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Boric as Chile's president Is there something to celebrate?

2021-12-20 | Global News

Gabriel Boric will be Chile's new president. The global press and the left today hail a new stage in Chilean history. Is it that big a deal? What does it mean for workers in Chile and in South America?

Where does all this come from?

Social revolt in Chile after the rise in public transport prices. The sarting point of the renewal of the political apparatus that now leads Boric to become president of Chile.

Social revolt in Chile after the rise in public transport prices. The sarting point of the renewal of the political apparatus that now leads Boric to become president of Chile.

In October 2019, there was an outbreak of protests following the hike in public transportation fares. What began as a student movement which expressed, above all, the impact of the new thrust of the crisis on the petty bourgeoisie, soon threatened to become a general mobilization in which workers openly asserted their own bases and needs.

The Piñera government reacted quickly with the first concessions and promises of some reach in 30 years, while the petty bourgeoisie, the unions and the left of the political apparatus, with their discourse on "transversality", contained - and at times repressed - any autonomous expression of the workers' neighborhoods and the workforces in the companies.

The pincer movement, as spontaneous as it was organic, was transformed into a process of general reorganization of the political apparatus in the form of a constitutional reform. A product, by the way, of Boric's initiative.

In October 2019 ‎Boric‎ took to the streets again, to participate in the social revolts that shook the government of Sebastián Piñera. And then came the break, the big leap into politics. Boric held a conversation in Congress with the right-wing senator Juan Antonio Coloma and agreed to change Augusto Pinochet's Constitution, in force since 1980, as a way out of the crisis. His decision, personal, dragged the Frente Amplio to sign on November 15 an agreement with all political forces to call for the election of a Constituent Assembly.

El País, hoy

The renewal of the political apparatus was thus definitively on track, regaining momentum and gaining a credibility whose high point so far has been the referendum for constitutional reform last October.

A great success for the Chilean bourgeoisie which manages to revive the legitimacy of the state after a year of riots and revolt. The iron ideological control of the transversalist petty bourgeoisie has been so effective, has been so useful for the state in order to recover the lost pace, that today the press can congratulate itself that even [the worn-out political apparatus, originally knocked off its feet by the protests, is in such good health](https://www.latercera. com/politica/noticia/quien-sube-y-quien-baja-despues-del-aplastante-triunfo-del-apruebo/KI4TMXDOWFAPVCQDG4OAXLRSJY/).

The sterile party of the transversal revolt, which never managed to get rid of national and interclassist flags to adopt class flags, now becomes the first act of a party of democracy that will end, unfailingly, in new sacrifices for the homeland. Mr. Larraín and now, even the reluctant Mr. Sutil breathe easily knowing that their profitability goals will soon be goals in defense of democracy and of the new constitution that all Chileans gave themselves.

State of alarm, Chilean referendum, Argentine devaluation... 4 briefs to start the week, 10/26/2020

What does Boric's triumph mean for the internal game of the Chilean bourgeoisie?

Boric at the closure of the presidential campaign

Boric at the closure of the presidential campaign

The reshuffling of the state political apparatus and the Chilean capital opened by the referendum becomes consolidated, to begin with because no candidates from either the Alianza or the Concertación, the coalitions that governed Chile after the Pinochet dictatorship, made it to this second round of voting.

Boric's triumph means that the new left (Frente Amplio + Stalinist CCP) takes the course of the definitive phase of the reforms, inscribing them as the culmination of a series of "generational" movements: the "Penguin Revolution" of 2006, the [student mobilizations of 2011](https://es.wikipedia. org/wiki/Movilizaci%C3%B3n_estudiantil_en_Chile_de_2011) -which turned Gabriel Boric and Camila Vallejo into national public figures- and, of course, the outburst from the October 2019 transport hike.

These student movements expressed the contradictions of the Pinochetista inheritance... for the petty bourgeoisie and their social climbing aspirations; they were the ones who put their finger on the sore spot of the indebtedness generated by university tuition and the inability of the Chilean economy to generate jobs for the mass of graduates coming out of the universities.

With privatized and expensive higher education, student debt has become the elephant in the room of the Chilean neoliberal dream of social ascent through studies. A $7.657 billion elephant that is invisibilized -by renderibg individual delinquency figures secret for example- but not confronted.

State of emergency in Chile

What does Boric's victory mean for workers in Chile

Port strike in Chile in November 2020

Port strike in Chile in November 2020

This line having been consolidated with the choice of Boric as the axis to recount recent Chilean history and the collapse of the regime, the inevitable widening of "the rift" between the Pinochetista petty bourgeoisie and the "progressive" may be presented under the balm of generational conflict, accentuating once again the transversality of the new state ideologies brought by the new president and his supporters: regional autonomism, feminism, ecologismo, elements of indigenism...

That is, Boric's triumph will mean a permanent ideological bombardment in which "popular movements" will try to become frameworks for "modernization". Workers in Chile are going to experience something very similar to Sanchismo: cuts and attacks dressed up as "social justice" and tons of leftist patriotism in order to"update" a national capital that remains fundamentally semicolonial and has no strength to convert the copper bonanza resulting from the Green Deal into a new form of insertion into the world market that ensures its sustainability.

What does Boric's triumph mean in the regional imperialist game

Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage and the Malvinas/Falklands

Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage and the Malvinas/Falklands

Until now, with nuances in the governments of the Concertación and at full speed during those of the Alianza, the Chilean state has been the main vector of warmongering development in South America. During the last few years, the Piñera government has tried to configure, in increasingly aggressive ways, a certain regional hegemony using three tools: the alliance with Bolsonaro's Brazil, the Lima group and ProSur.

Chief cheerleader for Colombia and Brazil to invade Venezuela, Piñera, secured by the pincer with Bolsonaro, Duque and until a year ago Trump, has strained relations with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina to a point that was unknown since dictatorship times while pointing dangerously towards the militarization of Chile's own territory.

However, the place where global imperialist tensions are most dangerously building up is in the South, in the Mar de Hoces (Drake's Passage)... which in Chile's territorial distribution coincides with Magallanes and Antarctica, Boric's home region which he represented until now in Congress.

It is quite possible that we may see here a certain détente in the relationship with Argentina, at least at first. A détente that, surely, will open the door to big investments financed by China to connect the two countries.

But let's not fool ourselves, in parallel, the new government will reinforce Chile's new profile as guardian of the southern passages: sometimes guarantor, sometimes regulator of the connection between Asia and the South Atlantic, asserting itself both against Argentina in the territorial dispute and against the Anglo-Saxon powers, increasingly active from the Malvinas, which are increasingly playing with bets that are bigger and more aggressive.

Because, if Boric and his CCP allies are anything, they are "patriots", i.e., die-hard defenders of national capital. They are going to shape the international alliances of Chilean capital in favor of a new strategic positioning, not to confront its own imperialist ambitions. The foreseeable axes of the new foreign policy will pass through the enhancement of the South, surely by an increase of investments in Bolivia and certainly by an attempt to take advantage of the collapse of Mercosur in favor of Chilean exports and capital.

To accomplish this, depending on the electoral results and changes of government in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, they will use more or less the reactionary and high-flown speeches of the "Patria Grande" or they will resurrect the UnaSur of Lula and Bachelet. And in a global context, they will revive ties with the EU or with the US, depending on the tactical hand.

That is to say, Boric's triumph will mark a less dramatic change of alliances than the one the European press would like to see today. And in no case will it put a stop either to the regional arms race underway or to the aggravation of regional tensions whipped up by global powers.