Workers Vanguard No. 1013
23 November 2012
Morenoite Farce over Malvinas, Again
The article translated below originally appeared in Espartaco No. 35 (June 2012), the newspaper of our comrades of the Grupo Espartaquista de México.
Marx wrote once that history repeats itself: what happens first as tragedy later takes place as farce. But, in regards to the Malvinas/Falklands, the Argentine pseudo-left has staged the same farce twice. The first mise-en-scène occurred in 1982 when, with the cry of “on the military side of the Argentine dictatorship” and the like, the whole pseudo-Trotskyist swamp saluted the Galtieri military junta for its ridiculous war over the rocky, inhospitable islands then inhabited by some 1,800 shepherds (today there are a little over 3,000). As the brutal military dictatorship teetered in the midst of the worst economic recession in Argentine history up to that time and massive workers’ protests, Galtieri launched an invasion of the desolate islands in order to divert discontent into a wave of patriotic jingoism. Similarly, for the crumbling British empire with Margaret Thatcher at the helm, this was a nice little war that allowed her to placate the militancy of her own working class.
We explained at the time that the genuine Leninist-Trotskyist position on the conflict was revolutionary defeatism on both sides: “The bloody Argentine junta, wracked only a few weeks ago by massive labor protests, and the despised Thatcher government, which has driven the British people into the poorhouse, can be brought down as a result of defeat and humiliation in war” (“Falklands: Nowhere War,” WV No. 304, 30 April 1982).
Thirty years later, the self-proclaimed “Trotskyists” have once more become enraptured with the “Argentine Malvinas” rhetoric, this time from the mouth of [Argentine president] Cristina Fernández. As she pushed forward a series of measures against the working masses, such as the elimination of subsidies for utilities and for the Buenos Aires subway, Fernández seized on the war’s anniversary to launch a renewed campaign for possession of the islands, with the extra incentive of the oil discovered in that area a couple of years ago—of which decrepit British imperialism does not want to share a single drop.
A snap of Fernández’s fingers was enough for the neo-Morenoite Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS) to raise the war cry that the Malvinas/Falklands “are Argentinian, an integral part of our territory,” while boasting of the military “achievements” of the Galtieri junta by referring, in the first person plural, to the destruction of the HMS Sheffield, “which we sank from the pirates” (La Verdad Obrera No. 469, 5 April). For its part, Izquierda Socialista—what remains of the followers of the late political chameleon Nahuel Moreno outside the PTS itself—flew its white-and-blue colors, chanting that “40 million Argentinians demand sovereignty over our islands” (El Socialista No. 214, 15 February). Never one to be outdone, the caudillo of the Partido Obrero, Jorge Altamira, pathetically lamented the dictatorship’s 1982 failure: “How happy it would have made us if the papers had carried the news that a lunatic, a murderer and a torturer [Galtieri] had sunk the British fleet in the South Atlantic, and not that a sane, a democratic [sic!] and a civilized [sic!] Thatcher destroyed the Argentine army” (2 April video on www.tvpts.tv).
The pseudo-Trotskyists present the bourgeois chauvinist ambitions and adventures over the Malvinas/Falklands as an “anti-imperialist cause.” But, as we wrote 30 years ago:
“What’s anti-imperialist about the ‘recovery’ of this tiny archipelago hundreds of miles from the Argentine coasts? Does it affect the right of self-determination of the Argentine people? Not at all. In what way are the Falklands/Malvinas used as a means of economic pressure by Britain? By buying supplies in Argentina? Granted, the Falklands are a relic of the British empire, and communists demand that this decaying, second-rate imperialist power get out of all its colonial holdovers, from Hong Kong to the Falklands. But the Argentine working masses would gain nothing from Galtieri’s adventure (even if it had been successful).”
— “Thatcher Orders Bloody Slaughter,” WV No. 307, 11 June 1982
In fact, the PTS has given a new twist to embellishing the Argentine bourgeoisie’s military adventures by raising the grotesquely reformist and social-chauvinist demand that in 1982 “the workers, through their organizations” had to impose “general enlistment of the people so that every man and woman could receive adequate military instruction” to go and kill British people (or get killed by them) over a bunch of wind-swept rocks (La Verdad Obrera No. 462, 16 February). With its left flank loyally covered by these fervent patriots, the Argentine bourgeoisie must feel quite at ease.