Argentina: Plenary of the Left. There are Primaries in the FIT-U and different strategies at stake

Finally, there will be PASO (Primary Elections) in the FIT Unidad with two lists. What are the reasons? Who decided not to have a common list and why? What are the differences? What are the political and strategic debates underway? Is it necessary to call activists and organizations sympathetic to the FIT-U? From the MST in the FIT-Unidad, we address all these issues that go beyond the PASO elections of August 13 and their results and that are introduced in the perspectives of the left that is needed to intervene politically in the country to come.

By Sergio García

Last Saturday, June 17, a massive plenary of the left finally took place in Plaza Congreso, called by our MST and the comrades of PO, joined by important referents, independent activists and left, piqueteras and environmental organizations that support the FIT-U. More than 20,000 comrades participated, we debated and intervened in thirteen commissions, and we finally decided everything by voting by a show of hands on the pre-candidatures, the policy and the program to carry forward against all the capitalist parties.

The plenary was a historic event that marks a turning point in the practice of the anti-capitalist and socialist left. For the first time in many years, everything proposed in political, programmatic and pre-candidacy matters is decided democratically among thousands and with the method of the working class: assembly first and vote at the end. That is to say, we advance with the most genuine method of our class and we open a new course that far from stopping must continue. We would have preferred that all the parties of the front come and that is why until the last day we proposed it. But we cannot force to debate and decide in common those who, mistakenly, never wanted to do so.

Why are there two lists?

Unfortunately, the comrades of PTS with their single-party presidential formula of Bregman and Del Caño decided not to come to the plenary. A week before, in a press conference, they announced their candidacies dividing the FIT-U in the PASO. A double mistake; launching themselves alone first and refusing to debate and decide collectively afterwards. Their rejection of a democratic, assembly-based Frente de Izquierda, of struggle and with real protagonism for thousands of militants and sympathizers is a more than worrying political definition that they should review.

Why are there two lists then? Because of political differences and differences in the method of construction of the FIT-U. To avoid the debate and so that nothing changes, the PTS decided to launch itself on its own without any democratic debate and with a hegemonist plan that threatens our front in the future. And it did so because it believes in an electoral FIT-U project, where nothing is debated, not even the conformation of common lists. Already at the beginning of 2022, they had launched their formula because they had already decided that this would be the end, a long time ago. Unfortunately, it has been confirmed that the comrades of PTS deepen a path of electoral political adaptation, where they make their own electoral needs take precedence over the need for a front that acts strong and united in the class struggle and the electoral plane is a democratic reflection of that intervention, and not of the result of a passing poll or of the need to install this or that figure.

La Izquierda Diario’s fake news

After the huge plenary meeting in Plaza Congreso, La Izquierda Diario published a report full of falsehoods and reiterated, once again, their contemptuous view towards the unemployed workers in struggle. Unusually, they write in their false report of the plenary that: “the composition of the event was 90% contributed by the Polo Obrero and Teresa Vive, with little presence of other sectors”.

In this definition, two serious problems are shown: first that PTS considers it a problem that there were many Piquetero comrades present, which is why they point it out by inventing a “90%” as if having a large presence of this sector in the struggle was a bad thing. Here they repeat, in other words, the same retrograde conception that they have been writing about a piqueteros’ movement of struggle, in which they do not participate, and which they criticize with arguments similar to those of the Right, without giving them support.

Furthermore, in the same sentence, they lie shamelessly, because although for us it is a source of pride that there was a strong presence of the Piquetero movement, at the same time the plenary of the left had an enormous participation of sectors of the workers’ movement and the youth. With important delegations of state and private unions from different branches of production and services. A presence of workers leaders and referents who in many cases have leadership responsibility in their unions, internal boards and delegate bodies. A strong presence of workers’ leaders, who cannot be seen in any event of the PTS, given their evident weakness in not having any responsibility to lead workers’ sectors.

