Allende's compass

Image: Hugo Fuentes


The paths opened by Allende will be essential to successfully materialize what will undoubtedly be a very tough and prolonged social dispute.

Almost half a century has passed. In between, an atrocious dictatorship that tortured, killed, disappeared and exiled hundreds of thousands of Chileans. In addition, he plundered the country and enriched the regime's hierarchs, starting with Augusto Pinochet and his family. Some time later, with the return of “democracy” – in reality, a very well-built simulacrum, with all the forms, pomps and circumstances of democracy, but lacking in real substance – thirty years would pass in which the accursed seed sown with force by the dictator and his cronies. Its fruits were a tremendously unequal society, which also broke its traditional ties of solidarity and surrendered to the mirage summarized in the formula coined by the regime: citizenship is consumption. In other words, the triumph of “anti-politics” and, by extension, the obsolescence of all forms of collective action.

Added to this was the plundering of the country's riches and their transfer to powerful business oligarchies, Chile's unconditional alignment with Washington, scandalously represented by that photograph of Sebastián Piñera in the White House, where the star on the Chilean flag coincided with the fiftieth of the imperial pavilion, illustrating the aspiration of their country's elite to become a colony of the United States. Thirty years in which there was continuity and no break between Pinochetism and the successor regime, which ruined any pretense of talking seriously about a “democratic transition”.

“It has been thirty years, not thirty pesos”, said the protagonists of the great social struggles unleashed on October 18, 2019. At that moment, the popular masses glimpsed the proximity of those great avenues that Salvador Allende had invoked in his last speech and began to walk in that direction. direction.

It was a long march, uphill and full of pitfalls and obstacles of all kinds. But despite everything, progress was made: the repudiation of the Pinochet Constitution, the call for a Constitutional Convention and its implementation, with the significant influence that the contesting forces acquired and the presidency exercised by a leader mapuche, Elisa Loncón Antileo were so many milestones of this irresistible advance.

But there was still a greater challenge: building a coalition that could fight a right wing that was far from giving up and that entered the electoral battle with the field tilted in its favor.

We saw this Sunday: the media in a rabid anti-communist campaign, denouncing the “extremist” Boric; National Television discouraging voter participation with apocalyptic predictions of a heat wave; and, even worse, the government's rude and undemocratic maneuver to order public surface transport ("the micros” in Chilean jargon) did not go out into the streets and stayed in their garages.

But it was all futile, and the coalition I appreciate the dignity, formed by the Broad Front and the Communist Party, with the support of other forces, won a landslide victory that no poll could predict: Boric won 55,87% of the votes against 44,13% for Kast. It is no coincidence that, with this number, Boric practically equals the maximum mark in a presidential election: the 56,09% that consecrated Eduardo Frei Montalva as president of Chile in 1964.

There are so many things to say about this moving and hopeful opening of the great malls. Firstly, the importance of the decision to look for those who were the protagonists of the great popular protests, but did not vote in the first round. Voter turnout was 55,65%, and that was the key to Boric's triumph. He did not go in search of votes from the almost non-existent “political center”, lowering the great flags of the October days, but calling on the popular neighborhoods.

Second: a very difficult task awaits him: social debt, economic crisis, pandemic and all under fierce attack from the right. It is to be expected that, upon entering the La Moneda (I hope as soon as possible!), the spirit of Salvador Allende settled on the young president and transmitted all his wisdom and values ​​to him. For example, its unlimited trust in the people and the essential popular organization, the only guarantee it will have in the face of the relentless war to which it will be subjected.

The certainty that Allende had that the Chilean ruling class will never accept a left-wing government and that, as happened to him (and is already happening to Boric: seeing the reaction of the Stock Exchange on Monday, a fall of 6% and the dollar shot) will appeal to any resource to thwart his work of government.

And, finally, the absolute conviction, which President Mártir also had, that it is necessary to resist the maneuvers of imperialism and the right, the political caste and its spokespersons and articulators in the media, NGOs and other factual powers that combine with calculated astuteness their typical pressure and extortion with certain “friendly” gestures that try to soften Boric, all with the sole and non-negotiable objective of weakening and, if possible, ending his government and transforming Chile into the 51st star of the United States.

Allende's compass will be essential to successfully materialize what will undoubtedly be a very tough and prolonged social dispute, in which popular awareness and organization will play an absolutely crucial role.

*Atilio A. Boron is professor of political science at the University of Buenos Aires. Author, among other books, of Minerva's Owl (Voices).

Translation: Cesar Locatelli to the Portal Major Card.

Originally published in the newspaper page 12.


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