Piñera’s government declared State of Emergency for the entire Metropolitan Region of Santiago [capital]. This is the only response that this corrupt, pro-businessmen government can give to the growing outrage that exploded in the last days, especially yesterday, October 18, in which Santiago lived a true popular uprise.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the rise in the buses and metro tickets’ price. But we know that beyond the outrage unleashed this last week, which was bravely led by high school students of the schools most punished by this government’s laws, there is a contained rage of the working class and population, who live bosses’ abuse on a daily basis.
During decades of governments that only enriched the businessmen, we have seen our living conditions harshening to levels not known before. Suspensions and exploitation growing in our workplaces. Misery in hospitals and public schools. Thousands died waiting for medical attention. Our elder sentenced to hunger end up killing themselves. Drug trafficking in the core of our neighborhoods. Persecution to the Mapuche people. Contamination and slaughter zones. And, as a counterpart, a government led by a former fugitive, the collusion of businessmen, pillaging of our water, frauds to the Tax Authority by the Armed Forces, repression by the carabineros [Shock-force like Police]. These are the two faces of the coin.
However, this coin is the same in all countries of Latin America. We saw this a few days ago in Ecuador, with the brave strike led by indigenous peoples and broad segments of workers. Now we are taking their example.
The government and media keep showing the destruction of public spaces in Santiago. 16 Metro stations were burned out, as well as the building of the transnational Enel [Electric Energy], there were many sacked stores and also confrontations with Special Forces across the city.
Protests are legitimate
This is the result of the provocation by the Piñera government, who after attacking us increasing the price of transportation and energy, sent the Police to occupy the schools and Metro stations to brutally repress the demonstrators.
We think the violence used yesterday by the youth and workers is completely justified. It is the expression of an exhausted people. We know pacific protests do not get anywhere. Millions of workers marched against the AFPs [private retirement system] for several years and the only response the government gave is to propose a reform that will enrich even more those who make businesses out of our Social Security.
Let’s unite to defend ourselves
The way pointed out by high school students is the correct one. But we cannot continue just hanging on, each one by its own, without an organized fight. Port workers already showed which way to go.1 The prices increase and suspensions affect all regions, and there are important examples of struggles, over the last years, in different regions in the country: Freirina, Aysén, Chiloé, Petorca, Osorno, Valparaíso. And more regions will make this list grow, because new attacks from the bosses will come. The Parliament passing the TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership] is one of them. The State of Emergency is another one. The most pro-Pinochet right wing, like Kast and his Republican party, as well as all businessmen, close ranks around Piñera and the Armed Forces. So all workers, students, unemployed and fired, and the whole population should raise one fist, because we know that no “opposition” political party will take a stand for us. They showed it already with the silence in the Parliament and among the traditional main union leaderships.
Our first task is security and self-defense against the State of Emergency. The government decreed this not to protect us but to divide us, spreading fear and appealing to inaction. We need to organize surveillance committees and alert systems in the neighborhoods, towns and land occupations. We must discuss the situation in our workplaces and at each organization we are part of. We cannot pretend nothing is happening neither spread fear. We should put each social, neighborhood, student and union leader to organize assemblies. The leaders who fall short should be replaced. Unitary organization and action from below is our best defense. Let’s multiply the demonstrations across the country, as it already happened this morning in several cities, adding more organizations and workers.
From the MIT, we make the broadest call to all workers, students, unemployed and population as a whole to be in permanent alert, and to organize:
-Assemblies in each work place, even where there is no union, using the launch and break times.
-Surveillance and self-defense committees in the neighborhoods, occupied lands and workplaces. Committees against repression in schools, universities and education centers.
-Statements in favor of the demonstrations against the State of Emergency, against the prices increase and against pillaging, against labor flexibility; supporting the organized evasion in public transportation across the country; cacerolazos2 and calls by the union that already showed signals of unity: port workers, Metro workers and Transantiago [buses].
In the Capital, to organize solidary transportation of workers and students to face the lack of public transportations.
Down with the State of Emergency! Out militaries from the streets! Out with Chadwick!3
We call the troops to stop the repression to the people and disobey the instructions of corrupt officials!
Against the price increase in transportation! Nationalization of Transantiago and a Metro controlled by its workers and passengers!
National Public Transportation System controlled by its own workers!
Prices freezing! No more raises!
Reduction of work shifts without wage reduction to end up the suspensions!
Raise of minimum wage to 500,000!4
Let’s build a great national strike to take this pro-business, corrupt government down! Let’s follow the Ecuadorian people’s example!
We invite all workers, youth and population to build the International Workers’ Movement [MIT], a political organization serving their organization and struggle of the working class, to end the capitalist exploitation and recover our resources. An organization that relentlessly fights for workers to make a revolution to end capitalism and destines all wealth produced by our class serving our class necessities.
Translation: Sofia Ballack.
1 the Port Union launched an article calling to a General Strike as a response to the government’s policies and repression.
2 Cacerolazos is a common form of protest in Latin America, in which people hits pans with spoons, other pans, etc, making a loud noise.
3 Andrés Chadwick, Chilean Minster of Interior and Public Security.
4 500,000 Chilean Pesos = US$ 703,53.