Argentina: Once Again the Multitudes are Challenging Neo-liberal Arrogance

By Carlos Aznárez on June 3, 2016

2“People won’t allow being misled and sooner than later they will rise up.” Many of us have said that in worse circumstances than the one we are now living in Argentina and the continent. We said it when our compañeros and compañeras were killed or disappeared every day, or when the military personnel entered neighborhoods and went on rampages against everything they found in their path, or when it was difficult to walk down the streets of big cities without seeing a van of uniformed men or the feared Ford Falcon of the undercover police of the Triple A (Argentine Anti-communist Alliance). The expression circulated mouth to mouth in prisons and in the concentration camps and it had a lot to do with keeping hope alive by looking into a brighter scenario of the future. It was a saying that had to do with never losing confidence for the people at the bottom that at times could be influenced by those who held power or were bombarded by the media, but always left a small space to store ideas and actions of resistance.

It happened in Argentina during the years of repression between1976-1983 and turned to repeat itself with the bourgeois democracies. Whenever it seemed like it was the end the voices resurged with the chants, the marches, and the demands against the poor treatment of the rulers. The movements that arose like the “Stokers” of Cutral Co from Neuquén Province, the Piqueteros movement, the taking of Pueyrredón Bridge, the uprisings, the popular rebellion of 2001, all “is engraved in the memory”.

It is worth remembering all of this because in the midst of the difficulties that our people are going through, we can now visualize with enormous satisfaction what is possible after what happened this past Thursday in the Plaza de Mayo. More than forty thousand workers once again mobilized against Macri’s adjustments, the massive layoffs, the big increase in the prices of consumer goods, and against multinational delivery policies. In a cold and rainy day with all hegemonic media against the action and the shameful absence of the leadership of the three CGT (General Confederation of Workers) who prefer to negotiate with the new government for crumbs.

Despite all that and much more, the square overflowed with enthusiasm and slogans that show that an important fringe of society is ready to not be meekly crushed and is fighting back. Those who were there were clear that now is not the time for meaningless and flimsy justifications. There were no reasons to be hesitant since the government and its ministers are a synthesis of the barbarism of the past. The sleazy sellout of former presidents Menem and De la Rua, the dangerous nostalgia for the military dictatorship, and the permanent adoption of policies scripted for the continent by the Empire. An example of this is the recent decree by President Macri returning “autonomy” to the armed forces to intervene in “fighting against terrorism”. This was similarly evoked in speeches by the generals Videla and Massera in 1976.

On the basis of those certainties and facing great danger, Plaza de Mayo was filled with almost all the unions that make up the two CTA (Workers Confederation of Argentina) but also participating were numerous trade unions affiliated to one or another CGT which are not accepting the demobilizing maneuvers of its leaders. Also present were the internal commissions of large factories, and social organizations that know the danger posed by the initiatives of the current government. In this context, and it is important to say it, leaders of both CTAs closed the rally by a call to “hit together”, to mobilize a short-term national strike and to end “giving time” to a government that is willing to take away all the social benefits gained by the workers through many years of struggle.

In the Plaza a climate of euphoria took place, confirming once again that the streets are the main battleground of confrontation against the authoritarianism of the government. These are freed territories where the differences became smaller, reiterating a path that already was evident in the large mobilization on May 1st, and later in the demonstrations organized by high school, university students and women by the thousands.

These are times of active people, men and women, youth of all ages, who are daily lighting small fires that are growing towards becoming a large flare.  There are also examples of large demonstrations taking place in the interior of the country that are known as “frasadazos” (big blankets), to deal with the increase of gas and electrical prices and other essential services. Blankets to “calm the cold” caused by the difficulties in paying those soaring rates in winter coming up. Roadblocks and the occupations of establishments are also on the rise. Nobody is asking their neighbor which party or organization he or she belongs to since the cause fueling the movements are above all differences. They know that there is only one enemy in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, or the one harassing Venezuela. Functionally speaking they are remembering that the people save the people… Everything else is excuses or complicity.

Translation: Resumen Latinoamericano North America Bureau

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano