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Workshop: '40 Years On: Reflecting on the Chilean Coup'

Publication date: Sep 9, 2013 10:46:08 AM

Start: Oct 10, 2013 5:30:00 PM
End: Oct 10, 2013 7:00:00 PM

Location: UCL-Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PQ

September 11th 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup – ‘the other 9/11’. With the knowledge we have today of the Chilean path to development, its role in the global economy and the return to more democratic forms of government in the 1990s, this workshop reconsiders the events of 1973 and their consequences for the Chilean economy and society.


Alan Angell (University of Oxford) ‘The international repercussions of the Chilean coup’: The Chilean coup of 1973 was condemned on an unprecedented scale by the international community. It was seen as an attack on democracy, on socialism and on human rights. Yet the coup led the European left to consider its own policies and ideology. The international reaction to the coup also had an impact on internal politics in Chile. Exile was used by the regime on a massive scale but exiles regrouped abroad and became important centres of resistance to the regime.

Carlos Fortin (IDS) ‘Unfinished business: Inequality and economic concentration’:After the restoration of democracy in 1990, Chile experienced 20 years of remarkable economic growth –albeit with fluctuations– under social democratic governments committed to redressing the social and economic inequities bequeathed by the military dictatorship. Yet, and despite significant progress in the reduction of poverty, Chile is today one of the most unequal countries in the world. The paper attempts to explain this paradox by reference, on the one hand,  to ideological contradictions within the social democratic coalition on the issue of equality, which effectively led to the prevalence of  the liberal view associated with the concept of equality of opportunities; and, on the other, to structural determinants which were not tackled vigorously enough by the successive governments, in particular the high degree of concentration of wealth and market power and the heterogeneity of the productive structure. The paper concludes with a reference to the political implications of inequality and economic concentration and with a discussion of policy alternatives to address these issues in the forthcoming period.

Victor Figueroa Clark (LSE) ‘The revolutionary ideas of Salvador Allende and their relevance for the Chilean left today’: This paper will examine the relevance of Allende's political practice, his approach to electoral politics, and his political ideas in reference to the upcoming elections in Chile in November. Allende was an elected politician for 35 years in both houses of Congress and as President. He was also a Marxist with a rather unique perspective on the method of achieving power, and the purpose of that power. The Chilean opposition today are campaigning for many of the same things that Allende fought for over many years, democratisation, control of natural resources, political reform, healthcare, education and a definition of Chile's place in the world. In many cases they still reference Salvador Allende in their demands. Although there have been many changes to the political landscape since the Popular Unity, many of the underlying questions remain the same. Allende's political ideas and practice have a contribution to make to the debate over elections, power and reforms in Chile today.

Chair: Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck College, University of London)

The presentation and discussions will be followed by a brief drinks reception. Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.