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Chile's Revolutionary Left Movement under Allende and Pinochet

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

August 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In late 1973, following the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, political activist Bautista Van Schowen was captured by the government. Reportedly, Van Schowen was tortured mercilessly by his captors. In response to his torturers, Van Schowen declared “you don’t know what you’re torturing me for, but I know what I’m dying for.” Van Schowen’s attitude was emblematic of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR), Chile’s small Guevarist organization. The MIR tried to establish a socialist republic in Chile by relying on popular power until 1973. After the Pinochet coup, the MIR struggled valiantly to overthrow the military regime. However, despite the MIR's ultimate commitment to grassroots socialism and dedicated struggle against Pinochet, the MIR was hemmed in by a divided and reformist left before 1973 and an overpowering military regime afterward, and thus was unable to ignite a socialist revolution.

 

The Chile in which the MIR was formed was a country that was very much dependent on US imperialism. Its large copper industry was owned by US corporations. The Chilean bourgeoisie was tied by a thousand strings to US imperialism. Furthermore, there was gross inequality between the dominant classes and the proletariat. Unions and workers' parties had suffered persecution and had been banned several times. The peasantry (especially the Mapuche Indians) suffered under the weight of an age-old latifundia and hunger for land.

 

In 1964, a coalition of leftist parties running Salvador Allende for President was defeated in the elections (with some help from CIA money). The Presidency instead went to Eduardo Frei and his right-wing Christian Democratic Party (CD). The CD had to confront the gross inequalities in land distribution and the underdevelopment of Chilean society. This was at a time when the message of the Cuban Revolution was resonating throughout Latin America as a viable alternative. In response, Frei and the CD proclaimed a revolution in liberty that was going to modernize Chile and take the wind out of the sails of the left. Chile received millions in US aid through the Alliance for Progress (a great deal of this money went to strengthen Chile's military). Frei even went so far as to propose a partial nationalization of the copper mines. It was hoped that this “revolution in liberty” would undermine the socialist left and modernize the country.

 

However, tepid attempts at land reform only whetted the appetites of the peasantry. Labor remained committed to the left. The urban poor continued to put pressure on the system. The reforms failed in their objective and led to splits in the CD. Despite Frei's rhetorical commitment to democracy, his government resorted to repression to put down mounting strikes, land seizures and student activism. Many Christian Democrats grew frustrated by the failure of reform and the repression, and broke away.[1] Politics in Chile was growing increasingly polarized. In 1970, when the Presidential elections came again, the CD was split and a leftist coalition under Salvador Allende came to power, promising a peaceful transition to socialism.

 

I. The birth of the MIR

 

Into the turbulent mix of Chilean politics in the 1960s stepped the MIR. The founders of the MIR were “two figures expelled from their respective parties: Miguel Enriquez Espinoza (Socialist Youth) and Luciano Cruz (Communist Party).”[2] Enriquez had been looking around for a revolutionary alternative to the Socialist Party, while seeking to influence the youth wing from within. Enriquez’s efforts to gain influence in the Socialist Youth in 1964 led to “a blatant attempt to split the party, secretary-general Ampuero promptly expelled him.”[3] Enriquez and his co-thinkers joined up with others inspired by revolutionary Cuba and founded their own movement.

 

Between August 13 to 15, 1965 the foundations of the MIR were laid at a meeting in Santiago. The MIR was a heterogeneous movement from the beginning, being made up of “Leninists, socialists, Trotskyists, and anarchists.”[4] The participants shared a singular admiration for the Cuban revolution and a desire for revolutionary change. The Declaration of Principles of the MIR laid out their worldview and political program.

 

The MIR “is organized to be the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the working class and oppressed layers of Chile who seek national and social emancipation.”[5] The Trotskyist element of the MIR was seen in their advocacy of permanent revolution. The MIR believed that “the struggles for national liberation and agrarian reform have been transformed, through a process of permanent and uninterrupted revolution, into social revolutions, demonstrating that without the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, there is no possibility of national liberation and full agrarian reform-democratic tasks that are combined with socialist measures.”[6] Lastly, the MIR differentiated itself sharply from the leftist parties that would make up Allende’s coalition. The “MIR rejects the theory of the ‘peaceful road’ because it politically disarms the proletariat and is inapplicable.”[7] The rejection of the peaceful road was not due to a thirst for violence, but because “the bourgeoisie itself would not follow this road, but would resist…rather than peacefully give up power.”[8] This position would later prove to be an obstacle to any thought of joining Allende’s Popular Unity.

 

The MIR's heterogeneous make-up led to early fissures. For some members, the MIR's reluctance to immediately launch armed struggle led to the formation of a splinter group. In 1967, a group of Trotskyists led by Luis Vitale left the MIR. The result of these expulsions, in the words of Edy Kaufman, was that the MIR moved towards a “Guevarista model of revolution as expanded upon by Regis Debray.”[9] Despite the splits, the MIR grew rapidly and launched a number of actions.

 

The MIR formed a political/military group that was engaged in military and clandestine activities. By the Allende years, this was expanded to include the distribution of propaganda and political mobilization. The MIR also formed a student wing, a shantytown wing and a Revolutionary Peasant Movement (MCR).[10] Some attempts at guerrilla activities in the manner of the Tupamaros were carried out. However, this would largely stop by the time of Allende's assumption of the Presidency.

 

Although the MIR had a seemingly clear road to power, the election of Allende — an avowed socialist — in alliance with the Communist Party, leading a peaceful transition to socialism presented a dilemma. Without ditching their program, how was the MIR to respond to Allende's election? To probe these questions, it is necessary to look at Allende's Popular Unity Coalition and the contradictions it contained.

 

II. Popular Unity and the peaceful road to socialism

 

Allende was a longstanding socialist who as a doctor had advocated for the workers and poor since the late 1930s. He was seen as a champion of the poor and had run for the Presidency several times. Despite the repression that Allende and the left occasionally suffered, he remained committed to the peaceful road of socialism. Although Allende was a member of the Chilean Socialist Party (SP), he was in many respects on its right-wing and closer to the viewpoint of the Communist Party (CP).

 

The CP had been formed in the early 1920s and was a member of the Communist International. The CP had deep roots in the working class and Chilean society. However, the CP was ideologically and organizational committed to legality and the peaceful road, not armed struggle.[11] When the CP joined Allende's Popular Unity and served in his government, they would remain the most legalistic of the coalition.

 

The SP on the other hand was not so homogenous. The SP had been formed in the early 1930s in opposition to the CP's gradualism. This is actually quite ironic, as historically communist parties were formed in opposition to socialist parties that remained committed to a peaceful road to socialism. The organization was incredibly diverse by the 1960s. It included members who were barely distinguished from moderate social democrats to revolutionary Marxist-Leninists close to the MIR and advocating armed struggle.[12] In the 1960s, with Frei's reforms, the SP was pushing to the left while the CP was supporting Frei's progressive legislation.[13] By 1966, the SP was moving even farther to the left and making revolutionary postures and supporting armed struggle. Allende on the other hand was reaching out to bourgeois parties.[14] Although the left wing of the SP was a minority, it did seek common cause with the MIR at times.[15] Allende himself had family ties to the MIR (his nephew was a MIR leader) and felt a sort of emotional attachment to the group.[16] Despite all this, the growing class struggle led, by late 1969, to the Movimiento de Accion Popular Unitaria (Popular Unitary Action Movement, MAPU, a left wing CD breakaway group), SP, CP, Partido Radical (Radical Party, PR) and Accion Popular Independiente (Independent Popular Action, API) forming a left-wing coalition, Unidad Popular (Popular Unity, UP).[17] Next year, the UP won the Presidential elections (with 36% of the vote), catapulting Allende into office.

 

However, Allende's coalition was a decided minority of the population. Allende only had command of the Presidency and the executive branch. The opposition was entrenched in the legislature and able to hamstring Allende's program. The courts, the army, police were all committed to protecting capitalist exploitation.[18] Allende had to also follow established laws and potential contain the revolutionary movements which had brought him to power. Allende also sought to win over the petty bourgeoisie in competition with the right.[19]

 

Allende's government was not only confronted with an opposition that had control of most of the state apparatus, but was willing to resort to illegal means. Allende's election had united the capitalists as a class. They would do everything conceivably possible to halt any transition to socialism. The capitalists would take their capital out of the country, horde goods, finance armed fascist bands and sabotage the government's policies. Not the least, Allende had to confront a hostile US imperialism that was actively seeking his downfall.

 

Allende's election, despite all these strikes against it, also aroused the hopes of the masses of Chile. It seemed that they could finally take charge of their destiny. Radicalization would pick up in many sectors (students, workers, and peasants). The MIR would often find themselves in the lead as these struggles picked up.

 

III. MIR and the peaceful road

 

The MIR had developed in the shadow of the Cuban revolution which offered a way to power: armed struggle. Although the Cubans were rhetorical in support of armed revolution, matters on the ground in Chile were quite contradictory. On the one hand, MIR General Secretary Miguel Enriquez had gone to Cuba in order to receive military training and was connected with Cuban Intelligence.[20] Yet Cuba was tied to the Soviet bloc and its conservative communist parties. These parties, including the Communist Party of Chile, were annoyed by Cuban backing for radical armed groups in their own countries.[21] The MIR was not tied to the USSR and in fact, denounced the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, an action which Castro defended.[22]

 

Cuba was ideologically close to the MIR, but was reluctant to provide arms. This meant the MIR had to support its own activities. Enriquez was moving the MIR in the direction of limited armed struggle and direct action in the late '60s. This was done via bank robberies to fund its guerrilla camps. While these actions advertised the MIR's existence, the organization was outlawed by the Frei government.[23] The MIR was also building up its military-political groups as preliminary to operations in 1969. These groups were being trained in light arms. And the MIR was supporting forced expropriation by the poor. The MIR was also involved in strikes and factory occupations.[24]

 

As elections drew nearer in 1970, the MIR was in a contradictory position. The MIR did not believe that Allende had much of a chance of being elected. And even if he was elected, the MIR did not believe that a peaceful transition to socialism could be successful. Yet the MIR was also given benign tolerance by Allende and his family, which at times provided safe houses for members on the run.[25] Despite this tolerance, Allende was worried that the MIR's actions could harm his chances for election, especially since he needed the backing of the legalistic CP as part of his coalition. Allende ended up meeting with MIR leader Enriquez to put a stop to back robberies and the MIR agreed not to abstain from the elections and say that their members could vote for the UP. The MIR went as far as to provide a bodyguard to Allende in 1970, when there was a fear that he was going to be assassinated.[26] Contrary to MIR expectations, Allende was elected and his program began to be put into effect. Once elected, Allende also lifted the ban on the MIR.[27]

 

Although the MIR did not isolate itself from the masses and had a policy of quiet support for Allende in 1970, they did not join his coalition. They remained on the outside, tied to the developing popular movements. The MIR believed that Allende's election “has created the possibility of unmasking and breaking up the pseudodemocratic game of the bourgeois.”[28] The MIR believed that the revolutionary struggle must be armed. They also believed that the bourgeois would resort to all means in order to win. In response, the MIR believed that “in order to obtain power, a class struggle had to be developed and revolutionary ideas had to be accepted by the masses. In this sense, the MIR played a radicalizing role...”[29] In order to confront reaction, defend the conquests of popular advance and develop the class struggle, the MIR called for unity of left forces.

 

However, other sections of the left were not quite so willing to heed the MIR's call. For instance, the CP was seeking an alliance with middle class forces and the CD.[30] The CP also wanted to firm up alliances with the non-monopoly bourgeoisie, which the MIR believed would limit popular consciousness.[31] The MIR believed that CD's resort to legal and illegal struggle against the UP had consolidated the capitalists as a class and in response they needed to be unmasked by the left.[32] The CP would maintain such a non-revolutionary stance throughout the Allende years.

 

Things were confused among members of the SP, which had members closer to the viewpoint of the MIR. The SP had a vocal wing which had called for an anti-capitalist strategy.[33] Yet the election of Allende found this party in power and forced to confront the contradiction of being revolutionaries presiding over some of the instruments of the bourgeois state. The SP praised the election and the advance for the consciousness and left. Yet it recognized that the ruling class still held most of the instruments of class domination. Still, the SP believed that when contradictions arose between the masses and the UP government, that the UP should side with the masses. The SP believed that the class contradictions of the UP coalition would be overcome by a developing revolutionary dynamic.[34] The SP thus found itself with a foot in two camps, one in the halls of power and the other in the mass movements. It was a balancing act that would ultimately prove unsuccessful.

 

IV. MIR during the Allende years

 

In power, Allende moved to carry out some of the key components of the UP program. US-owned copper mines were nationalized. Furthermore, “during 1971 most textile, metallurgical, cement, fishing, and domestic electrical enterprises ... became part of the social production complex.”[35] All of this, together with nationalization of monopoly enterprises and seizure of banks was giving the state a commanding role in the economy. Bourgeois and imperialist interests were being threatened by the Allende government. Even the land reform, which had stalled under Frei was beginning to pick up under Allende. There was also a growing development in the class struggle that was spilling beyond the bounds of legality (more below).

 

These actions did not go unopposed by the bourgeois, both inside and outside Chile. Chile was denied credit from abroad. Far right groups were attacking supporters of the government. The military in cahoots with the CIA was moving in the direction of a coup. Nationalized property was being sabotaged. The opposition was doing everything possible in the legislature to slow Allende down.

 

The MIR did not let their earlier cautious support for Allende keep them from playing an active role in the class struggle. For instance, Allende was hoping to carry out a steady and gradual land reform in the countryside. The MIR group in the countryside pushed for seizures, which led to clashes. Allende was calling for order, but told MIR members behind the scenes to continue their seizures to push reform ahead.[36] The MIR was putting into effect their strategy of mass action and raising consciousness. Allende's coalition partners (minus the SP left, which supported them), not to mention the landowners, opposed the MIR's actions.

 

Although Allende was nationalizing large swaths of capitalist industry, the MIR did not believe that enlarging the state sector was the same as socialism (in contrast to the CP).[37] The MIR did not believe that state capitalism was adequate, but needed to be transformed by a “revolutionary political program aiming at the destruction of the bourgeois state itself.”[38] The MIR wanted to bring the question of workers power to the fore.

 

For example, in April 1971, workers at the Yarur textile plant seized control. They asked to be incorporated into the state sector of the economy. This was the first time that the workers, not the state, had taken over a factory. It was an example that would soon be imitated by others across Chile.[39] The seizure at Yarur put Allende in a difficult position; he could either return the factory to its owners or accept the workers demands. Members of the SP and MIR were pushing for more.[40] In early 1971, the MIR strategy among the workers was “organizing its Revolutionary Workers Front (FTR) in the mines and factories of Chile, pressing for worker seizures of the means of production as the best way to ensure their rapid socialization.”[41] Although the MIR greeted the Yarur movement with enthusiasm, they admitted that they could not compete with the UP parties there; their support in union elections (along with left allies) was about 25%.[42] The consciousness of Yarur workers was also limited in the extent that they believed that the armed forces would stay neutral in the developing class struggle.[43]

 

By September 1972, the government was on the defensive. The bourgeois was organizing its forces in the media and in the streets. The economy was facing a downturn with growing inflation and a shortage of goods. The opposition and CIA believed that the time was quickly approaching to bring Allende down. The truck owners were mobilized and their unions began a major stoppage in October. Soon employers across Chile were joining the offensive, prompting a major lockout.

 

Yet the bourgeoisie's actions brought forth a great response from the workers and the MIR found themselves in the thick of it. Soon after the strike began, “most of the country's industries were in the hands of the workers: faced with the employer lockout, they showed in practice that the production process did not need bosses.”[44] The employer strike had created a single enemy in the minds of the workers, which in response brought about greater unity among the workers.

 

Since the lockout created supply problems, the workers formed cordones indutriales ("industrial belts" coordinating factory workers across different industries and unions in distinct geographical areas). These cordones indutriales controlled distribution and transportation. To the MIR, the cordones were embryonic soviets, organs of popular power developing in the midst of the growing class struggle. Yet the less radical UP parties and workers saw the cordones as existing in order to protect state-run enterprises. The CP and most of UP saw cordones merely as instruments of local power, they did not want them to supplant the state.[45]

 

By the end of October, the strike had failed and was called off. The strike had not only led to a big defeat for the opposition, but it had clearly shown that the class struggle was reaching a critical level. Popular power had developed that could conceivably sweep away the bourgeois state and push for a socialist advance. Yet the end of the strike meant “the government turned the helm sharply to the right and the cordones, for lack of impetus from the Popular Unity parties, languished without concrete tasks despite the efforts of the MIR, which did not succeed in broadening its base in the industrial working class.”[46] Other forms of popular power in the shantytowns and in the countryside which were championed by the MIR were not promoted by the UP. The CP and other UP parties (with some exceptions) remained committed to a legal road and acted as a brake on the revolutionary process. In contrast to the hopes of the SP left, the UP in the state was siding against the masses and seeking a compromise with the CD.

