What yesterday’s vote expressed was a radical and massive break with the past. It was a direct continuation of the great mobilisation started on 18 October against inflation, poverty, the corrupt regime and Piñera’s government.
It is a triumph of all the people who took to the streets and endured murders, mutilations, imprisonment, the violent repression of a government supported by politicians and the Parliament.
The vote of approval, with a 78 per cent, has made it clear the massive repudiation of Pinochet’s constitution. The same Constitution to which Piñera and the right wing are clinging to remain in power despite the population’s profound condemnation.
Contrary to the expectations of the right and the false opposition, the people defeated the accords. They expected a major vote of rejection, to prevent changes to the current constitution. They needed a massive affirmative vote to justify the vetoes and impediments to reforms. However, the right wing and the government were defeated with a meagre 20 per cent support.
Therefore, we say the other big loser is Piñera’s government, and those who support it. The 20-per-cent-rejection expressed there’s no strong social support for the government. But this time it includes even the most right-wing sectors that had been criticising Piñera. All together, they couldn’t win support!
Evening’s celebrations were tinged with shouts and banners against Piñera. Millions voted against the government, and made it clear on the streets. Far from the discourse of unity he gave in La Moneda, Piñera had to change his voting place to a school in a rich neighbourhood, he voted very early and with a police escort, a situation that left nobody indifferent. «Changes to avoid protests» should have been recognised in La Moneda.
The forcefulness of the victory also left mortally wounded the old political parties that for 30 years stood for the privileges of big economic groups, foreign capital and the repressive forces under the murky waters of the politics of agreements and corruption. Again, the celebrations in the evening expressed this undeniable reality. The Concertación (Coalition of Parties for Democracy) celebrated hidden in a party hall, the CP and the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) had to be content with going to an absolutely secondary square in the capital, joining the activities called by assemblies. No sector of the opposition could make a public act claiming victory! None of them could turn up in Dignidad Square!
The Constitution was mortally wounded after the massive rejection of the people and workers in the plebiscite, but it still does not die.
If Piñera, the regime and its parties were defeated, what did the people win?
We should not deceive ourselves, although a historic vote against Pinochet’s constitution and the government has been achieved, it has been done within the framework of a process imposed by the corrupt Peace Agreement. That is why this victory also expresses a contradictory process.
We are being led into the trap of the manoeuvres and lies of Act 21,200 which regulates the constitutional convention. The Act gives the right wing two-thirds of a quorum and the former Concertación to defend Pinochet’s legacy, which prevents changing agreements with the multinationals and prevents the convention from being free and sovereign. Above all, it will put the convention in the hands of the 30-year-old parties, leaving out the independents.
That is why we must continue to denounce this trap, but intervene in full force in the Convention without leaving the streets, and without ceasing to demand Piñera’s departure now. We must prevent them from getting away with it and using this popular victory against the will of the people with a version 2.0 of the corrupt politics of the agreements.
As difficult as it will be, we must intervene with candidates from the trade unions, feminist organisations, territorial assemblies and mobilisations. We must continue to use the powerful instrument of mobilisation, because it was what really made this triumph possible.
Piñera must go now
The prisoners of the struggle must get out of the prisons and their trials or sentences must be annulled.
The curfew and the intervention of the military in repressive work must be stopped.
Dissolution now of Carabineros and creation of a new police force elected from the bottom up with only one rank and under the control of the neighbours and the labourers.
The people should not demobilise now under the threat of losing everything
The workers, suburban and popular sectors, our indigenous peoples, women and dissident sexualities must build a new political leadership of the working class and the people, which is anti-capitalist, democratic and fighting, sweeping away the bureaucrats and leaders who prevent their struggle. We must fight for a government of the working class and the people, which is the only guarantee that we will solve the most felt demands. And to defend this proposal and to take it to all the corners of our country, we must build together a new political reference to continue the struggle.
For this reason, we invite you to join the MST. Let’s take part in our workshops and talks, let’s legalise candidates of struggle and let’s guarantee the real working class and popular victory: Socialism organised democratically by the people and the workers.