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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Septembre - fascist coup in Chile 1973: the heavy responsibility of "democratic socialism". (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:20:56 +0300


11 September 1973 in Santiago, aircraft bombed the Moneda, the presidential palace in which refugee President Allende. His government was overthrown by a military coup led by General Pinochet and the CIA, marking the advent of a fascist dictatorship for 16 years under the heel of the United States. ---- After three years of Popular Unity regime that has sought to avoid social confrontation, the "revolution" democratic and violence Allende, is drowned in a bloodbath by the army. ---- Since 1970, Chile was ruled by the Unidad Popular ( "Popular Unity" UP), a coalition of the Socialist Party (PS), the Communist Party (PC), the Radical Party and the unit People's Action Movement (MAPU) coming from the left of the Christian Democrats. Its candidate, Salvador Allende[1], was elected after six years in office of the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, marked by an increase in social struggles.

Salvador Allende, a member of the Chilean Socialist Party and President of Chile from 1970 until the 1973 coup.

But from the beginning the UP government with the fear of a coup. Allende said in 1971: " For us, if the army comes out of legality, it is civil war. This is Indonesia. Do you think the workers will leave off their industries? And peasants their land? There will be a hundred thousand dead, it will be a bloodbath . "

In the weeks after September 11, 1973, an estimated 30,000 deaths. The coup and the dictatorship of the junta led by Augusto Pinochet aims to completely destroy the labor movement: all left organizations and unions are banned all political activity is suspended, 300,000 layoffs are ordered in one year (10% of employees), the army decreed the mandatory filing away of any employee by his boss and concentration camps are organized hastily (three months after the coup, 18,000 people were there). Until the end of the dictatorship in 1990, over 38,000 people were tortured and at least 3,200 were killed or missing[2].

General Leigh, junta member promises to "eradicate the Marxist cancer"

All means are good.

Torture by electricity, water torture, deprivation of food and water for several days, rape, psychological torture (torture and rape of his family before the prisoner, various humiliations, sleep deprivation). Some were hung by their feet. Prisoners were also regularly beaten and drugged. Some prisoners were thrown into the sea from helicopters, after they had opened their stomach with a knife (to prevent the body from floating). In torture centers, the cells are sometimes 70 centimeters wide, some inmates are placed in the middle of corpses. Minor are tortured naked and hung by the wrists.

The strike is liable to the death penalty. Civil liberties are suppressed, freedom of the press was abolished, and political activity is suspended. Local politicians and all the mayors are removed, their replacements appointed by the junta.

The general and coup leader Augusto Pinochet.
The before 1973 - The march to socialism!

For Allende and most of the UP, the "Chilean road to socialism" must take place exclusively within the democratic framework, marking a noticeable difference with various socialist movements and / or revolutionary in Latin America that have favored the strategy guerrilla. This peaceful path requires an alliance with all progressive sectors of Chilean politics.

If you happen well ahead of the 1970 election, Allende has only 36.3% of the vote ahead of Jorge Alessandri, candidate of the National Party (right) and Radomiro Tomic Christian Democracy (DC). It is the Congress[3]which is to elect the president and the UP is minority.

The CIA, which had already begun before the election a UP destabilizing work will then push for the DC postpones its vote towards Alessandri[4]. But Allende negotiating with DC and received his support in exchange for an agreement called "security status of freedoms" which provides security of tenure for civil servants (thus maintaining the administration of former president), limiting mobilisations Popular, respect for republican institutions and that explicitly limits the role of popular organizations " neighborhood associations, labor centers, trade unions, cooperatives and other social organizations[...]can not claim to represent the people or to replace him or attempt to exercise powers belonging to the political authorities."

October 24 Allende is designated by Congress as president. But the UP has a relative majority in Congress, before the DC and the National Party.

Despite this, Allende manages to complete the land reform of its predecessor: 100 000 farmers have received land (but 30% of the peasantry still without land). In 1971, he took the nationalization of large companies, to bring out a "social and mixed sector" in which the UP promotes a system of worker participation in management.

