Chile: The Failed Socialist Revolution

Chile: The Failed Socialist Revolution

Salvador Allende and Chile before 1970

The beginning of the 20th century were not the best years for the Republic of Chile. Almost all industrial sectors of the country were in the hands of American capital. The US controlled the production of copper and saltpeter – Chile’s main export commodity. Carlos ibáñez, who came to power in 1927, only increased the country’s dependence on the United States, gaining loans for huge sums. The resource-rich country suffered from the contradictions of the capitalist system and the dominance of foreign capital.

In the 1920’s, despite the active opposition of the bourgeoisie, Chile developed it’s labour movement. More than once the government troops opened fire on working demonstrations. In March 1927, the Communist Party of Chile (CPC) was banned. Many Communists and socialists were subjected to repression. Government unions were created, leading the struggle of workers to a standstill. An important event of the Ibáñez presidency was the unification of all the police forces of the country into the infamous Carabinieri corps. Many Chileans, despite the threats of the authorities, continued to fight openly against the dictatorship. One of them was Salvador Allende.

Salvador Allende was born on June 26, 1908 in Valparaiso in the family of a lawyer. Allende’s family, though not rich, was respectable. In high school Allende studied well and was an excellent student. At the age of 18, he was drafted into the Chilean armed forces, where he served in an elite cuirassier regiment. In 1926, Allende entered the faculty of medicine at the University of Chile in Santiago.

At the University, Salvador Allende joins the student movement, which in those years was very progressive. Students advocated for participation in the management of the University and against the dominance of teachers-retrogrades. Chilean students also supported working demonstrations and held their own which were directed against the anti-democratic actions of the Chilean bourgeois authorities.

Salvador Allende’s acquaintance with Marxism happened during his student years. He was strongly impressed by the “Communist Manifesto” of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the works of Vladimir Lenin “State and Revolution” and “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”. Since that time Allende became a supporter of socialism. However, his views on Marxism never matured, remaining for life hostage to the traditional socialist schemes of soft reform of the capitalist system in favor of the workers.

As a student, Allende was arrested for participating in a protest rally. After graduating from University because of his left-wing beliefs, he had difficulty finding a well-paid job, therefore, he was forced to work in the morgue assistant pathologist. In 1933 he became one of the founders of the Socialist Party of Chile: first an activist, and later the head of the party Department in his hometown of Valparaiso.

In 1937, the candidacy of the Secretary of the regional branch of the SPC Salvador Allende was first put up for parliamentary elections. Allende wins by entering the “official” political life of the country. The popularity of the young socialist politician grew very quickly. In 1938 he was elected Deputy Secretary General of the Socialist party.

In 1939, Allende joined the government of populist President Pedro Aguirre Cerda as Minister of health and welfare. In this position, Salvador Allende certainly helped the Chilean people. He initiated the creation of health care centers for the poor, increase in pensions for widows and orphans, providing cash payments to pregnant workers, starting from the fifth month of pregnancy, and more. As a member of the government, Allende advocated the participation of workers in the management of enterprises and the restriction of foreign capital in the mining industry.

In 1943, Allende became Secretary General of the SPC and held this position until June 1944. Following this, his parliamentary career continued: in 1945 he was again elected a Senator for Valdivia, and 8 years later he represented in the Senate has regions of Tarapaca and Antofagasta.

In 1952 Allende took part in the presidential election for the first time. Despite the support of the Communist Party of Chile, which was banned, as well as part of the left nationalists, Allende got only 5.44% of votes.

It is interesting that at the same time Salvador Allende became a participant of the last duel recorded in the history of Chile. The opponent was a Senator from the Radical Party Raul Rettig, offended by some statements of the opponent in the Senate. Both shot, but, fortunately, both also missed, and after a while they became good friends.

In 1954 Salvador Allende visited Moscow at the invitation of the all-Union society of cultural relations. Being a doctor by profession, and in the past – the Minister of health, Allende showed considerable interest in the Soviet system of health care and education.

In 1957, Allende again participates in the race for the presidency, this time as a candidate from the Alliance of the CPC and the SPC “Popular Action front”. With a slight lag, he loses again. The second defeat in the presidential election did not embarrass the doctor, who was hardened in political battles. In 1964 he took part in the next presidential election. The impact of Allende in Chile’s political life have been strengthened almost every day, despite the propaganda of the bourgeois media, which displayed Allende as an agent of Moscow.

The main competitor of Allende in the elections was the candidate from the Christian Democratic Party Eduardo Frei, who enjoyed direct financial support from the United States. American intelligence services contributed to the promotion of propaganda against Allende in Chile. It was quite difficult to compromise Allende with real facts, so an ordinary lie was used. The main emphasis was on the “terrible Communist future” in the case of the triumph of Allende. The doctor himself was not ready for such a dirty presidential race. He lost in these elections – already the third time in a row. After gaining the majority of votes Frei won, as arranged by the United States and the conservatives.

Salvador Allende continued to fight, remaining a member of the Senate. The lies that befell him during the presidential campaign failed to reduce his popularity among the masses.

Three years before the new presidential elections, there was already talk among the left-wing forces about who would stand as a single candidate. The candidacy of Allende quite suited the Communists and some members of the SPC. However, among the socialists many  believed that Allende was a simple reformist and was not capable of radical transformation. Even the Chilean Communists had doubts about Allende. First of all, they doubted the possibility of his success, because he had lost all the previous campaigns. Therefore, at one time the SPC actively promoted the left-wing Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, then suddenly switched to support the candidate from the Radical Party Alberto Baltra. And only the persistence of the Socialist party led to the fact that it was Allende who became a candidate for the presidency from the loose Alliance which on December 22, 1969 was formed in the block of “National Unity”.

It includes the CPC, the SPC, the Radical Party, the socialist-Democrats and the “Popular Unitary Action Movement” (PUAM). The leading role in the coalition was played by the Communists, who managed to push their line in terms of the goals and programs of the bloc. The “People’s unity” advocated the building of “socialism in democracy, pluralism and freedom”, the nationalization of banks, monopolies, electricity, mining and other industries. Serious changes were planned in the social sphere, including public health care, which was to become accessible to all segments of the population.

On 22 January 1970, at a mass rally in Santiago, the Secretary-General of the CPC Luis Corvalán announced on behalf of the “People’s unity” that Salvador Allende was elected as a single candidate from the bloc. Election events in Chile once again attracted the attention of the United States. The “People’s Unity” programme, although not particularly radical, affected the economic interests of the United States in Chile. Moreover, the Latin American country theoretically created the threat of revolutionary forces coming to power that after the Cuban revolution was not acceptable for the United States.

The main competitor of Allende in the 1970 elections was the former President of Chile Jorge Alessandri. This respectable gentleman tried to present himself as a defender of the interests of all Chileans, including workers.

The elections were held on 4 September 1970. Allende won by a very small margin. Since none of the candidates was able to obtain an absolute majority, the decisive vote remained with Parliament. Reactionary sectors of the bourgeoisie hoped that Congress would give preference to Alessandri, but here Allende managed to beat his opponents: shortly before the elections, a secret Pact was concluded between him and the candidate of the Christian Democratic Party Radomiro Tomic, according to which the block of each of the candidates recognizes a victory of the rival in case of separation of one from another of more than 5 thousand voices, and the victory of Alessandri – only if the number of cast ballots exceeded the results of the rivals by 100,000. Accordingly, using this secret agreement, Allende received the support of the СDP in Congress and entered the presidential Palace.

Before taking office, Allende faced a wave of economic sabotage across the country. Large capitalists laid off workers in droves. Those who were not thrown out on the street,  faced reduced or not paid wages. Foreign companies sharply reduced the flow of their products to the market. At the same time there was a massive withdrawal of deposits and transfer of money abroad. Thus, Allende’s political rivals, together with large capital, tried to arouse public discontent and to cause economic damage to the new government.

Far-right organizations played a special role. In order to destabilize the political situation, they carried out a number of terrorist attacks at the University of Santiago, the international airport and other places. The right tried unsuccessfully to blame the socialists and Communists, however, it was later established that it was fascist formations that were behind all the attacks.

The economic and political chaos in Chile in September and October 1970 was the result not only of internal but also of external reaction. The US closely monitored the situation inside Chile. To ensure imperialist interests in this country, the United States used close ties with the Chilean bourgeoisie and all the anti-socialist forces. On September 16, 1970, national security adviser Henry Kissinger said:

“…I don’t think we can entertain the illusion that Allende’s victory in Chile won’t create huge problems for us, for us, as well as for democratic and Pro-American forces in Latin America, and throughout the Western hemisphere. It’s hard to even predict what might happen to the Western hemisphere defense Council, the Organization of American States, etc… This is one of the situations not too pleasant for American interests”.

The state Department, the Senate, and the CIA were trying to devise a plan to overthrow Allende before he officially took office. Options of military coup and economic blockade were considered. There were no prerequisites inside Chile for a military coup in the autumn of 1970, so this option was postponed. Then the American secret services together with the American bourgeoisie tried to apply pressure on the Chilean economy. The head of the CIA’s Western hemisphere division Bro discussed on September 29, 1970 with senior Vice President of a large company ITT Geretti the following issues:

  • termination or postponement of lending to Chile by U.S. private banks;
  • reducing U.S. companies procurement in Chile and to delay a “different kind of provision in this country”;
  • pressure on international financial institutions (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank) “by depriving the Allende government of loans, contribute to the creation of economic instability” in Chile;
  • termination of technical assistance to Chile.

Meanwhile, the conquest of the presidency did not make Allende an omnipotent tyrant, as the defenders of the Chilean bourgeoisie tried to imagine the situation. On the contrary, in its hands remained powerful authorities – Parliament, the judiciary, the armed forces, which Allende had to reckon with. Moreover, in an effort to appease the bourgeois public, Salvador Allende made a number of solemn promises to the senators (so-called “Status of democratic freedoms”) which he pledged to fulfill when he became President:

  • not interfere with the activities of opposition parties;
  • do not censor or restrict freedom of speech;
  • not touch the Church-controlled private school system;
  • to respect University autonomy
  • not interfere in the army promotion through the ranks and not create political organizations in the army
  • not to change the existing electoral system and to observe it;
  • to prevent the creation of civil armed groups such as the people’s militia
  • not to create any parallel, not provided by the Constitution authorities.

Thus, the bourgeois opposition did not just persist in the country; it was given ample opportunities for counter-revolutionary activities, because even the President couldn’t influence it. The media remained in the hands of the bourgeoisie, through which agitation and propaganda of an anti-socialist orientation was freely conducted. Using the mechanisms of the old electoral system, the bourgeois opposition continued to be elected and occupy seats in Parliament through which they had the opportunity to influence the work of the state.

The path to reform in the education system was notoriously limited. The preservation of private schools did not allow the creation of a unified system of public education. Church control over educational institutions allowed religion to be used as an instrument of reaction in the ideological education of a new generation of Chileans.

The army continued to be a “state within a state”. Beyond the conditions imposed by Parliament, October 1 at a meeting with the commanders of all branches of the army Allende promised in the event of his election not to interfere in the internal Affairs of the army. This meant that the decisive word in the new appointments in the armed forces will be the military itself, the President acts only as a consultant. The creation of other armed organizations capable in an emergency to repel the counter-revolution, including the military, was prohibited.

The role of the Communist Party

As already mentioned, the government of Salvador Allende enjoyed the full and unconditional support of the Communist Party of Chile. In fact, it was the CPC, and not Allende’s “native” Socialist Party, had a decisive influence on the policy of the “People’s Unity” government. It would seem that the support of the Communists was to give a powerful impetus to the development of the Chilean revolutionary process, however, in fact it turned out quite differently: the CPC has effectively become the main brake on the Chilean revolution. And it is the CPC that bears the brunt of the blame for the events of September 1973.

Back in the late 1930s, the Communist Party of Chile came under the powerful influence of North American right-wing revisionism personified by the then Secretary General of the Communist Party of the United States, Earl Browder. An ardent supporter of interaction with all, in his opinion, “progressive and anti-fascist sectors” of society, advocate original “American Marxism”, Browder in 1944, openly stated that after the Tehran conference “capitalism and socialism have found a way to peaceful coexistence” and that in this regard, the Communist Party should be dissolved, and in its place should be formed “public political Association”, the task of which is not to fight for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, and finding compromises with the bourgeois governments for the gradual improvement of capitalism. Despite the fact that already in 1945 the Communist movement condemned Browder’s revisionist views, his years of treacherous work as Secretary General of the US CP could not fail to produce results. And since traditionally the Communist parties of Latin America gravitated to the “older brothers” of the North American Communist party, “Browderism” managed to take deep roots in their ranks, striking the virus of right-wing revisionism almost all the Communist parties of the Latin American continent.

The Chilean Communist party was no exception, which by the mid-1940s under influenced by Browder’s right-wing revisionist conciliatory ideas transformed from a fighting proletarian vanguard into a typical parliamentary party, which focused exclusively on legal activities within bourgeois democracy. And already the first steps of the CPC in the field of finding compromises with the bourgeoisie give deplorable results: supporting in 1946 together with the socialists and radicals candidacy supposedly progressive González Videla, within six months, the CPC was banned under the “Law on the protection of democracy”, adopted by this “progressive” President. Also, in parallel, González Videla unleashed a flurry of repression on the labour movement, he also severed diplomatic relations with the USSR and with all the countries of the so-called “Eastern bloc”.

Surprisingly, even in these difficult conditions of persecution the vast majority of the party leadership remained loyal to bourgeois pacifism and the revisionist line. The Chilean Communists humbly hoped that in time they would be allowed to return to the legal political field, categorically refusing even the slightest resistance to the reactionary dictatorship of Videla. However, within the CPC, a struggle against the “adventurers” and “putschists”, headed by Luis Reynoso and Benjamin Cares who proposed to strengthen illegal work with the masses and begin to organize effective resistance to reaction.

In 1950, this struggle culminated in the expulsion of the “radical” faction from the CPC, along with this Cares was also named “Warsaw traitor” because at a conference of Cominform, the headquarters of which was located in Poland, he tried to convey to the international Communist movement information about the treacherous policy of the top of the CPC. Since then, the “peaceful path to socialism” and the principled denial of all violence which did not fit into the framework of solid parliamentary chatter, became the signature style of the Communist Party of Chile. Style, finally strengthened after the resolution of the 20th Congress of the CPSU which proclaimed, among other things, the possibility of achieving socialism by “peaceful methods”.

Guided by the revisionist tactics of the original “Chilean path to socialism”, the CPC did not just provide significant support for Allende’s candidacy in the 1970 elections; hoping for the broadest Union, including the bourgeois, layers and terribly frightened of the possibility of the outbreak of the civil war already at the stage of formation of “People’s unity” Chilean Communists fiercely opposed the revolutionary tactics of Allende’s native Socialist Party of Chile.

The SPC, which unanimously proclaimed Marxism-Leninism as its main political line at the 1967 Congress in Chile, categorically opposed the revisionist experiments of the CPC to create long-term alliances with bourgeois parties and groups, which long ago lost all their “progressivity” in the conditions of imperialism. Considering legal forms of struggle (such as participation in elections at various levels of bourgeois power) only as a limited tool, which aims to prepare the conditions for a revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the SPC directly pointed out the falsity of illusions about the possibility of transforming the economic and political system of capitalism through the tools of bourgeois democracy. (link to the text of the 1967 resolution:

Allende was obliged to submit to the revolutionary program of his own party, however, in fact, he has long turned into a right-wing dissident, often going against the opinion of the SPC, he therefore strongly supported the CPC’s revisionist strategy and he advocated the creation of a multi-class Alliance of left, center-left and bourgeois parties proposed by the Communists. In the future, the influence of the revisionist line of the CPC on Allende only intensified, and the SPC was not able to shake the hegemony of the Chilean Communists in “Public’s Unity” both because of their own internal differences, and because of the powerful support that the CPC provided Brezhnev’s USSR.

The Chilean Communists, who lost with their “peaceful path” and any class guidance, their ability to analyze. Between 1970-73  they supported a naive confidence of Allende that the armed forces will maintain neutrality and respect the constitutional government under all circumstances. The strategy of the CPC did not have any interest in this issue: Chilean Communists did not bother to analyze the role which the armed forces had to play in the process of the “Chilean path to socialism” .

At the same time, the SPC, quite logically considering the army “the armed hand of the bourgeoisie” and realizing the prospect of an inevitable direct collision with it, required, if not a full crackdown, then a significant reform of this structure.

But, not daring once again to excite the generals, Chilean Communists, and with them Allende, were not only estranged from the problems of the armed forces, when satisfied with the oaths of top army about maintaining “neutrality”, but also directly opposed the proposals of the SPC to create an alternative armed apparatus to protect the people’s government. On this issue, the SPC was joined by the ultra-left Pro-Cuban figures from the “Revolutionary Left Movement” (RLM) – quite a serious mass structure, numbering about 10 thousand members by 1973, and the Marxist sector of the “Popular Unitary Action Movement”, which also regarded the army as a power tool of the bourgeoisie for the probable overthrow of the Allende government.

But all was in vain: Chilean Communists refused even the idea of forming a kind of “people’s militia” or similar structures pointing out that this would only provoke a civil conflict, which the CPC wanted to avoid. Given that the reformist Allende government has not received ideological instruments of influence on the armed forces and became a hostage to the shaky neutrality of the army, this approach clearly predetermined the sad fate of the Chilean experiment.

Moreover, even in the most difficult periods of almost open action of a reaction the HRC stuck to its slogan “No civil war”.

The same desire to preserve class peace and “people’s unity ” at all costs provoked the Communists, who had a decisive influence on Allende, to slow down any initiative which really undermined the economic and political domination of the bourgeoisie. Believing that only respect for bourgeois laws can guarantee the stability of the “people’s government”, the CPC has fought hard against “extremist” trends in economic policy. Indicative in this sense is the conference of “People’s Unity” in Lo Curro in June 1972 during which representatives of the Central Committee of the CPC mercilessly criticized all the proposals of the SPC member and Minister of Economy Pedro Vuskovic which were aimed at a more decisive struggle against the influence of the bourgeois class. Expansion of nationalization and introduction of state control over private enterprises, refusal of compensation payments to the bourgeoisie, introduction of a fixed wage scale, orientation of the labour movement to establish control over production – all this went against the economic initiatives of the Communists, who were afraid to anger the still powerful and influential Chilean bourgeoisie. (link –

Thus, Chile had a paradoxical situation: socialists, traditionally suffering from the lack of a truly revolutionary strategy, those socialists, the party which was nominated Salvador Allende, since 1972 they have openly advocated more radical and decisive measures to destroy the bourgeois state, to destroy the influence of the bourgeoisie, preparation for the inevitable armed confrontation with the bourgeois class. While the Communists, who enjoyed direct ideological and economic support of the USSR and guided the policy of Allende, actually hindered the development of the revolutionary process under the pretext of preserving the “class peace”.

Ideologically disarmed, the proletariat by convincing the inviolability of “class collaboration”, tugging Allende whenever certain economic reforms affected the vital interests of the Chilean bourgeoisie, the Communist party of Chile played a decisive role in strangling the so-called “Chilean revolution”, which never managed to cross the threshold of a very timid reformism.

Reforms of Salvador Allende and the government of “People’s unity”

Apart from sabotage by American imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reactionary political forces within the country, Chile had a number of socio-economic problems by the early 1970s.

U.S. monopolies controlled mining, metallurgy and Metalworking, chemical and pharmaceutical, electrical and food industries, construction, transport, banks, insurance and foreign trade. Further financial enslavement and robbery of the country contributed to the Chilean branches of American banks and government loans issued by the United States. By December 1970, Chile’s debt to foreign financial institutions had reached $ 3.88 billion. Agriculture was at a very low level of development: the land issue had not yet been resolved. A significant part of the population lived starving. With its vast agricultural and industrial potential, Chile purchased manufactured goods and food from other countries. The social divide between rich and poor was growing. The country needed to address the issue of housing.

In early October 1970, Allende, in an interview with the New York Times, outlined a program of action which he was going to undertake in conjunction with the government of People’s Unity:

“Our program provides for the creation of three sectors: public, mixed — private and public capital, and private…

This is a path that meets the real conditions of Chile, and we consider it to be the main stage.

First of all, we must regain our basic resources which are in the hands of foreign capital, especially American, – copper, iron ore, saltpeter, which are now in your hands, in the hands of American monopolies.

Then we must nationalize monopolies that have an impact on the social and economic development of the country. To this we must add a serious, broad, deep agrarian reform, nationalization of banks and establishment of state control over foreign trade”.

