Lost in the Movies: 4 thoughts in response to The Battle of Chile

4 thoughts in response to The Battle of Chile

The following brief reflections originally appeared on Twitter following my first viewing of The Battle of Chile (1975 - 1979), a 3-part documentary covering the CIA-sponsored coup which overthrew democratically-elected left-wing President Salvador Allende and replaced him with the right-wing dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

1) Support of Pinochet's coup, like defense of SA apartheid, is one of American intellectual right's most shameful legacies. (corollary: while U.S. right - well, leadership - reversed itself on Mandela, it has by & large, maybe entirely, NOT done so on Allende)

2) The right to bear arms as a right-wing but not left-wing tenet needs to be reconsidered. (corollary: remember too that in 60s it was Panthers who advocated 2nd amendment & CA GOP who pushed restrictions)

3) The left is always most admirable when it is populist & mass-based rather than elitist & sequestered in academia & other institutions. (corollary: worth remembering Bolsheviks were fundamentally elitist & they hijacked the revolutionary left for generations to come)

4) Watching junta's dread-inducing TV speech following coup, worth noting that when mask drops it is not liberty, but order which motivates. (corollary: rather than embrace statist, paternalistic language smart left should employ libertarian rhetoric against right)

and a bonus observation:

For all the Cold War fear of Marxist revolutions overtaking free countries rarely if ever did left-wing revolutions supplant functioning democracies with dictatorship (only Russian Revolution leaps to mind & Kerensky's government was less than a year old). Usually leftist dictatorships replaced rightist dictatorships. And aside from Soviet occupation of E. Europe, seems every time dictatorship replaced democracy, dictatorship was right-wing.


Doug's Blog said...

Thanks for reminding me about this documentary. It is something I wanted to see but lost track of it...having seen the Costa-Gavras film "Missing" (1983) and reading about Nixon and Kissinger's involvement against Allende, it sounds very worthwhile to find it.

Joel Bocko said...

Absolutely. It's on Netflix, and I can't recommend highly enough that you watch it right away. Last night I also watched the follow-up (Chile, Obstinate Memory) which is on YouTube and found it almost unbearably moving.

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