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

Pinochet is dead! It is time to kill the system that spawned him!

by Fred Weston Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 at 11:24 AM

The fact that the death of Pinochet on Sunday sparked off celebrations in Chile and around the world should surprise no one. He was a hated figure, a living symbol of the real face of the bourgeoisie. In "normal" times the capitalists prefer to govern through "democratic" parliamentary means, so long as their fundamental interests are guaranteed. But the capitalist system cannot always guarantee that its interests can be defended through parliamentary means. History is full of examples where the bourgeoisie has preferred to do away with the niceties of "democracy"... Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto... the list is endless.

When the moment comes for the ruling class to let the mask of democracy fall and reveal its true ugly face it always finds a loyal servant to do the butcher's job for them. Pinochet was such a servant. He had no hesitation in clamping down on the Chilean workers and youth in 1973, butchering thousands of them in the process.

Thousands of left-wing youth, trade union activists, rank and file members of the Communist and Socialist parties, were arrested, tortured and brutally murdered. The National Stadium was used as a torture and detention centre. Many more perished in the Atacama desert. Thousands more were forced into exile as they fled the terrible regime that had come to power over the bones of the Chilean working class

Today's government in Chile says at least 3,197 people were killed for "political reasons" under Pinochet, but the figure may be far higher than that. Whatever the figure turns out to be, he was truly a mass murderer, and he did all this with the full backing of US imperialism. There was no condemnation a la Saddam Hussein for Pinochet! No, he was praised for bringing "stability" to the country... and for saving the bourgeoisie from the threat of social revolution.

He came to power in the September 11, 1973 coup when he used warplanes to bomb the presidential palace, in which the democratically elected President, Salvador Allende lost his life. Again, no condemnation from the "democratic countries", but open support, particularly from the US administration.

Pinochet had in fact been appointed army commander by Allende only19 days before the coup. Allende had naively believed that Pinochet would defend the constitution in spite of the fact that rumours were spreading everywhere that a coup was imminent.

The CIA had been manoeuvring to overthrow Allende for some time. They financed a lorry drivers' "strike" to destabilise the country (similar to the so-called strike of the oil industry in Venezuela in 2003-4). When Pinochet finally took power the CIA and the US Administration brazenly denied having anything to do with the coup, when it was common knowledge that the contrary was true.

Ever since Chile returned to parliamentary rule in 1990, human rights lawyers had been trying to bring the man to justice for crimes against humanity, but always failed. When he came to Britain for medical reasons, shamefully the British Labour government refused a request that he be extradited to Spain to face trial and allowed him to return to Chile. His age and ill health were always quoted as reasons for not moving against him seriously. And yet when he was at the height of his power, Pinochet showed no such qualms for his victims. When coffins containing some of his victims were discovered to have two bodies each in them, his cold-blooded cynical comment was that it was "a good cemetery space-saving measure."

In an attempt to gloss over the brutal record of the Pinochet regime, the bourgeoisie internationally have built up an elaborate picture of the man having saved Chile from chaos and then having stabilised the country and laid the basis for economic boom, for "South America's most stable economy". In reality things were rather different to the myth.

When he came to power unemployment was 4.3%. Within a decade he had carried out the "miracle" of pushing unemployment levels to 22%. During his rule real wages declined by 40%. In 1970 the percentage of Chileans living below the poverty line was 20%. By the end of Pinochet's rule another miracle had been carried out: 40% of the population was living below the poverty level.

Having abolished all trade union rights, trade union organisation, political organisation, the right to strike and so on, Chile was transformed into a laboratory for the famous "Chicago Boys", i.e. economists of the Milton Friedman school of thought. This was the "free market" in its most brutal and sharpest expression.

Thus Pinochet proceeded to privatise pensions, remove all taxation of wealth and profits. He cut back jobs massively in the public sector. He carried out a massive programme of privatisation of industries and banks.

One would have thought that from all the mythology about the "Chilean miracle" that these policies would at least have led to a booming economy, albeit at a heavy price for the workers. But no, the truth was completely different. In the years 1982-83 GDP collapsed by 19%! In spite of this total failure the myth continued to be peddled that the Chilean experiment had produced en economic miracle.

In reality it was an absolute and utter disaster, with speculation and profiteering rampant. It was such a disaster that even Pinochet finally saw the need to rid himself of these so-called economic experts. So bad was the situation, that in spite of the repressive regime, in 1982 Chile witnessed strikes and street rioting.

The labour movement, in spite of the dire economic situation, was beginning to recover from the defeat of 1973. Faced with this protest, Pinochet was forced to make some concessions. Thus he brought back the minimum wage and collective union bargaining rights. He was forced to do a u-turn and look to Keynesian policies in an attempt to counter the monetarism of his first period in power. He also nationalised whole industries and banks in an attempt to restabilise the economy.

In spite of these real, hard facts Pinochet's Chile continued to be used as an example to be followed by all other countries. The idea was peddled everywhere that hard-line monetarist policies eventually pay off and provide for growth and thus the well-being of the population.

But over and above all these considerations, today's workers and youth need to learn the lessons of the Pinochet coup back in 1973. Why was he able to take power, when only a few months earlier 800,000 Chilean workers and youth (out of a population of about 10 million) had been out on the streets in support of Allende?

Today the international bourgeoisie washes its hands of the blood that was spilled by Pinochet. But they should be reminded that this blood was spilled for them, for their greed, their profits.

In the early 1970s the Chilean working class rose from its feet and challenged the rule of capital. It rallied round Salvador Allende's government, a government that carried out many radical policies.

The problem of problems was that Allende did not tackle the fundamental issue of who really governs society. Although he carried out some measures of nationalisation and other reforms, he left the key sectors of the economy in private hands, in the hands of that bourgeois class that was later to move against him in the September 1973 coup.

Allende also suffered from the illusion that the bourgeoisie, and even Pinochet, would respect the constitution and the "democratically elected government". History was to prove beyond a doubt that this was not to be so.

The Marxists at the time warned repeatedly about the dangers facing the Chilean working class. In an article, Chile: The Threatening Catastrophe, written in September 1971, two years before the Pinochet coup, Alan Woods wrote: "careful preparations are being made, arms are being collected, plots hatched in the top of the army and the Civil Service. The danger is very real... In his reformist blindness, Allende imagines that his position can be maintained by "clever" manoeuvres in parliament."

Unfortunately the voice of genuine Marxism was weak and the warnings went unheeded. Because Allende did not go all the way and break the power of the bourgeois class by nationalising their property, he left the ground open for counter-revolution. When the moment was right the bourgeois struck and the Chilean workers paid a heavy price.

Thousands paid with their lives for that fundamental mistake. Today the best homage we can pay to those martyrs is to learn the lessons and prepare for the new wave of class struggle that is already unfolding before our very eyes. The lessons of Chile must be applied to situations like those in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico... today.

Pinochet was never brought to justice, but the class that spawned him can be brought to justice. And it is only the working class of Latin America that can do that. The revolution has begun in Venezuela and is spreading throughout the continent. Another historic opportunity is being given to the workers and youth to complete the task that was left undone by previous generations.

The only way of guaranteeing that there are no more Pinochets is to abolish the system that uses the services of such butchers, the capitalist system itself.
Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

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