Total crisis of capitalism in Argentina - The only way out: the struggle for workers' democracy

The revolutionary situation which opened up in Argentina with the insurrection of December 19 and 20, and which led to the overthrow of two governments in just one week, is far from over. All political analysts agree that this as one of the most turbulent periods in the country's history. The fundamental factor, which must be stressed, is the great leap forward in the consciousness of the masses. This has led them to begin a process, which daily grows wider and deeper, of active political participation at all levels, particularly through the formation of Popular Assemblies.

Since coming to power, Duhalde has tried to stop the social conflict by making all sorts of false promises, but he has been completely unable to elaborate a clear and coherent plan to get the country out of the crisis. In the last few weeks, Duhalde has made ample use of his nationalist-populist rhetoric - but the people, after many betrayals in the last two decades - are not easily fooled. Mass mobilizations continue up and down the country, not only in Buenos Aires, but also in the smallest and previously more politically backward towns and cities. In the provinces in the interior of the country there have been mass demonstrations in cities and towns where the hated symbols of bourgeois power, such as banks, politician's houses and their institutions, have been occupied and destroyed. At the same time there are popular assemblies where hundreds and thousands of people gather together in neighbourhood, town and city meetings.

 

The radicalisation of the struggle is such that demands like the nationalisation, under workers control, of factories in crisis (which the owners want to close) clearly connect with the experience of wide layers of the population, and are seen as something that is urgently needed. For example, this is the public statement of the Brukman works in Buenos Aires:

"...Faced with the crisis, we saw no alternative but to take the factory over and start running it under our own control. We are also starting a STRIKE FUND, to ensure that the struggle will not be broken by hunger. Such actions by the workers themselves give us the strength to defend our gains, which is to maintain employment to feed our families, despite the betrayal of our own Union [DOIVA] leadership. Further, we believe that this taking control by the workers should be the action of all workers in every company and industry that threatens sackings, closures or the suspension of comrades. Further battles with the judiciary are inevitable, as we struggle to prevent the capitalists from using their laws to close the factories and end our employment.

"We are fighting to obtain an immediate financial subsidy, with the NATIONALISATION UNDER WORKERS' CONTROL OF THE FACTORY as our initial demand. We are calling upon all rank-and-file workers to organise immediate solidarity from within their own organisations, as well as from the militant student organisations, unemployed workers' organisations and political parties. We are also calling upon those in the neighbourhood assemblies to continue their demonstrations using carcerolazos [the banging of pots and pans], and for the youth to organise and protest.

"LET US FIGHT TOGETHER…WORKERS CONTROL IN EVERY FACTORY WHICH CLOSES, LAYS OFF OR SUSPENDS WORKERS! ENOUGH OF RUBBISH [CASUAL] CONTRACTS … REFUSAL TO ACCEPT ANY FURTHER UNEMPLOYMENT! GENUINE AND PROPER JOBS FOR ALL!"

Such examples are not isolated occurrences but are being repeated in other factory occupations in places such as Persan (Cordoba) and many other places.

In all these actions the participation of a new generation of fighters have come to the fore. For example, in the recent university elections at the Buenos Aires University [UBA], for the first time in 20 years a left coalition student slate won against the radicals. The motoqueros (motorbike couriers) have played a key role in the organisation of demonstrations and strikes. These are the youth who risk their lives every day, working in conditions of over-exploitation, yet have played a magnificent role in the street battles over the last few weeks, particularly at the Plaza de Mayo on 20 December, where a few fell, murdered by the police.

Popular assemblies, the clearest expression of the revolution in Argentina

On 25 January there was a nationwide cacerolazo (pots and pans protest), organised by the popular assembles that have sprung up in every neighbourhood since the end of December. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in dozens of such protests. In Buenos Aires alone, despite the torrential rain, tens of thousands joined the cacerolazo, shouting, "it's raining, but the people are not moving!" However, the police were to organise agents provocateurs, who mingled with the crowds causing provocation, thus enabling the police to justify the shooting of the demonstrators with rubber bullets and gas canisters.

