See comments boxes at the bottom of this post for links to other texts
“…for the majority of people the revolt has put a smile on their face (not something you see often in Santiago)…”
See also “Chile” on this site (a chronology over the last year, plus some extra links)
What’s beautiful is not how we see ourselves but this fire we have in our heads
Left: Chile November 2019 Right: Paris, May 1968
“A group of hooded people set fire to a truck and an old house in downtown Santiago…Plaza Italia, the usual protest zone in Santiago, gathered thousands of people with flags… in a peaceful demonstration that contrasted with the incidents that occurred in adjacent streets, where neighbors were locked in their homes, shops were boarded up with steel and traffic signs were destroyed by hooded people…The events occurred on Vicuña Mackenna Avenue that has been transformed into an area of vandalism and clashes between hooded protesters and riot cops since the social crisis began on October 18 last year. Four months later, the social explosion has left 31 dead throughout Chile and thousands injured, according to figures from the National Prosecutor’s Office. For the month of March, the Chilean population fears that violence will revive with dozens of marches that have already been announced on social networks against the government of President Sebastián Piñera. Since the protests began, the president has sent social reforms to Congress to respond to the demands that are heard in the demonstrations, but he has not yet managed to placate these protests, the most acute since Chile returned to democracy in 1990. Amid the disorders, Chileans prepare for the plebiscite that will be held on April 26 in which they must answer two questions: whether or not they want a new Constitution and what type of body should write it, a constituent assembly formed by legislators current or only by members elected at the polls.“
“In Puente Alto, a group of protesters attacked the 20th Police Station. While that was happening, in the surrounding vicinity protesters threw blunt objects at police officers and they responded with water cannon. A tense night was also experienced in Huechuraba, after a Transantiago bus was burned near the 54th Police Station,…As in Puente Alto, there were clashes between protesters and uniformed police officials, which caused Special Forces personnel to use water cannons and teargas-throwing trucks…50 individuals threatened the bus driver to get off with the passengers…The protesters asked him for the fire extinguishers of the vehicle, “with which they made a smoke screen in front of the barracks.” Muñoz said that “taking advantage of the poor visibility of the police personnel to where the bus was, (the subjects) proceeded to throw a burning tire inside.”“
“Around 22:00 …at least 80 people gathered in the immediate vicinity of the town square and then, with blunt instruments and fireworks, attacked the 54th Police Station... a police officer trying to repel the attacks was injured in the leg by the blow with a fire extinguisher, resulting in minor injuries and being transferred to the institutional hospital.“
“High school students who unleashed the social upheaval in Chile in October against the government of Sebastián Piñera returned on Monday to take the metro stations and generate disturbances in some venues where the university entrance test was submitted, which they oppose as an unfair selection system. The busy Plaza Egaña station was taken over by more than a hundred students who displayed banners and chanted protest songs, forcing the service to be suspended. Some violent incidents were recorded in the wealthy neighborhoods of Providencia, Las Condes and other areas of the metropolitan region, as well as in the Valparaíso region and in Colonel, in Bio Bio….The students, who in some places prevented access to those who wanted to take the exam, threw blunt instruments and faced police control, which was reinforced for the test. In Las Condes the test was suspended in one of its precincts and eight people were arrested…The test was also suspended in other places and the authorities informed the students that they will be sent to other venues to be able to perform in the afternoon. It is expected that this Tuesday there will be a second day of testing. In the afternoon, Francisco Galli, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Interior, reported that there were 68 detainees…The authorities minimized the impact of the protests. “Of the 238 premises in which this test was to be applied, it could be carried out in 235. In eight of them, however, there were partial suspensions, which indicates that 98% of the premises could effectively take the test. ” , said Aldo Valle, vice president of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities.“
“On Tuesday afternoon, incidents were reported outside the Seventh Police Station in Renca…The commissioner of the barracks, Major Hector Carrasco, noted that the subjects “gathered in the central area and spontaneously, gradually and violently began attacking the barracks and staff outside (…) resulting in some Carabineros personnel being some injured.” According to the officer, the subjects threw “large cobblestones, molotov bombs…and steel balls…”, which led to the Special Forces launching teargas bombs. Protesters subsequently used fire extinguishers …A total of 12 people were arrested – including a minor – for disorder….Added to these incidents was a new night of violence – the eighth in a row – in the southern sector of Pudahuel, after a Carabineros patrol ran over a young man demonstrating …On Tuesday there were also riots in the vicinity of the 44th Carabineros police station of Macul…within metres of the 43rd of Peñalolén…about 15 protesters erected barricades around 11.30 pm”
”Built in 1876, the church has been dedicated to the police for over 40 years. Protesters removed furniture from inside the building and set fire to large barricades outside….Groups of hooded men clashed violently with police around the church, while in other parts of the city protesters peacefully protested for greater social reform and against the right-wing government of President Sebastián Piñera.
