Image: Engin Akyurt


This date should not be restricted to the necessary moral repudiation of the heinous times into which September 11, 1973 launched Chile, in truth, in a way, to this day

50 years ago, on September 11, 1973, a few thousand soldiers began the coup that would put an end to Chile's constitutional government, the so-called Chilean path to socialism and, above all, a revolutionary movement on the verge of victory. In the presidential palace of La Moneda, in the center of Santiago, Salvador Allende died fighting, surrounded by a few faithful, after pathetically calling on the population not to resist. A few days before the coup, hundreds of thousands of Chileans paraded through the streets of the capital in support of Popular Unity.

Faced with little popular resistance, called for surrender by President Salvador Allende, and the government's non-opposition, the bulk of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabinier Corps troops joined the coup, en masse. However, thousands of soldiers were arrested and purged from the armed forces, for refusing to participate in the massacre of the population.

Despite important studies, we still do not have an evaluation or general history of the Chilean coup, from the perspective of the world of work. We did not have precise information about the armed popular resistance that took place on the 11th and, for long weeks, in the popular and industrial neighborhoods of Santiago and the rest of the country, in an atomized, disorganized form, without any direction. We do not know in detail the deliberations and confrontations within military units, between coup and non-coup officers and non-coup officers.

The Chilean historian Jorge Magasich, after research lasting more than twenty years, and active participation in the Chilean Revolution, is currently launching in Santiago the third and fourth volume of his general reading on those successes, in seven volumes. The quality of the two initial volumes, as well as the saga of the Allendista sailors, already published, indicate that his history of Popular Unity will constitute a reference work on those successes. (MAGASICH, 2002-2023.)

Balance required

Even though our knowledge about the coup and its immediate consequences has significantly advanced, unless I am mistaken, there is still no general presentation of the terrible repression that befell the population in the days following September 11th. On the outskirts of Santiago, hallucinated by the ingestion of amphetamines, young conscripts behaved like occupation troops, entitled to rape and looting.

I will never forget the piercing screams of women that I heard, for days, at nightfall, in popular neighborhoods, invaded by military troops. The legalization of barbarism was the official strategy to weaken the popular movement through fear and transform honest non-commissioned officers and soldiers, most of whom were initially against the coup, into privileged executioners of the new regime.

Fifty years after 1973, especially political difficulties still prevent an objective and radical analysis of the Chilean experience. For various reasons, after the successes, from the reformist left to the revolutionary left, no political-ideological group involved in the events found itself in a position to support efforts to shed light on the events and escape the outcome unscathed. Over the years, part of the memory of the events faded. As for the “democratic”, conservative and fascist bourgeois forces, they did and continue to do everything to maintain and expand ignorance about those journeys.

Memory killers

In 2022, the candidacy for president and the victory of Gabriel Boric, aged 37, without any identification with the working and popular classes, constituted a successful maneuver that proposed “turning the page”, breaking with the memory and program of Popular Unity , bringing to government a post-leftist identity generation, the new spearhead of imperialism against the social movement.

After just over a year of his government, the popular classes, which had carried out a terrible mobilization effort, were plunged into the deepest confusion and Pinochetism raised its head, on this September 11, 2023, like never before. Gabriel Boric is playing the role of Alexis Tsipras in Chile, in Greece the role of Alberto Fernández in Argentina, so that we can stay outside our borders.

The powerful Chilean Communist Party, the country's main workers' organization, with a rich and ancient past of struggles, had long been immersed in class collaboration. During the UP government, he had gone out of his way to freeze the Chilean revolution and had never accepted any preparation for a confrontation for power. After September 11th, it collapsed under the weight of repression, counter-revolution, and the disastrous results of its pacifist policy that literally left the population with its hands tied to the coup plotters.

There is no return to the past

Today, the Chilean PC survives as a small political group, in relation to its past strength, without the capacity and, above all, the interest in advancing a real assessment of the deep reasons for the crisis of what was the most important workers' party in South America. However, , it was from their ranks that the most effective armed resistance test emerged, after the coup in 1983, which narrowly failed to justify the dictator, in September 1986, in an ambush – Frente Patriótica Manuel Enríquez.

The Communist Party, more recently, after putting itself in the wake of socialist social reformism, supported the social-liberal administration of Michelle Bachelet [2014-2018]. Discredited by Chilean workers and popular people, the Communist Party is part of the current social-liquidationist government of Borics, possibly proposing it as a “government in dispute”.

