Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 December 2006

Good riddance to the 'butcher of Chile'

ON SUNDAY 10 December the biggest killer and robber Chile has ever seen, ex dictator Augusto Pinochet, died. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans went out onto the streets to celebrate.

Celso Callufan, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI Chile), Santiago

In the centre of Santiago they celebrated with champagne drums and dancing. But unfortunately, when they arrived in front of the government building the 'carabinero' police began to violently repress the demonstrators.

When Pinochet carried out his military coup on the 11 September 1973, he said that it was to "bring an end to corruption and the loss of moral values".

Thousands of Chilean workers and mapuche (indigenous people) were killed, hundreds of thousands were tortured and imprisoned in the country's football stadiums.

The majority of dead and tortured were completely disarmed when they were taken away by the country's "valiant soldiers". The majority of today's Armed Forces top command were the young officers of that period, "the mummy's boys". They were the most savage in their treatment of the detainees in the first days of the criminal dictatorship which terrorised this country for 17 years.

Christian Democracy, together with the Right, was one of the main promoters of the coup. Given that the Chilean Socialist Party long ago assumed the political and economic legacy of the dictatorship, it is not surprising that these same people want to honour the dictator.

The Right and the 'Concertacion' (the coalition government including the Chilean Socialist Party) heap great praise on the economic model inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship. But this neo-liberal model has only benefited the richest 20% of the population. At the other end, 20% live in extreme poverty and another 40% in poverty conditions.

With the neo-liberal 'model' we have lost our rights in the workplace and the bosses have increased exploitation.

Under the dictatorship we had levels of unemployment reaching 30%. They created job schemes where we were paid starvation wages and many families had to eat in soup kitchens and churches or with neighbours. We saw the highest levels of children begging in the streets and women and girls becoming prostitutes in order to eat.

The right that workers had to a decent retirement was turned into big business for the bosses, with a few getting very rich while millions of elderly people will face a miserable future in years to come. There has been a similar situation with health and education. While the bosses are enriching themselves from this 'market' the majority of workers and their families have terrible health conditions and an education that doesn't even reach the basic requirements that existed before the dictatorship.

Health workers and teachers receive terrible wages and are badly treated. Social housing which used to be a right is a nightmare today for workers. The construction bosses and the banks, meanwhile, fill their pockets by robbing ordinary workers on starvation wages.

These same 'valiant' and 'patriotic' soldiers, together with the Right, are the very people who, for the price of an egg, handed over the natural wealth of our country, such as copper, to the multinational companies. They continue to rob us of our wealth, leaving nothing of their profits in this country.

This is the real economic legacy of the dictatorship which the current coalition government continues to defend and against which we are beginning to see the first important struggles, such as the struggle of the secondary school students earlier this year and currently the struggle of people who are in debt trying to keep a roof over their heads.

Pinochet's deadly 'neo-liberal' legacy

THE BUTCHER of the Chilean working class has died at long last. Unfortunately, the working class of Chile were denied the right to put this anti-working class and anti-socialist tyrant on trial for his crimes.

John Reid

General Pinochet led a military coup which overthrew a democratically elected Social Democratic government of 1970-73. This government carried out a raft of reforms that improved the conditions of workers and peasants in Chile. The copper industry (Chile's largest export) was nationalised and the government received support from the masses.

Unfortunately, the government, under the leadership of Salvador Allende, failed to complete the socialist revolution and left the levers of power in the hands of the ruling capitalist class. Pinochet himself was brought into the cabinet as it was felt that the armed forces would remain loyal.

With the support of US Imperialism, reactionary forces were backed and built up in Chile. Funds were given to the truck owners who organised a reactionary strike, along with bank workers and other sections of the middle class, in an attempt to destabilise the goverment.

Workers set up local committees which were an embryonic form of soviets and if the Allende government had leant on these committees they would have formed arms of resistance to the reactionary forces. Indeed, one million people out of a population of 14 million marched a week before the military coup, chanting "Allende, Allende the people will defend you". They demanded arms to defend the government but were denied them.

One week later on 11 September 1973, the military seized power, bombing the Presidential palace using British-made planes. Allende died in the palace, thousands were taken prisoner, between 3,000 and 4,000 were murdered or "disappeared", tens of thousands were brutally tortured and thousands more fled Chile. The leadership of the Chilean working class was slaughtered by the butcher Pinochet.

Under his dictatorship Chile was used as a laboratory for neo-liberalism - which was later introduced by Thatcher in Britain. This led to the impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of Chileans and the swelling of the coffers of the rich in society.

As someone who spent one year on the picket line when Pinochet was held under house arrest in England, along with Chilean friends who had suffered brutal torture under this murdering bastard, I rejoice that he is dead.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 15 December 2006:

NHS Crisis: Turn anger into action

Teachers support day of action against health cuts

QEH Hospital - a victim of privatisation

NHS news

War and terrorism

Frankenstein kills out of control monster

Violence against women

Ipswich murders lifts lid on violent world

Workplace news and analysis

PCS: Vote 'Yes' against job cuts and low pay

Heroic struggle scores victory for Visteon workers

Victory for Glasgow's Council Workers in the Fight for Protection

Special feature

Privatisation, but not as we know it

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The wealth gap widens

International socialist news and analysis

Good riddance to the 'butcher of Chile'


JOHN HAMILTON Blairites re-write history

Socialist Party news and analysis

Private companies rule - and ruin

BNP fiasco but vigilance essential

Workplace analysis

TWGU merger: Build a fighting union

Mass meeting prepares for action

Protesting against fare increases

Leeds workers on strike to defend pensions

The Socialist Xmas quiz

The Socialist quiz


Home   |   The Socialist 15 December 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleWest London Socialist Party: Lessons of the 1973 military coup in Chile

triangleNew pamphlet: constituent assemblies and the revolutionary programme

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Chile in revolt

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Uprising in Chile - Workers fight back

triangleLambeth & South West London Socialist Party: Revolt in Chile


triangleNae Pasaran: a film about working-class solidarity

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Chile 1973

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangle1987 Zeebrugge disaster




Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests



Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon



Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race



India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus



Trump puts profit before safety (again)



US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide


May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement



Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest



US private healthcare system in meltdown



Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus



Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide



Amazon workers threaten revolution!



French local elections: CWI candidate elected



United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets



'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020