Chile: Exit Plebiscite, let’s defeat Pinochet’s Constitution and build an independent and anti-capitalist road

By Coordinating Committee of Movimiento Anticapitalista

In a few weeks the vote for the Approval or Rejection of the draft Constitution proposed by the Constitutional Convention (CC) will take place. The polarization implied in the process intentionally seeks to hide the fact that an election cannot solve the deep problems and needs of the popular majorities and that there are tasks and debates that we must face in order not to waste the opportunity that the rebellion opened to transform everything. This is our contribution to this path.

A Pact at the service of annulling the strength of the mobilization

The Agreement for Peace and the New Constitution was the most complete demonstration that the “confrontation with the right” on the part of the center and the parliamentary left is nothing more than a tale. That is why they sat next to the worst of the right wing while the latter savagely repressed the mobilizations and agreed on a way out within the institutional framework, the same framework they have shared for years in the distribution of seats and still today seek to maintain.

But the social strength was such that, even under these conditions, a clear independent representation emerged outside these parties of the regime, raising the possibility that the expression in the CC would be one of rupture. Once again the FA, the PC, the PS and the right wing parties acted to impose the 2/3 against the popular will. They acted upon the independent expressions to such an extent  that they accepted that logic, going for “dialogue” thus leaving in the hands of the Convention the appeal to mobilization, participation but also demands such as the freedom of the political prisoners who to this day are still behind bars. Therefore the “not a single day of the Convention with political prison”, “overflow the convention” and the “surround the Constituent” were erased even the declaration of the beginning and farewell of “The Peoples’ Voices” that were agitated by independent sectors in electoral times and later became mere campaign slogans.

Signing of the Peace Agreement by the complete parliamentarian political arc, from Boric and the FA to the Pinochetist right.

This, together with the development of economic austerity and the deterioration of the living conditions of the majorities, is what has allowed the right wing to strengthen and radicalize, first with Kast in his election and now taking advantage of the Rejection for its recovery.

Reject and Approve

The current political situation includes several levels of complexity that only the leaderships interested in maintaining the current regime pretend to simplify in two elements, approval or rejection. It is evident that social and political polarization, which has been part of the international and local situation for a long period of time, intensifies in moments of definitions, but it is also true that we have gone through cycles like these in the last months without the situation clearly leaning towards one side. This is largely due to a conscious and clear political action of the great majority of the forces constituted and sustained in the frameworks of the political regime of the 30 years, showing no more than a retouched image of the Chile of the past.

The process of elaboration of the New Constitution since its origin in the Peace Accord, as we pointed out above, has worked on the basis of this central and transversal pact: to annul the mobilization and the emerging actors as the central driving force of the process and have constituted dialogue and parliamentary lobbying as the center of action. This is what explains that, regardless of the previous statements, the New Constitution would be a solid agreement of the traditional political forces, whose leading cores are positioned with more or less clarity in the field of Approval. Consequently, of course, the most reactionary sectors, those who bet on a bolsonarization of politics, on a revitalization of the repressive forces (strongly questioned) and on the imposition of increasingly violent methods of political intervention. That is to say, those who seek the consolidation of a decisive crushing of the experiences arising from the rebellion, have found in the Rejection an obvious pretext to reorganize their forces after the election and they were able to do the same with Kast. It is clear that the Rejection pursues these objectives and would be the most harmful option in the context of the situation, since it would imply an effective strengthening of these sectors and at the same time the demoralization of a broad social sector that, increasingly disappointed, continues to seek a profound transformation of the country.

Image of October 25, 2020 after the victory of the “Apruebo” (Approve) by 80%.

Nothing of what the Rejection represents is progressive, undoubtedly a fundamental element is to defeat the right wing and conservative sectors in the current situation, especially after gaining momentum in the polarization product of the passivity of the conventions in front of the social participation in the process and the continuist experience with the 30 years of Boric’s government that adds disenchantment, besides being helped by the polls and press with their particular interests. These are objective facts that allow them to formulate diverse expressions that go from adding confusions such as “Reject to reform”, decadent fake news and even direct threats from those nostalgic of the dictatorship.

The debate then is how to achieve a resounding defeat of the right wing and what happens after that, since in the field of Approval, as a product of the Pact agenda, it also allows them to experiment formulas and try to homogenize the process be voted as an institutional chronogram, then figures of the neoliberal center-left like Bachelet, who are already part of Boric’s government with recycled from the New Majority, come back, and are open to agitate with the FA to the DC of the “reform Approval”, making it clear that the offensive to limit the current draft of the New Constitution does not end, but in the hands of the current representatives (and the previous ones) will allow them to manage a period of unresolved promises, based on trying to impose a normalization of the country in a situation of deep crisis, that is to say, to add shallow measures to manage the implementation of austerity in a period of acute economic crisis.

Motivated by these tasks, we believe that it is essential to make a small balance of how we reached this point so that, together with the analysis of the concrete situation, we can build the best policy to move forward.

Boric vs. Kast and the disaster of saving the right wing at the expense of the people

In the second round of the last presidential elections a real flood of wills put a brake on Kast and his intentions to become the Chilean Bolsonaro. Our sector, at that time, beyond committing a vote against Kast, warned that simply defeating him at the ballot box was not enough, that the fundamental thing was to deepen the path of the explosion, particularly in terms of the participation and mobilization of the workers, students, etc., in political decisions and, of course, in a government that would respond to the social, economic and political demands that the people had imposed in the streets.

None of this happened, both in the field of the government, where Boric at the head of a coalition government that recreates the New Majority in components, figures and policies, has allowed the economic and social crisis to be unloaded on the majorities, without more than lukewarm measures. The same has happened in the field of the Convention, without popular participation, moderating and eliminating the structural transformations during the year of writing the proposed Magna Carta. We also add the fact of the continuity of political imprisonment, the militarization of WallMapu and the constant repression against student mobilization.

It is an illusion to think that, in this framework, the New Constitution will be a revulsive element, rather it comes to establish a recreation of the regime tailored to the interests of those who continue to run the country, since the main institutional and economic pillars are maintained and the same characters of the 30 years, with some tweaks, remain at the helm, consequently, it will be a bourgeois Constitution made to maintain the prevailing social structure and for the benefit of a privileged minority that concentrates the economic, political and social power.

A program and a path at the service of workers That is why, without any electoral campaign, the living conditions of the majorities that live from our work are going through a deep deterioration due to the deepening of the economic crisis without measures to counteract it from the government of the FA and the PC, while the main trade union leaderships wave as a transmission belt of the regime the electoral flags without expression of the reality of the needs of the working class.

Panoramic of the “Largest March”, 2019.

Once again we are faced with a political problem and active consequences as a result of the peace agreement separating and isolating the constitutional debate from the current social problems. A situation in which, on the one hand, the progressive wings displace the moment of “discussion” for after the vote and promising a new country based on that text, while and because of this, the most reactionary wings can present themselves without clear programmatic opposition to pose as an option in front of a working class hit by the crisis at the current juncture, risks of polarization.

Therefore, a class and popular response implies taking the initiative, promoting a program, organization and mobilization to make the capitalists pay for the crisis:

– Confront inflation with an immediate price freeze, price control from a committee of workers and villagers.

– Wages increase according to the cost of living and inflation, not less than $800,000.

– Universal IFE to face the massive destruction of employment for all unemployed, without conditions.

– #NoMasAFP. Create a system that guarantees pensions in accordance with the cost of living. For social security.

– Against unemployment, reduce and distribute working hours without wage reduction. Prohibit layoffs and suspensions and, if a company defaults, nationalize it under workers’ control.

– No more crumbs for students, immediate increase of food scholarships and expansion for all, not less than $100,000, readjustable to real inflation.

– An end to CAE, repeal of all educational debt.

РNo more impunity, disbanding of the police, freedom for all political prisoners of the rebellion and WallMapu. Prosecution of Pi̱era and the human rights violators of the past and present.

– For free and universal health, transportation, housing and education.

– Nationalization under the control of workers and mining communities.

– Against violence and femicides, emergency budget for free comprehensive assistance, shelters and subsidies to women, with control of feminist organizations.

– Comprehensive sex education, with a gender and sexual diversity perspective. Free public health system.

– Legal, safe and free abortion in the health system without any restriction. Free contraception.

– Stop the water crisis, water for life, not for mega-mining. Transition plan to get out of extractivism, under social control, from the current productive and energy model to another based on clean and renewable energies.

– Repeal of the water code, for nature rights, nationalization of water and all common goods under social control.

– That the crisis be paid by the capitalists, that fundamental and basic rights be financed with taxes on the super rich.

– No more extractivist capitalism, for an anti-capitalist, ecosocialist and internationalist perspective.

These are steps to get out of the institutional drift that implies the disarticulation of an accurate response to the panorama of economic crisis we are going through, therefore, adding proposals and a roadmap to face the present will be key to dialogue from an independent, class and popular voice before the exit plebiscite.

Against the Pinochetist inheritance, the vote and organization

As we have already said, the logic of institutional polarization points to the recomposition of the parties of order, although the stage of contestation with the regime inherited from pinochetism is still latent, it is in that sense that the vote cannot be a delegation for the same old ones and their new allies to be those who present themselves as an alternative.

Without affecting the pillars of the neoliberal accumulation logic, the draft of the New Constitution encourages leaving behind the constitution written during the dictatorship and, at the same time, proposes postponed rights that should have been written by social pressure. The contradiction at this point is that without touching the profits of the big businessmen who generate their accumulation based on the plundering of labor and the plundering of natural goods, no right will be declared by decree without advancing in proposing who finances and who decides, that is, touching the interests of the 1%, the capitalists, and democratizing economic and social decisions, dismantling the logic of accumulation of neoliberal and extractivist capitalism. In other words, defeating the right wing and its partners and imposing the greatest democracy: social mobilization and self-organization, without false dialogues or pacts with the privileged minority that monopolizes to the detriment of the working class.

Movimiento Anticapitalista on the second anniversary of the Rebellion.

That is why we cannot have any confidence in those who to renew the 30 years dilute the criticize and place in the vote as the only place for the majorities, consciously simplifying in an Approval to the tenor of the representatives of the regime. It will be against them and the interests they defend that from our organization we will vote Approval without any expectation in the speeches on the New Constitution, as an option to hit again the right wing, but without limiting ourselves to the mere electoral milestone, therefore, we vote Approval and propose a path that takes up the experience of the rebellion and the spirits of social changes that cross the territory, parameters that encourage the way for the working class together with the peoples.

This path will be opened among all of us who share a transformative vision, without self-proclamations and beyond our differences, unifying in diversity and stimulating the impulse to constitute a new broad reference, anti-capitalist, democratic, plurinational, feminist and ecosocialist left, thus presenting ourselves as a political and social alternative so that the institutional path does not close the road that opened the rebellion, accumulating efforts and common will to raise the flags of a transformative horizon, putting at the center the mobilization as the engine of change so that in the decisive moments we can go for everything and everyone.

From the Anticapitalist Movement we are ready to work on these objectives and we hope that soon we can promote unitary initiatives such as meetings and forums between those who share these definitions, approving critically, not delegating and building a tool of the workers together with the peoples to transform everything.