Tony Saunois, CWI secretary
The far-right libertarian candidate, Javier Milei, has won a large victory taking over 55% of the national vote, beating the Peronist candidate Sergio Massa who took 44% of the vote. Meli, a far-right economist and TV star won in most provinces with the exception of Formosa, Santiago del Estero and marginally the province of Buenos Aires. Cities like Cordoba saw the right take over 70% of the vote.
Milei’s victory will open a new chapter in crisis-ridden Argentina but will bring no stability and will begin a new era of savage attacks on the working class. Milei’s programme includes free trade, dollarisation of the economy, wholesale privatisation of health, education and other key sectors of the economy, labour reform and attacks on workers, and opposition to abortion.
The surge to Milei is a cry of desperation from the masses in Argentina who are faced with a collapse of living standards and accelerating poverty levels, and signs of social collapse reflected in the growth of drug cartels and violence. 40% officially live in poverty as inflation rates of 150% ravage the country. The country has been on the brink of debt default as the crisis intensifies.
Voters vomited out the corrupt pro-capitalist Peronists who have governed up until now, along with all the traditional parties. Under Massa and the Peronists nothing has been resolved in the interests of the working class; cuts and attacks have rained down as demanded by the IMF and other imperialist agencies. The official trade union bureaucracy failed to lead any struggle against the government as it is entwined with the Peronist apparatus.
Milei, however, will not resolve the crisis nor offer any hope to the working class and poor of Argentina. He has no majority in Congress, and threatens to rule by decree and by calling plebiscites. The right-wing leader of the Republican Proposal Party, Mauricio Macri, was elected president in 2015 having defeated the Peronists led by Néstor Kirchner. Macri rapidly faced strikes and general strikes as he attempted to force through his programme. He was then defeated by the Peronists in 2019. Milei, will confront the same revolt at a certain stage as the consequences of his reactionary programme become clear.
The crucial task for workers and revolutionaries in Argentina now is to prepare the building of a movement of workers and youth to struggle against the reactionary anti-working-class policies that Milei is certain to attempt to implement. Sections of the ruling class may use their position in Congress to try and contain some of the most extreme measures being proposed by Milei. However, an era of crisis and political and social upheaval is now certain to unfold.
At the recent congressional elections the Trotskyist-dominated front, FIT, increased its representation in Congress to five. It now needs to turn to the social and industrial struggles which loom. The convening of a congress of all those involved in struggle – rank-and-file trade unions – the unemployed, the youth, and others – is urgent to prepare for the future battles and offer a socialist alternative, which is the only way out of the dead end that Argentinian capitalism now find itself in.