Chile: The PTR-FT from “it’s not possible” to “I told you so”. Opportunism with a left wing coating

Debate en Chile

By Maura Fajardo Gálvez, Movimiento Anticapitalista

There is no doubt that polemics constitute a fundamental element in the formation of a revolutionary organization, it allows for clarifying and understanding the situation and the different tactics and strategies in a better way. In a situation like the one we are experiencing, this process is even more important. Unfortunately, a sector of the left debates as if it were an academic exercise with more desire to be right than to find points of contact between reality and the different forces that act in it. To achieve their goals, they do not hesitate to make amalgams between different positions and even distort what has been done. Fabian Puelma’s article in La izquierda Diario is the best example of this, let’s see.

Puelma’s desires, the PTR and reality

There is no doubt that the comrade was waiting anxiously to write the lines we criticize, he is not interested in the phenomenon of the Lista del Pueblo (People’s List), its origins, what it represented as an expression of rupture with the parties of the 30 years, the process of development it underwent, nor what it represents now, much less does he distinguish the political leadership from the base and those who saw an alternative in the formation. That is why he is not interested in the hundreds and thousands of comrades who saw in that experience a possibility of transforming everything. Fabian is at ease, because he “knew what would happen,” he only had to wait for it to happen and write about it. Unlike Fabian, we in the Movimiento Anticapitalista decided to intervene in reality as it presented itself, with its contradictions. This does not mean, as the philosophical writer suggests, to do so from a position of submission, on the contrary, let us review the tactics of those of us who dare to intervene in the imperfect reality and without the desires of a desk.

Movimiento Anticapitalista developed a political strategy to intervene in the process opened after October 18, which had placed at the center of the debate the condemnation of the 30-year regime and the “parties” that represent it. Identifying this reality, we raised an anti-capitalist, feminist, ecosocialist and radical program to fight for a new political alternative capable of bringing together the forces that proposed to transform everything, even unconsciously. As much as Puelma ignores this, it allowed us to develop a political offensive to gather sponsorships for the CC and carry out a successful election despite being a “small group” (as he calls us in his article, a small group to which he needs to dedicate articles) under a clear position, as expressed in the thousands of leaflets that we distributed daily while we gathered sponsorships: for a new anti-capitalist left and 15 points of rupture to propose a new Chile of those who have never governed, the workers and the peoples. That is, a program and organization to carry out these proposals, a revolutionary party, the strategy of our organization. Subsequently, we activated an orientation towards the Lista del Pueblo to interact with those who were going through an experience with a new phenomenon and to present ourselves from a revolutionary trench. A different tactic than the one applied by the MIT for example, with whom Pulema permanently compares us with a great desire to assign us their politics and tactics; there the method of amalgamation, of adding elements to confuse, not to draw conclusions, a method that is not new in this organization and that is far from revolutionary. Another small element that the scribe “misses” in his article is the peculiarity that the Lista del Pueblo and other lists of social movements and independent candidacies surged as a huge phenomenon in that election, provoking an earthquake that a few days later shook the regime as a whole. Puelma does not care, he prefers to write calmly after the events fragments like this: “Movimiento Anticapitalista stated in its assessment that the Lista del Pueblo ‘founded its accumulation on the basis of being a reference to the rebellion, icons of the social uprising and the popular and broad definitions that allow containing in the same space sectors of the left and liberal positions; without a program that supports an objective, it is difficult to move forward’. That is to say, the program was ambiguous.[i]”

No comrade, the program was not ambiguous, the program was insufficient, not revolutionary, reformist, but it was combined with references to the rebellion and the icons of the uprising, therefore, multiple sectors that bet on that construction did so from the point of view of that experience and Puelma’s sentence was not useful to convince them otherwise, because his sentence was clearly not intervening in reality. What Movimiento Anticapitalista did and we vindicate, beyond the elections, is to accompany an experience, warning about its limits and proposing politics and methods. Contrary to how Puelma measures the assessment in his analysis, we do not measure it by “electoralism.” A clear example is that if we were motivated by electoral participation, we would have joined the lists of the PTR in the last places that they offered under the notion of “unity” conditioned by their own interests as happened in their list for the CC where they submitted the other forces that joined it. Undoubtedly it was safer and simpler to be on the ballot that way and we would probably have obtained more votes than the rest of the list, as happened in the previous election, but we decided to fight to be part of a larger phenomenon, in which an important sector of our class and the protagonists of the rebellion had their sights set and to make us part of it invites those of us who have revolutionary politics to be an alternative.

Finally, Puelma refers to the fact that they intervened in the process of the people’s assemblies, with a clear and defined policy; it would be interesting for him to mention which assemblies, because at least in those we had the opportunity to participate in, we did not see them, at least not presenting themselves as militants of the PTR.

