Earthquake in Chile: Feminist Rescue and Dual Power – A New Beginning for the Left

Bill Young

“Lack of confidence in the masses (is to be) blind to the relationship of theory to history as a historical relationship made by masses in motion”. (p. 288)

 

“Our epoch is a birth-time, and a period of transition.” (Hegel) (p. 7)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

 

“¡Alerta, alerta, alerta machista!¡Que todo territorio se vuelve feminista!”

 

“Patriarchy here’s what’s up! This entire continent is going feminist!”

Colectivo Las Tesis – street performance October 2019

Chile has drawn global attention from those struggling against neoliberalism. In a series of stunning events between 2019 and 2022, Chileans mobilized 3.7 million people during the week of October 18-25, 2019, (more than 2.5 times the U.S. George Floyd uprising based on Chile’s population), who, after enacting $3.5 billion USD in targeted property destruction, won a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the neoliberal constitution imposed in 1980, and subsequently inaugurated the President of their choosing on March 11, 2022.

How were these things achieved? Who are the revolutionary subjects driving change? Is this remarkable upsurge a Chilean phenomenon or does it cross national and regional borders? In Dunayevskaya’s words, do these ‘new passions and new forces’ represent a movement from practice which then becomes the theory and program for the next stage?

In this article I would like to draw attention to remarkable events and achievements by the Chilean people. They have endured fifty years of neoliberalism, enforced and enabled by state violence at each step. There is something more. At the most critical moments of the uprisings, we see intervention by collective feminist leadership to identify and rally key players, direct the action, deploy the base, and theorize the movement for the next stage. This sustained feminist rescue contributes to the long-awaited new beginning for the Left nationally and globally. It is not the whole movement but in the face of decades of setback it may be the critically missing piece.

Masses-In-Motion Deliver a Targeted and Strategic Material Blow

“The overcoming of the opposition can occur only through action..practice does here become pivotal..this “transforming process” is nothing short of History.” (p. 15-16)

“The truth is always concrete.” (p. 23)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

“Seremos la pesadilla de quienes roban nuestros sueños.

No es 1973. ¡Es 2019!” 

 

“We are the nightmare of those who steal our dreams.

This is not 1973 (the coup year). It’s 2019!”

Hand lettered protest sign Santiago October 2019

To win the concessions above it was necessary for the popular sectors to deliver a body blow to a neoliberal regime that has maintained power through unremitting state violence over a period of fifty years. In doing this the costs to Chilean protesters were also high.

The $3.5 billion in property destruction was carried out over a two day period in October 2019. It targeted Santiago’s state-of-the-art subway system which was inaugurated in 1975 by dictator Augusto Pinochet and carries 2.5 million people to work and to school every day. These workers are essential to sustain Chile’s acclaimed neoliberal model where the bottom 60% of wage earners receive just 24% of the nation’s income, while the top 20% take home 58% of the wealth produced. The students are also key since education, like health care and pensions, is privatized in Chile and families go into debt to acquire the best education they can buy. In fact Chile has the highest per capita household debt in Latin America at 45.4% of GDP. Former President Sebastián Piñera is a self-made billionaire who gained his fortune distributing credit cards to the Chilean population and collecting interest on people’s purchases of basic services such as education, health care..even water. Because the Santiago subway system is key to the social reproduction of the working class it is understandable that a sudden rise in subway fares triggered the revolt. Protesters proclaimed, “It’s not 30 pesos. It’s 30 years!” Other targeted property destruction included the national energy company ENEL plus foreign owned businesses like Walmart and McDonalds. Local small businesses were left intact.

Neoliberal Chile was the first Latin American country to join the OECD (Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation) which includes the Global North economies of North America, Europe, and Japan. In an embarrassing setback to Chile’s cultivated image of neoliberal stability the Piñera government was forced to cancel on short notice both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the United Nations COP25 climate change conference, scheduled to take place in Chile in November and December 2019 respectively.

In fact, the Atlantic Council estimates a decline of 1.9% in Chile’s 2019 economic growth directly attributable to the property destruction and massive street protests. This represents a loss of almost half of the previous year’s annual growth of 3.98%. Thus the events of October-November 2019 went beyond the realm of civil protest to deliver a material body blow in what had seemed, for fifty years, to be a one-sided class war.

