Home > IV Online magazine > 2002 > IV340 - May 2002 > "Permanent, uninterrupted revolution in the heads of millions"

Argentina

"Permanent, uninterrupted revolution in the heads of millions"

Interview

Thursday 16 May 2002, by Luis Zamora

Luis Zamora was elected as a deputy to the National Congress of Argentina in October 2001. He is a leader of the Autonomia y Libertad (AL) group. Aldo Andres Romero interviewed him for the Argentine review Revista Herramienta.

Q How would you describe the situation in the country, or more precisely the confrontations that are taking place?

A First, a completely new experience opened up and came to the surface in December, 2001. A new experience, because the popular assembly process, of debates and collective action that has taken place for two months, out of necessity, continues to rethink and reassert itself.

The weakness of the political regime has deepened. And not only in relation to the government, as expressed in the pots and pan banging demonstrations against the Court — but in the series of incidents in the street with politicians being repudiated, insulted and harassed.

Another element is the sharpening of the internal ruptures or confrontations within the dominant class, although they have been going on for a long time, they can be seen very clearly in the last two months. But the fact or phenomenon that’s most important - at the level of consciousness - or the collective subjectivity, as it’s termed - is in ’people’s heads’. I don’t wish to counter-pose this to the actions, the stream of mobilizations leading to two new governments, but indeed to emphasize that there is a revolution, permanent and uninterrupted, going on in the heads of millions of people.

One of the slogans seen on the demonstrations states: "They should all go, none should remain". It’s understandable that the politicians would be angered with this slogan and they say that it’s subversive, but one can also hears supporters of the ’progressive moderates’ complaining about it, saying that the slogan could possibly be exploited by the authoritarians. "They should all go" isn’t only a mere expression of current circumstances, it’s the cry of the streets which is yelled out with the most fervour and about which there is no discussion by those who bang their pots and pans. It’s a cry and a watchword which brings unity to the movement.

And so, as a consequence, the workers, the youth, the people who are mobilizing, will be faced with this reality. What will we do then? Will we return to a delegate system? Will we look for others, better, more honest, or whoever? Or will we go towards a structure of more direct democracy? Will we make the decisions? Will we decide? The so-called ’progressives’ are really afraid of self-determination and talk about keeping our eyes open, in case some authoritarian comes along. There is also an effort by the government and other institutions, and some of the communications media, to prevent the population from making decisions.

"Let’s be careful...we will not push Duhalde [1] out until we have an alternative", the ’progressives’ say. "They shouldn’t all go, we have to have someone, it’s only a phrase", they say in regard to the slogans. These are the arguments of those who defend the governmental institutions. I believe it’s beautiful to debate them, and in the popular neighbourhood assemblies they’re being debated. I believe the question of ’uncertainty’ is an argument which benefits the government and it spreads this idea, because it’s their only point to justify supporting them. The ’uncertainty’ argument has support in other sectors like the so-called centre-left too, but the idea is also favourable terrain for constructing something new.

Q Systematically people resist the constitutional formula: "people only deliberate and govern through their representatives". The same ones who used to close their eyes when the military violated the constitution now cannot accept that there are neighbourhood assemblies, piqueteros and the unemployed who challenge the classical criteria of parliamentary representation. But I have the impression that, for part of the left, these expressions are also uncomfortable, because these movements are not able to fill the space with the ’demand for power’, even though at some point these demands may be useful. What’s your opinion?

A For part of the left, there is something to this because according to my criteria, they form part of the ’system of representation’. They decry the idea of the bourgeois representative system, even though some of them will be standing in elections as ’the best representatives’. They have a conviction that electoral representation must continue. They don’t really value the fundamental role of a mobilized population and of fighting, working people but they do value the role of an elected representative.

Others on the left are afraid of the possibility of the people’s self-determination because it would signify that they, themselves, could be questioned about their programme and they are not prepared to give an opportunity to the people to be self-acting, unless it coincides with such a programme.

