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Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system
Thousands took to the streets of Chile on Monday 21 October to protest against government repression in the face of the social explosion and outpouring of rage which has rocked the country.
Earlier protests against the metro fares hike in the capital Santiago (now rescinded) ignited years of accumulated anger over poverty wages, expensive services and the widening inequalities between rich and poor.
In Santiago, a massive march was prevented by state forces from heading towards La Moneda Presidential Palace. Instead, the protesters headed towards the wealthy area of Las Condes and the Escuela Militar (Military School). Here they were confronted with the army and deployment of tanks and military personnel carriers.
At the time of writing there has been eleven confirmed dead and 1,500 arrested.
In the local communities, fear of attacks has resulted in local neighbourhoods coming together to protect themselves.
The government of president Sebastián Piñera has now lost all authority and credibility. One minute Piñera speaks of being at "war with a powerful internal enemy," the next he calls for dialogue.
He and his government of billionaires has been rocked to its core by the massive social explosion which has taken place. Many are now comparing these events to the 'Caracazo' 30 years ago in Venezuela. The outpouring of anger then gave way to the coming to power of Hugo Chávez and the 'Bolivarian revolution'.
While the Piñera government has lost all credibility, no organised alternative yet exists. A welcome step is that the 'Mesa Social' - an umbrella grouping comprising the Colegio de Profesores, the health workers union, the CUT union confederation and the No+AFP pensions movement, has called for a 48-hour strike and protest on 23- 24 October.
This must now be built on. Local committees of action need to be elected in all communities, workplaces and schools and universities. These need to link together on a citywide and national basis to build for an alternative to Piñera's discredited regime. A programme as outlined in the declaration by Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI, Chile) is essential in order to secure a transformation of Chile in the interests of the working class and the poor.
Extracts from the declaration by Socialismo Revolucionario, Chile -18/10/2019
The social explosion that has erupted in Chile today was inevitable. It represents the accumulation of too many years of abuse of the majority of Chilean workers, on miserably low salaries, in one of the most expensive countries in the world.
The massive greed of the big companies, the capitalists and their governments has meant expensive private education - with youth indebted for life; a public health system which they have destroyed in order to do business with the private health clinics; the AFP (pensions system) which has robbed us for decades; companies charging rip-off bills for light, water, gas; and a very long list of other grievances. Inevitably all of the anger on these issues was going to burst out.
Rebellion and civil disobedience is a right that people have when they are being abused and repressed permanently by those who control the state.
The working class and its trade union organisations must give a powerful response and put itself at the head of this movement. Spontaneous struggles are in themselves not enough to provide leadership and organise the struggle to get the results that we want.
It is essential that democratic committees of struggle and self-defence are formed in all communities to protect our districts and neighbourhoods.
We demand an end to the State of Emergency and the return of the military to barracks. We appeal to the soldiers not to fire against their working-class brothers and sisters.
We demand the immediate resignation of Piñera and his government; they are inept and incapable of resolving the concrete problems of the people.
We also demand the end of the constitution of the dictatorship and demand a revolutionary constituent assembly where the demands of the workers and the poor are really taken into account.
Capitalism is incapable of solving any of the problems that the working class faces. The only alternative we have is to build a democratic socialist society to counterpose to this system of injustice and inequality.
In The Socialist 23 October 2019:
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