Chile: Two years on from the ‘October 18th’ mass revolt – the fight continues!

Supporters of Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI Chile) at the mass protest on Monday, October 18, Santiago, Chile

A mass mobilization on Monday, October 18, showed us that the fight against the dictatorship of the capitalist and neoliberal right is still more in force than ever. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets again on Monday 18 October 2021.

This Monday marked two years since the social rebellion of October 18, 2019, when millions of Chileans took to the streets to protest against the abuses of the employers and the elite of this country. These attacks have been permanent since the dictatorship imposed by blood and fire on September 11, 1973. This system of oppression continued to be maintained during the last 30 years of supposed democratic governments, during which the entire legacy of the dictatorship was maintained and continued.

One of the largest demonstrations last this week was in Santiago. There were also several dozen demonstrations in many other cities in Chile, which were also large.

We cannot forget that October 18, 2019, marks the end of one period and opened a revolutionary process. The social uprising occurred as the result of the enormous exploitation suffered by the workers of this country and the lack of social rights denied to the working class in health, education, housing, pensions, and other sectors.

The government denounces violence, looting, and robberies, trying to divert attention from the main issues and to avoid explaining why thousands and thousands of workers, young people, and women take to the streets to demonstrate against the abuses of the elite of this country. As always, the only answer from the government is the enormous and brutal display of repression against the protesters. Most of the protesters are peaceful. They are not criminals, as the right-wing government wants us to believe. And what about the president, who is mixed up in a series of allegations of corruption and links with real criminals!

We cannot forget that the right-wing that is in government today as part of an absolutely criminal dictatorship, which tortured and murdered thousands of workers in Chile. Thousands of military and civilians, who are tortured, and murdered, are protected and immune from prosecution. They remain immune from prosecution today despite the mutilations, killings, and robberies they carried out.

Nor can we forget that this same government, headed by Sebastián Piñera, has kept dozens of young political prisoners in jail since October 2019, without charges and without trial. At the same time, human rights violators during the popular rebellion, mainly members of the police forces, remain unpunished two years after these violations took place.

While the people fight for better living conditions, the president continues to do business to increase his enormous fortune and that of his family, taking advantage of the position he holds today. This has been demonstrated by the case of Minera Dominga that was revealed in the recent publication of the ‘Pandora Papers’.

The right, as has been demonstrated, once again, only knows how to steal, torture and murder, and is only willing to respect “democracy”, as long as it serves its interests. The people, on the other hand, continue to fight in a thousand ways. They have no other option but to rebel against injustices because they are tired of accepting oppression. Popular rebellion became the only alternative.

State of Exception

The demonstrations on Monday had to face the State of Exception that the government decreed on Tuesday, October 12. This covers both the Biobío provinces and Araucanía, that is, a part of the eighth and ninth regions.  Specifically, this means that today the Mapuche territories are occupied by the military.

Faced with all the abuses of this government, we demand the immediate resignation of Sebastián Piñera and the government not only because of the corruption in which he is involved in but also because of all the human rights violations committed under his mandate.

It is in the streets and communities where a potential new type of government alternative is beginning to emerge; an alternative that truly could serve the working class. This is reflected in the organizations, in the poor districts, and others, where community and regional assemblies have begun to emerge. These organizations of struggle and mobilization from the grassroots are responsible for the great demonstrations of the last two years that have taken place throughout the country.

These need to be strengthened and formed, with elected delegates and link up on a district, citywide, regional, and national level, and with the involvement of the trade unions and workers from the workplaces.

The time has come to put an end to the current system of injustices and privileges for a minority of the population that defends capitalism. We need to build a more just and supportive society, designed for the majority, that is, a democratic socialist society and a workers’ government. This needs to include taking the steps to begin building a political voice for the working class with a party with a socialist programme. These can begin to emerge from the social organizations that today exist in most of the poor communities in this country.




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October 2021