A Force More Powerful (1999) - full transcript

This two-part Emmy-nominated series explores one of the 20th century's most important but least understood stories: how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule all over the world. Part 1 contains the India, Nashville and South Africa segments. A Force More Powerful has been translated into more than a dozen languages and inspired millions around the world, from Burma to Cuba to Belarus.

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Narrator: Confined within the walls of a South African jail

the young lawyer from India found no reason to complain

Some say that jail is a palace others look upon it as a beautiful garden

Some others hold that through the jail gates we shall pass from our

present bondage to freedom

The year was 1907

the young lawyer from India was Mohandas Gandhi

Gandhi led his fellow Indians in a nonviolent struggle against racial

oppression for eight years

they marched into forbidden territory they burned

their registration papers

they expected to be arrested and they were not disappointed

Gandhi said nonviolent refusal to cooperate with injustice is the way to

defeat it he gave his nonviolent weapon a name

Satyagraha, holding to truth.

in every decade and on every continent underdogs have taken up Gandhi's strategies

to fight for their rights and freedom

nonviolence means fighting back but you're fighting back with other weapons

the power that Gandhi discovered changed the 20th century

Spring weather comes early in 1940

adding to the illusion the tranquil Denmark can remain untouched by the war

that is spreading across Europe

Danish government has proclaimed neutrality

and reduced its Armed Forces by half

Denmark intends to remain at peace

On the morning of April 9th everything changes

Attacking by air land and sea, the German war machine meets token opposition in

the south but then Denmark orders its troops to lay down their arms

Bruun: we could not imagine that it had anything to do

with the war or occupation or anything like that

we flew out of our beds and looked out of the window.

They were very close. Those Germans they were always so noisy

Suddenly, we realized that this was something very terrible

the invaders capture the headquarters of the Danish army general staff without

firing a shot

disbelieving Danes wander the streets watching helplessly

German leaflets and posters say we come not as enemies but as friends and

promise that Denmark will remain under Danish law and government it's hard to

believe Hitler has occupied an entire country in under six hours

Late that afternoon, Danish Prime Minister Thorvald Stauning asks the

Danish Parliament to officially accept the terms of the German occupation

Stauning: My father felt that his policy was the least harmful

for the people if we had used the military on April 9.

They would've bombed Copenhagen without a doubt

thousands of people would have lost their lives

Narrator: Rather than suffer certain defeat,

Danish political leaders choose not to fight.

Their goal is survival.

They will attempt to hold the Germans to their promises to respect Danish neutrality they will

negotiate the terms of occupation under protest hoping to turn the charade of

friendly relations to Denmark's advantage.

Bundik: The king was in place, the Parliament was

legislating, the police was in charge of the law and order, the Danish courts

were functioning and the Jewish community was functioning

Narrator: At the start, German troops are well-mannered and respectful

but their very presence is a provocation. Danes wonder now that we have capitulated, what next?

They have not prepared for a German occupation.

They have no Gandhi. They have no resistance organization.

Almdal: In most homes the attitude was that we have to accept this and try to make it

work but for goodness sake don't try to have anything to do with them

don't ever speak to a German, oh dear, and be careful what you do

Danish cabinet ministers adopt a policy of resistance disguised as collaboration

Danes will cooperate with the Germans but only as a tactic to preserve self-rule

German demands will be negotiated by diplomats, delayed by bureaucrats and

quietly obstructed when possible

For many Danes it's not enough

Denmark was humiliated and the whole population actually, suddenly felt

that they had lost something something of their thickness, something of their

conscious dignity. What were you to do? What could you do in this situation?

You couldn't go out fighting, the fight was not there

So they gathered in the park

of the city and and sing national anthems

Narrator: Every week the song fests grow

signaling the birth of Danish solidarity against a common enemy

And Danes take new pride in their king who rides alone every morning as always

Bruun: People were very proud that we had a king. It was like a way of demonstrating

against the Germans and we weren't interested in any form of dictatorship

Germans ignore exhibitions of national pride as long as they do not interfere

with German objectives--to use Denmark's farms to feed the German army,

to use Danish factories and shipyards to supply war material

Relations with Germany are handled by Danish Foreign Minister Erik Scavenius,

a man many believe is pro-German.

Nissen: When people argued with him and said

"well, in the long run we are losing our respect

all over the country," he said "well, yes,

that's correct. But...

we might keep our respect and be dead, all of us."

He said, "how many corpses do you want

in order to save your honor?"

Narrator: Scavenius wants the Germans to think they're getting what they want to keep

pressure off Denmark

In November 1941, he goes to Berlin to sign a treaty

justifying the German invasion of the Soviet Union

When his photograph with Hitler is published in Denmark

outraged students take to the streets

Narrator: after five days Danish police restore order but public support for the

Scavenius policies is severely damaged

underground resistance leaders condemned even tactical collaboration as treason

their primary weapon is information

The illegal press reaches two and a half million

Denmark's entire adult population

uncensored news of the war

gathered from the BBC and other sources fuels Danish hopes and the illegal press

also encourages active resistance of all kinds

small-scale attacks, arson

the stealing of weapons from German soldiers, pouring sugar into gas tanks.

All the work of untrained high school students they say "if the adults won't do something we will"

German authorities order local police to crack down but patriotic young Danes are determined.

Ljungquist: I was very angry at the time a lot of

young people were angry and we were angry that we hadn't done more,

resisted more than we had.

We later realized that it was a hopeless situation

but that doesn't change the feeling which I still have that we protected our country so poorly.

Narrator: In November, SS General Werner Best takes charge in Denmark

Hitler tells him

to rule with an iron hand

Best pressures Eric Scavenius, the new Prime Minister

but most Danes have turned against the Scavenius policies

On BBC broadcast from London, a Danish political exile John Christmas Møller

now speaks defiantly against the Prime Minister and calls for active resistance

Møller: Understand that the merciless rule here and it's time for Denmark to take a

stand you're going to join and are you willing to contribute we must ensure

that we do not harm the soul of the nation

Spring 1943, the German occupation is three years old

A facade of cooperation continues

but popular loyalty shifting to the resistance movement

By day the government campaigns against sabotage

By night explosions rock the factories and rail lines, cutting German supply lines at their source

By summer of 1943, reports of German defeats in Russia, North Africa and

southern Europe encourage the Danes to more vigorous resistance

There were strikes in the provincial towns, not only strikes in the factories

but whole centers, where administration, stores, everything was closed

Sabotage attacks more than double in only one month

But those Danes who are unable to carry out sabotage find other ways to resist

even defying their own government

Hoff: First of all, we work really slowly

We never worked at the same speed as before the war.

We received orders to build new ships

but the ships were never finished the construction was sabotaged so in the

end they had to drag them down to Germany to finish them.

Nissen: the Danish Authority did whatever they could to stop the strikes and they found out that

this was impossible, they could not, they had lost the authority

...the authority of leading these masses lay with some local, unauthorized and not elected leaders

and with the illegal press

Narrator: A government in name only, Danish political leaders have one last act to perform.

On the morning of August 28, 1943 they receive an ultimatum from the German occupiers

Strikes must be banned, curfews imposed, saboteurs executed

Denmark must answer by 4:00 p.m.

Parliament debates the demands for six hours

Nissen: Now these were demands they could

not say yes to

and then they told the Germans that they could not accept this ultimatum

Foreign Minister Scavenius and his cabinet resign

Parliament goes home

Denmark is no longer under Danish authority

Direct German rule postponed for three years by the Scanvenius policy of cooperation

descends on Denmark

The Weimar occupies key facilities

gatherings of five or more persons are banned

the new rules are brutally enforced

Almdal: Now we knew where we were, two opposite parties and cooperation had become

impossible so we would have to go out different ways trying to make things

work of course but there was no doubt now that they were the enemy and we were

the occupied country

Narrator: just weeks later they faced their first crisis when

Adolf Hitler orders his commanders to impose Germany's racial laws in Denmark

Pundik: Having survived from the outbreak of the war there was of course kind of, you know,

a belief that things would be alright but the shield which had protected us

against the fate of Jews in the rest of Europe

the shield disappeared we were

standing undefended against the Germans

Narrator: The German gestapo has obtained a list

of names and addresses for the seven thousand Danish Jews but plans for the roundup

have been leaked, the Jews are warned

Thousands of Danes stepped forward to save them

Pundik: I remember the shock I got on the day I went to school and

suddenly the headmaster knocks on door and called me and another Jewish boy out of

the class and told us "you'd better hurry up because your

parents are waiting for you

you have to get out of your flat, the Germans are coming tonight"

Narrator: The roundup begins on the night of October 1st

but the Jews have been hidden in attics and cellars, in the churches and homes of

thousands of Danes who have spontaneously taken them in

Ljungquist: We were sent for example one time to

to pick up some Jews who were arriving by train from Jutland.

We were to help them pass as casually as possible through the German checkpoints

The ferries there were closely guarded by the Germans so it was

necessary for us to pretend that we had a relationship with these people

Narrator: Their refuge will be Sweden

only a few miles across waters patrolled by the German Navy

they hide in forests and wait

Herbert Pundik and his family are picked up by one of the many fishermen who risk

the voyage and save all but a few hundred of Denmark's Jews

Pundik: I look back towards the coast and I saw something which shall never forget in my whole life

I'm not a religious person myself but still however I'm still moved when

I think about it. On this sandy beach, I saw the

three persons that were our savior, his wife and the wife of the fisherman

kneeling on the beach with food that lifting hands towards heaven praying for

our safe passage

Narrator: The rescue of the Jews has united and inspired Danes just as they're coming to

view the resistance movement as their de facto government

the freedom council publishes a first clandestine leaflet in November 1943

The program of resistance aimed at denying Germany the benefits of occupation

with explosives and equipment air-dropped by British forces the

underground avoids human targets concentrating on war related industry

Their first targets are Danish industries and transport that supply the German army

Each success brings harsher and deadlier reprisals by the Nazis who

bombed theaters clubs and Copenhagen's renowned Tivoli Gardens

In a desperate move to stop the explosions, the German governor puts the population of

Copenhagen under curfew in June 1944.

Workers at the Burmeister and Wains

shipyard retaliate with an ingenious but risky scheme

We had hoped to get rid of the curfew

We wanted to have our freedom we didn't want to be locked up at night

At twelve noon we went to the gate and start kicking it we said we wanted

to go home because we needed to water our gardens

Twelve hundred shipyard workers go home early

They insist it's not a strike

they must tend their gardens in the afternoon because the curfew stops them

from gardening in the evening

The "go home early" movement spreads fast.

Thousands of workers in other factories

walk off their jobs but few go to their gardens

Congregating in the streets they

demonstrate, build bonfires, and taunt German patrols

Six Danes are killed on the first day

Ljungquist: There were barricades in the streets

everything was set on fire in the streets

All work stop no one wanted to go to work

All these things created a sense in

the population that the Danes now had to fight against the Germans and that was

probably the most crucial effect of the general strike.

Narrator: Nazi Governor Werner Best

tightens the vice daily

Troops are ordered to shoot at groups of five or more

Then he cuts off electricity, gas and water

Danes respond by cooking on fires and dipping water from a nearby lake

Best tries to blockade the city to cut contact with the outside world

The population follows instructions from resistance leaders until the curfew ends

and shootings stop, stay on strike says the Freedom Council

Hoff: I looked up to it--it was the country's lawful, the ones we listened to

We'll be on strike until tomorrow at 12 o'clock it was very very

clear to see the people follow that and precisely at 12 o'clock the next day

everything started up again

The Germans had great respect for that

Narrator: Best is desperate to resume production but his military options are limited his

troops have been taken out of Denmark to fight the losing war

Most of all,

he knows the Danish workers are worth more alive than dead

On the ninth day, Best concedes.

He will end the curfew and withdraw his troops

if the strikers go back to work

The Freedom Council issues a victory bulletin which ends the walkout

It declares strikes are their most effective weapon

unwittingly the Danes have adopted Gandhi's favorite tactic by simply

withdrawing their obedience

Recognizing the power of non-cooperation, the Council shifts its emphasis from

encouraging sabotage to coordinating strikes

In the next month, they call for a series of symbolic two-minute stoppages

Denmark suffers through one last brutal winter with shortages in fuel, water and food.

and then it was spring

Almdal: As was normal in those days we gathered round the wireless

to hear the message from BBC and then all of a sudden the

transmission was interrupted and then came this wonderful message that the

Germans had given up

Narrator: A Danish historian concluded Denmark had not won the war but neither had it been

defeated or destroyed

Most Danes had not been brutalized by the Germans or by each other

Nonviolent resistance saved the country and contributed more to the

Allied victory than Danish arms ever could have

Ljungquist: It was a physical feeling, a combination of

euphoria and to chills, it felt so strange the tears welled up and I remember very

clearly that I spontaneously said "so we survived"

those were probably the first

words out of my mouth, "so we survived"

It was the right atmosphere for strike,

Before 6 a.m. we started distributing the leaflets

At any moment I could have been stopped and arrested means so obviously I was afraid

Narrator: Workers at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk are angry enough to strike

Angry at recent price increases and the firing of a popular co-worker but only a few

realize their strike will pit them against the full force of the Communist government in Poland.

