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Chile and the peaceful road to socialism

Alan Angell


Subject History » Political History
Study of History » Comparative History

Place South America » Chile

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics democracy, equality, reform movements, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00336.x


Extract

Chile was the first country in the world to elect a Marxist government. Salvador Allende became president in 1970, heading a coalition of parties, known as the Popular Unity (UP), committed to the revolutionary transformation of the economic, social, and political structure of the country. Yet it was also committed to do so within the confines of the constitutional and legal order. This unique combination of features brought widespread international attention to the country and sparked off a debate about the correct road to socialism, notably within Latin American but also in European countries with powerful left-wing parties such as France and Italy. Yet the attempted revolution collapsed in 1973 facing hostility from the opposition right, from business sectors, from large sectors of the middle class, from the United States and, finally and decisively, the military. The international debate over the lessons of Chile preoccupied the socialist world for years after 1973, as in Chile a ruthless and repressive dictatorship embarked upon its own revolution – but one combining neoliberal economics with an authoritarian political order. At first sight, Chile seemed an unlikely country for a revolution – whether peaceful or not. More than many European countries, Chile had a long tradition of respect for the constitution and the laws, well developed political parties of all colors, a ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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