Macri and the IMF must go now! Early elections to a Constituent Assembly

May 2, 2019 | Latin America

In this crisis, millions wonder what is the solution that benefits the people. We are clear: there will not be one without kicking out Macri and the IMF. And, early elections to a constituent assembly, are they possible?

If 80% of the people reject the IMF, what kind of democracy is this that forces us to live with a Macri who -against the majorities- imposes deals with the Fund that no one has discussed? The deal is about a plan not decided in Argentina, but in the IMF, the G8 and the OECD. They decide, not the people. Is this democracy? We need a change. It´s us or them.

This plan of a small country at the service of 1% is no longer tolerable. Accepting a plan that cuts our rights at the service of the debt and the corporations is undemocratic. The “opposition” is responsible for voting the budgets of Macri and Vidal to comply with the Fund.

That is why Macri and the IMF must leave now. And the people have to kick them out, with mobilizations, a general strike and a plan of struggle. Because, with every passing day, we will be in a worse position. Those who, like the PJ, the Kirchnerists and the union leadership, work for Macri to survive until December in the name of governance and “democracy”, are working for there to be more lay-offs, poverty and marginality.

Can they promise and not comply? Recalling mandates

Recently, “Chequeado” verified that Macri did not comply with 90% of his electoral promises. During the strike on the 30th, Macri said “They have given us a mandate as president to carry forward…”. But he governs by doing the opposite. That is undemocratic, to promise one thing to be elected and then do the opposite. A scam to the people´s decision, even distorted by this democracy for the rich.

Like when Macri promised to “lower inflation to one digit” and we have the highest inflation since 1991. “We are going to create jobs, taking care of what we have,” he promised. And he destroyed employment, with thousands of lay-offs, suspensions and closings of businesses. He promised to “create the First Job Plan” and plunged the youth into precarization.

He promised “an Argentina with zero poverty”, yet increased it from 29.2% in 2015 to 33.6% today -the highest figure in the decade- sinking 13.6 million more Argentines into poverty. “Workers are not going to pay income tax,” he said in his spot. But 1.1 million paid when he took office and today almost 2 million pay that wage tax.

It is already an illegitimate minority government. It throws fuel in fire like in 2001. They want us to believe that it is “this way” or everything will explode. But it will explode if we continue like this. It is time for emergency measures. As in other moments of our history, we propose to call early elections to a Constituent Assembly, free and sovereign to reorganize the country on new bases.
Voting who will govern is not enough. It is not about getting this government out and having another one come to apply a similar austerity plan. The crisis of the country and its institutionality do not respond to popular needs. We need a radical change. A Constituent Assembly that discusses everything is the most democratic solution.

They tell us that we have magical thoughts. Nice ideas, but inapplicable. But the utopia is waiting eight months until December to end the government of Macri and the IMF. For posing this, we are branded as undemocratic by the same people who endorse the attempted coup in Venezuela. When our proposal is the opposite: the possibility of recalling mandates for the people to assert their rights. And open the doors to another project for the country.

Eight Constituent processes in the country. It was done, it can be done.
In Argentina there have been eight constituent assemblies, conferences or constituent conventions in the 206 years since the first one, the Assembly of Year XIII. It was called by the government of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata to declare independence and sanction a Constitution. It began on January 1813, had 111 sessions in five periods and ended on January 1815.

Those objectives were cut short by the disputes between the tendencies of the process initiated in 1810, though it did approve important advances in an anti-colonial sense. It authorized the use of the national coat of arms and the rosette, ordered composition of the anthem and ordered the first national coin to be minted. It also implemented some social and democratic rights, such as freedom of the press and the declaration of the principle of sovereignty of the people.

It abolished torture and persecution and affirmed the primacy of civil authority over ecclesiastical authority. It also eliminated the payment of tributes to natives and their exploitation with the indentured service encomienda, mita and yanaconazgo systems. It did not abolish slavery, but dictated the freedom of the wombs of the slaves. Prohibited the trafficking of slaves, abolished titles of nobility and primogeniture. And ordered a census and created trading franchises.

Forty years later, the Constitutional Congress met in Santa Fe and sanctioned the Constitution of 1853, which rules to date. There was a Constituent Assembly in 1860 that reformed the Constitution based on the pact of San José de Flores. And more reforms in the constituents of 1866 and 1898. Until the one of 1949, with Perón.

Even without breaking with capitalism and following social constitutionalism, it incorporated the concept of the social function of property that limits capitalist law, defined the rights of children and the elderly, to housing, health, social security, public education and university autonomy. The Constituent Assembly of 1957, questioned because it took place during a dictatorship, reverted much of the Constitution of ’49.

In general, they have not emerged as a product of workers’ and peoples´ struggle, but were called by bourgeois sectors to settle differences or impose changes in favor of certain interests. Like the 1994 Constituent Assembly, that surged from the Olivos Pact between Menem and Alfonsín, to ensure the re-election of Menem in exchange for the third senator per province.

What is a Constituent Assembly and what can it resolve?

It is a national assembly or convention convened according to Article 30 of the Constitution, to modify it or draft a new one. The Congress can call it with two thirds of the votes and sets its agenda. The constituent representatives are elected and, proportionally to the votes of each party, the assembly is formed.

It is an institutional mechanism that can be put to work in times of crisis. A body elected in national elections in which deputies are voted to reform the Constitution in everything that is needed. It must be declared free and sovereign in order to take all the necessary short and medium-term economic, social and political measures.

These are not constitutional amendments, but radical transformations in the structure of the country. A measure like this would open a great democratic debate, with the protagonism of workers, women, youth and popular sectors. In an election without PASO (simultaneous and mandatory open primaries) and where all forces have equal access to free spaces in networks and media. It represents the highest instance of this capitalist “democracy”, in which we would propose a workers’ and peoples´ government.

The Constituent Assembly should resolve ending with the looting of the external debt in order to comply with the social debt. Stopping the flight of dollars through the nationalization of the bank system and foreign trade. Re-nationalizing the privatized companies to end with the utilities hikes. Stopping the increasing prices by eliminating the sales tax from the family basket and implementing a general raise of wages, social plans and pensions. Legalizing abortion and integral sex education. Separating the Church from the State and eliminating the archaic Senate. Ending with the judiciary allied to political power and bribing and the repressive police by establishing the voting of judges, prosecutors and commissioners through popular vote and social control. Ending with the privileges and corruption of the political and business caste. These and other issues must be publicly debated. And continuing the struggle until we impose a workers´ and peoples´ government to advances to a socialist Argentina.

Francisco Torres

1. https://mst.org.ar/2013/02/07/bicentenario-de-la-asamblea-del-ano-xiii/