Chile: polemics and forces in dispute

The right-wing coalition that governs Chile is in crisis and its different wings creak. What’s new: Piñera accepts that the Constitution must be changed. The role of the Communist Party (PC) and the Broad Front (FA). Key controversies on the left. The need for a new anti-capitalist and revolutionary left.

The chronicle of the three weeks of ascent and this fourth week in progress are the proof of an erratic and overwhelmed withdrawal by Piñera:

* The first week was of tough response: thorough repression. The result: mobilizations grew.

* The second week, in coordination with the CUT and the PC, was of “concessions” and a strike to “decompress”: social measures were announced counter to austerity and the strike was enormous. In addition, far from decompressing, on Friday of that week, the biggest marches in the history of Chile took place.

* The third week: before the announcement of a new strike for November 12, influenced by the most fascist sector of its coalition, the UDI, Piñera announced the strengthening of sentences for “crimes against public order.” For example: barricades and pickets. Two hours after the president’s press conference, barricade fires and pickets were multiplied like never before in all of Chile.

With the turning point of the general strike yesterday, November 12, the largest since the 1980s against the dictatorship, the government has already made a decision: it accepts a change in the Constitution. We enter a new moment.

The Concertación, the PC and the FA: revolutions are not subject to plebiscite

The panorama is completely dominated by mass mobilization, and although the government represses strongly, the enormous protests overpower it. The right is cornered, without initiative. Given this, the policy of the PS (Socialist Party) with Christian Democracy in the Concertación, but especially of the PC and the FA is to hold a referendum to vote on whether or not the people want a change of Constitution! They don’t say Piñera must go, nor the character of the Constituent Assembly. That is, they propose an electoral process to decide what the Chilean masses have demanded with blood in the streets for a month now. They seek to give the Piñera coalition some air to regroup forces without the people mobilized. They form a single national bureaucratic front, called the Unidad Social (Social Unity), which brings together the CUT, CONFECH and other organizations that respond to the PC and the FA. All at the service of dismantling the revolution, negotiating with Piñera and Pinochetism a rigged constitutional transition, without any change of substance, as a bailout for capitalism and the regime inherited from the dictatorship. On Monday the 4th, in a meeting of university leaders and activists convened by the CONFECH, the leadership of this organization of student federations accused us of “political irresponsibility” for demanding that Piñera resign and a general strike until he leaves. They said we “cater to the right that raises its head in the continent, like in Bolivia.” Like during all its history, the PC, today seconded by “the young renewal” of the reformist left, the FA, act as firefighters of the revolutions. Disastrous.

For revolutions, politics and revolutionary organization

What Chile has experienced since October 18 confirms some of the central political theses defended by the International Socialist League (ISL) and its national sections:

1) That capitalism and its bourgeois democracy are incompatible with guaranteeing basic social, economic and political rights. That is why it is essential to build a program of anti-capitalist and socialist rupture.

2) That all the laws of the Theory of the Permanent Revolution are confirmed: revolutions in each country are the unequal and combined expression of a single global process: the struggle for socialist revolution, the expropriation of corporations, the dismantling of bourgeois states and transitional governments based on workers and people´s mass self-organization that impose real democracy, with full rights for those of us who live from our work, not those who parasitize it.

3) That all reformist and bureaucratic leaderships, including those that “renew” the “left”, in their parliamentary adaptation and skepticism in the revolution, play the criminal role of blocking the radicalization of the mass movement and try to contain demands in the framework of the system.

4) More than ever, the decisive thing is to build a militant political organization, of professional cadres of the revolution, with a mass insurrectionary perspective and an internationalist program.

It is these conclusions that we bring to each live process of revolution in which the ISL intervenes through its parties and groups in each country. This is what we are doing in the Chilean revolution with the Movimiento Anticapitalista. And that is why we raise a very clear policy:

* General strike with escalating measures in a plan of struggle until Piñera leaves.

* For a constitutional process based on the self-organization of the working class and the people, ending in a free, sovereign, democratic and plurinational Constituent Assembly to reorganize Chile on new bases: without capitalists, landowners, corporations, churches or repressors.

* For a government of those who have never ruled: the workers and the people, through their democratic organizations that promote the struggle against the old regime, such as independent unions, territorial assemblies and councils on the road to a truly socialist Chile.

By Cele Fierro, after her trip to Chile