The Lista del Pueblo and the need for a new political reference point

We are not going to repeat here the dozens of articles we wrote about the situation, the Lista del Pueblo and our positions. We ask Puelma to take the time to do so if he is interested in an honest debate.

The Movimiento Anticapitalista intervened publicly and loyally in the whole process, this is what has allowed us to debate fundamental, anticapitalist and socialist issues, also to generate confidence and articulation with important comrades, who after the social rebellion are looking for a way to transform everything and do not expect paper leaders but forces that dare to make the common experience. We are proud of that, the electoral ruses of Puelma on the computer only confirm our path. On the other hand, if the unity of the revolutionaries is as relevant as he proposes, why only propose it now for electoral purposes? In our opinion, unity is not built by writing from a chair, it is carried forward by tactically intervening in the processes, giving debates, recognizing and respecting the differences, something that at this point in history should be more or less clear, unfortunately not yet for Puelma.

The comrades of TP, without going any further, with whom we have built bonds and with whom we are recognizing each other in this process, reaffirm us in this decision. We are in the first steps of a path that we hope will be prosperous, recognizing our debates, different positions and also the agreements, debating on the basis of intervening, not for the mere pleasure of repeating formulas, but for the construction of a new political reference with roots in the working class, the youth, the poor, the feminist movement, the struggles for the defense of nature. With roots in a militant feminism, in the working class, the fight for human rights of yesterday and today and of course the struggle against extractivism, plundering and capitalist dispossession of our territories, with a cooperation and a common action that begins to overcome the limits of the metropolitan region.

That is to say, using electoral and political action to build revolutionary organization, not as the scribe of “I told you so” intends by defining everything by whether there is a candidacy or not in the next elections, which constitutes a truly sterile and petty bourgeois electoralism that we hope the comrades of the PTR will soon overcome, because in our country there is the possibility of building a better alternative, after many years of PC hegemony or autonomism, but it will not be on the basis of trying to lecture each other, but rather to build channels of dialogue with the rich reality that we live in.

A review of the classics, so as not to blame Trotsky for the lack of rigor of some of his followers

In the name of Trotskyism there have been many practices lacking in political rigor, that combined with Stalinism generate confusion in important sectors that we think it is necessary to clarify for the politics of revolutionary Marxism.

In the 1930’s Leon Trotsky wrote that “a sectarian does not understand the dialectic action and reaction between a finished program and a living, that is to say, imperfect and unfinished mass struggle.”[ii] and we see in this quote the synthesis of the impotence expressed by the leader of the PTR, because on the one hand he traces an equal sign between the result of the political experience and its development and genesis, where the dialectic relation between the aspirations and limits of a political phenomenon find points of dispute of social sectors that break with the old in an “imperfect form,” therefore, not generating politics to vie for influencing processes leads to the skepticism of “it is not possible” and “I told you so,” though from an alien tribune and dissociated with those seeking new references, very dissimilar to the tradition of revolutionary Marxism that throughout history implemented various tactics to accelerate the political experience of new actors and strengthen the revolutionary strategy. Although such an error in Puelma’s analysis can be read as a “leftism” that would wash away the intentions, the truth is that it opens the possibility of reconfiguration and disappointment, paving the way for reformist variants. That is why it is not surprising that behind every trace of Puelma’s intentional truth there is a clear electoral denominator to analyze, subordinating the tasks of the revolutionaries to transform themselves into a true reference in the heat of events and to take advantage of what should be a tactic, in the end to ratify a course of self-reference. That line of action of the PTR should not impress by the policies it employs in other places of the world with its small international. In France they coexisted for years within a broad phenomenon like the NPA, in Brazil and Peru they asked for candidacies in expressions like the FA or PSOL and in the USA they never clarified their position with the DSA, that is to say, in each place they measure their action according to the possibility of acting electorally, though they criticize other sectors with a leftist rhetoric lacking sustenance. They are neither this nor that, centrists in terms of electoral analysis.

Movimiento Socialista has a clear agenda, to advance in the sense that we have expressed as a revolutionary organization, with debates and recognizing the diverse experiences that are actually emerging, that is the path to which we invite activists who have become disappointed with the Lista del Pueblo but not with what it represented in the political scene; it is possible to organize from bellow and with a program to transform everything, we need patience and to advance in depth in the debates and common action and without a doubt we will be able to advance. We invite the comrades who agree with these lines to join in promoting this perspective.

[i] Puelma, F. (2021). Oportunismo electoral y lavadas de mano frente a la debacle de La Lista del Pueblo:

[ii] Trotsky, L. (1936). Sectarianism, centrism and the Fourth International: