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Argentine Trotskyists report electoral success

By KD Tait
In recent elections in 2013, the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores (Left and Workers’ Front, FIT), a coalition of Trotskyist groups, won more than a million votes, or 5.12 per cent. 

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Christian Castillo, a member of the Partido de los Trabajadores Socialista (PTS), who was elected as a representative of the Buenos Aires region, has been recounting the experiences of Argentine socialists in a European speaking tour.

In early January he spoke to around 50 people at two meetings in London about the significance of the FIT’s success and what it means for socialist and working class struggles in Argentina and internationally.

The FIT was formed by the PTS, Partido Obrero (PO) and the Izquierda Socialista (IS) around a common election programme for the 2011 presidential and congress elections. It received 500,000 votes or 2.3 per cent, gaining regional representatives in Neuquén and Cordoba.

Castillo spoke about the work of the FIT and the PTS in campaigning against the trade union bureaucracy in Argentina, which is a huge, self-serving and corrupt caste composed at its top of millionaires who wage a brutal struggle in league with the bosses to suppress left-wing rank and file activity.

In speaking about the electoral programme of the FIT, Castillo emphasised important differences between the FIT and other radical left coalitions on the European model, like Syriza in Greece or Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal. He defended standing as open revolutionaries, on a programme of defending the independence of the working class from capitalist governments and the trade union bureaucracy and the creation of a workers’ government which would take measures to overturn capitalist class rule.

In the legislature Christian Castillo has put forward measures to popularise working class alternatives and expose the sham populism of both right and left.

• Campaigning to get charges against political activists dropped

• A proposal to ensure MPs and public servants are paid the same salary as teachers

• A proposal to abolish laws which impose flexibilisation and insecurity on the workforce

Although Workers Power has political differences with the PTS, it is encouraging to see revolutionary socialists rejecting the idea that its is only possible to attract significant support by reducing their programme to a reformist one, instead using elections as an arena for promoting the class struggle, where the real battle for socialism will be won or lost.

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