 

The MIR was also worried about the growing threat of the military in a potential coup. The MIR knew from their Marxist training (and the actual behavior of the Chilean military) that the armed forces were a pillar supporting the ruling classes. They would not long tolerate chaos in Chile, but would step in to restore order. They rejected any notion that the army was above politics (unlike the CP and Allende) and knew that a decisive clash would come with them.[47] From the moment of Allende's election, the MIR said that they were developing a military apparatus to defend the electoral victory of the left. In that regard, they were developing significant capability and training their members along with building up arms caches. Yet the MIR wasn't so stupid as to provoke a confrontation, they had everything to lose from premature confrontation with the army.[48]

 

As the situation in Chile became more polarized in July-August 1972, it pushed the CD further to the right. The CP was continuing to condemn the MIR and now members of SP were being expelled for belonging to the MIR. The police were also launching raids against MIR members resulting in the death of a militant. The military also had Osvaldo Romo, an agent provocateur inside the MIR.[49] In October 1972, the UP passed a law targeting the MIR in order to rein in armed groups.[50]

 

The MIR's intelligence had also alerted them to coup plans in the army and they began actively organizing to stop them. The MIR let it be known to the UP in July 1973 that they were willing to defend Allende against a coup attempt. Yet they sought popular mobilization in order to thwart a coup, even going so far as to contemplate their own preemptive strike despite not having enough strength to carry it out. Around this time, the MAPU and SP left were converging with the MIR.[51] Despite this, the wider left was not converging around the MIR, but remained committed to Allende and the legal road. Castro was not arming the MIR either; he was on the side of Allende.

 

Yet the MIR also had hopes of splitting the military. They met with sailors in the summer of 1973, which were planning to seize warships in case of a coup. Yet the military uncovered the cell on August 10 and had the officers arrested and tortured.[52] It was the hope of the MIR that friendly officers and soldiers would act against a coup and that MIR members in the army could win over the soldiers. Further, the MIR wanted these friendly officers to give them access to military arsenals so they could distribute weapons to the loyalist troops and launch a preemptive strike.[53] Miguel Enriquez was also saying that “non-commissioned officers, rank-and-file soldiers and policemen should disobey orders given by officers involved a coup, and in that case all forms of struggle will be legitimate.”[54] At the same time, MIR members were already being smuggled out of Chile.

 

Yet military intelligence was moving into high gear. The MIR was seen as an active threat. Not only were MIR-friendly soldiers arrested and tortured, but from July-September 1973, arm caches were raided.[55] On September 11, 1973 the MIR's worst prophecies came true. The military rose under Pinochet and took power. Despite sporadic resistance, the country was soon under firm lock down with jackboots at the throats of the population. The MIR now had to steel themselves for the long struggle ahead.

 

V. The resistance

 

In the end, there was no socialist revolution in Chile. Several factors were responsible. One: the left was disunited during the Allende years. Two: this leftist disunity was further hampered by those on the left more concerned with legality than revolutionary struggle. Three: this helped to contribute to the weakness of the developing organs of popular power in Chile. Four: on the other hand, there was the greater determination and unity of the bourgeoisie to protect their class interests. The MIR tried to press the revolution forward, but they ultimately failed.

 

Now Chile was ruled by the gun. Torture, concentration camps and murder became the order of the day. Thousands of supporters of the Allende government (and MIR supporters) disappeared in the opening days of military rule. Chile's experiment in a peaceful transition to socialism was replaced by a brutal imposition of capitalism. Pinochet was determined that the left be wiped out and declared a war on Marxism. One of his primary targets was the MIR, who he declared “must be tortured...without torture they don't sing.”[56]

 

Now that Pinochet was in power, all illusions about reformism could be laid to rest. The guerrilla struggle which had lain dormant during the Allende years could be taken up. Yet the MIR was not alone in its insistence on armed struggle. Shortly after the Allende coup, the MIR came together with like-minded revolutionaries to coordinate their struggle. The Revolutionary Coordinating Junta (JCR) was formed comprising the MIR, Argentina's People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), the Bolivian National Liberation Army and the Tupamaros from Uruguay. All of these organizations were based in countries that either were or would soon experience brutal military rule. The JCR was formed to coordinate international revolution in the face of an international enemy (imperialism). The JCR would provide logistical, financial and military support for revolutionaries. The JCR was pushing for the MIR to launch an offensive against Pinochet fairly soon.[57]

 

Yet the military regimes of South America quickly clamped down hard on the JCR and its affiliates. Military and intelligence coordination among the Southern Cone states had begun fairly soon after Pinochet's coup. In November 1975, this cooperation was formalized with the development of Operation Condor by Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil (along with the approval and support of the US). All these regimes faced left opposition of some kind or another and were determined to wipe it out. Through the Condor system, these states would share intelligence on subversives, targeting (torturing and killing) them in the Southern Cone and across the world. Whatever else can be said about it, the Condor states operated a ruthlessly efficient operation that almost completely wiped out their opponents.[58]

 

Chilean intelligence moved rapidly against the MIR. This was in contrast to the caution of the MIR in launching a planned offensive against Pinochet. The torture and breaking of MIR operatives in October 1974, led to the location of MIR leader Miguel Enriquez, who was still in Chile. Enriquez was killed in a shoot-out, eliminating one of the most visible faces and leaders of the MIR.[59]

 

However, the MIR had another set of leaders who were still planning to return to Chile and launch an armed struggle. Andres Pascal and others were meeting in October 1975 with other MIR leaders in Malloco, Chile, to coordinate the struggle. Again, Chilean intelligence discovered their location and there was a shootout. Pascal and others managed to escape the country, but their leadership was neutralized for a second time. Chilean intelligence also captured a large swath of documents, military hardware and was able to compromise the MIR's underground.[60] The continuing repression was clearly taking a toll on the MIR.

 

By late 1975, “about 10 to 15 percent of [the MIR's] total hardcore militancy is left intact in Chile ... the MIR has been effectively eliminated within Chile.”[61] Yet the organization was continuing to fight on. Now Edgardo Enriquez (brother of Miguel), a MIR leader based in Buenos Aires took over leadership of the group. He already had bold plans to launch an armed struggle in Chile.[62] MIR members in Argentina were already receiving military training with the ERP.[63] Alas, it was not to be. In March 1976, the Argentine military took over from a faltering civilian regime. Leftists (including many MIRistas) were rounded up by the Condor regime and disappeared. Edgardo Enriquez was captured by Argentine security and transported to Chile on April 10, 1976.[64] For a third time, the top leadership of the MIR was put out of action.

 

Yet the MIR remained unconquered. In 1980, the MIR “drew up plans for a popular guerrilla war in southern Chile... The area of Neltume was chosen due to the presence of an indigenous Mapuche population and a large and explosive rural proletariat among the sawmill workers of Neltume... On 12 July 1980, the MIR sent the first unit of its newly-formed guerrilla group 'Destacamento Toqui Lautaro' to the mountainous area around Neltume. Most of the guerrillas had been detained in 1973 .. .and had to enter illegally into Chile from their exile countries aboard. The foco was discovered by the authorities in July 1981 when it had been active for less than one year. The Chilean Army succeeded in isolating the group by August 1981 and in October of the same year its last members were captured. Three guerrillas are claimed to have been captured, tortured and executed. Another six died in combat and during ambushes.”[65]

 

Following this attempt, the MIR continued its armed struggle against Pinochet, engaging in shootouts with the police and soldiers and engaging in bank robbery. When Pinochet stepped down in 1989, the MIR ceased its armed struggle. MIR remains a political party to this day, participating in elections and various popular struggles.

