New and old generations of the left have coalesced around the presidential candidacy of Gabriel Boric. The young people have opened the avenues and the old ones are following them. A new country is announced in which justice and equality should be the heritage of all our peoples. If we succeed, we will be able to pay the debt we have with Salvador Allende.
The Popular Unity Government placed great hopes in the Chilean people. The nationalization of copper made it possible to recover the millions of dollars that were taken abroad by transnational corporations; the deepening of agrarian reform made it possible for peasants and Mapuches to benefit from the lands they worked; public control of banks and monopolistic companies wanted to end usury in credit and unfair prices to consumers; the participation of workers in enterprises was an unprecedented fact; universities with education for the workers were democratized; and art and culture reached internationally recognized heights.
However, the same generation that ruled under Allende and that carried out the transition from dictatorship to democracy was not able to end neoliberalism, accepting injustices and inequalities. The young people said it forcefully on 18-O: it is not thirty pesos, but thirty years.
It was the young people, first those in high school and then the university students, who ignited the spark of transformations. The mobilizations in favor of a free and dignified education extended to feminist, environmental, anti-AFP demands and for decent health. And we must not forget that in the front line of these struggles were Gabriel Boric, Camila Vallejo, Giorgio Jackson and Karol Cariola. They are determined to install a government of transformations in our country.
The result of the primaries has been categorical. A new leadership in Chilean politics emerged. The parties and leaders of the former Concertación/Nueva Mayoría have ended up in ruin, shamefully closing a thirty-year political cycle. No one votes for them anymore, not even their own militants.
Some of us, today committed to the new leadership of the left, and who were part of the Concertación for some years, renounced the militancy of their parties because we rebelled against a transition subordinated to the economic groups, and also because we were filled with shame by political-business corruption.
Growth, as the main argument of the transition – which is still held by politicians, businessmen and establishment economists – forgot the issues of greatest sensitivity for historical socialism and for the left in general: the unionization of workers; income inequalities; decent education, health and pensions; industrialization; the defense of consumers, a state that defends the weak and a Latin Americanist international policy. By the way, now, new themes are incorporated, which feed the program of transformations: feminism, environmentalism and regionalization.
Some dissidents of the Socialist Party, along with other sectors of the left, tried, with Jorge Arrate in 2009, to raise a project of rupture with neoliberalism. We did not have good results, but the dignity of our proposal perhaps gave a modest contribution to the ideas and mobilizations that were deployed later. Other socialists found alternative forms of protest and dissent against a PS surrendered to neoliberalism, authoritarianism and disrespect for its militancy.
The historical socialists, who committed ourselves to the transformative struggles and ideas of Recabarren, Eugenio González, Raúl Ampuero, Clodomiro Almeyda and Salvador Allende, hope that Boric will be a continuity of those leaders. This history of struggles and their ideas, together with those of the current generation, give insurmountable strength to the project of changes demanded by Chilean society.
A large part of the citizenry has placed its trust in the new generation to lead the presidential candidacy of Apruebo Dignidad. The project, to build a more egalitarian and just country, is not strewn with roses, nor was Allende’s. However, we are convinced that the maturity of Chilean society will ensure its triumph in November. This will allow Boric to help us pay the debt we owe to Salvador Allende.
The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of El Mostrador.