By José Rigane*
Economic downturn; increasing unemployment, inflation and devaluation; rate hikes of gas, electricity and water; a rising cost of living and increase in the price of the basic basket, rent, fuels and transport; the demand to change the income tax; the persistent instability of employment; the social situation of those with low purchase power; the increasing the demand for food in poor neighbourhoods; all of these are some of the reasons workers and the Argentine people have to call a general strike.
To this list we would have to add the enormous transference of economic resources, which is estimated in millions of dollars, to the most concentrated sectors of the economy which are the mining companies, the oil companies and the owners of energy companies, among others.
Such is the national government’s current economic policy and state policy. We could also mention the increase of the external debt (a debt which is illegitimate and fraudulent), the whitewash (which, at the very least, benefits tax evaders), and the measures pushed by the government and the National Congress, like the veto of the anti-layoffs law or paying the vulture funds.
In this context social conflicts have increased and the response has only been repression and the criminalization of the social protest.
The CTA Autónoma (CTA-A) believes it is time for the workers, along with different social sectors and the people in general, to express a clear message of struggle against these austerity measures.
In this sense, the CTA-A has been working towards a great national strike to stop the economic adjustment which is unloaded on workers which clearly benefits the highly concentrated sectors of the economy. We believe there are enough reasons for a national strike in unity of action with other trade union organizations.
Both the CTA (the two of them: Autónoma and de los Trabajadores) and the CGT can join forces, putting aside the differences, and work towards a national strike to stop the national government’s policies. Of course, unity of action includes all the social movements and grass-root organizations who wish to express their demands. Although is not so simple to achieve, unity of action is a path of irrefutable forcefulness for the workers’ movement. An example of this is the recent demonstration of 5000 people against the rate hikes in Mar del Plata.
We can’t turn a blind eye on the government’s austerity policies. The CTA-A has chosen to continue working towards a national strike, because we believe, now more than ever, that a forceful response is needed in order to stop the adjustment.
In the face of growing social protests, mobilizations and demands from different sectors, the best we workers can do is to unify everything in the same protest, in a national strike.
*José Rigane: Secretary General of FeTERA and Deputy Secretary General of the CTA Autónoma