On the situation in southern Chile: self-organisation of proletarians in the face of catastrophe, lumpen capitalists and state incompetence

On the situation in southern Chile: self-organisation of proletarians in the face of catastrophe, lumpen capitalists and state incompetence

A translation of an eye-opening - if unverified - and anonymous account of neighbour solidarity and self-defence squads against armed gangs in Concepción, Chile immediately following the 8.8 Richter scale earthquake on Saturday morning.

(By an anonymous comrade)

It would be very good if – since you have the means with which to spread information - you could publicise what’s going on in Concepción and the surrounding area, as well as many other areas that are affected by the earthquake:

By now, it is well known that many people did the common sense thing and entered the centres in which provisions were being stored, taking no more than what they needed. Such an act is logical, rational, necessary and inevitable - so much so that it appears absurd even to debate it. People organised themselves spontaneously – giving out milk, nappies and water according to each individual’s need, with attention paid in particular to the number of children within each family. The need to take available products was so evident – and the determination of the people to exercise their right to survive was so powerful – that even the police ended up helping (extracting commodities from the Lider supermarket in Concepción, for example). And when attempts were made to impede the populace in doing the only thing that it could possibly do, the buildings in question were set alight – it’s equally logical, after all, that if tonnes of foodstuffs have to rot instead of being consumed, that they are burnt, thus avoiding infection. These incidences of ‘looting’ have allowed thousands of people to subsist for hours in darkness, without drinking water or even the remotest hope that someone might come to their aid.

Now, however, in the space of just a few hours, the situation has changed drastically. Throughout the penquista (Concepción) metropolis, well-armed, mobile gangs have started to operate in expensive vehicles, concerning themselves with looting not just small businesses, but also residential buildings and houses. Their objective is to hoard the scarce few goods that people have been able to retrieve from the supermarkets, as well as their domestic appliances, money and whatever else they may find. In some parts of Concepción, these gangs have looted houses before setting them alight and then fleeing. Residents, who at first found themselves rendered completely defenceless, have started to organise their own defences, taking it in turns to do security patrols, erecting barricades to protect their roads, and, in some barrios, collectivising their commodities in order to ensure that everyone gets fed.

I don’t intend to “complete” the square of information gleaned from other sources with this brief account of events in the last few hours, more I want to bring everyone’s attention to the nature of this critical situation, and its relevance from an anti-capitalist viewpoint. The spontaneous impulse of the people to appropriate what they need to subsist, and their tendency towards dialogue, sharing, agreement and collective action, have been present since the first moment of this catastrophe. We have all seen this natural, communitarian tendency in one form or another in our lives. In the midst of the horror experienced by thousands of workers and their families, this impulse to living as a community has emerged as a light in the dark, reminding us that it is never late to start again, to return to our [natural?] selves.

Faced with this organic, natural, communistic tendency, which has given life to the people in this time of shock, the state has paled, revealing its true self: a cold, impotent monster. Moreover, the sudden interruption of the demented production and consumption cycle left industry owners at the mercy of events, forced to wait, begging for the return of order. In short, a genuine breach opened in society, in which sparks of the new world which inhabits the hearts of common people. It was necessary, therefore, urgent in fact, to restore the old order of monopoly, abuses and the prey. But it didn’t come from the highest spheres, but from the very bottom of class society. Those in charge of putting everything back in its right place - that is to say, imposing by force the relations of terror which permit private, capitalist appropriation - have been the drug-trafficking mafiosi, embedded within the population at large; the upstarts within the upstarts, children of the working class, allied with bourgeois elements in order to ascend at the cost of the poisoning of their brothers, the trade of their sisters’ sex and the avid consumerism of their own children. Mafiosi - that is to say, capitalists in the purest form: predators of their class, lounging in 4x4s, armed with automatic pistols, prepared to intimidate and even displace their own neighbours or residents of other barrios, with the aim of monopolising the black market and making easy money i.e. power.

That these mafia elements are natural allies of the state and the boss class is manifested in the use of their undignified misdeeds in the mass media in order to make the already demoralised population enter into a panic, therefore justifying the country’s militarisation. What scene could be more prosperous for our bosses and politicians – walking hand in hand – who see this catastrophic crisis as nothing more than a good opportunity for good business, squeezing double profits out of a work force that is bent double by fear and desperation?

On the part of the enemies of this social order, it is meaningless to sing odes to looting without defining the social content of such actions. A group of people – partially organised, or united by a common goal, at least – taking and distributing the products that they need to survive is not the same as armed gangs looting the population with the intention of making their own profits. What remains clear is that the earthquake of Saturday 27th didn’t just hit the working class terribly and destroy existent infrastructures. It has also overturned social relations in this country. In a matter of hours, the class struggle has emerged – warts and all – before our eyes, which are perhaps too used to television images to be able to capture the essence of the course of events. The class struggle is here, in the barrios reduced to rubble and gloom, fizzling and crackling at the bottom of society, forcing the fatal crash between two classes of human beings who in the end find themselves face to face; on one side, the social men and women who search among themselves in order to help each other and to share, and on the other, the antisocials who pillage them and shoot at them in order to begin their own primitive accumulation of capital.

We are here, the opaque, anonymous beings, constantly trapped in our grey lives - the exploited, the neighbour, the parent, but ready to build links with those who share the same depression. On one side, the proletariat; on the other, capital. It’s that simple. In many neighbourhoods of this devastated land, in these early morning moments, people are starting to organise their own defence against the armed gangs. At this moment, class consciousness is starting to be enacted materially by those who have been forced – in the blink of an eye – to understand that their lives belong to themselves alone, and that noone will come to their aid.

Comments

jesuithitsquad
Mar 3 2010 02:38

This is really fantastic.

Especially this:

Quote:
It is well known that many people did the common sense thing and entered the centres in which provisions were being stored, taking no more than what they needed. Such an act is logical, rational, necessary and inevitable - so much so that it appears absurd even to debate it.

It is precisely because these acts are logical and rational that the state must oppose it--even at the risk of exposing themselves as completely heartless--as it puts the illogical and irrational nature of capitalism in specific relief. Questioning of the logic of capital cannot be tolerated, even in a time of extreme need and lack of other options because if the commodity doesn't make sense in a time of desperation how could it be justified in a time of plenty? Each time there is a natural disaster you see this kind of behavior on the part of ordinary people and conversely on the part of the state.

Thanks Caimen for putting this up.

Khawaga
Mar 3 2010 03:20

Thanks for translating this Caiman.

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 3 2010 03:33

Even the BBC is being forced to accept the necessity of expropriating basics, although it draws a line at TVs, the stealing of which is apparently a "selfish" act:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8546411.stm

Mark.
Mar 3 2010 11:30

From another BBC report

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8546478.stm

Quote:
"We've been defending our homes from the looters," Eduardo Santos tells me, standing outside a badly-cracked apartment block which he and his family are too frightened to sleep in.

Instead, they are living in a hastily-erected tent with several other families from the same building.

The authorities just walk past us and don't help, he says pointing to some of the troops posted to the city who are dealing with a damaged bridge.

Eduardo makes another emergency run into his apartment to get fresh water but refuses to stay there more than a couple of minutes.

That has put him in conflict with the troops who want everyone off the streets by nightfall and with the looters who may try again to break into his empty home.

AVT
Mar 3 2010 23:56

Hi,
where can I find the original text of this article in spanish? Thanks

Mark.
Mar 3 2010 23:59

On this thread, third comment down.

Rats
Mar 4 2010 07:21

The world cup is in what, 3 months? Of course people are looting plasma screens!

Alf
Mar 4 2010 16:00

This text is really excellent. The state has been using the activity of the gangs as an excuse to send in thousands of troops to 'restore order'; the text is perfectly right to show that the gangs and the state are two sides of the same coin. In the emergence of proletarian self-organisation we can glimpse the real solution to both these forms of terror.

Steven.
Mar 6 2010 15:11

yeah, this is great. Caimon, have you been able to get in touch with the author? It might be worth doing in order to get hold of any future updates (or at least trying, I don't know where the person who posted it to libcom found it for example)

Alf
Mar 7 2010 17:28

We are also putting this in our paper and our website. Our introduction is basically the same as libcom's. Obviously we will also try to find out more. I know that there are new proletarian political groups or elements in Chile but more than that I can't say right now

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 7 2010 20:21

Like the translation says, the author is anonymous. It may have first been posted to a Chilean blog, although the first sentence almost suggests it may have been an email. I added a lot of paragraph breaks in translation and broke up some unwieldy sentences.

It's been well circulated though.

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 8 2010 00:35

A slightly different perspective:

Translation of a comunicado found at http://www.hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article3005 wrote:

Urgent situation in Concepción

Companeros, we're writing to all of you in order to communicate the delicate situation which the people of Concepción are currently find themselves in. It has been covered in detail by the media in a morbid and disgusting fashion, backing the excessive militarisation and security plans that are so ridiculous that they only allow for six hours of "free movement" a day. We also want to denounce the shortages which affect the great majority of the city's population, who have heard many promises but few solutions.

1. Up to this point, not one [representative of the] authorities - apart from soldiers - has appeared on our streets, not even to survey the damage that their own people might have received in the earthquake or, ultimately, to find out whether we're alive or dead.

2. In the Aguita de la Perdiz area, for example, residents became desperate (remember that it was the end of the month and noone had a peso, let alone food stored in the house [payday tends to be on the 15th or 30th of the month - CDB]), so they went en masse to expropriate the stock of the Santa Isabel supermarket - which doesn't sell either electronic household goods nor luxury items - so the residents only took what was necessary, ie food and water. We can clarify that similar happened in various parts of the city, and that the over-repeated image of the guy taking away a plasma TV has not generally been the case (neither do we condemn the looting of electronic household items; we're just confirming that this happened on a small scale in comparison with the expropriation of indispensible products such as food, water, milk).

3. Because of this, the authorities have "punished" various sectors, leaving them without aid or access to basic services. This has been publically admitted to the press by the Mayor (and soon to be regional governor).

4. PDI [investigative police - CBD] functionaries have spread utterly absurd rumours, such as that "hoards" of criminals are going to come from the outermost reaches of the city ([even though] there's no petrol and there's military everywhere, so we're wondering if the hoards have helicopters). This has created an atmosphere of great paranoia and insecurity and has led to residents forming themselves into groups which patrol their respective sector all night with sticks and firearms, a really dangerous development considering how tiredness, tension and hunger could ignite violence between neighbours.

5. Right now, food is starting to become scarce in marginalised areas and there is no money to go and buy more, since wage packets were supposed to be received next week.

6. The sanitary conditions are shocking, and children and the eldery are starting to fall ill. The surgery and hospital [buildings] both collapsed and it is only a matter of time before people start to die of preventable illnesses.

7. Aid HAS STILL NOT ARRIVED [caps theirs - CDB], and organisation has been late, to say the least. We recall the image of neighbours on the barricades, looking out for their houses while laughing to themselves over the contrived news story of "Chile helping Chile". We all know how quickly the rich acted to protect their order, their nation and their assets. We don't buy the campaigns they've started seven days after the earthquake, when in those seven days, if people hadn't have looted, they would have starved to death.

We understand that what happened was a natural disaster - and that the situation is much more critical in areas such as Talcahunao, Penco, Coronel and the villages in the interior of the Maule region - but to "punish" an entire sector for not respecting the established order, an act which says to us "let the rich buy all their stuff in the supermarket and you can figure out how to sort yourselves out, you'll always be the last and you should understand that", seems - to us - be a criminal act, at least.

Finally, the rumours propagated by the PDI can - and MUST [caps theirs] - be considered to be terrorist acts, since they look to (and suceed in) terrifying the populace.

