Friday, 22 February 2013

Forty Years On

                          Forty Years On!-Lest we forget.

This September we will be commemorating the military coup that destroyed the legally elected Socialist government of President Allende in Chile.

Somewhat like the military coup that brought Franco to power in Spain in 1938 the bodies of those murdered by the junta are still being found.
Significantly there is a suggestion that the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's body may be exhumed to see if the fascists poisoned him shortly after the coup.
Echoes of the murder of the great Spanish poet Garcia Lorca ,also a victim of the fascists.

But of course it is not simply poets and musicians and artists and intellectuals that the brutes  massacre.Workers and peasants and their children were all victims of the destructive power of such regimes.

Spain was 75 years ago, Chile was 40 years ago, and still throughout the world workers and peasants are being quietly massacred as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
Business as usual.
Of course it was just that in Chile, it was 'business as usual ' for the Anaconda Copper Company and the other US based multi-nationals who were terrified that the workers of Chile, alongside their elected government might just look across the Caribbean and see what the Cuban people had done to the American multi-nationals.
There would be no more 'business as usual' if the workers expropriated the corporations.

That was why Pinochet had the full support of the CIA,who spent billions destabilising Dr Allende's government.remember who was running the CIA at the time?
That evil bastard George.H.Bush, father of that other evil murdering bastard George W. Bush.

And remember who was George H Bush's biggest buddy- why Margaret Thatcher of course!
And who was George M Bush's biggest buddy when he launched the Iraq war-why Tony Blair of course!  

Northampton played a significant part in the solidarity movement for Chile.Our unions were magnificent, the TGWU 5/221 branch, the drivers branch producwed stickers 'No Truck with the Chilean Junta' and the TGWU branch over at Fords in Daventry raised funds like it was going out of fashion.

Solidarity was real and practical, as well as the endless fundraising Northampton Chile Solidarity produced, in Spanish  a handbook for young trade unionists who were replacing the murdered and exiled activists,and we were able to smuggle in the duplicator skins.

We also helped with the resettlement of many political refugees driven from their homes.
Amongst the most amazing were an elderly couple, Don Cisternas and his wife Mina.

His crime?
He had been a member of thye Communist Party and chair of the tractor committee in his village.
Don Cisternas provided us with one of those wonderful moments.At a party he was having a conversation of sorts with my father, who had been a farm worker many years ago.
One spoke Spanish, the other wild foul Scots and they were trying to communicate.
My Dad asked Don Cisternas what he did as a hobby.
"Parrot shooting", was the reply.
My old man was astounded:
"At your age-parachuting?"
A strange conversation, but in essence it always reminds me that workers have much more in common and don't need language all the time.
Two old men separated by thousands of miles but could share a joke and share a common humanity.
A people united will never be defeated!

It's time the Labour Party remembered it's roots, and remembered what solidarity is really all about.

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