Chile: Revolutionary coalition emerges ahead of November elections


The following declaration from Chile, signed by Left Voice’s Trotskyist Fraction co-thinkers, references a number of things that may be unfamiliar to English-language readers. The Chile of “transition” refers to the 30-year post-dictatorship process that has entrenched bourgeois institutions left over from the Pinochet era. In October 2019, a revolt rocked the country, and in early December of that year, after “kitchen” meetings to strike an accord to which representatives from the streets were excluded, a number of Chilean political parties signed the Agreement for Social Peace and a New Constitution. This included the Frente Amplio (Broad Front), a reformist coalition of “left” parties (Gabriel Boric is the presidential candidate it supports); the UDI (Independent Democratic Union, a conservative political party); and the remnants of the former Concertación, a coalition of center-left political parties. It established a referendum for writing a new constitution; the referendum passed last October. The Constitutional Convention functions such that any constitutional initiatives must be approved by a two-thirds majority, thus ensuring veto power to the right-wing powers-that-be. Reform of the Chilean pension system has been among the main bourgeois provocations against the working class; the Administradoras de Fodos de Pensiones (AFPs) are private managers of pension portfolios that collect fees for their work. — Scott Cooper

Since October 18, 2019, the Chilean working class and the country’s masses, together with the youth, women, and the oppressed national minorities, have made clear that they want an end to the Chile of the last 30 years. With that uprising, through assemblies, and with millions mobilized in the streets and on the front lines, a process was opened that challenges the pillars of the dictatorship’s legacy.

To bring the revolt to a halt, the “Agreement for Peace” was signed by those from the ranks of the old regime, its parties, and parliamentarians, by the UDI, and by Boric’s Frente Amplio, aimed at saving the government of Sebastían Piñera and diverting the struggle into yet another “transition” that would allow them to restore governability — and so nothing would change. 

Those on the Left who signed the pact, such as Frente Amplio, and those who ended up legitimizing it, such as the Communist Party (PC), would have us believe that it is possible to meet the demands of October 2019 within the institutional framework inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship. Such a path is not only irrelevant for our class, but new frustrations will await us. 

Questioning the Chile of the past 30 years is not a closed issue. The struggle to free those imprisoned during the revolt, to put an end to the AFP, for salaries and pensions that surpass the minimum needed to live, to put an end to this virus that kills and sickens working people, and to build a system of quality and free public health and education, among other demands, is far from resolved. And with the pandemic, millions have seen our conditions worsen while the plundering by Big Business, the bankers, and the multinationals continues.

One month after the Constitutional Convention was installed, and despite the fact that neither the right wing nor the former Concertación obtained a third of the delegates, the Convention has respected the rules of the Peace Agreement and has ignored the urgent matters facing the masses. The Frente Amplio is the main guardian of a Convention subordinated to the existing powers, as demonstrated by its recent vote in favor of the two-thirds requirement, and together with the Socialist Party (PS) and the PC have ended up appeasing the old Pinochetism. They are not an alternative for the working class. Their program is based on higher taxes and indebtedness, without putting an end to the plundering of the big owners of the country, and they seek alliances with the old neoliberals of the PS, false friends of the people.

The List of the People, which offered itself as an alternative, has ended up respecting all the rules of the kitchen accords and the Peace Agreement. Many comrades who had expectations that the List would set out on a different path have now seen conciliation lead to a crisis, including all manner of allegations regarding machines and money — all the product of subordination to the old parliamentarism and abandoning the mobilization. The List tries to present itself as “independent,” but its program is not fundamentally different from Boric’s program of reforming the capitalist state rather than putting an end to this economic social system of exploitation and oppression.

The signatory organizations of this declaration have resolved to unite to form a new bloc for the upcoming elections that will fight for all the demands of October 2019. We denounce the subordination of the Convention to the established powers and demand that it break with the pact of November 15. We demand that amnesty be decreed for all political prisoners. We stand for fighting for NO+AFP, the right to health, housing and education, the right to abortion, and for the demands of the women’s movement and LGTBIQ+; for the right to vote for those over 14 years of age; for the return of lands to and the right to self-determination for the Mapuche people; for the nationalization of strategic resources under workers’ control as a way to address social demands; and other measures. In other words, we demand the Convention declare itself sovereign and that it discuss and take all measures without respecting any limitations imposed by the old powers as part of the pretense of the Peace Agreement.

We are a workers’ front that denounces the attacks of the businessmen and the traps of the old parties of the regime, as well as the conciliation of those who claim to represent the people but who end up aligned with the right wing and the old Concertación. We are a front that proposes to retake the road of struggle, mobilization, and independent self-organization of the working class and the people, with the perspective of the general strike, to bring an end to the Chile of the transition and instead fight for a government of the working class that breaks with capitalism and stands for socialism.

With this initiative, we fight for the following, which we present for the consideration of unions, territorial and popular assemblies, coordinating groups, committees, and grassroots movements, to re-open the path of mobilizing for our demands and for winning a government of the workers that breaks with capitalism:

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