Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chile Today Part 2 The Social Neoliberals

Chile has been governed by a coalition of Christian Democrats (DC) and social democrats (Socialist Party and Popular Democrats) since the return to so-called democracy. Back in the days of the Unidad Popular, the DC was old style social democratic and the SP was more radical than the Communist Party. Today, all these parties are economically neoliberal, lock stock and barrel, ironically (or perhaps not so ironically) adopting the underlying ideology of their old torturer and murderer, Augusto Pinochet.

When a socialist or social democratic party tosses aside its basic principles, it announces to the world that it is corrupted in spirit. Thus, it comes as no suprise when such a party becomes corrupted in practice. True to form the Concertacion, (the name given to the DC-SP-PD coalition) is now mired in scandal. The Alianza (the Pinochetista opposition coalition or Los Momios) is making hay out of this situation, an amusing situation where the corrupt are calling the corrupted to account!

The scandals relate directly to the neoliberal methods adopted by the Concertacion. Rather than instituting a proper state or community-run system of education – like in Canada or Europe – they chose to funnel government money to private concerns. Naturally, along the way some officials also dipped their hands in this pig trough. Then there is the hideous mess that is Santiago transit. Pinocho had destroyed the previous public system, handing transit over to scores of private concerns, resulting in a kind of Wild West in the streets. Rather than rectifing this disaster by creating a public transit system – like every other large city in the world – the Concertacion shovelled money into the hands of 10 or so capitalist transit corporations, and the result, as one might expect, is chaos. (Remember, I am talking about a city with six million inhabitants, not some one horse town)

Then there is that favorite of brown shirts the world over – the crime problem. And it does exist – people get ripped off all the time by pick pockets, muggers and burglars. The mass media, if anything even more vile than our own, spare no effort in reminding the readers of this situation. But then what do you expect in a society without any social welfare and a great mass of unemployed and under-employed people, some of whom are still living in tin shacks on dried up river beds or beside highway overpasses? And even if you have a job, 75% of Chileans earn less than $420 a month in a land where most prices are about as high as in Canada. There is a lot of petty crime. Gee, I wonder why? The Alianza blame the Concertacion for being soft on crime and drag out the no brainer of harsher punishment.

There is an election coming and it is quite possible the Pinocho crowd may gain the upper hand. I look upon this with some trepidation, for as bad as the Concertacion is, they have refused to be a stooge for the US in relation to the growing popular movements in Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia. The Gringostate already has death squad and narcotrafficante-run Columbia as its stalking horse. I would hate to see Chile as part of this criminal endeavor.


Blogger Werner said...

Social democratic parties are all going in the neoliberal direction. They hardly pretend to be different anymore. Perhaps the one sliver of honesty left in all of this lies in the fact that no one outside of the US uses the word neo - conservative". Even fucknuts of National Pest fame down in his Florida cell used to talk about uniting the American and British empiriums against continental Europe as some expression of "liberalism". Anyway when you've completed your postings on Chile I'd like to reprint this as one article over on my blog.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

Movements that go the political route seem to always be co-opted by the ruling class. Thanks for these wonderful reports Larry.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

In Latin America, not only in Chile, but Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, the progressive governments are to some extent, losing mass support, by their belief in parlimentary tactics and reformism.

I think Bolivia is in a real volatile situation. There are fascist gangs roaming the streets.

10:56 PM  

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