Down with Piñera's murderous government! For socialism and workers power!
Chile is experiencing a truly revolutionary situation. What began two weeks ago as a protest against the rise in public transport fares has been transformed into a barricade struggle to confront the savage repression of the army and the carabineros and, finally, into a mass movement of a formidable scale: a historic 48-hour general strike that paralyzed the country on October 23 and 24, followed by massive demonstrations that on Friday October 25, alone in Santiago, brought together 1.5 million people.
The masses of the working class and youth in Chile, following the path of popular insurrections in Ecuador, Haiti, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and in so many other countries, have shown their strength in action: only they have overthrown the state of emergency and the curfew. The Chilean ruling class is facing an authentic revolutionary offensive that was born from below, and that puts Chilean capitalism in a situation not remembered since the years of the Popular Unity.
"It's not 30 pesos, it's 30 years"
This slogan chanted massively at the barricades and demonstrations, sums up very well what is happening in Chile. In little more than a week, the entire institutional framework built after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship, which left the crimes of the Military Junta unblemished, secured the foundations of predatory capitalism and the suppression and massive privatization of public services, and gave wings to the continent's greatest inequality, has been put into question by an astonishing popular uprising. An uprising that directly points to all those parties on the left that have actively collaborated in underpinning this regime, especially the Socialist Party (PS) and the Communist Party (PCCh).
The power of the masses, when determined to go all the way, "works miracles". What the traditional parties of the left - with their reformist leaderships all day mired in parliamentary throws and dialogue tables - have never been able to achieve, has been wrenched from the ruling class by the heroic youth and the Chilean working class fighting against repression and the capitalist order. What an extraordinary inspiration for all the oppressed of the world!
After a historical week, people are still on the streets, strikes are continuing in numerous sectors, and another big day of national strike is underway for Wednesday, October 30.
Revolutionary events have completely taken the bourgeoisie by surprise. Just a few weeks ago, Chile was described by the big businessmen and by the IMF itself as the model to be followed by the rest of Latin American countries, as a paradigmatic example of capitalist order and stability. It is also a lesson for all those who, from the left, even from organizations that claim to be "revolutionary," only cry remembering supposedly better past times, and constantly blame the working class and youth for "their low level of consciousness". These organizations full of sceptical and demoralized "leaders", who take the lesson to the working class and youth as university teachers, have also been unable to foresee anything.
The general strike overthrows the state of emergency and round up the Government
From the outset, Piñera's reactionary government has responded to the popular uprising with savage repression, attempting to cut through the protests with terror.
Officially there are 20 deaths due to the brutal action of the military and police forces, although other sources point out that there are more. There are hundreds of complaints of torture and rape in police stations, as well as young people and workers who have been hospitalized by carabineros and military bullets. So far, more than 5,000 people have been detained. Dozens of videos are circulating on social networks that recall the images of the bloody repression during the Pinochet dictatorship, with soldiers shooting and indiscriminately beating anyone they find in the streets, taking advantage of the impunity granted to them by Piñera with the state of exception. However, the repression has not only been incapable of curbing mass mobilization but has quickly turned it into an authentic revolutionary insurrection.
The success of the 48-hour general strike, the mass protests last Friday, October 25, and a situation of permanent mobilization in the streets, highlighted the impotence of the curfew and the inability of a militarized state to impose itself. Finally, Piñera certified this reality by pathetically announcing the official lifting of the state of emergency and the withdrawal of the military from the streets. A very valuable lesson about the limits of the bourgeois state, no matter how much weaponry it has, in the face of a mass movement who want to fight and have lost their fear.
The strength of the mobilizations not only withdrawn the military to their barracks, but Piñera's government has had no choice but to withdraw the rise in transport and propose a "Social Plan" of improvements in pensions, in the minimum wage, in the price of medicines or electricity tariffs. As a result of this situation, Congress, dominated by right-wing parties, approved the 40-hour working day with practically no opposition. The revolutionary action of the masses has imposed, in a matter of days, what the reformist leaders of the left have begged in parliament for years and have never been able to obtain.
Piñera has gone from pointing out that "the country was at war" against young people and workers in struggle, to ask for forgiveness. These statements reflect the authentic balance of forces between the classes and what the Chilean bourgeoisie thinks.
