Argentina: Plenary of the Left. Alejandro Bodart’s speech

From the International Socialist League, we reproduce the full speech of our comrade Alejandro Bodart, coordinator of our organization and candidate for Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires in the next elections for the MST-PO in the FIT Unity.

I wish everyone could see from here what this plenary looks like. Extraordinary, comrades. From the MST we want to greet all the militancy of the Partido Obrero, of the MST, of the different organizations that have come, especially the organizations that have been joining this plenary, the social and political organizations, personalities, environmental organizations. For us, as the comrades have already said, this is a historic plenary. It is historic because of what we are going to discuss, but also historic, because this method, which is the method of the working class, is here to stay, comrades. In this way we have to begin to solve all the problems of the workers and the Left. There is a crisis of the capitalist system at global level that we can only compare with the crisis of the ’30s of the last century. To get out of that crisis the capitalists all over the world are discussing brutal, brutal measures against the workers and the peoples. Moreover: they are even discussing taking us to a possible Third World War to guarantee their profits. War that, of course, if it were to happen, would imply a genocide of millions and millions of workers. But they don’t give a damn. And in our country, the Argentine bourgeoisie together with the big corporations are discussing and squeezing their parties to implement a more brutal austerity than the one they are already implementing. That is why we have to be aware of the moment we are in. The reforms they want to enforce, whoever wins, are brutal reforms. They were not able to implement them during these years. In this same square I remember how we stopped the labor reform that was coming after the pension reform with Macri. But they are going to come back for that. The attempt of a pension reform is coming.

They want old people to die working and earning two pesos. A reform is coming to try to cut social assistance. That is why we do not understand how there are some people on the Left who are not on the clear side of the mobilization of the social organizations that have been putting their bodies on the line. And they are not putting their bodies only for the unemployed workers. If social assistance were to end, the consequences of that would be paid by the entire working class, because what the bosses want is that there be no social assistance so that there will be thousands and thousands of unemployed who will have to accept poverty wages and put downward pressure on all the wages of the working class. Comrades. In order to implement this austerity that all the representatives of the bourgeoisie are planning, all without exception can change the discourse but not the measures that they have already agreed with the IMF. Their pulse will not tremble in provoking changes and trying to advance on the democratic rights that we won with struggle for decades. There are some who openly state that it is necessary to use bullets. Possibly they will not hesitate to do so in order to try to enforce the austerity.

We have to be conscious of the moment that is upon us, because one does not discuss in the air, one discusses and makes a characterization of the present moment and where we are going to discuss, what policy, what orientation we fighters and revolutionaries need to have. They are going to try, but we are convinced that the working class is going to resist. It is going to take to the streets, it is going to confront them, as we are seeing now in the Argentine Northwest, in Salta and Jujuy. Look at Jujuy. It is important because there someone who came here and pretended to be progressive within Cambiemos, the soft wing, who is a feudal lord who wants to be a monarch, believed that he was going to be able to do what he wanted to do. He introduced a brutal reform, but what he caused was a rebellion, a “jujeñazo”, which is what marks where this country is heading. And that jujeñazo put a brake on him. He had to start backtracking on some of the measures he had taken. But we are aware that this is going to spread in the country. Possibly we are going to have a new argentinazo because the austerity measures that they are going to try to enforce, the cutting of rights, are going to trigger a rebellion like in Jujuy all over the country.

So we have to discuss which are the tasks of the Left in the face of this coming panorama, which Left we need for the coming period. And we are categorical, comrades. We do not need only a left concerned about the electoral issue. We want to have representatives, but it will not be with more or less representatives that we will be able to respond to the height of the circumstances. That is one struggle, one more struggle, but what we need is a left united to the social movements, to the working class, that prepares itself to respond in the streets to the coming austerity, to the repressive attempts, to the anti-democratic attempts. And that is why it is necessary that we debate on the left. Unfortunately, two strategies are beginning to take shape. And we would have liked to discuss here which the strategy of the Front’s militancy is. That the militancy of the social organizations with which we are in the streets every day, that the workers with whom we meet in every struggle can participate and resolve this debate, because it is all very well to call for voting but we are not going to stop the austerity with votes alone.

