In scenes reminiscent of the fall of Saigon, the leaders of the government hastily packed their bags and fled by helicopter from the roof of the Presidential palace. Only these were not foreign invaders fleeing from an army of national liberation, but an elected President fleeing from his own people. While the eyes of the world were diverted to the other war in Afghanistan, another war was raging. In the week before Christmas, Argentina was at war. Not a war between nations, but a war between rich and poor, between haves and haves not - a war between the classes.
One year ago, shortly before Christmas, the world was shaken by reports of a popular uprising in Argentina. In extraordinary scenes, recalling the fall of Saigon, President De la Rua had to escape in a helicopter from the roof of his Presidential palace, fleeing from his own people. In less than two weeks Argentina had four presidents. In this important article Alan Woods who has just returned from Buenos Aires draws a balance sheet of the stormy events that have shaken Argentina since the uprising one year ago, and points the way forward.
The results of the first round of the presidential elections show that the period of instability that began in Argentina a year and a half ago has not ended. The massive scattering of votes also reveals the high level of discontent present in all layers of society. These elections mark a new milestone in the social and political situation in Argentina.
The measures adopted and announced by the Kirchner government during its first few weeks in power have triggered a very lively debate within the Argentine labour movement. In addition to this, there is also another debate within the left itself on the nature of the current stage of the mass movement that began with the "Argentinazo" uprising in December 2001.
The Buenos Aires underground workers are fighting for the same demands
as other Argentinian workers: fair wages to allow us to live with
dignity, to work in safe and hygienic conditions and respect for our
rights as workers. Please send your solidarity messages.
We are appealing to all our supporters to take part in an international
campaign of solidarity with the Metro workers of Buenos Aires who have
been involved in an ongoing dispute for some time now. A new bitter
labour dispute has been unleashed, the result of which is crucial for
the whole of the Argentinean working class.