[Chile] MIT to the Popular Rebellion: Out with the Murderer Piñera!

MIT (Movimiento internacional de los trabajadores) Statement Before the Popular Rebellion
Workers’ and popular assemblies to organize self-defense!
Down with the 1980 Constitution!
For a workers’ and popular government!
Piñera has to fall as a consequence of the mobilization process and a General Strike. No trust in the Constitutional Accusation process!
We have been mobilized for over 10 days, with combative and self-defense methods, demanding a real change and Piñera’s resignation. In this path, we have achieved partial victories, but we cannot settle.
After the October 25 demonstration, the militaries left the streets and we made Chadwick [Minister of Interior and Public Security] fall, something we were expecting for since the murder of the commune member Camilo Catrillanca.1 The government was also forced to change part of his Cabinet. Piñera made a call to “go back to normal,” but we cannot “go back to normal” when his proposals maintain indebtedness, crisis in the health system, and wages that are not enough. Furthermore, when we saw more than 20 people being murdered, over 50 complaints for torture, denounces for rape committed by the Special Forces, 20 people disappeared, and over 3500 detainees in the frame of the protests, among them David Veloso Codocedo, a soldier that refused to repress the working people. Besides, the government requested the resignation of the Chief of the Legal Medical Service Lab in the frame of the investigation of murders during the State of Emergency. So all of this is the proof that these “democracy” and institutions serve the businessmen and their interests.
For all of this, Piñera must fall via our strength and protests, such as it happened in Argentina in 2001, with De La Rua. After fighting so boldly and relentlessly, we cannot delegate this task to a corrupt Parliament and the institutions of the businessmen through a Constitutional Accusation, as proposed by the Communist Party (PC) and the Broad Front (FA for Frente Amplio) – an accusation framed in the articles of the 1980 Constitution, imposed on blood by the dictatorship. If we trust them with this task and wait for those institutions to do the job, we will go back to the dead-end alley of always: promises taken to the Parliament to rest there forever.
Even if the Parliament, through deputies and senators, passes Piñera’s destitution, the new Minister of Interior, Blumel, as Vice-President of the Republic, would take his place, with the goal of calling for new elections in a maximum of 120 days. Elections with the same rules dictated by the pro-business institutions, when after 30 years of “democratic” elections after the dictatorship our situation keeps getting worst. Because the problem is deeper: it is the economic and social capitalist system.
Therefore, what the PC and FA are doing with this proposal is trying to validate a set of institutions that we know are putrid, financed by businessmen from head to toes. To change things to the core, Piñera must fall due to our pressure in the streets.
Down with the dictatorship’s Constitution!
In the assemblies and streets, we must raise this demand together with “Out with Piñera!” We must overthrow the legacy of Pinochet, which Piñera keeps imposing: a pro-business, repressive Labor Code that encourages subcontracts and impedes workers’ organization; an AFP [Private Social Security] system which has been a direct robbery to our wages and ensured misery when we retire; a fully private education which keeps our students indebted; repressive laws like the Domestic Security Act or the Anti-Terrorism Law; laws that favor the forest companies and usurp lands from the Mapuche people, like the Decree 701; privatization of water and health, among many other things.
The Deputies Chamber defined the patrimony loss of the State in 2,223 million dollars after the last set of privatizing measures by the Dictatorship, between 1985 and 1989. Privatizations that were validated by this dictatorial Constitution. One of the most serious cases was the CAP [Holding Company of Mining and Steel – TN], handed over for 105 million dollars, when it was worth 811 million.
All of this is contemplated and written in the 1980 Constitution, and this is why we should take it down.
Constituent Assembly under an imperialist, pro-business government is a trap!
From the demonstrations emerged the demand of Constituent Assembly. We are sick of the current Constitution, and several traditional political parties “mounted” on this feeling to try and make up some superficial aspects while they keep the essential in their own favor:

  • Some pro-business segments propose the Constituent Assembly as the final solution for the country. Businessmen made a Caucus in the SOFOFA [Manufacturers’ Association] and some of them posed this alternative as a solution to the crisis, to then end up with the possibility of an “ultra-left-wing government” (talking about the FA-PC). Of course, they would only accept it as a Plan Z, and as long as all their institutions and the heart of capitalism remain intact. In other words, they would chop their fingers off to not lose the hand.
