[Statement] Chile: No a la ley antitomas!
Against the authoritarian backlash after the social explosion in Chile!
Hundreds of thousands of residents of Chile’s informal settlements are threatened with prison and eviction without trial, following a law passed on Wednesday August 30. The law allows for up to 3 years imprisonment for those in need who have peacefully occupied land or buildings. Up to 5 years imprisonment for those accused of breaking in and entering. Additionally the new law authorizes the application of special investigation techniques in the pursuit of land occupations. It criminalizes social movements that organize the inhabitants of informal settlements. Furthermore, it legalizes violent actions of landlords taking ‘the law’ into their own hands, including the hiring of third parties (i.e. paramilitary units).
“We find it absolutely unusual and inhumane that politicians and the government support a law that imposes prison sentences, which ensures and legitimates privileged self-defense for large landowners, while persecuting the Mapuche people in their just struggle for the recovery of their territory or the people who occupy land because of their need for housing. Even students and workers who carry out temporary occupations for their just student and labor demands. In fact, this law will criminalize poverty and the struggle to improve the living conditions of the people and we cannot allow it”, said 17 organizations in a public statement issued in June of this year.
Particularly enraging is that this new ‘damned law’, as people call it (ley maldita), is going to be implemented despite the current housing emergency. The Emergency Housing Plan had designated that 260.000 houses should be build in three years, a plan that is far away from implementation. Ironically you can read comments that according to the new law the state should start building instead 600.000 prisons for all the families who are struggling for dignified living.
The struggle for housing and land is uniting our mouvements around the globe. The EAC stands in solidarity with all people who are struggling, may it be for the reappropriation of stolen land, squatting and occupation of spaces and buildings for living and collective social organizing. We consider these forms of civil disobedience as legitimate means of self-defence in capitalist societies, in which the vast majority of the people is exploited and suppressed. We condemn the states that are creating new laws privileging the privileged classes and who authorize violent actions against poverty they themselves create.
Contre le retour de bâton autoritaire après l’explosion sociale au Chili!