by IWU-FI. 30 July 2021.
In El Socialista 509, 28 July 2021, Argentina.
A slate of the three founding parties of the Left Front (Workers Party, Workers Socialist Party and Socialist Left). Unfortunately, the MST /LIS (Workers’ Socialist Movement – International Socialist League) of Alejandro Bodart, presented another slate in the primaries(1).
The slates for the PASO (legislative primaries) of 12 September closed. In the All Front (ruling Peronism) the candidates are not well-known politicians, both in the Province of Buenos Aires and in the City of Buenos Aires) which led some journalists to say these are “new candidates with no experience, a new leadership”. Beyond electoral tactics and the share of power among the members of the All Front, the campaign will have a clear leader: Vice-President Cristina Fernández. The Peronist government knows people will plebiscite its two-year term in office. In the rest of the country, where the All-Front’s slates are an agreement between the governors and local Peronism, the ruling Peronism is divided in Santa Fe, Córdoba and other provinces.
This reveals the crisis of a government that fears people will punish it at the polls for not solving the most pressing problems of the working people, after taking office with the support of millions that considered their situation would improve after suffering four years of Macri’s austerity measures. However, they solved nothing. Wages and pensions lost purchasing power, unemployment rose and poverty reached historic levels. This is a government that imposed austerity measures before the pandemic began (freezing pensions, for example); in the first year of Covid-19 and 2021, they cut the budget, the largest cut in the last seven years, to negotiate with the IMF and pay the debt.
The pandemic is the other serious worry for the working people. Over 100,000 people died, and many more will die, while the second dose of vaccination advances with exasperating slowness while we approach the third wave. Now the minister of Health Carla Vizzotti announces that 20 million jabs from Pfizer will solve everything, in a new back and forth in this crisis. Seizing the 100 million doses produced in Hugo Sigman’s lab in Garín would have prevented deaths and the spread of new variants by speeding up vaccination!
On the other side of the electoral ring is the bosses’ opposition of Together for Change (of the centre-right former president Mauricio Macri). The working people already know them: they are the ones who starved us for four years, while they heavily indebted us to the IMF to guarantee business for their business friends. They are also those in office in several districts (Larreta in the city of Buenos Aires, the Mendoza and Jujuy governors), applying austerity plans and sending teachers back to school without the measures to protect their and their students’ health. They haven’t changed, even if they seek to renew themselves with a new face, hiding Macri and fighting among themselves for the new leadership of the bosses’ opposition.
Given these two electoral options, aided by the media hegemony, they appear as the only and exclusive options, polarising the electorate. It is understandable that working people feel disappointed. Of those whom they initially trust and betrayed them. And of those whom they already know and can expect nothing good from (Together for Change).
This disillusionment, combined most times with anger, shows that there is a vacant space. It is the one the Left Front Unity seeks to fulfil. We have always supported all the struggles, denounced IMF agreements and subordination; the mega-mining companies, polluting rivers, the multinationals and the banks, robbing the working people. We put forward a true alternative, with an emergency, workers’ and popular programme. To stop paying the debt, breaking with the IMF and imposing a real tax on the rich. To establish living wages and pensions and an emergency aid of $40,000 (300 dollars) for those who need it. To prohibit layoffs. To finance new jobs through a public works plan and to meet all the demands of the two pandemics, health and socio-economic.
The Left Front Unity is the alternative. On 12 September, however, we will also have an additional task. MST – Workers’ Socialist Movement (1) of Celeste Fierro and Alejandro Bodart split by presenting a slate against the three founding parties of the LF (PO, PTS and Socialist Left). So, we will have to take on a double task, to confront the bosses’ candidates and their false promises and, to defend this tool we have worked so hard to build, expressed in our 1A slate: Unity of the Left. Together with Nicolás del Caño, Myriam Bregman, Romina del Plá and Gabriel Solano, and with our candidates of Socialist Left, Juan Carlos Giordano, Mónica Schlottahuer, Mercedes Trimarchi and Liliana Olivero, among others, we ask you to join this campaign, spreading our proposals and calling to vote for the Left Front Unity 1A among your colleagues at work, study, neighbours and relatives.
(1) The reasons for the divisionism of the MST (member of the International Socialist League/LIS)
Unfortunately, there will be two slates of the LF Unity in the PASO. Left Front fought to avoid this till the last minute. But this time MST divisionism of Celeste Fierro and Alejandro Bodart prevented it. By presenting its slate, the MST is dividing the LF-Unity, weakening our fight against the parties of the system. There will be two options: the united slate of PTS, PO and Socialist Left, on the one hand, and the other, solitary and divisive, of the MST.
The MST moved from “Great Step of the whole Left” to going alone and separately, dividing the LF Unity. A mistake every fighter has to consider.
In a letter sent to the rest of the parties of the LF-U three days before the deadline for the presentation of candidacies on 24 July (Periodismo de Izquierda, 21 July 2021), the MST tried to cover up its divisive policy with a “last-minute” proposal, when it had already decided beforehand it would go to the PASO with its list.
