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José Lungarzo (1922-2001)

Tuesday 3 April 2001

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On Sunday January 28th 2000, Argentine revolutionary José Lungarzo, known to us as comrade Juan, died following a heart attack. He had spent his life in defence of the socialist perspective on humanity and the principles of Marxism and the Fourth International, which he joined after a very brief period as a supporter of the Communist Youth. A metalworker until his dismissal from the Siam factory in Villa Castellino, then Argentina’s main industrial concentration in the country, he joined the ranks of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario (Revolutionary Workers Party - then Argentinean section of the Fourth International), serving on various bodies and taking on numerous responsibilities. He was a member of the central committee of the organization.

In 1960 he was sent by the then Latin American Bureau of the FI to help organize the Cuban section. He collaborated in the editing of the Cuban section’s periodical Voz Proletaria and helped prepare an edition of Leon Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed.

Fighting for the class independence of the Cuban proletariat, for socialist democracy and the deepening of the Cuban Revolution, he was detained and sent to prison. In prison his conduct was, as always, exemplary. Although surrounded by counter-revolutionaries, he had the boldness to state that he was imprisoned for fighting for the defence and deepening of the Cuban Revolution and not against it. He never capitulated in prison and was released and returned to Argentina.

In fulfilment of his internationalist duties, he then went to work with the militants and miners of Bolivia. Back in Argentina, he continued his activism in the labour movement, always in defence of the independence of the working class and its autonomy from the state and the bourgeois parties. He lived in secrecy during the successive dictatorships and managed to survive the repression of the last genocidal military dictatorship. With other comrades, he did not hesitate to denounce the military junta’s adventure in the Malvinas in 1982.

Old and ill, he continued working to survive, living an austere, almost Spartan life and continuing political activity as part of the Militantes Socialistas of the CTA trade union federation.

His death leaves a vacuum which is very difficult to fill: his experience, his fine capacity for analysis, his human warmth, his understanding that socialism is not only the abolition of the existing social relations but the construction of new ones, egalitarian and free. He has gone to join that numerous and heroic brigade of Marxist fighters who have laid the foundations of the future society.