6/3 – Chile: Regaining Dignity is Priceless

By Carlos Aznarez from Chile on March 4, 2020

Yesterday was another day of mobilization in several points of the city of Santiago and surroundings. As it happened on the first day of the revolt, in October 2019, the high school students repeated the initiative of “evading” the payment of the subway system. At a predetermined time, hundreds of young people entered the Plaza de Armas station, and others did the same in Santa Ana station, generating displays of solidarity from the public who were waiting at the stations at that time. The cries of “Piñera Quit” and the very popular song of “Whoever doesn’t jump is a paco (a police officer)” were heard for a long time.

Coincidentally, as it has happened every afternoon from the end of February and now into March, groups of students and also people coming from some neighborhoods gathered around Plaza de la Dignidad, which immediately set off a violent police operation. In force the carabineros  attacked with toxic water cannons and other vehicles, gassing at will any group of people who moved through the surrounding streets or along the main street. The tension and the shouting grew repudiating this uniformed force that counts on the impunity of being protected by the government, despite the growing number of complaints that are piling up among human rights organizations.

Meanwhile, other demonstrations and also some barricades took place in the Puente Alto commune, at some schools and universities of the Capital city and in the Bio Bio region, in Concepcion.

The truth is that the announced “combative (month of) March” has been set in motion with considerable coordination, and one can notice the presence in the streets of the student masses who, at the beginning of their classes, demonstrated total solidarity with the slogans of the revolt. The climate in the streets, which heats up day by day, is preparing the main course for this weekend.  tomorrow, a big move is expected on behalf of the Secondary Students Coordination Assembly (ACES), in Peñalolen, a combative commune of Santiago. Friday, as it has usually happened since last October, is the day in which the most important squares of the country are filled with thousands of people who will again concentrate demanding the resignation of the government of the dictator Sebastian Piñera. In Plaza de la Dignidad, the radio station of the same name has called for a concert by the emblematic group Illapu and the singer-songwriter Nano Stern from the station’s balconies in mid-afternoon. Then comes the attempt to occupy the Plaza and, as is often the case, the deployment of the heroic front line to prevent the cops from getting away with preventing it. That day, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Concepcion and other hot spots of the protest will repeat marches and also scenes of a particular Chilean-style Intifada.

On Saturday, innumerable events are announced in towns, some of them linked to the feminist tide that will overflow the Chilean geography on Sunday 8 and Monday 9 with a national strike coinciding with International Women’s Day. On these two dates, it is speculated with some reliability that hundreds of thousands of women and dissidents will come out to demonstrate that if there was something missing to bring them out to the streets, there are Piñera’s brazen and provocative words about women who are being harassed.

This is how things are unfolding in this irreverent, necessary, courageous and exemplary Chile for those who want to imagine (and learn) how one can confront capitalism, rotting “democracy” and its recipes for death. This month will mark 150 days of fighting for dignity, and instead of diminishing, the popular wave continues to grow week by week. Even though the armed enemy moves in vehicles with weapons of war that generate death and distributes poison everywhere, no one steps back. The front line continues to gain militants and its composition is from different classes and with gender equality. In the towns, neighbors collaborate by painting the walls with their slogans of truths but also by giving battle when the cops provoke them by arriving with arrogance into their communities. In the stadiums, groups of sports fans use each event as an opportunity to chant the President’s name, pointing out that this ‘scoundrel’ is identical in criminality to the dictator Pinochet.

In other words, the revolt is still alive and on the verge of spreading, just like the neighbors of the Mapuche Nation, who have not stopped putting forward their demands since long before Chile woke up.

Faced with such a developing scenario, it is very likely that the regime, which is already imagining a major defeat in the plebiscite on April 20, will choose to take the repression to unbearable levels. In fact, Monday was an example of the extent to which they are willing to hurt those who demonstrate when over 300 were arrested.  To these are added the repressive vehicles that another terrorist State (Israel) handed over to the carabineros to continue their maiming and killing.

Some militants say they smell a possible major escalation of repression in the air; others whisper that the government is encouraging a self-coup with military support and the blessing of the United States. However, in the face of rumors and predictions, the streets are not silent, the population continues to accumulate contempt for a corrupt and murderous government. The time that has passed since the rebellion began shows that the thousands of young and not-so-young people who maintain such an unequal battle are not willing to give up their conquered self-esteem. Is that enough? At this moment on the continent, that’s quite a lot.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau

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