imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Chile-First General Strike in 13 Years

by Pablo Sanchez Sunday, Sep. 07, 2003 at 2:58 PM


In Defense of Marxism-

Workers Interantional League-


The first general strike in 13 years marks a new stage

By Pablo Sánchez

On August 13 the Chilean Trade Union Confederation (CUT) called a one-day general strike. This was the first general strike since the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship. It marks the beginning of a new epoch and has to be seen within the context of the general situation in the whole of the South American sub-continent.

The whole sub-continent is in turmoil. Chile was often quoted as being an exception by the bourgeois media, but now close to the 30th anniversary of the Pinochet coup which took place back in 1973 on September 11, the Chilean workers are returning to their militant traditions.

The Chilean government (which is a coalition made up of the Socialist Party and Christian Democracy) has been following the diktats of the IMF and World Bank by opening up the Chilean economy to the USA and the EU. It has also been attacking the living conditions of the Chilean working class, but it has been doing this through a policy of "social partnership", i.e. with the agreement of the trade union leaders.

In spite of the praises heaped on the Chilean governments by the bourgeois in the advanced capitalist countries, the real economic situation is quite dramatic. The number of unemployed has reached over 500,000 out of the total population of Chile of about 15 million, or around 9.5%. The minimum wage is about 0 a month, which is well below the minimum daily requirements of any worker. The number of families living below the poverty line is about 18%. Meanwhile, the richest 10% get 50% of the overall national income. Just these figures alone show that far from being the success story of Latin America, (as in the past Argentina and Brazil were supposed to be) Chile is afflicted by the same disease as the rest of the sub-continent. Thus there is only one option for the working class, to take to the road of struggle. This explains the August 13 general strike.

Long term effects

The government and the bourgeois media at first preferred to ignore the strike, then they tried to play down its importance. Nevertheless the strike was a big success. The police did not ignore it however, as they repressed it with all their might. A clash between the police and the protesters led to the injury of one police officer and resulted in some 70 arrests.

On this website we have reported extensively on the workers struggles throughout South America. We have highlighted the general instability that is affecting the whole sub-continent. The recent events in Chile simply underline the fact that this process has now begun to affect this country as well. What up until recently was merely expressed in economic statistics (unemployment, poverty levels, etc.) has now been given an expression through the workers' mass organisations, beginning with the trade unions. The social discontent has reached such a level that the trade union bureaucracy and the Socialist Party leaders (who are in the government) were forced to call the strike.

This general strike has underlined the deep rift which has opened up between the CUT, dominated by the Socialist and Communist parties, and the coalition government headed by Ricardo Lagos, himself a Socialist Party leader. This puts the Socialist Party members involved in the government in an awkward position, especially considering that the leadership of the party actually supported the strike.

Mr. Insulza, the Chilean Minister of the Interior, who described the strike as "political", insisted prior to the strike that "there are no excuses: those who fail to show up for work on Wednesday have been warned. In a democracy all citizens have the right to demonstrate and express their ideas, but the government also has been empowered to rule and have its laws respected."

These people have a strange understanding of what democracy means. Dozens of demonstrators arrested and the use of tear gas and water cannons against the demonstration in the capital, Santiago, show what kind of democracy they stand for.

This strike will have long-term political consequences within the ruling coalition as well as within the ranks of the Socialist Party itself. Already some within the leadership of the party are preparing to challenge the Socialist Prime Minister, Mr. Lagos.

There is a clear division within the leadership of the Socialist Party. Next week there will be commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Pinochet´s coup. This will be used by a section of the party bureaucracy as an excuse to justify their remaining in a coalition with the right-wing parties in government. In fact they have already stated that Allende's "mistake" was not to widen his coalition to the Christian Democrats. According to their argument, if the left had formed an alliance with one of the main bourgeois parties then the coup could have been avoided! This ignores the fact that the Christian Democrats back in 1973 colluded with Pinochet and actually called on him to intervene. But from the latest developments many activists will draw the conclusion that collusion with the right-wing parties and the bosses is no way out for the working class. What is this government offering the workers today? More and more cuts and attacks on the conquests of the past. The workers will draw the conclusion that what is needed is an independent working class policy. This is the only way of achieving any victory for the working people.

The Trade Unions

The CUT held a National Conference just after the strike on August 24. In that conference it reiterated its support for the strike. It also officially declared that it will maintain its struggle against NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement).

Unfortunately they do not pose a clear socialist alternative to this. They instead support the idea of the MERCOSUR, a kind of South American Common Market. They are incapable of developing a perspective that goes beyond the confines of capitalism.

The union has clearly been going through a crisis and has been trying to recover its influence by organising opposition against the government. The leaders of the CUT need to show that they are taking a clear step to the left if they wish to capitalise on the success of the general strike and at the same time give some glimmer of hope to the left activists that are looking for an alternative.

What the Trade Unions must do is to get rid of those elements that are linked to the bosses and their political representatives. The Colectivo Siglo XXI (21st Century Collective), which is a faction within the CUT that did not support the general strike and actually openly boycotted it. This grouping is clearly a fifth column inside the Chilean trade unions and must not be allowed to use the organisations of the working class to defend the interests of the capitalists and the imperialists.

However, that would not be enough. The trade unions need to elect leaders who are prepared to fight and defend the genuine interests of the Chilean workers. This "Refoundation" conference represents a small step forward. However what was lacking was a serious self-criticism of the recent period of social partnership with the coalition government.

The task is to reclaim the unions for the long tradition of militancy of the Chilean working class. The same goes for the traditional mass political organisations of the working class in Chile, i.e. the Socialist and Communist parties. These have a major influence in the trade unions, as most of the leaders come from these parties. The struggles that will open up in the coming years will put to the test all the organisations of the Chilean labour movement. In this context the workers will relearn all the lessons of the past.

The general strike in August, which was called as a protest action against the casualisation of labour and the anti-union laws, has to be seen as an expression of the great discontent which has built up within Chilean society. It is still in its early stages, but it represents the reawakening of the powerful Chilean working class. The class struggle is once again on the agenda and events in Chile are destined to have an important impact on the revolutionary process that is unfolding in other countries such as Argentina and Venezuela. The Chilean workers will take their rightful place at the side of their brothers and sisters across the sub-continent.

September 4, 2003.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy