And, furthermore, this historic change in the Communist Party will have the inevitable effect of diminishing the effectiveness of the historic campaigns of terror that the right wing has been waging for more than a hundred years against any alternative for profound changes in Chilean society. Writes Felipe Portales
The statements critical of the grotesque electoral fraud carried out by Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua made by the deputies Camila Vallejo and Karol Cariola; by the mayor of Santiago, Iraci Hassler; by the presidential pre-candidate, Daniel Jadue; by the prominent conventional, Bárbara Sepúlveda; and by the Communist Youth themselves; manifest a tremendously positive change in the Chilean CP, so accustomed to avoid human rights violations committed by proclaimed leftist regimes. Even more so when the top leaders of the CP had signed a declaration – together with other minor political groups – validating those “elections”.
It is enough to see how the Ortega government – which since 2018 has fiercely repressed popular protests, leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands in exile – had been prosecuting and imprisoning, one after another, all the opposition presidential candidates (seven!), to realize the ridiculousness of pretending that democratic elections were taking place in Nicaragua. Deception, anywhere in the world, must be denounced and clarified. We Chileans, who have been deceived for almost fifty years, are well aware of this. First by a dictatorship that, after destroying the democratic system, always sought to present itself as a “restorer” of democracy, leaving us with a Constitution that was nominally democratic, but which masked the projection of an extremely neoliberal authoritarian regime.
And since 1990 by a coalition of proclaimed center-left parties (they had been historically so), but which systematically devoted themselves to legitimizing, consolidating and perfecting the economic, social and political model inherited from the dictatorship. To such an extent that in 2005 they proceeded to legitimize the Constitution of 1980, with some relevant changes, but leaving its essential characteristics intact. Something that everyone now recognizes, but many want to forget that our current Constitution was endorsed in a lavish and enthusiastic ceremony by Ricardo Lagos and all his ministers – including the current presidential candidate Yasna Provoste – on 17 September of that year.
The most positive aspect of this change within the CP is that it has arisen fundamentally from its youth sectors and from new leaderships that have proved to be very attractive, and not only for the party’s militants. Particularly Camila Vallejo, who played a key role in the student-citizen movement of 2011, the fundamental antecedent of the social revolt of October 2019 which – for all practical purposes – has delegitimized the “Chilean model”. This will undoubtedly mean a profound positive change for such a transcendental political organization in the history of Chile because of its roots in the workers, the youth and the popular sectors in general.
It will also lead to overcoming the permanent damage done to the CP by appearing unfairly and gratuitously associated with dictatorships such as those of Stalin and so many others, insofar as it did not propose the application of such totalitarian regimes for Chile. In fact, some years ago the Chilean CP formally abandoned “Marxism-Leninism” in its ideological and programmatic conception. As Jean Paul Sartre rightly pointed out on the occasion of the French Communist Party’s scandalous support for the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956: How much the rank and file of the PCF, who were seeking a deepening of French democracy, must have regretted feeling the stigma of being associated with such a barbaric and deadly invasion. A single word would have sufficed not to feel burdened by such an unjust association!
And, furthermore, this historic change in the CP will have the inevitable effect of diminishing the effectiveness of the historic campaigns of terror that the right wing has been waging for more than a hundred years against any alternative for profound changes in Chilean society. Let us remember that, already in the 1920 presidential campaign, the right-wing branded Arturo Alessandri as the “Chilean Lenin”, while the ferocious civil war in the nascent Soviet Union was going on.