In the course of one week, Friday October 18 to Friday October 25, $3.5 billion in property had been destroyed, a national strike was in full swing with all banks closed, all classes suspended, 20 ports paralyzed, and 75% of industry shut down, plus a national mobilization on Friday October 25 where 3.7 million Chileans joined in a peaceful and joyful demonstration. This represented 20% of Chile’s total population. One out of every four Chileans over the age of 15 came out onto the street on the same day.

The following Monday October 28, 2019, the President of Chile Sebastian Piñera requested the resignation of his entire cabinet. The BBC report Piñera, visibly shaken, addressed the nation as follows, “We are in a new reality… Chile is different from what it was a week ago.”

Piñera’s government was the direct heir of the Right-wing forces who staged the 1973 coup. In fact his elder brother Jose Piñera served in dictator Pinochet’s first cabinet and was one of the original ‘Chicago Boys’. Claiming he had been unaware of the impact of neoliberal inequalities on the lives of Chileans, Sebastian Piñera asked his television audience,“for forgiveness…”

Essentially the government had fallen. Two and a half weeks later on November 15, 2019, the Congress of Chile approved a national plebiscite to ask 19 million Chileans, yes or no, did they want to rewrite the country’s Constitution, and did they want to do so by directly electing representatives to a Constitutional Convention.

For reference, see Appendix 1: Timeline of Four Weeks: Fri Oct 18 to Fri Nov 15, 2019.

The Cost of Uprising is High for Those Who Dare

“The essential element is self-evident: man has to fight to gain freedom; thereby is revealed “the negative charac­ter” of modern society.” (p. 44)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

 

From October through February, 11,664 citizens were injured in demonstrations and protests. 36 were reported killed. Many observers feel this is understated.

28,000 people were arrested.

There were multiple allegations of excessive force, torture, sexual abuse, and rape on the part of both the Chilean police and the army. National and international human rights organizations are investigating these charges.

A notable offense was the extensive use of rubber bullets by police which injured 964 people. 427 were wounded in the eye, the majority of whom permanently lost their sight. Police deliberately aimed at the eyes of protesters to intimidate them in an effort to suppress the mobilization.

Who Are the Revolutionary Subjects?

“New forces and new passions spring up in the bosom of society.”

(Marx, Capital)

From Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982) (p. 267)

“When the 14 year olds went into the street, we realized we had to be there too.”

Chilean labor leader, October 2019

 

The revolutionary subjects driving the process in Chile are a mixed group dispersed throughout the population. They are united by the overwhelming and negative impact of capitalist neoliberalism on their lives. These include high school and university students, marginalized urban workers, a militant feminist current, fighters for Indigenous rights, defrauded middle class pensioners, and environmental activists from neoliberal ‘sacrifice zones’. Key characteristics of the Chilean movement are that, ideologically, it is decidedly pluralist, politically highly decentralized, militantly feminist, and increasingly plurinational with an affirmation of Chile’s mestizo and Indigenous roots.

Regarding an evolving working class, scholar Jeffery Webber notes the important role played by feminism. “The resurgent feminist movement has made visible workers long absent from traditional workerist conceptions of the labouring class – women, trans, queers, unpaid domestic workers, informal workers, and racialized and feminized precarious workers.” (Verso interview, Nov 6, 2019)

#ChileDespertó!- Chile has woken up!: Popular Culture and Mobilization

“Self-determination in which alone the Idea is is to hear itself speak” was heard by those fighting for self-determination.” (p, 289)

“Once the realm of thought is revolutionized, reality can scarcely hold out,” (Hegel) (p. xxiv)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

 

“La fiesta se acabó. ¡Chile despertó!”

 

“The party’s over! Chile has woken up!”

