Debates within the Left Front Unity of Argentina: The PTS (TF) must abandon its divisive course

Rightfully so, the debate opened in the Left Front Unity interests and worries not only the militancy of the four parties that comprise it (MST, PO, PTS, IS), but also the periphery of sympathizers, great part of the social activism of the most diverse areas in all the country and even internationally. We analyze here the position of the PTS (TF), which we believe should change as soon as possible since it opens a dangerous divisive path of the FIT Unity, which, despite being just an electoral front, is the main political national and unitary reference of the left.

By Pablo Vasco

1. Divisive hegemonism or unity in diversity

As a press statement announced days ago, the PTS reaffirmed its own presidential ticket Bregman-Del Caño and its “agreement with IS takes place in the context of the unilateral decision by the PO supported by the MST of making their own list to participate in the PASO” 1.

It is ironic that it now intends to criticize the PO and MST for a “unilateral decision”, as it is precisely the PTS who a long year ago, since June 2022, launched and is promoting unilaterally its own candidacies, comprised only of figures of its party, and without never even proposing it for consideration of the National Table of the Fit Unity.

The reality is just the opposite: if there is a PASO in August in the Fit Unity it is because the PTS refused debating a presidential ticket and candidacies that express the entirety of forces of the front, and sealed itself in its self-proclaiming. Furthermore, to solve the differences it does not accept a democratic methodology of debate like the open plenary we are proposing from the MST and the PO.

Although it is obvious that every party has the right to propose its own figures, the pretension of monopolizing the presidential formula and the most expectable candidacies does not speak of an integrating, unitary proposal and to strengthen the FIT Unity as a front, but of a hegemonic eagerness alien to reality that in fact aims at displacing the other forces. That is to say, instead of representing the real relationship of forces among the parties that make up the front and thus show its plurality of voices, the PTS maintains a monopolistic criterion, of single mindset, which not only weakens the FIT Unity but also opens a divisive risk that is necessary to fight.

Any union fighter who acts in a joint list, any activist who militates in any unitary sphere of the student movement, picketers, environmentalists, human rights, feminists, sexual diversity or wherever, knows perfectly well that the most adequate methodology to take care of the unity of any collective space is that of consensus and respect for the real representativeness of its components. While integration builds unity, hegemonism is rupturist. From now on, the PTS is in time to change and to participate on the 17th in the plenary in Plaza Congreso.

2. Opportunism towards Kirchnerism or a consistent left

In the FIT Unity, although we share a basic anti-capitalist and socialist program, there are divergences in how to implement it in daily political life. In our opinion, for some time now the PTS has adopted an opportunist moderation towards the national government, especially towards Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, surely in search of votes among those who sympathize with the Vice-President. Specifically, in the face of the corruption cases that the justice system maintains against CFK, the PTS figures focus unilaterally on criticizing the “political persecution”, which is a real side of the issue, but omitting to repudiate the other undeniable side: the corruption of which there is plenty of multimillionaire evidence in the successive governments of the PJ, the Frente de Todos and the Macrismo. On the other hand, the PTS exonerated her: “It was not possible to prove a direct link between Cristina Kirchner and the facts”…2

The last and notorious example of this opportunist lukewarmness of the PTS was very few days ago, in front of Cristina’s speech on May 25. Before, during and after the 25th it was undoubtedly the central political topic of all the media, TVs, newspapers, radios and social networks of the country, big or small. In her act in Plaza de Mayo, Cristina, who speaks with a “progressive” tone and as if she did not govern but is co-responsible for the adjustment, blessed Massa and De Pedro, took pride in paying “taca taca” $100,000 million dollars of foreign debt, defended the brutal Asian capitalism and proposed a “democratic pact” with the right-wing. Is it not supposed that a presidential ticket of the left should act to unmask such a double discourse of one of the main political leaders of the bosses of the country?

Well, such a political fact did not deserve even a single tweet of criticism from the Bregman-Del Caño formula. As the old saying goes: he who is silent, grants. With this type of political concessions to the leadership of the Kirchnerist wing of Peronism, the PTS mistakenly distances itself from the program of the FIT Unity: “we support the political independence of the workers against any variant of the bosses, including the so-called progressive ones “3. It is not about sectarianism, but firmness of the left.

