In these seven months of government in the hands of President Gabriel Boric, the possibility of greater social justice is vanishing day by day. In the meantime, all the positions of political power are remaining in the party of order in the Executive, as they already were in the Legislative.

Even the vibrations of the social outburst are still manifesting themselves, like aftershocks of an earthquake, a pulse of indignation that runs through the country. This moment is unique, it is a break with the usual. The harshness of reality, the consequences of the pandemic, the fear and distrust of politics and the economic crisis, which is mercilessly destroying the daily lives of our country’s wage-earning families, are the waters in which the government is navigating.

We listen to the explanations of the experts and government decision-makers to make it clear that, as they used to say in the last century, “we have to tighten our belts”; a euphemism that disguises the desperate daily struggle of wage earners, retired and unemployed people to survive, and to maintain, suffering the rigours demanded by the heartless neoliberal model that reigns in our country, at least the lifestyles that each one of us had achieved before the pandemic.

These experts make us see our important share of responsibility in what is happening in the country’s economy, since, ignoring the expert voices, we succumb to populism, by removing our 10% to be able to eat, dress and entertain ourselves.

It is strange that this model is in crisis, when ordinary people have access to their own savings, and use the fruits of their efforts to alleviate the needs of years of pandemic.

This does not prevent us, in this current situation, in which such outlets are denied, from demanding concrete responses, that the programme be fulfilled, that the electoral promises be made concrete, especially in the face of a daily life in which household economies are definitely much more terrible than those declared by the averages of government statistical bodies.

But as always, this constant rise in prices that has Chilean women’s souls in tatters is not the same for the local elite.

In Chile, the global crisis is manifesting itself in a runaway inflation, with rising prices for basic services, housing, food, health, etc. This certainly hits retired people, with pensions below even the minimum wage (50% of women who receive their first self-financed old age pension in August 2022, is less than $289.980, ref: Fundación SOL). 980, ref: Fundación SOL), at the same time that it benefits the big companies, which obtain obscene profits: Banco Santander shows profits in August 2022 of $663,683 million, and those of Banco de Chile in August 2022 reach $947,830 million, the total bank collects from its usurious rates $3.9 trillion.

As we can see, the economic crisis is only suffered day by day by hundreds of thousands of Chilean families, who are forced to take charge of it, on the other hand, the big capital concentrated in a few powerful families and a group of transnationals, maintain their outrageous mechanics of capital accumulation.

Where are the promises of the Chilean businessmen, declared in the middle of the days of the social outburst, we remember that these sectors swore on camera, that they understood and that they see necessary to overcome this situation to share privileges and “give until it hurts” (apparently their pain threshold turned out to be of small range).

Inequality, corruption and political co-optation are the factual basis of the economic groups operating in Chile, both national and transnational.

ECLAC stated in February: Chile is the Latin American country in which the ultra-rich concentrate the highest level of wealth. The wealth accumulated by these nine Chileans is equivalent to 16.1% of Chile’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Another sign of inequality: World Inequality Report 2022 indicates that the richest 1% in Chile concentrate 49.6% of the country’s total wealth (in Brazil they concentrate 48.9%, in Mexico 46.9%).

Of the nine super-rich, the second on the list is Julio Ponce Lerou, who took control of SQM (Soquimich), one of the world’s largest producers of lithium, iodine and fertilisers, after it was privatised by Pinochet, his father-in-law. Manages the company through a “cascading” scheme, earning a fraudulent profit of US$128 million (lawsuit ongoing). In 2021, SQM made profits of US$585.5 million; 255.9% more than in 2020.

At the same time, misery expands. Poverty is growing after two decades and is expected to increase (10.8% and 4.3% in extreme poverty). TV experts say that next year the economic crisis will hit Chile, Latin America and the world hard. Can it get any worse?

But they explain that these costs are necessary to pay, despite the hardships involved, in order to maintain and care for “our society of freedom”.

The concept of freedom is so varied in its interpretations and uses that dictators and libertarians use it in their speeches; atheists and religious fundamentalists, as well as rich and poor. It is so important in history that millions have died to attain it, as some use it by manipulating it to live at the expense of many others. Today that word continues to make history, especially in political and economic spheres.

Those who talk so much about freedom, tear their hair out when someone wants to use their pension funds, or wants to decide about their body, or not to wear a tie in a formal situation, let alone those who want to choose with whom to share a bedside table.

A key to understanding the phenomenon, it seems, is to see where the value is placed in their lives, since “don dinero” can travel the world without a problem, as well as change owners in a suitcase without any obstacle, or speculate on the cost of living, of those who are free to buy in 12 instalments.

Thus, these semantic bandits have turned the lives of millions into a sacrifice by surviving on debt, forced by the rising prices of essentials and with salaries that disappear in a few days to cover the debts of the previous month.

If 30 pesos managed to precipitate millions in the revolt, how can we accept that this context of brutal speculation can make our lives go away, living in a false freedom?

These critical situations are always opportunities to find ourselves, to justify our existence, as we begin to discover new forms that are born in the heart of community, diversity and organisation. We understand that we are political beings, and that all social, economic and mental change requires embracing and reclaiming politics, giving it a humanising direction, finally dismantling this farcical system that shackles life in the name of a distorted freedom.

Collaborative writing by Sylvia Hidalgo; Natalia Ibáñez; Helmut Kramer; Rubén Marcos; Guillermo Garcés and César Anguita. Political Commission.