It is clear that any truly revolutionary changes are carried out after the decision of the question of authority. Class-wise in Chile, the question of authority was not resolved in the best way, because after the presidential victory of Allende, the Chilean proletariat did not come to authority, that is, did not become the ruling class. Moreover, in connection with the revisionist line of the CPC, the proletariat did not even try to snatch the initiative from the hands of the bourgeois class; under the influence of the Communists Salvador Allende categorically rejected all the proposals of the Socialist party, which were aimed at extending the revolutionary process beyond the timid “capitalist reformation.”

Thus, abandoning the decisive elimination of the economic and political influence of the bourgeoisie, the destruction of the bourgeois machine of the state, the elimination of the “armed hand of the bourgeoisie” – the army, Allende naively tried to achieve “mutual understanding” among the bourgeois sectors and servants of the state and military apparatus in building a new “just, democratic and free society”. The answer, quite naturally, was sabotage, betrayal, and sometimes outright resistance.

An important role was played by the fact that the government of “People’s Unity” was a coalition of heterogeneous in its composition of the left, center-left (social democratic) and bourgeois forces, who stood – with the exception of the Marxist-Leninist sector of the Socialist party – on the positions of banal reformism and conciliationism with the bourgeoisie. Quite consistent with the objectives of the direct conquest of the presidency, this toothless tactic of relying on a multi-class Alliance was frankly detrimental to the development of the revolutionary process, further enhancing the eclectic, half-hearted and inconsistent reforms.

Thus, the nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy promised during the election campaign already stalled at the first stages, which faced, on the one hand, the fierce resistance of the bourgeois class, and on the other – the indecision of the government of “People’s unity” which did not want to go to confrontation with the capitalists. As a result, in the process of implementing the program of nationalization Allende was forced to make concessions to the capitalists making the necessary adjustments to suit the ruling class, the nationalization of the mining industry in 1971 is a striking example of this. Unanimously approved by the bourgeois Parliament, the nationalization program provided for the payment of huge compensation to the owners of the mines (and a little later, and to the owners who were subjected to nationalization of enterprises and land). The only spoonful of honey in this barrel of tar was a cunning move which was put forward by the author of the program of nationalization, Minister of economy Pedro Vuskovic, which included a deduction from compensation payments of “excessive profits”, which was received by the mining industry due to low (or even zero) taxes established by the law of 1955. As a result, such North American “monsters” as “Anaconda” or “Kennecott” as a result of compensation payments not only did not receive a cent, but still owes millions of dollars to the Chilean state.

The same Vuskovic, who was almost the only supporter of a truly revolutionary line in the Allende government, became the author of another legal trick, which consisted in using a forgotten, but not repealed law, which was adopted during the 12-day existence of the so-called “Socialist Republic” in 1932, according to which the state had the right to establish control over strategically important enterprises in the event that these enterprises stop or reduce the rate of productivity.

Nevertheless, strikes, which were caused by the nationalization to the interests of North American monopolies enraged the government of Richard Nixon, who boycotted the Allende government. Commercial loans from private U.S. banks to Chile declined sharply. The inter-American development Bank and the international Bank for reconstruction and development virtually ceased to provide the funds needed for the Chilean economy.

In addition to the nationalization of industrial enterprises, the issue with banks was resolved. The state took control of private Chilean banks in case of financial and labour violations committed by them. The state bought branches of foreign banks operating in Chile. This led to the fact that the vast number of banking operations were controlled by the state, however, it was not possible to completely liquidate private banks.

In addition to establishing control over some industrial enterprises, including foreign ones, the government of “People’s unity” tried to introduce a system of socialist planning with the preservation of the market. The apparatus of state management of the economy under the leadership of the same Vuskovic, – one of the best statisticians in Latin America, – became engaged in the implementation of the planning system. The office of state economic planning, together with other government bodies, began developing a five-year plan in 1971. The government of “People’s unity” tried to influence the management of industrial enterprises and workers: in the summer of 1971 administrative councils were formed, they consisted of 5 government officials and 5 representatives of labor collectives and took over the leadership of nationalized enterprises. This established a system of workers control over the activities of enterprises and the implementation of the plan.

By the end of 1971, the public sector was already producing 50% of the gross national product. Gross product itself grew by 8.5% over the year and industrial production by 13%. Unemployment fell from 8.3% to 3.8%. By early 1972, the government-controlled 85% of exports and more than 50% of imports.

Another measure that improved the position of the proletariat was the redistribution of income through the export of copper. But these funds were not enough to ensure a decent income for all workers. As a result, wage inequality between workers in the copper industry and workers in other industries has increased. The attempt to tax big business was unsuccessful, as any such initiatives of the government and the President were hindered by the Parliament.

Yet “People’s unity” initially restrained price increases, reducing the effects of inflation on the common people. Pensions were significantly increased. There was an improvement in providing regular meals Chileans. The state began to actively invest in the construction of housing for workers, which was not enough for half a million Chilean families. Thus not only the housing problem was solved, but also the problem of unemployment. For the construction of houses attracted themselves the needy and unemployed.

There was no less of an acute problem to be solved than the agrarian question. The President and the government were aware of the importance of agrarian reform. Not being able to carry out the full expropriation of large land holdings and the transfer of these lands to the use of ordinary peasants, the “People’s unity” government used an old law passed under President Frey.

Then bourgeois government tried to partially solve this problem, a slight surplus expropriated from landowners in favor of peasants. The former owners of the land had the opportunity to choose the site that remained in their possession. However, even in this version, it did not suit the large landowners. They tried in every way to sabotage the execution of the legitimate demands of the authorities and to damage the agriculture of Chile. Tons of grain and hundreds of thousands of head of cattle became illegally exported from the country, and thousands of hectares of land remained unsown. The expropriation did not affect the middle-class landowners, as their farms provided most of the marketable bread.

Expropriation took place with the approval and even under the great pressure of the peasant lower classes. In some places, the peasants themselves staged unauthorized expropriations, which caused concern to the government, the head of which in March 1971 urged peasant organizations to refrain from self-grabbing and wait when the land is legally transferred to them.

There was no plan to create a single model of agricultural production. Part of the land given to the use of peasants the state decided to unite in large agricultural centers in order to improve the efficiency of the organization of production and mechanization. Some peasants were not ready for such serious changes and remained sole proprietors, engaged in the production of crops for their own consumption. At the same time, many rural workers did not feel any changes from the redistribution of land.

Large landowners maintained their position in the village. However, support for Allende and “People’s unity” among the peasants increased, this was partly facilitated by the increase in purchase prices for agricultural products. In General, the reform did not achieve major changes in agriculture.

Despite the limitations and slowness of reforms, “People’s unity” enjoyed the universal confidence of Chilean workers, the proof of this was the municipal elections in April 1971; the candidates from the government bloc won more than half of the votes of all voters. Enthusiasm was strong not only among the workers, but also in the Marxist-Leninist sector of the government coalition which was presented by the SPC led by Carlos Altamirano and the left faction of the “Popular Unitary Action Movement”, which still counted on the expansion of the revolutionary process towards the direct conquest of power by the proletariat.


