Argentina

Last December, in a meeting organized by the Argentina Solidarity Campaign, two workers from Argentina outlined the experiences in their factory (Zanon Ceramics), which was the first factory to come under workers' control during the current crisis. It was a very inspiring and informative account.

One year ago, shortly before Christmas, the world was shaken by reports of a popular uprising in Argentina. In extraordinary scenes, recalling the fall of Saigon, President De la Rua had to escape in a helicopter from the roof of his Presidential palace, fleeing from his own people. In less than two weeks Argentina had four presidents. In this important article Alan Woods who has just returned from Buenos Aires draws a balance sheet of the stormy events that have shaken Argentina since the uprising one year ago, and points the way forward.

At 6 am on Sunday, November 24, police forces took over the Brukman textile factory, which had been occupied by its workforce since December 20 last year, in the middle of the "Argentinazo" uprising. The police came together with the old owners, foremen and supervisors of the company with a court order to take away all machinery.

President Duhalde has announced that elections will be brought forward to March. This news comes after the damage caused to the government by the brutal repression of the piqueteros at the end of June, with civil war raging inside the Peronist party, and constant harassment from the IMF pressurising the government to apply austerity measures. Against a backdrop of sharpening economic and social tensions, Duhalde is in an untenable position. David Rey looks at the tasks of Marxists in the upcoming elections and the need for organisation and a clear socialist programme.

More than 50,000 people marched in Buenos Aires on Thursday, June 27 to the Plaza de Mayo to protest against the brutal police repression meted out to the piqueteros on the previous day, and especially the cold blooded murders of Maximiliano Costequi and Darío Santillán by the forces of the state.

David Rey reports from Argentina on the current economic and political situation. The economic plight of the workers has got worse since the events of last December, and the initial euphoria has given way to a more sober attitude. The streets are still in the hands of the masses, whilst the representatives of the capitalist system keep their heads low to avoid retribution. But the movement remains as strong as ever. Duhalde is very weak, trapped between the demands of the IMF and those of the masses. As the situation worsens, Argentina is headed for another upsurge.

On March 30, 1982, in response to Argentina's deepening economic crisis, and the repression of General Galtieri's military-police dictatorship, the workers had taken to the streets of Buenos Aires. The regime was staring overthrow in the face. It responded by starting a war, one of the principal aims of which was to distract the attention of the masses.

The events of last December are a warning of what will happen in one country after another in the coming period. The Argentine revolution is a complete answer to all the faint-hearts, cowards, sceptics and cynics who doubted the ability of the working people to change society. It deserves the most careful study by all workers. As events unfold there will be periods of ebbs and flows, victories and defeats, before a decisive settlement is reached. But sooner or later, the question of power will be posed, and must be solved.

At the weekend of February 16 and 17, thousands of workers, unemployed, and members of the popular assemblies, met in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires for the National Assembly of Workers. This meeting is the highest point so far of the movement towards the creation of an alternative power of the workers and the masses in Argentina. The movement, which started with the revolutionary events of December 19 and 20, has advanced very rapidly not only in its organisational forms but also in the political conclusions that it has drawn. By Jordi Martorell, with a footnote by Alan Woods.

Dear comrades,
I am a sociology student and a supporter of Marxism-Leninism. With this very short letter I would like to explain the situation in Argentina to all revolutionary Marxist comrades around the world, to all those who are struggling against the exploitative capitalist system and who are following every turn in the events in my country.

We consider it our duty to attempt to understand the revolutionary process in Argentina and to learn from it, in order to apply the lessons to the revolutionary process in other countries. The views and experiences of the Argentine comrades are of great importance to us, and we hope that our views may in some way contribute to the clarification of the problems and challenges facing the Argentine revolution. The role of the Partido Obrero (Argentine Workers' Pary) in the process is obviously a significant element in the equation, and we follow it with great interest. On many points of the programme defended by the PO we find ourselves in agreement. However, we

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The revolutionary situation which opened up in Argentina with the insurrection of December 19 and 20, and which led to the overthrow of two governments in just one week, is far from over. All political analysts agree that this as one of the most turbulent periods in the country's history. The fundamental factor, which must be stressed, is the great leap forward in the consciousness of the masses. This has led them to begin a process, which daily grows wider and deeper, of active political participation at all levels, particularly through the formation of Popular Assemblies.

This is another eye-witness account of recent events in Argentina from S.S. de Jujuy, Argentina. It also looks back at the events of the past decade which eventually led to the masses coming out onto the streets.

The mobilisations that have developed in Argentina in the last weeks, in particular the uprising of 19-20 December, are without precedent. This is the first time in the long tradition of working class struggle that an elected government has fallen directly and immediately as a result of mass street protests. It was an insurrection that has clearly shown that the whole middle class, as well as the working class, mobilised against the De la Rúa government.

In scenes reminiscent of the fall of Saigon, the leaders of the government hastily packed their bags and fled by helicopter from the roof of the Presidential palace. Only these were not foreign invaders fleeing from an army of national liberation, but an elected President fleeing from his own people. While the eyes of the world were diverted to the other war in Afghanistan, another war was raging. In the week before Christmas, Argentina was at war. Not a war between nations, but a war between rich and poor, between haves and haves not - a war between the classes.

October's elections have highlighted an enormous discontent in Argentinean society, with a ruling class divided amongst itself, and most importantly, the fact that millions of workers and youth are looking for a left alternative to the crisis facing the nation.