Mapuche Nation: Hector Llaitul, spokesman of Mapuche Communities: “Our struggle is against forestry extractivism but never against our worker brothers”

By Andrés Figueroa Cornejo / Source Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn / February 8, 2016. Interview with the leader of the Coordination of Mapuche Communities in Conflict on the ‘spontaneous’ protest of a fraction of forest workers in Mapuche territories in resistance.

The Chilean State has militarized for a while the territories where Mapuche resistance has reached higher levels of struggle against the interests of the forest industry, owned by big capital. This militarization is now adopting new and dangerous strategies against the lives of this people. While behind the people’s back they are promoting a law that provides for ‘preventive identity checks’ for minors, as it existed during the dictatorship (something that has been criticized by the UN), in the Mapuche territories in struggle, forestry companies and their capitalist accumulation based on extractivism (whose goal is to profit at the expense of the super-exploitation of the working people, the destruction of indigenous communities and nature) now uses a fraction of their own employees in the area of conflict in order to encourage greater militarization of the Araucanía area.

The spokesman for the Coordinator of Mapuche Communities in Conflict (CAM), Hector Llaitul, referred to the situation.

Hector Llaitul
Hector Llaitul

-Both the Mapuche people in general as well as the CAM for almost 20 years, have historically resisted the Spanish military violence first, and then the military violence of capitalism that uses the Chilean State weapons for its own sake. Across the globe the righteous cause of the Mapuche people for the defense and recovery of their ancestral territory is known. This is an old struggle that highly exceeds the current contingency characterized by the private plundering of natural resources and soil. In this context, what is it behind the recent and ‘spontaneous’ movement of a segment of employees who sell their labor to the forestry companies?

There is no doubt that the mobilization of a sector of workers is part of a set of measures imposed by the authorities in power in order to continue to safeguard their business interests, in this case, the forestry industry. Simply ask who are the beneficiaries of a mobilization of these characteristics. The minority at the top of the pyramid moves its pawns and resources to carry out their interests: that is, to ensure the normal functioning of their economic cycles for its reproduction and gain. The forestry capital has never had interest in the rights of workers and the future of their families. Or have people already forgotten about worker Rodrigo Cisterna, murdered by the police in 2007, while he was taking part in a strike of contract workers from a forestry company owned by the Angelini group?

This current situation deepens further militarization of the conflict zones. Militarization that seeks to protect forest and is outstanding against our historical claims.

– What is the summary of those historical claims?

The right to territoriality that our Mapuche People-Nation has, and that is erected on irrefutable grounds for all the sectors involved in the conflict. From the CAM we will continue the process that we have undertaken, despite new measures aimed at the militarization and repression against the Mapuche people.

– The labor leaders say they need more ‘security’. But the concept of security, militarization, jail, are part of the classical repertory of the most fascist and retrograde fraction of the big capitalists. They never mention social security, full and secure employment, and least of all the causes of social unrest which are, as always, precarious and flexible jobs, unemployment, lack of social rights…

That’s why we find it highly disturbing that some workers, or perhaps their leadership, do not consider the root cause of the conflict and how just our struggle is when talking about ‘greater security for workers’.

Especially considering that the struggle of our People and Nation is basically territorial and for autonomy, for the claim of certain territories which are now in the hands mainly of forestries. This particular situation is what has created a whole scenario of confrontation with forestry companies. We have always maintained that our struggle is against that capitalist sector and never against the workers. We have shown this in most of our acts of resistance, which are directed against capitalist economy, its methods, its inputs, etc, and not against the activities of workers themselves. Much less against their physical and psychological integrity. It is a real contradiction to argue that workers were at risk when working in properties located in areas of conflict that are under historical territorial claims of the communities.

– In Chile, the State is subsidiary to capital. And along with mining and banks, forest extractivism is one of the greatest beneficiaries from the resources of all the workers in the country. Ultimately, who is responsible for the militarization of Mapuche territory?

The largest contributor to the militarization is the Chilean State, and particularly the current administration, which still wants to impose by any means a model of ultra liberal governance. Following the manual of violence and war against the peoples resisting worldwide, the executive administration of the State of Chile needed to co-opt part of the leadership of forest workers in order to use their protest as argument to protect the forestry’s economic interests, leaving workers in the crossfire of this confrontation between our Mapuche forces and forestry companies.

– Our previous interview took place in the context of the protest by truck owners occurred in late August 2015. Is there any connection between that and the current situation?

Back then, we questioned the use of unions of truck owners to act as ‘Trojan horses’ in order to safeguard the forestry’s economic interests, now it seems even worse with the manipulation of unions to justify repressive policies in Mapuche territory. Their leaders, especially truckers, made statements on fait accompli and it is them who, in fact, make workers ‘cannon fodder’.

It is also necessary to make clear that the responsibility for some unwanted events that affected our brother workers lies within the State and the authorities in power because they are willing to use them wickedly against the Mapuche mobilized people.

– What would have been the logical stage for the Mapuche cause?

“It would have been important that the forestry workers questioned deeply the injustices of which our people was victim, and demanded a high-level political solution to repair, at least in part, the political and territorial claims of our people and to defend their jobs, but out of the conflict zones. This means a particular demand for cessation of tasks or a refusal to work in all properties with historical claims of Mapuche communities.

Also, some kind of repair from forestries and from the state to them if their jobs were affected, but never omitting that the Mapuche people have historical, cultural and political reasons to recover our territories, now in the hands of companies and are victims of the most atrocious predation currently running by the extractive capitalism in the Wallmapu. We demand respect and consideration for our approach based on territorial rights and autonomy for the Mapuche Nation.

The autonomous Mapuche movement carries in its body two decades of mobilization and struggle for territory and autonomy, and in this context we have never acted against the workers. Why? Because we are fully aware that they are also oppressed people, and workers are equally dominated and exploited by the capitalist mode of production.

– What will the Coordination of Mapuche Communities in Conflict, CAM, do now?

The CAM will give continuity to the process that we have undertaken, despite these new measures aimed at militarization and repression against the Mapuche people. Because our cause is built on the basis of national reconstruction and resistance, following our rules as Mapuche, based on the principles of ad mapu ka nor mongen and on our ethical and political action that protects the lives and safety of our people and of all those who become indirectly involved.

Therefore, as an autonomous Mapuche organization, we will continue to work on territorial resistance, carrying out actions against capitalist investments, mainly of the forestry type, due to the disastrous consequences that it means in Mapuche life in general as well as in its economic, social and cultural aspects. Accordingly, great care should be taken when there is presence of workers.

Source: The Dawn

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