The subsequent victorious global counter-revolutionary tide, at the end of the 1980s, with the dissolution of the USSR and the states with a nationalized and planned economy, contributed to increasing the difficulty of a broad assessment of the Chilean experience. Above all because, after that historic victory of liberalism and imperialism, it was proposed that the conquest of power by workers was historically unfeasible. And therefore, the defeat of the Chilean Revolution has been presented as just another, singularly terrible, repression of a Latin American popular-democratic government by a military coup.

Left socialist

Founded in 1933, the Socialist Party constituted a federation of political forces, with conservative, centrist and radicalized sectors, with important worker bases. It was on its left, represented by Carlos Altamirano, general secretary of the Socialist Party, that the hopes of the social movement converged, in vain, when the general and armed confrontation against the putsch proved inevitable, as the only way of defending the achievements achieved. and threatened by the bourgeois counter-revolution.

The verbal radicalism of Carlos Altamirano, elected general secretary of the Socialist Party in 1971, under the slogan “Advance without having sex” [Forward without Conciliating], at no point was it transformed into concrete political and organizational proposals. At the time of the coup, Altamirano did not have the political courage to disregard Allende's order to surrender, before the fight, and call the population to fight. He went into exile a few days after September 11th and, re-elected general secretary at a congress abroad, he led the initial reconversion from socialism to social democracy and, later, to social liberalism. He ended up being expelled from the party for being a right-winger, starting the division of Chilean socialism.

The majority faction of the Socialist Party supported the process of authoritarian and limited redemocratization, internationalization of the economy and privatization of public goods that maintained and advanced the coup program and achievements. After the so-called “democratization” of the country, carried out in the shadow of a Pinochetist constitution, the socialist governments, first succubi of Christian democracy, then on their own feet, resumed the social-liberal reconstruction of the country imposed harshly by the military dictatorship, highlighting focus on the privatization of public goods and the refusal to question the institutional order imposed by the dictatorship. In Chile, too, the so-called left-wing political leadership did not want to hear the word “revocation” used.

Movement of Revolutionary Izquierda

Not even the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria MIR, which defended the inevitability of armed struggle, emerged politically unscathed from the assessment of the successes prior to the coup, the defeat of September 1973 and the successive clashes. To this day, unless I am mistaken, we do not have a broad-based, systematic political assessment of the trajectory of this organization, in which I was a member, until months after the coup.

The MIR was founded in 1965, by students from Concepción, by small groups and militants with a Trotskyist, anarchist and revolutionary-syndicalist orientation. At the founding congress, the insurrectionary conquest of power was approved. Very soon, under the direction of very young students – Miguel Enríquez, Luciano Cruz, Bautista van Schouwen, etc. –, the MIR assumed a Guevarist political orientation, of unconditional armed struggle. What motivated the rupture and above all the expulsion of the segments opposed to the Fidelist orientation, which proposed the centrality of the world of work in the revolution.

On November 4, 1970, when Salvador Allende assumed the presidency, the Mirista leadership found itself politically defeated, with regard to its strategy of unconditional military confrontation with the bourgeoisie. With a few dozen militants or little more, the MIR had no possibility of establishing itself in the social movement in a strong offensive. The petit-bourgeois guerrilla protagonism had been politically disarmed by the world of work in movement.

New organization, same management

The MIR was amnestied and legalized by the new government. With the immediate and growing radicalization of the working population, which reacted to the offensive of the bourgeoisie and went beyond the limits imposed by the UP's democratic-reformist program, the MIR grew in comparison to rehearsing itself as a mass organization with a more left-wing policy. This evolution did not occur through political self-criticism, but through adaptation to objective political reality. In this process, it obtained some insertion among the settlers, Mapuche students and peasants from the south of the country. The workers, loyal to the PC and PS, remained generally refractory to the former petit-bourgeois and guerrilla organization.

By embracing the political and social struggle of the masses, the young Mirist leadership, with a Guevarist orientation, never opened the debate on previous policies, restricting discussion within their ranks. For seven years, until September 11, it never held a congress, nor did it do so after the coup. This, despite the fact that, very soon, numerically, in the new MIR, the vast majority of activists no longer had little and shared little with the original Fidelist visions. Symbolically, the Mirista leadership maintained the organization compartmentalized, semi-clandestine, with political names, practices typical of militarist groups, while seeking to transform itself into a party rooted among the popular classes.

Trying to resolve this contradiction, the “Intermediate Mass Fronts” were created: the Movimiento Campesinos Revolucionarios (FCR), the Frente de Pobladores Revolucionarios (FPR), the Frente de Estudiantes Revolucionarios (FER) and the Frente de Trabajadores Revolucionarios (FTR) , the latter of little expression. All directed by the highest management of MIR. The various fronts expressed the desire to protect the old vision of a militarized party and to maintain support for a leadership that was perpetuated, without consulting the militancy. There was never a proposal to transform the movement into a revolutionary workers' party, with the organic and privileged political integration of the workers' vanguard.

Political failure

In 1972, in the elections for the leadership of the CUT, the PC obtained just over 170 thousand votes (31%), the PS 148 thousand (26,4%) and the MIR lost just over ten thousand votes, that is, 1,8%. Even the Radical Party, a bourgeois-democratic excrescence in the UP alliance, obtained better results among workers. Christian Democracy had 26,4% of the votes. The result of the CUT elections had a huge impact on the myrist militancy, as it was clear that the organization was distancing itself from the workers, on whose behalf we spoke. The management's assessment of the CUT elections, published in the official MIR weekly, The rebel [O Rebelde], little read, was however positive. As usual, there was no discussion about that sad outcome.

The Mirista leadership was initially thought of as part of the UP military scheme, which never existed. When the Allendista leadership refused to fight the inevitable struggle for power, in the face of the radicalization of the world of work and the inexorable offensive of the counter-revolution, the Mirista leadership refused to present itself as an alternative to that leadership or to propose a political front with the left. of the Socialist Party.

The MIR leadership never defended the inevitability of military confrontation and the need to prepare for it. He would recognize the fragility of the organization and reject the vision of general confrontation, with rural and urban workers as the vanguard. He continued to dream of an eventual prolonged guerrilla war, in the Chilean mountains and mountain ranges, where young guerrillas would be the promises of the revolution. It is worth saying that the military issue was never discussed by the MIR activists.

On the 11th, at dusk, the top leadership of the MIR ordered its militants to retreat and not get involved in the military resistance that, although sparse, very fragile and disjointed, was being rehearsed in Santiago and other parts of the country. Those who tried to resist, even in the MIR, were left without any direction. All to better participate, very soon, in the long popular war that they proposed would follow the coup. The real battlefield was abandoned, for a hypothetical guerrilla struggle that would never materialize, after the general reflux of the mass movement, which followed the victory of the counter-revolution.

Political failure, military failure

Immersed in its guerrilla dreams, the political leadership of the MIR had never prepared itself, even militarily, for the confrontation with the coup plotters, as this would require political understanding of the real rhythms of the Chilean revolution, as proposed. The great surprise of its few militants who participated in the resistance attempt was the poverty of weapons available to the organization, with the exception perhaps of a tiny central arsenal, not used on September 11th.

While the Mirist leadership remained faithful to the romantic Guevarist principles of conquering weapons from the oppressors in combat, it had also not prepared itself militarily for the coup. I described in an article, a little embarrassed, the weapons available to the Military Political Group 3 (GPM3), in Santiago, which I joined on the afternoon of September 11th, to participate in the resistance: some trotile bombs, fuse bombs and an uncertain explosion ; two or three old revolvers, almost out of ammunition, one of them, possibly from the mid-19th century; one or two 22 caliber rifles. It's worth saying that, if we wanted a lot, we practically did nothing. [MAESTRI, 2020.]

After the coup, the Mirista leadership returned to the guerrilla proposals and protagonists of before the UP, as if the previous two and a half years had been a mere introductory parenthesis to the long and hard popular war that would follow. Before and after September 11, the weight of the inevitable general reflux of the social movement, in the case of the full victory of the military dictatorship over the country, was never assessed. Using various justifications, the Mirista leadership refused to hold, in Chile or abroad, an evaluation conference on the coup, as noted. Now it was time for the guns to talk!

People's Revolutionary Army

One of the most pathetic pages of the Chilean Revolution was the massacre that befell the Mirista militancy, when the organization's leadership tried to put into practice, in a courageous, romantic, unrealistic and irresponsible way, the proposals for urban and, later, rural guerrilla warfare. All in the context of the profound reflux of the workers and popular movement imposed by the terrible defeat of September 11th, as proposed. The MIR proposed the founding of “resistance committees” in order to build the “Ejército Revolucionario” del Pueblo. Neither those nor this one ever got off the ground.

