By Jakob Stein
Over the past week, graffiti appeared in Austin reading, “Solidarity with Popular Struggle in Chile,” and “¡Viva la Lucha de las Naciones Oprimidas! (Long Live the Struggle of the Oppressed Nations).”
The sign of solidarity comes as the popular rebellion in the country reaches the two-week mark, during which time at least 23 protesters have been killed, and thousands more have been injured or arrested. The crisis has become so acute that on Wednesday, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera withdrew the country from hosting two seperate international imperialist conferences, a United Nations COP25 (Conference of Parties) climate summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade forum. He cited the ongoing protests as the reason for the cancellation.
Piñera attempted to quell the violent protests by immediately withdrawing the metro fare hikes that sparked the rebellion to no avail. Since then, he has introduced a slew of other reforms hoping it to satisfy the protesters, but neither these social democratic measures nor the repressive state apparatus has been able to stop the popular rebellion.
The protests, though largely spontaneous and lacking proletarian leadership, have demonstrated an advanced character by rejecting Piñera’s sugar-coated bullets in the form of reforms and targeting inequality generally. While Chile’s rebellion currently rages on, the mass uprising in regional neighbor Ecuador has lost steam due to opportunist leaders of the indigenous movement who accepted Lenin Moreno’s paltry offer to withdraw Decree 883, reinstating fuel subsidies and leaving a host of other austerity measures backed by the International Monetary Fund intact.
Although the masses of Chile have shown an unwavering commitment to the protests it is unclear what concrete demands they will push. Piñera has already reshuffled his cabinet, and if the protests force him to resign he will be ultimately replaced by another representative of the landlord-bureaucratic state and lackey of imperialism, at this point chiefly US imperialism. What the masses desperately need is proletarian leadership in the form of a communist party, which today is the Red Faction of the Communist Party of Chile. A revolution will not be won in a matter of weeks, as Communists consolidate the most advanced sections of workers and peasants, they have the opportunity to transform the currently disorganized popular rebellion into a stable body capable of leading People’s War for New Democracy.
Stay up-to-date on the popular movement in Chile by following revolutionary news source El Pueblo.