Argentina: Crisis leads to capitulation to the North

March 14, 2009

The article below following is abridged from the March editorial of Eslabon, a monthly bulletin produced by the Argentinean Union of Militants for Socialism (UMS). It has been translated by Federico Fuentes. A UMS founding member and leader, Luis Bilbao, will be a feature speaker at the World at a Crossroads conference held in Sydney from April 10-12. Visit for more information or to register.

The government of President Cristina Fernandez has become tangled up in the global economic crisis, precisely at a time when the internal situation has been beginning to get out of control.

Stunned by the spiralling fall of the global and local economy, the executive train has made two extraordinarily negative moves.

In international policy, it has distanced itself from Unasur (Union of South American Nations — a body established last year to unite South American governments), seeking instead to curry flavour with the US and find space in the G20 (involving the world's largest 19 economies plus the European Union).

In the domestic sphere, it has unleashed a brutal tax hike in order to recuperate the fiscal surplus and control over the budget.

The publication of a CIA report, warning that the Argentinian economic crisis will bring with it political destabilisation, is much more than just grotesque imperialist interference: it is a warning that with every request for clemency, Washington will respond by demanding more.

The immediate failure of measures that would supposedly confront the wave of unemployment has coincided with the adoption of measures that go in the opposite direction: increased tariffs and taxes on those that have least.

The more the government speaks of "Keynesianism", the more it shifts towards liberal orthodoxy.

Inevitably, this shift will lead to a frontal clash.

The economy is in sharp decline. The government is unravelling and every minute it relationship with society weakens. The flight of Kirchneristas (after previous president, and Fernandez's husband, Nestor Kirchner) of different stripes in all different directions has begun.

This will continue accelerating at the pace of the crisis and as the October elections near.

The General Confederation of Workers (CGT), led by Hugo Moyano, has also taken its distance from Fernandez. It is demanding from Fernandez a third of all candidate spots for the Justicialist Party (PJ) for parliamentary seats in the elections.

Given that until now there has been no positive response, Moyano announced that on May 1 a rally will be held in Plaza de Mayo without the presence of "party banners and leaders".

Moyano is the PJ vice president, with the presidency residing with Kirchner.

If negotiations do not end with a positive result for the CGT, the government's base of support will be desperately close to zero.

All of this was revealed in a pathetic manner on February 28, with the failed mobilisation to Congress to accompany Fernandez for her speech to inaugurate the 2009 parliamentary sessions, but above all became evident during her speech.

Fernandez was unable to display a single hint of an anti-crisis plan; nor one measure against the threat of unemployment; nor one line to resolve the crippling problem it has with all the agricultural entities.

The strategy of the governing team was explained in two paragraphs.

In one, she warned that "if the international crisis hits Argentina" (they have still not realised that it has already arrived), then 2009 will be the worst of the last 100 years.

This time frame includes 2001, the year of the devastating economic crisis that led to the Argentinazo uprising.

The other paragraph alluded to the fact that she would be going to the G20 meeting to demand a reform of multilateral institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank).

The reason: if the IMF changes, the government could change its attitude towards it and re-enter that institution of the international pirates.

Faced with this, either the left is capable of cohering a policy in various spheres simultaneously, aimed at achieving the unity of the great majority, and affirming an anti-imperialist front to wage an electoral battle and advance swiftly in the re-composition of the revolutionary forces, or the local and imperialist right will be the ones that one way or the other — and sooner rather than later — replace this government, whose life cycle has expired.

It will not possible to defend institutionality without a clear political alternative.

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