We the signers of this statement — leaders, and members of working-class, anti-imperialist, and Left parties; from the peasantry, the youth, the women’s movement, the LGBTQ+ movement, and the environmental movement; from organizations that confront capitalist oppression — declare our support for the candidates of the Workers Left Front – Unity (FIT–U) in Argentina in the November 14, 2021, legislative elections.
The FIT–U, which was born 10 years ago as a coalition of the class-conscious, socialist Left, is made up of the Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS, Party of Socialist Workers), Partido Obrero (PO, Workers’ Party), Izquierda Socialista (IS, Socialist Left), and the Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (MST, Workers’ Socialist Movement). It is the only alternative to the capitalist parties and the politics of imperialism in Argentina.
The ruling Peronist coalition, led by Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and President Alberto Fernández, suffered a heavy defeat in the September 12 primary elections. This has created a major crisis within the government on which the right-wing, led by Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), the party of former president Mauricio Macri, is trying to capitalize. The “libertarian” extreme Right is trying to take advantage of the discontent with the traditional capitalist parties to impose its proposed economic model of greater austerity and attacks on working people and the Left. In this context of disappointment and popular discontent, the Workers Left Front (FIT–U) emerged in the recent primary elections as the third national political force.
Two years after taking office, and despite claiming the “progressive” mantle and promising to put an end to the austerity policies of the previous government, the ruling Frente de Todos (Front for All) coalition has instead promoted policies that favor the interests of the Argentine and international capitalists. In the middle of the pandemic, it left millions of people without even the meager emergency income — which it eliminated directly from the budget in the second year — and imposed harsh cutbacks on workers in order to continue paying the illegitimate foreign debt to the IMF and to maintain subsidies to the big capitalists. Already, more than 40 percent of Argentines live in poverty, and wages continue to fall in the face of inflation, with the complicity of the union bureaucracy.
In this scenario, the FIT–U has become a channel to express the anger of broad sectors of the working class, women, and youth. At the national level, the FIT–U won more than a million votes (5 percent). In the province of Jujuy, in the impoverished north of the country where the population is mostly indigenous, the FIT–U won 24 percent of the votes and is fighting to elect a national deputy. In the Patagonian provinces (Santa Cruz, Chubut, Río Negro, and Neuquén), the FIT–U won some 10 percent of the votes. In local elections in Neuquén’s capital city, a FIT–U candidate was elected with 8.8 percent of the votes. These are all provinces that have recently seen big strikes and mobilizations (of health workers and teachers; by the environmental movement; by the unemployed piqueteros) in which the organizations of the FIT–U were at the forefront. In the city of Buenos Aires, the Front won the most votes in its history and is close to achieving representation in the National Congress. In the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area, a high number of votes came from working-class and poor neighborhoods, reflecting the major struggles led by piqueteros and poor people against unemployment, hunger, and misery, and for land and housing. This raises the possibility that worker-candidates may also be elected to city councils, which have long been a closed preserve for the bourgeois parties in the largest municipalities.
The Workers Left Front – Unity was part of the “green tide” that won the right to legal, safe, and free abortion, and is on the front lines of the struggle against extractivism, agribusiness, and the destructive mining of the multinationals that are backed by all the bosses’ parties. It fights for the political independence of the working class and denounces the integration of the Peronist trade union bureaucracy into the capitalist state. Against the bureaucracy, the Front fights to reclaim the unions and establish class-conscious leaderships. In its program, the FIT–U demands the non-payment of the illegitimate foreign debt that condemns the countries of Latin America to poverty. It calls for the reduction of the workday to six hours and the redistribution of working hours among all available hands, with no cut in wages. And it fights for the nationalization of banks and foreign trade. Unlike the reformists who argued that to succeed electorally it was necessary to scale back their program, the FIT–U openly puts forward a program to “expropriate the expropriators.” And against imperialism and the local bourgeoisie, it puts forward the socialist unity of all Latin America.
The FIT–U results express in Argentina the struggle against the effects of the world capitalist crisis, triggered by the pandemic, on the working class and the exploited masses. During the pandemic, millions of essential workers throughout the world were forced to work and put their lives at risk. Others were laid off and barely survived on state aid. Meanwhile, the fortunes of a few billionaires — Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others — kept growing. Latin America became the most socially unequal region in the world, deepening the conditions that drove popular uprisings in Ecuador and Chile in 2019 and that spread to Bolivia, Colombia, and elsewhere.