At the end of the year, 90% of the financial and banking sector, and almost all of the mining and steel industry is nationalized, social ownership in other sectors of the Chilean economy has also been extended (energy, transport, etc.). In total the state controls almost 70% of gross national product, which allows the government to launch the great "battle of production."

Finally at the same time comprehensive reforms are undertaken to improve the lives of the masses, increasing wages by almost 35 to 100%, creating housing, continuing reforms of the education system, etc. One of the most popular activities at the time is the distribution by the state half a liter of milk per day per baby. To finance these reforms the government relies on copper mining considered the true " Chile's salary " under Allende.

Allende enjoys significant popular support. The only relatively large left party which remains outside of the UP, the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR, an organization of Castro's type), providing critical support to the UP. The single union, the Central Unica de Trabajadores (Single Confederation of Workers, CUT), which brings together nearly 700 000 people in 1970 (over 2.8 million employees), is under the control of the PC.

But to get the nationalization law, Allende has to negotiate with the DC to get a majority in Congress. It must grant a decline to 91 the number of companies involved instead of the 245 planned in the program. These are the important popular mobilizations, including a large number of factory occupations, which will eventually force the UP to nationalize 202 companies instead of 91. Of these 202 state enterprises, 152 were occupied by workers before any government's approach[5].

A revolution "from below"?

When the economic situation deteriorated in 1972, mainly due to a significant decline in copper prices, social struggles are growing. To fight against inflation and avoid the black market, the government appealed to the people asking him to form a "junta for the supply and price control" (JAP).

But unions, associations of residents of the neighborhoods and slums ( settlers ) and farmers' organizations far beyond this role. In May 1972, strikes are increasing, especially in the private sector, for integration into the social sector. In June, the peasants to occupy Maipu 150 areas, and jointly exhibit with the workers and workers of the nearby town of Cerrillos (suburb of Santiago). On this occasion is created the first "industrial cord", an organization bringing together delegates from various popular movements (unions, parties, neighborhood organizations, JAP ...) territory. This cord meets the shortcomings of the CUT, the various unions are very isolated and bureaucratic, which greatly limits contacts and exchanges at the base.

Faced with tensions, the government decreed in June 1972 a pause in the march towards socialism. A decree restores owner occupied businesses. The right opportunity to launch a strike of traders. Militias of the fascist organization Patria y Libertad ( "Fatherland and Liberty", P & L) or employers' militia prevented the police and the administration to reopen the shops. A coup was foiled, but before the threat persistent semblance, the UP and the CUT called for the creation of committees of defense in the event of a coup.

On the industrial Cordon Cerrillos Santiago

"Creating People Power"
General repetition

In October 1972, the right renewed the offensive by launching a "strike" of closing factories and transport block to sabotage the economy. On October 11 the strike spread to the liberal professions, traders, transport companies. The strike fails through popular mobilization in the form of self-defense committees, industrial cordons or communal commandos, provides transportation, distribution of supplies and sometimes production in occupied factories or functioning hospitals .

For its part the government includes military ministers in January 1973, and two ministers (socialists and communists) from the CUT, and resubmit a bill to restore to their owners 43 companies occupied.

Somehow this lockout has strengthened the popular movement, generalizing the cords, but also UP: March 1973, elections gave him 43.7% of the vote, allowing him to earn few, but achieve an absolute majority. At the same time, the DC clearly come from the right parliamentary means even more secure than before and the climate is increasingly violent.

P & L commandos blew up the premises of the left and a new coup planned for 27 June is discovered. June 26 arrest of the instigators general will only postpone the deadline to 29. While the presidential palace was attacked by tanks, CUT demand for workers to occupy the factories and the UP stands ready to arm "when needed". Popular mobilization is rapid occupation of hundreds of factories and rural areas, strengthening defense committees, establishment of a coordination of all industrial cords of the country ... The leadership of the majority remaining loyal army, under the command of General Prats, she obtained the surrender of the mutineers. The UP will retain from this episode that the loyalty of the army. But the side of the coup, it draws lessons: General Pinochet would later say that on June 29 was as the god of finger pointing to the weakness of his plan.

