Our Flag is a Workers’ Government and an End to Capitalism
The following was the closing speech of former Presidential candidate for the Left and Workers Front, Nicolás del Caño in a stadium filled with 20,000 people for a rally called by the Left and Workers Front.
November 29, 2016
Read more about the Left and Workers Front Rally here. Nicolás del Caño delivered this speech in a stadium filled with 20,000 people for a rally called by the Left and Workers Front.
I am so happy to see this stadium filled with fighters from all over the country!
This rally is taking place at a very important moment. In the heart of imperialism, a racist is rising to power: Donald Trump. These demagogues emerge when capitalism does not find a solution after eight years of global economic crisis – with growing inequality and wars. Multinational corporations and banks keep making fortunes while millions of workers lose their homes and their jobs. Hillary Clinton was a representative of the economic and political oligarchy and that is why Trump was able to win with his false promises of reindustrialization.
If we cross the Atlantic, Europe offers concentration camps for immigrants and refugees. Surely you will remember the image that we all have engraved in our memories: the picture of Aylan, the boy who was washed up dead on a Turkish beach – an image that shook the entire world.
Today we are facing a new international scenario. These governments, like the United States, will attempt protectionist and monetary measures that will mean worse conditions for dependent countries such as ours. The over-indebtedness of President Macri and his infamous investments are in serious trouble.
But there is also good news from the North. Youth are taking to the streets against the new government. Millions had voted for Sanders, who claimed to be a socialist. Our comrade Julia Wallace, an activist of the movement against police racism and editor of our sister paper, Left Voice, told us that these mobilizations are the beginning of something big.
We have seen this in many countries: This year in France or in Brazil, where more than a thousand schools and universities are occupied against the coup government of Temer, following in the footsteps of the powerful Chilean student movement.
And please give a round of applause for our comrade Barbara Brito, Trotskyist and socialist feminist, who is present here. She was recently elected vice president of the combative Federation of Students of the University of Chile.
The great challenge facing youth around the world is to unite with the working class alongside an anti-capitalist and socialist program. What does this mean? It means using the advances in technology and the development of humanity so that we all have work and so we can reduce the length of the working day, raise the standard of living, and provide access to quality education, culture and art, recreation.
Our flag is a workers’ government and an end to capitalism.
The thousands of people here today have to leave with the commitment to create an enormous militant force that says: We are going to change society at its roots! Enough oppression, exploitation and wars!
To many of you, it might sound strange that we have this dream – in spite of the fact that in this country the Macri government- a government of the rich for the rich- is about to celebrate its first year in office. Our position was clear from day one. We were the only political force that refused to join the consensus for structural adjustment and austerity.
If this government was able to advance, this was only thanks to the support provided by the Renovation Front of Sergio Massa (the runner up in the Presidential elections, the Peronist candidate) in Congress, as well as the Front for Victory in the Senate, which voted for all the government’s laws. The governors and the union bureaucracy of the CGT were also accomplices. They let layoffs happen without opposition. They allowed wage losses without even calling for a 24-hour general strike.
Macri’s government of CEO’s and the establishment politicians, with their justice system and their police, represent a political regime that defends the same social interest: that of the capitalists.
It’s the social class of those who own fortunes. They live in luxurious gated communities; they send their children to elite schools and are treated at the most expensive clinics. Their politicians engage in demagoguery about “zero poverty”, but they do not know what it means to improvise at the end of the month with salaries of barely 8,000 pesos [500 US dollars], as is the case for half of all workers; they do not know what it means to live like retirees who scrape by with a little more than 5,000 pesos [300 US dollars]. They do not know what it means to be working in the fields from sunup to sundown, most starting as children, as is the case for winery workers or the garlic pickers of Mendoza.
I remember that during the heroic struggle at the LEAR factory in 2014 (a 9 month struggle against layoffs), a worker burst into tears when he saw the police repression. He told them: I am 35 years old and I have been in this factory for 17 years; I have a herniated disc and tendinitis. My body is full of diseases and on top of this, they are now going to toss me into the street with no job.
This is what we discussed a few months ago with Luis, a young comrade from the FATE factory who is present here today. We were indignant about the way the bosses treat workers who they called "broken". Workers like him who at age 32 have their bodies so damaged that they can no longer serve the interests of the bosses and today, he cannot even hold his son in his arms.
We workers are not disposable! We will fight for a future for the youth!
Everyday the revolt against the Macri government grows, but we are not going to allow this to be used to bring Peronism back to power. Millions put their hopes in Kirchnerim and the answer they were given was the “Bolsos de López,” (ex minister, José López’ was found carrying mysterious bags of money into a convent in summer of 2016. ); they believed the human rights rhetoric and instead were faced with Milani (Kishnerismo put Cesar Milani in charge of the military despite his involvement in the military dictatorship) and Project X (a database with information about activists and leftists).
We are building a left that is on the front lines of the struggle. We are the ones that cops shot rubber bullets at on the Panamericana highway (a central highway that connects industry with Buenos Aires) as we stood next to the brave workers from the LEAR factory; we are the ones that at every moment remember our comrade Mariano Ferreyra, killed while he supported the struggle of subcontracted workers in Roca. We are the ones that fight against the union bureaucracy. We are the ones who fight with everything we have to defend the historic factories under worker control, like Zanon and Donnelley. We are the left that is the most consistent and combative in this incredible moment for women’s struggle where we take the streets proclaiming with one voice “NOT ONE LESS” (Ni Una Menos)!
Our seats in Congress and in the legislatures continue being a place of struggle to support and boost mobilizations. I want to highlight the speeches by the representatives of the FIT, like my comrades Myriam Bregman Néstor Pitrola, Soledad Sosa and Pablo López who denounce the “dietazo” (large pay increases to members of Congress). Today millions sympathize with the idea that we popularized through our electoral campaign and that we live out in practice: that every politician should receive a teacher’s salary.
This amazing rally organized by the FIT shows that we want to be a political alternative, based on the political independence of the working class.
Aside from tactical differences, we agree with defending a common position on almost all of the issues, following the mandate of the FIT’s anti-capitalist program. A program like the one put forward in the invitation to this rally should be the basis to strengthen the FIT, opening a discussion with all organizations that agree with this perspective, without excluding the political practice of each organization.
We have the challenge of battling for more representatives in Congress and in legislatures all over the country in order to strengthen the struggles of workers, women and youth. In many provinces the FIT has already become an important political alternative.
But in the Province of Buenos Aires, the boss’s parties prepare a battle to manipulate millions of people to vote for their primary leaders. We will have to fight for representation of the left.
Every day we participate in multiple partial struggles, but we should do it with the most powerful force- the millions of workers that move the country.
We propose a agreement - to fight together in each progressive mobilization,(participate in) work stoppages called by the unions, and propose a workers united front.— That is, unity of the working class with a program of struggle demanding that they break the truce with the government and the wealthy and call for a large and active national strike and a plan for the struggle.
We already shared that common battle in the grand mobilization that organized the CGT and CTA on April 29. Now let’s multiply that example!
All of us who are here will leave this stadium with more energy than ever to keep fighting in factories, companies, neighborhoods, schools and universities. We invite the thousands of comrades to join in a common struggle, starting with the march against violence against women next Friday.
We are going to make the left front an unstoppable force!
Long live the struggle of workers’ struggle, women, and youth!