The streets of Argentina were filled with thousands of protesters on April 24th as the country experienced its first nationwide strike in opposition to President Javier Milei’s National Emergency Decree. The decree, consisting of 366 articles, brought about significant changes to labor laws in a swift manner, leading to widespread discontent among workers.
The timing of the strike is notable, as it comes just forty-five days after Milei’s inauguration. The new president, who is the leader of the La Libertad Avanza party, has already faced criticism for his extreme actions. Argentina was already grappling with skyrocketing inflation rates of 211% annually, which severely impacted the purchasing power of its citizens. However, Milei’s policies only worsened the situation.
Cesar Simon Cortez, an audiovisual specialist from Buenos Aires, reported live from the protest. According to him, what brought together the diverse groups of strikers was the realization of the “big electoral lie” that had deceived many disillusioned voters. Milei had promised to tackle inflation and combat tax evasion by large corporations, but his actions seemed to contradict his words. Instead, the burden of taxes and wage withholdings fell disproportionately on the poorer classes, leading to the decimation of the middle class.
The protest garnered significant attention due to its magnitude and the diverse range of social groups that were affected by Milei’s decree. Many people expressed their discontent with the government’s plan to privatize various sectors and cut funding from essential areas. The impact of the decree was far-reaching, with major revisions to labor policies being swiftly implemented.
One of the most controversial changes was the dollarization of the economy, which significantly reduced the purchasing power of workers. Additionally, the decree allowed for dismissals on reasonable grounds during strikes, further undermining the power of workers to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. As a result, Argentina saw a sharp decline in consumption and small industry output in December, with a decrease of 13.7% and 26.9%, respectively, according to the CAME Business Chamber.
The lower and middle classes found themselves in a precarious position as a result of Milei’s actions. Cesar emphasized the need for organized protests to demonstrate the people’s dissatisfaction with the government’s policies. He stated that their goal was to show that more than 50% of the population opposed these policies and to bring the nation to a halt, holding companies accountable for their actions. The protesters wanted to reclaim the streets and send a strong message that the government’s actions were counterproductive.
The strike in Argentina was a powerful display of public opposition to President Milei’s National Emergency Decree. It highlighted the discontent of workers who have been severely impacted by the economic turmoil in the country. As the protesters peacefully voiced their concerns, they hoped to bring about change and ensure that their voices were heard by the government, demanding policies that support and protect the middle class.