What follows is a text by Trempülkalwe about Chile. We would like to point out that there were and are many direct attacks during the ongoing revolt. But it seems that there also have been looting and burning of private companies by carabineros and military with a clear intention of unleashing social chaos, as the author of this article wrote.
Originally published by Anarkismo. Translated by Enough 14.
Tension on the Chilean territory, the most massive mobilizations since the return to democracy, and perhaps in the course of history challenge the supposed oasis of neoliberalism built in these 46 years after the coup d’état, with a dictatorship that overthrew the project of Popular Unity and developed a neoliberal economic model, undoubtedly an oasis for transnational business. The founding crisis that echoes in every demand raised by the Chilean people is that model built in dictatorship where the extreme greed of the ruling class, which under the protection of a constitution founded to implement “The Looting of Chile,” had no scruples in stealing absolutely everything.
The perfect model, designed by the prodigious group of students from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile sent to the University of Chicago to know in depth the postulates of Milton Friedman, the so-called “Chicago boys” designed a model of liberal economy, a long-term construction strategy that would sustain itself without the need for a dictatorial regime. The expansion of private initiatives was promoted to the exclusion of the public, where the State, increasingly smaller, was only concerned with subsidizing the most impoverished sectors, without guaranteeing social and human rights such as water, housing, education or health, making every aspect of life a tradable good on the market. With million-dollar salaries either from the management of their companies or state institutions, the parasitic bourgeoisie, with members of each and every one of the political parties colluded to make every need a business, transferring public resources to their own companies, even transgressing the principles of the free market (vertical integration, collusion, parliamentary lobbying, economic extortion, etc.).
The momentum of the high school students, once again lit the flame of mobilization, motivated by a new rise in the public transportation fare made an explicit call for evasion that on previous occasions did not generate greater support, was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but as the slogans in the street clearly state, the anger and frustration of the people are not about 30 pesos but about more than 30 years of neoliberal dictatorship. After the resistance in times of dictatorship there has been a process of rearmament in the popular camp, from the student organizations that managed to maintain a minimal structure and were not, fortunately, dismantled like the union and neighborhood structures, it was possible to sow a seed that bears fruit today. To think that it is an isolated explosion is to ignore our recent history, we had a series of sectorized protests each time more convening (students, against the social security system, against the health model, feminist movement, movement for water and the environment, etc.).), where the answers of the different governments were only the deepening of the model, as we say in Chile “that each one scratches himself with his own nails”, that is to say, that each person solves his problems individually, however the “every person for themselves” does not give more, the economic drip is not enough to live. They increased the capacity of individual indebtedness to access basic services, strengthened labor flexibility where long working hours plus transportation time in large cities have become a true modern slavery regime, where retired men and women receive pensions well below the minimum wage. With high rates of mental health illnesses and suicides, which until now generated international curiosity, one of the richest countries in the world with the most unhappy population in the world, generated precariousness of life in the most captivating way: free access to consumption. In a country where the limits between the public and the private are blurred to favor from the State and public policies to the big businessmen, they have privatized everything under the legal protection of a constitution based on dictatorship that allows, for example, to be the only country in the world where water is in private hands. A new increase in the transport tariff was the trigger to show a structural crisis, where Chileans open their eyes to a model that enriches a few and maintains a miserable life for the majority.
The street screams, “Till it’s worth living.”
In a world scenario characterized by the polarization of political positions, the right in Latin America shows its hardest face in a context where it holds hegemony from democratically elected governments. The prelude to the mobilizations in Ecuador showed a people, mainly indigenous, unwilling to accept World Bank guidelines in the Chilean direction.