What can happen in face of a power vacuum in the country? Who will fill this vacuum? All right, as we are exploring ways to institute an alternative, we can think of a kind of parliament even though we might have a week without a government while the popular assemblies are voting for delegates (who could be replaced on a rotation basis). It’s not important today what the precise slogan will be - the government falls and then we fill the vacuum according to such and such predetermined formula -what is important is to continue the practice of the popular assemblies and to put forward these ideas in the discussion. This is exciting because one could contribute right to the end in the search for something different, new and revolutionary. Why accept the minimum at this time? I don’t share the characterization that some organizations have, that, "the people are ready to take the power, they wish to do it, they only lack leadership". I don’t believe this matches reality.

It also seems evident to me that there is a process underway which is very rich and revolutionary. ’Revolutionary’ is the way a government can immediately be pulled down, and more; but ’revolutionary’ is what’s happening in people’s heads and in the actions during these past weeks.
We must push forward the possibilities opening up to us, possibilities that, if they develop, could permit us to attempt to go much further than has happened in many other similar situations in the twentieth century. We can advance measures that build power from below, a culture constructed from below and with a practice constructed from below, different from that of the capitalists, instead of attempting the transformation of society from above. But this implies confronting, within the left, the same problems of dogmatism, sectarianism and substitutionism.

The other day I listened to a very important leader of a traditional left organisation who said that the popular assemblies are going to end up being watered down, and that what is important is that they be channelled into the political parties; for him what is important is the party, and not the organization and construction of people’s power... It’s significant here that a leader of the left doesn’t realize it would be a serious retreat if the popular assemblies were dissolved...

The mobilization and the creativity displayed during these two months has been impressive, but we must observe that these forces from below are now competing with calls for meetings by the CTA [2] and FreNaPo [3] At the same time the movement from below has to confront the street gangs of Duhalde, and the union bureaucracy which is looking for ways to reposition itself and is also blundering into the same sectarian methods and formalism of the organized left.

Q The measures adopted by this government since it took over don’t seem to be improving the situation. Does the ’New Productivity Alliance’, proclaimed by Duhalde, really exist?

A I don’t believe it exists, in reality... It’s true that unlike the Menem decade, when there was a plan which pleased the big bourgeoisie and imperialism, today such a plan doesn’t exist. The IMF used to say: "Here’s the plan, apply it, and afterwards we’ll give you support." Now they say: "You present us with a plan and after that we’ll talk". Apparently, the IMF doesn’t seem to have plans for countries such as Argentina either. Before, they could say: "Privatise, deregulate and open up the economy!" Today they can’t say this because it’s ridiculous. There is nothing to privatise and nothing to deregulate...they can only demand adjustments to pay the debt...

Duhalde is working with the financial sectors and with the privatised businesses, attempting to base himself on the so-called, ’productive’ sectors, saying that they’ll be the engines for development. Firstly, these ’productive’ sectors don’t exist like that: they don’t have Argentina’s development as an objective. Secondly, the foreign or trans-national sectors are dominant and they’re not tied to Argentina’s development, but to its plunder, or, through speculation and parasitic intermediation, obtaining super profits which go outside the country. And in any case, Duhalde has not been given support by such groups to confront the financial sector, but to negotiate with it; and it’s difficult to base oneself on the trans-nationals in order to blackmail other multi-nationals. And obviously Duhalde doesn’t question what the imperialists tell him through the IMF or other international financial institutions.

He negotiates with the banks, large businesses, multi-nationals and with imperialism... conceding a little to each one but not reconciling himself to any single one. But I reject the notion that there may be a project that can be based on some ’productive’ sector to confront the financial sectors, and least of all, imperialism. The failure of this idea has been demonstrated over the last two months. The popular sectors not only don’t support Duhalde, they mobilize against him, weakening his power even more. He doesn’t have authority, and this again was clearly revealed in his discussions with the petroleum companies. I was on a television programme when Duhalde stated: "I’m not going to tolerate an increase in energy prices", when the representative of Esso who was there immediately answered back: "It’s impossible not to increase prices." And then the other day Duhalde declares: "Alright, the increase wasn’t much, it’s reasonable." And this is what happens with everything.