Mark.
Mar 8 2010 11:41

That's interesting. Thanks for the translation. Here's another article on hommodolars discussing the reality and the rumours about looting by armed gangs.
http://www.hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article2995

Also on alasbarricadas
http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/13293

Quote:
Cada jornada nocturna de toque de queda, termina con una treintena de detenidos y con una fuerte presencia militar en donde tanques patrullan la ciudad y cuidan al comercio. Es en medio de este contexto que un joven muere baleado en Chiguayante, Concepción. Ni la prensa ni las autoridades logran dar una versión creíble: se habla de una defensa de los vecinos por un intento de saqueo, del gatillo militar, de pelea entre bandas rivales. Finalmente nadie sabe y nadie le importa lo que ocurra con lxs supuestxs saqueadores/as o quienes rompan el toque de queda.

This refers to a youngster being shot dead in Concepción during the curfew. The circumstances are unclear.

GuerraSocial
Mar 8 2010 14:06

Les escribo para aclararles un poco el texto que han traducido y ojala alguien pueda traducir lo que escribo.

El texto anonimo exagera un poco en lo que es la auto organización. Si bien por una parte hemos podido ver una autoorganización espontanea al momento de los saqueos que muestran a desconocidos cooperando en sacar ordenadamente las mercancías, tambien se hace alusion a los proletarios que en sus barrios estarian ejecutando la autodefensa.

La cuestion aqui es la siguiente: ¿autodefensa contra quien? Aqui el tema empieza a ponerse confuso.

Desde los mass media y autoridades se han puesto a correr rumores de “hordas de saqueadores” que luego de los supermercados irian a las casas a saquear. La psicosis es grande pues la gente alla se imagina a 100 personas saqueando sus viviendas, quemandolas y poco menos violando a la familia. Esto es un rumor que ha servido para militarizar la ciudad. Los vecinos de “clase media” se han “armado” con sus palos de golf y armas de caza contra las “hordas de pobres” que vendrian a saquearlos. La reaccion en los barrios populares ha sido la misma. Muchos vecinos empiezan a armarse contra los de la poblacion del frente. Pero tambien, los menos, simplemente se autoorganizan en vista de la ausencia de autoridad y se distribuyen los bienes que tienen para mantener su comunidad con vida.

Es ahí donde la autodefensa tiene un contenido que es necesario desmenuzar difícil de discernir. Una cosa es organizarse contra los supuestos saqueadores y otra es empezar a practicar la auto organizacion en sus territorios ante la ausencia de las autoridades

La mayoria esta preocupada de cuidar sus viviendas, algo muy entendible, pero que esta lejos de ser una practica autonoma…solo se han organizado con el otro para cuidar lo suyo…Son pocos los lugares donde en ausencia de autoridades se ha organizado la gente en fraternidad y cooperación.La información es precaria, y siendo realistas, la auto organización con contenido comunista es minima.

Se requiere contextualizar bien los textos, y eso es algo que la gente de hommodolars ha intentado quizas con poco exito debido a un bombardeo mediatico tremendo. Aca mismo en chile es dificil separar "aguas" entre saqueadores que distribuyen en su comunidad lo expropiado y los "lumpen capitalistas", los que se organizan para sobrevivir y los que simplemente le hablan al vecino porque no quieren ser asaltados por las imaginarias hordas.
(Por ejemplo la foto de este articulo corresponde precisamente a una de un medio “oficial” que muestra a vecinos organizados contra el “lumpen” que los iria a saquear...lo que es curioso porque para la "clase media", ellos mismos, los de la foto, son lumpen, lo que nos habla de la confusion total entre los hermanos de clase que cooperan con los militares incluso)

