Six years have already gone by since the bloody coup d’etat in Chile. Nowadays, it is impossible to treat the experience of Chile as an isolated event peculiar to that country. Rather it is necessary that this experience is assimilated by the socialists, communists, and conscious workers of all countries. And we ought to study these events, as was well said by one of the leaders of the Chilean Socialist Party (Internal Leadership) in an article that was published more than a year ago in ‘Nuevo Claridad’ number 24, “not in order to merely indulge in an intellectual abstract exercise, but to determine in an objective and serious manner what we have to do on a day to day basis.”
For any serious socialist an analysis of the experience of the past, of victories and even more of defeats, is a means of perfecting our program, strategy and tactics, in the same way that the military experts of the bourgeoisie rest on the wars and battles of the past, not only of the First and Second world Wars, but even on the wars of Napoleon and Julius Caesar, in order to prepare themselves for future wars. Lenin spent many years studying the Paris Commune, which served as a means of preparing the Bolshevik cadres to carry out the Russian Revolution.
We Marxists are internationalists and have the duty of basing ourselves on the experience of the working class of all countries. There is nothing more dangerous for the labor movement than the petit bourgeois nationalist prejudices that think of the Spanish Revolution as being the monopoly of the Spaniards, or the Chilean as the exclusive property of the Chileans. Behind such attitudes, which are completely contrary to the method and doctrine of Marx, Engels and Lenin, it is not difficult to make out the fear that certain workers’ leaders have of an open and honest discussion of the mistakes that they have committed in their own countries. Nevertheless it is only a continual interchange of ideas and experiences on a world level that will make it possible for us to educate and train the authentic Marxist cadres capable of leading the working class in the struggle against capitalism, which knows no frontiers, which organizes on a world level and which defends its interests in all corners of out planet with all the means at its disposal.
Whilst the Popular Unity (UP) government existed in Chile all the theoreticians of the main workers’ parties, above all the “communist” parties, presented the “Chilean experiment” as proof of the possibility of carrying out the socialist transformation of society in a piecemeal and gradual form, without violent confrontations, through parliamentary action.
There isn’t the slightest doubt that workers’ leaders like Salvador Allende wanted to carry out a “peaceful change without shocks,” as is often repeated today in Spain. Nevertheless as was well said by the author of the previously mentioned article: “If the processes were measured by intentions we would have to say that the intention of the UP was to construct socialism in Chile, but despite this we have fascism and a dictatorship.” This fact must be seriously thought about not only by the Chilean workers but also by the Spanish and those of other countries.
Tragically, some six years later, it seems that the leaders of the main workers’ parties on a world scale have not summed up what has happened in Chile, have hardly drawn any conclusions, and those which they have could not be more erroneous.
The “communist” leaders in a whole number of countries, like Italy and Spain, have drawn the conclusion of the need for a “historic compromise” with the Christian Democracy. But in Chile the leaders of the Christian Democracy played an active role in the counterrevolution. In Italy ministers of the DC (Christian Democrats) have actively participated in a whole number of fascist conspiracies in recent years, intimately collaborating with the fascist assassins of the MSI. Nevertheless the “communist” leaders insist on the need for a governmental collaboration with the Christian Democrats with the aim of … defending democracy!
In Spain the leaders of the Communist Party (PCE) spare no effort in convincing the workers of the need to accept the monarchy, pacts and “consensus” with the bourgeoisie, and an understanding with the police and the army, as the only way of “not provoking reaction.” For all these leaders the experience of Chile remains a closed book, sealed by seven seals. If it was left up to them the thousands of Chilean workers and peasants would have died in vain, and the tragic events of Chile would inevitably be repeated in other countries in the future.
Unfortunately the same leaders of the UP in exile, far from showing any interest in explaining to the world working class what happened in their country stay completely silent or limit themselves to sentimental declarations about the “tragedy of Chile.” Some of these leaders, as the leader of the SP (IL) says, in exile “have had the audacity to blame our own working class for the defeat.”
In this there is nothing new. After every defeated revolution in history there were always many leaders ready to blame the alleged “immaturity of the masses,” “the lack of objective conditions” or the “unfavorable relationship of forces” to divert attention from the role and responsibility which they themselves have played in the matter.
“He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” At this moment the same leaders of the UP in exile who had the responsibility directly for the defeat in 1973 are continuing to persist with the same policy which led to the defeat. They have learnt absolutely nothing from experience.
Today the central idea of these people is that of the need for an alliance between the political forces of the Chilean working class and the DC to fight against the Pinochet dictatorship. The leading exponent in these cases are, as always, the leaders of the Chilean CP in exile, aided and encouraged in their efforts by the Russian bureaucracy. As this document demonstrates these people have abandoned any idea whatsoever of carrying out a socialist revolution a long time ago, and have become second class members of the so called “progressive” wing of the Chilean bourgeoisie.
Unfortunately a certain section of the old leaders of the Chilean CP in exile have completely fallen under the influence of these elements, which of course do not lack economic means, above all outside the country, where the authentic voice of the Chilean working class can hardly be heard amongst the noisy campaign orchestrated by the old leaders from their offices in Moscow, East Berlin and Paris, whilst socialist militants continue struggling in Chile, practically without help, in the anonymity of the clandestinity.
It is in this context that we have to see the recent split in the leadership of the Chilean SP (Exterior). The whole of history demonstrates how some leaders in exile, once separated from the working class rank and file in their own country, tend to degenerate, falling into the vices of ’emigration’, which have nothing to do with the reality of the heroic struggle which is being carried out at this moment in exceedingly difficult conditions in Chile.
‘Nuevo Claridad’, the voice of the Marxist Left in the PSOE and the JJSS declares its total solidarity with those Socialist militants who, after their terrible defeat of the 11th of September 1973, had the courage to continue fighting underground against the Pinochet dictatorship. All our sympathy and all our solidarity belongs to them and not to the old leaders who, from the security of their offices in Europe, continue to contest amongst themselves the title of the Socialist Party. For the Spanish Marxists, and equally for any honest worker, the Chilean Socialist Party belongs totally and exclusively to the comrades who are fighting to maintain and build it against the police and the army of Pinochet. In this sense we do not hesitate to express our sincerest solidarity with the comrades of the Chilean SP (IL) against all the exile factions who are fighting amongst themselves for a name which has nothing to do with them, nor could have, given the abyss which separates them from the class struggle which is unfolding at the present moment in Chile.
In saying this we don’t mean to say that we are totally in agreement with the political line that appears in the public documents of the PSCh (IL). ‘Nuevo Claridad’ is of the opinion that the political line of the PSCh is still in a process of evolution and development. But on the one hand the comrades in the country are at least not afraid to openly say what they think. They are not afraid to make a critical evaluation of the UP and the policy of alliances with the bourgeoisie. On the other hand these are the comrades who are building the party in Chile in the front line of battle and not from the security of an office in Europe.
In this document we will try to sketch out a history of the Chilean Socialist Party I the last few decades as our way of participating in a clarification of the facts, with the aim of drawing some conclusions for the future, not only in Chile but on a world scale too.