 

VI. Conclusion

 

In the end, the MIR was a bold attempt to struggle for socialism in Chile. The MIR early on committed itself to revolutionary popular power in Chile. The MIR remained a vibrant part of the mass movements that developed in Chile during the Allende years. They recognized more clearly than most left-wing supporters of Allende that the peaceful road to socialism was doomed to failure. However, they were unable to unify the left and face a determined bourgeois/military opposition. The MIR struggled valiantly against the military regime of Pinochet, proving to be a phoenix. Ultimately, they were unable to topple Pinochet on their own. For all their failures, the MIR can still teach us a great deal about unyielding and heroic commitment to socialism in the face of the worst adversity.

 

Notes

 

[1] James D. Cockcroft, Andre Gunder Frank, and Dale Johnson, Dependence and Underdevelopment: Latin America's Political Economy (New York: Anchor Books, 1972), 131-2.

 

[2] Jonathan Haslam, The Nixon Administration and the Death of Allende's Chile: A Case of Assisted Suicide.( New York: Verso Books, 2005), 22.

 

[3] Ibid. 23. Ironically a year later, the SP adopted a set of Trotskyist theses that questioned a strict reliance upon the electoral process. Ibid.

 

[4] Ibid. 23.

 

[5] Michael Lowy, ed., Marxism in Latin America from 1909 to the Present (Amherst: Humanity Books, 1992), 204.

 

[6] Ibid. 203.

 

[7] Ibid. 206.

 

[8] Ibid. 206.

 

[9] Edy Kaufman, Crisis in Allende's Chile: New Perspectives (New York, Praeger, 1988), 160.

 

[10] Ibid.

 

[11] Haslam, 2005, 7.

 

[12] Dale Johnson, ed., The Chilean Road to Socialism (Garden City: Anchor, 1973), 171.

 

[13] Haslam 2005, 14-5.

 

[14] Ibid. 15-7.

 

[15] Ibid. 22.

 

[16] Ibid. 30, 32, 34.

 

[17] Ibid. 35.

 

[18] See Johnson 1973, 90.

 

[19] Ibid. 90-1.

 

[20] Haslam 2005, 25-6.

 

[21] Ibid. 27.

 

[22] Ibid. 27

 

[23] Ibid. 28-30.

 

[24] Ibid. 35.

 

[25] Ibid. 32 and 34.

 

[26] Ibid. 50-2, 63-4.

 

[27] Ibid. 73-6.

 

[28] Johnson 1973, 198.

 

[29] Ibid. 197.

 

[30] See Gabriel Smirnov, The Revolution Disarmed: Chile 1970-1973 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979), 26-7 and Johnson 1973, 373.

 

[31] Johnson 1973, 530.

 

[32] Ibid. 361-70.

 

[33] Smirnov 1979, 24-5.

 

[34] Johnson 1973, 172-77.

 

[35] Smirnov 1979, 40.

 

[36] Haslam, 2005, 87-9. See also Johnson 1973, 248-51.

 

[37] Johnson 1973, 527.

 

[38] Ibid. 531.

 

[39] Simon Collier and William F. Sater, A History of Chile 1808-1994 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 343.

 

[40] Ibid. 344.

 

[41] Peter Winn, Weavers of Revolution: Yarur Workers and Chile's Road to Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 145.

 

[42] Ibid. 223 and 242.

 

[43] Ibid. 243.

 

[44] Smirnov, 1979, 72.

 

[45] Haslam, 2005, 148.

 

[46] Smirnov, 1979, 86.

 

[47] Johnson, 1973, 532-6.

 

[48] Haslam, 2005, 70-1 and 76.

 

[49] Ibid. 133-5.

 

[50] Ibid. 144.

 

[51] Ibid. 184 and 187-8.

 

[52] Ibid. 200-2.

 

[53] John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents (New York: New Press, 2005), 43-44.

 

[54] Ibid. 43.

 

[55] Haslam, 2005, 176.

 

[56] Collier and Sater 1997, 361.

 

[57] For JCR founding, see Dinges 2005, 50-5 and Lowy 1992, 208-10.

 

[58] For the Three Phases of the Condor System see Dinges 2005, 10-7 and 116-24.

 

[59] Ibid. 84 and 100.

 

[60] Ibid. 112-5.

 

[61] Ibid. 119.

 

[62] Ibid. 87 and 115.

 

[63] Ibid. 83.

 

[64] Ibid. 136-44.

 

[65] “Neltume,” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neltume

 

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