  • From the former Concertation there are also proposals regarding a new Constitution: Constituent Referendum, following the process of Constitutional modification initiated by the former government of Bachelet, which is not a Constituent Assembly per se.
  • Other parties, like the FA and the PC, pose a Constituent Assembly that establishes demands through the Town Halls, but appealing to the dialogue with the government and businessmen, without touching institutions like the Parliament -among others-. So, basically, some kind of hybrid between the interests of the people in the streets and the businessmen interests… which are antagonistic.
  • And, on the other side, there are “left-wing” organizations, like the Revolutionary Workers’ Party (PTR) or Anticapitalistas en Red (Anti-Capitalists in Net). They propose a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly relying on popular power as an “emergency solution” before the crisis (PTR), assuming that this will not resolve the core issue, which is the capitalist system itself.

Despite the variations of Constituent Assembly proposals, all of them have in common that they do not clarify, under the actual current conditions: how do we guarantee that the voted Constituent Assembly is followed by businessmen if they are still in power? If, after an insurrection like this, we still could not eliminate the AFPs: how will we achieve, with the same methods of struggle or through pacifism – like the FA and the PC pose – a Constituent Assembly that ends the AFPs, and more, renationalizes the natural resources? How do we guarantee that these demands are respected beyond the law if we do not confront not only businessmen and national institutions but also the international owners of the mines and of the AFPs themselves?
After all these days of insurrection, we got only crumbs from the government. And worst: the costs of the economic measures proposed [by the government] will not come from the businessmen pockets but from the State, so from the taxes that the people pay. It was like this with the subsidy to raise the minimum wage, as well as with the subsidies to major pharmaceutical companies to reduce the price of medicines, and also with the raise of the “solidarity pillar” for pensions.
Because of the current situation, there was a new increase of 600 million dollars in the public expenditure for 2020, but the great majority of those (440 million) were a readjustment of the money that the State already owns (so our money), and the other 160 million would come from taxes to higher-income individuals. Economists already alert that this will bring an effective fiscal deficit of over 2% of the GDP… and for sure this deficit will be charged to the people through more cuts and indebtedness with big companies. Like this, the interests of the powerful ones remain untouched. All of this while we live an insurrection with sackings, barricades, pickets… so how do they expect to establish a Constituent Assembly that includes all our demands to be respected by the businessmen?
Reality shows that the only guarantee of overthrowing the 1980 Constitution and ensure demands like the end of the AFPs and the renationalization of natural resources is that workers and popular segments seize the power through a socialist revolution. For this, we need to make major steps, like winning to our struggle a segment of the Armed Forces (the sons of the working class), and so weaken the businessmen repressive apparatus.
To talk about a Constituent Assembly before the workers and population take the power – so as long as we remain under pro-business government and institutions, or reaching an agreement with them, like the FA and the PC propose – is nothing but an illusion, a trap. We might achieve a wonderful Constitution in paper, we can put all of our efforts in writing it, but it will not be successful as long as businessmen are still in power.
Thus, from the MIT we refuse to establish a Constituent Assembly under this capitalist system. Because to renationalize Copper without compensation to the transnational companies, workers should expropriate the mines kicking the bosses out. There is no place for agreements, because businessmen will not accept losing their privileges.  The only way to guarantee a Constituent Assembly or other measures fully serving the working class is seizing the power and achieving a Workers’ and Popular Government. And this workers’ and popular government must be international – otherwise, transnational businessmen, to suffocate us, will impose national blockades or even military intervention. This is why we need a revolution, in Chile and in the world.
Before the working people right to self-defend, the FA and PC call to “pacifism” is criminal
The pro-business media debates a lot about the violent methods of the protests, but they ignore that the true violence comes from the militaries in the streets, the Special Forces’ repression and the tortures and detentions of leaders in their own homes, typical of a dictatorship. Banners in the streets shows clearly how violent it is for people to die waiting for health care, and that elder kill themselves because of their miserable pensions, as well as many other evils that are consequence of the capitalist system. In this frame of repression and null answers, workers, the youth and population have the right to defend ourselves.
The traditional parties, from the extreme right-wing of Kast to the PC of Camila Vallejo, and the FA with Boric, Jackson and Beatriz Sanchez’s statements, sentence to continue in the streets with anger, sacking big companies, and other acts of “violence.” This call to pacifism when the government represses us only unarms the demonstrators and leaves us to the will of a murderer government. No matter how good intentions they might have, this policy ends up being criminal. We are tired of not being heard in hundreds of pacific demonstrations. Thus, before the violence and repression by the government, we have no choice but to respond with self-defense methods, organized collectively.
