Last Sunday, a long electoral campaign came to an end and I’m proud of what we did with the Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores – Unidad, reaffirming ourselves as the third-largest national force and winning four seats in Congress, which will be at the service of defending the working class, women and youth.
With my comrade Myriam Bregman for the City of Buenos Aires, Alejandro Vilca with a historic election in Jujuy with a quarter of the vote and becoming the first working-class and indigenous national deputy for that province, and with comrade teacher Romina del Plá entering with me for Buenos Aires Province.
We know that we’re living in hard times, the election was traversed by a highly critical socio-economic situation for the working-class majorities who expressed their social discontent in the ballot boxes. That is a central factor for understanding the fall in Frente de Todos votes nationwide and in Buenos Aires Province. Since 2015 with former president Mauricio Macri, wages have lost 20 percent and the inflation of the past year has already topped 50 percent.
Travelling around Buenos Aires Province and supporting every demand of the working-class people, throughout all those months I encountered a huge disappointment with the government in the neglected neighbourhoods.
Many decided to take a chance on FIT-U. Neighbours, youth and pensioners all had their extended stories of being sick and tired of austerity always hitting them.
Those who voted for Alberto Fernández did so with the expectation of recouping their losses under Macri but yet nothing was reverted and we have worrying levels of poverty and destitution. Precarious jobs and housing access are structural problems for millions who are fed up with the broken promises of successive governments.
As for the Juntos por el Cambio opposition, despite winning in most provinces, its support did not grow from other elections. Memories of the disaster of Macri are still fresh and their votes channelled a protest against this government, rather than any defence of the orientations they were proposing.
Over and above their campaign discourse, the extreme liberal right and Juntos agree over wanting to impose an agenda of harsher attacks against the working-class, like eliminating severance or labour reforms to take more rights away.
They speak for the great owners of the country who have enriched themselves at the cost of the majorities. Those are the debates to come if Frente de Todos advances in its proposal of a national agreement to renegotiate the debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We already know the recipes of austerity of an international organisation which has looted the peoples of Latin America and other countries, sinking them into deeper poverty.
We said so very clearly during the electoral campaign and such is our commitment – the Frente de Izquierda will not validate the fraud of a debt which went on capital flight and speculation. Those who support us know that we defend the interests of the working people, confronting all austerity measures, whether from Macri or Alberto Fernández.
Frente de Izquierda Unidad’s great election, with almost 1.3 million votes nationwide, is a point of support for what is to come – the fight for another way out of the crisis in favour of working people. Our proposal of a six-hour day without reducing wages, redistributing the surplus working hours among the employed and unemployed in order to create genuine jobs, gained enormous sympathy.
It was the only measure looking ahead against so many promises and empty slogans by traditional politicians during the campaign. Our caucus of four leftist deputies in Congress at national level, the two city councillors in the Federal Capital, the two Buenos Aires provincial deputies and the municipal councillors throughout the province, will be at the service of those battles – in Congress and in the streets.
From this point on we need to set in motion the force of the working-class, convoking the trade unions and popular and neighbourhood organisations opposed to austerity, organising the unity of the working people to face it.
We trust in struggle and grassroots organisation because the only future possible is not the one the IMF seeks to impose. There is another way out and we in Frente de Izquierda are placing our bets on constructing that alternative.
* Nicolás del Caño. National Depuy, re-elected in Buenos Aires Province for Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores - Unidad (FIT-U).