Borowczak: People started yelling open the gate

we're going downtown to the regional communist party headquarters

then we knew we had to start singing the national anthem that would calm people down

We're not going to make the mistake of 1970 when we went into the streets

and tanks rolled over us

Narrator: Every worker in Poland knows the story of December 1970

Strikers left the shipyard and marched on Communist Party headquarters

Six were killed and 300 injured

they learned the futility of taking on armed troops in the street

One of them was a 27 year old shipyard electrician named Lech Walesa

He was fired for union activism in 1976

but now in 1980 he has returned to help organize the strike.

Walesa: During those 10 years since 1970 when I was a leader in the same shipyard

I had been thinking where mistakes have

been made and if fate gave me a chance to lead again how would I do it?

Narrator: This time Walesa and other strike leaders have planned carefully

Walesa is known and liked by many at the shipyard

He announces: "we will occupy the shipyard I'll be the last to leave"

the strike will be strictly nonviolent

the government will have no excuse to begin shooting

The strike committee commandeers a cafeteria in Walesa's old department

Their first step is to make sure news of the strike is not suppressed by the regime

Alina Pienkowska a shipyard nurse telephones Jacek Kuroń at the

Workers Defense Committee in Warsaw who will pass the news to Radio Free Europe

and the BBC

Pienkowska: Thanks to that, the world

could hear about us not only the world also the families of the Gdansk shipyard workers

learn that way why their husbands or Father's or sons didn't come

home at the regular time and this phone call caused people to get organized in the city of Gdansk

Narrator: On Friday morning, the strike has widened, public transportation has stopped,

the port is closed and 22 factories are on strike 50,000 workers in all

Government has cut phone lines to the rest of Poland for fear the strikes will spread

but it's too late

All over Poland, people know about the Gdansk strike

In the cafeteria, the strike committee hammers out a list of demands

They prepare leaflets for the striking workers

at the top of the list is the

rights to free and independent unions and the rights to strike

unprecedented rights that Poland's communist regime will surely resist

On Saturday, the

shipyard director has received orders from his Communist Party superiors and

is ready to begin negotiating

The shipyard offers generous wage increases and better working conditions

everything but independent unions

but when the vote is taken management has

packed the committee with party officials the terms are accepted and

workers begin going home

As thousands head for the gate

Anna Walentynowicz, recently fired but now reinstated by the strike agreement

reminds them that their settlement has abandoned other workers who have joined the strike.

Walentynowicz: What about those who supported us?

There were forty factories, what about these people?

I felt ashamed and hopeless, what should we do?

Narrator:Alina Pienkowska, the nurse, runs to the main gate and tries to stop the workers

A small crowd gathers to listen as she pleads with them to stay

Pienkowska: If we really

want free trade unions if we really want an influence of management we should act

in solidarity with the others that is to continue the strike

Narrator: Thousands have gone home but a few hundred are persuaded by Alina's argument

They will stay the night to keep the strike alive

During that night they take a fateful decision to form an inter factory strike committee

to represent all workers in all of Poland

This committee will magnify their force a thousand times and create a base of popular power

never before seen in communist Poland

On Sunday morning, workers improvised a Catholic Mass inside the main gate

thousands of townspeople gather outside

The gate is decorated with flowers messages of support and a photograph of

the Pope who is Polish

It's an unexpected show of support for the strikers.

Pienkowska: I had never expected that such a reaction from the citizens of Gdansk

It gave me a lot of courage and energy to act because I realized that we were

probably going to be able to achieve something

The Inter-factory Strike Committee has published 21 demands

a document that has galvanized workers in other cities

one of them is a 27 year old electrician at a tractor factory near Warsaw,

Zbigniew Bujak

Bujak: Suddenly we learned about the strike in Gdansk

we read the twenty-one demands and as we say in Poland we felt

literally speaking like we caught God by the arm

we suddenly felt that we had in our hands

a tool which if we don't make a mistake must produce some wonderful fruit

Narrator: In Gdansk, the strikers have spent the weekend inside the shipyard have been rewarded

15,000 workers now return and rejoin the strike

The Inter-factory Strike Committee waits for a response to the twenty-one demands while they wait

more factories join the strike

They steadily gain leverage over a system

that has never permitted the existence of a power separate from the Communist Party

Everywhere workers follow the example set in Gdansk reducing risk by

staying inside their workplaces.

