“The people must prepare to win:” Miguel Enríquez at the Caupolicán Theater

Nov 27, 2023

Miguel Enríquez speaks at the Caupolicán Theater. Photo: Manuel Cabieses Donoso. Source: Londres 38 Archive.

Translators’ introduction

Miguel Enríquez, the General Secretary of the Chilean Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) between 1967 and 1974, gave this speech on July 17, 1973, in the Caupolicán Theater in Santiago, Chile. Almost two months later, with the support of the CIA, the military, centrist and right wing politicians, and capitalists led a coup d’état to overthrow Salvador Allende. They launched 17 years of a bloody dictatorship in Chile.

Of the many challenges inherited from of the dictatorship in Chilean society, one of the most daunting for the left has been the abandonment of socialist strategy, understood as building a political force with class independence to take power by overthrowing the existing state and building a new one. This political vision and the strategies it entails are mostly absent from the political system and public opinion in Chile today, even though, during the mid-20th century, it had one of the strongest socialist and workers’ movement of Latin America. The MIR was the expression of one of the most advanced forms of a revolutionary political party and socialist strategy in Chilean history. They were able to build a party rooted within the people, through organizing embryonic organs of people’s power (i.e. organizing in the everyday lives of people – where they lived, worked, studied, or prayed), which mushroomed during the government of Salvador Allende, particularly between October 1972 and September 1973.

The revolutionary organization of society requires people’s organs to carry out social responsibilities, an emphasis that was at the center of the MIR’s strategy between 1967 and 1973. In this speech, Enriquez presents a general analysis of the conjuncture and class struggle in Chile at the time. Despite organizing and struggling from a different time and space, the spirit of Enriquez’s speech resonates with the challenges of revolutionaries across the world, particularly in the U.S.

The following text was originally published in El Rebelde, the MIR’s official newspaper, in July 1973 (issue 91), and is based on a translation from the original Spanish stored in the El Centro de Documentación de los Movimientos Armados archive. At the end, the translators provide explanatory footnotes with further references.

“The people must prepare to win”

Fellow workers, leaders of mass organizations, leaders of other political organizations, comrades from the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR), workers of all Chile:

In recent weeks, the country has been shaken by serious and acute conflicts. Class struggle has intensified, exposing the contradictions of society. In a rapid succession of events and clashes, workers have finally taken center stage in the political struggle. The working class and the people, entrenched in estates and factories, faced their class enemies who threatened and harassed them.

We gather here at the Caupolicán Theater to learn from the experiences of these days, analyze the events, and set the next goals.

But this is not just a mere act of analysis. It is an act of preparation for the upcoming confrontations. This is an act of combat, a call to the working class and the people to reaffirm their combative stance and to resume the fight against the bourgeois classes, against Frei, against Jarpa, against the enemies of our people, with greater strength than ever before [1]. Here, we will outline our strategy and tactics for this juncture and the upcoming battles. The bourgeoisie will cry foul. Let them scream. There are class interests, power, and wealth that they want to preserve, while we urge the workers to take them back.

But there are also others on the left who have questioned the right of the MIR to propose a tactic to the masses [2]. What we will outline is the tactic that the MIR proposes to the working class, the people, and the entire left. This is the tactic that a broad sector of workers has been propelling and that the MIR will propel, whether the bourgeoisie and the vacillating revolutionaries [3] like it or not.

The failure of the Freismo led to the recent coup attempt, where nearly a dozen tanks, led by reactionary officers, under the banners of the National Party and the ultra-reactionary Christian Democrats, cowardly killed civilians on Friday 29th. So, enough of talking about Commander Souper, about honor courts, when we are talking about criminals and delinquents who, instead of pocketknives, had tanks at their disposal [4].

The issue here is the armed group of the National Party that stormed La Moneda using tanks bought with the labor of workers and peasants. What was tarnished here was not institutionalism or the honor of a few officers, but the honor of the people and the lives of more than two dozen soldiers and workers. Anyone who shoots at the people will be historically marked as a murderer of the people, whether or not they wear a uniform.

