No More Pinochets

Michael Walzer famously asked if there could be a decent Left. Well, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) proved that there certainly is no decent Right. The WSJ recent "After the Coup in Cairo" opined: "Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy."

                                                                                                                          Pinochett.jpeg

 

Translation: Egypt is not generating enough profit for international capital. Therefore, the country's rulers should prioritize the liberty of the "free market" over the freedom of Egyptian citizens.

Missing in this paragraph is any historical, much less humanitarian, context.  The early 1970s Chilean government of democratic socialist Salvador Allende suffered "chaos" partly due to actions by the Nixon administration to flood the world market with copper (Chile's primary mineral export), fund a covert propaganda campaign against the President, and sponsor disruptive activities by upper-class citizens.  Despite these problems, Popular Unity's (Allende's electoral coalition) congressional representation grew in the 1973 by-election, indicating the growing popularity of his government's reforms.

The overthrow of the government on September 11, 1973 marked an immediate end to Chile's democratic socialization.  Pinochet's "Chicago Boys" subsequent economic experiment dramatically increased poverty in the country, privatized pensions for nearly everyone (conveniently excluding the military leaders), and opened Chile up to unchecked neo-liberal thievery. 

Chile's transition back to democracy was hardly due to the General and his junta's midwifery skills.   In fact, a plebiscite in 1988 ended the dictatorship despite a large campaign by the government against a return to representative democracy.  The election results, made famous to many Americans by the 2012 movie "No," was partly solidified when the Americans decided to recognize the votes.  The message was clear: General Pinochet no longer could rely on Washington.  The Cold War was over; capitalism had won.  Embarrassments like Pinochet were no longer useful to D.C.

The American government then was honest in a way the WSJ was this week. For neo-liberals, if there must be a choice, then liberty and freedom of the market must triumph over democracy and liberties of people.  If people are "irresponsible," as Henry Kissinger described the pro-socialist Chilean electorate, then one can justify a state intervening to correct a market failure.  Freedom from state interference is only sacred for economies, not for the people who make them run. 

David Duhalde is the Treasurer of Boston DSA.  His parents met through Chile Solidarity. 

New Member Call, June 24

June 24, 2018

9pm ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT

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You've joined DSA - Great! Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision. And, most importantly, how you can become involved.

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**Note: this page originally had the wrong date listed. The Correct date is Sunday the 24th**

M4A Chapter Activist Training Call: How to Passing a Medicare for All City Council Resolution

June 30, 2018

Saturday June 30th at 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PST

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In March, Philadelphia DSA members showed up in droves with healthcare workers, community members, and elected leaders to pass a Philadelphia city-wide resolution supporting the Medicare for All Act of 2017 and affirming universal access to healthcare as a human right. This victory showed that in a city where the poverty rate is over 26%, city council leaders learned where to stand when it comes to universal healthcare. To move a national campaign to win Medicare for All, we need to build support from a broad range of cities and municipalities across the country. With some research, planning, and lobbying, you could work with city council members to pass a resolution of support in your city too!

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