 Hand lettered protest signs and banners seen repeatedly in Santiago Oct-Nov 2019

 

From March 2017 through March 2020 Chile witnessed mobilizations of 1 million, 2 million, and 3.7 million people on a single day, plus intervening assemblies of hundreds of thousands. These are very large numbers for a country with a population of 19 million. How is this accomplished? How does the word go out? Chile’s popular resistance has strong cultural expressions which propel it and sustain it at each step. These include la canción (songs & music), la consigna (slogans and graffiti), el vitoreo (street chants and cheers), and el arte popular (graphic art and murals). These are produced by local participants and reflect local struggles.

In fact, it may be said that the Chilean popular movement is driven by a visceral affirmation of life in the face of death: the death of an equitable economy, the death of people’s dreams, death by pandemic, and death through climate collapse. Peter Hudis made this observation regarding the U.S. George Floyd protests in a public presentation Feb. 28, 2022. Mass uprisings reflect the forces of social reproduction as they affirm lifegiving and caregiving.

The Central Role of Chilean Feminism: Transversal, Activist, Militant

“Our personal lives are not a political problem.”

 Coordinadora Feminista 8M

 (March 8 National Feminist Coordinating Body-Chile)

 

“The caregiver organizations said more was at play than in other elections. It was about caring for hard-won rights and for the lives of women, girls, and non-binary people. Each one of those present knew that it was necessary to defeat Kast and that this defeat had to be overwhelming. And that’s what we did.”

Karina Nogales & Javiera Munzi, Coordinadora Feminista 8M, Jacobin América Latina, Jan 7, 2022

 

“We resolved, so that nobody could tell us what we were fighting for, to draft a program, and that we would do it at a Plurinational Meeting of Women in Struggle.”

Alondra Carrillo, Coordinadora Feminista 8M

quoted by Webber, Nov 6, 2019

The Chilean anti-capitalist resistance responds to Chilean national issues. Nevertheless, it sees itself as part of a growing regional and international movement, of which it is a contingent, and whose presence and solidarity it needs to thrive. Chilean activists regularly refer to struggles in Poland, Hong Kong, Spain, Palestine, and Argentina. In the words of Alondra Carrillo, a leader of the Coordinadora Feminista 8M, “We want feminism to be a coherent counter and negation to the radical right throughout the continent.” Chilean feminists define their movement as “transversal” and seek to bring together the many varied elements of the struggle.

Indeed, the Coordinadora Feminista 8M was the first to call for a General Strike during the critical week of Oct 18 to 25, 2019 and worked closely with radical port workers, copper miners, and student leaders to bring the nation to a standstill. When Gabriel Boric’s presidential campaign faltered in the first round of voting Nov 21, 2021, it was the feminist networks who mobilized 1.2 million new voters to rescue Boric from second place and put him over the top to win the presidency. This was done in the space of just four weeks.

Two activists of the Coordinadora Feminista 8M, Karina Nogales and Javiera Manzi, document outreach to 33 grassroots organizations. These include 16 women’s LGBTQ, and community care groups, plus 17 labor union, environmentalist, non-aligned constitutional assembly reps, and Left organizations outside the electoral coalition supporting Boric’s candidacy, the Apruebo Dignidad of the old-line left. See, Nohales, Karina and Javiera Manzo. “Chile: Fue el pueblo.” Jacobin América Latina (Jan. 7, 2022).

Other feminist activists contacted additional networks following the alarming first round results of November 2021. Out of seven presidential candidates, Gabriel Boric placed second after Right-wing José Antonio Kast, who now had a clear path to victory. This was an existential threat to women, queer, immigrant, indigenous, and marginalized communities based on Kast’s aggressive campaign rhetoric and threats against these groups. Kast counted on momentum from the Trump and Bolsonaro victories to achieve success in his mission to restore neoliberal and patriarchal, authoritarianism in Chile. This was a critical priority for Chilean bourgeois interests in the wake of the 2019 people’s uprising.

Among the grassroots organizations targeted, none had declared for Boric nor campaigned for him in the first round (nor apparently voted for him; the election’s abstention rate was 53%). The Chilean feminists had learned from the experience of Brazilian feminists in the 2018 Bolsonaro campaign. During the Brazilian election feminist opponents of Bolsonaro organized under the slogan Ele Não (Not Him!) or ‘anyone but him’. Despite feminists launching the campaign’s largest public demonstrations in 114 cities in all states of Brazil, Bolsonaro swept to victory with 55% of the popular vote. The Chilean feminists realized it was necessary to not only declare for a candidate but to actively get out the vote for that candidate to ensure victory.

They gave support to Boric strategically as a way to block Kast; they were not enthused by Boric’s leadership, nor electoralism generally, as the way forward then or now. Chilean feminists refer to co-activists as ‘caregivers’. They defined the move to provide conditional support to Boric, not as ‘lesser evil’ politics, but as ‘an act of care’ in defense of threatened communities. In their anti-capitalist resistance Chilean feminists practice a daily politics of ‘caregiving’ and move to collectively defend spaces for caregiving or to expand them as the balance of forces allow.

The Chilean feminist practice of daily resistance is a counterpoint to the ‘ruptural’ politics of those who envision a ‘revolutionary moment’ or ‘revolutionary event’ which brings with it the question raised by Raya Dunayevskaya in 1973, “What do we do the day after the Revolution?” Raya quotes a Black Women’s Liberationist, “I’m not so sure that when it comes time to put down my gun, I won’t have a broom shoved in my hands, as so many of my Cuban sisters have.” (p. 275- Philosophy and Revolution).

Dunayevskaya goes on to say that the woman “was expressing one of the most anti-elitist new forces and new passions..raising altogether new questions..These women were also demanding their heads back, and it is this which surprised none more than the New Left, since though born out of the New Left, it was the New Left men whom Women’s Liberation opposed.The same women who had participated in every phase of the freedom movements..demanded an end to the separation of mental and manual labor, not only as a “goal,” not only against capitalist society, but as an immediate need of the Left itself.” (p. 278-279- Philosophy and Revolution)

In fact, Dunayevskaya goes on to say , “Clearly the struggle was against not only exploiters, but also those who set themselves up as leaders.” (p. 289) In anticipating the inevitable need for a ‘second revolution’, the Chilean feminists acknowledge and affirm the heterogeneous interests of the members of a broad ‘transversal’ working class. They give needed leadership to the movement in asserting that the Revolution begins Now. And not on a distant day of long-awaited victory. **

** (See Duanayevskaya on the concept of “NOW” (capitalized) as it emerged from the 1970’s women’s movement. “The single word was NOW. Freedom meant now, today, not tomorrow, much less the day after. “Now” meant not waiting for the day of revolution.” p. 279- Philosophy and Revolution).

The 2019 Uprising as a Milestone and Continuation on the Road to Dual Power.  It was not a ‘One-Time’ Event.

“The compulsions of a birth-time in history when, in outline or in a flash, we get a glimpse of the future, not as a revolution, but as the age of revolutions.” (p 31)

 

“The dialectic as a continuous process of self-development, a process of development through contradiction…never stops its ceaseless motion, not even at its apex… It is the development of mankind’s history from bondage to freedom.. It is Hegel transforming the dialectics of the French Revolution into Absolute Method.” (p. 10)

 

“Ours is the age that can meet the challenge of the times when we work out so new a relationship of theory to practice that the proof of the unity is in the Subject’s own self-development. Philosophy and revolution will first then liberate the innate talents of men and women who will become whole. Whether or not we recognize that this is the task history has “assigned,” to our epoch, it is a task that remains to be done.” (p. 292)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

 

A key lesson of the “Estallido” (Explosion) of October 2019 is that it was not ‘spontaneous’ but was preceded by grassroots mobilizations steadily building in momentum since the first student uprising of 2001. It is noteworthy that the momentum of mobilization continued in the aftermath of the 2019 “Estallido”. See timelines below.

In today’s Chile the effective method of struggle is sustained mass movement in the streets rather than a priority for electoralism, although milestones are marked by election victories. The effectiveness of ongoing popular resistance to neoliberalism is that it is at times peaceful and at times violent. In their focus and purpose the people’s movements show they mean business. Thus they mirror the behavior of the bourgeois state which employs both peaceful and violent methods to promote ‘law and order’ and ‘liberty and freedom’ (for whom?). By developing the ability to act decisively through reason or through force, as changing circumstances require, the Chilean mass resistance is in fact learning to enact dual power.

For reference, see Appendix 2: Timeline of Mobilizations Preceding 2019 Uprising

Seven Mobilizations over 18 Years (2001-2019)

And Appendix 3: Timeline of Events Continuing the Momentum of 2019 Uprising

Six Major Events in 2-½ Years following the Uprising (March 2020 to July 2022)

A ‘New Beginning’ for the Left in Chile… and elsewhere

 

“The positive is contained in the negative, which is the path to a new beginning.” (p. 13)

 

“The hard truth is that there is no way to work out new beginnings without going through what Hegel called “the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labor of the negative.” (p. xviii)

 

“Lenin dug deep for a new “concrete universal,” the concept of the whole population “to a man”-every man, woman, and child -who would overthrow capitalism and establish a totally new society.” (p. xvi)

From Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution (1973 & 1982)

 

“What remains an unresolved problem in the history of post-Marx Marxism – the relationship between the Reason contained in spontaneous mass struggles and the role that can be played by a grouping of non-vanguardist revolutionaries who seek to build upon it as the path to a new society.”

Peter Hudis, “Workers As Reason”, Historical Materialism, (11) 4 (2003)

 

What is the mechanism by which neoliberalism could be replaced with a form of democratic socialism in Chile? In the fifty years since the vicious coup ending Allende’s government the Chilean resistance has recovered strength and focus through the notion of “new passions and new forces” described above. This heterogeneous group is networked in decentralized social networks which are accountable to their participants. They act autonomously to defend and promote their own class and social interests.

Speaking of the central role of feminism in today’s Latin America, Jeffery Webber says, “It is the most likely vector through which a consolidation of an anti-capitalist consciousness could occur, a consciousness sufficiently capacious to face the multidimensional crisis of society, ecology, and politics. Of the mass movements active in the country today, the feminist movement is both the most plural, horizontal, participatory, and democratic, and the most radical and far-reaching in its challenge to traditional political systems of representation, the official trade union movement, the stigmatization of certain jobs performed by feminized workers, and the power of the Catholic Church in..state and society.” (Verso interview, Nov 6, 2019)

Grassroots assemblies have been reintroduced into Chilean political culture, “and women and youth were on the leading edge of a mass movement that had enormous popular support in wider society”. Known as cabildos or town-hall meetings they are seen to be “massive, open, self-managed, participatory and constructive, with a plurality of voices.” (Webber, Spectre, Dec 28, 2021)

Given fifty years of bitter setbacks the social movements do not accept the leadership of established political parties. Indeed, electoral abstention by eligible voters in Chile ranges from 44% to 57%. From 2006 to 2019 those Chileans who identify with any political party fell from 53% to 22%. (Webber, Spectre, Dec 28, 2021) Moreover, in the historic election of 155 delegates to a Constitutional Convention, 42% of those elected were independents with no party affiliation whatsoever. Many of these delegates hold Left autonomist positions.

The hollowed-out institutions of Chilean democracy now include the old-line left parties of Apruebo Dignidad who campaigned for Gabriel Boric in 2019 but came up short in the first round of voting. Here I am not referring to the center-left parties in Concertación and Nueva Mayoría whose decline is even more precipitous, having implemented and managed harmful neoliberal policies on behalf of Chilean bourgeois interests for thirty years. The “bipartisan” system of alternating center-left and center-right governments established in 1990 to achieve Chile’s “transition to democracy” is now largely discredited in the eyes of working class majorities, who increasingly take extra-parliamentary action to advance their interests. It is hoped the enactment of the new Constitution will bring a revival in parliamentary avenues.

The popular sectors now reserve the right to step up and support mainstream political actors or to stand back and deny support as they see fit. We saw the feminist mobilization of 1.2 million abstaining voters to tip the presidential election to Gabriel Boric and defeat far right contender José Antonio Kast. Moreover, the Chilean resistance is able and ready to assert its class independence in opposition to the Boric administration, or forces of the Right, when it becomes necessary.

In this, Chilean movements are pursuing Marx’s belief in socialism from below, in the real possibility of self-activity leading to self-emancipation. From Dunayevskaya’s reading of “Marx’s Marx” we see Chileans seeking to practice the “revolution in permanence” she identified. This is essential to initiate, to guide, and to maintain the needed transformation.

Some may ask if Chile’s social movements are up to the task. Will the process be derailed or co-opted? Will the movements be marked for annihilation by state violence, again? Will the leading collectives continue to produce good liberatory theory or will they run out of ideas? All these risks are real but an historical and dialectical perspective says the important thing is to begin now and to fight daily. Resist with a daily politics of caregiving. Resume the process when it is interrupted knowing it is never a waste of time to pick up broken pieces. In the face of adversity Chile shows 21 years of continued mobilization. Even in disaster a ‘new beginning’ is always present. The process never ends. No one knows this better than the people of Chile who after fifty years of fascist violence and neoliberal dispossession continue to build and to organize, undeterred. They reveal the ‘new beginning’ that we urgently seek.

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APPENDIX 1: Timeline of 2019 Uprising

Four Weeks (Fri Oct 18-Fri Nov 15, 2019)

-Fri October 18, 2019

Following brutal state repression of subway fare protests there was an ‘‘Estallido’’ Uprising bringing enraged citizens into the streets across the country. Citizen groups engaged in fierce confrontations with the security forces and carried out $3.5 billion in targeted property destruction.

 

-Sat October 19, 2019

In response Right wing President Sebastián Piñera declares a national curfew and brought the Chilean Army onto the streets for the first time in 30 years. On top of the subway crisis and in the face of the brutal violence of security forces, the popular revolt deepened and expanded nationally.

 

-Wed October 23, 2019

The ‘Coordinadora Feminista 8M’ were the first to call for a General Strike. This was seconded by militant dock workers, copper miners, and student leaders. By Wed Oct 23 banks and businesses were closed, university and high school classes were suspended, 20 ports were paralyzed. 75 percent of industry was shut down.

 

-Fri October 25, 2019

The Great March brought 3.7 million Chileans onto the street across the country, 1.2 million in Santiago alone, in a primarily peaceful and joyful demonstration.

 

(This represents 20% of Chile’s total pop.)(One out of every four Chileans over the age of 15) (This was more than 2.5 times the U.S. George Floyd uprising, based on Chile’s Population)

 

This massive mobilization was self-organized through the coordination of multiple networks of grassroots community organizations. Political parties, including the parties of the Left, were marginal to this mobilization. While the participation of Left militants was welcomed, the display of Left flags and insignia was not.

 

-Mon October 28, 2019

Right wing President Sebastián Piñera fires his cabinet. He quickly proposes  piecemeal reforms under a ‘New Social Agenda’

 

-Fri November 15, 2019

Chile’s Congress passes approval for a national plebiscite to write a New Constitution, Yes or No.

 

The fall of the neoliberal government took place within 4 weeks of the Uprising and 3 weeks of the Great March.

 

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APPENDIX 2: Timeline of Mobilizations Preceding 2019 Uprising

 

Seven Mobilizations over 18 Years (2001-2019)

A continuation of protest in Chile under both center-left Bachelet (Concertación) and center-right Piñera governments, culminated in the ‘‘Estallido’’ Uprising and Great March Oct 18-25, 2019

 

-As far back as 2001 there were initial stirrings, with 50,000 Santiago high school students taking to the streets. (1% of Santiago’s pop.)

 

-In 2006, the revolt of the “Penguins” – high-school students – involved 1.4 million students nationally. These were the biggest demonstrations since the pro-democracy mobilizations that ended the Pinochet dictatorship in 1989. (9% of Chile’s total pop.)

 

-In 2011, the university student mobilizations were larger at 1.5 million participants. Students were joined by striking workers, Indigenous rights activists, feminist organizers, and militant environmentalists. (9% of Chile’s total pop.)

 

-May 2015 university students resume education reform protests due to government inaction. 200,000 are on the streets nationwide (1% of Chile’s total pop.)

 

-March 26, 2017 ‘No + AFP’ brought 2 million Chileans onto the streets nationally, 800,000 in Santiago, to protest the private pension fund administrators. (11% of Chile’s total pop.)