Anyone can see the MST website to confirm this. There you will find, for example, an article on 8 July where they proclaim Bodart “heading the MST slate for national deputies in Buenos Aires Province” and the same with Ripoll in the city of Buenos Aires, and Luciana Echevarria in Córdoba, 16 days before the closing of the unitary LF-Unity slates. As part of the same policy, they also split in the municipal elections in Santa Fe, presenting their slate on 12 July against the united list of PTS, PO and SL. On 14 July, Bodart said the competition in the province of Buenos Aires would be “Bodart-Del Caño”.
MST wants the PASO to fight for better candidacies. The same letter lays this bare when it says “although it is practically a fact that we are going in two slates to the PASO, we want to reach a unified slate”. And their proposal was never formally presented to the LF Unity Bureau, changing proportions. Knowing that it was impossible to accept.
The MST justifies its divisionism, saying “it is bad that hegemonistic and personalist tendencies are consolidating in the Front”. Of course, we are against all hegemonism and we fight against it, but what would “hegemonism” be for the MST? According to its letter: “It is not positive that the same comrades always head the party and it would be very positive that the elected deputies return to their previous activities after two parliamentary mandates, as a clear sign we differ from the traditional parties that remain seated for ages – as in the unions (…) All this is healthy, helps, energises gives an example to the working class and helps to unmask the practice of the bourgeois parties”.
This argument may sound right to many comrades, but it hides several fundamental mistakes.
In the first place, it paints a false picture of the LF-Unity getting many deputies with long terms in office. It is unrealistic. There is no such situation as the MST claims. Precisely the outstanding achievement of the LF-Unity, which is even praised by outsiders, is that there is an agreement on the rotation of mandates in which all the member parties of the Front take part. This does not exist in the bosses’ parties or the trade unions.
Second, it is wrong to compare the LF leaders with the “bosses’ parties’ leaders” or the trade union bureaucracy. The MST says we should “Give a clear signal we differ from the traditional party bureaucracy”. This only encourages the false arguments that the problem of the rulers is that they are “stuck in office”, “that they do not give way to renewal” or that they get into office and “become corrupt”. When the basic problem of the bourgeois politicians is not that lack fresh faces, but because they govern for the bourgeoisie, the multinationals and the IMF. We have also seen many “new faces” that kept the same austerity policies.
The MST also says that the LF must set an example “to the working class”. But the working class knows well that divisionism is liquidating when confronting the bosses and the union bureaucracy. The same is true in the political arena. To divide to make their leaders known is to weaken the working-class camp (in this case the political independence won with the programme of the LF Unity).
The MST talks about “Renewing the left” with new candidates, the leaders of the MST. But it is not true that they are “the new” on the left either. Alejandro Bodart and Vilma Ripoll are old leaders of the left. Both have even been legislators for several years. But the problem is their trajectories. Alejandro Bodart was a legislator for Buenos Aires city as a centre-left front member headed by Pino Solanas, confronting the LF.
In Cordoba, they use the same argument to question our comrade Liliana Olivero, the best known and vindicated left leader, who deservedly won recognition in the class struggle and was the standard-bearer of the left unity, and the women’s struggle. In Cordoba, the MST is presented as the “new” and “renovating politician” Luciana Echevarria, but this is not the case either. Because comrade Echevarria, years ago, was a candidate and provincial legislator for the MST in an electoral alliance headed by Luis Juez, who ended up being an ambassador for Mauricio Macri government.
The MST says, “we have nuances, and we want to show them” in the elections. But we all have nuances among the parties that make up the LF Unity because we are different parties and the LF Unity is a front. The question is: By “nuances”, do you provoke a division that helps the traditional parties? They will assert these nuances and their profile in the PASO is already an advance that they will direct the campaign against the united slate of the LF Unity and not against the bosses’ candidates.
They say the LF is “sectarian and does not include referents of the anti-capitalist left in the social, environmental, cultural, human rights or feminist-LGBTI fields based on the correct programme of the LF Unity”. A lie: we asked Luis Zamora and the New Movement Towards Socialism to join, and they refused. They have been refusing these past ten years!!
The MST joined Luis Juez (centre-right), and Pino Solanas (centre-left). It joined New MTS against the LF in 2017. In 2019, the LF accepted it without conditions, just by agreeing on the programme and a sensible criterion placing itself as the fourth force of the LF, according to the previous election results of each party. We added the word “Unity” to show this new unified step. But facing the first election that put it to the test and ignoring the laborious spirit of unity through agreements and consensus between the different forces and the rotation of seats we have been building, the MST divides the LF-Unity for the PASO.
We call on the workers’, popular, women’s, youth and neighbourhood vanguard to draw conclusions and to promote unitary policies to strengthen the Left Front Unity. In supporting and voting for the left that unites in these PASO to confront the All Front (Peronists) and Together for Change with more strength you can do so. Vote for 1A “Unity of the Left” that united PTS, PO and Socialist Left.
Socialist Left Executive Committee
24 July 2021