Q What is the extent of the "harmonizing" that was put forward by the Church and the United Nations?

A The ’harmonizing’ has gone totally unnoticed by the population. The lack of prestige of the governmental institutions is so great that to save the political regime they have to look to the Church and the United Nations to show some kind of agreements, somewhere. However, the people are moving in an opposite direction. There is a sector of the population that is participating in actions against the government and its institutions. It is perhaps, not the majority, but the rest of the people, who do not participate actively, support it, regard it with sympathy and are in solidarity with it. This sector is questioning the banks, denounces the privatisations as doing serious harm to Argentina, and there are no important sectors of the population who dispute the speeches of those who are mobilizing. On Friday, in the Plaza de Mayo, there was some ’few thousand’ there and it looked as though it would have been very easy to repress them, if the government had wished. But these ’few thousand’ are accompanied by the sympathy of millions.

I remark on this to contrast it with what is happening with the ’harmonization’: it has gone unnoticed, no one follows these conversations, in the popular assemblies it isn’t discussed. On the other hand, it’s an arena where again the divisions and the discussions in the dominant classes have become more apparent; who put their demands forward, looking to increase their share of the pie.

The Church says the same thing about them: "They behave selfishly". I believe that the Church, and I refer here to the hierarchy, and the UN, are institutions with little prestige. As the population shouts: "They should all go", the Church attempts to protect them (the politicians) from the pots and pan bangers with a rescue operation. We are reminded that, earlier, the Church had tried to save De la Rua [4] in Caritas, with a ’harmonization" that came late. Possibly, now, the "harmonization’ is discredited in the collective imagination of the country. Obviously, when they invite us, we don’t go.

Q Days before the social explosion of December 19th and 20th, the CTA had called a ’popular consultation’ which has had many repercussions, and in the excitement of this process, FreNaPo was formed, which has joined the ’harmonization’ project. What do you think?

A I went to vote in the ’popular consultation’, but it seems to me that this activity came late in the process: it had been planned a year and a half before, so already, by this chronological fact it was evident that it would finish up being something very bureaucratic, that would not correspond with the active reality that was developing in the country. But anyway, it had an impact. It invited the people to participate, it talked about unemployment and many people, for different reasons, went to vote. I voted, at any rate, with criticism, because after the ’consultation’, what was necessary, in my opinion, was that the three million who voted, be summoned to encircle the Congress.

And in reality, this is what, in a few days, the mobilization began to do, spontaneously. I believe that FreNaPo - and the CTA, of course - suffered a decline because of their behaviour in the immediate events around the actions of December 19th and 20th. They lost prestige and there was much questioning among people. In the middle of the police’s tear gas in the Plaza Congreso we met delegates from the CTA who were indignant at the CTA’s order to retreat. This generated discussion inside the CTA.

Because of some feeling of rebuff throughout the CTA institution and apparatus, faced with such an important mass action, some CTA members stayed away and others became directly involved in the confrontations with the authorities...there is now, at any rate, an attempt to achieve re-accommodation with the CTA and we should not underestimate the strength that this would have. This week was the first in the last two months where there were activities - within the arena the of the pots and pan bangers and picketers - called by organisations that were not members of the neighbourhood assemblies: the "Seize the Congress" convoked by the CTA and the CCC, [5] who placed themselves in front of the media talking about things which until then, they had not been able to do...

But it is certain that the CTA is reappearing. D’Elia [6] has made some very damaging statements raising the possibility that the BNP [7] might begin to pose itself as an alternative reference...