Since October, protests have left 29 people dead. A referendum will be held on April 26 for the Chileans to decide whether or not to amend their Constitution, a legacy of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). A change to the current Constitution, approved on September 11, 1980 in a controversial referendum during the military dictatorship, is one of the main demands expressed during the social demonstrations that rocked the country.”
Changing the constitution is a statist distraction from the progress of struggle and will derail the movement if it hasn’t already done so for many people. What’s extraordinary is the fact that anarchists, including supposedly the most implacable ones – the insurrectionalists who have an ideology of striving for an insurrection at any single moment without attempting to clarify current modern contradictions – seem to have succumbed to this perspective, possibly in order to court popularity. I repeat – in 1919 Germany the pursuit of a constituent assembly and of a new constitution derailed the social movement. And we all know the eventual consequence of that. Sadly, for fear of venturing into the unknown informed by aspects of past experiments in subversive social contestation, people seek a false security in political mirages that seem to be solutions as part of their confused response to an increasingly insecure world .
Chilean flag being burnt in front of town hall, Valparaiso
This might not seem very much but considering that there were hardly any strikes in the copper industry (there was a 24-hour one at the end of October but nothing as far as I can see in November) and considering that this industry is Chile’s major industry, this is quite high and possibly indicates hidden resistance to the miseries of work – even high-paid work – possibly encouraged by the movement. Considering that economic activity as a whole was down 3.3% in November, this surely implies a significant level of resistance amongst copper mining workers that has not been revealed by much overt opposition from them. Sure, they’re in a position to do a lot more, but let’s not minimise this.
Hardly a critique of the cinema, more a brutal form of revenge.
Whilst it’s obvious that the Mapuches have been possibly the most significant victims of state violence, it’s vital not to just accept their culture, and the hierarchical elements of their culture, as an uncriticisable given. But I need to discover more about them.
” Pinera’s approval rating has slumped to 12%…It’s tough on a billionaire accustomed to success.”
“The only long-term solution is a Constituent Assembly. This is the only way that the legitimacy problem can be circumvented.” A Constituent Assembly was Germany’s social democratic solution to the revolution that ended WWl, using the fascist Freikorps to repress the most revolutionary sections. The German working class, having occupied the factories, effectively had most of the power of the economy in their hands but handed this power over to Social Democrats who’d already helped send them to the slaughter of the trenches. As “long-term” solutions go, we can see the long term results of this Constituent Assembly – Hitler’s eventual ascent to power and WWll. Today, anyone with intelligence and the will to determine their own lives knows that the only solution globally to the crises of austerity, of the emptiness of daily life and of the impending destruction of the planet is the global suppression of the commodity economy, not some Constituent Assembly. The affirmation of the masses of individuals against the materialised alienated power that’s been stolen from us aims for nothing less. But many are far too easily distracted into reforms of this, that and the other that can only, at best, offer temporary relief from the disaster; at worst, merely a mirage of hope that evaporates as soon as you approach it.
“In the last few days, a new form of social organization has emerged. The masses stop traffic, drivers must get out of the car and dance with the people if they want to get through. On Sunday afternoon, a U.S. Citizen in the middle of one of these demonstrations fired his weapon in front of the protesters, demanding a “legitimate defense”. Since then, the state has condemned the spontaneous manifestation as psychological torture. They call it a “fascist practice”, a form of humiliation to take away your dignity, to tell you, “you do not own your life, we control it and will tell you what you have to do.”
