by Daemon Rounds
On this day 50 years ago, socialist president Salvador Allende ended his own life amidst a violent coup d’état led by the military commander-in-chief, Augusto Pinochet, with support from Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The historical event would mark the beginning of nearly two decades of rule by a military junta that would be responsible for over 40,000 documented cases of human rights abuses, including imprisonment, forced disappearance, execution, and torture.
La Moneda, the presidential palace where Allende was located, was surrounded by ground forces and bombed repeatedly by the Chilean air force. Barricaded inside, Allende refused offers to let him escape into exile. While his bodyguards, the Grupo De Amigos Personales, fought to hold off the onslaught, he chose to spend his last moments addressing the Chilean people over radio.
“I will not resign. Placed at a historic juncture, my loyalty to the people will cost me my life.”
“Other men will overcome this gray and bitter moment where betrayal seeks to impose itself. Go forward knowing that much sooner than later, the great avenues through which free men pass will open again to build a better society. Long live Chile, long live the people, long live the workers. These are my final words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain. I am certain at least that it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.”
Moments later, with the AK47 gifted to him by Fidel Castro, President Allende would take his own life. Over the next seventeen years, the country and people would be used by Pinochet and American economists as an experimentation ground for neoliberalism which would oversee the privatization of all public programs and resources from education to water.
The legacy of Salvador Allende is one of dedication, passion, and love for the working class. Allende’s vision would have created a nationally planned economy that utilized automation to allocate resources. Portions of it were already created and beginning implementation. While in office, wages rose, poverty decreased, and approval for Allende’s presidency was growing among the Chilean working class.
While his policies were popular among the workers, his willingness to adhere to the “ready-made state machinery,” of capitalist Chile, instead of breaking it up and smashing it, constitutes a glaring revision of Marxist-Leninist theory. Such actions even garnered criticism from his contemporaries. Castro urged him to gain a tighter grip on the opposition. Since Allende’s inauguration, resistance had been growing in the right wing of parliament and dissent was continuously propagated by right-wing controlled media mogul, Agustin Edwards.
Edwards and his newspaper, “El Mercurio” received roughly two million dollars of covert CIA funding. This was to “keep the paper (El Mercurio) running.” The effort would turn El Mercurio into a news monopoly that spread dissent and disinformation on Allende’s presidency while portraying opposing right-wing politicians as positively as possible. A fact which the CIA would later openly take credit for. According to them, the newspaper played “a significant role in setting the stage for the military coup of 11 September 1973.”
The history of Allende’s presidency and the coup that led to the death of a fledgling socialist democracy should be further studied to avoid making those same mistakes. While Allende may have failed to prevent the coup against his government, his contribution to socialist history and the prospect of socialist democracy aided by computers through the Cybersyn project are more bricks that will lay the foundation for our new society. His legacy will never be forgotten. However, one lesson that those on the left who have not yet accepted the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat must learn from him is this: It is not violent revolution which lures the ire of the capitalist class as they claim; rather it is the attempt to construct a new society free from their exploitation. With this in mind, we must always be constantly preparing to defend, at any cost, the progress we make in the coming years if we wish not to see it taken away in a matter of hours like the coup d’état in Chile on the fateful morning of September 11th, 1973.
 Jeff Abbott, “Declassified Documents Shed Light On U.S.- Backed Coup In Chile Fifty Years Later,” The Progressive Inc., September 7, 2023, https://progressive.org/latest/declassified-documents-shed-light-on-u-s-backed-coup-abbott-20230907/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20now%20declassified,on%20the%20widespread%20civilian%20opposition.%E2%80%9D.
 V.I. Lenin, The State and Revolution (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974), 383-497, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/cw/pdf/lenin-cw-vol-25.pdf.
 Agustin Edwards, A Declassified Obituary (Washington: National Security Archive, July 2000), https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/chile/2017-04-25/agustin-edwards-declassified-obituary.