The CTA has a capacity for organization and organizational machinery and can try to show that they are part of the popular assembly process, without confronting it directly. On the other hand, I believe they chose the confrontation with the BNP, because of the very strong presence of a structured left within the Bloc, which runs the organization of the popular assemblies and the direct democracy process, the mobilizations and the mass participation.

Q The daily world of Argentineans has crumbled. The lives of millions have changed abruptly owing to the impact of the government’s measures, the pauperisation, etc. An expression of this new situation is the phenomenon of the pots and pan bangers, and all kinds of mobilizations, demanding concrete measures in face of the disaster produced by capitalism. But this brutal change opens up the possibility, for the first time in Argentina, that millions of people will catch a glimpse of the possibility of constructing and thinking of a different world, precisely because the old world has tumbled down. As socialists, what can we put forward in the face of these new possibilities?

A Regarding an ’emergency programme’, I consider it interesting what the various left economists see as being effective. They take shelter in ideas that are a somewhat traditional, even though today they are part of the urgent search for answers to the most elementary things the population demands. There is lot to be learned about this.

The other day in a neighbourhood assembly, "Nationalisation of the banks" was posed, and no one said anything. Then one of the neighbourhood participants mentioned the case of the Santander Bank, which is threatening to leave the country, saying they can’t pay the cost of the peso-change. Then someone else interrupted, saying, "the Santander Bank should go if it wishes to go. But the bank, its buildings, its documents and our money stays here."

What he was proposing was expropriation rather than nationalization... and the rest of the audience who before then had been quiet, because they didn’t understand what was meant by ’nationalization’, gave this neighbour an ovation. What’s important to understand is to not try to put forward demands without proposing methods that can be understood...The measures that are being proposed, such as "the re-taking over of the privatised businesses", "solving the matter of the pensions terminated by the AFJP, [8] "retaining the earnings of REPSOL-YPF, [9] "no increase of rates", and other measures open the road to an ’emergency programme’.

When I ’m appearing in the media, I talk a lot about the barbarism of capitalism, even though, obviously, in the popular assemblies I don’t raise as a demand "a march against capitalism" - because it’s important that those who are mobilizing, do it within a programmatic framework - but this is a contribution I’m making in the media, even though it may not be a so-called ’emergency’ measure... in this I see that the left organizations are very weak, almost electoralist, only pointing to what they more or less like. But it is important to talk about world globalisation, about the war, about what the IMF is doing and about the massacre of the poor, to show that capitalism is cruel and barbaric.

Today it appears possible that an ’emergency programme’ may emerge from integrating the theoretical and technical suggestions of professionals and intellectual Marxists with the initiatives and models coming from those who are mobilized. To construct an ’emergency programme’, which is not only strong, because of its logical coherence or abstract theory, but also because of its harmony with the new logic imposed by the demands and needs of the people.

Certainly, for example, the question of ’control’ by service-users and workers, connects with what the rest of the population is demanding. "They should all go", is shouted by the masses, but alongside this, new methods of direct democracy are being built. I recently talked on television about the idea of re-nationalization of the enterprises under workers and the service-users control, and the other day organizations of service-users telephoned me to ask me about this. Members of the Caballito neighbourhood popular assembly approached me to talk about this also. They too wanted to see how this could be expanded.

These slogans must be linked with the discussion that is going on now in the popular assemblies, but it’s no big deal. If we want to make a contribution to this discussion however, before we do so we should realise we can learn a lot from it.

Q How do you think the development of the various forms of autonomy and self-organization of the people should be articulated? On the political and cultural terrain, what specific contribution can socialists make?

A I remind you of what we are thinking of doing: calling a meeting around ’the five points’ which the Autonomia y Libertad movement is promoting. It will be a meeting to link ourselves to other activists, to push forward the popular assembly process, to develop more powerfully our anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and socialist ’points’ to develop our ideas about self-determination and the levelling out of society.