More workers into this struggle! Workers’ and popular assemblies to prepare the General Strike and our Self-Defense!
The mobilization began with the brave youth leading. Then the population adhered, popular and workers’ segments. And then, the industrial working class entered the scene: miners from La Escondida and Port workers announced that they will paralyze again. Also, there will be an assembly of industrial fishers in the South. A salmon farm was occupied in the frame of the national struggle.
These steps of the industrial working class are essential to support the popular struggle and must continue and grow. However, we know it is hard, because persecution in factories and companies is strong against those who organize. Many workers go out to protest and they confront repression without fear but are still afraid to organize or paralyze the production in their work places because of possible retaliations. This persecution can be seen in the hypocrisy of Luksic2, who proposes, on one hand, a minimum wage of 500 thousand to his workers but impedes them to organize and exercise their democratic right to Strike, on the other. And, aligned with this, several union leaders refuse to organize the mobilization, whether because they have agreements with the company or because they are also afraid of retaliations.
We need to break the limits of this fear, because this struggle puts it all on the table. The best way to guarantee minor or no retaliations is for workers as a whole, organized in assemblies, to vote for the strike. The more the better. They can state that the mobilization will not stop until no retaliations or dismissals are guaranteed. To organize this, we must put pressure on union leaders, and change them if necessary – or establish factory committees. The only way to guarantee a General Strike is for the proletariat to adhere to the struggle paralyzing the production. Only like this we will directly affect the economic interests of businessmen and their government.
If the industrial working class enters the scene and takes the lead, the methods of struggle and self-defense can improve qualitatively. An example is what we saw in Antofagasta, when a hopper truck blocked the road with heavy materials to mount a barricade.
In this same way, we have to encourage the organization workers’ and popular assemblies without representative of the businessmen, with the goal of defining the next steps of the mobilization process. These assemblies must also organize methods of self-defense, like surveillance committees in the communities; shock or defense committees; investigation committees together with Human Right bodies to investigate the cases of torture and murder, because we do not trust the official institutions, etc. We already know the way to, for example, neutralize pepper gas bombs, make effective barricades, etc. The task now is to make it organized, and for the industrial working class to add their own methods of defense.
These assemblies should develop mechanisms of self-organization to confront the government’s power. They should be the ones to decide what type of society we need, which measures to take for which tasks, etc. What today is done by pro-business institutions like the Parliament should be done by workers and the population organized. These assemblies must advance in a national coordination, so we can start showing that workers, youth and the population, through organization, can rule the society. We can decide what will be manufactured and what will not, how to make it, which wage we need, etc.
Today, there is the national Social Unity Roundtable [MUS for its acronym in Spanish], and they are calling to organize Town Halls [cabildos3 in Spanish], which is the closest thing to this proposal. But the Roundtable has limitations and contradictions that we should overcome. It is mainly composed by the CUT [Unitary Workers’ Federation], leaders of the public sector and entities like the CONFECh [Students’ Federation of Chile], the M8 Coordination, among others. An important missing element here is the industrial working class. Also, the Roundtable does not pose a policy of Assembly-like Town Halls of the working class without representatives of the businessmen and their institutions. For example, in Independencia, Santiago, the Town Hall was called by the Mayor himself. So, inside the spaces of the Social Unity Roundtable, we must dispute its nature and content, moving forward towards self-organization and as a rehearsal for a workers’ and popular government. And where there is no MUS, we have to call to conform workers’ and popular assemblies with class independence.
What is being questioned with this insurrection is the capitalist system in its imperialist stage
What is being questioned with this rebellion is not one or other change in the law. Our demands are several and diverse. In this frame, some pro-business segments pose that with a few measures they can fix the situation. Others, like the FA and the PC, state that the problem is neoliberalism, so the crude capitalist stage since the Pinochet dictatorship following the economic model of the Chicago Boys.
