The Argentine working class expressed in the presidential elections their profound contempt for the right and all those politicians identified with the most repressive and anti-labour policies. The lack of a political tool that would express their class interests led the workers to vote massively for Kirhnerism (which obtained 45% of the vote) and, to a lesser degree, for the Carrió's Civic Coalition (22%) who, despite her swift to the right in the last year, is still seen as "progressive" by the electorate.
Those candidates most linked to repressive and pro-capitalist policies (Lavagna, Saá, Sobisch and López Murphy) barely got 28% of the vote. In the capital, Buenos Aires, where the right won the City Council some months ago, the lists to the right of Cristina de Kirchner and Carrió only obtained 32% of the vote and the lists of the left 11%.
This shows that there was not a swift to the right in society, as we have been defending for months. The overwhelming support for Cristina de Kirchner does not reflect a low level of consciousness amongst the workers, as claim ultra-left and sceptics alike, but rather a sober vision of reality. There were certain improvements in the living conditions thanks to concessions gained in struggle, within the framework of a prolonged economic boom. Amongst the workers there is an instinctive and profound contempt for the right, but the left is weak, made many mistakes, and does not inspire confidence at the moment.
The balance of the left
A very relevant event in these elections was the eruption onto the political scene of Proyecto Sur (South Project), led by film-maker Pino Solanas, who comes from the Peronist left, and Claudio Lozano, one of the leaders of the CTA union federation, which received the fifth highest amount of votes.
Apart from this, this was the worst election for the left in years; half the votes obtained in 2005 were lost, approximately half a million.
The Partido Obrero (Workers' Party) lost 100,000 votes, barely reaching 120,000 votes. Nueva Izquierda-MST (New Left-MST) got 155,000 votes, losing 40,000. The most disastrous results however were reserved for the united front organised by the Communist Party and the Humanist Party; the 440,000 votes that they received competing separately in 2005, were reduced to 80,000. The political degeneration of the CP leadership has reduced to ashes what historically once was the most important political party of the Argentine left, bringing disillusionment to thousands and thousands of honest communist militants.
Finally, other smaller groups gathered around 150,000 votes altogether.
The role of the leadership of all these groups could not be more pernicious. Insensitive to the desire for unity amongst thousands of militants and sympathisers, they repeat their suicidal tactics of competing separately, ruining once again the hopes of hundred of thousands of fighters. The leadership of these groups are irreformable and condemns them to political irrelevance.
The elections of October 28 showed that Proyecto Sur and Nueva Izquierda-MST are the two principal forces to the left of Kirchner. This makes them responsible for developing a mass political tool based on the working class.
Proyecto Sur, Nueva Izquierda-MST and the CTA leaders who have been on the left of Kirchner should launch, as a group, a wide political movement, democratic and with a class programme, open to workers and all popular sectors, to fight for a just and egalitarian society. There should be room for any political left tendency to defend honestly and comradely their points of view while helping to build the movement.
The revolutionary left
It is natural that many honest revolutionary activists may have doubts about being part of a common front with left reformists. Unfortunately, due to its sectarian and adventurist policies, the revolutionary left wasted innumerable opportunities in these last years to form a political tool with influence amongst the working class.
It is ABC that we need a revolutionary party rooted in the working masses to lead the struggle for the socialist transformation of society, but this party does not exist in Argentina. In the current situation, the most progressive task to bring closer that perspective is to create a wide and massive political movement, with the genuine participation of the workers and popular classes, even if within it there will be left reformist elements.
To awaken thousands and thousands of workers and youth to political life with this type of broad political movement in the fight against the pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist policies of Kirchner and the right would be giant step forward in relation to the current situation; it would bring the revolutionary socialist from its isolation to activism, who could practically demonstrate the correctness of their ideas, tactics and programme and their capacity to fight. This will be the way in which the revolutionary socialists will be able to emerge as a mass force to successfully take on the tasks of the socialist transformation of society.
Perspectives for Cristina's government
What perspectives open up for Cristina Kirchner's government? As long as the economic boom lasts she will continue with the same policies pursued by her husband, balancing between the classes and giving concessions to the working masses, while defending the common interests of the capitalists and multinational companies.
It was not by chance that during the electoral campaign she insisted on the need for a "social pact", having as its main axis workers and businessmen. The announced increase in the price of gas, electricity, phone and transport, as well as in basic products, over 20% this year, have worried the government, the business federation and the Peronist union bureaucracy. They fear an unstoppable wave of protests over wages. Therefore, there will be a ferocious offensive to try to impose the "pact" - whatever the cost.
The workers will first have to experience Cristina's government and at first they will understandibly put their hopes and high expectations in her. But patience will not be eternal. The imposition of a social pact will aim at limiting protests over wages in order to maintain levels of profitability, and the precarious working conditions will open the first breaches between Cristina's government and the working class. In the long run, a reduction in the level of economic growth and even the likelihood of entering a recession, due to the weakness of the world economy, will reduce to a minimum the conciliation of interests between the workers and businessmen, which is the political emblem of Kirchnerism.
This will prepare the best conditions to create and develop a political tool for the working class masses in the next years.