After a period of exploration, better to say going and coming, with respect to organizational functioning, with time we will find it easier to get together to exchange ideas, for example, about what’s happening in the popular assemblies in which we are all participating or in the other areas where the activists are functioning.

Some militants are not participating in the popular assemblies because they live in places where they have yet to develop. Some are not involved in them because they are active in their work places, or active with the unemployed workers in the ’roadblocks movement’, the piqueteros, or in places in the country where the popular mobilization movement is much further behind... It seems to us this would be a modest achievement: to join with the fighters who are participating in the social process and who have written and phoned, who raise the need to know what’s happening here or there in the country, and to answer more collectively questions such as:

"Will this process last?"

"How do you defend the popular assemblies?"

"How do you stimulate the political debate that is going on in the popular assemblies?"

"How do we link up with the other sectors?"

"How do we help strengthen the process of struggle that is going on and extend it?"

Q Is this meeting strictly an Autonomia y Libertad project or does it have a more open character, to be defined in the course of the activity?

A We are calling a meeting around the ’five points’, to give a report... not for the purpose of raising the profile or the building of the Autonomia y Libertad movement. The idea is to link ourselves broadly - even though there are organizational limits: we are addressing those who are not constructing another political organization - and establish bonds... We want to listen and bring forward our ideas, in a two way exchange with those who participate in the social organizations, or groups, or collectives, or trade union locals or neighbourhood organizations...some will come with documents, others with their experiences...

But the idea, from the political point of view, is enriching to the maximum, without having to approve political characterizations, policies, or orientations that might go beyond promoting the "five points"...

And from an organizational point of view, we are thinking of establishing an ongoing connection, but which would not signify assimilation into Autonomia y Libertad or reproduce Autonomia y Libertad everywhere, but to establish some kind of networking organization that would maintain the autonomy of its member organizations and which will serve to exchange information and perhaps get out some kind of periodical which could be sold throughout the network, ...perhaps to link struggles and to learn from them... Wherever we have been posing this idea these days, people are telling us: "Good, the truth is it’s about time this happened!"

Q Autonomia y Libertad’s "five starting points" raises, and explicitly leaves open, some policy questions, strategies and theories, which have greater importance and urgency now, it seems obvious to me, after what has happened in the country... our journal, Herramienta, has come up against similar problems. Do you believe that it would be possible and useful to propitiate an exchange in our journal, more or less systematically, of opinions about the "five points" in the pages of the magazine, to begin thinking about them, with contributions from yourselves and others?

A Yes, it seems to me that it would be useful to discuss them...as was expected, we have found questioning in the more orthodox and traditional left. But we ourselves didn’t realize that there are unresolved matters regarding them. Now we see these "five points" as very valuable and exciting, among other things, because they synchronize very much with the process that is presently going on, but there is no doubt it would be useful to establish some form of debate around them.

Q Duhalde has said that he would not be President but he would possibly be a "piquetero", but at the same time he gives other speeches, systematically saying: "the country is over-run by anarchy", "we are heading towards a civil war", "there is a danger of a bloodbath", etc. Something like this was also stated by Alfonsin, "the Pope". [10] Are these just words or does it represent something more serious?

A It seems to me in the short term they are just words. They’re positions put with the goal of confusing and weakening the mobilizing process and the revolution in consciousness. But at any rate they are something of a warning that the ruling class is considering other alternatives ...As we said before, Duhalde’s only strength resides in being able to persuade certain sectors of the population to support him by saying: "It’s me or chaos". This was used many times before by Alfonsin and by Menem...but now we are in a different situation, because it seems to me that today the bourgeoisie has no organized structure for anything...If they are not able to weaken or discourage the mobilizations by other means, the idea that "anarchy is intolerable for any society", implies they will impose order at some point in time.

