Education for democracy.
Salvador Allende Gossens.


"Let us groan the Chilean economy".
Richard Nixon.


I am here to converse with you, pupils, teachers, parents and proxies in my double capacity as grandfather that has a child in the Basic Education, and President of the Educational Community. I emphasize the importance that this act has, that is accomplished for the first time in our country, and furthermore, it reaches exceptional embossment because there are here, in addition to the parents, pupils and teachers, the leaders of the Teaching Workers Only Union, headed by the First Education Worker, the companion Public Education Minister of the Popular Government.

I salute the presence in this act, of University of Chile and Technical University representatives. I salute the presence in this act of the Mister Principal of the Military School, training centre where the Fatherland soldiers are forged. They are here, near us, the workers leaders.

Personally, throughout my life, I always had links which approach me more and more to the teachers.

I did not pass through University after the anxious search of a title that permitted me a better material life. I have the satisfaction of have been a university striver; of have been expelled of the University by defending reform processes; of have been near the teachers throughout my public life, when they outlined their worry to make possible the transformation of Education or when they fought for their just claims.

I just want to remember that the first project of law that I presented as Deputy by Valparaíso, in 1937 was a project intended for workers and peasants literacy, and, for financing it, there was outlined a tax to the exportable iron. As we can imagine in a Congress with a majority that was not ours, this project was not dispatched. Immediately, in my parliamentary duty, I protested many, many times, specially to indicate the trascendent importance that Chilean teachers had played in the improvement technical process and in the development of Education. I criticize harshly, in a very hard way those governments that, without understanding the national and patriotic sense that was enclosing the teachers attitude, appealed to the repression and expelled a number superior to 300 Chilean teachers off the teaching in certain moment.

In the same way, I intervened in the discussions to defend San Carlos educational plan and the creation of the Consolidated School. I have the deep satisfaction of have presented the law project that creates the North section of the University of Chile in Antofagasta. That is to say, always, throughout my public life, I was concerned about the Education problems and I was near the teachers, in their hard combats in order to improve it and also for improving their life, their existence.

It was not, then, an electoral attitude the one that carried me, one year and a half or two ago when the teachers went on strike near three months to participate as Senator of the People, in all the public acts and in the common pots they raised to defend their dignity.


This act, is performed at the beginning of the first Popular Government educational year, your government, that I am honoured to preside. I want to emphasize its importance, since we want to notify its meaning and it will have Your presence, in the political, economical and social transformation processes, for those which we fight. I want, once again, to notify that these deep change processes that Chile is committed with, they will only be able to be accomplished with total integral support of the community, on the base of the effort of a conscious people, disciplined, heroic in the work, in the creation, and, because of this, unquestionably we must emphasize the importance that school and teacher will have, specially, before the difficulties we will face, because to changigng is injuring interests and our road our is the hardest one, since we must accomplish it within the standards of a democratic and bourgeois legality , with total respect for human personality and for social rights, in front of sectors that do not hesitate to creat any kind of difficulties to this Government, but that will be expired by the unity, by the entirety, by the decision and by people's revolutionary will.

For us, every society must be a school, and the school must be integral part of this great school society must be, but not in the traditional, introvert, satisfied one of a teaching that should be well imparted, but that does not assign beyond their walls; because we think about the opened school, integrated to the processes that worry, concern and interest the community. That is what we long and that is what will result of the democratic discussion that teachers, parents and pupils will have, to make possible that such educational reform we long will be the product of a community, understanding the transcendency that it will have in our fatherland development process.

We think that this discussion process about the educational problems, just as we have indicated it, is part of a wide and authentic conception of a real democracy, in which most of the people permanently participate and not only in occasional form, as occurs nowadays, where people still are cited just in the electioneering acts. We have already broken this for the most part, but we recognize that it is fundamental to advance, advance much more, and cause that people are present in the construction and accomplishment stage, in the decisions, in the action, in the alertness and in the control of the productive and educational activities, and in the Government performance.

