Sunday, August 16, 2015

Strange Paths of Trotskyism (2 of 2): Argentine Trotskyists

In this second of two posts, I'll discuss a contemoporary Argentine variant of Trotskyism. My attention was caught by an essay from the kirchnerista (left-Peronist/supportive of President Cristina Fernández) site La Batalla Cultural smacking down of Trotskyism, El hombre más odiado por la “izquierda” (accessed 08/14/2015). It's not exactly an esasy, though, more a throwaway polemic against unidentified Trotskyists.

The main target is presumably the electoral formation called the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores (FIT). It is composed of three Troskyist parties, the Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS), the Partido Obrero (PO) and the Izquierda Socialista IS).

The FIT formation has a small number of seats in the Argentine Congress. It's main role in the national election this year is heckle the Peronist Partido Justicialista (PJ) and its electoral alliance Frente para la Victoria (FpV) from the left. So they actually do get a few delegates elected.

Adriana Meyer reports on the FIT's national candidates Nicolás del Caño for President and Myriam Bregman in La sorpresa en el Frente de Izquierda Página/12 11.08.2015 discussing the national election in October.

Meyer quotes Del Caño:

“El desafío para octubre no es sólo convocar a todas las fuerzas de izquierda y progresistas, sino también desentrañar esa maniobra del kirchnerismo que busca la polarización para difundir que el mal menor es Scioli contra la supuesta derecha de Macri. Ya lo vimos, en los ’90 convocaban a votar a De la Rúa como el sapo a tragarse frente a Duhalde y a Menem, y así terminó” ...

[The challenge for October is not only to bring together all the left and progressive forces, but also to unravel this manuevere of kirchnerismo that seeks polarization in order to promote the idea that the lesser evil is {FpV Presidential candidate Daniel} Scioli against the supposed right of {PRO Presidential candidate Mauricio} Macri. But we see that in the 90's voters came together to vote for De la Rúa as the toad to swallow in front of Duhalde and Menem, and look how it turned out.]
The reference is to the election of Fernando de la Rúa as President in 1999, which ended with De la Rúa resigning and leaving the Presidential Palace, the Casa Rosada, in a helicopter during massive public protests after the financial crisis of 2001 hit. Eduardo Duhalde is a Peronist (PJ) who served as President in 2002-3 who did a lot to stabilize the country and the economy but wasn't popular.

Carlos Menem was also President 1989-1999 for the PJ. A Muslim who converted to Catholicism - the President of Argentina is required to be Catholic - Menem campaigned as a fairly traditional Peronist defending the interests of the people against the oligarchy. But once elected, he undertook an aggressive neoliberal economic program of deregulation and privatization. And he established a peg between the Argentine currency and the US dollar, which set Argentina up for the financial crisis of 2001. Menem is currently on trial for obstruction of justice in the case of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994. (Algunas acusaciones fueron selectivas Página/12 14.08.2015)

Meyer quotes Myriam Bregman: "El FIT mantiene la coherencia de ser independiente de los gobiernos y de todas las variantes patronales, y por eso creció." ("The FIT maintains the consistency to be independent of the governments and of all the varieties of management, and because of that we have grown.")

How much they can actually accomplish for their constituents in that state is another question. Doctrinaire Trotskyism can be very self-limiting.

But it can pull some left-leaning voters from PJ candidates. And the FIT does to some extent amplify the complaints of the more conservatives candidates ("oligarchical parties" in the Peronist vocabulary) against the PJ and the current government. So it's easy to see how a kirchnerista website would acuse them of being actually rightwingers. Or, as a Trot might put it, "objectively" supporting the Right:

No son pocos los compañeros peronistas (que hace mucho debieron haber superado ese sentido común) los que hablan de “izquierda” de manera despectiva. Y así es como el trotskismo logra su objetivo, que es precisamente generar confusión y partir al campo popular.

[There are more than a few Peronist compañeros (who should long ago have gotten over this common attitude) who talk about the "left" in a depreciating way. And that is how Trotskyism achieves it objective, which is precisely to generate confusion and divide the popular camp.]

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