We need hundreds of thousands organized to be able to respond to the moment that is coming and nobody is going to organize with a force that only calls to vote but does not call to decide, that does not call to organize, that does not call to be an active part of the construction of a political alternative. And that is the strategic importance of this plenary: that this method is here to stay. Because. We want to multiply in each province, in each municipality the method of the working class, the method of collective debate. The method of resolving everything among all. The method of expanding unity. Because there are many people who are not from the four parties that make up the FIT-U, but who vote for the left that adhere to the program of the left. And we need to build bridges with those comrades. That is why we are happy that there are other organizations here. And we want there to be many more of the organizations with which we meet on the street, that many intellectuals who vote for the left organize with us. We want comrades from organizations that fight for human rights, environmental organizations to come with us. Because only the program of the left can get this country out of the crisis. Only the left has an agenda different from that of the International Monetary Fund. Only the left has as a strategy to recover the factories and the lands that are in the hands of a parasitic class so that they can be at the service of the whole country, of the workers, of the popular sectors. Comrades, we would have liked Bregman, Del Caño, the comrades of the PTS to be here. And that they could tell us how they see the perspective and that, in the end, among all of us, we could solve the problem. Unfortunately the comrades have not agreed to come and that forces us. It forces us to leave this plenary to give a battle that we did not want to end as it is ending, in two lists for the PASO, but we have to know that this battle is not only a battle of candidacies. It is a battle for a strategy. It is the battle to transform the Left Front into an organization that unites the resistance from below and that prepares itself to give the fights that are coming, that are going to be hard and that are going to be many, that we are not going to be able to stop them only by going to the television. That we have to carry them out on the streets, putting the body and that we need that the comrades most determined to give this battle be the ones to carry out this fight in the electoral field. It is a battle for a strategy.

Look, comrades, there is no possibility of solving the problem of the problems of the Argentine working class, which is the problem of its leadership, with a hegemonist project of a single party. He who works for that perspective works for dividing, because the only way for us to build a leadership that is up to the circumstances, is by working in unity, accepting the other, learning to work with nuances and when there are differences, to put those differences up to the vote of the militancy of the rank and file of the workers, of the popular sectors, so that the workers are the ones who decide.

I, comrades, believe that this opening rally will come to an end and all comrades will go to the commissions. Debate freely the program that we need to raise in this electoral battle, being aware that it is the first step for a battle that will continue the day after the elections. Debate which are the best proposals but let us go out united beyond what we resolve in this battle, which is a strategic battle. This plenary is going to be history. When we discuss many years from now, we will all remember this moment. And we hope, as everyone has said, that it will not be the only one and fundamentally that we do not meet only to discuss in an electoral period, but that it will be a constant and that we sit down to discuss permanently to build the revolutionary leadership that our class needs. Because here there is no way out without a socialist society, without a government of the workers and we have to build it among all of us, taking this first step and reaching the last worker with our proposals. And with this I end. Let us not be fooled by the bourgeois propaganda that society is divided into three thirds. Let us not allow ourselves to be deceived, let us not allow ourselves to be deceived. The majority of the workers are fed up with the PJ, with Cambiemos. And it is going to be seen, as it was seen in the interior of the country, which is the response of the workers to this Milei’s phenomenon that they want to push on us. There are millions who are looking for an alternative, disappointed with the false progressivism.

Let us go united to carry the message that changing things is possible. But we must change them together with the left and the fighters. Let us come out strongly. If we come out strongly, the project that starts today can succeed. And if it succeeds, we are going to be in better conditions, in much better conditions to face what is coming. Have strength, comrades. Let us not falter. We are in a fight that can be won, but we must give it with strength and with the optimism that when we fight we can win, because the only struggle that is lost is the one that is abandoned.