Chile's Road to Socialism


CHAPTER 4

Internal Order and Discipline

Speech at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Chilean Communist Party
Caupolican Theatre, Santiago, 26 November 1970

The militants of Unidad Popular should be watchful and highly conscious of their responsibilities. They must understand that in view of the measures already taken by the government, measures which do not follow the usual pattern of procedure of past governments, and in view of the measures we have announced to fulfil the programme of Unidad Popular - indeed next week we shall present a bill for the definitive nationalization of the copper industry, a bill to abolish the monopolies that exploit and hamper the natural development of our economy and a bill to nationalize banking credit and to rationalize the insurance companies -1 repeat, in view of all these measures and initiatives, it is reasonable to suppose that the sectors whose interests are being curtailed will seek any means whatsoever to prevent us from continuing the business of government in the peaceful and orderly manner that we intend.

A few days ago I learned that a group had been very efficiently organized to provoke the takeover of new houses, or of houses nearing completion. I first sought the opinion of the Minister of Housing and of the Minister of the Interior and afterwards went to see for myself. I took no body-guard, for I believe I have enough moral authority before the people for them to trust me. And so I went to the Villa Kennedy. [1]

There I said what you have already read in the press: that it would be impossible for the militants of Unidad Popular not to see their mistake in becoming involved in a trap to set workers against workers. I think the response I obtained was very satisfying. I heard people say that if they had done something wrong they would remedy it, and such honesty is very moving. But behind mistakes which can be explained, there may well be a striving towards certain serious objectives, and this is what I want to discuss with you. I want the men and women of Unidad Popular to be urgently aware of the need for the committees of Unidad Popular to continue studying, analysing and criticizing the measures taken by the Unidad Popular government. At the same time ways must be found to satisfy the hopes and just demands of the masses within the range of possibilities we have already outlined. I came here this afternoon intending to do nothing more than bring my warm greetings and thanks to the militants of the Communist Party, who have done so much for Unidad Popular and for the victory of the people. But, in view of what has happened, I must re-emphasize how important it is to understand the nature of the responsibilities that rest on each one of us.

I have repeatedly stressed to the country and I repeat again to you: what we have succeeded in bringing about in Chile is something that has not happened in any other country. The attempt to overcome a government by using the proper legal channels in order to bring about the Revolution has been accomplished in this continent and in the whole world only by the people of Chile.

We are obliged to put into precise terms exactly what this means. I am aware of the comments in the international press and know how each day attacks on the Unidad Popular government and on the people of Chile are increasing. There are some people who would like to see us surrounded by a hostile climate. We know that there are exiles, implicated or not in the murder of General Schneider, who still continue their subversive conspiracies. The government is watchful, but the government's foundation is the unity of the people, your vigilance and your sense of responsibility.

We are not going to find a solution in one day to problems that have lasted more than a century. Nor is the present state of things a permanent answer. But I believe that the level of understanding reached by each man and woman of the people is sufficient to enable them to realize the magnitude of the task facing us. The language I speak as President is the same that I spoke as candidate. I cannot, comrades, and the different party leaders cannot, do what we have to do if it is not upon the basis of granite resolve, of high-mindedness, of courage on the part of the workers, of a sense of responsibility in young people, and of an invincible will on all our parts to resist the enemies of the people of Chile and remain free to be our own masters.

Let us avoid all provocative acts. Do not be tricked into provocation. Reject irresponsible or demagogic attitudes. Teach every man and woman in the country, especially the peasants, who have less political understanding, that this is their government, and that we have already shown it to be so by the measures we have taken recently. They must have confidence in you who are part of the government through the popular parties and through the Central Union of Workers. For the first time in the history of Chile, the President of the Republic and his Ministers for Social and Economic Affairs are going to sign an agreement with the Central Union concerning wages. This agreement establishes a wages policy based on totally different concepts. It is a policy integrated into the broader framework of our economic development, with a system of social justice which will become a reality when an organized people realize the aims they have set themselves.


Notes:

1. A housing project on the outskirts of Santiago, financed by loans negotiated under the Alliance for Progress.


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