Rioters relax with a can of beer on deckchairs, in front of the Hotel Costa Real de La Serena, while it burned after being ransacked
“At night, hooded men ransacked and burned a luxury Costa Real hotel and a public office in the city of La Serena, while a supermarket was robbed in Iquique, and the newspaper El Líder de San Antonio was burned. In Valparaíso protesters installed barricades and caused fires. Earlier in Santiago, thousands marched in the context of a strike that ended with hooded people rioting, shattering the gates of the Republic Station of Metro Line 1 to build barricades….
Meanwhile, thousands of other people gathered to demonstrate in Plaza Italia, in downtown Santiago, where riots occurred. …After more than a month of protests, 67% of the population expressed their support for maintaining these mobilizations.“ a barbecue of looted goods
Sofa so goooood
“Pinera.. now wants to change the law so the army can be deployed to “control infrastructure, including essential public services and police activities” without the need to declare a state of emergency. It would allow the military to “monitor and patrol our streets,” he enthused.”
Which brings to mind this quote from Chilean anarchists: “… the government, with its tail between its legs, in a meeting at La Moneda asks the Armed Forces once again for help in the systematic repression of our class, however, the latter asked the government for guarantees of impunity for the crimes against humanity they would carry out against the peoples in struggle, and in view of the liberal fear of the political responsibilities associated with this decision, the government decided not to guarantee such a request, so the Armed Forces decided not to go out into the street, leaving Piñera and his ridiculous entourage in a National Chain where the braggart had to call retired cops to collaborate in the repression. Far from seeming funny to us, it seems worrying, the Armed Forces are deliberating and making decisions for themselves, therefore their political project takes on relevance in the current scenario, a project that will look for the impossibility of the current political caste to establish order in the face of the social outburst starting from a political solution, to intervene violently in the situation, in order to re-establish the bourgeois order at the point of bullets and humiliations. We call on the communities in struggle to be alert to the possibility of military terror returning to the streets, but this time from a more radical intervention.”
“Members of the Chilean Dockworkers Union began a 48-hour strike on Monday morning, paralysing operations at 24 ports up and down the country’s 6,435km (4,000-mile) Pacific coastline. Education, health, transport, public sector and other labour unions are scheduled to strike on Tuesday…”We’re on strike because of the injustice in the country,” said Walter Inestroza, a spokesperson for the local branch of the dockworkers union in Antofagasta ..”There is so much inequality,” Alberto Mamquepan, an indigenous Mapuche dockworker in Antofagasta, told Al Jazeera. “The system is rotten.” Compared to most jobs in the city, dockworkers make good money, but dockworkers also have parents and grandparents with miserable pensions, said Mamquepan. The protests cannot be pinned down to any single issue, he said. “It is … everything. It is not one single thing. That is why things exploded,” he said. “This affects us all.”…Government officials estimate arson, looting and property destruction over the past five weeks have caused $3bn in property damage.”
“Violence continued on Saturday in Chile… with the pillaging of a bank near Santiago, the looting of shops and attacks on police stations, and dozens of wounded and arrests…A protest Friday in Maipu, in the suburbs of the capital, escalated into violence all night long. One group took the opportunity to storm a bank and leave with 150 million pesos (about 190,000 dollars), 16,000 dollars, 3,800 euros and two weapons…Following a massive new protest on Plaza Italia in Santiago, the epicenter of the social movement, shops, supermarkets and offices were ransacked in the city center. Two shopping malls and a cultural center were set on fire by people wearing hoods…Protesters also attacked seven police stations across the country, in the capital and in the towns of La Calera (center), Bulnes and Los Angeles (south). Saturday’s violent day resulted in 127 injuries among civilians and law enforcement officials, and nearly 300 arrests nationwide“
“The death toll from violent unrest in Chile rose to 23 on Friday as the country entered its fifth week of social unrest. Looting and demonstrations took place in cities across the South American nation, and an agreement on a political roadmap that will see Chile draft a new constitution has halted neither the anger, nor the bloodshed…”We cannot ease up. We have to keep expressing ourselves because we have not achieved anything, because the repression continues and also (the government) keeps signing fake agreements, like the peace deal,” Claudia Ortolani, a young protester, told AFP…in Quilicura, north of Santiago, a shopping center was set on fire and looted by a crowd while in Puente Alto, another working-class area, a gas station, a police headquarters and businesses were attacked. In the northern city of Antofagasta, a motorist injured five people when he ran down protesters, while a supermarket was ransacked. Looting, barricades and fires were also recorded in the port of Valparaiso and the city of Vina del Mar, and in Concepcion in the south.”
