Declaration of the Left and Workers’ Front (FIT)
Down with the devaluation and the adjustment plan!
For an increase in wages and a plan of struggle!
For a workers’ solution to the crisis!
The sudden devaluation of the currency prepared by the national government is a hammer blow against the workers, both retired and active. It adds fuel to the fire of an inflation that will eat away at the incomes of the poor. The devaluation comes on top of excessive increases in fares and other items like gasoline. And it is a reward to big business, since it aims at destroying wages. The government’s intention to make such an adjustment was condemned by the FIT during the election campaign.
Prices, especially of basic foods, have already increased. The previously announced “Progress” Plan [of minuscule financial assistance to impoverished young people, amounting to less than 75 US dollars a month] will do nothing to help young people who want to study and work. The devaluation of the currency will increase the burden of the foreign debt on the whole national state and all the provinces. Since the debts are tied to the dollar, the workers and the people will end up paying. The rise in interest rates will mean bankruptcy for the indebted workers and a shrinking of credit and of the economy, with the consequent threat of suspensions and layoffs. In addition, the government is ‘remortgaging’ Argentina to international financial capital and embezzling the funds of ANSES [the Department of Social Security, whose funds earmarked for pensions the government is using to pay its debt]. The foreign currency reserves will continue to fall to ensure the payment of the usurious foreign debt, in accord with the demands of imperialism, the IMF and the Club of Paris.
The devaluation will also increase the price of imported fuels, pushing up the bills of the energy sector. The agreement with Chevron and other oil monopolies established the dollarisation of fuel prices and a permanent increase in home energy bills. The devaluation benefits the agricultural and industrial monopolies that export, and financial speculators, but it will accentuate all the imbalances in the national economy. Argentina’s international deficit will worsen, and the financial dependency of the country on foreign and national capital will be accentuated.
Massa, Scioli, Cobos, Binner and Macri [the main politicians in opposition to the government] welcomed the devaluation and the rise in interest rates, and along with the big employers are demanding complete freedom for the capital markets. Like the national government and the provincial governors, they are banking on putting a ceiling on wage rises in the forthcoming annual negotiations.
However, an even bigger nightmare haunts those who are imposing the adjustment: fear of the workers’ reaction. Facing the crisis, we workers have the possibility of taking the initiative. All the partial struggles of the recent months have been won by the workers. The union bureaucracy, on the other hand, is preventing the mobilization of the unions for a general increase of wages and pensions, and is also blocking the bringing forward of the annual round of wage negotiations, with the result that wages will be undermined by inflation.
For internal commissions, workplace delegates, and anti-bureaucratic and militant unions, the current situation poses the task of organizing assemblies and activists’ meetings on the road to regroupment and national coordination in order to approve programmatic resolutions and a plan of action. This activity will demonstrate to the entire workers’ movement that the conditions for a fightback are being prepared, by demanding of the unions and the union federations (the CGT and CTA) that they immediately convene plenary sessions of delegates with a mandate to approve workplace struggles and an overall plan of action. The FIT pledges to commit all its forces in the workers’ movement to this perspective.
Our demands are simple: a minimum monthly wage of 10,000 pesos; index-linked rises in wages and pensions to cover inflation; pensions to be 82% of final salaries; prohibition of layoffs and suspensions; and distribution of the hours of work without reducing wages. Down with precarious employment: all contract workers to become permanent employees. No increase in home energy or transport costs: open the books of all the energy and transport companies. Renationalise the energy and transport industries under workers’ and users’ control, without compensation to those who looted them (Repsol, Edenor, Edesur, Cirigliano, Metrovías, and others). Open the books of the food monopolies and the commercial cartels in order to make the case for workers’ control.
Alongside this we are calling for the non-payment of the usurious and fraudulent foreign debt, the nationalization without compensation of the banks, and the state monopoly of foreign trade.
The capitalists must pay for the crisis! For a workers’ economic and political plan! For rank-and-file congresses of workers to discuss a programme and a plan of struggle in defence of workers’ demands and against the adjustment.
Left and Workers’ Front
PO (Partido Obrero) – PTS (Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas) – IS (Izquierda Socialista)
January 28, 2014