Argentina’s unions pledge ‘total strike’ as Javier Milei pushes economic reforms

Published January 22, 2024
Hundreds of thousands of Argentine workers will strike this week against libertarian president Javier Milei’s economic reforms, an important union leader has said, accusing the government of “breaking the social contract” and reneging on deals with unions.
“We did not choose this path, but unfortunately they gave us no alternative,” Gerardo Martínez, leader of Argentina’s Construction Workers Union and a prominent figure in the country’s powerful General Federation of Labour (CGT), said in an interview ahead of the planned protest on Wednesday.
“There will be at least 200,000 marching [in Buenos Aires] and I believe the strike will be total.”
Roughly 40 per cent of Argentina’s 13mn registered workers belong to labour unions, according to union estimates, and many of the groups are closely allied with the Peronist movement that led the country’s previous government.
Martínez belongs to a moderate wing of the CGT that has broadly championed negotiations with Argentine governments. But he said that, though he held talks with Milei officials soon after the president took office last month, “nothing we agreed was reflected in the labour reform they suddenly presented, which breaks Argentina’s social contract”.
Milei’s government has moved rapidly to overhaul Argentina’s crisis-stricken economy. A sweeping emergency decree issued last month cuts worker protections, deregulates industries and makes it easier for Argentines to opt out of union-provided healthcare.
Milei has also slashed energy and transport subsidies and sent a wide-ranging bill to congress, including measures to privatise state companies. The bill and decree are being reviewed by congress.


RELATED:UK’s Telegraph Comes Out Blazing in Support of Argentina’s Javier Milei Against WEF ‘Caste’

Published January 22, 2024

During Argentina’s presidential campaign, I repeatedly wrote here on TGP how infuriating it was to be witnessing MSM treat Javier Milei’s absolutely mainstream, no-nonsense economic ideas as ‘dangerous’, ‘radical’ and out of bounds, while the horrible Peronists who left 40% of Argentineans under the poverty line were treated like the ‘sensible’ option.

This upside-down view of the world displayed by the media remains the standard approach as Milei kicks off his government, however cracks in the narrative are already quite visible.

Daniel Hannan has an excellent article out in the UK’s Conservative paper Telegraph about Milei’s speech in the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Hannan notes how the former economics professor ‘made no attempt to meet his audience half way’.

Milei warned them that Western values had been betrayed by ‘those who want to belong to a privileged caste’ and told it to the faces of the members of the caste.

During 40 minutes, he presented the theory and practice of why state intervention tends to make people poorer.

Hannan writes: “There is nothing pro-market about Davos. Here are the directors and lobbyists of Atlas Shrugged brought to life: woke, subsidy-hungry, pleased with themselves, ambitious, conformist, reluctant to express a view until they have a sense of the room. Had the WEF existed in the late nineteenth century, it might have included a few economic liberals, for free markets were then in fashion. But our own age is corporatist, managerialist and high-spending, and delegates duly parrot those orthodoxies.”

Communist, fascist, socialist, social democratic, Christian Democratic, progressive or populist, these are just different stripes for the same lust for collectivism.

“Because he dislikes state interference, Milei is dismissed as a loon. He is ‘radical’ (New York Times), ‘extreme’ (El País), ‘populist’ (Le Monde), ‘far-Right’ (BBC). Yet the classical liberalism he espouses is as undoctrinaire as any world-view can be.”

His reforms mainly involve politicians surrendering their privileges.



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It’s about time that corporate schmooze-meisters heard the full cost of their failed policies dragging Europe to the brink

Argentina’s President Javier Milei delivers a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF)
Published January 22, 2024

In the video, you see only their backs. But I’ll bet you anything you like that, as he delivered his speech, Javier Milei was looking out at a sea of smirking faces. Argentina’s new president had been asked to speak at the World Economic Forum (WEF) as, if not exactly a comic turn, at least a warning to that most self-regarding of conferences that voters can make terrible choices.

The former economics professor made no attempt to meet his audience half way. On the contrary, he began by warning that Western values had been betrayed by “those who want to belong to a privileged caste”.

The brahmins of that caste, as he well knew, were gathered before him in Davos. And, as he uttered those words, you may be sure they caught each other’s eyes and twisted their features into expressions of amused contempt. It is what they do when anyone steps outside their ideological parameters.

While the WEF does not have a unified party line, delegates at its smugfest have a great deal in common. They like regulations, which are designed by and for people like them and which, though they are dressed up as being about consumer protection or greenery, end up keeping out the competition.

They approve of government task-forces and advisory agencies – indeed, they meet in Davos partly to lobby each other for jobs on such bodies. They love supranational institutions, and regard sovereignty as dangerous, atavistic and, worst of all, low-status. In short, they want a world run by sensible, educated, moderate sorts like themselves, with minimal interference from national electorates.

Milei spent 40 minutes telling them how, in theory and in practice, state intervention tends to make people poorer. The shock-haired libertarian is governing as he campaigned – through a series of economics lectures. But few of his students can have been as unimpressed as this conclave of quangocrats and CEOs, whose careers depend on public money.

Three thoughts struck me as some minimally polite applause followed. First, it is beyond bizarre that commentators lump libertarians and Davos corporatists together as part of some Right-wing, pro-business elite. Second, if we were guided by evidence rather than fashion and prejudice, Milei would be recognised as the pragmatist, and the smirkers as the ideologues. Third, he was spot on. The people in front of him really had adopted the assumptions of socialism, though not the full package nor, in most cases, the name.





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