En todo caso hommodolars es la web que , digamos minimamente, ha reaccionado frente a esta situacion para poner el acento en la catastrofe social como producto de la organización de clase y reflexionar sobre lo mismo antes que caer en el chovinismo de la unidad y “chile ayuda a chile” y demases show que se han hecho para ayudar a los damnificados. Si bien la solidaridad de clase existe, dicha web tambien le ha agregado lo otro: analizar las consecuencias y perspectivas para el proletariado que surgen cuando la sociedad de clases parece mostrar su verdadera cara producto de alguna situacion que la remece...desde una catastrofe natural hasta una explosion social por alguna alza de precios...De ahi que sea uno de los pocos espacios que ofrecen una bocanada de aire fresco ante la contaminacion ideologica al prender la television o ver algun sitio de internet.
.
Pero como les digo, es todo confuso y se requiere tener mucha información y contextualizacion de los textos, tambien algunos estan equivocados pues estan elaborados al calor de la situacion pero sirven para empezar desde ahí una reflexion que de seguro se extendera bastante tiempo.

Saludos

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 8 2010 15:48
Quote:
(Por ejemplo la foto de este articulo corresponde precisamente a una de un medio “oficial” que muestra a vecinos organizados contra el “lumpen” que los iria a saquear...lo que es curioso porque para la "clase media", ellos mismos, los de la foto, son lumpen, lo que nos habla de la confusion total entre los hermanos de clase que cooperan con los militares incluso)

Si, eso pensaba. Lo encontre en Google (jeje).

Muchas gracias por el texto. Ahora que se arregle bien mi conexion en casa, lo traducire.

comunizacion
Mar 12 2010 10:56

A Spanish version of this text began to circulate just a couple of days after the quake. According to a close friend who knows the author, the article is based on first hand informations coming directly from comrades in Concepción and other cities at the most damaged area. In fact, it is a late report written in the heat of very intense events, in a moment when the State had practically disappeared in some urban centers. In the first hours after the catastrophe, in cities like Chillán, for instance, only some local radio stations and radio hams were able to give informations and coordinate the most urgent responses, they even told people not to call the police or firemen, because "the institutions are not working at all, nobody else will act instead of us right now". A lot of reactions like this occured in many places, being the organized looting of supermarkets just the most impressive example. I think that the anonymous author of the article was trying to underline this first spontaneous reaction of people who for a moment found themselves orphans from the State and the companies which rule their lives in normal times. During those first few hours, in fact, people returned in a very natural way to the kind of collaborative relationship that is usually prohibited by normal social interchanges. That's not communism certainly, but it's a tendency towards communism and that's the aspect which is emphasized in the text. Now, after almost two weeks since the events, we can see the action of the armed gangs denounced in the article as the first counteroffensive of Capital in order to recover control over that part of the country affected by the earthquake. The gangs were in fact the ones "in charge of putting everything back in its right place - that is to say, imposing by force the relations of terror which permit private, capitalist appropriation". Only after gangs terrorized people by looting them and burning their houses, the State and mass-media appeared to restablish order and law, organizing repression and disinformation on a ground already prepared by local gangsters. So in the end, the author is talking about the only thing that he could talk in that precise moment, before the State recovered its domains: a moment in which spontaneous sociability and capitalist looting were facing each other direclty. Once the State ruled again over that part of the country, for government everything was a question of designing an appropriate campaign of mass manipulation, which is exactly what has happened (including the spectacular images of people robbing plasma screens, policemen pointing guns on "delinquents", people being beaten and killed by soldiers, histerical calls to "national unity", etc.). It's true that some days after the quake the most usual thing was to see people doing nothing more than defend their private property against imaginary "hordes of looters", and that a sort of "class war" between poor and middle class people has been sold by mass.media succesfully (in some barrios groups of scared neighbours were seen shooting each other in the dark!). Today, the Order reigns in Chile. But it was necessary for Capital and the State to imposse it with big efforts and at high risks. Not for days, but at least for some hours, several millions of people were devoid of television, police surveillance and work obligations, and found themselves able to need each other, to trust, to talk and share ... and in the meantime, tje State trembled in fear and hesitation. That's what the article was trying to underline. Whatever has happened since then, should be matter for another article. There will be comrades to write it, for sure.
Salud!
C.

Steven.
Mar 12 2010 19:05

thank you for that additional information and clarification - please stick around to keep us English-speakers updated if you can!