“…on Tuesday, November 12, in the context of the massive strike that spread through all the territories, the government, with its tail between its legs, in a meeting at La Moneda asks the Armed Forces once again for help in the systematic repression of our class, however, the latter asked the government for guarantees of impunity for the crimes against humanity they would carry out against the peoples in struggle, and in view of the liberal fear of the political responsibilities associated with this decision, the government decided not to guarantee such a request, so the Armed Forces decided not to go out into the street, leaving Piñera and his ridiculous entourage in a National Chain where the braggart had to call retired cops to collaborate in the repression. Far from seeming funny to us, it seems worrying, the Armed Forces are deliberating and making decisions for themselves, therefore their political project takes on relevance in the current scenario, a project that will look for the impossibility of the current political caste to establish order in the face of the social outburst starting from a political solution, to intervene violently in the situation, in order to re-establish the bourgeois order at the point of bullets and humiliations. We call on the communities in struggle to be alert to the possibility of military terror returning to the streets, but this time from a more radical intervention.”
This represents about a third of their total retail outlets. According to some, about an eighth of the country’s supermarkets were wrecked &/or looted.
This gives higher figures: “The company has experienced 1,200 episodes of lootings and fires at 128 of its nearly 400 stores, with 34 supermarkets being set on fire, and 17 of them being destroyed”.
Christmas shopping comes early
“In Chile, it was sparked by a minor increase in the capital’s subway fare. In Ecuador, it was the end of fuel subsidies, and in Bolivia, a stolen election. Latin America, which a decade ago harnessed a commodities boom to pull millions out of poverty and offer what many saw as a model of modernization, is in revolt. It’s not another pink tide, nor is it a lurch to the right; the movement is more a non-specific, down-with-the-system rage. Furious commuters are looting cities, governments are on the run, and investors are unloading assets as fast as they can…”
“Throughout the weekend, demonstrators responded to these maneuvers by again filling the streets of Santiago, Valparaíso, Antofagasta and other major cities to protest the agreement. On Sunday, a media stunt by the former presidential candidate for the Broad Front, Beatriz Sánchez, who received over 20 percent of the vote in 2017, failed when demonstrators chanted for her to leave the main plaza of Santiago calling her a “traitor.”…Across the major “popular assemblies,” within the trade unions, and through its online publication La Izquierda Diario, the Revolutionary Workers Party (PTR) has played a key role in legitimizing the PCCh and Broad Front and channeling all opposition behind them. It has claimed that these assemblies run by tested and tried officials loyal to bourgeois rule are a necessary step toward “popular self-organization.” PTR leader Nicolás Bustamante said at a rally in Buenos Aires on Saturday organized by its Argentine partner PTS, that the PTR created one such assembly “from the Colegio de Profesores [teachers’ union]…with the goal of expanding this organism to the rest of workers organizations, form dockworkers to miners, and the most organized neighborhoods.” Their assembly has so far voted for “a campaign against repression” and “demanding that the trade-union bureaucracy of the Social Unity Roundtable…again demand ‘Out Piñera’ and a general strike to achieve that.”
Wikipedia article on this party
“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions”
– Karl Marx, “Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right“
I wonder if these anarchists were thinking of Bakunin’s suggestion during the 1849 Dresden uprising that the artworks of the museum be looted and put up on the barricades to slow the advance of the troops whose generals would value art above human beings…? In a Catholic country for troops to shoot the Virgin Mary would result in permanent excommunication.
(see also entry for 26/10/19 below)
Inspired by Chopin’s “Revolutionary Étude”?