The conflict between bourgeois opposition parties and “People’s Unity” did not end in October 1970 when the majority of deputies supported Salvador Allende. On the contrary, the conflict has entered a new phase. The Christian democratic party (HDP) and the National party (NP) played a leading role in the Parliament’s anti-government activities. It was the Christian Democrats who initiated the restrictions on the President’s activities. The bourgeois parliamentary opposition, using its numerical superiority, naturally hindered many initiatives of the government and its actions to carry out reforms.

Expressing the interests of the bourgeoisie, the opposition parties prevented the nationalization of many large enterprises, and also repeatedly rejected bills related to the taxation of large businesses. In 1972, the HDP and the NP decided to return some of the already nationalized property to its former owners by amending the Constitution. “People’s Unity”, in turn, decided to ignore the introduction of these amendments and leave the enterprises in state ownership. The conflict between the legislative and Executive powers developed into a confrontation and began to seriously aggravate the political situation in the country.

On March 4, 1972, a meeting of members of opposition parties, leaders of right-wing media and former owners of nationalized enterprises was held. Also present was the Chairman of the Confederation of production and trade, Chairman of the industrial development Society and representatives of other organizations representing the interests of large capital. The theme of the meeting was to prepare an anti-government opposition action to overthrow President Allende. The leading force of the conspiracy was not the political parties, but the urban and rural bourgeoisie, acting through its representatives in the Confederation of production and trade.

The Confederation consisted of five major associations of Industrialists and agricultural magnates: National agricultural society, Industrial development society, National mining society, Central chamber of Commerce and Construction.

For ideological preparation of the upcoming coup, the opposition used all available media to incite anti-government sentiment in Chilean society. Through Newspapers, radio and television, Chileans were told about the inability of the “Marxists” to govern the country. The main emphasis of the bourgeois media was on the “inefficient operation of state–owned enterprises” and the allegedly approaching nationalization of all private property – this had a special impact on the petty bourgeoisie.

The manoeuvres of the bourgeoisie were not ignored by the most visionary figures of the government. Already in the early summer of 1972, the same Minister of economy Pedro Vuskovic, who joined the Marxist-Leninist wing of the SPC, directly demanded the strengthening of the struggle against the economic influence of the ruling class, “while the bourgeoisie is not yet United enough to carry out an armed counter-revolution”.

However, Salvador Allende had not taken the warnings of Vuckovic. Moreover, on June 17, after the mentioned conference of “People’s unity” in Lo Curro, where Vuskovic made a package of specific proposals for the neutralization of bourgeois influence, Allende formed a new Cabinet, in which Vuskovic no longer had a place as Minister of economy.

From this moment begins the stage of consistent retreat of “People’s unity” before the attacks of the bourgeoisie. By the end of June, at the suggestion of the CPC, the government had concluded a Pact with the Christian democratic party, according to which the HDP must agree with the candidates of managers of state banks, and in addition, according to the results of the agreement, from the so-called “Public sector” derived “Paper and cardboard manufactory” (the largest monopoly in the industry) owned by… a former opponent of Allende Jorge Alessandri of the National party. It is clear that such a curtsey towards the most reactionary political parties was to strengthen the “class peace”, however, in fact, Allende and the Communists only strengthened their bourgeois opponents by their actions, who did not give up the merciless struggle against the government.

However, by June 1972, the promised agrarian reform was not widely developed, stalling at all stages of implementation. Tired of waiting, the peasants of the region of Melipilla, located near Santiago, staged a Grand demonstration, demanding the immediate distribution of land and the removal of the judge Olate who treacherously hindered the process of legal transfer of vacant land in favor of the peasants. Police dispersed the demonstration, arresting about 20 participants. But that was not the end.

After a week the peasants Melipilla again blocked the road, and this time, they were actively supported by the workers of two textile mills and aluminium plant located in the nearby industrial area Cerillos. Soon here there will arrive members of the SPC, under the direct influence which occurs the first organization of the “Soviet” type, organ of the dictatorship of the proletariat, corresponding to the Chilean conditions – the so-called “Industrial cordon Cerrillos» who soon joined workers in more than 30 companies of the industrial belt Cerrillos-Maipu. A proclamation was immediately issued calling for the establishment of workers control in enterprises and the formation of an Assembly of Workers, which should eventually replace the bourgeois counter-revolutionary Parliament. The idea was picked up by Chilean workers and, after a few days had formed a second “industrial cordon”, covering the capital’s working-class district Vicuña McKenna. In all, by the end of 1972, more than a hundred similar bodies of workers democracy had sprung up across the country and in Santiago alone “cordons” could mobilize more than a hundred thousand people.

Immediately thereafter, the CPC and the right sector of the SPC developed violent activities against the initiative of the working class: the Communist party directly urged its members to boycott the work of “Industrial cordons”, which went beyond the activities of the state-controlled United center of workers. Soon, in July 1972, the bodies of class dictatorship of Allende expressed itself, marking their rejection of the ideas of the creation of tools “the dual authority” because “People’s unity” protects the interests of the proletariat as much as it can.

The second blow to the revolutionary movement was already mentioned, the debut of the Congress of “People’s unity” in Lo Curro in July 1972, in the course of which the right majority, advocating the search for compromises with the bourgeois sectors and all proposals to expand the revolutionary process were categorically rejected. The immediate result of this Congress was the appointment to the key position of Minister of economy of the member of the Central Committee of the CPC Orlando Millas who will show his “revolutionary” face.

Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie launched a decisive offensive: in October 1972, opponents of the government provoked a strike by the owners of freight transport, who opposed the creation of the state transport company. Strike of truck owners, whose leader, Leon Villarin, directly headed the Department of the fascist group “Fatherland and Liberty”, resulted in the overlap of armed men on the pan American highway – the only route connecting the southern and northern parts of the country.

Inspired by these events, the industrial and rural bourgeoisie also became more active: many private enterprises were stopped and shops were closed. Private physicians, pharmacists, dentists and lawyers immediately joined the General chaos. Thus, in fact, a quiet economic revolt of the bourgeois class against the government began.

It was during these anxious days that there was a qualitative leap in the consciousness of the working masses which actually acted as a United front against the reactionary sabotage: even the workers, who were members of the Christian democratic party, stood on a par with the workers Communists and socialists. There was a massive seizure by the workers of enterprises and agricultural lands, abandoned by the owners. The number of “Industrial cordons” has increased significantly. In addition to these bodies, so-called ” Juntas for supply and price control” were formed which fought directly against speculation and put under control the distribution of essential goods. At the municipal level, “Community teams” emerged to oversee and coordinate the work of public services.

Already at this stage there were direct clashes between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat: thus, with the help of physical violence, workers and activists of the people’s control bodies liberated roads, requisitioned trucks, opened supermarkets. There were clashes with the use of weapons and with militants of far-right groups.

What was the reaction of the Allende government? In an effort to calm the revolutionary activity of the masses, “People’s unity” declares a state of siege in “emergency zones” where military inspectors are sent, who have assumed full political power. Of course, within the “peace-loving” policy of Allende, their task was not so much to combat bourgeois sabotage as to suppress the revolutionary activities of the masses in the name of the triumph of “law and order”.