But what hundreds of thousands are questioning is not this or that law: it is the health system crisis; the misery pensions administrated by the AFPs that steal our money to make businesses abroad; the constant raise of basic services’ prices; the wages that are never enough; the ridiculous government’s proposal on nurseries; the Chilean dictatorial Constitution; the TPP agreement that will reduce Chile’s sovereignty by allowing transnational companies to sue the State if their businesses do not go as planned (for instance, if we were to eliminate the AFPs, they could demand the Chilean State for compromising their businesses)… and, finally, the president himself is being questioned, together with all of those that rule the country. So, basically, the imperialist capitalist system as a whole is being questioned. Of course the neoliberal stage of Chilean capitalism, imposed by the dictatorship, failed. But “humanized” capitalism previous to the Pinochet dictatorship -for example the government of the UP [Popular Unity, electoral coalition of Salvador Allende] also showed to have limitations (we will develop this later on in this article). Today the Chilean people openly question and show rejection for those pro-business institutions, no matter how many democratic faces they have (one of them being the Parliament).
So no, the problem is not only the neoliberal phase after the dictatorship, like the FA and PC state, and so the situation will not be solved with some crumbs offered by the government and proposed by the traditional parties. It is the functioning of the capitalist system, and who is in power, what is being questioned by hundreds of thousands of Chileans.
The depth of our demands can be exemplified with the specific demand of ending the AFPs. Here, not only the misery pensions are being questioned, but also the mechanism through which they impose this pensions: 10% of what we pay is not administrated but stolen by the AFPs to invest in businesses in Chile and abroad. Also, the AFPs give our money to the banks with an annual rate from which they make a 4% profit, and then those banks give loans to us… with our own money! Of course, with much higher interest rates. A true robbery in which we are trapped. Also, 3 out of 6 AFP concentrating the business are owned by the United States. Another one is from Brazil, the fifth one from Colombia, and the last one is Chilean (AFP model). This shows the magnitude of our struggle to eliminate the AFPs: it is not just a struggle against Piñera, or against Chilean businessmen, but we are confronting business interests from several countries, especially the United States. These businessmen, foreigner and Chilean, received over the last 25 years about 90 billion dollars in concept of “contributions,” and in the same period they gave back only 30 billion, in the concept of “pensions”. So 2/3 of our contributions are being stolen by these magnates.
This depth can also be exemplified with the anger for wages that are not enough to get to the end of the month. From the low wages that working families earn, about 40% is destined to markets owned by 5 of the biggest Chilean economic groups (Luksic, Paulmann, Matte Larraín Brothers, Angelini and Sebastián Piñera). This same 5 groups that concentrate monopolies are the ones that steal part of our labor by paying wages lower than the necessity, and the few amount of money we do get is spent in their own businesses, retails and supermarket chains. Another vicious circle that keeps the concentration of wealth in only a few hands while we are handtied seeing how they take what is ours.
There is another example: the outrage for the debts generated for studying, which is completely related to the way of functioning of the capitalist system serving the bankers: because of the State Endorsed Credits (CAE), between 2006 and 2011 the banks lend 443,700 million pesos (CL) to students, and then sold part of those credits to the State, with premium. The State paid about 591,000 million pesos for those credits, with our money from taxes. So the State stole our money to give it to the bankers. This is the CAE: banks analyze the students’ backgrounds, chose the safer payers, and re-sell the broke debtors to the Tax Authority, with premium. It would have been cheaper for the State to pay the reference tariff to the students directly instead of indebting them with the Bank for 20 years.
Chile is a country that is rich in minerals and natural resources. We could finance essential social needs (health, education, housing) with this wealth. But foreign businessmen from transnational companies take all the wealth made by the workers to themselves. For instance, copper transnationals like BHP Billiton, or Anglo American. Copper is the main Chilean wealth. However, almost nothing of it stays in the country to cover our necessities. In this case, just like in the case of the AFPs, the struggle to recover our natural resources becomes a struggle not only against Chilean businessmen but against major foreign businessmen and their international institutions, like the IMF – especially the United States and Europe.
So, even if our demands seem pretty simple, they question, deep down, all these relationships between enterprises like the AFPs, and Banks, factories, and the capitalists of richer countries. This is being questioned as a whole. The functioning of the society will not change deeply just through this or that reform.
The only guarantee to change things from the root is a Socialist Revolution to establish a workers’ and popular government
The only way to achieve the elimination of all points in the 1980 Constitution is if workers and popular segments seize the power through a Socialist Revolution. There is no pacific way to this. Because it is more than clear: just to end the AFPs caused dozens of pacific demonstrations, plus the current insurrection, and we did not achieve that, yet. And that is because there are businessmen interests in bet that governments and institutions defend with their own lives. It is known that over 40 ministers and authorities from the governments (including the former Concertation and right wing governments) were or are involved in the AFPs’ business, as part of their Boards. So how can we think they will eliminate the AFPs?
We need to take the businessmen out of power, and that means to destroy their corrupt institutions as a whole and replace it for new institutions serving workers and popular sectors. Today, businessmen are in power through several channels: legal (Campaign Finance Law) and illegal financing of electoral and political campaigns; “revolving door” for men-of-trust in the public sector (with government seats) and private sector (part of companies’ boards); obvious influence in political parties and study centers, media, etc. All of this to make the rules in their own favor.
The best example is the case of the UP
To change all of this and eliminate their privileges is something they will not accept easily neither pacifically. In Chile, we have the best example of all: Popular Unity, under the Allende government, posed a pacific way to socialism, trusting the pro-business institutions – so the Parliament, the Armed Forces, Ministries, etc. Workers came from strong struggles and strikes before the UP, and this mobilization was the base for the UP government to implement many social rights and achievements for the majority of the people. However, this advance questioned the businessmen interests and so these segments responded with black markets, closing the main chains of supplies, generating chaos and shortages, until a final Coup that installed a military dictatorship that killed and tortured thousands of workers.
The UP experience leaves as a lesson that we cannot hope for changes in our favor by the pro-business institutions or appealing to a dialogue with them. On the contrary, if workers want to ensure the accomplishment of our demands, we need to expropriate the companies, like the Industrial Belts4 did. We need to break or dissolve the Armed Forces and appeal to the rank-and-file to adhere to our struggle. We need to organize an armed self-defense, and above all, we need to seize the power through a socialist revolution. We cannot delegate to intellectuals or academics the task of replacing those institutions. They can be good allies, but workers need to establish our own democracy forms and proletarian and popular self-government.
We need a party to organize the Socialist Revolution. Let’s build the MIT!
For workers, youth and the population to have a clear project of society and know how to achieve that, we need to organize, take lessons out of previous experiences of struggle, and dispute this against all other parties that state that we can improve things through the inside of the capitalist system, and achieve deep changes through the inside of this pro-business institutions. Businessmen are organized in their own parties (right-wing or the former Concertation) and institutions: the IMF, SOFOFA in Chile, etc. Workers also need our own internationalist organization, prepared to confront the businessmen. From the MIT, we are building this alternative as part of the International Workers’ League – Fourth International (IWL-FI). We invite you to build with us this project of internationalist, revolutionary struggle!
Let’s build a party that poses the following tasks before the Chilean situation:
-General Strike until Piñera falls!
-Trial and punishment for the murders, tortures and violation of Human Rights!
-Independent committees of the working class and human rights to investigate the cases. We do not trust the businessmen institutions!
-Immediate freedom to all imprisoned activists! Freedom to David Veloso, soldier imprisoned for refusing to repress his people!
-Freedom or organization and struggle in our work places!
-Down with the 1980 Constitution!
-End of the AFP system now!
-Renationalization of the copper industry and natural resources under workers’ control!
-No to the TPP!
-Demilitarization of the Wallmapu! Self-determination of the Mapuche people!
-Down with this pro-business parliament!
-Workers’ organization with real proletarian democracy instead of this businessmen “democracy”!
-Workers’ and popular assemblies for self-organization and preparation of our self-defense!
-Dissolution of the Armed Forces! Rank-and-File soldiers: join the struggle in defense of our class!
-For a workers’, popular government!
Translation: Sofia Ballack.
Translation Notes:
1 Camilo Marcelo Catrillanca Marín was a Mapuche farmer of Ercilla, killed in 2018 by a shot in the back by the Chilean police force. The incident led to protests against police violence, and occurred in the broader context of the ongoing conflict over Mapuche civil rights.
2 Andrónico Luksic Craig, chairman of Quiñenco, a holding of the Luksic Group, one of Chile’s largest conglomerates.
3 The Cabildos, translated as Town Halls, is a form of organization of the societies in the frame of a bourgeois democracy.
4 Industrial Belts: workers’ democracy popular power body. They were organized in Chile during the Allende Government (1970-1973), and were able to expropriate the bourgeoisie in their region until the dictatorship defeated process.

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