They are unable to address the people’s demands, so they try to discourage the people, they try to wear them down, they try to cause divisions until the mobilizations can be defeated or suppressed. But today, repression is not the central policy... The instance that Duhalde carries out a repression, all the world will be against him. On the other hand, I believe that Argentina is a country "shut out" by the global capitalists, and in this sense, it seems to me, the threat must be taken seriously. In the short term, I don’t see any "authoritarian" plan, but we must be alert for the medium term... But what’s the "medium term" in Argentina?

We’re in a very different situation from that in which we were living two years ago... In reality the situation of the whole continent is radically different and more fluid: look at the situation in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela. The same is true for Brazil, which is an unknown quantity. And now with the war in Columbia, imperialism is not just carrying out a war against the FARC. [11] it is setting in motion a programme for the whole continent. And in this context, Argentina could play an important role, because the political process here could show a way of confronting imperialism that would be effective and attractive for all the peoples of Latin America.

It is evident that with respect to Columbia, that if the situation advances there, it could be utilized as a significant example and could also produce a debate in Argentina. But in fact, the Argentine process has its differences with the rest of the Southern Cone in general and has a special interest for Latin America.

It’s notable that these questions, which are really central, were pushed aside by the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. The FARC and the Zapatistas were not allowed to participate and there was also a policy decision that the situation in Argentina would go unnoticed as much as possible.

I had a bad impression of the World Social Forum. The official events didn’t depart very far from defending a so-called, "more humane capitalism", and there was a political bias, as I mentioned. However, the experience of the "unofficial" activities and the contact with thousands and thousands of groups and fighters of the anti-globalisation movement, was worthwhile. You can’t put a price on that. Of course, it was also enriching to hear Chomsky and Wallerstein and to participate in the debates with anti-capitalist fighters such as Chesnais. I also had the very valuable opportunity of meeting the activists of the shanty towns -members of the landless movement (MST) in Brazil... Just as the organizers of the Forum discriminated against the Zapatistas, I also felt an attempt to control opinions about Argentina. I, for example, was invited on to a panel and was then uninvited and replaced by a representative from ARI. [12]

Q Finally, about "the question of power", in very general terms,one of the most complex and polemical issues: has there been any advance or elaboration on this?

A I don’t know if there has been any progress...we have talked about this theme and underlined the value of a "counter-power" or an "anti-power", as some prefer to call it...In many popular assemblies, to take a concrete example, there were those who wanted to form employment bureaus and commissions to respond to the problems of the neighbourhoods. Thus the people are being given very rich experiences...and start to see in a more concrete way the formation of elements of a "counter-culture" that implies a solidarity practise of struggle against fragmentation and individualism, in opposition to capitalist culture, with the enormous strengths this gives to any collective action. We also see the beginning of the construction of a "counter-power", because in many ways the popular assemblies are discussing organizing society on the basis of a different model from the one that exists now and which is controlled by the ruling class...

We are not implying that the ruling class doesn’t continue to hold power, something that we can’t ignore because, definitely, it rules everywhere, and poses a very real tension, but the idea of exploring ways to end capitalism through a "counter-power", a power that would be so great, it would defeat the capitalist power, is reaffirmed by us...I’m not now posing the question of a cadre-party, which in a determined circumstance, in a determined wave of struggles, for example, successfully challenges bourgeois power, without the masses first constructing a counter-culture and a "counter-power" from below, made favourable by a process of struggle that may give us a "socialism from below", like Hal Draper says...

I’m not able to say how this tension will be resolved, and I don’t rule out that because of this tension it may be possible to arrive at some point for the need of some kind of organization similar to what we have known in the past...but in any case, the centre of gravity of our activities will not be around building a party that leads, but in the autonomy that produces power and makes intolerable the existence of the ruling class, working, not for an exceptional conjuncture, but pointing to a situation unsustainable in time...

So, what I’m saying is very general and full of questions, and seems to me, takes something from the Zapatistas, but it’s also different. It’s a very different matter getting rid of the bourgeois state power, compared to limiting yourself to solving partial grievances, specific to affected groups...

