Simultaneously to the national elections, an important contest took place in the capital city. The Primaries in the City of Buenos Aires left only four lists in the race towards October: two of them right-wing, one turning to the right, and ours, the Left Front – Unity ticket that I head in the legislators list, with Vanina Biasi as Chief of Government candidate. Here I share with you series of early conclusions and an approximate perspective of what is to come in the center of Argentine politics.
By Cele Fierro, Buenos Aires City legislator candidate
With the fog of Sunday’s results clearing, we can begin to make definitions as an assessment of what happened. First, a just over 60% of the eligible voters voted, in an obligatory election. Undoubtedly, between the apathy and the crisis of expectations with the traditional electoral offer, plus the embarrassment of an electronic voting system that showed all the improvisation of a government in retreat, this equation explains the rising absenteeism. Moreover, there were several keys:
Juntos por el Cambio won the election with the sum of votes attained by Jorge Macri (the ex president’s cousin) and Lousteau, who had a hostile primary in terms of the contest between their respective factions in the same political and economic block. But it remains to be seen if there is an automatic transfer of votes from the Radical Party sponsored Lousteau to the new Macri.
The increasingly right-wing Peronism, with an ex Radical Party leader as its candidate, barely exceeded 20% of the votes. Mathematically, they are closer to losing in the first round than to reaching the run-off election. The cultural battle called by Santoro evidently did not have the expected adhesion and, honestly, this is logical: to reach from the “green revolution” to supporting tasers and riding the “anti-pickets” wave has consequences.
Far right Marra came in third place with 12%, far from surprising or shocking. Being a faded photocopy of Macrism and without his patron Milei to leverage his votes resulted in a modest and distant election that he himself predicted in the media.
Finally, as for us, the Left Front-Unity resolved its internal election with a very categorical result in favor of our list and a solid base of votes to grow towards October: almost 4% for Chief of Government and close to 5% in the category I head. In the internal election we won 65% to 35% against the candidates of the PTS and IS.
The governing right: two candidates, the same business model
Facing the cousin heir, Lousteau tried to win the more traditional Radical vote, but with a hint of low-intensity progressivism, and that is why he deployed a discourse cosmetically somewhat more liberal than Macri. However, this two-sided discourse was insufficient to win. However, this is a superficial analysis. What is important to point out is that both Macri and the Radical of Juntos por el Cambio, who criticized his opponent for including the fascist Rinaldi in his list, placed a reactionary like Ocaña at the head of his own list. Therefore, beyond the campaign speeches, the reality is that both candidates essentially share a capitalist city model conceived as an economic unit for doing business with friends, especially those of the real estate and financial sectors, as well as big businesses (all of them benefited with tax exemptions). Both Macri and Lousteau rode on the right-wing, anti-poor and reactionary climate of the times, and focused on the homeless, the pickets and the strengthening of the police, which recently killed Facundo Molares. In short: the block of power and business, which pays tribute to Juntos por el Cambio, is going to have a Macri in the lead by October. Additional incentive to fight him.
Anti-right cultural battle with Massa, supporting tasers and riding the “anti-picket” wave?
Peronism in the City of Buenos Aires played with a swing to the center and to the right. It jumped on the national wave. First, the internal lists that promoted a critical or feminist tendency (Ofelia Fernandez, Gomez Alcorta) were kicked out and then, Santoro chose the epic of governing for all, but with strong winks to the right:
He began by municipalizing the election, as if he were not Alberto’s national legislator and his candidate for president, pro-IMF minister Massa. The idea of Buenos Aires Peronism as a neighborhood party was a miss.
Then, although he continued talking about “green revolution or real estate business,” as a progressive or even left-wing objective, disputing our electoral base, he ended up supporting the right-wing criticism of the Rent Law (in defense of the landlords), promoting tasers and talking about “regulating the protests in the French way.”
In short: in times of polarization, the middle avenue always turns to the same side… and it is not precisely the left. Santoro and more representatives in the Legislature from that space are more seats for the resignation that the right wing celebrates. If you are anti-Macrist, they are not the way.
Not more far right seats
Marra’s results, with the media coverage he had and the libertarian wave he rode, were rather meager. However, he could win several new representatives if he repeats his 12% in October. Let us review the projects presented by him and the delirious one presented by his block:
- Tax exemptions to capitalists in different areas, starting with digital platforms.
- Repeal of regulations that protect delivery platform workers.
- Prohibition of the right to strike for subway workers and sanctions to social organizations for protesting.
- Elimination of the sanitary pass for health personnel in public transportation.
- Elimination of the name “Rodolfo Walsh” (a left wing Peronist journalist killed by the dictatorship in 1977) from the subway station and reinforcement of police equipment.
- Suppression of bicycle lanes and legalization of “express” evictions.
This character, without a single contribution from an honest job, a broker and 40 year old daddy’s boy, is a bizarre danger. Not one more seat for these emboldened little fascists. It is almost a cause in itself.
Us, on the leftFirst, I must acknowledge the great militant campaign we carried out. Mornings, afternoons and nights, canvasing hospitals and health centers, schools, neighborhoods, slums: everywhere. We have marked the entire map of the causes most felt by the majority that is not a parasite in this City. We achieved almost 90 thousand votes in the category of legislators and we value this very much. Even the cut in favor of our list in that category, surely from Santoro’s voters and even from Lousteau’s voters with that tactical vote for Macri to not win the internal election. In reality, taking the national panorama as a whole and the perspective of the City for what is to come, strengthening the Left Front at the ballot box and enlarging our bloc with more seats, is the only genuinely useful anti-right vote and a guarantee of coherence. This is the core of the cultural battle in October. Because this resistance vote to bring more left voices into the Legislature reinforces a position of strength to fight outside, in the streets, in the day to day, supporting every struggle from below against the outrages of the emboldened right wing. At the same time, we have an urgent and strategic task: to appeal outwards with the Left Front-Unity as articulator, to activate (not only voting) the anti-fascist organization and militancy of thousands in the next period. We are going to convene meetings and open assemblies with that perspective. Will you join this, real, cultural battle?