[Marxism] Argentina: The storm is natural; the deaths and the disaster are not

Juan Andres Gallardo juanagallardo at gmail.com
Thu Apr 11 15:32:28 MDT 2013



Argentina: The storm is natural; the deaths and the disaster are not

by : Fernando Rosso , PTS, Argentina, Ruth Werner
Thursday 11 April 2013

*By Fernando Rosso and Ruth Werner*

The history of Argentina in the years of rule by the Kirchners could well
be told through the social crimes that took place under their governments.
Cromañon at the end of 2004, the Massacre at Once in February, last year,
or those dead because of the storm, in Holy Week, exactly a year ago.

The storm that has just affected a large part of the Capital and the
Province of Buenos Aires, with an epicenter in La Plata, has again shown
the structural crisis of capitalist Argentina and revealed the
responsibility and cynicism of the employers’ politicians. The seriousness
of the events demolished the climate of national reconciliation proclaimed
by Cristina Fernández after embracing Bergoglio in the Vatican. Neither
Cristina Fernández Kirchner, nor Scioli, nor Macri lifted a finger in all
their years of governing to perform the public works necessary for
alleviating the effects of the catastrophe. The result, up to now, is more
than 50 dead and hundreds of thousands affected. There was, indeed, a
severe natural catastrophe, but, because of the negligence of businessmen
and governments, it turned into a new social crime: once more, the working
people supply the victims.


The events in the City of Buenos Aires, when not only the garbage but also
the filth of the employers’ politicians, those of the ruling party or their
opponents, was floating in the streets, were reported endlessly. The
politicians’ only concern was shedding responsibility and taking advantage
of the events for their primary elections. Macri was vacationing in Brazil
and made an “emergency” return, to put himself in front ... of the cameras
and make political maneuvers over the people’s tragedy. The national
government launched its counter-campaign, almost “celebrating” because
Macri was in trouble, while the number of the dead and the victims was

The storm followed its violent course towards La Plata and surroundings,
showing that the “ally’ of the government coalition, Daniel Scioli, holds
the Province of Buenos Aires under conditions similar to the Macri “right
wing” of the Capital. The Mayor of La Plata, the Kirchner supporter Pablo
Bruera, brazenly lied, by reporting that he had assisted those evacuated on
the night of April 2, when, in reality, he was still “relaxing,” like
Macri, in Brazil.

Cristina Kirchner also considered that she had to engage in demagogy and
left for Tolosa to “tour the neighborhoods” and remind the helpless people
who had lost their relatives, that when she was a girl, the “water entered
her house.” The residents told her off by shouting. The personal fortune of
the President [C. Kirchner] amounts to 8,400,000 dollars, with 28
properties. Cristina had to go by quickly, to make statements on TV with
promises and more promises. But her real response, rather than the aid that
never arrives, is the summons to the army and to the police to carry out
their role of control, in order to prevent social outbursts, given what she
called a presence of “strange faces.” Hugo Moyano himself expressed his
solidarity. However, he has been flirting with the possibility of creating
a list in the Capital with Lavagna and Macri, or backing Scioli, the
politicians directly responsible for this disaster.

By the afternoon, the news of the first lootings was arriving, and, in the
Capital, protest demonstrations began to be heard, with street blockades in
the neighborhoods most affected. Already, on the night of April 2, lootings
and housing occupations in Villa Soldati had occurred. The news was quickly
concealed by all the media.

*Growth for a few*

During ten years of record growth, those who “made a lot of money” were the
big businessmen and bankers, Argentinians and foreigners. Billions of
dollars went to pay the foreign debt to the “vultures,” while so much other
money disappeared as remittances for the parent companies of the
multinationals and the mining companies that contaminate the environment
and are looting our wealth. Confession from the party makes proof
unnecessary: in these ten years of growth, the infrastructure of the
country is the same or worse than in the 1990’s, the decade of the
“neoliberal” Carlos Menem. In the City of Buenos Aires, haphazard
urbanization, in support of quick capitalist profit, led to the loss of
green spaces. The construction of mega-towers drastically reduced land for
absorption of rain, and, in order to give bigger profits to the companies,
the courtyard was eliminated in those buildings. Natural absorption was
considerably reduced. The foundations of the mega-towers act as real dikes
to block the natural subterranean drain. Furthermore, successive paving and
repaving of the streets, to “reduce costs,” are above the line established
for runoff of the water. La Plata has the same problems, uncontrolled
construction of buildings without appropriate rain drainage; the city “grew
enormously with the same infrastructure from the beginning of the twentieth
century” (Clarín, April 4).

Meanwhile, subsidies of multiple millions continue to be earmarked for the
privatized firms, like the Roggios or the Ciriglianos, the ones responsible
for crimes like those of Once. But there is more: on the day following the
storm, the New York Court of Appeals allowed the offer that the government
made to the speculative bondholders. The Central Bank has just withdrawn
$2,300,000,000 [US] to pay a foreign debt to the multilateral
organizations. How many lives could have been saved if it had been invested
in infrastructure? For businessmen and their prosperous politicians,
everything continues as usual in their luxurious houses; for working
people, these “natural” phenomena turn into a tragedy, with loss of lives
or of their scant belongings, obtained with a whole life devoted to work.
The answer for the helpless people is regimentation of the streets and the
always meager social assistance, and a salute to the flag of the new
Argentinian Pope, who called for “keeping hope.”

*Solidarity of a class and a class of solidarity*

While the floods were displaying the rottenness of the employers’ political
maneuvering at the top of society, at the bottom, an enormous solidarity
flourished. One of the most important examples was led by the subway
workers, who struck all the lines, because of the death of a comrade who
perished from being electrocuted. As the delegate from Line B, Claudio
Dellecarbonara, charged, “The comrade died because of the negligence and
lack of interest of the company and the governments.” There are hundreds of
examples of fearlessness, of support, that originate in the neighborhoods,
in the factories, in the schools, throughout the country, with the victims.
Working-class and popular Argentina has shown once again that class
solidarity prevailed, in order to confront the situation.

*For an extraordinary situation, an extraordinary solution*

>From the first hour, we militants of the PTS have been working on helping
and accompanying the victims, collaborating to extend workers’, students’
and popular solidarity. We must demand that the unions, the students’
centers, all the workers’ and popular organizations, beginning with the CGT
and the CTA, be put at the service of the victims. The organization and
distribution of aid in solidarity must be in the hands of the organizations
of workers and residents.

No repression against those who are demanding responses to their precarious
situation. The employers must pay the workers affected for the days lost,
and the national, provincial and city governments must immediately and
unconditionally compensate the families stricken by the storm, by granting
a subsidy to restore the losses. Companies like Kraft, Nestlé, Kimberly,
P&G, supermarket chains like Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, should be giving out
food, mattresses, blankets, mineral water, diapers, to alleviate the needs.
And if these companies and chains of superstores do not do it willingly, it
is necessary to fight for the confiscation of the goods needed to resolve
the calamity that the families of the people are suffering.

Right now, we must implement a national plan of public works, controlled by
the workers’ organizations, to build the projects that were needed to
prevent these disasters. The resources for taking these measures could be
obtained quickly. The money should come from not paying the foreign debt
and from extraordinary taxes on the big capitalists. We must put an end to
the real estate monopolies that build haphazardly, guided by their profit,
without bearing in mind the infrastructure needed to avoid these

Against all these employers’ politicians that show their contempt for the
lives of workers and the people, we workers must develop our own political
alternative. Promoting the construction of a left of the workers, beginning
with strengthening the Workers’ Left Front, is a necessity that this new
catastrophe puts on the agenda.

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