The national bourgeois strike which lasted 26 days ended in complete failure for the ruling class; under the direct pressure of the organized proletariat, the bourgeoisie was forced to back down. But the “October victory” was in fact only a prelude to the future defeat of the proletariat, in which Allende himself played a major role.

On November 3, the President called on the armed forces to enter the new government Cabinet of “social peace”. Thus Allende again took a step back, seeking at all costs to preserve the “class peace”, entrusting the matter of “restoring order” not to the organized working class, but to the “neutral” army which actually acted against the revolutionary initiative of the masses. Thus, appointed to the post of Minister of the interior, General Prats considered his first priority the return of the enterprises seized by the workers to their rightful owners. The head of the air force General Bachelet was appointed responsible for the distribution of essential products, as a result, the junt’s supply and price control activities were curtailed.

However, even under these conditions no peace came. Having been defeated, the bourgeoisie, with the full approval of North American imperialism, makes the final bet on the forceful overthrow of the Allende government which was less and less able to restrain the revolutionary ardor of the working class.

The government itself, which still harbored hopes of maintaining a compromise with the bourgeoisie, in January 1973 takes another broad step back: “military-Communist” Duo of Miles-Prats officially declares the need to return what was seized in October by the proletariat of the factories to their owners-the saboteurs, as well as to reduce to a minimum the number of enterprises subject to nationalization.

The reaction of the working class was not long in coming. There have been agitated demonstrations across the country; in the industrial belt of Cerrillos-Maipu it came to direct clashes with the police and the construction of barricades. On February 5, another Grand demonstration was held at the stadium in Santiago against the plan put forward by Miles-Prats. But all was in vain; Allende and the CPC did not hear the voice of the working class, and the working class itself, which still regarded the Allende government as a defender of its interests, did not dare to exert excessive pressure on it in the conditions of the bourgeois offensive. This consciousness of the Chilean proletariat was also expressed in the fact that in the situation of “anti-inflation measures” of the government, that is banal freezing of salaries, the workers for the most part refrained from strikes that could cause political damage to the government of “People’s unity”.

Thus, despite all the twists and turns and roughness, on the legislative elections on March 4, 44% of voters – most of them working class towns and villages – cast their votes to the ruling bloc, dispelling the hopes of the bourgeoisie that voters will turn away from the spineless reformism of Allende. “People’s unity” increased the number of its representatives in the chamber of deputies by 9 people, and in the Senate – by 2. Thus, despite the actions of the bourgeois opposition, support for Salvador Allende and the “People’s unity” not only remained at the same level, but also increased slightly.

Military reactionaries

Meanwhile, a military coup was being prepared. Here it is necessary to understand that the army of any state serves the interests of the ruling class. The ruling class in 1973, despite the reforms, remained the bourgeoisie, retaining significant political influence through political parties and other organizations. At the same time, the Chilean political elite, adjacent to the “People’s Unity”, had no legal ability to control the army ideologically, because there was a ban on campaigning in the army and the creation of military political organizations. Moreover: seeking to preserve the status quo, objectively playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie, the government did not even take particularly active steps to involve the army in the process of “building socialism”. Only some figures from the SPC and the ultra-left WORLD, awaring of the importance of working with the military, carried out some attempts to “infiltration” into the military environment, which caused sharp discontent from the command staff.

However, the officer corps was not politically monolithic: despite the lack of proper work on the part of the left, there was a certain division into “moderate” constitutionalists (which, for example, included the generals included in the government) and obvious reactionaries, opponents of the Allende government.

In part played a great role in position relative to some classes of public officers who were connected by family ties with the urban and rural bourgeoisie. The reactionary part of the generals and officers were in close contact with the right-wing opposition and the American special services.

It is also important that many Chilean officers were trained at US military bases, where they were subjected to certain ideological processing. At the CIA’s instigation, a rumor spread among Chilean officers that the government of people’s unity allegedly intends to “destroy the cadre army, attack the military and seize their homes”.

However, not all military openly expressed their views. Pursuing certain goals, they hid them until the very last moment. One of them was General Augusto Pinochet of the Chilean army.

Augusto Pinochet was born in 1915 in the same city as Salvador Allende in Valparaiso. He was able to enter the military school only on the third attempt due to non-compliance. He served as an officer in various positions, including commandant of the concentration camp, where the Communists were held, repressed in 1948-1949. After 1965, he repeatedly attended various training courses of the U.S. army.

In 1967, the division under the command of Pinochet demonstration shot striking miners copper mine “Salvador”. Several workers, children and one pregnant woman were killed. Pinochet achieved a career rise under the presidency of Allende, who promoted him to divisional General and appointed him commander of the Metropolitan garrison in January 1971. In January 1972, Pinochet became chief of the General staff of the Chilean armed forces.

In March 1972, the CIA station in Santiago reported that General Pinochet was involved in the preparation of a military coup within the group of General Canales, who actively worked in this direction. To ensure an armed performance, his supporters stole pistols, machine guns and hand grenades from the barracks. They also smuggled weapons from neighbouring countries.

On September 27, 1972, a CIA source in Pinochet’s entourage reported that the General “hesitated” about the need to overthrow Allende. Thus, the United States, considering economic impact measures insufficient, returned to the original idea of overthrowing the left Chilean government by armed coup with the help of the regular army.

External and internal reactions relied on Pinochet and the Chilean armed forces. In Pinochet, the United States and the Chilean bourgeoisie saw a “firm hand” that, like Mussolini, Hitler, or any other reactionary dictator, would be able to curb the proletariat’s activity.

“Armored rebellion”

June 29, 1973 Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Super, who commanded a tank regiment in Santiago, ordered the advance of troops to the presidential Palace “La Moneda”. The attempt to seize the presidential Palace, as well as the building of the Ministry of defense was unsuccessful. No army unit supported the mutiny. Troops loyal to the President on the orders of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General Prats, were able to quickly neutralize the rebels. An important role in the suppression of the rebellion was played by the commander of the army, General Pinochet.

It was a coup rehearsal. The real conspirators tried to find out in this way how the government and society would behave in such a situation.

As it turned out after the revolt, dubbed the “tanquetazo” in the army there were a lot of supporters of the President. So before the “main show” in the army took an active cleaning of staff. The essence of the purge was, on the one hand, in the physical elimination of undesirable elements for the reaction, and on the other – in the intimidation of soldiers loyal to the Constitution.

Reactionaries in uniform managed to force General Prats to leave a post of the commander of land forces and who made no secret of his loyalty to the Constitution and left his post with the words “I cannot stop the forces of the conspirators.” In August 1973, General Pinochet was appointed to replace him who, after the suppression of the rebellion, gained the great confidence of Salvador Allende.

