On 11 September 1973, a bloody military coup in Chile ousted the Popular Unity government of President Salvador Allende. Allende was killed defending the Presidential Palace during the coup.
Workers in the factories attempted to defend themselves against the military attacks — but they were not sufficiently organised or sufficiently armed, to stop the onslaught.
The military regime of General Pinochet which followed tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of working-class militants and political activists.
There are a few comments critical of elements of this article on the Shiraz Socialist website.
This was my reply.
A few points
- Its not sectarian to criticise the policies of the SP or CP in Chile. After all sectarianism is putting the intrests of your group, party, tendency, tradition etc ahead of the intrest of the class. We are discussing the interest of the class. I am sure cathy’s criticism echo those made by many Chilean exiled members of CP and SP after the 73 coup. Its not disrespectful of those who died to criticise. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church we should not beatify those in our movement who die and move them beyond criticism. Connelly, Allende, Luxemburg, Marx, Lenin, Louise Michel etc where politicians of the working class they should be jusged politically.
- On inflation, if the Allende governement mobalised the workers themselves against inflation by getting them to help implement price controls, exchange controls and end speculation, whilst also giving workers a role ensuring key staples are available to all, workers would have an intrest, ownership and control in keeping inflation down in wages as well.
- If the governement had encouraged and handed power to the cordones movement, and if the workers militia’s were much wider spread, better armed and trained. Docialism in chile may have been able to survive the coup because power and leadership would not have been concentrated in the government.
Power for the working class doesnt reside primarily at the point of a gun or in the offices of state. Fundamentally it is at point of production, in its international character and in its ability to self organise where workers are strongest. The Mubarak dictatorship, the Kapp Putsch, Kornilov where all brought down by strikes in key sectors.
if the purpose of the governement had been to help the working class develop dual power not just to instigate reform itself its overthrow might have been averted or at least been just the beginning of the struggle.