Crushing the coup attempt by the Armed Forces, some honest officers, non-commissioned officers, and policemen, and due to the immediate siege laid by workers around Santiago, the working class, aware that the problem was not resolved, continued and deepened its counteroffensive [5]. Hundreds of factories and states were occupied, neighborhoods were controlled, students were involved, and Communal Commands were multiplied and strengthened. The organization for the defense of workers was given impetus, and People’s Power developed and strengthened [6]. The working class and the people understood that this was a moment to rapidly increase their strength, take more positions, organize their power in People’s Power, the only institution capable of multiplying their energies and strengthening the revolutionary class alliance.

Therefore, despite the reactionary pressure, now is not the time to question or limit the development of People’s Power, as some leftists are doing. Let the reactionary politicians scream. They are terrified of the development of People’s Power.

Nevertheless, throughout the country, there is a single cry echoing in factories, estates, neighborhoods, and schools, in the people’s quarters: the call to create, strengthen, and multiply People’s Power. The power of communal commands, the power of workers and peasants, the power of revolution [7].

The bourgeoisie, Frei, Aylwin, after the failed coup attempt, emerged from their hiding places, broke their complicit silence only to fight the powerful organizations of the workers, which had organized the fight against the coup and the defense of their freedoms.

The cynicism and shamelessness of the reactionaries have no limits. After an armed group from the National Party bombed La Moneda and killed workers, the Christian Democrats and the National Party allow themselves to accuse workers of organizing armed groups and demand their dissolution, repression, and suppression, threatening to declare the government unconstitutional and overthrow it if it does not comply with the “honorable” task of repressing popular organizations. Let the reactionaries not be mistaken: the working class and the people will not accept these blackmails. They will not take a step back and will continue to multiply and strengthen their power organizations, their organs of combat, no matter what Frei and his followers say or demand.

And so, we arrive at the current situation.

We are living in a moment where social and political confrontation has reached an extreme degree. Two enormous social blocs have formed.

On one side, the working class and the people, extensively activated and mobilized, have made a significant leap in organization and consciousness, enhancing their defense capacity, taking the initiative and seizing new positions in factories and states, creating a powerful barrier against coups and blackmail, alongside non-commissioned officers, soldiers, policemen, and anti-coup officers.

On the other side, the bourgeoisie, exposed, without flags, politically disarmed, without a popular base, entrenched in bourgeois institutionalism, and from there, they started to pressure and exert their influence on the reactionary high command to make the Armed Forces act openly in defense of their interests.

The reactionaries initiated a deliberation process in their quarters, inciting coup attempts, the most immediate manifestations of which were thwarted by non-commissioned officers and anti-coup officers.

It was the time to advance in the counteroffensive, to extend the occupation of positions, and to strike at the ruling classes. The working class and the people understood this and put it into practice. Government vacillations did not accompany this worker’s offensive immediately. This allowed the bourgeoisie to readjust their tactics: they made demands and pressured the government to take measures or tolerate them, with the illusion of possible negotiation, in turn, to enable the bourgeoisie to strengthen itself and dismantle the workers.

They combined a coup strategy with a tactic of demands and blackmail. Entrenched in bourgeois institutionalism, from their roles in the judiciary and the Comptroller’s Office, from the Parliament, they threatened to constitutionally accuse the government and sow anarchy in the Armed Forces, if the government did not give in to their demands. Frei, who recently pontificated about the professional and apolitical nature that the Armed Forces should maintain, personally spent last week inciting deliberation, pressuring the government, and urging high-ranking reactionary officers to challenge the government and the coup attempt.

Frei aspires to regain control of the government concretely. For that, he needs to first dismantle and divide any possible resistance to his blackmail or his coups. He attempts to force this government to do the dirty work of repressing sections of the people through his blackmail. They work with the vacillating sectors of the left, sowing illusions of possible agreements. They want to tempt these sectors to play their game, to reach agreements that paralyze and dismantle the people’s and the left’s struggle, so they can then, let the iron hand of reactionary coup fall on them.