Despite all the slanders of the government, the piqueteros, the militant unemployed workers who organise roadblocks to demand food and work, and the popular assembles, continue to grow in influence daily. January 13 saw the first meeting of the inter-neighbourhood assembly in Buenos Aries, with more than 1500 people present representing 30 assembles. In was agreed that they would continue to meet every Sunday, and the attendance has reached over 3,000. One of the first resolutions debated and passed was the linking up with the piqueteros movement and to send delegates to the 3rd National Assembly of Piqueteros taking place in mid-February. This fact alone represents a sudden and enormous change in the psychology and attitude of sections of the middle classes towards the proletariat in the city. The Spanish newspaper El Pais noted on February 6: "'Six months ago the people here did not want anything to do with the piquetoros,' said a neighbour, 'now, everything has changed. The other day when the piqueteros from Mantanza passed on their way to the Plaza de Mayo to protest, the people came out on the streets to greet them and gave them water.'"

The 2nd Inter-Neighbourhood Assembly of Buenos Aries voted a programme of demands, among which we draw attention to the following:

  • They should all go. [A reference to the Government.]
  • No payment of the foreign debt.
  • Nationalisation of the banks, the pension funds [afjp] and the privatised companies.
  • Trial and punishment of the murderers of December 19 and 20.
  • Give the savings back to the small savers. No to the "corralito" [the government imposed curtailment which prevents savers from withdrawing their savings].
  • Resignation of the Supreme Court.

The 4th Inter-Neighbourhood Assembly also had representatives from assemblies in the Greater Buenos Aries province and links are actively being established with assembles throughout the country. These assemblies organise all kinds of protests and actions within their own neighbourhood. A good example was the organisation of soup kitchens by the Avellaneda neighbourhood assembly, and its participation in the distribution of the social assistance programmes. Furthermore, all the assemblies have demanded that the programmes of social assistance be run directly by the neighbourhood assemblies themselves, without any representatives from the administration, either local or national, primarily to prevent corruption or cronyism. These embryonic bodies of people's power - a power that is opposed to and is an alternative to the existing bourgeois power - must be strengthened and expanded.

Faced with the bourgeois regime losing its power, the only alternative for the people is a power able to organise society on socialist principles. These popular assembles must be linked up at national level, with the working class having the decisive role. Confusion and even anti-political prejudice among sections of the population is understandable at present, and such phenomena have prevailed at the start of all revolutions, despite the ultra-left sectarians, who imagine that the masses of the working class arise spontaneously, marching along the streets waving their red flags and singing the Internationale. If only it was so easy! At this moment in time, the tasks of the most conscious sections of the working class and the youth is to promote the formation of these popular assemblies and also of workers' committees in the factories and workplaces. To coordinate and organise them, and in the process of consolidating and spreading them, organise a national congress of workers' committees and popular assemblies to take over the running of the country, adopting socialist measures in the process, starting with the non-payment of the foreign debt, the nationalisation of the banks and monopolies under workers' control and the expropriation of the ruling oligarchy.

Now is not the time to emphasis slogans such as the calling of a "Constituent Assembly" as some groups on the left in Argentina are demanding. Such demands only water down the aims of the present movement of the masses, diverting them precisely when the masses are fighting the capitalist regime to control society themselves. In the current situation, a Constituent Assembly would be no more than a variant of a bourgeois parliament! Faced with the collapse of capitalism and its institutions, there is no alternative in Argentina but workers power, and agitation must be stepped up and organised to patiently explain, to win over the majority of the population to this programme. After all, in the cul-de-sac that the capitalist now face, it is not beyond the bounds of feasibility that Duhalde and the bourgeoisie could try all sorts of manoeuvres, including even such a "profound" reform of the political system as calling a Constituent Assembly, in order to get the people off the streets. As always, the ruling class will make secondary concessions, attempting to divert the energy of the masses, rather than lose control of the situation completely and thus lose their power over society. History is replete with such examples!

