Never Forget 9/11….1973
“Vile as the atrocities on 9/11 were, one can easily imagine worse. Suppose that al-Qaeda had been supported by an awesome superpower intent on overthrowing the government of the United States. Suppose that the attack had succeeded: al-Qaeda had bombed the White House, killed the president, and installed a vicious military dictatorship, which killed some fifty thousand to one hundred thousand people, brutally tortured seven hundred thousand, set up a major center of terror and subversion that carried out assassinations throughout the world, and helped establish neo-Nazi “National Security States” elsewhere that tortured and murdered with abandon. Suppose further that the dictatorship brought in economic advisers — call them “the Kandahar boys” — who within a few years drove the economy to one of its worst disasters in U.S. history while their proud mentors collected Nobel Prizes and received other accolades. That would have been vastly more horrendous than 9/11.
And as everyone in Chile knows, it is not necessary to imagine, because it in fact did happen, right here: on “the first 9/11,” September 11, 1973. ”
-Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects
9/11 is often remembered for the harrowing attacks on US Soil that killed 3,000 Americans when Planes hit the Twin Towers and the world Trade Center was toppled.
However, a less known event and tragedy took place on this date 45 years ago in Chile.
This tragedy is known as the Chilean Coup, in which the CIA backed Dictator Augusto Pinochet toppled and murdered the Democratically elected president Salvador Allende.
Salvador Allende had only been in power for 3 years. Allende had worked toward social reforms and justice, nationalizing natural resources, building homes for the poor and focusing on better access to healthcare and education for the poor.
Allende ran for president for the Socialist Party of Chile, under the Popular Unity Coalition. Allende received 36 percent of the popular vote, received the backing of the Christian Democrats in congress to be selected president. But he had to agree to the Christian Democrats demands in a “Statements of Guarantees”
Allende Committed his administration, to the following points:
1. The continuation of the existing political system together with constitutional guarantees of individual freedom.
2. The existing legal system should remain.
3. The armed forces and police should continue to guarantee democracy.
Allende was pledging to push as far as the Chilean Ruling class would allow him to go within the existing institutions.
Many Americans are unaware that there own government backed a mudering dictator who jailed an estimated 80,000 people, tortured 30,000 and murdered around 3,200. Only 75 of Pinochet's former agents are serving prison sentences for human rights violations.
Declassified documents show that the Government of Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger influenced the military to overthrow Allende, and provided resources to deter any leftist movements in the country through the CIA.
As fears of the “Red Scare” boiled the US started Operation Condor which was a brutal campaign to stop leftist movements that were seen as a threat to US hegemony and economic interests throughout most of Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and of Course, Chile. What spooked US the most was Chile being more friendly towards “Communist” Cuba.
Unsurprisingly forces hostile to Socialism and Social change were alarmed by what was happening in Chile. U.S. Ambassador to Chile Edward Korry, in a confidential State Department cable, wrote in September 1970:
“Chile voted calmly to have a Marxist-Leninist state, the first nation in the world to make this choice freely and knowingly…It is a sad fact that Chile has taken the path to communism with only little over a third (36 pct) of the nation approving this choice, but it is an immutable fact. It will have the most profound effect on Latin America and beyond. We have suffered a grievous defeat. The consequences will be domestic and international.”
Henry Kissinger famously said that the US couldn’t allow Chile “to go communist” because of the irresponsibility of its people. Declassified documents showed that the US had first tried to prevent Allende's election by collaborating with Right wing forces.
Over the Next two years the United States worked to build a Fascist movement within Chile Called Partia y Libertad (Fatherland and Freedom). As Allende initiated Keynesian “reflation” policy, expanding jobs, boosting wages, and increasing government services, the economy briefly rallied and unemployment dropped.
By 1971 tension began to boil up within the country, workers began occupying factories in Chile, and Allende's government was going to have to choose sides between the owners of the industries or the working class. Allende's government began to embrace what became known as “Popular power”, militants interpreted it as fight for socialism form below now.
In 1972 the class struggle began to get worse. Right wing judges blocked land reforms that were legal under Allende's administrations passed legislation. Protests against the judge landed 44 agricultural workers in Jail. This prompted mass protest march in Santiago demanding that the agricultural minister, a member of the Communist Party, be released from prison and the judge be forced to recognize the law. The government took no action.
Workers noticing the growing threat of the right, called for the UP to form militias to defend the government agaisnt attacks by the police and the Fascist Partia y Libertad. The Allende government did not take action and said they would keep things as they are.
In June 1973 Partia y Libertad attempted a Coup attempt but was defeated by a mass mobilization of workers. Yet, Allende swore his allegiance to the existing order of things and brougt new military officials into his cabinet, including Augusto Pinochet.
With the governments support, the military began raiding workplaces and union meeting places in a hunt for weapons. The military used these raids to test militants resolve to fight back when attacked. With “their” government ordering attacks against them, worker militants became increasingly demoralized.
On September 11, 1973 the Chilean Military, under Pinochets command announced another coup and that air Force planes were attacking the presidential palace. Within a few hours, the military seized control of the government, and Allende and many of his ministers were dead.
The Chilean democracy had been toppled because US had saw Chile as a threat to its economic dominance. Once Pinochet had taken power he began to undo the process and reforms that Allende government had made. Pinochet government embraced Neoliberal Fascism.
This happened due to the US presence in Chile, creating a massive police state in which there was the coexistence of vast amounts of Free trade, economic liberalization, globalization, and privatization. This included the privatization of many low cost or free services provided by the state became operated by private industry for profit with every incentive to raise the price and maximize profits from the “consumer”. Banks were sold off as well to private wealthy families. The Pinochet government went on a second wave of Privatization beginning in 1985 in which they went on to privatize most of the remaining large public companies, which included 6 of 10 largest corporations in Chile. The third largest steel company was sold off. Estimated value of 700 million in late 1985. Than a large sugar refining company was sold for 34 million, though its value was 81 million. Than a huge electric company was privatized. Most of these privatizations were considered massive scandals, but there was no free press, no public discussion of policies and frequent changes in whatever the goals and procedures the government did announce.
Augusto Pinochet remained in power for 25 years. He stayed in power until 1998. He was never tried for human rights abuses. Today the Chilean government has a “democracy”. Yet, like most “democracies” around the world, the working class gets to choose between a few right wing and centrist electoral parties. The set up of the electoral system in Chile was constitutionally set up to favor right wing parties since elections were finally “allowed.”
The Chilean coup should be a lesson to all those who believe that Socialism or Communism could ever be reformed or that it could ever come from reform. It can not be and it never will be, it never has been done. Socialism cannot work within electoral systems
Democratic Socialism will not work because it attempts to work within bourgeois institutions and is separate from the working class. It relies that the ruling party give into the “democratic” demands of the workers, rather than the workers themselves taking direct control of the government. Socialism will never be reformed, neither will communism. This is due to the fact that the institutions of the Police and Military will be used to take the side of the ruling class and crush workers power and autonomy.
September 11, 1973 should be a lessen to all countries throughout the world that those who do not fall in line with the US global Imperialist and expansionist capitalist empires demands will be toppled. Democracy only exists as long as Americas Candidate is “electable”.
Today we may even see similar things happen with countries such as Syria, Venezuela,Russia, Iran and North Korea. Yet people claim History doesn’t repeat itself? But cannibalistic empires like the US are predictable, they won’t stop until they are the global hegemony.