3. Contempt towards the unemployed or key social movement

For us, the social subject of the socialist revolution is still the employed working class, especially that of the big companies. We must build there a revolutionary party without a doubt. However, that does not deny that the unemployed are part of said class and at the same time, in a country like ours, with high rates of unemployment and struggle tradition, social movements have a lot of prominence in the popular struggles of the last three decades. That is why they are another indispensable front of intervention and construction for the entire revolutionary socialist strategy that prides itself of that.

 Since 1996, after the massive layoffs of Menem, in Cutral Co and Plaza Huincul the first piquetero movements emerged. During the Argentinazo of 2001, they were an active part of the popular rebellion and after conquering thousands and thousands of social plans that, essentially, last to this day. By the way, there are public subsidies of assistance for unemployment and poverty in the entire world. However, here the qualitative difference is that, as it was ripped out and defended with the struggle, great part of that assistance is managed by the piquetero’s organizations and social movements, independently from the capitalist State. That great conquest and political and organizational independence is what the different bourgeois governments have been attacking but have not managed to defeat for 20 years.

Well, the PTS has an objective attitude of contempt towards the piquetero’s organizations, even towards those linked to parties of the FIT-U: the Teresa Vive to our MST and the Polo Obrero to the PO. Of course, it is not that when they repress a piquetero struggle the PTS does not show solidarity, which is fundamental. What we are saying is that, apart from the fact that in its 35 years of existence it did not want to, did not know how to or could not build itself among the unemployed, its position is profoundly derogatory, reactionary. For example, there is an offensive tweet by Raúl Godoy, leader of the PTS, which is embarrassing, saying that the assemblies of the PTS are CONSCIOUS AND VOLUNTARY, in capital letters, in other words, shouting, alluding to the fact that the social movements have no conscience and participate in a forced, clientelistic way.

Another PTS leader, Guillo Pistonesi, criticizes us: “a unilateral construction in the administration of plans and in the creation of social movements like the Polo Obrero and Teresa Vive, is a political practice that neither the PTS nor IS share, it is neither good nor bad, it is different”. He says that the piquetero struggle is “losing its edge” and that “a program for genuine work, for the reduction of the working day to six hours, is being raised less and less… The political criticism is that they have left aside the proposal of a transitional program that would take those basic demands towards a confrontation with the bosses and the State “4. But what does the pig know about candy if it never had a candy store? With what petty bourgeois pedantry does it speak of that which it does not know at all? Neither the government itself nor the bourgeoisie would dare to say that the piqueteros “lose their edge” or do not “take their demands to a confrontation”. On the contrary: with good reason they consider them a favorite target of austerity and repression.

So erroneous is this contempt, that in a recent PTS plenary in La Matanza, they attacked the piquetero movements aligned with the left so much that a rank-and-file comrade, with a mixture of astonishment and anger, asked them, “But then what, do you prefer that the PJ leads them?”

Does the PTS forget that Lenin, when updating the Program of the Social-Democratic Party of Russia in May-April 1917, as part of it proposed to demand a “comprehensive social insurance of the workers… also for unemployment” (point 8. b) and to create “labor exchanges” of the class itself “to conveniently organize the search for work for the unemployed” (point 13)5? And do they also forget that Trotsky, while also proposing the “reduction of the working day”, proposed a “broader and more effective protection for the unemployed “6?

Moreover, it is not that the PTS despises the piqueteros because it has a great militant presence in the working class. Not at all. It does not lead a single union in the whole country and its actions in many workers’ struggles, due to sectarianism, self-proclamation and political use, were functional to the bosses’ attack and thus ended in defeats and with fired activists: Jabón Federal, Lear, Kraft, Pepsico… In Zanón they lost the leadership three years ago. And also, unfortunately, they attack the democratic unions and militant internal commissions, as they do in the health and other sectors.  