Bujak: We are not going out of the gate because there it is very easy for

the authorities to provoke simply provoke and then introduce police and the military

so we wanted to avoid that

Bujak: we knew about the

activities of Gandhi for example or what Martin Luther King did and we knew that

these people, building the theory of nonviolent resistance, they won

The second week begins

Strikers are publishing a daily bulletin called

Solidarity and making preparations for a long struggle

Well you could say that

inside the shipyard there was a second government of Poland we had the sense of humor about it

We had the minister of Communication,

the Minister of Social Welfare and salaries who gathered money

a Minister of Finance who kept the money we gathered from various companies that we're coming here

There was a Minister of Security who was responsible for all the security guards,

defense of the fences and the food

Everything worked like clockwork like a Swiss watch

Narrator: Their patience has given them strength

By the ninth day, the Inter factory Strike committee speaks for nearly half a million workers in 370 factories in

every industry and region of Poland

Government negotiators arrive at the shipyard, the long stalemate appears to be over

Jerzy Kolodziejski, Provincial Governor of Gdansk

was on the negotiating team

Kolodziejski: Some people are clapping, here is the authorities the province governor entering the shipyard

starting the negotiations

others were swearing and booing and calling names

I had no doubt I was going to see the sacrificial lamb

Narrator: Workers demand that all discussions be broadcast over shipyard loudspeakers

Polish news media must be allowed to cover the strike and talks

The government has come to the bargaining table after ten days of stalling

Kolodziejski: It all backfired it turned out that these

ten days were used by the strikers to strengthen organizationally

To strengthen the inter factory strike committee and to convince people that

without negotiations with the committee, an end to the conflict is impossible

Mieczysław Jagielski Poland's First Deputy Prime Minister faces Lech Walesa, a 37 year old electrician

Jagielsk is accustomed to microphones and cameras

Walesa describes himself as a simple worker following his heart

The regime has called the strikers traitors

Now the Deputy Prime Minister has been sent to negotiate with them

The strike committee is cautious knowing that if

they push too hard, the game will be lost and that Soviet military intervention is a real possibility

Negotiators for the workers are in no hurry

Having seized the initiative they go word by word over the language dealing with independent unions,

brushing aside the government's eagerness to move on to other issues

Kolodziejski: The tactics of the strikers were this we have to get agreement for free trade unions

all the rest will follow

Walesa said "Mister Prime minister let's not talk about these things these are details"

"What we have to have as free trade unions"

Narrator: During nearly two weeks of talks,

Walesa reports regularly to the rank and file

He seeks consensus with an openness unheard of in Poland's official unions

Worker solidarity is not lost on their adversaries

Kolodziejski: No previous strike was carried out under such-- so decisively with such will of victory and such consolidation

the conviction that we have to leave this room victorious

It was the conviction not only of the

Inter Factory strike committee but of all the workers who surrounded us

and the dozens of thousands of people who surrounded the shipyard

All this had its effect, it softened us, frankly speaking it did

Narrator: Idle factories create pressures that benefit the strikers

In Gdansk, valuable machinery and unfinished chips are being held hostage

Increasingly desperate to resume production the regime gradually accepts an accommodation

On Sunday August 31, an agreement is ready to sign

They have won pay raises, a five day work week, relaxed press censorship, free trade unions and the right to strike

Bujak: Seeing these accords being signed we immediately

realized this is the first stage and it is only now that the real race against

time against the clock begins for us and the real tactical intellectual struggle

with the other party when those in power is beginning because it was obvious to us

that they were signing their courts but they will immediately want to break them

Narrator: The race against time begins as Walesa and Walentinovich tour the country to

celebrate their success, recruit new members and create hundreds of affiliated local unions

In four months, Solidarity membership grows to 10 million

explicitly concerned with the welfare of Polish working people

Solidarity can't avoid an obvious reality it's very existence challenges

the supremacy of the Communist Party

Bujak: I was feeling that from the very beginning the other side was preparing to hit us

but when they were ready to hit 100 organizations by that time they were a

thousand organizations when they got prepared to hit the 1000 it was not one

thousand it was ten thousand it was not a hundred thousand members but a million and later 10 million

Narrator: They must grow quickly becoming big enough that when

the inevitable backlash comes, Solidarity will be too powerful to destroy

Union activists are harassed, their newspapers censored, offices raided

Workers are ordered to work two Saturdays a month an open breach of the agreement