This university was private, strictly for the children of the bourgeoisie – ie the future bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, it’s not only the obvious institutions for the training of the future elite that need subverting: ” The University has always been… as fundamental an aspect of class society as has been the dominant media: a society in which the ruling class speaks to, and tries to convince, itself and society generally in order to ever-perfect its forms of social control. Whilst academia’s differing illusions of “objectivity” and “neutral” acquisition of knowledge have changed and developed, along with its intake, over the centuries, its fundamental prop for this miserable world has always remained….There will be no more reason to retain the University in a free society than to retain banks, police or supermarkets. The University is, as always, a product and producer of the hierarchical division of labour, and must disappear if we’re ever to free ourselves from the alienations of class society: in the only possible future which does not involve barbarism, education shall be everywhere, the educators shall be educated and those who have specialist knowledge will share this knowledge with whoever they want (and not just in the future, but also now). In the present, with the increasing imposition of debt-inducing fees, in many countries the University’s intellectual specialisation is increasingly open only to the children of the elite, but even where such fees are being successfully resisted, there is no reason to support such an ideology-factory. In manufacturing ideas separate from their social consequences, it is an arm of separate power, of class power. There is no such thing as a Free University, an Open University or a People’s University, any more than there could be such a thing as a Free Bank, an Open Bank or a People’s Bank (or a Free Police, an Open Police or a People’s Police). The abolition of the commodity economy and the abolition of specialised intellect necessary to justify and reinforce it entail the end of both universities and banks. Just as banks are an expression of the mediation of life by value and the relatively arbitary hierarchies it produces, so universities are a symptom of the hierarchy of brain over body, thought divorced from its social consequences, the production of words and insights resulting at best in “interesting ideas”: entertainment or half-truths easily used by our enemies.” – here
“This is going to be the longest march in history and not because of its length, but because we are not going to leave the streets. The people of Chile are tired,” Jorge Salinas, a 62-year-old worker, told the EFE Agency…The protest in Plaza Italia took place peacefully, however there were also some moments of confrontations with riot police, looting and isolated riots….In one of the corners of the square, a historic building of the Pedro de Valdivia University was attacked by hooded people who looted…The property, dating from the early twentieth century, was set on fire. The same fate was met by the Civil Registry of the Providencia neighborhood of the Chilean capital. In addition, there were several barricade attacks and fires in the city streets…The violence of recent weeks led Piñera to convene on Thursday the controversial National Security Council (Cosena) to take action against “vandalism.” The body was created during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and is made up of the presidents of the congressional chambers and the commanders of the armed forces, among others…The sociologist Octavio Avedaño considered the call of Cosena as a “provocation” by Piñera and a sign that he is “totally disconnected” from the demands of the people. “Instead of delving into the social agenda he had set, he decided to put out the fire with gasoline. I predict an intensification of the protests“
“The office of the Independent Democratic Union [party whose origins are linked to Pinochet; it opposes abortion and other minimal freedoms for women] was destroyed after unknown people looted and burned it. This was also the headquarters of the senator and party president Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe and her brother Enrique Van Rysselberghe, a deputy from the same district.”
“…once again the commune of Providencia was the scene of barricades and looting during the afternoon of Thursday, on a new day of demonstrations. The calls to protest…caused barricades and clashes with police in various intersections of Providencia Avenue, such as Lyon, Sweden, Pedro de Valdivia, Holland, Old Guard and Miguel Claro, in addition to other interior streets. Looting was also recorded at the Casa & Ideas store near Sweden, where violent people stormed the premises and took out various items to set them on fire and disrupt traffic. An attack was also reported against a local Pronto de Copec [petrol station].”
