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January 24, general strike in Argentina



On Wednesday, January 24, a general strike is taking place in Argentina, called by the country's main unions and trade union currents, the Peronist opposition and the extreme parliamentary left, as well as countless social organizations, "piqueteros" (road blockers) and others. The aim of the demonstration is to prevent the "omnibus" law proposed by the newly-elected Milei government from passing through parliament and the judiciary, and thus becoming a reality.

After the victory of the histrionic candidate at the end of last year, Argentina seems to be at the center of all attention. Faced with an economic crisis whose main feature is galloping inflation (not so strange in a country with its peculiar economic mechanisms) and the bellicose tone with which the La Libertad Avanza party came to power, everyone is waiting to see the results of the measures that are being implemented. But, beyond the media circus that might be generated by the new president's rantings, the reality is that a traditional economic adjustment is underway in Argentina, following the basic patterns that have been observed in all such cases in recent years. Currency devaluation to limit wage growth, private debt bailouts, protection of the country's export sectors, etc., etc. Nothing we haven't already seen in other countries which, like Argentina, have received aid from international financial institutions and are being forced to repay it in the midst of turbulent times. On this point, let's make no mistake: Milei's "libertarianism", his attacks on the "caste", the calls to do away with the Central Bank, are all noise that masks the reality: it's the proletarian class that will pay for the adjustment, and it will do so, as always, by seeing its living conditions and struggles degraded to the extreme and indefinitely.

The so-called "omnibus" law, against which the strike is being called, touches on issues as diverse as wages, airspace regulations or the ownership of soccer club assets. It's a kind of point-blank shooting, with all the forces available at the moment, trying to exploit the moment of euphoria and strength that followed the elections, to impose anti-crisis measures as quickly as possible. Apparently, the haste in planning legislative reform meant that the Constitution itself could be violated, leading the judiciary to block its application. Faced with this paralysis, the traditional right-wing party – which gave shape and structure to Milei after it won the first round of elections by surprise, and thanks to which the Argentine bourgeois class, initially reluctant to bring the new president to power, placed its main representatives in the government – showed itself willing to accept certain reforms to the "omnibus" text, to soften certain points, etc. For them, for the social class they represent and which sees in people like Macri or Bullrich the only alternative to the absolute rot that dominates Peronism, it's not a question of making a revolution: it's enough to know how to use the democratic intoxication that has brought yet another populist government to power to implement what has been its usual program of reforms for 50 years.

For the traditional left, for the various Peronist currents and for the big CGT union, the paralysis of the law was the perfect excuse to make compromises with the government. For a start, they called a general strike for January 24! One month after approval of the "omnibus" decree, thus guaranteeing that the mobilization was only intended to hide the maneuver, to justify an opposition that was more fictitious than real, and ultimately subservient to the demands of the bourgeoisie. And, to continue, they base the whole rejection of the law on its formal flaws, its possible unconstitutionality, etc., i.e., they leave it up to the bourgeoisie to decide. In other words, they leave it to the judiciary to apply at least the legal parts of the law.

Finally, the extreme parliamentary left of Trotskyist obedience and represented by the F.I.T. (Workers' Left Front, an electoral coalition formed by the Socialist Workers' Party, the Workers' Party and the Socialist Left), is, as usual, behind Peronism and the CGT; it limits itself to asking them to form a "real opposition" to Milei, to lead strikes and protests, to pursue legalistic ways, etc. Over the last twenty years, Trotskyism in Argentina has shown its immense capacity... to divert proletarians from the real aims, methods and means of class struggle. It will do the same today.

But the reality is tragic for the Argentine proletariat. The temporary paralysis of the law seems to be nothing more than a delaying tactic to avoid a too abrupt confrontation between the new government and the working class affected by its measures. The bourgeoisie, through its state, which includes the government, the judiciary and the parliament where the opposition is present, is trying to reach a point of equilibrium where its program will be imposed with force but where the most salient measures will be limned, thus trying to limit the proletarians' mistrust of the state itself and to attenuate their protest, which the Peronist and Trotskyist opposition can always send back to a new electoral challenge, a new legalistic supplication, etc.

There is no doubt that the measures demanded by the Argentinean and international bourgeoisie will be imposed. There is no opposition, either in parliament or in the courts: all the bourgeois parties know they are essential to prevent the economic crisis from having a lasting impact on their profits, and the far left will not be in a position to break with them. The dense network of trade unions and social associations controlled by Peronism and Trotskyism will not engage in a real battle against the government's anti-worker measures: in Argentina, more than in any other Latin American country, collaborationist trade unionism, whose banner is inter-class solidarity under the protection of the bourgeois state, paralyzes the proletariat by its function as guarantor of social peace in exchange for participation in the development of social policies, the distribution of benefits and so on.

In this situation, proletarians must prepare for a long period of sacrifice and demands. Their only alternative is to shake off their lethargy and engage in the battle for the immediate defense of their living conditions. They can expect nothing from the "left" opposition or the big trade unions, which play into the hands of their class enemy; but at the critical moment, when it comes to enforcing the anti-worker legislation that the bourgeoisie is demanding through Milei, they will still have their potential class strength at their disposal in the workplaces, enterprises and proletarian neighborhoods. Even when the full force of the enemy, whether overt or covert, is aimed at making them accept their misery, they can nonetheless confront it with a daily struggle of resistance against the implementation of each and every measure contained in the law.


For the uncompromising defense of the living and struggle conditions of the proletariat!

For the creation of economic resistance organizations capable of confronting the bourgeois class offensive!

For a return to class struggle!


January, 22nd 2024



International Communist Party

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