Source: Daily Worker, Vol. IX, No. 20, January 23, 1932
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.
The fascist government of Montero in Chile, a servant of Yankee imperialism, has again initiated a wave of terror against the hungry masses in the cities and the countryside, especially against the militant trade unions under the Federacion Obrera Chilean (Foch), the unemployed workers and the Communist Party which is leading the struggles of the workers against hunger, starvation and fascism.
The economic and financial crisis which brought the end of the Ibanez regime under the pressure of the masses last July, had deepened tremendously. As a result of that, all the contradictions of the imperialist colonial regime have become sharpened and are shaking the very foundations of the Montero regime.
The characteristic feature of the present situation in Chile is seen in the widespread upsurge of the masses against the policy of the government of landlords and capitalists who are shifting the burden of the crisis upon the shoulders of the tolling masses.
It has given expression in a series of strikes of the workers in the light industries, extending themselves now in the basic industry of the country, in the nitrate mines, transportation, etc., with the monstrous rising of unemployment (more than 200,000 workers are exposed to want and starvation), the struggle of the unemployed has extended in the nitrate mines.
The brutal murder of unemployed workers in the valleys of Copiapo and Vallenar in the middle of December met with the resentment of the soldiers in Copiapo who mutinied on the eve of December 25, not only against the wholesale massacre of the workers, but also against the worsening of their conditions and the reign of terror against the soldiers through the Councils of War instituted after the naval uprising on Coquimbo on September 1.
The naval uprising at Coquimbo which was crushed with the utmost brutal government forces was followed with the dismissal of 4,800 sailors who took part in the rebellion, depriving them of all means of subsistence and robbing them of unpaid back salaries. The government has instituted a regime of persecution against all those who participated in the Coquimbo naval mutiny, cutting the wages of the sailors and soldiers and reducing their daily ration.
In the middle of December, the War Council directed a massacre of unemployed workers in the nitrate valleys of Copiapo and Vallenar. Hundreds of workers were murdered and more than one hundred are now awaiting court martial sentences which, if carried out mean absolute death. In Copiapo, the mutiny of rank and file soldiers on December 25 resulted in the killing of 11.
The widespread mass movement of the toiling masses in Chile has extended among the the petty bourgeoisie of the cities who are also made victims of the deepening crisis. The small shop keepers have organized a movement and are demanding a 30 per cent reduction of their rent, the extension of their debts, and the resignation of the Minister of Haciendas Pratt.
The movement is a united front against the usurers of the Nacional Banks and foreign bankers, the big industrialists and the present Government of big capital and foreign imperialism. The government is attempting to “solve” the unemployment question by instituting forced labour. Thousands of workers are concentrated in barracks under military control, compelled to work for a miserable salary of three Chilean pesos daily from which the high prices of food and burning wood is deducted.
Against the offensive of the bourgeois-imperialist forces, the popular masses are rising to put an end to their conditions of starvation. The Montero regime has the support of Yankee imperialism. It is attempting to force the operation of the imperialist Cosach which has thrown thousands of workers in the streets.
Since Ibanez’s fall the operation of the nitrate Yankee monopoly ’Cosach’ has reduced the jobs of the nitrate workers from 22,000 to 16,000. The tremendous low reduction of government income from the export of nitrates is compelling the government to resort to more taxation which falls heavily upon the petty bourgeoisie of the city and countryside. Chile cannot meet its foreign obligations and has declared a moratorium. Under the pressure of imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the landlords are resorting to a most savage attack against the workers and the poor, exacting from them enormous taxes in order to pay the huge interest on the loans.
Parallel to this, the rivalries among the various dominant groups of landlords and native capitalists are sharpening more and more. British imperialism is mighty busy rallying around it groups of landlords who are connected with it, against the growing influence of Yankee imperialism and the domination of the Yankee Cosach.
These sharpening rivalries between the various groups will lead to the organization of coup d’etats for the support of which they will seek to utilize the masses. In the face of the inevitability of the masses rising against imperialism the native rulers and all dominant groups will be, as they have been, united in the attacks against the working class, and especially the Communist Party, which is leading a considerable section of the proletariat and the petty-bourgeoisie against the capitalist solution of the crisis in Chile.
Between the working class and the landlord bourgeois government stands the renegade and traitor Hidalgo, serving the interests of the capitalists. Hidalgo and his lieutenants constitute one of the main obstacles for the unfolding of the revolutionary movements of the masses in Chile because their activities have the purpose of checking the rising revolutionary movement of the masses.
The workers and revolutionary peasants of Latin America must raise their voices of protest against the fascist murders of the Montero regime, in joint action with the revolutionary proletariat of the United States. Let us remember that it was by the action and protest of the revolutionary movement in the American Continent that the Chilean fascists were stopped in the execution of the heroic rebels of the Coquimbo naval mutiny.
More than 100 workers, militants of the Foch and the Communist Party of Chile are to court marshalled by the fascist Councils of War for Copiapo and Vallenar. Only through mass protests and the action of the masses throughout the continent, can we save these brave class militants from the paws of the enemies. Demand the immediate freedom of the Copiapo and Vallenar prisoners, the freedom of all class war prisoners.