Our plenary also had a large presence of young people from the different faculties of the University of Buenos Aires, from the universities of the suburbs and La Plata, plus some delegations from other cities. From tertiary and secondary schools all over the AMBA. From youth activism of socio-environmental struggles, women and dissidents. As well as there was also an important presence of invited social, piqueteros, environmental and political organizations of the left, who decided to join the campaign of our list in the FIT-U, something that La Izquierda Diario also hide in its particular and unreal report. Any honest person who has been in the plenary or who has seen the images and videos can easily verify all the presences with their diversity of sectors. The problem is that PTS wants to cover up reality like a child covers up the sun with his finger. Moreover, in doing so, it assumes as its own, in the best style of the media that misinforms, the method of the fallacy through the dissemination of fake news, in this case from the left. Sincerely, it is regrettable.

The real differences

For the left militancy, the sympathizers and voters of our front and for thousands of workers and young people who follow the proposals of the left, it is surely important to understand what issues are under this debate. That is why we refer to them in all seriousness, starting from removing from the middle the idea that there are two lists for a debate of candidacies or just to see who has the candidate for president. What we have here is a debate of substance, of project, of strategy on the left.

Of course, in the FIT Unidad, there is a solid framework of a programmatic agreement, that is why we value our front, and that is why after the PASO we will go in unity to the general elections. But there are substantive debates, about what the FIT-U should be and how we improve it, where we do not have agreement. The debate on lists only brought to light this discussion which is deeper and more definitive than an electoral list.

From the MST, and in agreement with the comrades of PO, we question the merely electoral character that the front has today. We want a front that acts in the struggles every day, pushing forward in-depth and making thousands of activists see themselves reflected in our front, not that they are only called to vote every two years. We are heading towards a country, as the events of Jujuy anticipate, where they will try new attacks on democratic and social rights, and in the face of it the working class and the people will respond with force and so the left has to stand up, be very solid and promote daily struggles in common. This is what we are fighting for from the FIT-U list “Unity of activists and the left”, which is made up of the MST and PO. And unfortunately, the comrades of the PTS reject this need and give an electoral character to the FIT-U, for which, besides refusing to articulate in struggles and the fight for the leadership of the workers’ movement and the popular neighbourhoods, they have been making political concessions to Peronism, avoiding denouncing its blatant cases of corruption. Because we all share that the justice friendly to Macrismo is reprehensible and must be exposed. But also the structural corruption of all capitalist governments, including that of CFK, must be denounced without concessions. To this, they have added, in an incredible way, an attack on the Piquetero movement with positions alien to our class.

In short, we are facing a debate about projects, about strategy. There are two paths in dispute and this is not resolved only with the result of the PASO, which will be only the first moment, a photo in the electoral plane, of a deep fight for the perspectives of the left in the country. Whether we are capable of building a left project that will play to dispute the political power supported by the workers and popular mobilization, and not only be a project, as PTS is promoting, reduced to the fight for some deputies and the call to vote for the FIT-U every two years. Something completely insufficient and deep down proof that this is the most adapted to the electoral regime adapted Left model.

Our program, our appeal

At the same time, as part of this strategy to make the unity of the left that we conquered bigger and stronger, is that we need to add thousands and thousands to our front. To do this we have our anti-capitalist and socialist program, which is our guiding political base that includes the fight for a workers’ government and socialism.

While we strengthen that program by having it debated and enriched among thousands, in a leap towards a low political level and with a bordering on unusual sectarianism, Giordano of Izquierda Socialista criticizes in an article that friendly forces of the left and social referents  of the struggles can come to our plenary to give their opinion on the program and the policy. Luckily we are very far from that pedantic, closed conception, which denies participation and collective elaboration.

We are proud that different groups of the anti-capitalist, socialist and anti-imperialist left have come to the Plenary of the Left, that piqueteras organizations and groupings With thousands of militants, sympathizers and with these organizations we debated and voted to strengthen the program of the FIT-U as can be seen in the thirteen resolutions voted by each commission and published in Periodismo de Izquierda. Because precisely a program is solid not only because of what it says but also because it has thousands of workers, people and youth militants who defend it and carry it forward. And the great contribution of the plenary and the MST-PO agreement is that it summoned and opened the doors to participation, while the FIT-U list of the PTS and IS closes all possibility of giving an opinion, debating and deciding. We are talking about something as simple as that.