Money is very violent: it robs, kills and walks free
“Hundreds of demonstrators marched towards the Costanera Center, South America’s largest shopping mall and a complex that includes the region’s tallest building — a symbol of the economic expansion that has made Chile one the region’s most stable countries. A phalanx of riot police stopped the demonstrators, firing water cannons and launching tear gas to disperse the crowds that gathered at the mall.The demonstrations then spilled into the wealthy Providencia neighborhood, the hub of Chile’s financial sector, where protesters lit fires, battled with police, looted a pharmacy and at least two banks, and damaged government buildings…Separately in Renca, a working-class neighborhood in northern Santiago, a small crowd attacked a police station leaving five officers injured. And truckers and car drivers blocked highways protesting the increase in road tolls…, on Wednesday [Pinera] signed a law guaranteeing a minimum monthly wage of some $467.” More here ” ”I came here because it’s an iconic place for the whole economic model,” said Gonzalo Campos, an intern, as he banged a saucepan on the street. “This is where all the posh people live and there are never demonstrations here. They have to learn how much discontent there is and the only way is to come here and protest in their faces.” In the streets around him a few hundred demonstrators played cat and mouse with police who deployed water cannons and tear gas to move them on. Protesters quickly picked up the tear gas canisters and threw them in the San Carlos canal that runs through the neighborhood. Towering over the protest was Latin America’s tallest building, a symbol of Chile’s modernity and progress that sits on top of the Costanera Center shopping mall. On Tuesday, welders had installed barbed wire and metallic shutters around the mall. Workers in the nearby offices and buildings sites had left early and tried to make their way home through the tear gas on the streets. Some local residents clapped the protesters from their window. …A plethora of groups from students to unions are pushing for improvements to wages, pensions, health care, education and transport, as well as a new constitution. So far, social concessions granted by the center-right government of President Sebastian Pinera have failed to appease them. “There isn’t one single struggle,” said Javier Pino, a student at the University of Santiago in the protest. “There is population-wide discontent about the low wages and the high cost of living.”” More here “In Renca, a popular neighborhood in northern Santiago, about 20 people attacked a police station. Five policemen were injured. Lorry drivers and motorists have also blocked several roads.“
“All governments – left or right wing – have stolen from us” – protester
“Chileans have installed some 200 “Self-Convened and Open Town Councils” to maintain the independence and strength of their collective action….the Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) presented to the citizens a weekend protest program which includes the performance of a “Super Monday” with mass mobilizations throughout the country. On next Monday Chilean workers will march at 12:00 to the Congress, which is located in Valparaiso city, to demand right-wing lawmakers to stop the debate of the government’s bills. At 5:00 p.m., people will gather at the cities’ main squares carrying posters with their demands. In Santiago, the concentration will take place in the Italy Square where the population will remind Piñera that the collective struggle seeks to reach a new Constitution, a minimum wage of US$675, a retirement pension equivalent to the minimum wage, cheaper basic services, free public transportation for senior citizens and students, among other demands. On Saturday and Sunday, workers will go to neighborhoods across the country to support the “Self-Convened and Open Town Councils,” which do not obey the dialogue strategy whereby Piñera tries to disrupt the people’s independence and strength…citizens have created about 200 open town councils in recent days, which has mobilized some 10,000 persons to authentic dialogue processes where people discuss the country’s problems and how to solve them.” Maybe I’m reading too much into this, since it all seems very tame. However, even such initiatives can be pushed further by those who offer some more radical analysis and/or practical suggestions to these kinds of public discussions.
Sample quote: “In Iquique, in the north of the country, at least four unidentified people carried out an incendiary attack on the cathedral, which suffered some damage to its facade. In the same city, a group of hooded men ransacked, destroyed and burned several toll booths”
Graffiti on Cumbres Hotel, Santiago, where a room costs 115 euros a night
“Hotel and tour groups have seen 40% of reservations for this spring and summer canceled in the past few weeks as the violence mounted, according to the Federation of Tourism Companies. “In all my years in the industry, I haven’t seen anything like this,” said Helen Kouyoumdjian, executive vice-president of the Federation. “And this is still in development. We don’t know what is going to happen.” The Principado de Asturias hotel in Santiago was attacked, the lobby destroyed, its windows smashed and guests forced to flee early on in the protests. Later the Mercure hotel in the center of the city was ransacked, and then badly damaged by fire.” – here
Includes some of the more horrific aspects of the repression.
“…In the current context, the repressive arsenal of the Chilean State has materialized into: … Physical, psychological and sexual assaults and tortures against detained people in public thoroughfares, vehicles and police stations. Kidnapping of people using police and civilian vehicles. Images have been circulated of people being locked in the boots of police vehicles. Shots fired from behind in the street at people who are given the false impression of escaping from arrests. False permissions given by police and military to loot supermarkets that end in arrests and murders that are later reported as deaths caused as a result of the riots. Fires in large commercial premises caused by repressive forces so that companies can collect the associated insurance. In some of these fires burnt corpses have been found. Throwing people from moving police cars and then shooting them. Hanging of the bodies of people killed in vacant lots and of living people in police barracks. The massive use of social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook has allowed for the immediate circulation of innumerable audiovisual evidence of the situations described above, which is being disseminated by “alternative” dissemination groups linked to the struggles, breaking the communication strategy deployed by the government and supported by the official media historically servile to power….”