Allende again request the return of the occupied factories to their owners.

The army in control

During the summer, the strategy of tension set up by the right is increasing (P & L bombings, truckers strikes, traders or doctors). But it is especially the army basking in his success June 29, beginning the preparatory operations in the coup of 11 September. Under the pretext of avoiding a civil war, it leads, with the agreement of the President, major search operations in leftist organizations, evacuation factories, raids in poor neighborhoods in search of weapons (in under legislation on gun control passed by the UP in October 1972), always with a massive deployment of troops, FILING and interrogation of all the activists present.

Despite this, President Allende did not lose the support of the left. September 4, 1973, over 700 000 people march in support to his palace. The next day, the coordination of cords wrote to ask him the means to defend themselves and threatening not to support the government: " You will be responsible for having taken the country, not to a civil war, since it is already course, but a cold killing, planned, the most conscious working class and best organized of all Latin America . "

During the night of September 10 to 11, the fleet returns to port of Valparaiso after throwing overboard all the sailors who oppose the coup, then assumed control of the city. Warned at 6:30, Allende did not reach Pinochet and therefore called the carabinieri to defend the Moneda. At 8 am, he speaks on the radio, calling for the loyalty of the army, but as soon as the junta is expressed in turn on the air, most of the carabinieri left the palace.

The parties of the UP decided not to call the people to a fight that seems too uneven to be won.

The palace was bombed at 12.30, then the assault overcomes the last 20 defenders at 14h. Allende committed suicide.

Soldiers from burning Junta of Marxist literature.
People power?

Across the country, the defense committees meet, occupy factories or public places, and waiting arms as rumored. After a few hours or days, demobilization is quick, weapons do not come and the few places that try to resist with low armament, as SUMAR factory, are swept by air bombardments.

Yet the massive popular support for the president and the significant degree of organization of the Chilean proletariat had reminded the military that days would, even weeks of fierce fighting to end the UP. Yet after a few days, everything was settled, and the majority of Western governments recognize the new regime of the junta before the end of the month.

Despite the revolutionary potential and strength of popular movements, they remained dependent on political parties that chose a strategy of "revolution by stages", assuming the integration of certain sections of the bourgeoisie in a popular national alliance which would develop a self-centered capitalism. Despite its failures, this strategy directly from the XXth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, has yet followed through with the obsession to ally with Democracy-Christian and therefore not to frighten her. People power was talking about the PC or PS Chile should remain an auxiliary democratic institutions. Participation in the social sector has been limited to a few elected union officials, although it has often been the source of struggle for basic dynamic for a real democratization of the plant[6].

Despite the emergence of this popular power, there has never been a situation of dual power in Chile since the cords have not been able to act independently from the government of UP.

The balance of the dictatorship will amount to more than 3200 dead and missing, 18,000 prisoners in concentration camps, 38,000 people tortured, hundreds of thousands of exiles. And an ultra-liberal economic policy at the service of the richest that will sink 39% of Chileans in poverty.
Guillermo (AL Angers) and Renaud (AL Alsace)

[1]Salvador Allende, MD, is the founder of PS, former Minister of Health in 1939 the Popular Front government of Pedro Aguirre Cerda and Senate president from 1966.

[2]These figures established by the new Commission on Human Rights in 2011 (from 32,000 accounts) are challenged by the victims' families since 2/3 testimonies were discarded. The figures are well below reality.

[3]The Congress is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

[4]4. Franck Gaudichaud, "Study on the dynamics of the Chilean urban social movement" People's Power "and industrial Cords during the government of Salvador Allende (1970-1973)", PhD thesis at the University of Paris VIII.

[5]See Frank Gaudichaud, "The unique plant workers, the labor movement and industrial Cords during the Popular Unity (1970-1973)" in Dissidences No. 14/15 October-20003 January 2004.

[6]Frank Guichaud, in Dissidences op. cit.

http://www.alternativelibertaire.org/?Putsch-fasciste-de-1973-au-Chili
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