This document written in 1965 was the foundational statement of the newly formed MIR (Left Revolutionary Movement). The MIR would go on to play a key role in the history of the Chilean left and was the main political force to the left of Allende's popular front government. Of particular interest is the diverse origin of the MIR; at the time of it's foundation it included dissidents from the official communist party, a group breaking off from the socialist party, some anarchists and a number of Trotskyists. As part of our next project we intend to translate and publish a number of key documents from the MIR, including it's program, some of its history and evolution, as well as key speeches and reflections by leading militants.
While the MIR was ultimately defeated, it provides an important and powerful example of a successful left regroupment project around a revolutionary program. It failed to take power or stop the coup, but it rose to national prominence and was central to the revolutionary process that unfolded in Chile.
Declaration of the Principals of the MIR
1 - The MIR organizes itself to be the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the working class as well as the oppressed of Chile who seek national and social emancipation. The MIR considers itself the true heir of the Chilean revolutionary tradition and a continuation of the socialist path of Luis Emilio Recabarren [historic militant who played a leading role in the Chilean socialist movement and the foundation of the Chilean Communist Party, he died in 1924], the leader of the Chilean Proletariat. The goal of the MIR is the overthrow of the capitalist system and its replacement with a workers and peasants government. This government will be led by organs of proletarian power and will have as its goal the construction of socialism and the gradual abolition of the state until arriving at a classless society. The destruction of capitalism implies a revolutionary confrontation between antagonistic classes.
2 - The MIR has as the foundation of its revolutionary action the historical fact of the class struggle. On one side the exploiters, with their base in private ownership of the means of production and exchange; on the other the exploited, the overwhelming majority of the population which only has its ability to labor, those from whom the bourgeoisie extracts surplus value. The MIR recognizes the proletariat as the class of the revolutionary vanguard which should win to its cause the peasants, intellectuals, engineers and the impoverished middle class. The MIR fights uncompromisingly against the exploiters. We orient ourselves based on the principles of the class struggle and we categorically reject any strategy which will diminish this struggle.
3 - This century is the century of the final agony of capitalism. The development of technology has not allowed for the periodic crisis of capitalism to be avoided. The millions of unemployed and the growing poverty are due to the fact that in the capitalist system production is social, yet ownership is individual. The capitalist system in its higher stage of imperialism cannot offer humanity any prospects other than dictatorship and war as a last ditch attempt to escape the chronic crisis of its structures. At some moments it attempts to hide with abstract talk of liberty the reality of its regime of bourgeois dictatorship through the state. Its foundations however take it inevitably down the road towards fascism.
4 - The most characteristic mark of this century is the worldwide nature of the revolutionary process. Every continent has been shaken by history and the relation between classes has shifted unfavorable for imperialism. One third of humanity - more than a billion people - have escaped the orbit of capitalism and are constructing socialism. The triumph of the revolution in many backwards countries demonstrates that all nations have sufficient objective conditions to realize the socialist revolution; there are no “mature and immature” proletariats. The struggles for national liberation and agrarian reform have transformed, through a process of permanent and uninterrupted revolution, into social revolutions. They have demonstrated that without the overthrow of the bourgeoisie there is no effective possibility of national liberation or substantial agrarian reform, democratic tasks which will be combined with socialist ones.
The revolution in the colonial and semi-colonial countries has still not resolved the basic problems of socialism. While the revolution has not triumphed in the highly industrialized countries there will be no possibility of reaching a classless society and there will always be the danger of a nuclear war. Imperialism will not be defeated merely by economic competition between opposing social regimes in a world of peaceful co-existence, rather it will be defeated by the socialist revolution in the heart of imperialism itself.
5 - The objective conditions are overripe for the overthrow of the capitalist system. Despite this, reformism and revisionism continue to betray the interests of the proletariat. On this basis the crisis of humanity is based on the crisis of the world leadership of the proletariat. However the revolutionary process of the last decades has produced a crisis in the traditional political parties of the left. New revolutionary movements have emerged which open a historical perspective to overcome the crisis of leadership of the proletariat.
6 - Chile has become a semi-colonial country with combined and uneven development of a backwards capitalism. Despite its backwardness, Chile is not an agrarian country but rather an industrial and mining country. Over 150 years of poor government, the dominant caste has held back agriculture, mining and industry. They have handed over our main sources of production to imperialism, they have jeopardized national independence with international pacts and compromises; they have transformed Chile into one of the countries with the lowest life expectancy, one of the highest rates of infant mortality, high illiteracy and with deficits in food and housing. The trajectory of the ruling class since the declaration of our independence in the past century up until the present has shown the incapacity of the Chilean bourgeoisie and its parties to resolve bourgeois-democratic tasks. These are fundamentally the tasks of national liberation, agrarian reform and the liquidation of the vestiges of feudalism. We therefore reject “the theory of stages” which mistakenly maintains that first we must wait for a bourgeois-democratic stage led by the industrial bourgeoisie before the proletariat can take power.
We fight against any idea which spreads illusions in the “progressive bourgeoisie” and which practices class collaboration. We maintain emphatically that the only class capable of achieving the “democratic” tasks combined with the socialist ones is the proletariat, leading the peasants and the impoverished middle class.
7 - The bureaucratic leaderships of the traditional parties of the Chilean left have cheated the hopes of the workers; instead of fighting for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, they have limited themselves to proposing reforms to the capitalist system and promoting class collaboration. They deceive the workers with a permanent electoral dance, forgetting direct action and the revolutionary tradition of the Chilean proletariat. They even maintain that it is possible to achieve socialism through a “peaceful and parliamentary path”, as if there is any example in history of a ruling class having willingly handed over power.
The MIR rejects the theory of the “peaceful path” because this politically disarms the proletariat and because it is simply inapplicable. The bourgeoisie is the one which will resist, including through totalitarian dictatorship and civil war, before it will peacefully hand over power. We reaffirm the Marxist-Leninist principal that the only path to overthrow capitalism is through armed insurrection.
8 - On the basis of this reality, we have taken on the responsibility of founding the MIR to unify, above any sectarianism, the militant revolutionary groups which are ready to rapidly but seriously begin the preparation of the Chilean Socialist Revolution. The MIR defines itself as a Marxist-Leninist organization which adheres to the principles of democratic centralism.
Chile, September 1965