With the consolidation of the dictatorship and the ebb of the social movement, perhaps more than three hundred Miristas, increasingly visible to repression, were arrested, tortured and executed. While the Mirista militants, literally fish out of water, were slaughtered by repression, the organization's leadership proclaimed and promoted throughout Europe the organization of hundreds of combatant groups that existed only on paper.

On October 5, 1975, Miguel Enriquez, general secretary of the MIR, died in a confrontation, without the organization ever leaving the defensive, having managed to carry out only a few minor military actions. In 1977-79, with the ranks already decimated, the leadership ordered Operation Return, involving militants trained in Cuba, which led to new arrests and deaths. From 1987 onwards, the MIR was divided into three large groups that ended up dissolving and dividing into groups, without achieving, to this day, any prominent political role.

Historical meaning of the Chilean Revolution

The profound consequences of the failure of Popular Unity for Latin American and, above all, world history have not yet been assessed. The defeat of the Chilean Revolution in 1973, the Portuguese Revolution in 1976 and the Afghan Revolution in 1988 unbalanced the global correlation of forces to the detriment of the working and popular classes, facilitating the victory of the neoliberal counter-revolution in 1989-91, which led the world to the current civilizational decadence in which we live. And, in 1973, US imperialism, in clear defeat in Vietnam, was prevented from any new foreign military intervention.

In Chile, in 1970-1973, the working and popular classes faced big capital, nationally and worldwide, in the struggle for the direction of society and the State. In fact, there was a fight for the implementation of socialism. As is traditional, the middle classes followed the world of work as long as it showed determination and turned their backs on it when it plunged into confusion or suffered defeat. They are members of these middle classes who, today, in Chile, occupy the center of political protagonism in Chile. left, a position that previously belonged strongly to the workers, even if indirectly, through the communist and socialist parties and the CUT.

The Chilean working class was formed in the context of saltpeter and copper mining and was strengthened through an import substitution industrialization process very similar to that of Brazil. Unlike Brazil and Argentina, it was never an unconditional hostage to bourgeois populism and built two powerful class parties, the communist and the socialist. The Chilean working class had, above all, a unified workers' center, the CUT, founded in 1953, which organized practically all organized Chilean workers, communists, socialists, Christian Democrats, apolitical, etc.

In 1970, nine years after the victory of socialism in Cuba, in the context of a profound social crisis and the advancement of workers' struggles, Popular Unity proposed an electoral and gradual transition to socialism, a process to be completed on a distant, more imaginary horizon than than real, through the initial nationalization of some fundamental sectors of the economy – copper and banks, above all – and the deepening of agrarian reform. For today's difficult days, a very advanced program, but incapable of embracing the growing popular demands, in the context of the general crisis of Chilean capitalist production and the momentum of the revolutionary struggle that was taking place throughout the world.

Workers' radicalizationa

Responding to the sabotage of production and the coup activities that began even before Salvador Allende took office, urban and rural workers promoted an enormous process of mobilization and occupations of plants, factories and farms, exceeding the political containment determinations of the Allende leadership. Since the beginning of this popular offensive, the UP leadership limited itself to legalizing the occupations that led to popular control of a large part of the country's economy.

The growing occupation by workers in factories, plants, farms, etc. It was born from the democratic will of the direct producers and not from party political decisions of any order or orientation. The proposals that this radicalization was produced by Mirism, the socialist left, etc. are not at all valid. It was all due to workers in the fields and cities who were increasingly aware of their strengths.

In the south of the country, Mapuche peasants regained land lost in the years, decades and centuries before colonizers and then landowners. As no political organization decisively embraced these struggles, in part, they organized themselves into the Movimiento Campesino Revolucionario, organized by the MIR. Across the country, the homeless equally occupied urban land to build their homes, and workers collectively directed the production of factories closed or sabotaged by owners.

All power to the soviets

After the employers' strike of October 1972, the “cordones industriales” (industrial cordons) emerged, territorially bringing together occupied and unoccupied factories, which began to manage numerous issues, forming true embryos of workers' councils – soviets. In June 1973, a “Coordinadora Provincial de Cordones Industriales” (Provincial Coordinator of Industrial Cords) was created. These bodies of workers' power tended to overcome and oppose the immobility of the UP, CUT and Allende government parties in conducting the social process. They played an important role in the defeat of Tanquetazo, a failed coup attempt on June 29, 1973, which opened a revolutionary situation in the country. In general, the cordons were directed by the left wing of the Socialist Party. The MIR never focused its activities on these bodies. In the days following Tanquetazo, factories and workplaces were massively occupied by workers, ready to combat the coup militarily. On the night of June 28, in front of the presidential palace, thousands of protesters demanded that the parliament that had supported the coup be closed. In response, Allende proposed that he would never disrespect democracy.

