[Hands off Venezuela presents the first and second part of the legendary documentary film "The battle of Chile" by Patricio Guzman. On Friday, October 19, at 17:30 at the Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way W1T 5DL (Nearest Tube: Warren Street ). Free entry on a first come first served basis.]
34 years ago, on September 11, 1973, the Chilean army led by its recently appointed chief of staff, Augusto Pinochet, overthrew, with the active support of its national bourgeoisie and the government of the United States, the democratic government of Salvador Allende.
The bombing of the Presidential Palace, La Casa de la Moneda, ended the Chilean experiment to socialism, where "for first time in the history of the revolutionary processes, the path towards social change had been opened via elections, through a pacific via. An event unique in history, the first of its type", as Fidel Castro remarked in his speech at the National Stadium in Santiago during his three week visit to Chile in 1971.
However, the final coup was only a last resort solution to smash the mass movement that was threatening the foundations of capitalism and bourgeois society in Chile and beyond; private property over the means of production.
Prior to this final assault on Allende's government, the United States and the Chilean bourgeoisie had made used of every possible means at their disposal, especially their control over some very important parts of the State apparatus - like the judiciary - and the economy, to block any progressive measure and stifle the live of the country.
The legendary documentary film "The battle of Chile", by Patricio Guzmán, captures and analyses with surgeon's precision the dynamics of the revolutionary process that brought Allende to the presidency, his relationship with the Chilean masses of workers and poor peasants and the counter-revolutionary forces that finally overthrew him and smashed the revolution.
In a period of revolutionary awakening of the masses of Latin America as the one we are going through, the screening of the first and second parts of the "The insurrection of the bourgeoisie" and "the coup d'état" is a unique opportunity to remember the deaths and disappeared by the military dictatorship of Augusto PinochetIt and for those of us supporting the around the world the Venezuelan revolution learn from this dramatic experience.
"The battle of Chile: the insurrection of the bourgeoisie" (89'); Allende starts to carry out a programme to deeply transform society. From the beginning the right wing organises against him with the support of the White House, using all its political, economic and social leverage. Despite this, in the elections of March 1973, the parties that support Allende obtained 43.4% of the vote. The right wing understands that the legal mechanisms are not useful to them anymore. From then on they will start to lay down their strategy for a coup d'état. "The battle of Chile" is a fresco which shows step by step these events that shook the world.
"The battle of Chile: the coup d'état" (100'); between March and September 1973 the left and the right fight on the streets, factories, courts of justice, universities, parliament and media; the situation is unsustainable The United States fund the truck drivers general strike and promotes social chaos. Allende tries to reach an agreement with the forces of the Christian Democracy; the military start to conspire in Valparaiso; an ample sector of the middle class is decided to overthrow Allende by any means necessary; on September 11, 1973, Pinochet bombs the presidential palace.
After the coup, Patricio Guzmán was arrested and taken to the National Stadium. After his release he left Chile and went into exile. The films that would later make "The battle of Chile" were clandestinely sneaked out of the country. Jorge Muller Rojas (the film's cameraman) was arrested by Pinochet's military police in November 1974, becoming thus one of the thousands of disappeared and killed by the regime "The battle of Chile" has been censored in Chile and never shown in public television.
"I would declare "The battle of Chile" a film of "democratic interest"; its screening should be compulsory in schools". Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Mundo Obrero.
"Great films rarely arrive as unheralded as The Battle of Chile." – Pauline Kael, The New Yorker
"The major political film of our times - a magnificent achievement." – Tom Allen, Village Voice