Vancouver Labour Council mobilizes solidarity with Chilean people

Actions include call for CLC to implement boycott

Beginning October 18, Chile has been rocked by massive protests, strikes and mobilizations against the neoliberal austerity imposed by the right-wing government of Sebastian Piñera. In response to the uprising, the government has declared a state of emergency and unleashed a brutal wave of repression that is reminiscent of the Pinochet era.

The protests, and the state repression, have sparked a flood of international solidarity from trade unions, farm organizations, peace and human rights groups, and others. On November 20, the Vancouver and District Labour Council adopted a strong statement of solidarity with the Chilean people, which included commitments to action:

We stand in solidarity with the people of Chile and condemn the violence being perpetrated against demonstrators.

BECAUSE the VDLC has a history of solidarity with the Chilean people, going back to the struggle against the fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet from 1973 onward; and

BECAUSE on October 18 massive protests began in Chile, initially started by high school students who called for protests against increased transit fares, but grew into widespread demonstrations against inequality, privatization (including water), neo-liberalism, stagnant wages and high costs of living; and

BECAUSE on October 21 the protest movement grew into a general strike wherein hundreds of thousands of people took to the street, many setting up barricades and taking popular control of their communities; and

BECAUSE the Chilean state, led by the right-wing government of billionaire Sebastian Piñera has responded to the uprising with the police violence, the declaration of a state of emergency, and the implementation of a curfew, something not seen since the Pinochet years; and

BECAUSE on November 12th, the Piñera government announced it would engage in a re-write of Chile’s current Pinochet-era constitution, however protests are expected to continue as the government does not appear to intend to do this in a way which will provide for popular participation,

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL express its support for the Chilean people, including the labour movement and the youth, in their struggle for a better life, and condemn the use of violence and repressive measures by the government and state forces; and

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL work with the Chilean community and international solidarity organizations where possible to express support for the Chilean people in the ongoing pursuit of their just demands, and opposition to the human rights violations perpetrated by the Piñera government; and

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL write to the Canadian Labour Congress asking that they consider the implementation of a boycott of Chilean products as called for by Chilean organizations in Canada and internationally.

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