Country in the hands of workers

The enormous popular creativity caused the employers' strike of October 1972 to end hastily, due to the social landscape it provided. The farms, mines, factories, stores, supermarkets occupied by employees and workers who did not accept to stand by, even though they were paid not to work, operated without owners and managers. In hospitals, in response to corporatist strikes, some progressive doctors, medical students and health workers guaranteed and expanded care. The ruling classes shamelessly exposed their parasitic character. There was desire and confidence among the workers to definitively take charge of the country, already understanding the bosses as true social excrescences.

The Chilean social confrontation put the most cultured, the most politicized and the most organized Latin American working class under tension. Despite material difficulties, the construction of a new world began based on solidarity and respect, which was expressed in the simplest interpersonal acts. The widespread practice of treating by partner [companion] co-workers, friends, family and even strangers verbally recorded relationships filled with fraternity and hope.

After September 1973, in exile, for many years, Brazilians who had taken refuge in Chile continued to treat their families as companions. They still remained under the effect of the true social and behavioral enlightenment determined by the struggles of the workers that had literally divided Chile into two camps, that of the comrades and that of the momios [mummies, reactionaries].

Women and revolution

In a social scenario that dignified work and solidarity and abhorred parasitism, individualism, elitism, children, young people, women, the elderly and workers achieved dignity never known before. As in the French days of 1789, the enormous social and political involvement of women of all ages was one of the most significant phenomena of the Chilean Revolution. The values ​​of the world of work powerfully overlapped the ideological and cultural phantasmagoria of capital.

The violent social clash gave rise to rich and creative cultural production that was expressed in language, journalism, music, murals, and demonstrations. The conservative population was anathematized with the linguistic wealth that only the popular classes had: “momio”, “pituto”, “facho”, etc. The battle of slogans shouted in the mobilizations was enormous, against the forces of the right and, in no less vibrant form, between the forces of the revolutionary and reformist left.

On city walls, commandos of young militants painted colorful panels inspired by Mexican muralists, recording the steps of the Chilean revolution, as well as its vacillations. The young artists defended themselves from right-wing attacks while painting and kept guard so that their works were not replaced or distorted. Among these groups of young muralists, the communist Ramona Parra brigades stood out, with great aesthetic capacity and little use to democratic dialogue, especially with the political organizations to their left.

The creativity expressed in political demonstrations was unique. Despite the material resources at their disposal, the anti-popular demonstrations never came close, numerically or aesthetically, to the popular marches, with their slogans, their songs, their banners and their posters. Not long before the coup, as proposed, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched on the avenues of Santiago, showing that, in Chile, they suffered, above all, a political defeat, due to the lack of a determined leadership, which turned into an armed defeat in the face of the reaction.

Chilean popular music fed and fueled social struggles. In the wake of the luminary Violeta Parra, singers and composers such as Victor Jara, Angel Parra and Patricio Mans and musical groups such as Inti Illimani and Quillapayun registered the Chilean libertarian effort. A reality that produced the unforgettable “Venceremos” and the premonitory Cantata de Santa Maria de Iquique.

Everything that doesn't move forward, goes backwards

Refusing to understand the need for conclusion and political institutionalization of an economic and social power already firmly in the hands of the workers and popular people, even in recent months, when the military confrontation seemed inevitable, Salvador Allende and the UP leadership still tried to impossible transaction with the right, politically and militarily disarming popular forces. There is no unreality in stating that Salvador Allende, with his attempt to unconditionally defend the bourgeois-democratic order, contributed to the victory of the September 11 coup d'état.

In the months before the coup, Salvador Allende constitutionally handed over to the armed forces the power to disarm and disarm the country, exercised, it goes without saying, in a unilateral manner. These actions strongly contributed to the left-wing groups, especially socialists, who were preparing for the coup, dispersing and even burying their already scarce arsenals.

