and of the need to strengthen a political path to pull it out of that situation, and place the anti-capitalist and socialist left in better conditions to face the situation that the country is heading into. There will be greater social and political confrontations and an attempt by any of the candidates of the capitalist parties that win to curtail social and democratic rights. The left and our front must be stronger and better positioned for that perspective.

For these tasks and challenges, we understood that it is very positive to join forces based on clear political, programmatic and political orientation agreements about what our front should do. Because despite each party starting from different conceptions and evaluations of the previous years, we were actually arriving at the common understanding that this model of FITU -only electoral, incapable of acting in unity in the struggles or of appealing to activists and our supporters to become an active part of the front- must be changed.

Along with with the common understanding of the moment that the front is going through, the agreement includes a criticism of the policies of the PTS comrades, who have taken a dangerous and regressive political leap, combining a strong electoralist adaptation, a reactionary rejection of the struggle of the independent piquetero movement and an attempt to hegemonize the front that is not consistent with its structural weakness as a political organization.

The mistaken course of the PTS

We are referring to a strong electoralist adaptation that is not new but it is increasingly pronounced, and with each debate it deepens more. It leads them, in a desperation to attract a few more votes, to deny Cristina Kirchner’s responsibility in the acts of corruption of her previous government. Because it is clear that the judiciary, tied to the macrist opposition, must be strongly criticized and nothing that comes from it can be supported. But the PTS swings to the other side, saying and writing that there is no evidence of corruption, placing itself in the mistaken role of lawyer for the PJ government, when the structural and concrete corruption that the PJ government had is more than evident, just as evident as the corruption in the subsequent Macri government. In addition, the PTS cannot forget that corruption in business with the State is a structural reality of the capitalist system and its governments here and throughout the world. And that includes the government that CFK headed.

Electoralism is also noticeable, and a lot, around the debate on the conformation of the lists. Every time it has expressed its opinion on the matter, the PTS says that its Bregman-Del Caño formula is the best positioned in the polls and adds that, in any case everything should be resolved in the Primaries. In other words, the entire strategy of the revolutionary left is reduced to face-to-face or telephone surveys or the opinion of voters in general, the rest does not matter at all. Those who defend the opinion of people of different social classes and political backgrounds as a priority -because that is what a survey or an election expresses- at the same time deny unemployed workers in struggle the right to express their opinion and decide what our front should do.

On this point the PTS has crossed a line. An article by Guillo Pistonesi explains it very well when he says: “naturally we do not agree with calling a ‘congress’ or ‘assembly’ where comrades in struggle who do not necessarily agree with the FITU’s political orientation should vote on our program and candidacies.” Incredibly, he also says that: “In these conditions of the class struggle, in the Primaries -which the PO has decided to use against Myriam Bregman and the PTS, and is a resource that we have used on other occasions (though we will continue to reject the proscriptive threshold)- those who have consciously decided to support the program of our Front will determine the FITU lists with their vote”. In summary, it is not natural for the PTS for thousands of workers to debate and resolve the front’s policies and candidacies in a large assembly, but it does seem natural to resolve them through the vote in the Primaries, that is, through a bourgeois democratic electoral instrument in which people of all different classes and political ideas vote. We call that a strong adaptation to the regime.

The statement crosses a line again, when it clearly expresses a reactionary conception towards the piquetero movement of struggle. In fact, it denies them the right to decide and to be part of our front. Thus, the PTS expresses a middle class conception that criticizes from the outside what is actually experienced and discussed in the massive poor neighborhoods of our country. And they end by repeating the arguments of minister of Social Development Tolosa Paz, the right wing newspaper La Nación and other right-wingers, about the piquetero movement, arguments used by the mainstream media to install the idea that the unemployed are used and forced to attend actions of struggle. That is why it is no coincidence that, in a sincere way, in a recent tweet, Raúl Godoy, a PTS leader, writes in capital letters the words “VOLUNTARY and CONSCIOUS,” (see below) with which he insults the piquetero movement of struggle. The least he should do is apologize for such an anti-worker expression, which expresses a whole conception. The same conception that, in turn, is leading them to attack the new left wing union leaderships that the front’s other parties are part of, trying to weaken the labor organizations that the left has been recovering from the hands of the bureaucracy.

“A great day of assemblies and plenaries where thousands of workers and students participate VOLUNTARILY and CONSCIOUSLY Pride. Intense political activity. The open assemblies of the PTS begin in the whole country.”

Due to this whole mistaken set of politics, and the intended hegemonism of wanting a presidential formula only with members of its party, the PTS is today responsible for the fact that we may end up divided in the Primaries. There is still time to reflect and return to a united path and a fair policy. However, reading their latest statements, this doesn’t seem probable.

IS and its inconsistencies

While these debates were taking place between the three main forces of the FITU, a statement by Izquierda Socialista appeared rejecting the announcement of the Solano-Ripoll formula. Incredibly, those who have been proposing a formula (Bregman-Solano) for a whole year now criticize that two other parties propose a different policy and formula. So only IS can propose formulas in this debate?

What the leadership of IS does not see is that their proposal was mistaken and destined to fail, in the first place because neither the PTS, nor the PO, nor the MST accepted it, because there are many other things under debate. They should leave aside their electoralist reasoning and realize that the formula is not being discussed in itself. The debate is about the entire project and policy of the front, and the different formulas and lists being proposed are an expression of the whole. From a conservative perspective, IS wants nothing to change and everything to stay the same and asks to “respect previous agreements” that only exist in their imagination. Reality indicates that everything changes and nothing will remain as before, so they have to decide which FITU project they want to contribute to. They could really collaborate by joining this political struggle for the future of the front. So far they do not.

Specifically, there are two formulas under debate: Solano-Ripoll, a unitary formula proposed to a large assembly of all the FITU membership to debate and decide everything. And the closed and one-party formula of the PTS with Bregman-Del Caño, decided only within their party. Which one is IS going to support? Or do they also reject a large assembly to decide where they can also bring their proposal? We hope that they don’t end up, because of some small electoral calculation, behind a one-party formula, something contrary to everything they have said and would position them as mere supporters of the PTS.

Debating and deciding in assembly strengthens the FITU

We hold these debates because the objective is to strengthen our front and the left, since years of enormous challenges, struggles, social confrontations and political opportunities are ahead. Hence the importance of deciding and debating everything collectively and en masse. And to strengthen within the front the proposals to no longer be a merely electoral front -something that delays our real tasks- and encourage the joint political action and the mobilization of thousands of workers and youth with the FITU.

As we explained in the statement with the Partido Obrero, all of our pre-candidates are at the service of the debate in a large assembly.It would be best for everyone to participate in the event for a common policy and a unitary list to emerge from there. That is why our proposal is to all the parties of the FITU, for them to participate and each bring their political proposals and candidacies, to add to the debate and to the resolutions that are taken.

We must put aside the electoralist arguments that weaken a strong and unified action of the FITU. If there is still no agreement, what is better than to appeal to the method of the working class of meeting in assembly, where we can all debate, propose and decide. That is what we are talking about, the most democratic and representative mechanism that socialists can have. And for the same reason, we invite the popular organizations that support the FITU, social, labor, piquetero, socio-environmental and gender leaders and activists, as well as intellectual friends of our front, to be part of this great assembly to decide everything, together with the membership of the FITU, as part of a first instance towards a great electoral campaign where we must be thousands and thousands defending an anti-capitalist and socialist program.