Reading the bourgeois press one can find glaring examples, which provides us with a glimpse of the mood in these popular neighbourhood assemblies. "Now the people talk, shout, kick, demand, sing, ask for and protest, and still remain in the streets. The warm starry nights preside over weekly assemblies in street corners and parks in the neighbourhoods, called through the internet, phone messages or hand written notes on shop windows. No one talks about anything else. Big and small cities remain in a permanent state of deliberation..." (El Pais, January 28, 2002, our emphasis.) Further: "Miquel Schclarek thinks that there have never been more favourable conditions to achieve his life long dream of 57 years: to transform his country into a fairer, more generous and fully human place. 'I am happy,' says Schclarek smiling, 'life all of a sudden seems to have a meaning, not an individual one but a collective one. I feel enthusiastic. I can see the awakening of society.'" (El Pais, 6 February 2002)

Hundreds of similar statements can be found in the Argentinean press. While some refuse to acknowledge this process as a revolutionary situation, others understand the profound implications of the statements quoted above. What must be understood is that revolution is the eruption of the masses onto the historic stage, participating fully in politics, fashioning their own control over society and determining their own destiny. Lenin, in the heat of the Russian Revolution, listed four conditions, which characterise a revolutionary process, three of which are:

  • Division and paralysis in the ruling class.
  • A shift to the left of the middle classes or their neutrality towards the struggle of the working class.
  • A labour movement which shows it will struggle to the end until its demands are met.

All these conditions are currently present in Argentina. Lenin's other condition was the existence of a Marxist party, able to win the mass of the population over to the socialist programme of taking power to rid society of capitalism. This condition unfortunately does not exist at present, but there is little doubt that the workers of Argentina are moving towards the transformation of the existing social order.

Bourgeois political leaders discredited

During these recent events, most of the traditional trade union and political leaders with a "populist" past, including the Peronists, have been more or less discredited by their involvement in all sorts of intrigues, corruption, swindles and attacks on the working class. Once comfortably in power, all of these leaders accepted wholeheartedly the socially destructive capitalist credo, as well as its ultimate consequences. All have been completely overwhelmed by mass action, even those who claim to be left wing.

Even the farce surrounding the hated Supreme Court's decision to lift the ban on withdrawals from bank deposits (the so-called "corralito") shows just how quickly the sacrosanct institutions of bourgeois power are crumbling. One of the main demands of the demonstrations since last December has been for the resignation of the Supreme Court. Most of its judges were handpicked by the former Menem government and since then have approved all the main points of the anti-working class policies of the governments that followed. Under pressure from the masses, these judges, in true demagogical fashion, made a 180-degree turn and decided to yield to their demands to end the "corralito" and allow them access to their bank accounts.

Of course, the Duhalde government could not possibly allow this extremely unpopular measure (el corralito) to be removed and therefore he blocked the ruling of the Supreme Court. By doing so he actually almost completely undermined the bourgeois legal system. This episode has only served to lower even further the prestige of both institutions in the eyes of the masses, and showed quite clearly the hypocrisy of bourgeois justice.

The role of the middle classes

The mass media have been forced to recognise the existence of a mass movement in society but at the same time are trying to present these events (the pot banging protests, assemblies, etc) as an "anti-political" process and struggle led mainly by the middle class. In doing so, they wish to paper over and hide the gaping hole in the system that this revolutionary process is digging out. Their aim is to confuse and deceive by giving the impression that this mass movement, which is shaking the very foundations of the system, is "moderate" and "reasonable". For instance, many analysts have said that the working class has not joined the struggle against the system. This is nothing but lies. In reality, every single layer of the oppressed population, and most importantly the workers, whatever type they may be, are participating actively in this revolutionary process.

