Law and Social Transformation: the Chilean Experiment
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The victory of the Unidad Popular Party (UP) led by Salvador Allende in the Chilean general election of September 4, 1970 which led to the unfolding of political, economic and social processes never experienced anywhere before has attracted extensive interest, study and debate amongst supporters and opponents of Allende alike. There is one major reason for this interest. For the first time in Latin American and World history a self-declared Marxist and an alliance of parties based on Communist—Socialist unity took over by democratic elections the administration of state affairs in a capitalist and dependent economy, with the avowed intention of transforming the economy into a socialist one. Even more interesting was the declaration that the transformation would lake place with Tull respect to democracy and the existing politico-legal institutions. The subsequent barefaced interventions of the United Slates government agencies and multinational enterprises against the UP government, the democratic and pluralistic character of the regime and the advancement of the working class struggles during the 1000 days the regime lasted, the treason of the plotting generals and the sadistic brutality which struck down the Chilean people all serve to explain and justify the interest in the process that took place. Both champions of the changes that occurred and the opponents of those changes arc generally agreed that September 4 1970, ushered in a period that threatened the stability of Chile’s hitherto existing political institutions and hence all its economic and social relations.