Mark.
Mar 13 2010 13:18

Report of a killing by the military on Santiago indymedia

Rough translation of the start of the report:

Quote:
On the night of last Tuesday, 9th of March, in the Plaza de Hualpen in Talcahuano, a patrol of the Chilean navy arrested two neighbours who were talking and smoking peacefully a few metres from their homes during the hours of the curfew.

The patrol consisted of two sergeants and three soldiers. One of those arrested, Daniel Riquelme, died as a result of the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to which he was submitted. In the investigations which are taking place the name of the neighbour who survived the arrest is being kept secret. He directly accuses the marines of "submitting them to torture".

More reports:

http://red-latina-sin-fronteras.lacoctelera.net/post/2010/03/12/chile-2-sargentos-marina-entre-5-detenidos-en

http://www.cuarta.cl/noticias/cronica/2010/03/63-73299-9-detienen-a-cinco-marinos-por-muerte-de-epileptico.shtml

http://www.cuarta.cl/noticias/cronica/2010/03/63-73451-9-vecinos-de-hualpen-alegaron-por-muerte-de-cartonero.shtml

http://www.argenpress.info/2010/03/reporte-de-la-catastrofe-en-chile.html

Mark.
Mar 16 2010 10:40

Another article from hommodolars dealing with the earthquake, the looting and the military
http://www.hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article3029

Edit: This article is taken from the Santiago anarchist monthly El Surco
pdf download here

Also in El Surco:

EXTERNALIZAR LA SEGURIDAD, EL ROL DE LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS TRAS EL TERREMOTO EN CONCEPCIÓN
Ante la posibilidad de la auto-defensa, las personas prefieren delegar la responsabilidad. A pesar de la historia, la gente confía en el juicio de los militares.

Puede que suene frívolo, pero un evento como el terremoto ocurrido la madrugada del sábado 27, presenta una oportunidad única para el estudio de las conductas humanas. No queremos hacer una profilaxis del drama social que se ha desatado después del masivo movimiento telúrico, pero es necesario como prensa que somos, el digerir la información y analizarla a la luz de los postulados que sostienen nuestro periódico.

Para continuar con esta crónica, es necesario restringirnos a lo visto y escuchado, lo que parcializa nuestra información a analizar, pero permite documentar con detalles un caso concreto.

A las 3:35 a.m. del día sábado, nos encontrábamos compartiendo con unos amigos. Lo lúdico de la circunstancia y las condiciones del terreno donde estábamos contribuyeron a generar una visión atenuada de la magnitud de lo ocurrido. Sólo al volver al hogar y encontrar vecinos con sus ropas de cama, conversando con quien fuera, logramos ir captando lo crítico de la situación.

La madrugada del sábado fue extraña, pero no se comparaba con lo que vendría. Durante el día recorrimos la ciudad, constatando los daños materiales del sismo, las imágenes están en la prensa, casas en el suelo, monumentos arquitectónicos derruidos, pero esa calma angustiante no se ha podido reproducir en fotografías. El ritmo de la ciudad era diferente a cualquier jornada, nunca antes constatamos tantas bicicletas y las personas hacían filas por los artículos más inverosímiles (limpia vidrios y afrecho, por ejemplo).

El sol fue dando paso a la luna, que por coincidencia cósmica se nos presentaba llena, tras la bruma eterna de Concepción. Con amigos decidimos pasar la noche en la calle, prendimos una fogata y comenzamos una austera jornada de vigilia, con el beneficio anexo de distendernos y olvidarnos a ratos de imposibilidad de ducharnos o llamar a los seres queridos. Lo curioso es que el fuego atrajo a uno que otro rostro desconocido, pero la conversación pondría en evidencia que este sujeto vivía a pasos nuestro y lo había hecho por un buen tiempo. Así, iban y venían vecinos, que ante las constantes réplicas no podían conciliar el sueño, mas el temor a la agitación de las placas tectónicas, poco a poco iba cediendo ante el miedo por la agitación de aquellos que comenzaron saqueando en búsqueda de alimentos, pero que también vimos pasar con sillas, televisores y neveras.

