Veteran's Day in Argentina - the position of the Politica Obrera in April, 1982
- Today is Veteran's Day and Day of the Fallen in the Malvinas War and a national holiday.
There is an article, very important, timely and a must read today, written right then and there, on April 5, 1982, (3 days after the occupation), published in issue number 328 of Politica Obrera (note: originally published UNDER THE DICTATORSHIP IN ARGENTINA and DISTRIBUTED CLANDESTINELY as well as internationally) entitled "To struggle against imperialism, no support for the dictatorship".
(See http://po.org.ar/po1216/la-posicion-de-politica-obrera-en-abril-de-1982/ for full Spanish text).
In case you cannot understand Spanish (you should, important things are happening and going to be happening, sooner rather than later in Argentina and all of Latin America), here are the main points extracted from the above referenced Politica Obrera article of April 5, 1982, in English:
* The article starts out as follows: "The occupation of the Malvinas by the military government has given rise to an international crisis involving the principal imperialist powers and poses for Argentine workers and anti-imperialist sectors a set of problems, which, if they are not solved correctly, may sterilize the long and painful struggle of our people against the military dictatorship appeasing imperialism. Important problems are also posed for the workers, and especially for the revolutionaries, of the imperialist nations oppressing them --the United States, Great Britain, France. The correct solution to these problems depends upon the cause of proletarian internationalism being correctly developed"
* "If recovery of the Malvinas is to change masters in the South Atlantic, or to resolve a dispute hampering the delivery of the riches of the region to foreign capital, it is clear that the action looks anti-imperialist, but its real projection is a greater submission to imperialism. Such a thing should not be surprising in a continent where bourgeois nationalism has long-standing training in demagoguery and in the tactics of deception of the masses."
The article, after quoting in this sense extensively from the mainstream press, poses the following:
"Argentina is a nation oppressed by imperialism, the question of the Malvinas is an aspect of that oppression. Given this overall situation, what is the priority in the struggle for liberation?
"Today, the Argentine State undertaking the recovery of the Malvinas is held by direct and indirect agents of the powers subjugating our nation. To what extent can this constitute an act of sovereignty when it is undertaken when the country (and even the government that runs it) is politically dominated by the agents of national oppression? It follows that the priority here is different: first crush the internal reaction, cut the ties (economic and diplomatic) of submission and build a powerful anti-imperialist and revolutionary home front, based on the workers. The priority for a real national struggle is to break the internal reactionary front and to set up the revolutionary front of the masses. This has occurred in all the major epics of national emancipation: the French, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban.
"In relation to the priority for the struggle of national liberation, the occupation of the Malvinas is a diversionary action, out of which the dictatorship expects to derive benefits, domestic and international, for the Argentine exploiters and for the bourgeois imperialists that "protect" them. This is the government that, simultaneously with the action of the Malvinas, intervenes militarily in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Galtieri and his staff must have thought that U.S. imperialism would reward them for their services, and allow them to occupy the Malvinas. Whatever the course of events, what is clear is that the occupation of the Malvinas is not the focus of national liberation, but a diversion. The dictatorship has appealed to it in order to escape from its deep internal crisis and impasse."
* "If there is war, the nation should take up arms and take the fight to every square inch of the country"
"If war is declared, it is not out of patriotic fervor but rather out of an authentic anti-imperialism that we say: war to the death, revolutionary war against imperialism. That is, not just a naval war in the South [Atlantic] but attacks upon the imperialist properties in all of national territory, confiscation of foreign capital, and, above all, arms for the workers.
"The workers and socialist parties of Europe have lined up, once again, with their imperialist bourgeoisie. They believe that by labeling Galtieri as a "little dictator" they consecrate themselves as democrats, when the principal oppression is that of the "democratic" imperialists, precisely those that brought the little dictator to power. We call upon the authentic European revolutionaries to repudiate their governments, defend Argentine rights to the Malvinas and make every effort to sabotage the war fever of the "democratic" British Crown, historic imprisoner of whole peoples."
* "The dictatorship does not want any struggle against imperialism"
"The policy of the dictatorship is: "respect the property" of the oppressors... There is evidence that [the dictatorship] is getting ready to accept the "mediation" of Reagan, on the basis of a word of mouth recognition of Argentine sovereignty in exchange for a gradual return of these islands together with strong conditioning of economic, military and domestic policy (Nicanor) Costa Mendez (he was the chancellor of the dictatorship-Editor) and Ross have already said in the UN, to agree to negotiate on the basis of a formal recognition of sovereignty.
