BLACK SEPTEMBER: A view of anarchy’s past and present in $hile

In Villa Francia, Santiago, in the early hours of September 11th one person was shot dead. The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Cristopher Ramos Contreras. The shooting took place amid unrest over the night which was fraught with gunfire, while there were barricades and clashes with the forces of state repression at various points in the metropolitan region and other remote areas.

September 11th was the day in 1973 that dictator Pinochet took power over by brute force. On the same day in 1998, anarchist student and dancer Claudia López was shot dead by police while she fought on a barricade during a protest commemorating the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat. Since then, under the slogan of ‘Black September’ demonstrators fight police brutality and repression in her name and all the assassinated under democracy.

Especially this year, that two more people were killed under Piñera (16-year-old Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso and 18-year-old Mario Parraguéz Pinto, during the general strike of August 24th-25th), ‘Black September’ manifestations were approaching in anticipation of harsh clashes and extensive riots.

‘Anarchists who died in the struggle against Capital: Mauricio Morales, Jhonny Cariqueo, Claudia López. Their democracy is built stained in blood.’

Here are some excerpts from the communiqué released by anti-authoritarians/ anarchists ahead of September 11th, 2011 (complete English translation here):

For a combative and creative September 11th
To the streets with fire and memory

Comrade Claudia López still present

… Let’s make one thing clear at the beginning: Salvador Allende is not a comrade. No president can be our comrade. Allende’s figure represents the most reactionary socialism that seeks to canalize the energies of the exploited class towards statist projects of social transformation through elections and in a pacifist manner. It is the repeated image of a ‘popular’ government that after all represents the interests and stageist projects of a leadership of organizations and political parties in power. It happened in Russia in 1917, in Spain in 1936, in Cuba in the 50s; we can spend hours listing examples. The case of Chile is very particular because it attracted worldwide attention. Those were times of the Cold War when the world was divided between the States that were following the project of capitalist democratic dominion of Yankee imperialism and the States that were following the authoritarian socialist model of Soviet Russia. Capitalism and Marxism were the ideologies at stake. In the most radical Marxist camp (not the one that blindly fell within the totalitarian project of Russia) there were individuals organized in armed groups who questioned the possibility of a revolution through elections. Groups such as the RAF in Germany arose from considering that question, closely following the Chilean process. …

… The dirty personages that today appear as government opponents and defenders of justice are responsible for the deepening of capitalism in Chile, in forms which have served as a model for other States. They are responsible for transforming natural resources into merchandise that any Chilean and foreign company want to buy. They are responsible for dismantling the organizational ties in neighbourhoods of exploited people by inserting in these historically combative territories drug trafficking, competitiveness, capitalist individualism, the fear of delinquency and the confidence in law enforcement agencies. The same people, who march today in the streets and raise their hypocritical flags, betrayed those who accompanied them in the struggle against the dictatorship. They became informers, organized repressive bodies that continued the work of the previous regime, and engaged in torture, imprisonment and extermination of the fighters who had not surrendered to the democratic illusion. They established the high security prison to lock up the subversives, and said that there are no political prisoners in Chile. They filled the streets with cameras and police, and called upon the people to cooperate. It was they who said that there’s no longer need for struggle, criminalized social protest and exercised brutal repression in Mapuche territory and wherever discontent was expressed. All this is done by these hypocrites; and they did it with the silent complicity of the people, now called the citizens, always devoid of dignity and memory. …

… Claudia López is the reflection of a generation of comrades that decided to follow up with the conflict against the powerful, amid lethargy of the oppressed and after the dismantling of the Leninist guerrilla groups’ offensive. Anarchist ideas and values began to be expressed through the violent action of these comrades, with organizational logics and propositions of life which were reborn after the Marxist hegemony in the Chilean revolutionary setting. Since all may not have been in their daily lives as combatants as in barricades, we don’t idealize them but rescue their decision to struggle —our precedent in the conduct of anti-authoritarian offensive.

Comrade Claudia López died on September 11th, 1998. The police shot her from behind while she participated in a barricade in the district of Pincoya. She died in combat. Her death was prelude to other killings perpetrated by the democratic order: Daniel Menco, Alex Lemún, Jhonny Cariqueo, among others; comrades representing the new social subject that became the new ‘enemy within’ of the State, the new target of crackdown by the Power since early 2000: anarchists, Mapuche, number of encapuchadxs.

Because memory is combat, memory is revolutionary action.
On September 11th to the streets!
Comrade Claudia López still present!
For all fallen comrades in the conduct of social war.
Our justice will be vengeance.

For our freedom

September 2011

As expected, ‘Black September’ riots were widespread and intense. In Santiago, heavy clashes broke out at the end of the demonstration called for at the central cemetery by human rights organizations, on the 38th commemoration of the last coup d’etat. Hundreds of encapuchadxs (‘hooded protesters’) attacked police and special forces snipers and pacos de rojo (‘red police’) while several mass media groups were targeted, sustaining heavy losses due to the destruction of their equipment.

The unrest spread throughout the night in various parts of the Chilean territory. Clashes with police, looting and destruction occurred in other major cities where barricades were erected, and there were several power outages because of the cadenazos —a method of sabotaging power lines or transformers using chains. At the end of another September 11th, more than 280,000 people were still affected by the power outages (the electric power company Chilectra reported that 135,000 customers in the metropolitan region partially lost electrical service), buses were burned, supermarkets looted and set aflame, churches attacked and nearly burnt.

During the night of ‘Black September’ in Bosque community, located in Santiago metropolitan region, 15-year-old Javiera Molina Araya was severely injured in the chest by a bullet while she was on a barricade. As in previous cases, the spokesmen of the Power (the Press) described the incident as ‘settling of accounts between criminal gangs’. Fights are indeed common among youngsters, but on the night of confrontation the oppressed are on one side and the repressive forces on the other, with gunfire ranging from one side of the barricades to the other. Javiera was standing on our side, not the police. The girl was hospitalized in extremely critical condition. On the same night, there were a total of 280 detainees across Chile. Most detainees were accused of theft and looting, others of disorder and assaulting police while several people ended up in prison due to criminal record or pending arrest warrants. In Villa Francia alone, the police arrested 14 people. Fourteen cops were injured; one lost an eye and another was struck by more than 40 buckshot pellets in the arms and legs.

A few days later, on September 15th 22-year-old vegan comrade Cristobal Bravo Franke was beaten and arrested by cops while he was walking down a street. He has now been detained accused of assaulting police! We cannot remain indifferent to this situation, having comrades being followed, harassed and framed. We know that the Press will make a feast of lies and slander against Cristobal. It’s clearly one more desperate attempt by the State to hold radical parts of society hostage and to impose an exemplary punishment to those who don’t comply with its laws and don’t wish to live under authoritarian rule.


Related counter-information can be found online, in projects such as…

· > List of political prisoners in the Chilean State (early September 2011 update)
· > The Chicago Conspiracy (2010, 94 min)
This documentary addresses the legacy of the military dictatorship in Chile by sharing the story of combatant youth who were killed by the Pinochet regime as a backdrop to the history of the military dictatorship and current social conflict in the area. The larger story is wrapped around three shorter pieces which explore the student movement, the history of neighbourhoods that became centres of armed resistance against the dictatorship, and the indigenous Mapuche conflict. The filmmakers, militant film collective Subversive Action Films, question their relationship to the documentary, taking a position as combatants.