Argentina has been in a deep crisis for decades with no end in sight. The Argentine people confront rampant hyperinflation, poverty wages, attacks on basic labor rights and the weight of an exorbitant debt on their backs. The election of right-winger Milei was a reactionary response to the desperate situation of the masses and to a country in ruins. Subjugation to imperialism is the cause of the crisis and, in fact, what determines every aspect of the social, political and economic life of the country. Various Peronista governments—responsible for administering the oppression, plunder and humiliation of Argentina at the hands of the imperialists—are the ones who have paved the way for Milei.
The program of Peronismo has shown at every step its inability to carry the struggle against imperialist domination to the end, and historically it has been the main obstacle to this task. On the one hand, some of the measures that the Peronistas have taken, such as restrictions on imports and the fact that they’ve maintained the nationalizations of key sectors of industry, have been enough to anger the imperialists. With these measures, the Argentine bourgeoisie seeks to wrest a little independence. On the other hand, developing the country and getting it out of crisis requires breaking with the imperialists, something the Peronistas are neither willing nor able to do. Thus, the Peronistas’ half-measures infuriate imperialism while keeping the Argentine people impoverished, plunging the country into chaos. Milei’s appeal was that he offered a break with the status quo by aligning himself fully behind U.S. imperialism, sweeping away all obstacles to foreign investment, taking more money from the IMF, dollarizing the economy and privatizing all state industry.
The CGT and other labor federations have called for a nationwide general strike on January 24. However, the union bureaucracy’s whole strategy does not offer any answer as to how to get out of the crisis facing Argentina. They want to stop Milei’s attacks and reforms without having any solution to the cause of the problem: imperialist subjugation. They try to alleviate the symptoms without attacking the disease. This perspective necessarily looks to return to the populist status quo that led to Milei’s rise in the first place. Fighting Milei with the Peronistas only guarantees the continuation of the cycle of imperialist humiliation. The fight against Milei requires unleashing the only force capable of defeating imperialism: the Argentine proletariat. But Peronismo will never do this because the revolutionary mobilization of the working class would threaten the very system of private property that it represents, calling into question the very existence of the Argentine bourgeoisie.
For its part the FIT-U [Workers and Left Front-Unity, also called Frente de Izquierda], an alliance of several organizations claiming to be Trotskyist [one of which is affiliated with Left Voice in the U.S.], also does not offer a revolutionary program to get Argentina out of the quagmire. They criticize the trade-union bureaucracy for not being militant enough and for supporting Peronismo. But they don’t seek to break the grip of Peronismo on the working class by showing how Peronismo holds back the struggle for Argentina’s liberation from imperialism. Instead, they disappear the centrality of the anti-imperialist struggle out of fear that the fight against imperialism will inevitably lead to capitulation to the bourgeoisie. No! The only way to get rid of the influence of Peronismo and nationalism in the workers movement is by showing that Trotskyists are the only consistent fighters for national liberation.
The problem of the left, and more specifically of the organizations that claim to be Trotskyist in Argentina, is nothing new. On the one side there are those who, under the pretext of the anti-imperialist struggle, liquidate their banners in order to tail the national bourgeoisie. On the other side are those who in the name of class independence and Marxist purity refuse to fight for the leadership of this struggle. Both currents capitulate to imperialism and have contributed to the populists remaining at the head of the masses without a challenge, which is also a capitulation to nationalism. The FIT-U must reorient itself. The urgent task for the Argentine left is to provide a genuine alternative to the unrestrained national subordination offered by Milei, a path that fuses the national and social liberation of Argentina. The cost of not doing this is guaranteeing the continued hegemony of the Peronistas over the workers movement, which can only strengthen reaction and ensure defeat.
The fulfillment of any basic aspiration of the working class and the oppressed requires freeing Argentina from the yoke of Washington. Calls for “permanent assemblies,” “general strikes” and “struggle committees” mean nothing without this program. The needs of the Argentine proletariat and people are clear:
- Cancel the debt!
- Expropriate the banks!
- Nationalize all industry!
By organizing the struggle around these demands, through its own methods and for its own ends, the working class will necessarily confront the interests of imperialist finance capital and its local lackeys. We call on the workers federations and the Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores-Unidad to lead the struggle against Milei while raising the above slogans.
For the national liberation of Argentina through socialist revolution!