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Socialist Review, October 1993

Felipe Molina


Superior brand of reformism

From Socialist Review, No. 168, October 1993.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Mike Gonzalez is too hard on Salvador Allende in his analysis of what went wrong in Chile (September SR). As a Chilean revolutionary socialist whose family members were involved in Popular Unity, I agree with the essence of the article – the bankruptcy of the parliamentary road to socialism.

Mike Gonzalez makes Allende out to be a forerunner of John Smith – just another conniving, treacherous parliamentarian. But he was much more than that.

The fact that he refused the offer of a helicopter to Argentina from the presidential palace and preferred to die with his gun in hand indicates that his was a different, vastly more principled brand of reformism.

Of course he was not a revolutionary, but to maintain that he attacked the copper miners, condemned their strike, and then invited the military into the cabinet is to present a far too simplistic account of a much more complex situation.

If that is in any way true, it was not Allende himself to blame but the position he found himself in as a result of ruling class pressure. Allende did all he could to serve the interests of the working class. It may not seem much now, but at the time the improvements in health, education and the nationalisation of the land were fantastic achievements, or at least intentions.

On 11 September the main problem was not that the Communist Party instructions never came. On the contrary, thousands of workers came out to defend the government – it was the arms that never came.


Felipe Molina

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