Let Mr. Frei and all the reactionaries understand that they may deceive the vacillating ones and the most recalcitrant reformists. However, the working class that met them in El Salvador and Pampa Irigoyen, the people who saw them give the green light to the murder of General Schneider and the tanks of Friday 29th; the people and the revolutionaries: Frei and his followers will never deceive them [8].

They do all this while defending democracy and legality, the same ones that were bombed by the tanks of the National Party. They do not defend the freedom of the workers, but democracy and bourgeois order. They defend that democracy under which workers have been massacred, murdered, and tortured. They defend the democracy that kills millions worldwide through hunger and misery. They defend a democracy that is not democracy but bourgeois and corporate dictatorship. That is not the democracy of the workers. Proletarian democracy, direct democracy that does not need Parliament, Justice, or the Comptroller’s Office like the current ones that claim to represent the people.

The workers are building their own class institutions in the communes. The Communal Commands are organs of People’s Power that strengthen day by day, and they will continue to do so, whether the vacillating ones accept it or not, and whatever the reactionaries claim.

The bourgeois classes and their political lackeys demand repression against workers and revolutionaries through the Law of Control of Armed Groups. This law was proposed and approved by the reactionary majority in Congress. Therefore, we label it as the new cursed law, and we publicly oppose it [9]. The government could have vetoed it, but it did not; it bears the responsibility for the negligence and the consequences of this repressive law [10].

Armed groups of the National Party, with the approval of Frei’s followers, were the ones bombing La Moneda just fifteen days ago; they killed Moisés Huentelaf in Cautín and the worker Ahumada in Santiago from the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party. They are the ones who have set off hundreds of bombs in the last two years, who killed a general in 1970, who shot our comrade Nilton Da Silva in Santiago [11].

How hypocritical and cynical these politicians are, denouncing and demanding repression against the people to hide their own crimes.

What is happening in this country and in this democracy is inconceivable. While Pablo Rodríguez himself, the coward, publicly acknowledges that other military units were involved in the coup attempt on Friday 29th, and the Army itself accepts today that the right-wing stole six heavy machine guns with six thousand rounds from the Maturana Regiment, there are shameless people demanding that the Armed Forces repress alleged armed groups among workers and the left.

Before demanding anything, Mr. Frei must explain to the country what he knew about the coup attempt on Friday 29th. Before blackmailing anyone, Mr. Frei must inform the entire country what he has incited some high officers with whom he has contacted in recent days to do.

The reactionaries demand the enactment of the Hamilton Fuentealba Constitutional Reform, that is, the return of companies. The working class and the people have already enacted their own law in practice. The workers have already decided who has the authority, which belongs to them, to incorporate companies into the Social area [12]. The working class and the people have already decided which companies will remain in the Social area and which will be subject to workers’ control. The working class in its struggle occupied the factories, and it will not be coup-plotting politicians wrapped in the flags of democracy and foreign dollars who come to impose their conditions on the workers.

The reactionaries will say that this is transgressing laws, the Constitution, and the Law. Indeed, it is. Constitutions express class interests and power relations. Here in Chile, the working class is concretely enacting its own laws, and the constitution will have to change in favor of the people. People have the right to make their own laws. The working class and the people in Chile are rapidly building their own laws and laying the foundations for a new Constitution, a new legality, a revolutionary legality that is built in combat and struggle.

The reactionaries demand the return of the occupied factories. They want to disarticulate the working class, divide the people. The working class in the factories, in the Commands and Industrial Belts, demand and will enforce the transfer of all major companies to the Social area, Workers’ Control in small and medium industries, and Workers’ Management in companies in the Social area.

The working class has notified the Christian Democracy and the National Party, the Jarpa and Bulnes, the Frei and Aylwin, that it does not accept the enactment of the Hamilton Fuentealba Constitutional Reform. It is the working class itself that will decide which company goes into the Social area and which one does not.