On the second day of protest, Piñera pointed out that “we are at war against a powerful enemy,” pointing to some kind of organization responsible for the incendiary attacks on the subway and other public-private spaces, handing over command to the general of the armed forces, declaring a state of emergency and then a curfew. It was hardly a communicational error, where the disproportion of the measures taken as well as the levels of repression that were only seen in Mapuche territory attracted attention. However, the set-ups have been evident, the looting and burning of private companies by carabineros and military with a clear intention of unleashing social chaos. The social networks practically allow a live transmission of the hundreds of calls for demonstrations throughout the territory, as well as the brutality of the police forces, with more than 200 cases of eye injuries in three weeks, a historical record with no comparable record anywhere else in the world. The evident manipulation of the media is no longer as problematic as it used to be, the gross distortion to justify the excessive violence of the police through television or the raising of hypotheses that, following the directions of the OAS, point to the intervention of the Venezuelan and Cuban governments in the origin of the protests is symptomatic of the alarming data that indicates that 90% of the mass media are in the hands of large economic groups. However, people are in the streets and know that the media lie.
A constituent assembly as a political solution has been raised by diverse sectors of the Chilean left as a way to channel social discontent, some see it as the means to change the bases of the neoliberal model, however, the doubt arises if a model implemented through one of the bloodiest dictatorships will be possible to be radically transformed through a democratic path. Jaime Guzmán, another of the dictatorship’s prodigies, was in charge of designing a constitutional framework for “the miracle of Chile” as Friedman himself called it, a constitution at the height of the challenges of neo-liberalism and which ties the functioning of the model into every paragraph.
The recent coup d’état in Bolivia confirms the narrow margins of democracy that quickly disappear when the armed forces rise. The power of arms continues to be a central issue for the implementation of any social project, when the elite sees its regime truly threatened it does not hesitate for a moment to use war as a central strategy. It is worth asking if there is an exhaustion of the Nation-State for extractivist purposes that effectively requires a new global order in which the monopole is absolute, without cornerstones like the progressive governments of the region are at this moment. Faced with this polarization, what can we expect if the Frente Amplio wins the next presidential elections in Chile? The scenario is extremely complex and requires a deep analysis in order to be able to respond adequately to the situation and think about ways for the revolutionary left.
Mapuche flags as a symbol of mobilization, another life is possible.
What is felt in the streets is the indignation of the people in the face of more than 40 years of abuse, the absolute enrichment of 1% at the cost of the precariousness of 99%, the unwillingness to live it on a daily basis, the helplessness to die waiting for health care, a miserable pension that is not enough to live, generating an alarming suicide rate among the elderly population, is the high price of neoliberalism. Today there is rage in the face of the militarization of cities, violations of human rights, murders, multiple rapes of children, torture.
Within the framework of the mobilization, multiple neighborhood assemblies, town councils, meetings are being developed, which demand a new constitution for Chile, with the belief that a new social pact will quench the thirst for justice and equality. But trying to unravel the entanglement of history that is being constructed by hand, what is it that the Chilean people on the streets are looking for? What are we willing to defend with our lives if necessary? Or, sadly, we can also ask: For what did those 42 people murdered by the Chilean State die? What is the project of society, the way of life that drives us to defend, which is the territory (which includes much more than a piece of land) for which we are willing to fight. When it comes to answering these questions, the answers are not very clear and some sectors continue to believe that this is all about money or patriarchal state control.
A radical transforming solution is not possible within the margins of the Nation-State, this forces us as revolutionaries to weave internationalist networks and think together about the future of the planet that has been devastated by capitalism, the unity of peoples in struggle to generate new forms of links outside the imperialist logic, a joint effort with mutual respect and deep learning, which is capable of harmonizing our passage through the earth with the existence of other beings, to be part of life and not of destruction, there feminism has much to say. Traditional indigenous peoples, such as the Mapuche people in southern Chile and Argentina, who maintain their ancestral knowledge preserve forms of organization that promote the development of communities, where authority is granted by wisdom, by the mastery of a knowledge or know-how, respect for duality, food sovereignty, protection of pu ngen mapu (the spirits of the earth), ie territorial control for the Küme Mongen (Good Living). Are we willing to leave behind the old patriarchal, capitalist, racist world, really with all that it implies?
From the bowels of capitalism,
Pu lamngen, an affectionate greeting of solidarity and organization, internationalism was never so essential as in these times.
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