In all industrialised capitalist countries, the working class, or the wage earners, account for around 75-90% of the population (including the unemployed who are in reality workers without work) and Argentina is no exception to this rule.

The percentage of businesspeople in the population, including small businesspeople and shop owners, which are actually the majority amongst the latter, is completely distorted. Self-employed workers, which represent a very high percentage of the "businesspeople" category, are always classified as such, whereas in reality many of them are former workers who live in the same conditions as normal salaried workers. Therefore, based on the data provided by any sociological classification, it is clear that the working class in Argentina, and in any other similar country of the world, represents the overwhelming majority in society.

From a scientific point of view, the middle classes are a section of society that both works (either manually or intellectually) and owns its means of production, unlike the working class. By its very definition, the middle classes are a very heterogeneous group. The middle class can range from the small peasant who ekes out barely enough to live on from his parcel of land to the wealthier landowner with 15 or 20 hectares; or from the small corner-shop owner to the high-flying lawyer with his own practice. The lowest layers of the middle class live and work in conditions very similar to many workers, whilst its top layers have much in common with bourgeoisie. The middle classes are far weaker than the working class, not only in terms of numbers but socially speaking too. Due to their living and working conditions, they cannot play an independent role in society and they continually hover between either supporting the bourgeoisie or supporting the workers.

Now the middle classes, who in the past could enjoy a minimum of economic comfort and could save up a certain amount of their income, have been thrown into struggle by the freezing of their bank accounts (el corralito) and the subsequent drop in value of their savings. A large swathe of the middle classes is participating actively in the mass movement and often in an extremely virulent fashion. Furthermore, they have also been infected by the general atmosphere of struggle that has been simmering in society for the last year and half and are very disappointed with all the bourgeois political alternatives for which they voted in the last few elections and in which they placed their hopes.

The last 25 years in Argentina have seen a vicious attack by the bourgeoisie on all the gains that the working class won through decades of struggle and which had lifted the country to fifth or sixth place in the world in terms of living standards. Now, the "average" wage is half of what it was in real terms in 1974. Even the "minimum of economic comfort" has gone up in smoke and the better-off workers (which second-rate bourgeois sociologists have tried to categorise as "middle class", i.e. teachers, bank workers, so-called "professional people", etc) no longer are able to play their former role of smoothing over the antagonisms in society. This recent development is a perfect illustration of the absolutely desperate situation of Argentine capitalism, which is incapable of winning the confidence of the vast majority of the population.

The Duhalde government and its economic plan

In the last issue of El Militante, we described the Duhalde government as "a nationalist government of the industrial bourgeoisie looking to boost the profit margins and the competitiveness of Argentine products". Since then, Duhalde has made a string of contradictory declarations about his economic plan, which is a reflection of the splits between the various different sectors of the ruling class. On top of these divisions, the leaderships of the various political parties are riven with internal disputes, which are in turn caused by the enormous pressure that the masses are placing on certain elements of the bourgeoisie from below.

In the end, Duhalde and his government finally presented a budget that they deemed "realistic" and that "would put the country back on its feet". According to the government's budgetary forecast, the economy will shrink a further 4.9% this year, although the IMF has already declared that it would fall 7% and certain Argentine economists have put the figure at 10% or more. The government also plans to reduce the budgetary deficit by 70%, compared to that of 2001, which is bound to mean massive cuts in spending and also increased struggle on behalf of the masses.

Naturally, a greater drop in the economy than that expected by the government will have serious fiscal consequences: lower economic activity means fewer taxes collected (January has already seen 20% fewer taxes collected than expected), which means that the budgetary deficit will be much higher than that forecast by the government. Consequently, the government will be forced to "speed up the printing presses" and print more money, which will inevitably lead to an explosion in inflation. For example, inflation in January has already increased up to 2.3%, which is the highest figure in any month of the last ten years. To this must be added the effect of a strengthening dollar, which will increase the price of imported products even further. The rise in the dollar will also swell the interest payments on the foreign debt, which will result in an even bigger deficit and debt burden. Due to the devaluation of the last few weeks, the debt burden has shot up from 50% of GDP to 90% ("O estado de Sao Paulo", January 25, 2002).

