Allende's Chile: An inside View

By Edward Boorstein | Go to book overview

Preface

N othing impresses some people as much as failure, and the temporary failure of the Chilean Revolution has tended to obscure the achievement of the Chilean revolutionaries. Through years -- decades -- of patient, day-to-day struggle, often while suffering brutal repression, the Communist and Socialist parties built up strong mass backing. Against a historical heritage of differences, they forged an essential unity, eventually welding together the Popular Unity coalition of six parties. How difficult it is to achieve such unity, and how vital, can best be gaged by considering the experience of the fractured Left in many other countries. During the Popular Unity (UP) government, the Chilean revolutionaries struggled with flawless courage and often great skill and flexibility against powerful enemies -- the experienced Chilean oligarchy and the rich, cunning U.S. imperialists who stood behind it. To defeat the UP government, the imperialists were forced to make an enormous and painstaking effort, to deploy a wide range of weapons, including their ultimate one -- fascism. Even while going down in defeat, the UP government made an enduring contribution to the process of revolution in Chile, leaving the workers and their allies -- in Spanish, el pueblo, the ordinary people -- with the memory of a government that was theirs, that worked for them, not for the foreign and domestic monopolies and the rich. "Its

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