Solidarity fights back

Narrator: A year after it was founded the union reelects Walesa as president

but Solidarity's open democratic structure makes it vulnerable to its own

extremists and to infiltrators

There were some agents you can hear them on the tapes even now who are pouring oil on the flames saying

to make a demonstration in Warsaw, gather a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand people and

then hand-to-hand fighting

Obviously there was no other course for the

authorities either give up power and start democratic elections or tanks and

put us in prison

On the night of December 12, 1981 Communist authorities raid a conference

of Solidarity's national leaders

The entire presidium is arrested in its hotel

In the next two days, Solidarity activists are rounded up by the thousands

Martial law is declared on December 13th

Walesa: At the moment when they hit us, I said this,

"right at this moment you have lost we are winning"

"and you have driven the last nails into your communist coffin"

Narrator: Martial law is an admission that the regime has lost the people's consent

Relying solely on the power to prohibit the regime has lost all ability to persuade

Though the union is banned, popular support for it is undiminished

Solidarity becomes a nonviolent resistance movement infused with a sense of Polish patriotism

Stripped of essential leadership, Solidarity lives on in thousands of small organizations

Too many to crush

An underground press unifies them as they both resist and ignore state power

Walesa: I knew this was my method to fight I am not afraid of you

You can lock me up, you can kill me but you cannot defeat me

So the struggle will continue, it will last some time, it will cost but we shall win

Narrator: For seven years repression creates the appearance of stability but below the surface,

the foundation is rotting

In summer 1988, it collapses as price increases, food lines and rationing paralyzed the country

A new wave of strikes is beyond the government's ability to control

The regime offers to re-legalize Solidarity if Lech Walesa will

negotiate an end to the strikes

Within three days the country is back at work

Solidarity has proven itself a capable and responsible force

In February 1989, Solidarity, the government, the party and the church

begin roundtable talks on Poland's future

After two months of negotiations

they agree on free unions, a free press and parliamentary elections

In a two-month campaign, Solidarity candidates are popular but no one

expects them to dislodge the Communist Party

On June 4th 1989, Poland votes in the first open democratic elections in more than 60 years

That night in the square outside Lech Walesa's apartment the victory is celebrated

Solidarity has defeated the Communist Party by a margin of 10 to 1

Walesa: If they just opened a small crack in these doors to freedom

I put my working class foot in those doors and they won't close them

Narrator: Spring 1983,

For nearly ten years General Augusto Pinochet has ruled Chile unchallenged

Seguel: We needed someone to dare to say to the

dictator that he was a dictator and to say that the a dictatorship was a

dictatorship and confronted on its own turf

not on the turf of arms just to

dare to tell him that what we had in Chile was wrong and that it had to be changed

Narrator: Pinochet Chet came to power in a 1973 coup the left the elected socialist

President Salvador Allende dead

Arriagada: During his first months of the military regime

the number of people detained in prisons reached more than forty thousand

at three thousand individuals were assassinated, executed or

their bodies disappeared forever

Narrator: Through ruthlessly eliminating any challenge to his authority

Pinochet's rule casts fear into every corner of Chilean life

Sagaris: It was a very permeating paranoia and it was with everyone

everybody had experienced some sort of oppression in their family they were very cautious

My husband and I would go to a social gathering and he wouldn't

introduce me to anyone and I said "well why won't you introduce me to people?"

He said "oh we don't do that now it's too dangerous you really you don't really

want to know people's names"

Bitar: Fear, terror if you have people afraid you can control them and Pinochet if

something he will live in history, he's the man of terror

executions disappearances and prisons keep the dictatorship in power for ten years

By 1983, a severe economic crisis has pushed unemployment to 30% as Chileans

feel they have nothing left to lose open opposition to the regime becomes

thinkable for the first time

The first signs of opposition appear at the heart of Chile's economy

in the copper mines of the Andes Mountains

Miners are amongst Chile's best paid workers in the country's largest and

most lucrative export industry

Their leader is 29-year-old Rudolfo Seguel

a payroll clerk at Chile's largest copper mine recently elected president of the National Labor Congress

Seguel wants his members to take the first step, a nationwide strike

Seguel: Ten years had gone by and nobody had gone out into

the street we had to see what reaction the country would have and then to see

if the country would dare to do this our goal was to open people's eyes and to

tell them we can do it it is possible, we can do this!