4. PASO of the bourgeois regime or workers’ method of assemblies

Except for IS, which until recently said that the PASO divided the front but now goes unquestioningly behind the single ticket of the PTS, in the FIT-U nobody is afraid of the internal elections to decide the lists. Even less so the MST, which already in the previous legislative election went to the FIT-Unidad internal elections alone. The current controversy is that, since the front has a large militancy and also the participation of sympathizers; of independent left-wing fighters from the trade union , unemployed, student, gender, human rights and environmental movements; of other friendly leftist organizations and personalities. Why does the PTS prefer a mechanism of bourgeois democracy, limited and of a clear polyclassist character, instead of a workers’, youth and popular assembly, open, where each comrade and grouping has protagonism, voice and vote, in a “conscious and voluntary” way?

In the PASO, in turn, only one vote is placed in an envelope to decide candidacies and that’s it. Nothing to do in comparison with a massive and militant assembly, which besides being a political event in itself allows to debate and exchange ideas on the perspectives of the country, how we prepare ourselves from the left, diverse themes in commissions and of course the electoral campaign, the political axes, the profile, the presidential formula and the integration of the lists. Why does the PTS not want to participate in such an event, discussing head-on, is it perhaps because it feels more comfortable in the terrain of the mechanisms of the bourgeois regime than in the combative and popular climate of a big assembly, in the best tradition of the working class to debate and resolve?

Of course, as an answer there is no room for the excuse of the PTS that “we have already held many assemblies”… of the PTS alone! Infantilisms are out of place. From the MST and the PO we are proposing the opposite: a joint event of the whole FIT Unity and open to fighters and other sectors of the left; a unitary and participatory day, where all the variants can be raised and then resolved in common.

5. Electoral adaptation or revolutionary alternative

When the PTS closes itself saying that its candidates “are the best candidates” to represent the FIT Unity, it does so on the basis of polls… in other words, it resorts to the same unilateral and limited method with which Larreta just nominated Jorge Macri as candidate for chief of government of the city. But we are going for the in-depth debate.

If the PTS seeks the fake hegemonism of its party in the front knowing that it is divisive, if it politically gives in to kirchnerism in an opportunistic fashion, if it acts in a derogatory way towards organizations of the unemployed and if it also to solve the differences about the candidacies prefers internal elections instead of an open and democratic plenary of the entire FIT-U, the guiding thread of its political line is an electoralism that increasingly adapts more the democratic-bourgeois regime and thus strays away from a leftist, revolutionary, combative and anti-systemic perspective.

We call on the national leadership of the PTS and all its cadres and militants to reflect deeply on this matter, to change and join a collective debate, which is the best way to strengthen the FIT Unity and to advance as a political alternative of struggle, transforming and revolutionary, even at the electoral level.

Izquierda Socialista, a mistaken follower of the PTS

With the comrades of IS we come from the same political current: Morenist Trotskyism. Because of this trajectory of many years in common, our call to review their position, which we consider mistaken, has a special importance.

According to the statement of its referent Juan Carlos Giordano: “In spite of the fight we gave from Izquierda Socialista so that the FITU would not go to the PASO divided, proposing the united formula Bregman-Solano, the PO and the MST made the decision to divide by launching their ticket Solano-Ripoll, thus ignoring the previous agreements and closing any possibility of going united. They call for a plenary on June 17 saying that it is an ‘event to debate everything’ when the truth is that it is a unilateral call to ratify their formula “7.

These are many fallacies in a few lines. As we said above, “the decision to divide” was taken by the PTS, which for a year has been locked into an exclusive ticket. And the MST and the PO are not “closing all possibility of going united”, since we invited the PTS and IS to resolve everything in the open plenary on the 17th in Congress.

Until very recently IS proposed a shared presidential ticket Bregman-Solano because they understood that it should be inclusive and, at the same time, they said that the PASO meant a division of the front. But it turns out that now they are going for the PASO and backing a single party ticket of the PTS.

The contradiction is yours, comrades of IS. They could have resolved it in a positive way, but they chose to go after the electoralism of the PTS. We invite your leaders and militants to reverse that erroneous decision.

1 formula-Bregman-Del-Cano?utm_source=lid&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=article-social-actions
6 La desocupación mundial y el plan quinquenal de la Unión Soviética, 1930.