Argentina: what next for Milei – ‘self-coup’ or intensified class struggle?

Some on the left draw a parallel between Milei's authoritarian drift in Argentina and the "fujimorazo" in Peru in 1992, when Fujimori used his constitutional powers to establish a de facto dictatorship in the Andean country. But this does not hold up. On the contrary, in Argentina we are heading for a process of mass upheaval.

In the first place, "el chino" [Fujimori’s nickname] conveniently used the mad drift of the Communist Party Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path], with its indiscriminate terrorist actions, openly encouraged by the Peruvian state apparatus. This situation of bloody "chaos" was a perfect opportunity for Fujimori to impose a violent and repressive regime. In the process, the Peruvian working class suffered important defeats.

In Argentina, fortunately and unlike what happened in the first half of the ‘70s, there is no guerrilla movement, neither in the highlands nor in the cities, which could be used to enrage the middle class and disorientate the working class. The Argentine working class, although suffering the scourge of crisis and hyperinflation, has not known any serious defeat in 25 years. Its forces are intact, and it has a very powerful trade union apparatus. The new generation did not even know the "menemato" of 1990-1999 [a period of aggressive liberalisation and widespread privatisations of public industries, unleashed by then-President Menem].

Milei is rapidly losing popular support, as his measures are further impoverishing the population, while the wealth of the rich is left untouched. There is anger, not only against the economic measures, but also against the repressive measures he has begun to implement. There are already polls, less than a month after taking office, that give a 55 percent popular rejection of Milei.

General strike

The general strike on 24 January, called by the CGT and the CTA [trade union confederations], will act as a focal point to bring together all the social discontent, not only of working families but of all the social strata affected by the crisis. It can already be predicted that it will be unanimously accepted, after which a very intense struggle for wage increases will be unleashed in the face of the scourge of hyperinflation, and against the company closures that the brutal adjustment policy of Milei-Macri could provoke.

If the government bets on open repression on 24E (24 January), for which it does not have sufficient police forces to face hundreds of thousands or millions in the streets, the developments could be unpredictable.

Even if the government was able to overcome the general strike, it is inevitable that, in a matter of months, when its anti-labour policies reach full force, we will see a new upsurge of the movement to a higher level.

The Argentine bourgeoisie, blinded with arrogance by Milei's apparently dazzling victory in the presidential ballot, has chosen the path of open and unrestrained confrontation with the Argentine working class, through a policy of "shock and awe", playing an all-or-nothing game. And by no means does it have all the winning cards up its sleeve.

No, it is not a "dictatorship" that is coming, but a class war, which the world working class will watch expectantly and with warm sympathy for its Argentinian brothers and sisters.

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