Americas

At the weekend of February 16 and 17, thousands of workers, unemployed, and members of the popular assemblies, met in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires for the National Assembly of Workers. This meeting is the highest point so far of the movement towards the creation of an alternative power of the workers and the masses in Argentina. The movement, which started with the revolutionary events of December 19 and 20, has advanced very rapidly not only in its organisational forms but also in the political conclusions that it has drawn. By Jordi Martorell, with a footnote by Alan Woods.

Dear comrades,
I am a sociology student and a supporter of Marxism-Leninism. With this very short letter I would like to explain the situation in Argentina to all revolutionary Marxist comrades around the world, to all those who are struggling against the exploitative capitalist system and who are following every turn in the events in my country.

The recent gathering of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre showed clearly how the anti-globalisation movement is becoming more and more dominated by career politicians, and groups and organisations that do not really represent the millions of youth who look to this movement for an alternative to the capitalist system. The capitalist class internationally is using a dual tactic. On the one hand, where they feel it to be necessary (as in Genoa) they use the most repressive and brutal methods to try to crush the movement. On the other hand they try to corrupt the movement and direct it away from radical anti-capitalist ideas.

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.

The Ontario Tories marched into office on a wave of popularity after the victory of the "Common Sense Revolution". Today, it is evident that their common sense was rather short sighted. Their solution to Ontario's problems was privatization and cuts in social spending. They've gone after our education, our water, our health care system, and a lot more. Now, they’re going after our power. The common sense of the PC is in line with that of those who deregulated Alberta and California's power. It didn't take that long for the people of these places to realize the true value of this kind of "common sense".

Since their spring election, the right-wing British Columbia Liberals have been carrying out a class war. With massive cuts to social services, a two-dollar reduction of the minimum wage, and huge tax cuts for the rich, it’s obvious what class this government is working for. At the same time, the economy is in tatters. In the three months prior to September eleventh, there were thirty-nine thousand people laid off in British Columbia and the terrorist attacks have only accelerated the slump. The future looks grim for the working class of British Columbia. This can serve only to radicalize the workers and youth of the province.

The five years after the end of the Second World War were some of the stormiest years ever seen in the United States. The entire nation had been mobilized for war - millions of workers were drafted into the military, and millions more were employed in the newly-created arms plants. The State set up hundreds of specialized committees to regulate everything from food rationing to enforcing the reactionary "No Strike Pledge," which was held in place partly by the influence of the Communist Party and the Stalinist-dominated unions as well as by the leadership of the AFL and CIO. This "No Strike Pledge" flew in the face of the newly created Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) but yet

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The labour standards which the Brazilian workers have won over the years are once again being threatened by the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The unions organised in the CUT (Central Workers' Union Confederation) are organising a nationwide general strike for the beginning of March.

The FTAA is coming to Quebec City. It brings with it, the head of every government in North America (except Cuba), 6000 cops (with tear gas and plastic bullets), a 4m high and 4km long "security" fence, a freshly emptied prison for up to 800 political prisoners, and the possibility of the largest youth and worker mobilization since Seattle 1999. Members of Youth For International Socialism will be there in force, putting forward the Marxist solution to Globalization. Over the next few days we will include analysis of the movement plus eyewitness reports from the demonstration itself. The first of these is published here below. Watch this space.

Today, the mass movement of youth united with immense élan to oppose Capitalism and its institutions. As I write this I am yet to see the news reports, so these are my impressions from the street and of those I talked to.

Capitalism is presently in crisis. Western economies have been in slump since March 2001, and despite the wishful thinking of bankers and government politicians the end is nowhere in sight. Everywhere we see layoffs, closures, cutbacks and shortage, and yet only one year ago all the pundits were praising the virtues of the economy. A thinking member of the working class can be left with only one conclusion; the capitalists do not understand their own system.

The mobilisations that have developed in Argentina in the last weeks, in particular the uprising of 19-20 December, are without precedent. This is the first time in the long tradition of working class struggle that an elected government has fallen directly and immediately as a result of mass street protests. It was an insurrection that has clearly shown that the whole middle class, as well as the working class, mobilised against the De la Rúa government.