“To those who do not know my story it is novel that I am a garbage collection worker and from the left, here in Jujuy the candidates and those who come to Congress are all from the oligarchy, from the upper class, not someone who picks up the garbage or who vindicate coya, that he has a Jujuy surname like mine. For many that is disruptive, “he says Alexander Vilca, candidate for deputy of the Left Front and Workers Unity, a force that in the primaries obtained 23 percent of the votes in the province governed by Gerardo Morales. In dialogue with PageI12 from San Salvador de Jujuy, before getting on the plane to Buenos Aires, he emphasizes that “in these STEP the left has become the third national force, with very good results in Chubut, Neuquén and Santa Cruz.
Alejandro Ariel Vilca has the voice of an announcer, 45 years, five brothers and two children. The youngest is named Leon, after Trotsky. He grew up in poverty with five siblings and a mother who separated when they were very young. “She took care of everything by herself, the harshness of poverty and humility, having to go out to sell empanadas to make ends meet, my mother with three labors, all of this leads to questioning. I began to realize that everything had to be changed “. This search had as a context the struggles of state workers in the 1990s, while governors fell. “I understood that great changes could be achieved by fighting together from the working class, in college I joined the socialist and Marxist ideas and I began to military in Trotskyism at 18 “.
Despite the difficulties, his mother wanted him to study architecture in San Juan. “My old woman got very angry when I left, she never understood it, until in the 2017 election, which was also a hit with almost 18 percent, one day at the table eating a stew she apologized and told me ‘finally I understood why you left everything for politics, ‘”he says. “The processes of the pickets in Cutral-Có and Tartagal They had repercussions here in Libertador General San Martín and throughout the province, and they decided me to return to Jujuy to build something. “That is how he founded the provincial PTS, worked as a bricklayer, insurance employee, ice cream maker, until he entered the municipality of the capital In 2011, with the birth of the FIT, he ran as a candidate and in 2017 he won his seat as a provincial deputy, along with Natalia Morales, Martín Aldasoro and Héctor Hernández.
His mother Luisa died in the middle of the pandemic. “She wanted to go to the public hospital, which was collapsed, there was no oxygen, they sent her home, they lent us a backpack but she didn’t even have access to a test.” Vilca pauses briefly, and resumes thanking the militancy. “Rural workers who were going to be inspected after carving the zurco, drivers got off the bus, nurses who finished their shift did the same, a huge effort making sure that there were no missing tickets, we face the big landowners who invest in the bosses’ parties that later return the favors, we did it to our lungs and it was a historic result for the province and for the country with the objective that for the first time the bench of a representative of Jujuy is a collection worker with dark skin like we Jujuy have, that it is vindicated coya. That the voice of the workers sounds loud in the compound is the dream that we hope does not escape us “.
– To what do you attribute this growth of the FIT-U in Jujuy?
– Over the years we have been reaping very good numbers, I think due to the lack of a political alternative for the workers. We took the flags of popular sectors that had always been postponed by Peronists and radicals, who here are a political caste. 23 percent are related to the close link that radical Gerardo Morales has with the Frente de Todos, there is a double discourse, Peronism is his main support in governance. Its lieutenant governor is a Peronist, and the opposition votes on all the adjustment and tax exemption laws for him. They have close family and friendship ties. People have gotten tired of this bipartisan regime, which has favored that sector. There is anger because it has been an authoritarian government, with the prosecution of the protest and the persecution of opponents, we have many colleagues with open cases. He has not allowed our deputy Gastón Remy to take over, who must rotate his seat. They have chosen us because we are consistent, we stand in the Legislature and on the streets, we have never sold ourselves, we live as a worker, we donate the rest of our diet to the fight funds, people see it.
– Is there a particular fury of Morales against the left?
– Yes, because it is the only force that has been planted, with the PJ they are friends and partners. We have denounced the accommodations of his relatives, more than 25 in high positions, his wife in YPF. One of Morales’ brothers-in-law founded the Development Bank, they have dissolved it and more than 140 families were left on the street, he made 90 trips around the world in 24 months. People repudiate all that. In Justice there are former radical deputies, there is no independence, he and his entire caste are armed to have impunity and absolute power. A Revenue controller who denounced that there is no money, they threw him out. A member of the Court of Accounts was encouraged to investigate the agreements that the province has with deputies who belong to the PJ, they also fired him. There is going to be a limit. Morales is not all-powerful, but he has the best ally, which is the PJ, in the Chamber of Deputies, in the political armed forces, in the municipalities, in the Judiciary and in the union leadership. They have been silent accomplices by letting the measures that workers suffer today pass, an escape route was the ballot box. Wide sectors see that the left can confront the rich and the powerful. It is progressive, people begin to lose their fear and organize to fight for their rights.
– How do you combine Trotskyism and indigenism?
– My last name means ‘sacred’ in Aymara or Quechua, I look at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t deny myself. We are from the Quebrada de Humahuaca, but here we are all like that. The rich are the whites. We respect both the National Anthem and the Pachamama and indigenous traditions. Trotskyism should not be interpreted as an idea external to social needs, the ideas of equality, of economic planning to make a society from the bottom up is Marxism. And today it is expressed by the currents that claim to be Trotskyists, in that sense I interpret it. It has never capitulated, and has a rural, general and internationalist perspective. When they tell us that we are utopians, we respond that in current politics the ideas for the traditional parties are worthless, it is a buying and selling of candidates, of people who turn around on average. That does not happen with the left. We have aims and principles, we want to end this society of exploitation and misery, we want to build another where the producers of wealth, the working class, can direct and plan the economy with a social sense to have equal access to rights. The only way is with a workers’ government, this idea is gradually reaching thousands, it becomes flesh in each struggle.
– Do you have any contact with Milagro Sala?
– No. It has been a scapegoat for Morales’ advance on labor rights, it was used to pass the harsh contravention code that endorses anti-democratic practices against protests, and the establishment of causes; The miners and sugar mills of the Ledesma and La Esperanza mills have experienced it. Curiously, that code was put together by the PJ, of which she is a part, and Morales applies it against the people. At the time we spoke out against the imprisonment of her and other leaders with whom we do not share ideas, because it is a matter of principle. But not even the Frente de Todos defends her here, no one dares to go see her. The persecution is something very broad, it is a matter of class. And the election had that content. There is too much contrast in this province. The tobacco and sugar zone dates back to the 19th century, two-by-three boxes where families with children live, next to the zurco, a single community pipe and a latrine. They are paid a wage of a thousand pesos a day, the owners of that land are linked to politics and keep their workers in conditions of near slavery. It is almost slavery, since they pay very little per bag, they take the whole family to do more. Our project is an inter-harvest law so that they have an income that covers the family basket when the harvest ends, give them social work and the annualization of mandatory contributions.
– Did Javier Milei’s “anti-politics” grow as much as the FIT, which is pure politics?
– It can be interpreted as two opposite poles, Milei is functional to the ambitions of right-wing sectors, with an extreme discourse she seeks to deny the social right to the organization, that is why she has more showcase. It seems not attractive in the showcase that a collector reaches Congress, the fight of native peoples, the idea of changing society. That is why we value the fundamental struggle of the militancy, the anger can also be expressed in greater organization of the workers.