Argentina experienced a massive general strike as a demonstration against President Javier Milei’s controversial reforms, which were believed to be detrimental to the middle class. Thousands of workers, deeply dissatisfied with the 366-article National Emergency Decree, took to the streets on April 24, just forty-five days after Milei’s inauguration, to voice their opposition.
The people of Argentina were already grappling with the effects of a staggering annual inflation rate of 211%, which had severely diminished their purchasing power. However, the newly-appointed president’s radical actions, as the leader of the La Libertad Avanza party, further exacerbated their economic woes.
Reporting live from the event, Cesar Simon Cortez, an audiovisual specialist from Buenos Aires, shed light on the unifying force behind the strike – the disillusionment caused by the “big electoral lie” that had manipulated and deceived countless voters. Despite Milei’s promises to combat inflation and address tax evasion by major corporations, his policies seemed to disproportionately burden the lower and middle classes, resulting in the decimation of the latter, according to Cesar.
The magnitude of the protest brought together diverse social groups affected by Milei’s National Emergency Decree. Cesar highlighted the widespread dissatisfaction among the people due to the government’s plans to privatize various sectors and slash funding from essential areas.
The National Emergency Decree had profound implications for multiple aspects of society. Swiftly implemented, the decree introduced significant changes to labor policies through its 366 articles. Some of these changes included the dollarization of the economy, which significantly eroded the purchasing power of workers, the requirement for a minimum coverage of 75% in basic services, and the possibility of dismissing employees with reasonable cause during strikes.
Consequently, in December, Argentine consumption plummeted by 13.7%, and small industry output plummeted by 26.9%, resulting in a sharp decline in purchasing power, as reported by the CAME Business Chamber.
The lower and middle classes found themselves in a precarious position due to these circumstances. Cesar emphasized the importance of organizing to demonstrate the widespread discontentment with the government’s policies. Their goal was to illustrate that over 50% of the population opposed these policies and to bring the nation to a halt, forcing companies to experience the impact of their actions. Ultimately, they aimed to assert their control over the streets and demonstrate that the government’s measures were counterproductive.
The general strike that gripped Argentina was a fervent expression of the people’s dissatisfaction with the Milei administration and its perceived disregard for the middle class. As the protests unfolded, it became clear that the effects of the National Emergency Decree were far-reaching and posed serious challenges to various sectors of society. The unity among diverse social groups further underscored the urgency of addressing the grievances of the people and finding a more equitable and sustainable path forward.