Mayday in Argentina
Before the march the leftist organizations and those fighting in the struggle held a unitary act, the Socialist Workers Party (PTS in Spanish) put up a platform in front of the Obelisk. More than 2,500 workers and students participated.
The speakers included Javier “Poke” Hermosilla, Kraft Shop Steward; Raul Goody, Zanon worker and PTS leader; Jessica Calcagno, leader of the group Clave Roja and the FUBA’s Executive Board (UBA Student Federation) ; Jose Montes, worker delegate at Astilleros Rio Santiago (ship factory) and national PTS leader. To start off the ceremony Martin Arista, the most veteran militants with PTS, gave a moving speech. In attendance, at the act, were workers delegations, from what are called “worker based unions”, many of which are currently leading struggles, like in the Food industry (Kraft, Pepsico, Stani and others), the subway workers, the ceramic workers from Neuquen (Zanon and Stefani), the graphics workers at Donelley, Roca Railroad workers- who are struggling against the outsourcing of their jobs- and many others.
Jessica Calcagno, a Social Sciences student, declared that the “youth want you to tell you that you are not alone. We are beginning to forge an alliance that has shown the initial signs of its great potential: workers, laid-off workers, students demonstrated how to take on a big national company like Kraft”.
Javier Hermosilla stressed that “the food industry workers present here are part of what we are struggling for, with our union, against the company owners, like the rebellion in Arcor in Cordoba, the workers at Felfort, and the workers at Kraft and Pepsico- who had come here from blocking the Pan American Highway. But in order to take on the company owners we can’t trust Daer and the bureaucratic union. That’s why we’re starting to develop a class conscious opposition in the unions and we are making an effort to organize the shop stewards, unions and combative activism”.
Raul Godoy said later “we’re class conscious; for us, that phrase that sometimes seems difficult. The workers’ political independence, which we were able to make into one of the slogans for the Plaza de Mayo Act, where we will be going afterwards, means a lot: No political alliance with the capitalists parties!, like the central-left always does, No support to the Capitalist Country Side “opposition”! No trust in the Ministry of Labor or in any mediator unconnected to the workers!”
Jose Montes closed the act paying tribute to the martyrs of Chicago and making reference to the capital crisis that has recently hit Europe: “What is happening in Greece is a movie that the workers in Argentina have already seen. With debt that they will be unable to pay, the IMF and the European governments demand cuts and more cuts. We send our regards to the working class, who are responding with strikes and manifestations, almost daily”, and are reaffirming the struggle to make the “capitalists pay for the crisis”.
After the act held by the PTS, which took place in front of the Obelisk, many of those present formed a column joined the May Day march to the Plaza de Mayo, where they read the document.
The May Day march was lead by important workers’ delegations, among which the delegates in opposition to the Daer Food workers union stood out, including Kraft and Pepsico shop stewards, Cadbury-Stani and Felfort delegates and activists, Ceramics union (Zanon and Stefani workers), Roca Railroad workers, Bordo group, Astilero Rio Santiago delegates, metalworkers from northern zone of Buenos Aires and Campana, aeronautic activists, and former Mafissa workers, among others.
Once they reached the Plaza worker representatives and organizations took the stage, including representatives of combative shop stewards and workers in struggle, human rights organizations, members of student centers that support workers’ struggles- who are being persecuted by Macri for supporting the Kraft workers’ struggle. In closing the act a document was read that had been written by the convening organizations.