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Massive Argentine General Strike Shows Fighting Spirit, Rattles Milei Government

Argentine mass demonstration against the policies of President Javier Milei. anadoluagency X page

A close friend of the Schiller Institute reported that today’s 12-hour general strike and march to the National Congress called by Argentina’s CGT and CTA trade union federations against the fascist economic policies of President Javier Milei, was “massive” and “historic.” It was the first time in Argentine history, that anyone can remember, that a strike of this magnitude was held to protest against a President who had only been in office for 45 days. “This is unprecedented,” he said.

Very moving also was the extraordinary international support for the strike, with solidarity demonstrations held in at least 17 world capitals, several in Ibero-America, in front of Argentine embassies, by trade union federations, political organizations or groups of Argentines living in those countries, all under the banner of “the country is not for sale.” The Argentina flag was flying everywhere with heartfelt messages from the participants.

Targeting Milei’s “urgency and necessity” decree (DNU) and Omnibus bill which intend to dismantle the state, tear up constitutionally guaranteed rights and impose IMF-endorsed economic “shock” policy, the strike attracted workers, members of the middle class, many retirees, and “many, many young people,” according to this source. The side streets around the “Plaza of the Two Congresses” (Plaza de los dos Congresos) in Buenos Aires were jam packed with people—on the sidewalks, the streets—so much so that the police didn’t even try to deploy here because there was no room for them. Ten blocks in either direction from the Congress were filled with people. Security Minister Patricia “Brunhilda'’ Bullrich had threatened fierce repression, but for the most part couldn’t follow through due to the peaceful and disciplined nature of the march.

Cabinet members are hysterical. Finance Minister Luis Caputo, the Wall Street speculator, whined that workers organized this “political strike because they are going to lose their privileges”— labor rights are apparently privileges. Milei claimed that the strike showed there are two Argentina’s, a “decadent” one that lives in the past and clings to obsolete things like labor or human rights, and one that wants to become a “developed country.” Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni complained several times that there’s no justification for the strike—”it’s just a waste of money that will hurt many Argentines.”

Two other points should be mentioned. It is unusual for a demonstration to be held at the Two Congresses Plaza because its large size makes it difficult to fill up. Normally political demonstrations occur at the much smaller Plaza de Mayo in front of the presidential palace. But today the Two Congresses Plaza was overflowing. The other anomaly is that the second half of January is when trade unionists—workers, teachers, members of the judiciary, state workers—go on summer vacation. Not this time. Peacefully and in an organized way they gathered to denounce the government’s inhumane policies, accompanied by the traditional Peronist drums, musical instruments, large flags and banners identifying each union or organization. Citizens showed they are prepared to fight not only for their rights but against what they see as an assault on national sovereignty. The slogan “the country is not for sale” was seen everywhere.