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Argentina: Popular Rebellion

Latest editorials from the Partido Obrero -Argentina.

Jorge Altamira

The proposed Budget that has just been sent to Congress simply confirms that Cavallo has nothing under his sleeve; bankruptcy is inevitable and the government is at a loss. To balance the accounts, Cavallo " presumes" that heíll save some three billion dollars by restructuring the foreign debt; he " presumes" that GNP will only fall by 1% (a figure that Fiel [a business think-tank] estimates several times higher); he ignores the impact of this fall on tax collections, that is, he doesnít have the foggiest idea about the true explosive conditions of the Argentine economy. Precisely for these reasons the project grants unlimited powers to the Executive so it can proceed with necessary cutbacks to reach "zero deficit". He is not satisfied with reducing government salaries by 13%, nor with cutting back on federal funds sent to the provinces (co-participation); he also pretends to finance himself at the expense of Pami [Medicare-type programs], of Anses [social security administration] and whatever social programs remain. But at this stage of the crisis, the IMF demands more to free the loan of 1,260 million dollars: a full political recomposition.

The De la Rúa-Cavallo duo lacks the political acumen and strength to govern with a Fujimori-like methodology. The Economy Ministryís most recent resolution, authorizing banks to ignore Court rulings, puts finishing touches on the final political dissolution of the government. The IMF will not entrust custody of capitalist assets to the whims of a minister in demise.

There is widespread agreement that freezing bank deposits has signaled the end of convertibility. But this not only marks the end of a specific monetary regime; the end of convertibility also marks the collapse of the foreign debt. A devaluation of the peso or dollarizing the currency would expose the current state of default. A recent estimate speaks of devaluating by fifty percent, whereby a dollar would be worth two pesos, and this would lead to a reduction of 75% in the foreign debt. Such devaluation would leave the recent swap without support and would prove that the announced swap for the foreign part of the debt is not viable. Thus, an important segment of the banking system will be forced to pack up and leave.

The impact of devaluation on the people would be huge. There is no consolation in assuming that prices wonít be able to rise much under conditions of a huge decline in demand. Because what matter in a devaluation is what backs the currency in a State thatís in financial bankruptcy. The option of dollarizing doesnít change things that much, because it would not stop the flight of deposits and capital that would accompany the fear of bank closures. If one discounts IMF and World Bank loans and bank system reserves, the total national reserves hardly cover 30% of working capital and only 7% of the total sum of bank money movements.

The exhaustion of a parliamentary solution

Facing the evolution of this catastrophe, the inability of Peronism and of Congress to offer an alternative is quite stark. Instead of debating an emergency plan to defend the popular majority and to establish a government capable of executing such a plan, Congress is about to take a few weeks to analyze Cavalloís budget! The threat to call themselves to session on their own is limited to agendas that can be dealt with during extraordinary sessions, and that wonít lead to a change of government or to a policy of national salvation. Neither Peronism nor Parliament can overcome the class interests government protects. The two points that cannot be ignored in an emergency program, that is, not paying the foreign debt and nationalizing the banks, go way beyond the interests and possibilities of the parliamentary clique.

At this stage of the political process, it is clear that De la Rúa-Cavalloís government will come to an end as a result of popular pressure in the streets Ė as a result of popular rebellion. A replacement to come out of Parliament will be a consequence subordinated to events that have escaped its control.

Mobilizations that began towards the end of last week in Entre Ríos and Mendoza, following strikes and demonstrations in Neuquén and Córdoba, have incinerated in a couple of hours the implications attributed to the so-called "popular referendum" by its organizers. The demands are being made en masse in the streets, not at improvised voting booths, and their nature is immediate, not a pipe-dream for the future. Instead of being a means to redistribute income, insurance for heads of households is being looked at by big business politicians as the last recourse to contain the emergence of a revolutionary situation.