Yes, for the economic elites, for the military high command, for those who for decades have fattened their privileges with a democracy tutored by the heirs of the Pinochet dictatorship, the situation is appalling: an insurrection of the people that have said enough to their obscene fortunes, to corruption, and to an endemic inequality that keep the vast majority of the people in poverty and precariousness. The atmosphere of rebellion has reached such a magnitude that even some of the country's great businessmen, including Piñera, have expressed their willingness to accept a tax on the richest 1%, one of the mass movement's demands.
The struggle has put the right-wing government on the ropes. Piñera has replaced eight ministers to avoid his resignation and a new victory of the masses that will encourage the movement even more. He can do this thanks to the invaluable support of former socialist presidents Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet - who echoed the official propaganda trying to criminalize the struggle - and the complicity of an international community that promotes coups d'état in Venezuela but maintains its support for a murderer, hoping that he can stop this revolutionary explosion.
Obviously, these desperate movements are only trying to save the regime, to make minor changes so that essentially everything remains the same, and to achieve the main objective of the moment: that the masses leave the streets, that the workers and youth forget about their power, and trying to put the revolutionary crisis towards the calm waters of the bourgeois institutionality.
Organize the indefinite general strike until Piñera is overthrown... No to National Dialogue with the Repressors!
A turning point has been the 48-hour general strike promoted by the most combative sectors of the working class and youth, dozens of social movements and organizations of the left and which, despite its numerous vacillations, finally had to convene the leadership of the Central Unica de Trabajadores (CUT) because of the pressure from below.
The general strike completely paralyzed the country, bringing millions to the streets. The process to put forward the general strike was very significant. While Piñera decreed a state of exception and a curfew, and the leaders of the CUT, the PS and the PC called for "dialogue" and for the regime to sit down to negotiate, the youth in the streets began the struggle against the military and the police (carabineros), making barricades and paralyzing the main avenues of the cities with cuts. In hundreds of popular neighbourhoods, the population organized to resist the assault of the repressive forces, while the dead, the wounded, and the arrested began to be counted in tens, hundreds, and thousands. The working class was immediately infected by this insurrectionary atmosphere, and different sectors went on strike, putting their stamp on the events: port workers, teachers, health workers, miners... forcing the leadership of the CUT to make the strike official, first only for October 23, and finally also for October 24. Now again, as a result of the pressure from below, a new national strike is planned for Wednesday, October 30.
But the CUT leadership, instead of relying on the victories achieved by the movement and continuing the struggle with a clear plan that includes an indefinite general strike until the fall of Piñera, limit themselves calling for a "national dialogue" and asking the government to "restore democracy in Chile". To the government that has declared the state of emergency? To the government responsible for more than 20 deaths, thousands of wounded and detained, tortured and raped? To the government that starves the people?
In the same way, the leadership and parliamentarians of the Communist Party of Chile have become the champions of the social pact, demanding a dialogue table that includes the government and, above all, that includes them! They complain that "the government has excluded and marginalized the social and popular world". No comrades, the government has not excluded the people, Piñera's government has massacred and is massacring the people. And what anyone who calls himself a communist has to do is not to desperately seek dialogue with the repressors, but to organize the struggle to triumph and to avoid more deaths and abuses.
In a moment when the masses are advancing at a steady pace, the ChCP leaders are focusing their hopes on launching a cumbersome constitutional indictment against Piñera... for illegally using the state of emergency!
When Piñera and his government are suspended in the air, thanks exclusively to the strike and the massive and forceful mobilization in the streets, the leadership of the Communist Party resorts to a constitutional trick, which requires among other things a majority in Congress and Senate, currently in the hands of right-wing parties. This type of approach only gives oxygen and time to Piñera. No constitutional accusation is required, Piñera and his government have to leave now, and there are enough strength and determination in the streets to get him out. The role of the ChCP, like the CUT, is to put on after the table a convincing plan of struggle to finish with a dying ruler.
The responsibility of the parliamentary left
Such an approach would encourage the mass movement. But these leaders are not moving in this direction, quite the opposite. It should be pointed out that the current explosion has been incubating for years, especially because of the frustration provoked under the governments of the Socialist Party, and the complicity that the Communist Party and the CUT have maintained with them.
