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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #284 - Chile: Neoliberalism, democracy and the new left (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:44:12 +0300

Following a powerful student movement in 2011, Chile has seen the emergence of a radical left-wing coalition that has achieved some electoral success and in which part of the libertarian movement is participating. Where does this amazing combination come from and what criticisms can be made of it from a class and self-management point of view ? ---- In recent decades, Chile has attracted the attention of the world's left. In addition to a dose of exoticism, this interest can be explained by the political impact and the media impact of the 1973 coup d'état, the bloody dictatorship that followed, and the installation of a democracy " pactée "in 1989 where the fallen dictator Pinochet has served in Parliament alongside torturé.es, widows, widowers and orphans du.es his regime.

The alliance between dictatorship and neoliberal politics
More recently, this interest was linked to having been - and still being - a sort of laboratory of neoliberal policies, which has made it possible both to better describe this system and to think possible resistances, such as 2011 student movement. Where are we now ? A brief historical analysis is necessary.

The 1973 coup d'état, orchestrated by the bourgeoisie and executed by the Chilean army and police with the financial and logistical support of the United States government, led not only to the persecution, disappearance and loss of life. exile of most Chilean left activists but also the implementation of an economic policy inspired by the neoliberal ideas of the " Chicago School " ". These economic policies have been accompanied by a huge retreat of social gains and a real destruction of the existing social fabric: the privatization of almost all public enterprises and social security, the ultra-liberalization of the labor market and the Reduction of the public service were accompanied by the drafting of a constitution marked by authoritarianism, the commodification of education and health and the prohibition of abortion. This is a warning to the working classes all over the world: the conflict between the free market and the intervention of the state is only superficial. When the time comes, the ruling class has, and will never have,

The arrival of democracy in 1990 promised the end of the model imposed by the dictatorship and the political, economic and social reconstruction of the country. However, while it is undeniable that during these almost thirty years of democracy the state of affairs is not the same as in 1989, neoliberalism still reigns and neo-conservatism is still present. Funny show to see the huge shopping centers in Santiago while Chile is the 14 th most unequal country in the world, where concerts Rihanna sell at 350 euros instead of the SMIC is 370 euros. At university, things are not so different: average tuition fees are 4,500 euros per year, even in public universities.

The same is true for authoritarianism. How can a people do nothing when it is clear that their rights are being confiscated and forced to endure the social and economic policies they have been fighting for so many years ? Throughout the years 1990-2000, several days of mobilization were organized but it was not until 2011 that the social movement managed to make visible what was obvious: this democracy was a joke. That year, thousands of high school and university students took to the streets to end the education system set up by Pinochet and maintained by the Concertación, the coalition of center and left parties that dominated since the end of the dictatorship.

Renewal through student struggles
The population gave him strong support for the struggles: 70% declared themselves in favor of student demands, such as free higher education and the strengthening of public education. Although the mobilizations failed to transform the education system, some important but still insufficient reforms were put in place. In addition to these reforms, the wave of mobilizations brought new forms of organization within the social movement and the appearance of a new political subject.

It is in this context of mobilization that the " new left " managed to get organized and get noticed by the media and the population. The young student directorates, now public figures, have taken the lead in political renewal, creating or reinforcing the " new civic left " movements that we know today. In 2016, a good part of these movements converged on the Frente Amplio (FA) which, according to its declaration of principles, fights for " a Chile for all, respectful of the environment, where the social rights are the basis of a full democracy ", to which they add that" a society of rights will be possible only by going beyond the neoliberal economic model ". It is the thesis of the " democratic break " which, roughly speaking, denounces an insurmountable contradiction between democracy and neoliberalism. In this sense, they recognize the impossibility of changing the neoliberal system from the inside but they think that a democracy will not be possible unless the " authoritarian enclaves " installed by the dictatorship are removed.

Their strategy is therefore to create the conditions for a democratic overflow of neoliberal institutions by the combination of government actions and social mobilizations. Behind this idea, there is the substitution of the class of social class by the concepts of citizens and citizenship. Admittedly, the two libertarian communist movements that are part of the coalition, Socialismo y libertad and Izquierda libertaria, continue to talk about social classes, but for most of the FA the model of political subject remains the student movement, a true modern myth of this new left . They see in the mobilized youths the crystallization of the contradictions of the system, which is doubtful to say the least. Even if in 2011 radical positions were expressed,

The thesis of the " democratic break "
Legitimate claims sought to make life harder under neoliberalism, to provide young people with the tools they needed to succeed in the world of work. Access to quality public education, free and unselected university would have enormously contributed to the democratization of the country, but does this question capitalism as a mode of production and neoliberalism as a mode of governance ? The idea that neoliberalism is a social project - likely to oppose others, such as the democratic project - is itself a neoliberal idea. With the FA, we are well within the limits of democratic neoliberalism, which indeed exists, despite its theses.

The electoral aspect of this strategy has borne fruit: FA candidate in the presidential election, Beatriz Sánchez, made a significant score of 20%. They also won 20 MPs, 1 senator, 4 mayors and 65 regional elected representatives. On the other hand, although the social movement has succeeded in restoring some rights, including the partial decriminalization of abortion and a scholarship system for students, it is not clear that its transformative power can become revolutionary. It is not more obvious that this corresponds to the strategy of the FA. The question that arises is not the possibility of reforming the political system by electoral means, but the limits of this policy. Unfortunately, only history can answer it.

Felipe (AL Paris Nord-Est)

Chilean libertarians and elections
It may surprise to see the movement Izquierda libertaria (IL, Left libertarian) to be part of Frente Amplio (FA). How could a libertarian movement not only call for electoral participation and subscribe to a government program, but also introduce candidates to parliament ? How could he go so far as to use " For a free and sovereign Chile " as a slogan while remaining a libertarian communist organization ? How are they arrived at this policy, apparently far removed from libertarian ideas ?

According to Lucas Cifuentes, general secretary of IL and spokesman of the FA, during the 2011 movements, they " realized that, given the institutional construction of the political system and the current state of the social movement, it was almost it is impossible to produce an effective breakthrough that would enable Chileans to achieve not only the goal of a more dignified life but also to pave the way for broader political transformations . "

They declare having decided to " break into the electoral field and integrate it as a front of struggle.[...]very aware that if we remain isolated, we will not be able to produce a break and that it is therefore necessary not only to form an alliance with the revolutionary left, socialist but also with some sectors of the progressive left with whom we can have important agreements on the tasks of the present moment ". Everything is said, if they did not give up the horizon of a libertarian communist society, they joined the FA in its progressive and civic policy embodied in the thesis of " democratic rupture ". Admittedly, they have exceeded the threshold of historical marginality of the libertarian movement, but at what price ? Is this a simple mistake of appreciation or a conversion in social democracy ? It is difficult to know, and it is only in the coming years that we can judge.

There is Socialismo y libertad (MP-SOL), a split of IL, which has just published its " political line " (see their website Mpsol.cl). In general, his position is not too far from that of IL: they adhere to the thesis of democratic rupture and they too have integrated the " electoral front " to their activities, but their position, much more nuanced, makes it possible to reach an agreement with more radicalized sectors.

All the libertarians of Chile are not in the FA, notably Solidariad, close to Black Rose Anarchist Federation (American organization close to Anarkismo.net). Despite the predictable difficulties to lead a libertarian communist policy in a country like Chile and also errors, they managed to settle down little by little like a reference classist of self-management. The task is heavy, everything has to be built. It is a misfortune but also a chance.

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