Argentina: In Cordoba, the renovation of the left has a seat: Luciana Echevarría

May 17, 2019 | Latin America

Luciana Echevarria, elected representative for the MST

Luciana Echevarria, elected representative for the MST

On May 12, Cordoba voted after a very short campaign void of political debates. The results of this election leave a strengthened PJ (with 54% of the votes, they recovered the capital after 20 years and won two thirds of the Legislature) and a fractured UCR with a high level of deterioration.
On the left, our force grew and consolidated, conquering a seat in the Legislature, something never achieved by a left party standing alone. The other side of this advance was the great decline of the FIT, which, due to its refusal to expand the unity and its defensive campaign, lost almost 50% of their votes compared to the previous provincial elections, thus losing two of its three seats. These results deserve some reflections.

Predictable triumph, uncertain future

With his victory, Schiaretti will guarantee the PJ dominance of the province for almost a quarter of a century. The consequences of this administration are dramatic: poverty, lack of access to health and education, environmental and public destruction, non protection of women, great influence of the Church within the State, lack of access to non-criminal abortions, among other aspects that show that Córdoba is far from being the paradigm of “social justice”, despite what our governor shows.
As we denounced during the campaign, Schiaretti is a close partner of Macri’s: he was a key player in the creation of the fiscal pact and he voted for all the anti-popular laws, including the pension reform and the IMF’s 2019 National Budget.
In favor of his triumph, the division of Cambiemos and the “proficient” profile he built by force of inaugurations. In one year, there were more public works in Córdoba than in all the PJ’s administrations, from now on at the expense of a gigantic debt in dollars that is a real time bomb. Some works that began decades ago were completed and a huge amount of public funds were poured into advertising them. All this cemented the vote for Schiaretti.
As a result, Schiaretti has an absolute majority in the Unicameral State Legislature and, though he claims not to be the “alpha male” of Alternativa Federal, he has tuned himself up for the national debate. Even so, there is no enthusiasm in the population and the 54% Schiaretti achieved is not a blank check.
In this context, the role of the Kirchnerist leadership was regrettable: first they retreated their lists, in a clear gesture towards the PJ, and then they called to vote for the PJ, validating the austerity and anti-worker project led by Schiaretti. With the excuse of “giving Macri a hard blow”, they enthusiastically committed their efforts to strengthening the space that has applied Macri´s austerity to the letter since 2015.

The agony of the Macrist hen

The main loser of this election is Cambiemos. And we could say that the blow was received long before the 12th, when the alliance was divided and two candidates were presented. Negri believed that being blessed by the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace) was an advantage, but it ended up sinking him. Carrió´s visit, far from collaborating, generated a national scandal. Although they later brought Vidal and Larreta to try to soothe the situation, they did not make it and staged one of the biggest defeats of Cambiemos in the early voting round.
In turn, the result of Mestre ended up being a plebiscite of his regrettable municipal management in Cordoba City. Uniting the municipal election to the provincial one was a bad idea. They lost 28 municipalities, including the main one: the capital.
Beyond the problems and divisions, the root of the collapse of Cambiemos must be sought in the massive rejection of the austerity policies of the national government, which contradictorily benefit Schiaretti.

The high price of sectarianism in the left

The left suffered the contraction of its electoral volume to almost a half. It went from 10% in 2015 to just over 5%. But the decline did not hit everyone equally. The FIT was the most affected, losing 51,800 votes and two of its three seats. The Nuevo MAS was also reduced to almost zero, losing more than 80% of its votes. In our case, on the contrary, we grew in votes and in representation, making our comrade Luciana enter the Legislature.
The severe retreat of the FIT must lead it to draw conclusions. Unfortunately, the only problem they see is that there is more left beyond the FIT. They blame us for their failure. But the truth is different: their systematic refusal to unite, their self-proclamation, the attempt to ignore us and then the dirty campaign towards the MST, were some of the causes of their regression. Another cause is certain assimilation to parliamentarianism: Liliana Olivero and the FIT have been in the Legislature for almost 20 years and have not played a relevant role. As a result, the strong bet on the renewal of the left boosted our votes, which, in turn, allowed us to equalize the legislative seats of both spaces (though the FIT is a front of three parties and we are one).

Renovating the left to turn everything upside down

Renewing the left was at the center of our campaign, because building a real alternative for the people is essential. And the renewal is not only in generational terms, but also programmatic and in how politics are done. With a lot of militant effort, our campaign was new and full of proposals. Luciana and Maru Acosta, who were at the forefront of this collective project, toured the entire province and the capital spreading our proposals to turn everything upside down.
Our militancy reached all corners of our extensive and beloved Cordoba. We managed to open new offices in the interior and in the capital, our militant force grew and the challenge of continuing to spread has been raised.
In short, we have won a legislative seat and our joy is as great as the responsibility it entails. This seat will be a fighting post to confront the austerity plan against the working class, pensioners and the youth. For the rights of women and the LGBT community, to fight against forest clearing and agrotoxics, and for the fight against corruption and political privileges and the defense of the public resources to have a voice.
This way, we planted our flag in the Cordoba Legislature to raise there the debates that the rulers and their accomplices want to silence, and to strengthen the fight we carry out every day in the streets.

Viki Caldera y Marcelo Maceira