Notes about the Argentine Federal March
Direct from Buenos Aires, a reflection on the recent Argentine march.
Amidst the comings and goings of porteños, in all four corners of the city of fury, it is impossible to take a bus, sit in a bar or go to a lottery to pay your bills without overhearing conversations about the skinny cows that graze on these pampas. Besides the flat landscapes, the economic crisis also ravages the North, Northeast, West and South of Argentina. The country has almost 55% of its population living in poverty, the highest inflation in the last 20 years, limited social assistance plans and unemployment.
What about the progressive government of Alberto Fernandes and Cristina Kirchner? Well, the government that was elected promising the return of the traditional “asados” and the end of the crisis era promoted by Macri and his gang, today is unable to guarantee polenta on the workers’ plate and prefers to make agreements with the International Monetary Fund to pay an illegitimate debt and continue propagating the fiscal adjustment. Besides the economic crisis, the national government summit has not spoken for two months, but La Campora and other Kirchnerist organizations do not have a break with Alberto Fernandes and his economic team as a horizon. Nor do they intend to mobilize against the agreement with the IMF and the consequent economic adjustment.
This scenario leads the Argentinean people to pray on their knees to Nossa Senhora de Luján, to light candles for Gauchito Gil, and to bet on the popular struggle as a means to transform reality. In this perspective, the Argentine workers organized themselves through the picketing movement to make a ‘federal march’ and crossed the whole country in a 3-day act that ended in the city of Buenos Aires.
Shouting for genuine work, against poverty and hunger, the first day of the ‘federal march’ was marked by acts in Formosa, Santa Fe, Corrientes and cities in the province of Misiones. In addition to the demonstrations, 4 caravans were formed that left La Quiaca, Chaco/Corrientes, San Juan/Mendoza and Patagonia towards the Plaza de Mayo. During the second day there were acts in Córdoba, Rosario, Bahía Blanca and Mar del Plata and more buses left from these cities towards the Argentinean federal capital. The third and last day was characterized by the confluence of the caravans and the adhesion of workers from Buenos Aires to the ‘federal march’. The result was a demonstration of approximately 150 thousand people that, starting from Retiro, Onze and Constitución, blocked the main avenues of Buenos Aires and marched to the Casa Rosada.
It is important to highlight the protagonism of the social movements and the political parties of the Argentine left, who build the picketing movement, the territorial organizations and the diverse centers of culture, work and education in the poorest neighborhoods and villas of the country. Moreover, it is fundamental to racialize the ‘federal march’, composed of an ethno-racial diversity that puts into check the Argentine colonial myth – reproduced by Alberto Fernandes recently – that everyone is white and of European descent. What could be observed in the streets was the massive presence of black, brown and indigenous people fighting for food on their plates and raising plurinational flags such as the Whiphala and the Mapuche flag.
If Alberto Fernandes and Cristina Kirchner painted themselves as messiah saviors of the homeland during the campaign in 2019, today the reality of Argentina is that of a country drowning in crisis, with high inflation, low wages, terrible working conditions, unemployment and hunger. In addition, there is a lapse of social assistance plans that no longer reach for the basic food basket and a difficulty in getting new plans. The picket movement crossed the country to say that poverty and hunger will not be part of the everyday life of Argentineans, and that in the face of false prophets the answer is the collective struggle of working men and women. The ‘federal march’ was a historic and courageous act. It should serve as an inspiration for fighters throughout Latin America and for the advancement of mobilizations in Argentina.