Only in this way we will justify what we supported throughout our struggles when we said that the people would become Government. And the people will become Government when they participate actively in all the national activities. To make possible that democratic conception, we should begin to establish equal possibilities for the new generations. Nobody, exept me who I am a doctor, can support that all men are equal. And whe I say man I generically use this expression. It is about giving you the possibilities so that all may have the same opportunity and it will depend, by the way, on the individual conditions within each one, whether this possibility will be well-spent or rejected. Then, it is not about, we are just fighting for changes, that imply that the means of production, in the economic development fundamental level of the country, belong to the community, as we have outlined it upon indicating the imperative need of creating the social capital area. It is about, furthermore, we fight to make possible an equitable distribution of the income to avoid the injustices of the big inequalities of a regime and a system, that gives to a few, very much, and that gives very few to the majority. We fight because Chile's man and woman , the youth, the child and the elder may have right to access that let them reach the necessary consumption levels to satisfy the essential needs. We indicate that our people, more than centennially is hungry of bread, material hunger and spiritual hunger.

We want equalty for the capacities development, equal posibilities, I repeat, and we have to note that his does not happen in the system we want to transform, because nobody ignores, of those present here who are teachers and professionals, that unfortunately this capacity is linked to the material existence conditions.


As a doctor, I have indicated so many times in all the platforms, the tremendous injustice and social scar that entrails that in an unjust society, a high percentage of children could not have equal possibilities, for developing their capacities, because their parents could not feed him. If there is something this incredible injustice system indicates, is the fact that there are 600 thousand children with smaller intellectual capacity in Chile, because they did not receive proteins in the first months of their existence. Today we know that the intellectual performance can be reduced until 40%, when the newborn child is not fed in normal conditions. And therefore, in the same way, we indicate that School is for some cildren a home continuation, but not for most of our children whose parents, regrettably, can not satisfy their questions, reason for, what children always say in front of the daily problems they confront. An illiterate parent is a parent who can not teach the language to the child neither to explain him/her even, simply, the world, the society and the fatherland processes. Because of this, we indicate that the fight to the death in which we are pawned is to make feasible the equal possibilities, so that are developed in similar conditions the capacities of the children, to the margin of the contingencies of a unjust society, that opens all the possibilities to some few and closes the possibilities to the immense majority of our children.

What for recall here the arrival to school of many children who did not learn the paper, the crayons, and the didactic games? That's the reason it is Education Ministry's fundamental obligation to accelerate the process and to advance each day worried more and more on those culturally depressed children because of their parents existence material conditions. How many children arrive to school without having experienced the sensation of a house, of a home? Children whose parents do not know how to satisfy their minimal requirements, children who spalsh in the mud, sometimes walk kilometers in the rural zones, arrive starving to rambling schools, where the teacher is pointlessly pawned so that they learn; with children who can not retain because their memory is inferior than others, than those normally fed.

Upon entering to this Assembly, so meaningful and with so deep patriotic content, I was beaten by the signs that student children lift up claiming facilities to satisfy the minimal needs the teaching premises should have .

Therefore we indicate that it must be a common basic educational level, from which can depart in equal conditions, so that the possibilities within each one are developed according to their capacity and their convictions. We need to recover the lost time; to worry for teaching and educating more and more.

We are today day in front of a world that stirs in its deep changes, in the science and technique field. The man has ruled nature and it is indispensable to understand that, unfortunately, peoples as ours, dependent on the economic and cultural topics, arrived late to the mercantile and industrial revolution and that they are light years away of the scientific-technological revolution need to prevent that the gap that separates them from the industrial capitalism and socialism countries increaseses more each day. We are peoples where social scars indicate the injustice and where the alienated man lives with the dread to the daily existence, before the lack of work, the lack of culture, the possibility of buying health, of having a home, of amusing and resting.

We indicate that as well as there are discriminated children in the infancy , the man or the woman can not reach minimal educational levels; they are marginalized from life, specially, when today, more than ever, they need training in the work activities whatever these are. That's the reason we can not forget, for instance, the social fact that queries so much to this Government and personally to me, when we verify that in our country there is a high number of men and women who do not work for several reasons, but, between others, because they did not pass even by the elemental years of basic education and have therefore less possibilities of be effective performance factors. And for them, the work or the employment possibility becomes more difficult. That's the reason I insist, then, that for us the people rulers and for You, we should emphasize this stage we are living as humanity's most transcendent fact. Do not forget that children and youths present here, and who are going to enter the school, lycée or University, will be tomorrow the century XXI men, in which, unquestionably, the production and work process will be ruled by a high specialization.