 

-March 8, 2018 the Coordindora Feminista 8M launched the first feminist strike in Chile with the participation of 28 Chilean cities, and a gathering of 100,000 in Santiago. (1.5% of Santiago’s pop.)

 

-May 8, 2019 the second feminist strike in Chile was one of the nation’s biggest demonstrations to date at 730,000 in Santiago. (11% of Santiago’s pop.)

 

-Fri October 18, 2019 to Fri October 25, 2019  Uprising and Great March brought 3.7 million Chileans onto the street across the country, 1.2 million in Santiago. (20% of Chile’s total pop.)(One out of every four Chileans over the age of 15)

 

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APPENDIX 3: Timeline of Events Continuing the Momentum of 2019 Uprising

 

Six Major Events in 2-½ Years following the Uprising and Great March (March 2020 to July 2022)

 

-March 8, 2020 third feminist strike in Chile by Coordinadora Feminista 8M more than 1 million women on the streets of Santiago alone. (15% of Santiago’s pop) (30% of all women in the city)

 

-October 25, 2020 national plebiscite for a New Chilean Constitution. Chileans vote Yes by 78%. And vote by 79% that delegates will be directly elected from the people.

 

-May 15-16 2021 election of 155 delegates to Constitutional Convention. Left & Center Left win 51% of delegates and along with Indigenous delegates they reach 62%. Must win over 5% of the 14% Independents to reach two thirds majority to control all articles of the new constitution. The Right at 24% of elected delegates failed to reach their targeted one third blocking minority.

 

-December 19, 2021 in runoff election Gabriel Boric is elected President of Chile beating Right wing candidate José Antonio Kast by 1 million votes. In the first round four weeks earlier Boric had trailed Kast 26% to 28%. In only four weeks Boric acquired 2.8 million additional votes which included the votes of all center Left candidates and coalitions.

 

What put Boric over the top, however, was the support of 1.2 million people who had not voted in the first round. If these people had not made a decision to come into the process to support Boric he would not have won the Presidency.

 

-March 11, 2022 Gabriel Boric is Inaugurated as President of Chile

 

-July 5, 2022 deadline to complete draft of New Constitution and submit for a national vote.

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SOURCES

Abufom, Pablo. “¿Último presidente de lo viejo o primer presidente de lo nuevo?” Viento Sur (December 21, 2021). (Published online in English as, “Gabriel Boric, Last President of the Old or First President of the New?”).

 

Abufom, Pablo and Alondra Carrillo. “The Struggle in Chile.” The Dig podcast (July 19, 2019).

 

Dunayevskaya, Raya. Philosophy and Revolution: From Hegel to Sartre, and from Marx to Mao. New Jersey and Sussex: Humanities Press and Harvester Press, 1973 and 1982.

 

ECO-educación y comunicaciones-memoria. (website offering video documentation of Chilean social movements and current events), ongeco.cl.

 

Ferrretti, Pierina. “El pueblo llegó para quedarse.” Jacobin América Latina (January 4, 2022). (Also available in English as, “The People Are Here To Stay.”).

 

Hudis, Peter. “Workers as Reason: The Development of a New Relation of Worker and Intellectual in American Marxist Humanism.” Historical Materialism volume 11:4 (p. 267–293) (2003)

 

MacWilliam, Nick. Santiago Rising, (documentary film depicting 2019 uprising, subtitled in English, 89 minutes), Alborada Films, 2021.

 

Nohales, Karina and Javiera Manzo. “Chile: Fue el pueblo.” Jacobin América Latina (January 7, 2022)

 

Quinteros, María Elisa. “El estallido no fue algo espontáneo.” Jacobin América Latina (February 23, 2022)

 

Webber, Jeffery R.. “‘Those Who Are Poor Die Poor’: Notes on the Chilean Elections.” Spectre Journal (December 28, 2021)

Webber, Jeffery R.. “Rebellion, Reformism, and Reaction in Latin America: An Interview with Jeffery R. Webber.” Verso Books website (November 6, 2019).

 

Young, Bill. “Behind the Left’s Victory in Chile.” IMHO Journal (December 19, 2021)

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