Chile: Piñera, the pact and human rights. Are assassins to be negotiated with?

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released reports by their observers in our country that revealed what was obvious: human rights are systematically violated in Chile. At the same time, we received the unfortunate news of Gustavo Gatica’s loss of vision as a result of the killer Pacos´ shots, adding another name to the list of mutilations perpetrated by the repressive forces, facts that are accompanied by deaths, torture, persecutions and rapes since October 18.

It is a repressive scheme that has not been giving the government good results, since it has achieved the opposite: a strong social response that unleashed a historical revenge that is aiming at the whole regime. Piñera’s policy weakened him and his repressive forces, and now he is holds on to power only thanks to a pact with the accomplice “opposition”.

Nostalgic of the dictatorship: murder and pact

More than a month after the uprising, public spaces are dominated by our people´s insurgent mood, street creativity and self-organized defense, facing Pinochet´s heritage, its model and institutions, an economic, political and social framework that was imposed by blood and fire and sealed by the transitional pact, a process that not only maintained neoliberal capitalism, but also constituted the basis for the impunity of all the dictatorship´s human rights violators. The fact that Pinochet continued as head of the armed forces until 1998 and subsequently held the position of lifelong Senator illustrates the point and helps to understand the actions of the armed forces and police today.

Thirty years later, that model that was negotiated by the Concertación (ex-New Majority) and the dictatorship, is reeling. In the streets you can read “injustice trembles when you fight against those who have nothing to lose”, among other slogans; a gift of the revolution on the walls of our country, a record of the fierce popular revenge against those who govern with the parameters of the 1980 Constitution. It is a wave that crashes against the social interests of the minority that concentrates power and is represented by their traditional parties, all of whom are willing to negotiate with a murderous government once again, preparing a new pact.

The Communist Party (PC) and the Broad Front (FA) dance to the rhythm of impunity

The full picture includes other actors. The pact was not just signed by the ex-New Majority, but also by the main leaders of the force that had presented itself as a political renewal: the Broad Front. Conditioned by the current governance, it quickly became a variant of traditional politics. One sector of the front directly acted as spokesperson of the pact, while others, by not opposing it, guaranteed the stage for the “cooking” of the pact to advance. We refer to internal leaderships like the Equality Party that, claiming to be left-wing, merely uttered lukewarm measures such as “freezing” their participation in the FA, without adopting a coherent policy that could help the process advance.

The Communist Party, though it did not sign the pact, was initially part of the agreement with the Christian Democrats (DC) and the entire opposition that resulted in the pact. Subsequently, they stated that it is “positive”, isolating their criticisms as soon as possible to endorse what was already in progress.

The declaration that the PC Central Committee published on November 19 exposes the main ideas with which it aims to occupy a space in a constitutional process that is build in the image and likeness of the current Constitution. They are based on fear-mongering: “…In others words, the alternative to peace was a military intervention or a new state of emergency established by the government, including the State of Siege. If so, it would entail a serious constraint on freedom of speech, participation and a danger to democracy”[i]. That is, the PC justifies its position affirming that the framework for action is limited to the defense of the current democratic margins, and the favorable correlation of force in the streets ignored.

The PC only sees part of reality, form of reasoning that has an expression in its “critical” policy towards the pact. The same document issued by the Central Committee states that “the quorum of 2/3 to approve the laws is too high. Consequently, a 3/5 requirement and a blank slate starting point should be established”[ii]. A new whitewashing of the regime so as not to change, once again enhancing conditions favorable to the proscriptive right.

If the PC justifies its adaptation to “the lesser evil” with the fear of militarization. Instead of clearing space for that possibility, it should act with the tool that has put a brake on the government: the general strike. Contradictorily, its demobilizing policy has given breathing space to the government that maintains political prisoners, persecution and is trying to advance with a decree that would allow the armed forces to protect strategic points.

In essence, they are part of the old regime and preserve themselves according to their own interests, which are embedded in the current model.

Social Unity: negotiate with the right or continue with the general strike?

These positions have a correlation in the dynamic of the Social Unity (FA and PC) leadership, expressed at the trade union and social movements level. One consequence is their passivity in the streets, but another is the undemocratic dynamics of their internal debates. Thus, ignoring the mobilization, they have removed “Piñera must go” from their demands, a slogan that gained strength last week as a result of human rights violations.

Though their demands are not the only things that they adapt. Prior to the general strike of October 26, Social Unity accepted the invitation of the Interior Minister to meet with him. Sitting with Blumel is a criminal policy of the Social Unity bureaucracies and the leaderships of the PC and the FA. It amounts to a legitimization of a criminal government that is down and out, and that the people do not want. Even polls give it a 12% approval rating (Cadem).

One of the conclusions of the process is that the systematic violence that began with the State of Emergency failed against the reserves of struggle that the people demonstrated, while each general strike manifested the strength of the working class, first imposing the removal of the military from the streets, then forcing the government to agree with the “opposition.” The social insurgency demands fundamental change, without any pact with the murderers, a condition for debating what country we want without the constraints of the current regime. The PC and the FA, along with the leaders of Social Unity, have so far proven to be pillars that keep the model from crumbling.

There is no negotiating with murderers, the road is another: anti-capitalist and revolutionary.

Deaths, rapes, mutilations, torture and persecution is the balance sheet of the government´s policies. The pact tries to close all that with impunity, a position that guarantees of limiting a new constitution within the margins of the current one. The people have not allowed this and the abyss opened between them and traditional politics continues to deepen. There is a dichotomy between the will of the streets and those in positions of power, including the parliamentary left.

That is why criticism of the Social Unity leadership cannot be limited to discussing the “people’s demands” or “workers’ demands” as other organizations on the left put it. With Piñera till in power, this sows false illusions about the constitutional changes required by the majority that works. The framework to guarantee all popular demands must begin with one of the main street slogans: Piñera must go.

Thus, we believe that the dissident sectors of Social Unity need to take a public position, to openly state their rejection of the antidemocratic negotiations and agreements of a leadership that seeks an exit under the conditions that benefit the Pinochetist right and its repression. This could strengthen the struggle against impunity and open a discussion about conditions to move forward together with the new phenomenon that has arisen in the revolution: the self-organization of the assemblies.

That is why “Piñera must go” is a fundamental demand to stop the repression and persecution. It is a necessary guarantee to advance in a real Constituent Assembly that capable of discussing what country we want and prosecuting the human rights violators of the dictatorship and of the present, through an Independent Investigative Commission for the trial and punishment for the crimes of the dictatorship and these 30 years. Throwing Piñera and all his accomplices out is a prerequisite for all of that. And that is possible by planning from the bottom up, between self-convened assemblies and unions, a coordination to support the effectiveness of the general strike, a dynamic for social demands to become the engine for a new Chile: No more AFP, free education and health care, legal, safe and free abortion, salaries equal to the cost of living and the re-nationalization of all our natural resources.

These perspectives are on the table, what we needed is the political force. Today, building a new anti-capitalist left that brings many wills together is a necessity on the way to nurturing the revolutionary process that the Chilean people have opened.

 A new revolutionary, feminist, eco-socialist and internationalist alternative to make the necessary possible, without negotiating with murderers and their accomplices, opening the perspective of a government of those who have never governed: the workers and the people, through their organizations, the assemblies and strike committees.

This is the path we invite you to strengthen together with us in the Movimiento Anticapitalista.

J.A. Movimiento Anticapitalista