Augusto Pinochet and Allende

After “tanquetazo” not only the bourgeoisie, but the government made some conclusions. Allende already in their usual mode staggered backwards, once again reorganized the governmental office, including the commanders of all the armed forces and corps of Carabineros. At the same time, practically without resistance of representatives of “People’s unity”, at the initiative of the Senator from HDP Juan de Dios Carmona, Parliament passed a reactionary “Law on arms control”. Not only did this law make it more difficult for civilians to obtain weapons, it also swept away the right to inviolability of the home, and given into the hands of the armed forces and the carabinieri corps the ability to conduct searches simply on the basis of secret evidence. Thus, the Allende government, which has disarmed the working class ideologically, now, in the face of an open reaction, in the truest sense of the word took away from him the right to firearms.

It is not superfluous to mention that all these measures did not cause enthusiasm among the Chilean people, who clearly saw the danger of the onset of fascism. So directly in run-up to “General” coup, 5 September 1973, the coordination center of the “Industrial Cordons” last tried to reach the government by sending an open letter to President Allende (link – It expressed bitter disappointment that the “people’s unity”, to which the working class had placed all this time a deep trust, continues to fawn over the bourgeoisie, as a result of which the country was on the verge of a fascist coup.

Pointing out that bourgeois wreckers and reactionaries who openly call for rebellion remain largely unpunished, that the program of “People’s unity”, for which the workers voted in 1970, implemented only partially, with an eye to the opinion of the bourgeoisie, the coordination centre has demanded decisive and tough measures against saboteurs and wreckers (medical Association, Association of carriers, guilds of merchants), demanded to stop the return of enterprises, employed by workers, to owners of counter-revolutionaries, demanded the abolition of the “Law on weapons” and public trials against members of the police and the army, already involved in the repression and torture of workers, as well as the cessation of prosecution by the military Prosecutor’s office of SPC activists led by Carlos Altamirano.

But Salvador Allende did not hear this last desperate cry of the proletariat. Stubbornly adhering to the course of eternal compromise, civil peace, pluralism and abstract “freedom”, he led the Chilean people to disaster.

11 September 1973

Despite the suppression of the rebellion on 29 June, the political situation in Chile remained tense. Through various channels, the President and the government received information about the next plot. SPC Secretary General Carlos Altamirano and head UPAM Oscar Garrett, it is still a few months warned Allende of the impending coup and offered the resignation of 10 senior generals. The President refused to do so because it might provoke the conspirators. At the same time, Allende was fully confident that the army would defend the Constitution and would not take part in the conspiracy. It must be said that thanks to the President’s confidential relations with class enemies this meeting became known to the headquarters of the conspirators, then from the Navy, where the Marxist-Leninist sector of the SPC put together a solid military organization, within a few weeks, more than four hundred Junior officers accused by the reactionary command itself of “preparing a military coup” were purged. Thus, the military organization of the SPC was virtually eliminated, and criminal cases were initiated against the party leaders of the socialists.

The government, of course, did not react to these events. In fact, it was already unresponsive, falling into a kind of paralysis. A striking example of this is the situation with the reactionary newspaper “El Mercurio”, which, taking advantage of “pluralism and freedom of speech”, in late August, an editorial suggested Allende resign, commit suicide, or do both at the same time. In response to these outrageous attacks Allende only shrugged his shoulders: “I can’t do anything”.

At the time when the government fell into prostration, the bourgeois counter-revolution came to its main event fully armed: detailed lists of persons to be shot or arrested immediately in the first hours after the coup were drawn up.

The military coup of September 11 began with the arrest of loyal Allende military – General of the Chilean air force Bachelet and defense Minister Orlando Letelier. At 6:47, the air force fired at the radio station “Corporacion”. At 7:10 three opposition radio station gave the first communiqué of the command of the armed forces of Chile, calling on the President to resign and hand control of the country the commanders of the armed forces. The communique was signed by army commander General Pinochet, Navy commander Admiral Merino, air force commander General Lee and carabinieri corps commander General Mendoza.

At this time Allende with his supporters, personal guards and a detachment of carabinieri was in the presidential Palace “La Moneda”. Allende tried to contact General Pinochet, whom he considered a supporter. Without reaching Pinochet, Allende decided that he had already been arrested by the conspirators. Between 9 and 10, Pinochet made contact. On the phone, he asked Allende to leave the Palace, get on a plane and fly out of the country. The President, recognizing the betrayal, said that unlike Pinochet is not a coward and is not going to give up.

There are only 40 people left with the President. Led the defense of the Palace Allende itself with an AK that was given to him by Fidel Castro.  At 9:55, General Palacio’s tanks surrounded “La Moneda” around the perimeter and after a while opened fire on the Palace. The defenders responded by firing. The President also shot from the window. At 10:15 Allende addressed the nation with his last speech, which was broadcast by the Communist party radio station “Magallanes”. It was the only radio station of the “People’s unity” that was still on the air. Allende, using his popular authority, could call on the Chilean people to take to the streets and fight back the armed reaction. But he did not, aware of the casualties that clashes between a well-armed army and an unarmed civilian population could cause. The President ended his speech with the words:

“I am sure my death will not be in vain. I am sure it will at least be a moral lesson and a punishment for treachery and cowardice.”

At 11:53 rebel planes began to fire at the Palace from the air. Four missiles hit “La Moneda”, causing extensive damage. The Palace was also bombarded with tank guns, but the defenders shot down two tanks. The President personally shot down one tank from RPG. Against the defenders of the Palace, troops used tear gas, but it did not cause the expected effect. At 13:30, tanks broke through the main gate to the Palace. A fierce battle ensued at the front stairs. Of the 40 defenders, about half remained alive.

The Shelling of the Palace

On how Allende died, the data vary. According to one version, Allende was fatally wounded by rebel soldiers. According to another version Allende shot himself. The theory of Allende’s suicide was in Pinochet’s favor, as it absolved him of responsibility for the murder of the legitimate President. In any case, this still controversial version does not justify the military conspirators. The suicide theory, even if accepted, does not discredit Salvador Allende. The President led the defense of the Palace, rejected all offers of surrender and fought heroically to the last. The decision to commit suicide could have been made in view of the futility of further resistance to a clearly superior enemy and the unwillingness to come across him alive.

“La Moneda” was not the only hotbed of spontaneous resistance. Despite the brutal fascist terror that began from the first hours of the rebellion and despite the peace-loving appeals of the President, who fought heroically, resistance groups were hastily organized across the country, joined by socialists, Communists, MIR and UPAM members, trade Union activists, and members of the “Industrial cordons”. Within hours of the assault on the presidential Palace one of these groups attacked police buses in the poor quarter of Santiago La Liga, as a result, more than 20 carabinieri were killed. A particularly hot reception awaited the reactionaries in the factories (for example, during the battle, the workers of the capital’s factory “Lucchetti Pasta” even managed to shoot down a military helicopter) and in agricultural enterprises (resistance in the farm “New Havana” military managed to suppress only with the help of aviation).

Armed resistance did not subside in the following days, however, not having a single focal point, not having a clear well-functioning structure and finally, not owning the weapons in sufficient quantity, this natural resistance gradually ran out of steam, although not disappeared altogether: thus, up to the end of the 70s, more than seven hundred soldiers and carabinieri were wounded or killed in various attacks. However, these individual heroic actions by individuals and groups could not undermine the Pinochet regime. Isolation from the masses due to the established fascist order in Chile and a tendency to adventurism sooner or later had to lead to the inevitable defeat of the heroic guerrillas.