The suicidal attempt at conciliation reached a grotesque moment when, on August 9, four weeks before the coup, under pressure from high-ranking coup officials and the constitutional right, Salvador Allende denounced it, via radio, on national television, and ordered the arrest of the non-commissioned officers and sailors of the Armada who were organized precisely to defend the constitutional government from the coup. “Yesterday attempts were discovered to organize cells on two National Navy ships. It is assumed that members of the ultra-left sector intervened. Once again the left-wing extremists join hands with the right-wing, people who do not understand the meaning of this process that the people will defend […]”.

After this liquidationist pronouncement, there was a general withdrawal of soldiers, non-coup officers and anti-coup, popular and socialist officers, who have always represented a non-negligible segment of the armed forces, with emphasis on the navy and the carabinieri. If Salvador Allende and the UP political leadership had called for resistance, tens of thousands of soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers would have fought alongside hundreds of thousands of people. After listening to the radio statement, with our closest companions, we were completely sure that the coup was a matter of weeks, if not days.

Defending the bourgeois order

The UP leadership had attempted a broad movement to return the factories occupied during the employers' strike of October 1972 to the capital, with the support of the Communist Party and enormous opposition from the world of work. Finally, moments before the coup, Salvador Allende agreed with the Christian Democracy to plebiscite on his continuation in government. If he did not reach a majority, he would renounce power, handing it over to conservatism, ending the Unidad Popular government in advance!

Precisely so that the plebiscite, which would be announced on September 17th, would not take place, the coup plotters preceded the coup. Big capital and imperialism knew that, even in the case of the UP's defeat in the plebiscite, there would be no sweet return to the past. The workers would certainly mobilize to override the defeatist decisions of the UP high command, immediately or after the eventual handover of the government, in the search to maintain and expand what was achieved.

The violence of dictatorial repression was necessary to crush the autonomy won by workers in the face of class society and to put an end to the global expectations it had aroused. On September 11th, the Chilean revolution and the world revolution struck. It was necessary to destroy, forever, the popular experience lived so intensely during those radiant years. To achieve this, it was necessary to destroy Chilean workers' and popular organizations, their achievements, their best cadres, their hopes. We had to return to the social peace of the cemeteries.

Alien Hunt

In a Latin America under military control, since Salvador Allende's victory, thousands of Latin American militants had taken refuge in Chile, where they were welcomed with open arms by the Unidad Popular government and popular forces, being execrated by the conservative hosts. Perhaps more than two thousand Brazilian refugees lived, especially in Santiago, alongside Argentines, Uruguayans, Bolivians, etc. With the coup, it was also expected to cut off an entire Latin American vanguard.

The real hunt for non-Chileans, with emphasis on black people, all considered Cubans, launched on the morning of September 11th aimed to present the revolutionary project as a foreign proposal, exotic to the Chilean people, and physically eliminate a large part of the leadership and militancy. revolutionaries taking refuge there, in a joint operation between the CIA and Latin American dictatorships, in which the Brazilian military regime actively participated.

The massacre of foreign militants was substantially thwarted due to the broad global solidarity that forced diplomatic representations to generously open their doors to the persecuted. In the context of the alliance between Beijing and Washington in 1972, China's diplomatic headquarters refused to join this initiative, wanting to occupy the space left by the Chilean dictatorial government's break with the USSR. The Brazilian embassy did the same, to expose its leftist patricians to possibly death. Such was the participation of the Brazilian ambassador, Antônio Cândido Câmara Canto, in the coup, that he was proposed as the “fifth member of the dictatorial Junta”.

Brazilians were murdered, imprisoned and tortured due to the refusal of the Brazilian ambassador and his complicit officials to comply with their constitutional obligations, that is, the protection of their nationals. At that time, Itamaraty had long functioned as an arm of the military dictatorship against exiled Brazilians living abroad. A story that has not been fully revealed in Brazil either. There was never any investigation or punishment of those responsible for Itamaraty's criminal collaboration with the Chilean and other military dictatorships. And the diplomats who collaborated with the coup and led to the deaths of Brazilians in Chile were never denounced and punished. All governments in Brazil have always known how to protect those who serve the State.

Neoliberal counterrevolution

Chile was the first Latin American nation to learn the recipes for the neoliberal reorganization of society, developed under the direction of American economist Milton Friedman, from the Chicago School, a city made famous by the gangsters it produced. An operation that, after years of triumphant propaganda, today shows, without shame, across the world, its execrable social results.

