From Argentina to Aotearoa

revolutionary days in argentina

Protesters in Argentina In Argentina, a series of strikes, mass demonstrations and organised seizures of food and goods have brought down two governments in three weeks and thrown the political elite and its US backers into panic. The Argentinean working class and middle classes are refusing to suffer any more for a four-year recession was caused not by them but by Rogernomics-style free market 'reforms' imposed by the United States-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The mainstream media and the 'experts' of the political establishment find the Argentinean revolt hard to stomach. For a decade they have been crowing about the 'death of socialism' and the 'triumph of capitalism'. Now, they are faced with a revolt against capitalism in one of the countries they saw as a 'pin up star' for extreme capitalist 'reform'. Like the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle and Genoa, the Argentinean revolt screams that 'the Emperor has no clothes', that capitalism today is not triumphant but degenerate. Is it any wonder, then, that the mainstream media and the 'experts' are trying to explain the Argentinean drama away as an 'episode of mob violence' or ' a cry for US help'?

a recipe for misery

Freefall continues for the Peso What is the background to the crisis of capitalism in Argentina? The early 1990's in Argentina saw state industries, utilities and banks privatised and sold off to the highest bidders. In 1991 the peso was pegged 1:1 to the $US, and increasingly borrowings like mortgages and loans were denominated in dollars.
For a while these policies seemed to work. Foreign investment poured in as the multinationals grabbed Argentina's assets at knock down prices. But as the dollar rose in the second half of the 1990s the cracks started appearing. The peso dragged up by the dollar made Argentinean exports increasingly uncompetitive, and as industrial exports collapsed so did Argentina's manufacturing base. Argentina had increasingly to go cap in hand to the IMF, which had proposed the peso peg in the first place. Loans of $22bn were arranged to prop up the faltering peso and the government but the price was the normal "structural adjustment programme". The money would only be released in return for slashing the government budget, which meant attacking education, health, the minimum wage and in the end public service wages and pensions.
By last November it was clear that the Argentinean economy was a basket case, and draconian restrictions on bank withdrawals were introduced, allowing only $1000 a month to be withdrawn. Of course, the big financiers and corrupt politicians had already spirited away their millions abroad. As official unemployment figures hit 18.3% the unions called a massively supported one-day general strike on December 13th. It was to spark off a series of struggles, which would end with the 'revolutionary days' that ousted President De la Rua and his successor Saa from office

CONTENTS

from argentina to aotearoa

anti-capitalist uprising in argentina: an analogy

organising against capitalism in the 21st century

conference report

anarchy in the r.k

bac to smog

the 24 milion dollar minute

war is terrorism

aotearoa news round up

 

from afghanistan to argentina

Argentina's "new poor" looting for foodFor months now, newspapers and TV screens have been covered with images of the war in Afghanistan. Exploding missiles, maimed children and burning villages have imprinted the reality of war on many Western minds, as the world's richest and most powerful country has turned on weak, poverty-stricken Afghanistan. At the same time, a mostly 'quiet' war has been waged with increasing intensity in faraway Argentina.
Now, of course, the 'quiet' war has exploded into world attention, and images from Argentina jostle for front page space with images from Afghanistan. Whether the weapons are bombs and missiles or redundancy notices and spending cuts, the enemy is the same: the working class and poor of a weak, poverty-stricken nation. The common aggressor in the two wars is imperialism, or the export of oppression by powerful governments serving the interest of profit. The US and its allies are using NATO and the UN to intervene in Afghanistan to protect their economic interests in the Middle East and to drive an oil pipeline through the country, and the IMF to intervene in Argentina to increase the profitability of the many businesses they own there. The anti-war struggle and the struggle in Argentina take aim at the same enemy.

popular assemblies

The masses on the streets in ArgentinaArgentina stands between revolution and fascism. A revolution in Argentina would mean the working class there setting up its own independent political, social and economic institutions in place the old, rotten state and capitalist-controlled economy.
Signs of a new, democratic society are already appearing, in the form of local 'Popular Assemblies' which are meeting in many Argentinean cities to organise resistance against the state forces and to encourage cooperation and the sharing of resources in communities which have been fragmented by years of ruthless economic policies. The Popular Assemblies are a sign of the emergence of 'dual power' in Argentina. Dual power is created when the working class, which in Argentina comprises around 80% of the population, creates its own structures of power to challenge those of the capitalist state. The PA's make decisions by majority vote in mass, all-up meetings. [Some groups think PA's are workers' councils in their early stages].
Other hints of a new society can be found in the unions of unemployed and radical workers opposed to the political establishment. Both the Popular Assemblies and the revolutionary unions will need to arm themselves for self-defence against the state forces which have killed dozens of protesters in recent weeks.

the threat of facism

In Argentina, a series of strikes, mass demonstrations and organised seizures of food and goods have brought down two governments in three weeks and thrown the political elite and its US backers into panic. The Argentinean working class and middle classes are refusing to suffer any more for a four-year recession was caused not by them but by Rogernomics-style free market 'reforms' imposed by the United States-backed International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The mainstream media and the 'experts' of the political establishment find the Argentinean revolt hard to stomach. For a decade they have been crowing about the 'death of socialism' and the 'triumph of capitalism'. Now, they are faced with a revolt against capitalism in one of the countries they saw as a 'pin up star' for extreme capitalist 'reform'. Like the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle and Genoa, the Argentinean revolt screams that 'the Emperor has no clothes', that capitalism today is not triumphant but degenerate. Is it any wonder, then, that the mainstream media and the 'experts' are trying to explain the Argentinean drama away as an 'episode of mob violence' or ' a cry for US help'?

from argentina to aotearoa

We are all Argentineans. The IMF-backed policies in Argentina closely resemble the notorious 'Rogernomics' policies inflicted on Aotearoa by the Lange Labour government and the succeeding Bolger regime and consolidated by today's fake left Clark-Anderton government. In both Argentina and Aotearoa, these free business-knows-best policies caused mass redundancies, greatly impaired social services with spending cuts, and drove down the average wage. In both Argentina and Aotearoa, a small minority of the population benefited massively from the impoverishment of the rest. The struggle in Argentina is our struggle.

A leaflet from the Anti Imperialist Coalition (Auckland)
e mail anti_imperialist@hotmail.com
For a collection of news items about and messages from the Argentinean struggle, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Argentina_Solidarity/