Así comenzó el domingo que despedía febrero, luego de una siesta volvimos a reunirnos, esta vez para constatar que a los vecinos de anoche se habían sumado otros que no habían podido dormir, pero que permanecieron en sus casas. Ahora se hablaba de establecer turnos de vigilancia, de realizar un catastro de los vecinos que permanecían en sus hogares y restringir el acceso de personas a la población. Un comentario recurrente hacía mención a la ineficacia de la acción estatal, y cómo los gobernantes no daban paso al accionar de las fuerzas armadas, que nos consta estaban listas a horas del terremoto (el sector aludido en esta crónica se encuentra próximo a las instalaciones del regimiento Guías, donde el día sábado observamos camiones para el transporte de tropas, en formación junto a un contingente considerable de conscriptos).

Llegó entonces la temida segunda noche, estaba anunciado un toque de queda, pero al menos en nuestra población no se hizo efectivo el contingente militar. Durante esa jornada comenzaron a funcionar los turnos de vigilancia, donde dos vecinos debían patrullar la entrada del conjunto habitacional, por un lapso de tres horas. Ante la imposibilidad de reproducir la planilla, hay que destacar que para el turno de las 3 a 6 a.m. estaban inscritos 8 vecinos.

Esa noche, la escalada de violencia en las calles tuvo un efecto notable, los vigilantes ya no usaban garrotes, estaban armados con rifles, pistolas y escopetas. Lo más probable es que nadie quería dispararlas, pero no dudaron en hacer uso de las mismas, aunque sea para efecto de la presencia.

La crónica de los hechos puede narrarse por minuto, pero no tiene sentido si ésta no es analizada para dar cuenta de cómo los que creemos en la libertad interpretamos esta situación donde al parecer las fuerzas armadas eran imprescindibles. Es nuestra opinión que el clamor general por el orden violento de los militares se debe a una paranoia que busca delegar la responsabilidad de la seguridad de las personas en aquellos que tienen uniforme.

Los temidos eran muchos menos que los que temían, sin embargo la potencia de su estereotipada imagen tensaba las tardes de los penquistas. El toque de queda es una medida que nos parece francamente vergonzosa, aquellos que están lejos pueden cree que la cosa es ligera, mas no lo es. Las calles están cubiertas de conscriptos con más rifle que años, prestos a disparar si se les da la oportunidad (nunca nos olvidemos que para eso se entrenan).

Creemos firmemente que esta medida absolutamente represiva pudo evitarse si los vecinos se hubieran organizado desde un principio, superando el egoísmo propio de estas situaciones, donde aquel que se encuentra bien, se olvida de la tragedia en rededor suyo. Era tan sencillo como tocar puertas y conversar, así se hicieron las cosas en la villa Las Palmeras en Collao, también en la población La Emergencia en Hualpén y las Lomas de San Andrés.

Así como el deseo de defender, es también importante la motivación que mantiene despierto a altas horas de la noche. Aquel que está resguardando sus televisores y vehículos, la verdad no merece mayor respeto que los que vienen a sustraerlos. Lo apremiante de la situación exige los más fuertes lazos de apoyo mutuo (distinta a la solidaridad asistencialista que llega en cajas por esta zona). Lo que se debe proteger es la vida humana, siempre, el bienestar común.

Cierto es que ninguno de nosotros tenía entrenamiento militar, sin embargo, estábamos en las calles regalando calma, los vecinos nos lo agradecerían al otro día, con el lujo a ratos olvidado de un café caliente, o una barra de chocolate.

Lo ocurrido después del terremoto debe analizarse desde diversas ópticas y a la luz de los nuevos datos que el paso del tiempo pondrá a nuestra disposición. Aun así, esta breve reflexión obliga a poner en práctica nuestros principios, donde las fuerzas armadas del Estado deben ser consideradas como instrumentos de dominación burguesa. Si aun existen, es porque las hemos dejado estar.