Terry Fields Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Terry Fields

Letter from MP


From Chile Socialist Defence Campaign Bulletin, No. 2, 1985.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

THE FOLLOWING article, is a letter the CSDC received from Terry Fields, MP for Broad Green, who has tabled a number of questions in Parliament on the question of Chile, and has always used his position as an MP, to highlight as much as possible the struggle the Chilean workers are going through.

The overthrow of the Popular Unity government in Chile in 1973, leaving over 50,000 workers murdered, was a huge blow to the international labour and trade union movement. But despite threats of detention, murder and torture, Chilean workers continue to struggle against the regime. Their courage and determination is an inspiration to all of us, and is a confirmation of the fact that no amount of killing can destroy the will of the workers to struggle.

The essential foundations for building of links with Chilean workers in their struggle to rebuild their organizations, were laid by the Labour Party Young Socialists during the 1970’s. I think that the Chile Socialist Defence Campaign, in continuing this work, has an enormously important role to play in this; by building links with Chilean workers and giving them direct support for their work and by offering a political perspective, using the important lessons taught to us by history.

As a Labour MP and a Socialist, it is my duty to support not only those struggles waged by British workers, but those waged by workers and oppressed peoples everywhere. Despite the hostile atmosphere in parliament, which is so divorced from the everyday lives of ordinary people, I have attempted to use all the means available in the House of Commons – through debates, motions, parliamentary questions etc. – to raise those struggles, and to gain the ear of ordinary people.

Last month I introduced a motion on the question of the links between the Tories and the Chilean regime, following press reports that the Tory government, in exchange for the use of bases and intelligence during· the Falklands war, had made a deal with Pinochet not to pursue the issue of human rights violations in Chile. Thatcher’s attempts to justify the war waged in the Falklands by saying it was a fight against Fascist tyranny, whilst at the same time relying on the repressive regime of Pinochet to continue the war, just shows the rank hypocrisy of the Tories.

Britain exporter of torture equipment

Britain is the second largest exporter of equipment for torture, “or internal security equipment” as the government prefers to call it. These exports go unchecked and despite efforts to discuss this issue in Parliament, a veil of secrecy shrouds the whole dirty business. British companies continue to manufacture gas chambers, guillotines, thumbscrews, leg irons and gas chains. Equipment such as this offers rich rewards to big business, and the Tory Party – as the political representative of big business – stays silent on the question of human and democratic rights violations. They prefer to ignore the atrocities of the Chilean government and other brutal regimes in Latin America such as El Salvador and Paraguay, to name only two.

The state of siege, imposed last year has been extended for a further three months in an attempt to hold down the protests against the regime which have taken place, with systematic dawn raids being carried out on the shanty towns, taking away hundreds into internal exile. I myself have written letters of protest to the Chilean government on this and other questions.

Pinochet, who even his traditional supporters amongst the ruling class have now branded as a “lunatic”, maintaining his rule under the bloody heel of military repression, is now battling under a deepening economic crisis which has meant soaring unemployment and poverty for the working class.

Every “remedy” has been tried to alleviate the deepening crisis without success – for example the “rescheduling” of foreign loans (in other words putting off the debt until later), which has resulted in a record national debt – all of which will only further deepen the problems, as foreign creditors demand repayment of their loans. Even the British mouthpiece of big business – the Financial Times recognises what this will mean for the Chilean people – “there will be no financial carrots to ease unemployment. The poor and the regime’s supporters may find themselves even more squeezed.” (FT, 31 January 1985)

Chilean workers and particularly the youth, who’ve both been hardest hit by the policies of the regime, have proved during the recent period that they will no longer tolerate the military dictatorship. Elections are not due until 1989, but in view of the tremendous traditions of the Chilean workers, I think it is unlikely that they will be prepared to wait that long.

I will continue to use every means I can, to condemn the methods of repression and torture and the collusion of this and other capitalist governments and the Chilean regime. In the long run, nothing will be able to stop the massive power and strength of the Chilean masses in their fight to rid society not only of that bloody dictator, but also of the rotten economic system which brought him to power.


Terry Fields Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 19 January 2018