To make the situation worse, the government is currently swindling many small savers out of their nest eggs. It is allowing them to change a part of their savings at a rate of 1.40 pesos to the dollar, whilst the current market rate is 2.50 pesos to the dollar and rising. However, on the other hand, the government has also decreed that loans owed to banks (which were also in dollars) be changed into pesos. Although now in pesos, these debts will continue to be pegged to the dollar which means that, as the peso continues to lose value against the dollar, the value of these debts will also diminish. So what does this all mean? Let's look at the example of the oil group Pérez Compaq. Its debt load will shrink from 350 million dollars to 140 million dollars with the dollar currently worth 2.50 pesos. But how many pesos will the dollar be worth in six months, one year or even two years? If current trends continue, this company's debt load will tumble down to 120, 80 or even 60 million dollars as the dollar goes from strength to strength. This is particularly galling as this same company generates billions of profits and bills its products in hard currency, i.e. in dollars. So therefore, the peso's devaluation will effectively see a massive shift in wealth from the small savers mentioned above, and from the workers, to big business. This is the bedrock of Duhalde's plan; it is a financial rescue plan for Argentina's main capitalist groups.

Furthermore, Duhalde believes that the devaluation will be like a "shot in the arm" for Argentine exports. However, the Brazilian government has already got the green light from the country's main business leaders to devalue the Brazilian currency (the real) shortly, a decision that could trigger a whole string of competitive devaluations by a number of different Latin American countries looking to find a way out of the crisis "to the detriment of their neighbour". If this happens, the recession will get even deeper.

The use of repression

In any case, Duhalde and the Argentina bourgeoisie know that the masses will not accept their aggressive plans lying down. In fact, certain strategists of the Argentine bourgeoisie and of imperialism are not optimistic about the chance of success of Duhalde's plan and are currently preparing alternative courses of action. A close advisor to Duhalde, probably a minister, anonymously said the following to the Argentine newspaper Página 12 on January 27:

"...'Behind this [the protests] is an incipient rebellion, without ideology but which has its roots in the most backward-looking sectors of society, which have the capacity of putting an end to our system of democracy. This is the problem that the political authorities must solve quickly. Something must be done with the Court [the Supreme Court]; there must be fast and strident political reform, because if the protests increase, we cannot rule out the possibility of early elections. We are walking on a tightrope and we might get an authoritarian government. Our democratic institutions are being whittled down at an alarming pace with every fresh pot-banging demonstration. What looks like a genuine, representative and honest demonstration in fact contains within it the germ of the demise of the democratic system.' Apocalyptic! [term used by the newspaper]."

Duhalde has already met the military leadership to ask them, amongst other things, to take charge of protecting the borders so as to release more police to take part in the repression of the protests. According to certain newspapers: "Three police brigades asked the president for more weapons and new equipment in order to put down violent demonstrations. The Argentineans' anger is growing day by day and this is clear to everybody. The government can rely on the fact that the masses are not very well organised at the moment...However, there is a risk that these protests will gain more solid foundations forcing the masses to organise themselves better. If this happens, there will be no turning back. Duhalde will be forced to send the army onto the streets. The climate of political and social polarisation in the country is so strong that almost every Argentine feels the moral duty to use force and violence for his own good." (O estado de Sao Paulo, January 24, 2002). This is what the more serious sectors of the Brazilian bourgeoisie think about the current situation in Argentina.