Some waver in the face of the reactionary challenge, arguing that it is necessary to reach agreements with sectors of the opposite camp and gain time, otherwise, the confrontation will erupt immediately. This was not true a few weeks ago, and it is not true today either.

The balance of forces for a coup attempt does not favor the ruling class. A significant part of the commanders is anti-coup, and the anti-coup officer corps and non-commissioned officers have proven capable of quelling seditious attempts. The working class and the people are stronger today than they have ever been before, organized and ready to fight for their interests and wins. Other layers of the people are joining the struggle with greater force and determination every day, forcing the entire left to regroup and take common action at the grassroots level.

Now, if the ongoing mass offensive could also compel the government to action, this force can multiply and gain the time we need in the only way possible: by cornering the enemy, and paralyzing it. Those who seek an intermediate solution of conciliation or consensus in the face of the reactionary challenge will fail in their objective and disband and divide the workers and the left. Therefore, dialogue with the Christian Democratic Party is futile. It is a bourgeois party where Frei’s reactionary tactics prevail. If there are anti-coup currents within it, they will not be won over by the workers through concessions; these concessions will only strengthen Frei’s followers.

Revolutionaries must try to win over Christian Democratic workers, but by denouncing the reactionary nature of their party, promoting the revolutionary program of the people, and through mass action. It is not possible to dialogue with those who blackmail and threaten to repress workers. The task is not to gain time at the cost of weakening concessions. The task is to call on the working class to close its own ranks, resist challenges, conquer new positions, and workers will then be able to challenge the bosses.

Therefore, the working class does not want a government or a Cabinet of dialogue; it demands that the Cabinet and the government be instruments of struggle and combat.

This is not the moment to question takeovers or limit the development of people’s power. This is a fundamental historical moment in which the major tasks are to thwart the coup, confront the challenge, neutralize the vacillating ones, push and deepen a vigorous and determined revolutionary and popular counteroffensive. There is no other alternative for revolutionaries. There might be one for the most recalcitrant reformists, but history will judge them according to their conduct.

The situation offers only two paths: the reformist capitulation or the revolutionary counteroffensive, and if the latter triggers a coup attempt, there will be more than enough forces to crush it [13].

Any form of capitulation will ultimately lead, sooner rather than later, to the crushing of workers through a reactionary and repressive dictatorship.

Two tactics are available to the working class and the people. One maintains that it is not possible to deepen the popular offensive, as it would immediately ignite the confrontation. It argues for the necessity to gain time, staying within bourgeois institutionalism, criticizing it but not providing an alternative and opening dialogue with sectors of the opposite camp, which can only be built by returning companies and making concessions. This tactic is inevitably doomed to fail because by seeking allies in the opposite camp, it loses them in its own camp.

The other tactic is the revolutionary tactic. It is the tactic that the working class and the people have put into practice in recent weeks. The revolutionary tactic consists of strengthening and expanding the takeover in factories, farms, and distributors. Not returning the major occupied companies, incorporating them into the social sphere under Workers’ Management, imposing Workers’ Control on small and medium industries. Developing the strength of workers outside bourgeois institutionalism, establishing People’s Power in Communal Commands, Defense Committees, multiplying and extending the popular offensive, incorporating residents, peasants, and students into it, mobilizing throughout the country.

Developing the alliance of workers with honest soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers. Rescuing the working-class and popular base of the Christian Democracy. Strengthening the revolutionary alliance of the working class and the people. Promoting the regrouping of revolutionaries and the common action of the left at the grassroots level.

The immediate task of this revolutionary tactic is to deepen and expand the ongoing popular and revolutionary counteroffensive, and for this, we propose the organization of a 24-hour national strike. We propose the organization of this strike to all popular organizations in this country: to Workers’ United Center of Chile [Central Única de Trabajadores], Communal Commands, Peasant Councils, Peasant and Student Federations, and all workers.

We propose that this strike notify the coup plotters that the working class and the people will crush any coup attempt. We propose this strike to notify the reactionaries that the working class and the people will resist and confront any form of challenge and blackmail. A strike that notifies the politicians and reactionaries that the working class does not accept the enactment of the Hamilton Fuentealba Constitutional Reform because the working class has already enacted its law and is determined not to return any major company.

A national strike that rejects the legalistic tricks of Frei, Pareto, Aylwin, Jarpa, and Bulnes, who seek to place the people and the government in illegality. A national strike of a different nature, a strike that organizes, strengthens, and multiplies Communal Commands throughout the country, incorporating all sectors of the people. A national strike that demands immediate measures against all coup-plotting officers and the removal of officers proven to be involved in sedition and blackmail.  A national strike that asserts the legitimate right of the working class and the people to organize their own surveillance, protection, defense, and struggle organs. A national strike that demands the resolution of the problems of income for workers and the Armed Forces, at the expense of capitalist profit.

The MIR does not intend to claim ownership of this proposal; we have done nothing more than to collect the proposal made by the Communal Commands, vanguard sectors of the working class and the people. We call on the rest of the left and all popular organizations to promote a national strike as the best tactical way to deepen the ongoing counteroffensive.

Strengthen and develop People’s Power and fight for the democratization of the Armed Forces. The working class and the people must fight to solve the income and supply problems of Armed Forces members, end restrictions on their citizens’ rights, and allow them to join popular organizations.

Workers today face a reactionary program, a program of exploitation and misery. A general program from two years ago is not enough. The only program that has proven effective is the one extensive sectors of workers are now raising, the Revolutionary Program of the People: a program that multiplies the strength and power of workers.

The current crisis will not be resolved solely with an economic emergency program or the battle for production. The country is experiencing a political crisis, and without resolving it, it will not be possible to address economic problems. Only by confronting the positions of political power controlled by the ruling classes in Parliament, the Comptroller’s Office, and the Judiciary [14].

Therefore, it is more necessary than ever to promote the struggle against the bourgeois order and fight to create People’s Tribunals, the People’s Assembly, and People’s Power.

Reactionaries, and especially Frei’s followers, have been demanding for a few days now the repression of our organization: the MIR. We are not intimidated or surprised. This is not the first time Frei’s followers have advocated for repression, torture, and imprisonment against us. We warn them that we will not be like their political godchildren from Patria y Libertad, seeking asylum in embassies, and today, repressing the MIR means repressing a significant contingent of the working class and the people. Then, we will have the right to employ forms of struggle that correspond to the new situation.

If the counterrevolution takes the form of an unleashed coup, of violent military challenge, revolutionaries and workers must immediately expand factory and farm takeovers, intensify defense tasks, and promote People’s Power as a local autonomous government from state powers.

Non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and policemen must disobey the orders of coup-plotting officers, and in that case, all forms of struggle will be legitimate. Then, it will indeed be true that workers, along with soldiers, sailors, aviators, and policemen, non-commissioned officers, and anti-coup officers, will have the legitimate right to build their own army, the People’s Army.

Comrades, workers of Chile, we are living in defining moments; the wins and the future of the workers are under threat. Class struggle is always a war, albeit a hidden one. The bourgeois counterrevolution intends to unleash it today in Chile. The people will not let their hands be tied. The working class and the people are ready to fight, determined to defend their wins, and more determined than ever to conquer their future.

Therefore, workers have launched a great revolutionary and popular counteroffensive; that is why the working class and the people have organized the defense of their wins and are preparing to conquer new positions. The people are putting their strength into action, developing People’s Power, multiplying Communal Commands, and organizing their defense.


The people must prepare to resist, must prepare to fight, must prepare to win.

Workers of Chile:


Translators’ notes

[1] Eduardo Frei Montalva and Sergio Onofre Jarpa represented the two main strategies of the ruling classes to rectify and/or overthrow President Allende (who governed between November 1970 and September 1973): neo-reformism promoted by the centrist Christian Democrat Party and neo-fascism by the right-wing National Party.
[2] At this point in July 1973, the Chilean Communist Party (CP) and MIR’s antagonism reached its peak. The CP denounced the MIR as a petty-bourgeois ultra-leftist organization that was triggering the armed response of the ruling class, legitimizing the operations of ultra-right wing terrorist forces like the Fatherland and Freedom National Front (Frente Nacionalista Patria y Libertad). On their part, the MIR accused CP reformism of disarming the people when giving concessions to the Christian Democrats, leaving the people unprepared for facing the imminent counterrevolution, and not using the state forces to take the sources of power of the whole bourgeoisie (and not only its imperialist, oligarchic and monopolistic sections). CP’s accusation of the MIR being organized around a petty-bourgeois force made some sense in its early years. However, in august 1971, the massive funeral of Luciano Cruz (most known MIR leader who was viewed as a sort of Chilean Che Guevara) demonstrated that the MIR was now part of a social force constituted by the urban and rural poor (i.e. pobladores, peasants and Mapuches).
[3] The discussions of the Latin American Marxist left in the 1960s were organized around the cleavage of reform and revolution (for more on this, see Vania Bambirra (1971) Diez años de insurrección en América Latina). The government of Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity involved forces of both sides, with the CP and fractions of the Socialist Party (SP) representing each one, respectively. In the Political Committee Report to the Restricted Central Committee about the August Crisis of September 1972 [Informe de la Comisión Política al Comité Central Restringido sobre la “Crisis de Agosto”], the MIR distinguished between two types of reformists and revolutionaries. Among the former, there were the bourgeois reformists represented by the Christian Democrat Party and Radical Party, and the proletarian reformists represented by the CP. Among the revolutionaries, they distinguished between the vacillating ones represented by those that subordinated themselves to the CP leadership, and the true revolutionaries that were the MIR itself. The vacillating strategy was to rectify the CP’s reformist leadership, while the true revolutionaries looked to replace it by building a revolutionary pole disputing the reformist leadership.
[4] The failure of Freismo refers to the strategy of substantively rectifying the Popular Unity government’s program or overthrowing Allende through electoral means in the Parliamentary elections of March 1973. The Popular Unity did not get more than 50% of the votes, but neither did the opposition. This failure led to the right wing forces to push for a coup d’etat, which was expressed in the Tanquetazo of June 29th led by General Souper. This coup d’etat was useful for the reactionary forces to evaluate the left’s capacity to react to a coup d’etat (which was almost nonexistent) and to trigger state repression against the organized forces among workers, shantytown dwellers (pobladores), indigenous, peasants and students.
[5]  The military forces were not unified for the coup when Allende took over the government. Instead, it was a three-year process that involved identifying, persecuting and repressing those militaries that may go against the coup, until reaching a high level of unity, particularly in the high ranks, and this happened in the second semester of 1973. The Parliament gave the political legitimacy for military intervention when they called Salvador Allende’s government as unconstitutional.
[6] During 1972-1973, the MIR promoted the formation of Communal Commands [Comandos Comunales] as a city-level organization where multiple sectors of the people converge, like workers, students, peasants, shantytown dwellers (pobladores), and women, and that may parallel the state institutions to provoke a situation of dual power. According to the MIR, the Popular Unity opened a pre-revolutionary period and the party’s role was transforming it into a revolutionary period, which would imply creating a situation analogous to Lenin’s dual power.
[7] According to Oktavio Martínez from the Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación Nacional of El Salvador (FMLN), building the party within the people’s quarters is at the core of the Leninist party. In the article Un FMLN Organizado Bajo Principios Leninistas (2006), he says: “Lenin defined that the basic structure of the revolutionary party of the new type is the cell. The cell reproduces itself within the social body, it has life, and it thinks about reproducing. The Base Committees should be like cells that live in the neighborhood, colony, hamlet, district, schools, colleges, universities—wherever people live, work, or study. In those very places, we must engage in daily work both politically and socially. There, the Base Committees connect with the people, live with them, work with them, and struggle alongside them for their daily demands. That is where they grow and multiply. (…) ‘The deepest and most enduring connection with the masses was yesterday, is today, and will always be the compass of our party’ (Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back). If we maintain a direct and constant relationship with the masses, they will allow us to gauge the most suitable method of struggle for the specific moment, understanding that methods of struggle are not invented, nor are they fixed forever—what is valid today may not be tomorrow.”
[8] El Salvador and Pampa Irigoyen (Puerto Montt) massacres occurred during the US-backed “neo-reformist” government of Eduardo Frei Montalva on March 11, 1966, and March 9, 1969. The first was against mining workers and the second against shantytown dwellers.
[9] The cursed law refers to the Permanent Defense of Democracy Bill that outlawed the Communist Party in 1948, triggering the persecution, assassination and torture of its members and sympathizers.
[10] The Law of Control of Armed Groups enabled the police and military forces to get a sense of the armed preparation of the people by registering neighborhoods, workplaces, indigenous and peasant communities, and schools. This law was hardly applied against the popular forces while it was softly applied against the paramilitary forces of the bourgeoisie, including its terrorist groups.
[11] Moisés Huentelaf, José Ahumada and Nilton da Silva were killed by the right wing reaction. Mapuche Mirista, Huentelaf was killed by the landlords and police in reaction to the takeover of the Chesque Estate in October 1971. A communist worker, Ahumada was killed in Santiago during the right wing support to the strike of copper workers in June 1973, and a Brazilian Mirista student, da Silva was killed by Fatherland and Freedom the same month.
[12] The government program of the Popular Unity involved the creation of three economic areas. The private, social and mixed areas, with the social one referring to state owned companies that may have different types of administration, from workers’ control to state intervention and leadership. The Hamilton Fuentealba reform involved giving back many companies that were taken over by their workers during the previous months, particularly after the offensives of the bourgeoisie with the general stoppage of October 1972 and the coup attempt of June 1973.
[13] The events of September 11, 1973, and the years that followed demonstrated that nobody in the people and the left, not reformists nor revolutionaries, were prepared for a war of extermination led by the armed forces against them. In the late 1960s, both sides divided themselves between those that followed a peaceful path towards socialism and those preparing for the armed path. The election of Salvador Allende in 1970 brought both sides into the context of a government explicitly building the conditions to launch a transition towards socialism in Chile that was respectful to bourgeois legality. One of the problems of this discussion is that reformists did not prepare the left and the people for the armed turn of the peaceful path, and revolutionaries did not assimilate the armed turn as part of the peaceful path and not as its opposite. As Engels argued in 1895 in his text “Introduction to the Class Struggle in France”, at some point of the democratic road the bourgeoisie will turn against its own legality and that legality will not be enough to break this bourgeois opposition. For a critical analysis of the peaceful path towards socialism of the Popular Unity, see Teothonio dos Santos (1975), Problemas Estratégicos y Tácticos de la Revolución Socialista en América Latina. For a discussion about the transition towards socialism from a MIR-like perspective, see Vania Bambirra (1993), A Teoria Marxista da Transição e a Prática Socialista.
[14] Following Keynesian policies of full employment after the economic crisis of the late 1960s, the first year of the Popular Unity government was an economic success. Economic growth, controlled inflation, and rising salaries and employment. The second year, however, was one of crisis. The revolutionary forces demanded a turn towards Marxist economic policies declaring the failure of their Keynesian counterpart. In the second half of 1972, the MIR evaluated that the crisis triggered a break between the reformist leadership of the government and the masses. In the Political Committee’s Report of September 1972, one year before the coup, the MIR argued: “the crisis of Chilean capitalism deepens, and the failure of reformism becomes evident; reformism is fracturing at the level of the masses and the left, accelerating the process of breaking away from and overcoming reformism. In other words, the subjective conditions necessary for the emergence of a revolutionary situation, a revolutionary crisis, become more feasible, as intermediate alternatives enter into crisis (failure of reformism), the political consciousness of the masses matures, the vanguard party develops, and an alternative proletarian leadership emerges. The possibility of organizing the masses into an independent and autonomous power separate from the institutional organization of the bourgeois state remains open.”