“The popular rejection of the Chilean political elite continues to expand as over 2,500 workers from the mining company Escondida, the world’s largest copper deposit, begin a 24-hour strike today…In the last 24 hours, in turn, looting of shopping centers and fires in government offices have been reported in several Chilean cities.” More here “Fresh protests and attacks on businesses erupted in Chile Monday despite President Sebastián Piñera’s replacement of eight key Cabinet ministers with more centrist figures and his attempts to assure the country he has heard calls for greater equality and improved social services. Thousands of protesters crowded again into central Santiago, and one group set fire to a building that houses a fast-food restaurant and stores. Firefighters were battling the blaze. …Other looters attacked a pharmacy, and there was an attempt to set a subway station on fire…At least a couple dozen glass storefronts were smashed and graffiti cursing Piñera and calling for revolution was sprayed on virtually every building….“Chile has changed and the government must change,” Chile’s president said. However, his government announced no policies Monday aimed at addressing 10 days of protests over deficient social services and the high cost of living in one of Latin America’s most prosperous and modern nations.“A new Cabinet isn’t enough, we need real changes in health care, education, pensions,” said Omar Soto, 34, who runs a cellphone shop.”
Church broken into in order to use benches as barricades
Worth remembering that on 10th November 2017, in Aracunia in Chile a bus was torched in Mapuche territory in protest against the Pope’s visit
“Hooded activists in Chile have burned a bus and scattered pamphlets in protest of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis to a southern region claimed by the Mapuche indigenous group as its ancestral territory. …The pamphlets read: “Fire to the churches. Pope Francis: You’re not welcome here in Araucania.””
Our Market Who Art On Earth.
Hallowed Be Thy show
Thy State Power Come
Thy Will Be Done
On The Streets As It Is In Work.
Sell Us This Day Our Daily Lie
And Justify Us Y/ourProperty.
As We Submit To Those
That Assert Property
Relations Against Us
And Lead Us Anywhere But
Into Autonomous Temptation
But Deliver Us From Anti-Hierarchical Initiative
For Ours’ Is The Stagnation,
The Cop And The Celebrity
Forever Or Never?
“Tens of thousands of Chileans marched in Santiago, the capital city, as well as elsewhere in the country on Wednesday. Students and trade union leaders headed the demonstration, which took place even though President Sebastian Pinera announced a series of social reforms in a bid to quell days of violent protests. Protesters waved banners and national flags and shouted “Chile has woken up.”…Some protesters erected flaming barricades and clashed with riot police. Police deployed water cannon and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters. Two supermarkets were set on fire in the north of Chile, and a hotel was looted near Italia square in Santiago, broadcaster 24 Horas reported….Codelco, the Chilean state mining company, had to shut one mine and drastically reduce operations at a smelter, after workers joined the strike. Six of Codelco’s eight divisions were carrying on with the “majority of their operations,” the company said in a statement. The Copper Workers Federation (FTC), which unionizes workers from Codelco, announced late on Tuesday that its workers would join the strike…Later on Wednesday the FTC trade union called off the strike. They agreed to meet with government officials to improve workers conditions. On Tuesday the FTC and the National Grouping of Fiscal Employees, among other unions, had continued to back the strike, even after Pinera had announced a social reform package. The trade unionists who called the two-day strike initially wanted Pinera to discuss the proposed social reforms with grassroots organizations and for him to remove soldiers from the streets. Reforms announced by Pinera on Tuesday include an increase in the monthly pension, raising the minimum wage and canceling a 92% rise in electricity rates due to take effect next month.”
Protesters get fired up and blaze a trail for the future: a supermarket on fire in Antofagasta
(“ladrones” = thieves in Spanish)
“It is the game of dare that shatters the vulnerable veil separating the dispossessed from the “wealth” this world has to offer, at the same time shattering the ideology of exchange that separates people from each other; looting is a collective activity that unites us on the basis of an immediate break with our habitual submission to space & things….shopping keeps us apart, making everyone the policeman of their own encounters, reducing everyone to the banality of shop assistants and customers, workers and consumers, enervating queues and digits on a till. Products of competing businesses… shops perpetuate the nonsensical degrading form of organising things, the commodity form, which not only insults everyone’s imagination and dignity, but is also bureaucratic, inefficient and wasteful. Any proletarian with an ounce of audacity rightly goes out and liberates them on the basic class recognition of a simple re-distribution of wealth.”
