Chile

50 years ago, the Allende government was elected in Chile. It carried out a host of radical reforms. But capitalism was not abolished. The tragic conclusion was the coup of 11 Sept 1973. We must remember this important episode from history.

A debate on a bill to withdraw 10 percent of pensions in Chile comes at a time when most of the working population is being affected by COVID-19 and the early stages of a capitalist crisis. The abysmal handling of the pandemic has led to the death of at least 7,000 people and the collapse of the healthcare system. A new wave of protest shows that the spirit of 2019 is still alive for the Chilean workers and youth. 

The remarkable protest movement last October represents a qualitative leap from the other mass movements and protests that for more than a decade have marked the landscape of post-dictatorial Chile. From a global perspective, it was a turning point in the context of the world crisis of capitalism. It was a truly insurrectional mass uprising that, from Friday 18 October to the end of November, involved between five and six million active participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created one disaster after another in Latin America, exposing the naked contempt of the ruling class for the workers of the region. But with the memory of Red October still fresh, this explosive new development is preparing revolutionary upheaval in the near future.

The Trade Union Block of the Social Unity in Chile has demanded that the government introduces an immediate preventative quarantine to fight the spread of Covid-19, otherwise, it will call a “humanitarian general strike” in order to shut down all economic activity “which is not essential for the maintenance of health and life”. Meanwhile the hated Piñera government is attempting to use the health emergency to put an end to the five month old uprising.

In this article for America Socialista (published 17 January), Jorge Martin looks back on the tremendous ‘Red October’ that swept Latin America last year, with insurrectionary movements in one country after another. Where did these eruptions come from? What were their limitations? What lessons were learned? And what is the perspective going forward?

Chile is experiencing another general strike, as part of the uprising against the regime that has been going on for almost 40 days already. The government continues to intensify the repression (denounced by international organisations) and even modifies legislation by granting itself more powers to use the army “in the protection of public buildings”, without decreeing the state of emergency, while trying to bamboozle the movement through “agreements” and promises of negotiation. The conditions for bringing Piñera down are present, but what is missing?

In his latest podcast (recorded 25 November), Jorge Martin provides an update on the recent strike in Colombia, the month-long uprising in Chile, and the struggle against the coup in Bolivia.

One month has passed since an insurrectional movement began in Chile. The mass uprising has placed the government of Sebastián Piñera, one of the richest men on the continent, against the ropes. In the face of the movement he has proposed minimum concessions that are only a trap to demobilise the working class and youth.

The general strike on 12 November was a huge success that put the government against the ropes. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions marched across the country: 300,000 in Santiago, 40,000 in Valparaíso, 100,000 in Concepcion. The strike was solid in health, education, the public sector, the ports and sections of the mining industry, and had a widespread following in other industrial sectors. It revealed the strength of the working class in a capitalist country, which is able to paralyse the economy. Almost a month after beginning, the Chilean uprising continues to advance and has not been stopped by repression (with thousands of wounded and detained, more than 200 losing eyes and

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More than a million people demonstrated in Santiago de Chile on Friday 25 October, in what was called #LaMarchaMásGrandedeChile (Chile's largest march) – and certainly, it was, being larger than the NO campaign closing rally in 1988 that brought together a million people. The mobilisation on Friday was repeated in cities and communes throughout the country and took place one week after the

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The following is a translation of an article we received about the current insurrectional movement in Chile, which began with youth-led protests against a hike in public transport fares. From a widespread campaign of fare dodging, a mass movement has developed against the government, which was responded with brutal repression. 

On Monday, the Chilean teacher's strike entered its fifth week. More than 70 percent of the teachers voted to reject the latest government offer and want to continue the national strike indefinitely. The strike has involved hundreds of thousands throughout the country, with particularly active participation in the regions. For her part, the education minister Marcela Cubillos has shown great arrogance, and only last week agreed to dialogue amidst controversy over police brutality. After large marches of tens of thousands in the past weeks marked a milestone in the teacher’s movement, the high point was the cacerolazo (banging on pots and pans as a political protest) of the patipelados

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In the vicinity of Ercilla, in the Araucanía region in southern Chile, 24-year-old indigenous Mapuche, Camilo Catrillanca, was murdered by members of the so-called Comando Jungla of the Chilean national police. The young man, a nephew of the local Mapuche chief of Temucuicui, leaves behind his pregnant wife and a daughter of six. Camilo was driving a tractor and was accompanied by a 15-year-old minor when they were showered by bullets, one of which found its way to the back of his head. This is just one more case in the brutal history of police assassinations against the Mapuche people. The lives of dozens of youth and minors are being taken. Meanwhile, the authorities are quick to deem

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Las elecciones en Chile del 19 de noviembre produjeron una serie de resultados significativos. El candidato de la derecha no sacó el resultado que esperaba, pero sobretodo presenciamos la irrupción en el panorama político nacional del Frente Amplio, cuya candidata logró un sorpresivo 20%. Con sus limitaciones políticas y de su propia composición, el Frente Amplio expresa los deseos de cambios radicales de un significativo sector de la sociedad que se ha movilizado en las calles en los últimos años.

46 years ago during Salvador Allende’s government, the Chilean Congress voted unanimously for the nationalization of Chilean copper. During the murderous Pinochet dictatorship, the road was open for foreign investment, which in actuality takes more than two thirds of the benefits produced by the exploitation of this resource and those who work it. Nevertheless, what is left over, still constitutes 13% of Chile’s GDP, and has been called ‘the salary of Chile’. While the state company CODELCO is the largest producer of mine copper in the world, the surface mine with the largest copper production in the world is Minera Escondida, controlled by BHP Billiton.

With 3.4 million votes – 62.16% of the votes cast but only 25.6% of the electorate – Michelle Bachelet has been re-elected for a second term as the President of Chile, an office that she held from 2006 to 2010. Her victory was mainly due to the massive mobilisations that had taken place during the period of the Pinera government as was shown by the election of ex student leaders as MPs – Camila Vallejo and Karol Cariola of the Communist Party, Giorgio Jackson of Democratic Revolution and Gabriel Boric of Autonomous Left.