September 15, 2013

Chile, once de Septiembre: imperialism teaches II

Indeed the nationalization process went on – within the existing bourgeois legal framework; more precisely, it had been based on a law passed since 1932, which typically had not been abolished, though it remained inactive and unknown even to most of lawyers.

Many more successes could be reported from the very first period of UP’s administration, such as 

  • the significant rise of the real income of workers,
  • the fall of unemployment from 8.8 % to 3 % and of infant mortality by 20,1 %. For the first time in the history of the country a universal health care system had been created. 

Other worth-to-mention successes of UP’s government action, include

  • spectacular progress in the field of literacy and public education;
  • expropriation of important latifundia, giving land to thousands of farmers;
  • reforestation of 600.000 acres;
  • foundation of farm cooperatives that began to change life in the village;
  • significant improvement of the situation of natives (“indios”).

 Such changes could be read as a vast capitalist modernization program; however, from the ruling class point of view, they were a clear sign of threat to its class interests. For the domestic bourgeoisie it was too risky to bet on some internal dynamics of fading UP’s action out. For imperialists, the issue was explosive, as Chile could show that peoples’ social liberation can happen without being drowned in blood. So they needed to counterattack – as they had done, following an elaborate, multilevel action plan.

The first objective was to overthrow UP from government.
Some major points of this plan become known as it started to get implemented:

  • creating a chaotic situation: this meant systematic paralysis of state institutions, economic sabotage, boycotts, support and reinforcement of fascist gags, for organizing assassinations and spreading terrorism.
  • economy war at the international level: credit restrictions from international and above all the American banks, embargo in copper trading and petrol supply, measures to cause insolvency by currency restrictions, withdrawal of commercial agreements for U.S. exports, especially on copper mining technology and other means of production.

During the same period, Chile, despite renegotiations with foreign creditors, was forced to pay every year 200 million U.S. dollars for external debt payments.

Thus, in the last months of 1971, approximately one year after the election of Allende, the results of this pressure had become visible in Chile’s economy and finances: rise in the cost of living, problems in the supply of products and recession. But the forces of UP, or at least the majority of them, were still having illusions about the possibilities for the government to tackle the economic crisis and the attack of big capital and imperialism, while the country was being kept inside the capitalist framework; they were not politically conscient that there was just one problem behind anything else, and that this problem was getting always more urgent and crucial to solve. "Which class  has the power" is a condensed statement for this problem.

UP’s government had tried to cope with the difficult situation by increasing taxation of the wealthy classes in order to increase state revenue. At the same time, they also appealed on workers for increasing production and productivity of labor.


September 11, 2013

Chile, once de Septiembre: imperialism teaches I

The mighty tentative of social liberation using – if not religiously respecting – the control mechanisms enforcing the bourgeois State power, which took place in Chile, yields today in the light of the accumulated historic experience of the four decades passed since Pinochet’s Coup, some bitter yet precious truths. Let us recall some basics of what is often called the “Chile’s experiment”.

 The UNIDAD POPULAR had been created on the initiative of the Communist Party of Chile in 1969. It also comprised the Socialist Party, the Radical Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU) – since 1972 the MAPU Obrero Campesino (fields laborers) splinter group too – and the Independent Popular Action . Also, since 1971 the Christian Left Party. It initially included the moderate Party of the Radical Left, that later joined opposition. Here you can find what the UP’s founding Pact was like. UP has been also supported by the Central Única de Trabajadores, a National Workers’ Syndicate.

 The leader of the UP was Salvador Allende, a social democrat politician, founding member of the Socialist Party of Chile. Allende had declared that UP struggles for an anti-imperialist, anti-oligarchic government that would replace the House and Senate with a Democratic National Congress. He had been committed to undertaking a large-scale land reform against big landlords and to nationalizing all foreign firms and banks, including the huge U.S. investments in the extremely important for the Chilean economy sector of copper mining.

This program wasn’t meant to challenge capitalist ownership in general; it was meant to be applied by a bourgeois government, under capitalist rule. Nowadays the point mark of this last sentence is only holding the place where ellipsis should be standing…
 The stake was a social-democratic one, in the old sense of the term: take the elections, apply radical reforms, get support at international level by the socialist movement, and gradually manage to put the foundations for a sustainable, truly democratic and socialist society.
 The Communist Party of Chile abandonned its political autonomy, by passing its action exclusively through the thousands of base committees of the UP, where members of all parties of the Front were participating along with masses of people outside parties and decisions had to be unanimous. The converse is also true: the CPC had insisted on subordinating any social struggle and movement to the formal political agreement in the framework of UP’s organizations.

 On September 4 1970, in the first round of the Presidential Elections, the UP got 36,3 % of the vote versus 34,9 % of its adversary. According to the Chilean Constitution, the Congress had to elect the President between the two candidates that led the vote. Yankees were already worried and thinking about alternatives. On October 5 1970, Allende, with the Christian Democrats having voted for him, got 271 votes out of 462, not enough to be elected. 
At the same time, a multi-facet operation for terrorizing the people was being settled:
on 22 October the Chief of Staff, Rene Schneider had been assassinated by fascist gags. He had been an obstacle to conspiracies that were fomenting within the army.
 Finally, on October 24, in the second vote, Allende won 135 to 35 votes and was triumphantly elected. Immediately after his election he declared that any attempt to overthrow him by force of arms would be "crushed by the revolutionary violence of the masses."
 On October 30 Allende announced the composition of a fifteen-member UP government, including three communists and three workers Ministers.
 On November 3, 1970 Salvador Allende took office as President of Chile. In his speech after the swearing-in ceremony he said: "We strive to create a different world, we intend to prove that profound, revolutionary changes can be made.
After the glorious ceremony, Allende had ridden an open car, leading a motorcade proceeding in the streets of the center of Santiago, waving under the cheers of thick croud.
 Shortly after his installation, Allende announced in a massively crowded meeting the nationalization of copper mines and foreign banks.

 It is in this context that the Chilean experiment of “peaceful transition to socialism” started.


September 10, 2013

Le ridicule ne tue pas l'impérialisme

L'air des négociations est-il ...De quoi ai-je l'air, comprimé ou compromis?...