“Fire, smoke and sirens. Santiago looks like a post-war city. … young people…protest against the political and entrepreneurial class of Chile, whom they hold responsible for the price increase and their miserable income. …Those who complain about social injustice make noises with pans, or hit the ground and lampposts with hammers and sticks on the ground. …Trade suffers a wave of looting. From food to large televisions, vandals destroy everything…”
“Until the proletariat seizes and transforms the economy, pillage will always be the minimum expression of life. Looting implies mass communal direct power, unmediated by buying & selling, by cops & specialists: it is the necessary ‘chaos’ through which we must pass in order to organise the distribution of things on a rational and playful human basis. Theft, particularly mass theft, gives you the chance to re-invent the use of a thing beyond the resigned individuals’ normal submission to the insult of its market value the use to which the Economy demands the individual sacrifice himself to, for which degrading irrationality all the Property Laws are the tedious justification.” – here
Fare-dodging, 2019: Santiago
“The latest protests follow grievances over the cost of living, specifically the costs of healthcare, education and public services. Unsatisfied by partial reforms following widespread education protests in 2011, the metro fare rise has proved the spark that has awoken Chile’s formidable student body…The entity that controls the Santiago Metro network has already confirmed that there will be no service over the weekend, and the Chilean student federation has called a nationwide strike for Monday.”
…More here “…as night fell, the Enel utility building and a branch of Banco Chile, both in the city center, were set on fire. … no employees were injured…A nearby supermarket was also looted and several metro stations were attacked with Molotov cocktails…Before the metro stations were closed, calls to get on the trains without tickets had circulated, protesting against the increase in the price of metro tickets, from 800 to 830 pesos (about $ 2) during rush hour , after already a first increase of 20 pesos last January. “The entire network is closed due to riots and destruction that prevent the minimum security conditions for passengers and workers,” the metro manager said on Twitter, after attacks against almost all 164 stations where many gates and turnstiles were destroyed. …The Santiago Metro, the largest (140 km) and most modern in South America, which carries about 3 million passengers per day, is expected to remain closed this weekend and could reopen gradually next week. Many Santiago residents have had to walk home, sometimes traveling long distances, resulting in scenes of chaos and despair. In various parts of the city, protesters erected barricades and clashed with police, who used water cannons and tear gas, the most long-standing street battle scenes in the Chilean capital…President Sebastian Pinera called the protesters delinquents. “This desire to break everything is not a protest, it’s criminal,” he said in a radio interview. Thursday, 133 people had been arrested for damage in the metro stations, where the damage amounted to 400 to 500 million pesos (about $ 925,000)”.… More here“The campaign erupted when secondary school students began to jump barriers in groups following a fare rise on 6 October, which put Santiago’s metro among the most expensive in Latin America at 830 pesos ($1.17) during the rush hour. Bus prices also climbed as part of the changes…The demonstrations have spread across the city, leading to violent clashes between protesters and police, who have used teargas to disperse crowds on concourses and platforms. Protesters have vandalized barriers and electronic turnstiles, and pulled emergency brakes on trains, affecting the more than 2.5 million passengers who use the metro each day. Police have made dozens of arrests and two officers were reportedly injured.” …More here “The state of emergency will initially run for 15 days and restricts freedom of movement and assembly. Due to the emergency, the National Football Association has suspended matches this weekend. General Iturriaga said the military would patrol major trouble spots in the city of seven million but would not impose a curfew at present.”
View of Macul Metro station set on fire by protesters during a mass fare-dodging protest in Santiago, on October 19, 2019. Santiago’s underground network is the longest and most modern in South America.
“fare-dodge and destroy” – the burnt-out electricity company building
For information on the class struggle in Chile under Allende, see this.
And on Pinochet’s coup of September 1973, see: “Strange Defeat”, written in October 1973
Below: “Capitalism is the most respected genocide in the world”