Following the model of the Spanish Transition, the crimes of Pinochet's dictatorship went unpunished. The state apparatus was not purged of fascists, as demonstrated by the brutal action of the military in the streets, and the leadership of the Socialist and Communist Party shamefully gave in to the mass struggle that defeated the dictatorship, agreeing with their heirs a "democratic transition" that would safeguard the capitalist system.
However, instead of learning from mistakes and rectifying, the ChCP leaders are trying to vindicate their failed policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, which has done nothing for the masses but has perpetuated inequality, misery and repression. ChCP deputy Daniel Nuñez pointed out that "this mobilization carried out in this way with this radicalism would never have happened in the government of Michelle Bachelet" because "great reforms were undertaken that responded to the expectations and demands of citizens," and added that "these are social dramas that accumulate over decades. A recognition, therefore, of the impotence of the left-wing governments and the ChCP to resolve the serious problems suffered by workers and youth.
Fight for socialism and workers' democracy! There is no way out under capitalism!
Chile is at a turning point. The conditions to put an end to Piñera and his government, to impose the revolutionary policy that the masses demand by breaking with the capitalist system and its legacy of inequality and repression, and to begin to transform the lives of millions of young people and workers, are in place.
The slogan of a Constituent Assembly that the CCP has raised, and that some organizations that consider themselves revolutionary repeat but adding "free and sovereign," insist that the serious problems of the masses, put on the table by this uprising, can be resolved within the framework of capitalism.
It is false to propose that actually in Chile a "constituent assembly" that would draw up a constitution within capitalist legality, could confront the problems of mass unemployment, precarious jobs, privatization of public services or the complete purging of the fascists from the state apparatus. There is no possibility of a "more advanced democracy" in the framework of actual capitalism in crisis. The slogan of "constituent assembly" and its different variants, is a shameful renunciation to openly raise the need to fight for socialism, for workers power, raising a consequent revolutionary program.
This great uprising has not only demonstrated a favourable balance of forces for the struggle for socialism, but it has also revealed a great advance in the consciousness of the masses who do not want to accept the present state of things for another minute. And it is the task of revolutionaries to translate all this into a strategy and a program capable of achieving victory and transforming society.
The slogan cannot be a new Constituent Assembly to divert the struggle along the path of fraudulent "bourgeois" democracy, without breaking with the actual capitalist order generating more frustration. The task of the moment is to deepen and give revolutionary consistency to the powerful movement that has been unleashed: to promote the formation of action committees in all the factories, workplaces, studies, neighbourhoods... and to coordinate them nationally through elected and revocable delegates. Build the indefinite general strike - with occupations of the work and study centres - and organize the self-defence of the workers and youth, making a strong appeal to the soldiers not to repress the people, to organize committees inside the barracks and to not fulfil the orders of the commanders joining the popular mobilizations.
A plan of struggle that has to be accompanied by a clear program: Out Piñera. For a government of the workers for the benefit of the people. Nationalization of the banks, monopolies and land, without compensation and under the democratic control of the workers and their organizations. Public, dignified, free and universal education and health care. Dignified wages and employment. The right to affordable public housing. Dignified retirements one hundred per cent public. Immediate purging of fascists from the army, the police and the judiciary: trial and punishment of those responsible for the repression and crimes of the dictatorship. All rights to the Mapuche people. For workers' democracy, down with capitalists' democracy!
It is time to raise a genuine socialist program and put all the forces for the building of a revolutionary party of the workers. The policy of class collaboration, which has been applied by the reformist leaderships of the left, has failed. We must remember the lessons of the Popular Unity, of the military coup and of what has happened in recent years: under capitalism, there is no way out for the Chilean masses!
The people of Chile are not alone. A new wave of revolutionary insurrections and uprisings is sweeping Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, through Ecuador, Haiti and Costa Rica. A wave that is a consequence of the misery and inequality that the whole continent has been living for decades, and that will have no solution under the capitalist system. The Chilean working class and youth are reattaching the knot of history, once again revealing their revolutionary traditions. Their triumph will be the triumph of all the workers and oppressed of the world, opening the way for the victory of international socialism.