December 18, 2014
Leftist parties push for more strikes
Left-leaning parties and organizations played a key role in yesterday’s strike, blockading the main points of access to Buenos Aires City, and largely considered themselves to be the real winners of the industrial action. They now want to push further.
Pickets were harshly criticized by the Kirchnerite administration.
Kirchnerite lawmaker Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro wrote on Twitter: “It’s surprising that those who consider themselves revolutionaries end up being foot soldiers for Moyano and Barrionuevo.”
However, in conversation with the Herald, leaders of left-wing parties dismissed claims that they were aligned with the leaders of the conservative union groupings led by Luis Barrionuevo, Hugo Moyano and Gerónimo “Momo” Venegas, the leader of UATRE farmhands’ union.
Buenos Aires province legislator Christian “Chipi” Castillo slammed leaders who refrained from protesting or forming picket lines.
“Moyano and Barrionuevo wanted the country to look like a Sunday,” the leader of the Socialist Workers Party (PTS) told the Herald yesterday. Asked how they managed to come to an agreement with the sectors they repeatedly denounce, the sociologist said: “We do not have any kind of agreement with them, we took the opportunity to help workers express themselves.”
Workers from several factories, including Donnelley, Lear and Gestamp blockaded the Pan-American highway to protest suspensions and dismissals. Several left-leaning representatives accompanied them as they previously had done. Workers’ Socialist Movement leader Vilma Ripoll took part in the protest, considering it to have been a “success.”
“We have to continue these actions,” Ripoll told the Herald. “We should hold a 48-hour strike.”
A call to extend the strike was heard in several sectors yesterday, particularly among railway workers aligned with left-wing union leader Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, but sources from the CTA umbrella union — which also took part in yesterday’s protest — said they were not contemplating the measure.
“We have to assess this strike before deciding on future actions,” Castillo admitted.
The Herald contacted dissident CTA umbrella union leader Pablo Micheli’s number two, Ricardo Peidro, who played down the option of extending the strike.
“But if the government continues to only meet with union leaders who only go to the Government House to applaud the president’s speeches, it wouldn’t be farfetched for us to do that,” Peidro said.
The CTA splinter group launched a 36-hour protest on Wednesday, blockading roads and marching on Plaza de Mayo from Congress. The pro-Kirchnerite CTA umbrella union led by Hugo Yasky issued a press release on Wednesday acknowledging that some of the demands were “fair,” but explained that they do not take part in “actions aimed at eroding the government.”
The main blockades yesterday were on the Pan-American highway and Puente Pueyrredón, the bridge that joins BA City with the southern cities of Greater Buenos Aires. On Puente Pueyrredón, there were clashes between the Border Guards and protesters, but the picket was over by 11am.
“Only (Security Secretary Sergio) Berni who uses his helicopter can say that there were no people in the streets,” joked Ripoll. “The government cannot say that people went on strike due to the lack of buses.There were buses but they were empty,” added Castillo.
At the end of the day, left-leaning parties celebrated that the most important part of a timid strike had taken place in the streets, where they themselves had been.@LucianaBertoia