[Marxism] Kirchner

David Walters dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Feb 7 08:14:29 MST 2004

 From the Workers Party of Argentina, one of the largest left groups 
there. I figure this would balance a bit the article forwarded by Louis 
on the Kirshner gov't.

--David Walters

PO 835 - 29/1/2004


CHRISTIAN RATH The government has announced that the rise in employment 
allowed them to cancel 120,000 Heads of Households Plan subsidies 
during the year (December 2002-3).  Those now "formally" employed, 
according to the report, supposedly form part of the 750,000 jobs 
created in the course of the last year, according to INDEC (La Nación, 
27 Dec '03). "Formally" employed? If the data provided by INDEC 
[government statistics institute] is contrasted with that declared by 
AFIP [Internal Revenue] "the figures fall notably, during the same 
period there was only registered a rise of 114,000 jobs" (ídem).  On 
the other hand, "the ANSES [official government reporting body] data 
does not really match that conclusion" (Infobae, 19 Dec 03).  The key 
to such a difference is that six out of seven new "jobs" come under the 
heading of "junk" jobs, unofficial, casual and flexibilized (including 
jobs having few working hours).  The Centro de Estudios Nueva Mayoría 
(New Majority Center of Studies) remarks that during the last decade 
there was a fall in the unemployment rate between 1995 and 1998, but 
"that drop in the rate did not come as a result of a rise in the number 
of jobs registered, at that time the same thing was happening as in 
this stage of job market recovery" (La Nación, 27 Dec 03). In both 
cases, the statistics include the "junk" jobs, of an "odd jobs" nature, 
under the heading of "employed", and does the same with the 
beneficiaries of the Heads of Households plan. The new methodology of 
the INDEC revealed the reality in the form of an unemployment rate 
substantially worse than what has been reported in recent times.

The 16. 3 per cent (third quarter of 2003) signifies 2. 6 million 
unemployed, 500,000 more than those denounced according to the old 
methodology.  If the beneficiaries of the social plans who do "work 
fare" in return for their stipends, the net unemployment is of the 
order of 3. 5 million people (22 per cent).  Since under employment -- 
people who work few hours -- is also undervalued, on the whole we have 
a universe of more than seven million workers affected. The plans are 
not cancelled because of a rise in jobsEven accepting for the sake of 
argument the cancellation of 120,000 Heads of Households plans due to 
their beneficiaries having entered, not "formal," but rather "junk" 
employment, since Kirchner took office three hundred thousand plans 
have been cancelled, two hundred thousand Heads of Household and one 
hundred thousand provincial plans (65,000 in the Province of Buenos 
Aires, ten per cent of those benefiting in the district). A part of 
this decrease corresponds to a furious policy of purging the rosters 
being led by the Ministry of Social Development (Ministerio de 
Desarrollo Social): "The President's sister has been able to establish 
a complex data base where information from various ministries is cross 
indexed, from the ANSES and from the councils of consultation," with 
the aim of controlling "welfare plans throughout the country" (La 
Nación, 21 Dec 03).

Another part of the decrease correspond to the "productive enterprises. 
"On the eve of the new year, the bishop of La Rioja stated "the woman 
of the house should receive an unemployment subsidy and stay home to be 
with the children and take care of them," without any "work fare" (La 
Nación, 29 Nov 03).  The man of the cloth understands the role of the 
woman in the piqueteros movement and proposes that history be turned 
back. Antonio Cafiero joined the bishop alleging that the Heads of 
Households plan "was created for families to have enough income so as 
to be able to feed their children inside their own home;" he rejected 
work fare because "it amounts to considering that the bringing up of 
their own children is not a task as socially useful as digging ditches, 
sweeping the plaza or cleaning the streets. "The master beam running 
through all these assertions is to disarm the piqueteros movement, make 
the woman go back to her home in ruins and to dissolve the community 
kitchen as a center of organization. The debate reveals that the 
government and the capitalists hold as a certainty something which the 
Minister of the Interior, Aníbal Fernández, stated in brutal fashion: 
"The piqueteros have got to disappear. "The trap of the productive 
projectsA considerable portion of the plans that have been cancelled 
during the past six months correspond to the productive projects.  In 
the last fifteen days, as a reaction to the piqueteros Plaza de Mayo 
[December 26 march and rally, see article] the government led a real 
marathon of initiatives.

It announced the launching of a plan for collective enterprises, formed 
by a minimum of three beneficiaries of the Heads of Households Plans 
and with a state subsidy of a maximum of 15,000 pesos; it concluded a 
National Competition of Projects for the Financing of 
Micro-enterprises, part of the "Let's get to work" plan; and approved a 
community infrastructure plan "aimed at waterworks for drinking water, 
drainage, sewage, clinics, first aid stations, sidewalks, gutters," 
with loans to be granted by the municipalities and manpower provided by 
Heads of Households.  The projects remunerate the workers with 150 
pesos, without social benefits, pension, accident insurance, without 
fixed working hours or union contract, replacing permanent city 
employees.  What is more, this will be only for a fixed period, because 
"when the enterprises acquire a sustainable income we will have to see 
on a case by case basis and review the granting of the benefit" (La 
Nación, 7 Jan).

The government had to accept the reinsertion of the Heads of Households 
plans among workers involved in construction (among other reasons, due 
to the mobilization of the Bloque Piquetero Nacional -- National 
Piqueteros Bloc) but would not retreat with the rest.  The "productive 
projects" have an advantage: "they imply the initial awarding of tools 
or lump monetary sums, but often also the condition that the 
beneficiary give up the plan" (Clarín, 4/1). "The great danger is for 
the territorial movement to unite with the trade union movement"The 
_expression corresponds to a high-ranking official in the national 
government.  The Bloque Piquetero Nacional and the Asamblea Nacional de 
Trabajadores (ANT - National Assembly of Workers) have approved the 
fight for the annulment of the labor reform "purchased" in the Senate.  
They have put into motion a campaign for negotiating committees elected 
by the rank-and-file, for the banishment of labor flexibilisation, and 
for the establishment of a Job Agency to hire the unemployed on the 
basis of an emergency workday of six hours.  The purpose is to open the 
way for a mass campaign with declarations signed in the workplaces, 
plenaries uniting the piqueteros movement with the new union activism 
and mobilization that places all the energy of the employed and 
unemployed workers movement behind the objective of annulling the ATM 
law and imposing legislation to protect the workers.

More texts in English from Partido Obrero - http://www. po. org. 

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