After the coup, broad branches of Chilean industry were annihilated, greatly reducing its manufacturing working class. The State was wiped out. Thousands of employees laid off. Prices, released; state-owned companies, privatized. Employer social contributions and profit taxes were lowered.

Customs barriers were released, globalizing the economy. Thousands of small, medium and large industries closed. Unemployment exploded and the working class shrank. Studying and falling ill in Chile became a privilege for the rich, which remains the case to this day, despite the palliative measures undertaken by the “democratic” governments that followed the coup.

Unemployment and the lumpenization of important segments of the Chilean working class reinforced the demoralization and political-social disenchantment promoted by repression. After the political refugees, multitudes of Chileans left the country as economic refugees, often never to return to the country. In the ancient land of solidarity, the law of the dog came to prevail.

A colonized country

The globalization and deregulation of the economy made Chile a paradise for capital, which invested mainly in agro-industrial production for the foreign market: wine, vegetables, apples, etc. Paradoxically, the agrarian sector that made the most progress was the one reformed during Salvador Allende's government. Only the strong appreciation of copper in recent decades prevented the general collapse of the country's economy, without any energy autonomy.

Consumption was extended through the population's never-before-seen debt. Privatized pensions have plunged workers, employees, teachers, etc., into literal destitution. after long decades of work. Despite the poverty of popular neighborhoods, far from the heart of big cities, Chile was presented for many years as a kind of Latin American Tiger, an example to be followed.

The so-called redemocratization of Chile, with the complicity of the Socialist Party shamelessly recycled into social-liberalism, deepened privatizations and consolidated anti-democratic institutions that still maintain the shadow of the Pinochet dictatorship over the country today. The impressive student demonstrations of 2006, 2011-13 and recent years, for the return to free public education, brought back into discussion the essence of the so-called Pinochet liberal revolution, strongly restoring the memory of the world built during the Chilean Revolution and lost in September 1973.

An eternal September 11th

Restored to privileges, the lords of wealth and power continue to fear the engraved memory of the revolutionary days deeply engraved in the tradition of the Chilean working classes. Every September 11th, it explodes powerfully in acts of protest, in the same streets of Santiago, where, 50 years ago, the cries of a people fighting for their destiny resounded.

On this September 11th, the eyes of the world turn, once again, to Santiago, due to the passage of fifty years since the defeat of the Chilean Revolution, which had exploded hopes, in Chile, in Latin America and across the world, in advancement of the socialist reorganization of society and overcoming a capitalist order in increasing decrepitude.

This date should not be restricted to the necessary moral repudiation, by all good women and men, of the hideous times in which September 11, 1973 launched Chile, in truth, in a way, until today. Above all because they were the product of the insurmountable nature of the bourgeois and imperialist scorpion, always ready to abandon its false democratic mantle when the defense of its privileges requires it.

We must focus, above all, on the causes of a defeat, two fingers away from victory, so that they are not repeated, when we raise, again, in Chile, Brazil and throughout the world, the glorious flags and slogans shouted by the world of work , when he marched, hopeful and confident, through the avenues of Santiago.

* Mario Maestri is a historian. Author, among other books, of Awakening the Dragon: The Birth and Consolidation of Chinese Imperialism (1949-2021) (FCM Editora).


MAESTRI, Mario. My participation in the armed resistance to the September 11 coup. SUL21, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 September 2020. https://sul21.com.br/opiniao/2020/09/minha-participacao-na-resistencia-armada-ao-golpe-de-11-de-setembro-por-mario-maestri/

MAGASICH, Jorge. History of the Popular Unity. 1. Preparation times: from the origins on September 3, 1970; 2 From election to assumption: them algids 60 daysfrom September 4th to November 3rd, 1970; 3. The spring of the Unidad Popular; 4. From three to two blocks. Santiago: LOM, 2020-2023.

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  • The collapse of Zionismfree palestine 80 23/06/2024 By ILAN PAPPÉ: Whether people welcome the idea or fear it, Israel's collapse has become predictable. This possibility should inform the long-term conversation about the future of the region
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Return to the path of hopelate afternoon 21/06/2024 By JUAREZ GUIMARÃES & MARILANE TEIXEIRA: Five initiatives that can allow the Brazilian left and center-left to resume dialogue with the majority hope of Brazilians
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Theological manual of neoliberal neo-PentecostalismJesus saves 22/06/2024 By LEONARDO SACRAMENTO: Theology has become coaching or encouraging disputes between workers in the world of work
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones