ISL Statement on the People´s Rebellion in Chile
1. Chile is experiencing a massive rebellion since the Piñera government implemented an increase in public transport on October 6. As it has been for years, it was the high school students that led the response to this new governmental attack with daily mobilizations in different metro stations and a call to “evade, don´t pay”. Piñera’s response was the militarization of stations, repression and arbitrary detentions of those mobilized, which added more fuel to the fire. On Friday the 18th, the people of Santiago rose up with occupations of metro stations, barricades in the streets and protests throughout the city. The “Friday of fury” that paralyzed Santiago forced the Piñera government to cancel the transport hike that had triggered the rebellion that extended nationwide, though it also launched a counteroffensive, declaring a state of emergency, taking the armed forces out on streets and declaring on Sunday October 20: “We are at war against a powerful enemy.” But the Chilean people have not backed down, have not left the streets, and mobilized again on Monday the 21st, along with the strike called by the Chilean Port Union, social and student organizations, demanding the nationalization of public transport, the resignation of Piñera and repudiating the state repression that has already claimed almost 20 lives.
2. The youth at the front. Since the “Pinguinazo” of 2006, the youth in general and high school students in particular have been at the forefront of social struggles, for public education, for social rights and against the Chilean political regime, inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship. The current rebellion is no exception. It is a rebellious, irreverent and committed youth that understands that it has no future under this regime or within this system. That is why its mobilization overruns any political structure that aims to moderate it. That is why it does not leave the streets, defying the state of emergency and curfews; that is why it is not satisfied with the cancellation of the transport hike and sustains its mobilization demanding substantial changes and the resignation of Piñera; that is why it is radicalized against the regime and the capitalist system itself.
3. It is not the transport hike, it is the Pinochet regime and capitalism. The increase in transport on October 6 was the straw that broke the camel´s back of a people fed up with decades of a neoliberal and authoritarian regime that has imposed increasing misery, precariousness, inequality, oppression and repression on working people. Chile´s current Constitution was written by the Pinochet dictatorship itself, and he died of old age, holding the office of life-long senator. The regime inherited from the dictatorship was maintained by the various governments of the Concertación and Nueva Mayoría. It has guaranteed a complete submission to imperialism, the looting of national resources, the privatization and degradation of public services, education and health care, and a growing pauperization of the living and working conditions of the Chilean people. It has guaranteed this with the preponderant influence of the repressive forces in the state structure and the violent repression of every social demand. All in order to maximize capitalist profits at the expense of the workers and the people. The transport increase of October 6 was part of a new package of austerity measures ordered by the IMF and applied only 6 months after a previous increase. In recent years, wages have increased 40% while the rise in services exceeds 70%. The Chilean regime has been promoted as a poster child of the neoliberal model. Now it shows its true face, a model of hunger and repression that has completely failed and exhausted itself. No partial measure can solve the current problems. If the regime persists, an intensified repression and a strengthening of its model will come.
4. The opposition of the Frente Amplio and the Partido Comunista seek a “new social pact” without thoroughly debating the political model nor questioning those who have sunk the Chilean people in this crisis. That policy acts as a dam against the mobilization. The common front of the FA and the PC – Unidad Social – involves the United Workers´ Center (CUT), the Coordination of Workers No More AFP and the College of Professors, among other unions, has not called for any mobilization, while dividing the struggle and allowing the government conditions for repressing by opting out from the general strike of Monday 21 called by port workers and various social organizations, and which sectors of mining workers have joined. No trust can be placed in these leaderships that are entirely integrated into the regime. The only solution for working people will come by the hand of mobilization, self-organization and the construction of a new, consistently anti-regime, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist political leadership.
5. The social reserves shown by the Chilean people do not represent an isolated case. They are part of a new continental and global situation in which the plans of imperialist capitalism, materialized in debt and austerity packages ordered by the IMF and applied by local governments for workers to pay for the capitalist crisis, are confronted by massive social outbursts that push back against those measures despite the brutal repressions and conciliatory leaderships. Ecuador’s recent experience illustrates this new situation, but so does Haiti and Puerto Rico, as well as the deterioration of Bolsonaro in Brazil and Macri in Argentina, the political crisis in Peru and the revival of mobilization in Colombia. Beyond the region, the processes of mobilization in Lebanon, Iraq and Catalonia confirm a worldwide situation in which the peoples´ reaction to the attacks of imperialist capitalism predominates.
6. From Movimiento Anticapitalista in Chile and the International Socialist League, we promote the broadest international mobilization and solidarity with the Chilean people, for the end of repression and the state of emergency, the withdrawal of the military from the streets and the trial and punishment of the murderers of the repression; for the nationalization of public transport under social control; for the self-organization and self-defense of Chilean workers, the intensification of the mobilization and a general strike until Piñera resigns; for the dismantling of the Pinochet regime and the convening of a constituent assembly for the Chilean people to decide how to refound the country in the service of the interests of the 99%, an objective only achievable through a complete break with the IMF and capitalism´s imperialist plans, under a government of the workers and the people to open the road to a true egalitarian integration of the peoples of the region, in a Federation of Socialist Republics of Latin America.
October 22, 2019