"Supporting national demands should not be confused with political support for whom, as in the case of the dictatorship, intends to lead the struggle for those demands, because that would signify supporting the inconsequential, traitorous and even anti-national leadership of the struggle for national demands."
* Working class and anti-imperialist independence in the face of the dictatorship
"The intention has been and remains that of dragging Argentine workers behind the dictatorship, using the issue of the Malvinas, and also that of cleansing them of their crimes, making people forget their appeasement and aggression towards working people. And this, especially, after the great day of March 30 which broke the back of the efforts towards slowing down and paralyzing the struggle attempted by the Multipartidario."
[see http://po.org.ar/po1214/la-mayor-movilizacion-obrera-bajo-la-dictadura/ "On March 30 , the workers [50,000] gained the streets placing themselves at the vanguard in the task of ending the dictatorship, with a union leadership standing for the exact opposite". The Multipartidario (Multipary) was a consensus of parties which took out a full page paid ad in the Clarin newspaper saying "The parties making up the Multipartidaria together with others consulted insist in supporting the idea of reconciliation proposed by the [Catholic] Church and aspire to extending the coincidence we have achieved to the whole nation, including the Armed Forces". The ad appearing in the Clarín newspaper on December 15, 1981 was signed by the UCR, PJ, MID, Partido Intransigente, Federal y Democracia Cristiana, and was supported by the Socialista Unificado (PSU), Confederación Socialista Argentina (CSA), Frente de Izquierda Popular (FIP), Línea Popular, Socialista Popular (PSP-García Costa), Comunista (PC), Socialista Popular (PSP-Estévez Boero) y the FIP-Corriente Nacional.]
* "The Position of Politica Obrera in April, 1982" goes on to present a program:
"Given the overall situation and attempts to submit workers to tailing and supporting the dictatorship, we declare the need to maintain working class and anti-imperialist independence with a precise program which must:
1) Denounce the attempt to capitulate to imperialism, whether by submissive negotiation (on economic or foreign policies), or by a withdrawal of troops in exchange for the phased and conditional return of the islands.
2) Demand the intervention of the property of all foreign capital already sabotaging or speculating against the national economy.
3) In case of war, spread the fight throughout the country, attacking and seizing big imperialist capital and, above all, call upon the workers to arm themselves.
4) Instant satisfaction for the demands raised by the unions and other workers' organizations, and meeting of the demands of movements of family members and mothers of the desaparecidos (missing).
5) Encourage the formation of a united anti-imperialist front, to put this program into actual practice."
* The Real War is at Home: "The decisive battle will be the domestic front"
"The dictatorship faces two alternatives: either inserting the occupation of the Malvinas into a deal with imperialism, or deciding to fight. In both these cases its internal dislocation is unavoidable: in the first, because its loss of prestige among the masses and patriotic sectors would be brutal, in the context of the general impasse of the regime; and in the second case, because the home front with the big capital would be broken."
"The bourgeoisie is already aware of this problem as reflected in the editorials of the press: La Prensa (4/3), lamenting Reagan's "lack of understanding", in this newspaper's demands to insert the Malvinas claims into the Yankee strategy; as well as in the divergence of Clarin (4/3) calling for a shift to Third World politics.
"For all of these reasons the demands for unrestricted political democracy and a Sovereign Constituent Assembly remain in force."
The position of the Partido Obrero, Politica Obrera 31 years ago, was right on and deserves being understood today, just as it was understood last night when Jorge Altamira explained on national TV that only the "red flag", of which we are all proud, is truly capable of defending national interests against imperialism.
The topic of the red flag is trending strongly in Argentina these days, since it was vilified recently by President Cristina Kirchner on Twitter https://twitter.com/CFKArgentina/status/317058438435848192 "March 24 in the Plaza. "People uniformly dressed in red, calling themselves the left. Threatening, with sticks in their hands". See http://po.org.ar/blog/2013/03/31/la-provocacion-del-24-de-marzo-partio-del-gabinete-nacional/ "The provocation of March 24 came right out of [Cristina Kirchner's] the National Cabinet". See also http://storify.com/seguitribuna/trapos-rojos-e-informes-de-twitter for a complete interchange of tweets and a video of CFK denigrating the red flag.