The far right president of Argentina, Javier Milei (Picture: Ilan Berkenwald)

Thousand have taken to the streets of Argentina following the inauguration of far right president Javier Milei. 

An alliance of groups, including trade unions, human rights groups, and left organisations such as the United Left Front, called a demonstration on the 20 December.

The United Left Front is an electoral coalition made up of several socialist organisations such as the Workers Party (PO), the Movement of Socialist Workers (MTS), and most prominently the Socialist Workers Party (PTS)

Demonstrators did not bend to the orders to march on the pavement or cow to the brutal force used by the state.

Later that evening, there were spontaneous mobilisations of people banging pots and pans called Cacerolazo on street corners in neighbourhoods in cities up and down the country. 

The Cacerolazo in the capital marched to the National Congress building and occupied roads in the early hours.

For the next three nights, Cacerolazo continued across the country. There is mounting pressure on the trade union federation, the CGT, who finally called a general strike for the 24 January.  

 There were also demonstrations in workplaces, such as in train stations and railway worker protested privatisation in an exciting development. 

The protests come as Milei is showing what kind of president he is going to be. Since his inauguration, the assaults on the working class have been severe.

The first of his attacks have been seen in the economy and the right to protest. Milei’s government pushed through cuts to primarily the transport and energy sectors.

Then his government announced a series of proposed laws that will use state force to repress protests and strikes, including blocking roads and highways, a tactic of protest movements used up and down Latin America. 

The new laws would attempt to stifle any working class resistance against the crisis. Argentina suffers one of the highest and most persistent inflation rates in the world of over 100 percent and over 40 percent of the population live in poverty.

The working class have been sold down the river by the official reformist left and the Peronist parties who conceded to international capital, the IMF and the myth that “There is no money” or “No hay plata”. 

However, the attacks have revived resistance on the streets. The resistance to the brutal class warfare of Milei’s government is growing and isn’t giving in to intimidation. The focus on workplaces is an important step. 

An insurgent assault from below at the hands of the working class not only has the power to overturn the new laws but also to usher in a new era of revolt capable of challenging the system. In Argentina, all eyes are on the streets.

Devastation in Ethiopia as famine looms 

Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region is “on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe” comparable to the famine in 1984-5 that cost the lives of around one million people.

A starkly worded statement said “starvation and death” were hovering over the northern region of the east African country. The federal authorities have denied there is a famine.

Until November 2022, Tigray and the central government were at war. Up to 600,000 people died in the 24-month conflict between the federal army, its allies and Tigrayan forces. Arms shipments had poured in from countries including Russia, Ukraine, Britain and France.

Following that war, drought in some areas plus a locust infestation exacerbated the situation, said the government-imposed and unelected president of Tigray’s interim administration, Getachew Reda. It has now, he said, left 91 percent of the region’s population exposed “to the risk of starvation”.

At just this moment, Ethiopia is one of the countries facing a catastrophic economic squeeze to extract debt payments.

Soaring interest rates that squeezed workers in Britain meant destruction for people in poorer countries. Bankers, governments and financial institutions extracted nearly half a trillion dollars from countries in the Global South in 2022-2023.

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