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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

National deputies of Argentina’s Socialist Workers’ Party discuss the impact of President Milei’s reforms at panel discussion

“Javier won the election and very quickly the country fell into poverty”
Shilpa Sweth
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC) program hosted three national deputies of the Socialist Workers’ Party, or “Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas” (PTS ), in Argentina. Christian Castillo, Myriam Bregman and Alejandro Vilca were part of the Zoom panel discussion on Wednesday, March 27.

The panel focused on the current state of Argentinian politics after the election of libertarian President Javier Milei in 2023. STPEC Senior Lecturer Graciela Monteagudo and Associate Professor of history Kevin Young introduced the panel.

The purpose of the panel, they explained, is to inform the audience on the impact of hard right politics in Argentina. “We are going to be thinking about the applicability [of this] to the United States,” Young said.

Bregman, a legislator for the city of Buenos Aires and one of the presidential candidates in the 2023 elections, expressed her concern over hard right reform bills proposed by Milei, a member of the Argentinian Libertarian Party.

“There are three aspects in which this government attacks the leftist opposition: by attacking human rights, by attempting to rewrite our country’s history and by questioning the number of disappearances during the genocide,” Bregman said.

In 1976, Argentinian leaders were subjected to presidential coups and political intervention from the United States, which resulted in an estimated 30,000 citizens disappearing for their connection to leftist politics and opposition during that time. Throughout the discussion, Bregman referred to the events that occurred during the dictatorship as a “genocide.” However, there are people in the country that question the accuracy or existence of these numbers.

Moreover, Bregman expressed her concern over the future of feminist politics under Milei’s efforts, especially the numerous reform bills that would affect recent women’s rights’ legislation. In 2018, thousands of Argentinian citizens protested for the legalization of abortion and the pro-choice movement. Although the bill did not pass in 2018, abortion was recently legalized as “La Ley Simple,” which allows the “interruption” of pregnancies within the first 14 weeks.

“On March 8, International Women’s Day, Milei removed an honorary room dedicated for women from the Casa Rosada,” Bregman explained, in reference to the president’s federal office. “For the president, women’s rights are always subject to debate. Milei has expressed his intentions to dismantle the recent bill that legalizes abortion.”

Bregman explained that PTS fights not only for feminism in general, but for socialist feminism and the rights of women under a non-capitalist state.

Castillo, a national deputy of the province of Buenos Aires and a professor at the University of Buenos Aires, stated his concern over the current economic situation in Argentina. According to Castillo, as of 2023, over 60 percent of the population is under the poverty line and at least 15 percent are homeless.

“Unlike the far right in the U.S. or Italy, there is no protectionist policy, so there are opportunities for imperial companies to infiltrate the local economy and greatly increase inflation rates,” Castillo explained. “We’ve called the past three months the Trimester of Terror under Milei’s presidency. The people are striking, over 75 percent of university students attend a public university which are likely to face defunds from the state. There has to be an insurrection from the working class.”

Vilca, national deputy for PTS, closed the panel discussion, urging the people to “fight the right from their side,” while they “fight the right in the parliament.”

“The people, regardless of their political affiliation, are striking and must continue to do so,” Vilca said.

As for the future goals of PTS, Bregman further pushes the population to organize and strike against Milei’s reforms.

“We need union meetings with other sectors and people who are losing their jobs, we need to build up strength and combat the rising inflation rates under Milei’s politics, especially concerning the international debt,” Bregman said.

Camila Valdez can be reached at [email protected]. Preston Miller can be reached at [email protected]

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