The world capitalist crisis is the great engine of the workers’ and popular rebellions — not only in the semi-colonial and dependent nations of Latin America, but also in the imperialist metropolises, and first and foremost, in the United States. It is this crisis and the resistance of the masses to austerity policies that have been disrupting and overturning right-wing regimes (such as the mobilizations against the Añez coup in Bolivia, and the popular rebellions in Chile and Colombia) and that has exposed the impotence and complicity of the center-left and “national and popular” parties, supporters of class-collaborationist fronts. Faced with the crisis of the traditional Right and the failure of the center-left or “pseudo-progressive” variants (Chavismo, Lulismo, Podemos, Syriza) that have become defenders and executors of the capitalist–IMF structural adjustments against the working masses, the extreme Right is trying to reposition itself. We already see in the Spanish State how Vox is capitalizing on part of the crisis of the Spanish monarchic regime and the capitulations of the pseudo-progressive center-left.
The crisis has also been undermining the development of this extreme Right. Trump’s loss, the wave of mobilizations and strikes faced by the new right-wing government that just took office a few months ago in Ecuador, and other unfolding mobilizations are evidence of this. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro is also sustained by the faint-hearted policy of class collaboration carried out by Lula’s Workers Party (PT) that has blocked the organized intervention of the exploited masses by corrupt pro-bourgeois bureaucracies. Short of breath, Bolsonaro continues to unveil new attacks against the workers’ conquests (such as undermining the job security of public sector workers). In Argentina, the candidates Javier Milei and José Luis Espert are an expression of these ultra-reactionary forces. With their demagogic “anti-establishment” and “anti-politics” discourse, they hide who the real winners are from the policies carried out by the capitalist governments during the pandemic: the multinationals, big businesses, landowners, and the banks.
On the international Left, we have seen center-left and pseudo-progressive parties all promise to break with austerity policies and end up implementing those very measures.
That was the case of Podemos in the Spanish State, which is now part of the PSOE’s “progressive neoliberal” government. Before that, in Greece, Syriza promised an anti-austerity government and ended up being the best pupil of the IMF and European Union, implementing the plans of the Troika and thus opening the way for the return of the Right. In Latin America, the Chilean Frente Amplio signed the “Agreement for Peace and the New Constitution” — along with the right-wing and the reactionary Piñera government —which sought to demobilize the popular uprising and rehabilitate the hated institutions inherited from the dictatorship. In Peru, despite all the illusions generated by Pedro Castillo’s government, we are already seeing him give in to the bosses’ pressure. In Brazil, Lula, Dilma, and the PT want to return to power together with representatives of the bosses in a broad front. In Bolivia, the class concilliationist MAS government, formerly led by Evo Morales, has returned.
The so-called “progressive” Latin American governments like those of Lula or Dilma in Brazil, the Kirchners in Argentina, López Obrador in Mexico, and Evo Morales or Luis Arce in Bolivia — despite some friction with imperialism, ended up governing without challenging the interests of the big capitalists or international finance capital. The governments of Chávez and Maduro in Venezuela, which went so far as to declare a “socialism of the 21st century,” have followed a course of capitulation to the bourgeoisie and even to imperialism —even though Maduro is facing a campaign of aggression and an economic blockade by imperialism, which we, of course, denounce.
The FIT–U represents a perspective opposed to the center-left and to any variant whose narrow horizon is to administer the capitalist state and to unload the crisis of this exploitative system on the backs of the masses.
The FIT–U was the driving force behind the Latin American–U.S. Virtual Conference that took place in 2020 with the participation of 50 organizations from all over the continent.
The representatives of the FIT–U in the legislatures stand alongside the workers’ and popular struggles in the streets. Unlike the capitalist politicians who enrich themselves through their positions, the legislators representing the FIT-U take only the equivalent of a teacher’s salary, donating the rest of their pay to a fund for workers’ struggles. The coalition’s candidates are workers, students, and fighters from the women’s, LGBTQ+, and environmental movements.
The FIT–U does not seek to win a majority in parliament through a coalition with bourgeois parties. It sees its intervention in the electoral process as an essential battlefield for developing a campaign of agitation among the working masses so that they break from their subordination to the bosses’ parties and advance along a path of political independence and organized resistance and political mobilization to confront the financial-monetarist adjustments and attacks. The aim is for the working masses to burst onto the scene of the national crisis as an independent force and become an alternative for taking power. The FIT–U fights for a government of the workers that breaks with the capitalist-imperialist system, based on the mobilization and self-organization of working people.
The FIT-U stands with and is rooted in the working class, youth, women, and indigenous peoples who are rebelling against the exploitation and oppression of a capitalist system in decline. Across the world, we see this fight: the wave of workers’ struggles in the United States; the general strike in South Korea; strikes in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany; the environmental youth movement that is spreading across the globe; and the rebellions that have swept through Latin America and the Middle East.
Whatever support the FIT–U wins in the upcoming elections, and whatever parliamentary seats it wins will be put at the service of developing the class struggle with a working-class and socialist perspective.
We, the undersigned, declare our support for the candidates of the FIT–U in all regions of the country as the only coalition that defends the interests of the working class, women, and youth.
The growing list of endorsers can be found here.
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