However, the situation was very unexpectedly corrected by… the Communist party of Chile. The one which did everything to stifle the revolutionary process, to disarm the proletariat both ideologically and practically. Having lost a huge number of personnel killed and imprisoned, the CPC has actually emigrated: many surviving Chilean Communists settled in Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, tirelessly debating among themselves about the causes of what happened in September 1973. The result of this sad analysis was a sensational speech delivered by the Secretary-General of the CPC Luis Corvalan at the first Plenum of the Central Committee after the coup, held in August 1977 in Moscow.

In this speech Corvalan publicly acknowledged the error of the party, to abandon any offensive operations aimed at the conquest of all political authority, to eliminate the economic and political influence of the bourgeoisie, to organize the armed defense of the progressive government before the fact of direct attacks of reaction. The Communist party was unable to complete the cause of the Chilean revolution, stopping halfway: this was Corvalan’s conclusion, approved by the Plenum.

One of the results of the Moscow meeting was the decision to move the party to a strategy of “popular uprising”, which Сorvalan publicly announced in September 1980. By the time it’s like 3 years was the preparation of a new combat apparat of the CPC, future fighters of which received the necessary theoretical and practical experience in the military academies of the USSR, Cuba, Bulgaria, the GDR, Czechoslovakia, and during the fighting in Nicaragua and El Salvador, where the civil war was raging. Finally, on December 14, 1983, the newly formed “Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front” went into action, organizing a campaign of sabotage on power lines, as a result, the entire Central part of Chile was plunged into darkness.

Then began the active fighting front: only during the period from December 1983 to October 1984 the organization executed 1889 different actions against the Pinochet dictatorship: acts of sabotage, armed attacks, individual attacks, etc.

In parallel, the Communists carried out mass work: since 1984 large anti-government illegal demonstrations (so-called “Days of national protest”) have become regular with the participation of the General population, was the organization of irregular militia units. It got to the point that in some “liberated” neighborhoods of Santiago Communists openly conducted classes to teach civilian groups the handling of weapons.

However, the General uprising, which was to take place in the autumn of 1986, was thwarted by a series of setbacks: first failed attempt to import into the country by sea more than 80 tons of various weapons then ended with the collapse of the attempt on Pinochet on September 7, 1986. The fascist regime significantly increased repression against the Communists and their armed front in parallel, an effective company was promoted on the accusation of the CPC in “inciting civil war” with the money of the USSR and Cuba, the proof of this was the same intercepted by the government cargo of weapons, the total value of which reached 30 million dollars.

As a result, the bourgeois-democratic sectors, interacting with the Communists on the basis of rejection of the openly fascist regime, frightened by military initiatives, turned away from the CPC, taking the side of the government. Organizational mistakes of the party, which allocated the armed apparatus in a separate, formally independent structure, also gave their disastrous results: after severe repression and a resounding failure of the strategy of General uprising in front of the world, the HRC and its armed wing exchanged a series of recriminations, as a result, in the following 1987, the “Patriotic Front” completely withdrew from the party, taking the independent path of petty-bourgeois revolutionary adventurism, which led him to the actual defeat by the end of the 80’s.

And the Communist Party, having been defeated in its strategy of armed seizure of power, soon returned to the “historical” party style, taking a course on the principle of legality and the search for compromises with the bourgeois sectors.


What conclusions can be drawn from all this sad history?

The main conclusion is obvious: there is and cannot be any peaceful parliamentary path to socialism. At a certain stage, given the balance of power within the country and in the international arena, the bourgeoisie may well allow such a moderately left-wing candidate as Salvador Allende to win the bourgeois elections. But the bourgeoisie never gives up without a fight; sooner or later it goes on the offensive against even the most timid attempts to limit its political and economic influence. Allende’s rule was not a revolution: it was only a prologue for a genuine revolution and had to be used by the proletariat to strengthen its positions, to prepare for this final and inevitable battle. This was the insistence of the Socialist party, of which Allende himself had been a long-term member. It was along this path – the path of organizing the instruments of the dictatorship of the proletariat – that the Chilean labour movement spontaneously proceeded.

But Allende believed in the good will of the bourgeoisie, which would not dare to go against the “constitutional will of the people”, he firmly believed in the neutrality and supra-class character of the army, firmly believed in bourgeois humanism, trying to avoid bloodshed and violence. And in this belief he was strengthened and supported not by anyone, but by the Communist party itself, which was to dispel all sorts of “parliamentary illusions” and indicate the true path to socialism through the destruction (albeit gradual and consistent) of the bourgeois machine of the state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Historically, however, the CPC has followed a course of right-wing revisionism, – starting from “Browderism” and ending with Brezhnev’s socialism spill, – the party simply did not fulfill its historical task; it directly hindered the development of the revolutionary process, which was partially recognized at the Plenum of the Central Committee of CPSU in 1977. In fact, standing on the position of conciliation and bourgeois pacifism, establishing almost complete ideological hegemony within the “People’s Unity”, the CPC was heading for inevitable collapse, while defending its treacherous course with references to “care for the people”.

An additional tool that reinforces the “success” of the CPC in the field of disruption of the revolutionary process, was the “People’s unity” itself,  which was a loose Alliance of multi-class forces. Reliance on such a shaky conglomerate, which included not only the left and center-left, but also openly bourgeois forces (the Radical party) justified at the time of the parliamentary struggle for the presidency, it acted only as a brake on the already limited reformist policy of the coalition government, which was torn by internal contradictions. Trying under pressure from the HRC to establish relations with the openly right-wing Christian democratic party, Allende further drove the government into a state of political paralysis.

Finally, the fear of the “catastrophism” of a genuine social revolution, unwillingness to once again disturb the bourgeoisie and the generals, pathological fear of civil war, played a cruel joke with Allende, “People’s Unity”, CPC. Rejecting all decisive actions against the bourgeois class, ostensibly capable of provoking a fratricidal war, ideologically lulling the working class with tales of a “peaceful path to socialism”, battling “extremist” and” ultra-left ” excesses in politics and economics, Allende never managed to prevent the inevitable civil war. Only it – this war, thanks to the efforts of Allende himself and the Communist party of Chile standing behind him, turned into a massacre and a total triumph of fascism. To the most acute moment of the class struggle, Allende and the CPC brought the proletariat unarmed, both literally and figuratively.

Individuals who organized spontaneous resistance on the ground were unable to stop the advance of fascism, whose vanguard was previously supposedly neutral armed forces. Many of those who in the era of the rule of “national Unity” called Allende to prepare resistance, – SPC, far-left from MIR, some sectors of the United Popular Action Movement (UPAM), – were trite disorganized and, thanks to the legality of past years, identified and arrested in the first months of the military dictatorship. In the end, the Chilean history of the reign of Salvador Allende ended as it should have ended naturally in the conditions of those years: the military coup, the heroic death of the President himself, mass repressions and establishment of the fascist regime of General Pinochet for a long decade and a half.