Chile

The Norwegian state energy company, Statkraft, has attempted to impose an extremely exploitative contract on construction workers involved in the ‘Los Lagos’ hydroelectric project in Chile. The workers of SINACIN union are fighting back. Meanwhile, comrades from the IMT have led efforts to build international solidarity for the workers, whose struggle has found a sympathetic echo in the Norwegian labour movement. We provide a report here by comrades of the IMT in Chile and Norway.

The Chilean bourgeois institutions, like an old rickety wardrobe, creak through all their cracks at the slightest breeze. This last month, these failing institutions have been brought to their knees, as the result of a bill that would authorise, for the third time, a withdrawal of 10% of pension funds by contributors from private pensions. President Sebastián Piñera was defeated on this issue and once again, it was the organisation of the working class that was the driving force of his defeat, expressed in a formidable mobilisation of dock workers and the threat of a general strike.

At the end of January 2021, we arranged an interview with comrade José Salas, a communist worker, who told us about the origins of the San Rafael neighbourhood in La Pintana, the fight against Pinochet's dictatorship, and the Hugo Manascero Soup Kitchen. In the Octubre group of the International Marxist Tendency in Chile, we consider it very important to give a voice to working-class activists, contributing their experience to historical memory.

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Santiago Rising, the new Alborada Films documentary by Nick MacWilliam, is a powerful portrayal of the insurrectionary uprising that shocked Chile at the end of 2019, Diego Catalán writes.

On 13 February, the Marxist Student Federation will host a screening of Santiago Rising followed by a Q&A session with the director, Nick MacWilliam, and Carlos Cerpa (from the IMT Chile-Octubre).

A resounding majority have voted “approve” in the referendum on whether to change the Chilean constitution – which has its origins in the dictatorship – with a result of 78 percent against 22 percent who voted to “reject”. This is a victory that the working class is celebrating, and feels as its own. A year after the biggest-ever march in Chile, as part of a mass uprising, the people have been through a lot: repression, abuses, murder and maimings; as well as deception and media manipulations. Especially considering the pandemic, the

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50 years ago, the Allende government was elected in Chile. It carried out a host of radical reforms. But capitalism was not abolished. The tragic conclusion was the coup of 11 Sept 1973. We must remember this important episode from history.

A debate on a bill to withdraw 10 percent of pensions in Chile comes at a time when most of the working population is being affected by COVID-19 and the early stages of a capitalist crisis. The abysmal handling of the pandemic has led to the death of at least 7,000 people and the collapse of the healthcare system. A new wave of protest shows that the spirit of 2019 is still alive for the Chilean workers and youth. 

The remarkable protest movement last October represents a qualitative leap from the other mass movements and protests that for more than a decade have marked the landscape of post-dictatorial Chile. From a global perspective, it was a turning point in the context of the world crisis of capitalism. It was a truly insurrectional mass uprising that, from Friday 18 October to the end of November, involved between five and six million active participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created one disaster after another in Latin America, exposing the naked contempt of the ruling class for the workers of the region. But with the memory of Red October still fresh, this explosive new development is preparing revolutionary upheaval in the near future.

The Trade Union Block of the Social Unity in Chile has demanded that the government introduces an immediate preventative quarantine to fight the spread of Covid-19, otherwise, it will call a “humanitarian general strike” in order to shut down all economic activity “which is not essential for the maintenance of health and life”. Meanwhile the hated Piñera government is attempting to use the health emergency to put an end to the five month old uprising.

In this article for America Socialista (published 17 January), Jorge Martin looks back on the tremendous ‘Red October’ that swept Latin America last year, with insurrectionary movements in one country after another. Where did these eruptions come from? What were their limitations? What lessons were learned? And what is the perspective going forward?

Chile is experiencing another general strike, as part of the uprising against the regime that has been going on for almost 40 days already. The government continues to intensify the repression (denounced by international organisations) and even modifies legislation by granting itself more powers to use the army “in the protection of public buildings”, without decreeing the state of emergency, while trying to bamboozle the movement through “agreements” and promises of negotiation. The conditions for bringing Piñera down are present, but what is missing?