A week before the strike is to begin, Pinochet's troops surround the copper mines

Seguel knows that there will be bloodshed if the strike goes forward

They changed their plans instead of a strike they proclaim a national day of protest

with only a few days to prepare, they must mobilize not just union members

but the whole population

Verdugo: I remember that morning

you know at the beginning you didn't know if someone was walking slowly

driving his car slowly or walking slowly on the sidewalk because he was

just taking a walk or because they were protesting

Until finally at noon it was so obvious it was so obvious that

everything was it slower but then it was so evident that the city started to

close down

Narrator: As darkness falls no one knows whether the final overt act of protest will succeed

At exactly 8:00 p.m. it begins tentatively at first

Sagaris: And the next day there was a sense of sort of what did you do last night

"did you see it?" "oh yes I was out banging my pots and pans with my neighbors" and

so there was a real sense of complicity all of a sudden in a society where each

human being had literally become a complete island

Seguel: And the next day when the protests finished at the first meeting

that we had we decided to have a protest every month and we did that during 9 or

10 months, every month a protest

And that was chaos for the military regime

because we didn't protest with arms

that gave us more power

Narrator: A mood approaching euphoria grows as the protests grow every month people start

to believe that mass demonstrations alone will bring down the dictatorship

Mainstream opposition protests are strictly nonviolent

Brutal police repression of the monthly demonstrations seems intended to intimidate

to stop the movement

but it has no effect

In early August, one day before the fourth protest is scheduled

Pinochet installs a new interior minister, Sergio Jarpa

Jarpa is instructed to begin a dialogue with the opposition

In a contradictory gesture on the same day

Pinochet deploys thousands of troops in the streets of the capital

an ominous prelude to the next day's demonstrations

Security forces break up the August protests with unprecedented force

The police statement admits that 17 civilians have been killed the actual

number is much higher

Valdes: It was very violent and that's when I realized that we

couldn't keep on going down this road because the violence was too strong

Pinochet had 16,000 soldiers on the streets of Santiago

more than 80 people were killed and the population started to rebel

Shocked by the bloodshed the new Cardinal of Chile's Catholic Church

offers to host the dialogue that Pinochet has promised

Jarpa: At the first meeting Gabriel Valdes told me that he had to

give me a document and I told him that I would not take this document because it

is an agreement that you drop this morning demanding the resignation of the

President of the Republic

Then you don't recognize him as being legitimate and if

the President of the Republic is not the legitimate president I have nothing to

do here because I represent him so this is where it all ends right here

As Pinochet celebrates his birthday in November he has stopped Sergio Jarpa's

meetings with the opposition

Jarpa's small concessions, limited political activity the return of exiles and urns to book censorship

were too much for the general--the dialogue is over

No there wasn't any result it was very frustrating

The regime didn't change at all

And Jarpa himself was left there as a politician with no importance

in fact the control of the government passed on to much harder hands

Opposition groups have been naive to think that Pinochet would negotiate

negotiate an end to his own power

Protesters have not loosened the dictators grip but they

have shown Pinochet they cannot be crushed by force and they have opened up

political space they will use to organize against him

In late November 1985, half-a-million attend the largest political rally in Chilean history

Gabriel Valdes speaks for eleven opposition parties and the Catholic Church

The National Accord formed to lead a nonviolent transition to democracy

Valdes warns if we don't

support the National Accord we are heading towards civil war

In Chile's poor neighborhoods, the poblacións, a low-intensity war has already begun

Hard times have fallen hardest here making fertile ground for Chile's Marxist and

Communist parties not many have personally taken up arms but the

ideology of violent revolution is accepted the regime sees the poblacións

as enemy territory

Young men in the poblacións are rounded up interrogated in stadiums and fields and

hauled off to prison without trial

hundreds are never seen again

Pinochet's human rights abuses have drawn the normally conservative Catholic Church

into the conflict though the clergy takes no political position the

church protests against the torture killings and disappearances and preaches nonviolent methods

Precht: If you use violence then you have to have the force to

defend yourself whatever you impose through violence you have to defend

through violence that's why we think that violence is the strength of the

weak because they don't have arguments they don't have moral authority so

whatever you achieve through violence you have to defend through violence

Monthly protests turned violent as the radicals confront police handing

Pinochet the excuse he needs to come down on all opposition

Mainstream factions are harshly criticized for their nonviolent methods

and those conditions when you are repressed by violence of course there

are people that think that the only way to face violence is through violence but

that was in our understanding absolute absolutely out of any possibility of succeeding

In late summer of 1986, the prospect of full-scale civil war becomes real

Chilean intelligence uncovers a cache of

arms in the northern desert and traces them to a guerrilla group affiliated

with the Chilean Communist Party

Markings show the weapons have come from Cuba

Pinochet says it's proof that his opponents are preparing a revolution

A few weeks later heavily armed guerillas attacked General Pinochet's

motorcade on a remote mountain road state news media report that five

presidential guards have died but do not mention Pinochet

Four hours later, the dictator appears on television to describe the attack

He appears unfazed by his narrow escape and returns to the presidential palace with

his customary swagger the episode reinforces his image of invincibility

It really polarized I think between you know are we gonna go for a really

serious aren't attempt at armed struggle the way we've seen in Central America

with a huge toll on human lives and suffering that was part of that or are

we gonna try to find some other way which was very nebulous and so this

search began to find some way that could provide some kind of an exit from this impasse

Pinochet's own Constitution calls for a plebiscite.