Popular Assembly

The mobilizations that are growing as we go to press have taken place just a few hours after Daer and Moyano indefinitely postponed a promised 48 hours strike! The bureaucrats have also been overtaken by events. The issue now is to gather all the elements freed by this popular rebellion in Popular Assemblies that can function as the political authority of workers, facing a capitalist State in frank decomposition.

For the first time in twenty years, there are symptoms that the armed forces are been drawn by the crisis to play a more direct political role. But their chiefs are well aware of whatís coming; which is why several police chiefs have stated that "repression is not the solution", and even Army Chief, Brinzoni, has presumably expressed sympathies towards the so-called "Phoenix plan", designed by center-left economists, and that draws out of the closet out-of-place Keynesian recommendations. So far, the new political scenario does not allow for military intervention, but the Army is winning political space to provide support to the next provisional government.

The working class is called to play a highly significant role, precisely when the leftist charlatans had sworn that the proletariat had become a relic from the past. But everything depends on the proletariat. Those at Emfer, Fiat, Zanón, Ferroexpreso Pampeano and the railroads taken as a whole, at Acindar and Siderar, phone workers, those at Aceros Bragado [steel mills], paper workers and metal workers from Zárate and Campana, construction workers, chemical workers, port and paper workers from San Lorenzo and Rosario, those at Renault, Arcor, Terrabusi and the whole printing industry.

We call on the working class to take the initiative and organize Popular Assemblies to oppose workerís power to the broken-down power of the plundering bourgeoisie. We call to unite the petit bourgeoisie with workers in the common struggle against big capital.

More than ever before, the political rallying cry for all is: Out with national and provincial governments; A fee and sovereign Constituent Assembly must govern.




De la Rua and Cavalloís continuity is already been questioned by the IMF and American banks.

The Yankees Treasury and banks are claiming for Argentinaís breakdown declaration.

The local bourgeoisie and itís "productive groups" plot in the dark to impose a political succession in itís own terms. The Peronism is already talking about calling an assembly of both legislative houses to vote one of them for President.

The economical paralysis that financial freezing measures have provoked has been the coup de grace to the government.

All the capitalists sectors now fear a popular explosion.

They see it coming by the hand of the 20,000 workers who marched against De la Sota in Cordoba and the thousands that went out to face Sobischís repressive government in Neuquen. They also perc eive signs of it in the occupation of Zanon and Telecomís Costanera building by its workers, and in the mobilizations of Emfer and Aceros Bragadoís companions.

They foresee it in the mobilization of Wednesday November 28th of culture workers, in the university professors one and the Colon Theaterís workers who got rid of Renan (its director). They see it in the spectacular fall of Franja Morada (Radical student organization) in the university movement.

They see it coming most of all in the picketers, that Wednesday 5th mobilized 5,000 companions at Buenos Aires City, by the Polo Obrero and the MTR (unemployed organization) iniciative, among other organizations.

For the masses, the situation couldnít be more extreme, when it is known that unemployment has reached 20%, and that now they canít even make use of their wages.

The UIAís (Argentine Industrial Union) support to Cavalloís measures has left the union bureaucracies without "air", which had been betting on a National Front with "productive groups".

After a very long respite, Moyano (dissident General Labour Confederation leader) would now stage a national strike, which would again be isolated and without any political posture. The CTA (dissident Argentine Workers Central) insists on its cosmetic "consultation" when social situation and political regime are collapsing.

Power crisis canít be avoided. The alternatives that are discussed are exclusively those of the bourgeoisie. The working class and picketers alternative must be stated. We must "take part" in crisis, exploiting in our favor our class enemies contradictions, not submitting to ones on the pretext of opposing the others.

Out with De la Rua-Cavallo. Popular Constituent Assembly, free and sovereign.

General strike.

For a basis and picketer Congress of all workers and their organizations.

Cessation of external debt payment. Nationalization without payment of the banks and the AFJP (Private retirement funds administration). Production under workers control. Countryís restructuring on new social basis.





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