Today is the 39th anniversary of “the other 9/11” – the brutal coup in Chile led by Augosto Pinochet, backed by US imperialism which overturned the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, giving way to a two-decade long dictatorship. For the occasion we re-direct readers to an article by Tony Saunois, written in 2011, “The other 9/11 – 1973 bloody coup against Popular Unity government, lessons for today”: http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5277.
An examination of these dramatic events is especially important in the light of today’s events. Pinochet’s forces, with the help of the international capitalism succeeded, ultimately through the murder and torture of thousands of young, working class, socialist and communist fighters, to defeat the movement against their system which they feared so much. They then lead Chile down the road of ultra neo-liberal policies, with Chile in many ways a laboratory for the privatisation, anti-worker policies which later became the dominant trend internationally. However, many of those capitalist voices which lauded the Chilean example of economic growth and “social peace” are now being forced to eat their words. In the last weeks alone, we have seen a continuation of the massive student movement with 250,000 taking to the streets across the country, enjoying massive support among the wider working class.
The sham of capitalist “democracy” under which Pinochet’s policies have been essentially continued is being exposed, and evidenced by a collapse in support for the two main political blocks, the ruling Alliance and “opposition” Concertacion. In the midst of these explosive events the contradictions stored up by the tragic defeat of the revolutionary struggles and the neo-liberal offensive which followed are beginning to unravel. To look at and learn the lessons of this crucial episode in international working class history is thus of prime importance.