In 1988, giving Chileans the right to

vote yes or no to another eight years of military government isolated and

overconfident, Pinochet always assumed he would win but after five years of

organizing the nonviolent opposition sees an opportunity

For the first time we knew

that if Pinochet was going to remain in power there is going to be a

plebiscite and you have to say yes or no therefore we say look if we prepare

ourselves, we can defeat Pinochet saying "no"

We said "how are we going to

trust the dictator that has been doing all these things and he will count the

votes that he count the votes as the votes are but we realized that we had no

other way and we said let's move ahead in that direction and let's create all

the conditions to avoid any fraud

Narrator: Thousands of volunteers take to the countryside in a door-to-door campaign

to convince Chileans that they can vote uno without fear of reprisal and that

the results will not be rigged they are greeted with suspicion and skepticism

to create the appearance of a fair vote finish yet and the generals right new

election laws any opposition party that can collect thirty five thousand

signatures will be allowed to have poll watchers a critical factor to prevent

vote fraud and be given 15 minutes of television time every night for four

weeks before the voting

And I said "look if you register I'm going to be on TV"

And the day that I'm going to be on TV, I will tell Mr. Pinochet that he has to go

After his party is certified, Lagos gets his chance when he appears on the Chilean equivalent of Meet the Press

He holds up a newspaper

clipping in which Pinochet is quoted saying he will not be a candidate in the plebiscite

His daring performance makes Ricardo Lagos a celebrity overnight

And his performance foreshadows the significance

of television in the coming no campaign

Pinochet's vulnerability is human rights.The "no" campaign bans television spots to

emphasize torture death and prison

But US political consultants advise them consultants advise them

that dwelling on the fears of the past would be a turn-off

They developed a a campaign that was future-oriented, a campaign that focused

on bread-and-butter issues and and it was a campaign that ultimately caught

the Pinochet regime and the supporters of the yes vote by complete surprise

when it was aired on the first night in that in in that last 30 days of the campaign

That no what was meaning yes to democracy was meaning yes to more social

justice and not no to injustice

..meaning joy is around the corner it was an invitation to a country that belonged to everyone

the idea that we were going to defeat the dictatorship not with a gun but a pencil

that this road was going to be traveled without hate without rancor

without vengeance

On television, the no campaign is a sensation images of a bright future without Pinochet.

The TV spots earn credibility with skeptical viewers with

compelling references to the suffering inflicted by the dictatorship people

used to rush home to watch those spots I used to what rush home to watch the

spots it was like you know 15 minutes where you know they use real words to

say real things you know torture is torture and and it happened here and

after all these years of denial there it was for the first time on - poverty exists

Little old ladies don't even

have enough money in their purses to buy a tea bag for their afternoon tea

Opposition poll watchers now perform a

parallel vote count based on sampling techniques by fax and telephone the

numbers are fed to computers in Santiago

By early evening they project the" no" as won decisively

A small independent radio station

announces the results

ensconced in the presidential palace Pinochet says nothing

Suspicions of electoral fraud grow as hours past with no announcement of the vote tally

At midnight, Pinochet's Navy, Air Force and police commanders enter the palace

General Fernando Matthei Air Force Commander tells reporters

it appears the "no" has won a public statement that warns Pinochet to accept

the defeat within seconds his remarks are on the radio

The great strength was that it did really come from ordinary, extraordinary

people and they really did put their lives on the line and they really did

come out and they really were willing to take a stand

I think that we are in the world we really live on power and where we would

like to is to live on authority, personal authority, moral authority, when you act

based on power but if I have a gun pointed at me I'm going to say whatever you

think and you want after you take your gun off my head and it'll do what I want

You see how people live that moment and they leave me without hatred, convinced

that they have been the participants, the actors

Here came here there

was no charismatic leader, no guerrilla, no vanguard that would say

"I did this"

The sense in Chile that night was that they had done it themselves

how many?

seven million