The repression of the revolutionary uprising of December 19 and 20, which left 30 dead, and of the demonstration of January 25, show clearly that the government is prepared to use provocative methods and violence to try to contain the mass movement. However, it is also clear that in the short term it will not be possible to carry out a coup d'état. The strategy will be to combine repression with political measures to try and wear out the movement, such as the calling of early elections or the formation of new political parties, which are not as discredited as the rest, that could side-track the movement into more controlled avenues. There could even be political reform of the whole system in order to give the impression that things are changing, whilst leaving power firmly in the hands of big business and the monopolies. However, if such measures are unsuccessful and the movement continues to grow, getting stronger and more politically aware - something that is very probable given the objective conditions of Argentine capitalism which are catastrophic - then a military clampdown would definitely be on the cards.

The hypocrisy of the Spanish bourgeoisie and the multinationals

On coming to power, Menem's Peronist regime launched a massive wave of privatisations, selling off a large part of the state's assets at rock-bottom prices. Furthermore, the state actually assumed these companies' debts before privatising them! Once again, billions of dollars were literally given to big business (especially from the US and Spain) through the "nationalisation of losses and the privatisation of profits", and other similar manoeuvres, which can only be described as the daylight robbery of public property.

For example, the bank Merrill Lynch, mandated by Menem to valuate YPF (for its sale to Repsol), deliberately reduced its estimate of YPF's oil reserves by 30%, in order to underestimate its value before the sale. These reserves miraculously reappeared on the balance sheet after privatisation leading to massive gains on the stock market for its new owners. According to the Spanish newspaper El País (February 16, 2001 and January 8, 2002), the profits generated by Repsol-YPF in 2000 spiralled to 404 billion Spanish pesetas, 45% of which was contributed by Argentina.

Even worse was the plunder of the state airline Aerolíneas Argentinas (formerly owned by SEPI, i.e. Iberia). Its Boeing 707 aircraft were "sold" for $1.54 each, and after being privatised, Aerolíneas had to lease them back in order to use them! The rights to use the airline's routes, worth a total of 800 million dollars, were then estimated at 60 million. The company was sold to Iberia for an actual amount of 130 million dollars in cash and other tangible assets, with the balance being made up by the cancellation of a fictitious debt. Iberia took on loans to buy the company and then transferred the totality of this debt to the new entity of Aerolíneas Argentinas, which of course immediately found itself on the verge of bankruptcy thanks to its new owners. The Argentine government then stepped in to assume the debt - the same debt that was taken out by Iberia so that it could buy the company in the first place! (Eric Toussaint, Argentina, eslabón débil. Una historia de la crisis argentina.)

Repsol and Iberia are by no means the exception in this story. In a wave of neo-colonial and imperialist enthusiasm, the Spanish banks and multinationals took control of strategic sectors of the Argentine economy. BBVA and BSCH own Banco Francés and Banco Río de la Plata, the country's second and third largest banks respectively. However, their power goes much further than this. Their control of the money supply affords them an essential role in numerous sectors of the economy. Here is a list of other Spanish multinationals present in Argentina: Telefónica (which in 2000 posted profits of 384 billion Spanish pesetas), Iberia, Aguas de Barcelona (which owns parts of Aguas Argentinas and Aguas Cordobesas, a few medical centres and the construction firm Acsa), Endesa (EDESUR and Costanera) and Dragados y Construcciones (Aguas de Misiones and the construction firms Ausol and Dycasa). These companies have invested on purpose in the services as they know that during economic crises the demand (and therefore prices) of all non-essential products and services can fall; however it is difficult to do without services such as water, health, energy, communication, housing and transport, for which prices can remain stable or even increase in such periods.

The words of bourgeois politicians such as Aznar are a cocktail of cynical hypocrisy and the most insolent arrogance. On the one hand they say that they understand "the Argentines' current difficulties", but tie any potential economic aid for Argentina to more austerity measures and drastic cuts in public spending. In this respect, the Spanish capitalists are far more straightforward. They have little time for "compassion and understanding" and get straight down to business. Endesa, before the Argentine crisis blew up, disinvested hundreds of billions of pesetas when they felt "the tide beginning to turn". The Spanish newspaper El Mundo (June 8, 2001) said the following about the company's results:

"...Despite the good performance of its businesses in Latin America, the company fears that the worst is yet to come. Management is fully aware that the gravity of the situation in Argentina could have a serious impact on end-of-year results. Therefore for this same reason, the company has decided to continue with the same rate of disinvestment that had already marked it out from the rest. The Spanish power producer has already sold its stake in the Argentine distributor Edenor and has got rid of Electra de Viesgo too. This last sale alone raised 2.147 billion euros for the group." This is how stable and solid Spanish investment is in Argentina and how willing Spanish capitalism is to help its people!

Emilio Botin was even clearer regarding the interests of small savers whose savings have been trapped by the corralito (government restrictions on cash withdrawals), during a recent shareholder's meeting of Banco SCH. This is what he said to El País (January 23, 2001):

"...However, the worsening situation in Argentina has put a question mark over future investment by SCH, even to maintain basic operations. Yesterday Botín declared...that 'if the bank is losing money, what am I going to say to shareholders?' Next, he pointed out that SCH 'does not continue to make the same mistakes for years without correcting them.' Botín stated that the future of the banks in Argentina depends on "the certainty that a viable and profitable financial system continues to exist.' Yes of course Don Emilio Botín remembers the small Argentine savers! He thanks them very much, in the knowledge that the combined profits of all his Latin American subsidiaries totalled some 1.7 billion euros, or nearly 40% of SCH's total profits.

There is only one way forward for Argentina - the fight for workers' power and a socialist programme

"Since 1976 the lower classes have lost 32.8% of their share of national income; the lower-middle class has lost 22.3%; the middle-middle class 12.5%; and the upper classes have gained 21.2%." (O estado de Sao Paulo, January 31, 2002). A quarter of a century after the military coup d'état, Argentina has been thoroughly fleeced by capitalism. Its bourgeoisie has shown itself incapable of developing the country, being completely dependent on foreign capital, which filters away most of its profits: 90% of the banks and 40% of industry is in the hands of the capitalist multinationals. The economy is so weak and there is so little cash about that hundreds of thousands of people around the country are forced to barter for their everyday needs. This is what capitalism offers Argentina, Latin America and the neo-colonial world now and in the future; a future of exploitation and a freefall in living standards. The bourgeois of the advanced capitalist countries will use the threat of cheap labour from abroad to blackmail their own working class into accepting worse conditions.

The workers and youth of Argentina, who are fighting against this catastrophe, are looking for an alternative and with every step forward they take they will realise from their very experience that their slogan of "Down with them all!" is not enough. They must adopt an alternative programme that replaces capitalism in order to resolve the social and economic chaos caused by the economic domination of a small minority. The programme of the Marxists organised around El Militante is the following:

  • For a general strike against the anti-working class measures of Duhalde.
  • No more foreign debt payments.
  • A minimum wage that is enough to buy a complete basket of basic products i.e. 600 dollars.
  • Prices and wages to be indexed to inflation.
  • No redundancies. Nationalisation under workers' control of all companies in difficulty in order to protect everybody's job. Immediate reduction in the working day without loss of pay in order to share out work.
  • Nationalisation of the banks, with compensation only in the case of proven necessity.
  • Nationalisation under workers' control of the monopolies, of the large farming estates and biggest companies in the country in order to implement a national plan of production. Expropriation of the oligarchy.
  • The institutions of the bourgeois system have shown their utter failure. Power to the worker's assemblies and to the rest of the oppressed population in order to organise society along socialist lines.
  • For the protection of the population from police violence and to neutralise the threat of a coup d'état: for the creation of democratic committees of soldiers and the creation of workers' self-defence groups.
  • For international solidarity from the world working class with the Argentine revolution.
  • For a Socialist Federation of Latin America.

February 7, 2002