Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quilapayun: "El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido." ("The People United Will Never Be Defeated")

Quilapayun is a musical group which was formed in Chile as part of the Nueva Cancion, performing with such other social-justice artists as Victor Jara and Inti-Illimani. This posting of a performance by the group below (from You Tube) says that this was a video of Quilapayun performing in front of the government buildings just a few days before the U.S.-directed coup and massacre in Chile which began on September 11, 1973. You can see the people standing in solidarity in the audience, supporting the new democratically-elected government led by president Salvador Allende.

As soon as the election results were in, the U.S. began working to overthrow Allende because he was a socialist, and he wanted to take control of the nation's resources for the people. The resources were claimed by western corporations, U.S. corporations, who called on the U.S. government to destroy Allende. Corporate Dictatorships. At the time this performance below was filmed, the government of Allende was already under economic attack and general threat by the United States. President Salvador Allende would be murdered by a U.S.-sponsored coup within a few days along with thousands of other Chileans.

In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes the military coup and installation of the Pinochet dictatorship as the first in what would become a pattern by the U.S. and multinational corporations: create or take advantage of a disaster (a military coup with lots of killing), immediately turn the control of the nation and the government over to western corporations and financial groups, have a brutal police and military force use extreme violence against the people to terrorize and subdue them, to prevent the people from fighting against the destruction of their country.

Thousands of Chilean citizens were slaughtered, thousands were "disappeared" -- picked up by goon squads in unmarked cars, murdered, their bodies thrown in ditches -- and thousands more were imprisoned without charges and tortured. Many of the torture victims who survived said that the voices of the people directing the torture were clearly Americans. We did this. Then the corporations create new laws (such as eliminate minimum wage and all workers' rights, eliminate unions, shut down the schools, cut all public services budget items, take all the tax money for the corporations, sign long-term contracts giving corporations ownership of all the resources of the country, suspend the constitution and all civil rights).

The song, El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido, is perhaps true in the long-run: "The People United Will Never Be Defeated." It was written in 1970 by Sergio Ortega (music) and Quilapayun (lyrics).

The song was written in support of the new government of Salvador Allende, which had been democratically elected by the people of Chile. The working class and poor people of that country believed that Salvador Allende represented them, and would work to help them to have better lives, and to stop the western corporations from stealing the resources and paying slave wages to the people of that country.

The pro-western upper classes in Chile hated Salvador Allende and all his policies and programs. They wanted to continue the system in Chile by which the small upper-class received enormous wealth from the western corporations that dominated the economy, and the mass of the people suffered great poverty. The upper classes worked with the right-wing and the military, and worked with the United States to try to destroy the new government of Salvador Allende by an economic boycott, to begin, and eventually by a U.S.-directed and sponsored military coup which resulted in the murder of Allende and thousands of Chileans, and installed the dictator Pinochet to rule over Chile for decades.

The coup took place on September 11, 1973, and many of those who were not murdered fled the country and mounted a resistance around the world. The song "El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido" became the unofficial anthem of the Chilean resistance to the dictatorship of Pinochet and to American corporate control of their country.

Another group from the Nueva Cancion movement in Chile, Inti-Illimani, recorded the song and their version became well-known around the world.

The song has been adopted in many other countries among groups rallying to protest against right-wing corporate control and in favor of workers’ rights. One version was recorded by a group in the Philippines and re-titled "Song of Victory," and has become popular among progressives in that country. There was a Ukrainian version that became popular in that country. The song was adopted by the Greek left party named Coalition of the Radical Left and used by them during the 2007 elections in their country. The Chilean version (Spanish-language) is popular throughout the world. It is very common to see people in nations around the world demonstrating against war or in support of workers' rights and carrying banners and chanting "El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido."

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,
el pueblo unido jamás será vencido
De pie, cantar que vamos a triunfar.

Avanzan ya banderas de unidad.
Y tú vendrás marchando junto a mí
y así verás tu canto y tu bandera
florecer, la luz de un rojo amanecer
anuncia ya la vida que vendrá.

De pie, luchar el pueblo va a triunfar.
Será mejor la vida que vendrá
a conquistar nuestra felicidad
y en un clamor mil voces de combate
se alzarán dirán canción de libertad
con decisión la patria vencerá.

Y ahora el pueblo que se alza en la lucha
con voz de gigante gritando: adelante!

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,
el pueblo unido jamás será vencido

La patria está forjando la unidad
de norte a sur se movilizará
desde el salar ardiente y mineral
al bosque austral unidos en la lucha
y el trabajo irán la patria cubrirán,
su paso ya anuncia el porvenir.

De pie, cantar el pueblo va a triunfar
millones ya, imponen la verdad,
de acero son ardiente batallón
sus manos van llevando la justicia y la razón
mujer con fuego y con valor
ya estás aquí junto al trabajador.

The people united will never be defeated,

The people united will never be defeated
Stand up on your feet and sing. Because we are going to win.

Flags of unityare now advancing.
And you will come marching together with me,
and so you'll see your song and your flag blossom.
The light of a red dawn already announces
the life to come.

Stand up on your feet and fight, the people are going to win.
The life to come will be better
To conquer our happiness
and a clamor of a thousand fighting voices will rise,
speaking a song of freedom.
With determination the fatherland will win.

And now the people, who are rising in struggle
with a giant voice crying out: Move Forward!

The people united will never be defeated,
The people united will never be defeated

The fatherland is forging unity,
from north to south they're mobilizing.
From the burning salt and mineral mines
to the southern forests
united in struggle and labor
they go covering the fatherland.
Their steps already announce the future.

Stand up on your feet and sing,
the people are going to win.
Millions now are imposing the truth
Their steel battalions are on fire,
taking in their hands justice and reason.
Womanwith fire and courage is already here
Along side the worker.

1 comment:

  1. Hey NAB...

    I sent you an mp3 of the great Susana Baca to go along with Quilapayun, and as much difference as there may between the music they make, the basic engagement is exactly the same, IMHO.

    I often stop by your blog, but don't always leave a comment, because I'm sort of burning out about the chances of... well, just about anything good, and what's the point of spreading that message?

    Pessimistic or not, I still like what I like, and as Walter Benjamin once said...

    "It's only for the hopeless that we have been given hope."