Then, there is the reason by which, we shall not forget this in order to recover the lost time; to assemble the gap that separates us from the industrial capitalism and socialism countries and to prepare the children patriotic passion, so that they will be tomorrow citizen, not only in the the cultural teaching aspect, but in the internal transformation that make them the century XXI men, with a new mentality, a new spirit, a new social conscience.


Breaking the cultural and economic dependency is a bold and decisive step in the fatherland development. But building the new life and the new society requires, as I said a minute ago, a new will, a new responsibility and we must prepare for this. In the contemporary world, not only the countries as ours, in development process, have suffered and suffer the foreign capital breakthrough; we are not only raw material producer countries that we sell cheap and we buy expensive; we are countries suffering a new aggression; the one that implies to sell or not technology, that represents for the countries that have it, have even greater advantages than those which they directly reach when they invest their capital in countries as ours, in the right road to production.

We understand that we can not reach a technology that, unquestionably, we cannot indiscriminately apply in our reality. We shall create, taking advantage of experience and knowledgments, wherever they come from, the scientific advances, for adapting them to our own reality.

It is not strange, in this assembly, and in the other hand, it is my obligation to indicate it, for example, that Chile, in this instant, beyond the parties frontiers political bases of the Popular Government, is pawned to recover for the people and for the fatherland the fundamental wealth in hands of the foreign capital. Substantially, in this instant it is discussed in the Deputies Chamber our project intended to recover for Chile its fundamental wealth that it is the copper and to nationalize it without any last name. However, I want to emphasize the hard teaching that we have already got from the first steps that we have wanted to give in this sense, before the Constitutional Reform is dictated that I am referring to. About the Chuquicamata case, fifty-something foreign have not heard our call, that has not been beggar, but it has been clear: we want them to stay working, so that they were in this difficult process stage, in which Chile will be the absolute owner of that so fundamental wealth for the fatherland. They have rejected our petition by reasons that we should consider: because they are company officials that have in other parts of the world similar tasks to ours and, therefore, we could say that they are part of a chain that strap on them to those powerful international companies. That's the reason of the obligation that the technical personnel must be Chilean, our professionals, those who must take in their hands the responsibility of the productive process, that has so much incidence in the normal march of Chile's economic development, and by the way, much more in the possibilities of their amplification. However, we do not have the specialized technical personnel that may have had superior responsibility levels in those mining tasks, the most important for the fatherland. And that has occurred because the intention has been to prevent that our technical personnel reached these superior responsibility levels. However, commited ourselves to these facts, we have the confidence to surpass those difficulties, because a workers, personnel, technical and professional unity, because the Engineers College and the Industrial and Mining Technical personnel College, close to the Chilean workers, will take a historical step to defend the fatherland and its destination.

That's the reason, that together with the emphasizing of the meaning that for us has the content you must give, the Educational Reform community members dependent on the Ministry, I want to emphasize how much has meant in the boiling process of the popular struggles the new spirit that has jolted Chile's Universities. Today, the fatherland universities were anticipated in the popular sectors anxiety, they know the fact that there can not be amorphous universities, universities in the margin of the social process; they must be, and they will be, universities committed with the problems of the people and with the structural changes that people claim; universities whose scientific experiences and whose technological advances must be intimately linked to the processes of the national development in the regional fields throughout all our fatherland.

Therefore, we long - I repeat - a new society, with new values. And this there must born of the revolutionary process in the large and attractive and disquieting longing of an educational reform that prepares the new man for the new society and the new tasks. We need to understand that thousands and thousands of boys feel frustrated, lack a direction, youths who do not fly by their own imagination, but must appeal to drugs to be raised before the small daily processes and man poverty. Because of this, for us, the education and Government action in the new society area, must indicate the young, that he will be the executor and constructor of the new society we long, the great dignifying task, uprooting from the oscillation and the vice, delivering it the noblest mandate a youth can have: fight for his fatherland, a new society and a new man in the fertile beehive of work.

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Most recent revision: March 16, 2002.