Elections in Argentina: Polarization and a New Cycle

With an election marked by immense polarization, the 2019 election calendar ended and a new political cycle opens.
By PSTU-Argentina  10/31/2019
These general elections were almost lived as a runoff, where the two majority candidates took 88% of the vote. Fernandez’s victory was expected, but Macri was doing everything to make the defeat less painful, and he did it: 40% compared to 32% of the PASO (primaries) is more digestible.
Does this “comeback” mean that there wasn’t much indignation against Macri? No, the comeback has a mathematical explanation and policy: if we add up the increased number of voters, plus the votes that escaped Lavagna, Gomes Centurion and Espert, we will find the majority of the votes that increased Macri’s percentage. But, what does this mean politically? It means that, just like many voted Alberto as the “lesser evil” against Macri; others voted Macri as a ‘’lesser evil’’ against Alberto and Cristina.
Polarization also reflected the different social sectors:  the difference between the Capital (Buenos Aires )as the maximum expression of the urban middle classes (where Cambiemos retained its post with 55% of the votes) and the Buenos Aires suburbs , with the largest working class concentration of the country, where Alberto won, except in some northern municipalities. Workers’ hatred of Macri was expressed at the polls and was capitalized by the “Frente de Todos”.
The return of bipartisanship?
All the bourgeois and media sectors celebrate the results as a sense of institutional re-composition. Even Carrió said he was retiring because “the Republic returned.” That’s because Cambiemos appears , by the electoral result , as a strong  opposition , which will counteract the ruling party. Maintaining that balance will be the commitment of all the bosses’ alternatives.
Now, we must see what happens as things develop , because if something characterizes both fronts is their lack of cohesion . Will Cambiemos radical dispersion continue? Will the Frente de Todos last long with the actual conditions? The dispute around who climbed onto the victory stage does not envision a serene scenario.
Ultimately, it will be the class struggle that determines how the bourgeois alternatives will develop: will Fernández be able to impose the austerity measures requested by the IMF without contradictions from the union sectors that make up his front ?
And the millions who voted to end Macri’s austerity , how will they react when their illusions are not fulfilled? This process is just beginning, but it is clear that workers will take the stage when they see that their expectations are not being met.
FIT-U: A political balance
There is an important setback in the vote for the FIT-U in relation not only to the previous elections since the Front exists, but even to the last Primaries . The FIT-U won 697,776 votes in August. In addition, there are the almost 180,000 that the New MAS obtained, votes that naturally had to strengthen the FIT-U. But now, there were only 561,214.
The most direct and true explanation is the brutal polarization between Fernandez/Fernandez slate and Macri, which eclipsed the voting of other groups. Perhaps, then, that setback was inevitable, and we must see the votes achieved as a conquest, a “hard core” of adherents to a leftist program. To some extent it is so.
However, that explanation is superficial. We have to try to see the class content of the achieved votes , and on that basis make a political balance of the FIT-U campaign itself.
The election had clear peaks in three districts: Buenos Aires , Chubut and Neuquén. In Buenos Aires, 6.12% of the votes for national deputies were obtained. In Neuquén, 5.48%. This province (together with Jujuy and Santa Cruz, where 4% was exceeded) are places of historical high voting of the FIT. In other areas of traditional high voting (Mendoza and Salta) the results were very low.
Some conclusions can be drawn from the analysis of these three ‘’top’’ districts.
The vote for Miryam Bregman in Buenos Aires , which almost won the congress seat, far exceeded that of the FIT-U, as a result of a vote recount from votes to Alberto Fernández. It was a campaign aimed at achieving empathy with middle class sectors and median income workers (most of the capital’s population), and even with Fernandez/Fernandez voters. In our opinion, an incorrect approach, the thousands and thousands of pesos destined to promote Miriam as an objective in itself was a waste of money , to the extent that it was not used to accompany the figure of Miriam with revolutionary slogans, as if Miriam’s candidacy would solve women’s problems .
In Neuquén and Chubut, the provinces where the FIT-U maintained a higher percentage of its historical votes, the explanation is completely different.
In Neuquén, there is a tradition of intervention by the left in the working class, and the central figure, Raúl Godoy, is a leading ceramic worker from the Zanón struggles.
In Chubut, the dominant candidacy was that of Daniel Ruiz, an oil worker with a long tradition of struggle, imprisoned for 13 months for having faced the Macri Pension Reform, and a reference with Sebastián Romero of the resistance to the government that is leaving.
In both cases, a labor and struggle profile in the campaign and candidates allowed us to hold a strong vote in sectors of our class.
Some conclusions
For revolutionaries, a campaign’s balance is not centrally made of the number of votes obtained, or posts won, rather to the extent that the campaign helped to promulgate a working class, socialist, and revolutionary solution.
The analysis of the election results serves as a measure to see to what extent our positions took root in a sector of our class.
The main conclusion is that the type of campaign decided by the FIT-U parties for the whole country, similar to the one in Buenos Aires, and aimed at the middle sectors, without expressing a frontal combat against the political regime and the solution being a socialist ,working class  revolution , was wrong. It was so because of its content and form. A diluted, democratizing discourse, and a “civilized” image, as one more option from capitalist democracy. Guided more for a candidate’s popularity than by a program.
But even in terms of its results, that campaign was effective in Buenos Aires , but not in the country as a whole, nor in the suburbs and working-class areas. On the contrary, both in Neuquén and Chubut, worker and struggle candidates gave good results.
The PSTU campaign
Particularly in Chubut, the candidacy of Daniel Ruiz and the campaign carried out by our party, the PSTU ( the only representation of the left in Comodoro Rivadavia, the largest and most working class city in Patagonia) in primary elections , a worker and revolutionary campaign that proved effective in the working class and  state workers in struggle.
We humbly try to do what we believe revolutionary organizations should do during elections: project working class and fighting candidates, with Daniel Ruiz and Sebastián Romero (symbols of direct action against the Macri government), present a program with a solution to each  of the needs of working people, always making it clear that it will not be through elections, nor the accumulation of government posts that we can succeed , but rather through a worker and socialist revolution, which truly changes the rules of the game.
Translation by Blas (Corriente Obrera – LIT)

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