We’re posing a global questioning of society and the capitalist world, and we encourage autonomy to defeat world capitalism. I could add that, even leaving aside the evaluations that we could have about the strong and weak points of the Russian revolution - for example, the extreme minority character of the working class and the Bolshevik party, only circumstantially a majority in the Soviets - it seems evident to me that at that historical moment, there were conditions that today I don’t believe could be repeated...

Today imperialism’s political, economic, military and cultural power makes it impossible to think of defeating it, without first basing oneself on the rank and file, a people acting for itself, to advance and organise, disorganising the enemy: this is the basis of everything, and starting from there we must be open to all kinds of combinations from the organisational point of view...

We’re saying that in Argentina the daily life of the people has changed and they are able to think of the possibility of a different world, but the people on the streets are feeling intense pressure to see how they can shorten the process of change, which will have repercussions on the political conjuncture in Latin America. There’s a need to think through the problems of the transformation of society in a concrete way, and this implies thinking of the social transformation on a scale, not of one country, but of a region...the crisis in Argentina challenges us to think of a Latin American revolution, at least of the Southern Cone...It’s quite unreal to think of a sustained Argentine revolutionary transformation if it doesn’t achieve a synchronization with the popular masses of Brazil, who are a decisive factor in Latin America.

I have the impression that a large part of the left, in so far as it has been very electoralist in the current situation, has also gone back to being very nationalist... I include here the anti-imperialist demand such as "No payment of the external debt", which is handled like an election demand, and is not linked to a general framework... They pose voting for "No payment of the external debt" in a way that weakens the demand... Above all, this is so when they speak in the mass media.

I had a debate with the ARI in the Chamber Of Deputies but, really, I was up against several organizations on the left. Mario Cafiero, [13] who questioned the payment of the debt and the foreign domination of the country, ended up saying "We’re not against the IMF, nor with the IMF: our position is to do without the IMF... We have to live within our means." And I felt the need to polemicise against him, to point out to people that these speeches weaken the struggle... Because the reality is that in the European countries, the G7, everyone, says: "Go through the IMF". People ask us to confront this. One must know and say: yes indeed, we are going into a confrontation with the IMF, and we are going face to face with the imperialist countries: that is, we must stand up to the imperialist world, to world globalisation and the barbarism of capitalism...

And in respect to "living within our means", Argentina has possibilities that other countries don’t have, but only transitional, because the United States will not accept that "we could live within our means". They will not say "Ah, they don’t want us? Good, then let them manage things themselves".

There will be a policy of isolating us, of harassment and of war. What is posed is a fight. For this one must provide a framework for the slogan "I’m not paying", a framework that is part of the struggle against imperialism and the barbarism of capitalism and globalisation.

We need to think of ways of standing up to them, of uniting Latin Americans against them, but also primarily of winning the working people to take up this fight, with a serious policy, with an awareness of what is happening in the world, which includes knowing that in Latin America all the conditions exist for an integrated struggle which opens a path against a world designed by the United States. This is a fundamental debate among the left and is the great challenge that is posed before us in Argentina. It would be wonderful if other fighters, in different parts of the world, would continue and support this process.

Footnotes

[1The Argentine president.

[2(Confederation of Workers of Argentina.

[3National Front Against Poverty.

[4Fernando De La Rua, previous President, Social Democrat, representative of the Radical Party.

[5Combative Class-based Current.

[6Luis D’Elia, leader of the National Picketers’ Block.

[7National Picketer’s Block.

[8AFJP, organization of the pension system.

[9REPSOL-YPF, organization of the oil chemical and gas companies.

[10Ex-President, Raul Alfonsin, who resigned in 1989.

[11Revolutionary Armed Front of Columbia.

[12Alternative for a Republic of Equals.

[13Mario Cafiero, Peronist deputy in the Congress, from Buenos Aires.