The Crisis of the Chilean Socialist Party (PSCh) in 1979
- Publisher: Institute for the Study of the Americas
After Chile's military coup of September 1973, the Partido Socialista\ud de Chile (PSCh) almost disintegrated; and the disputes of the various\ud underground centres that emerged after the coup did not help to restore\ud the credibility of the party. By 1979, through a series of splits, expulsions,\ud and disagreements between the organisation underground in Chile and\ud the segment of the party in exile, the PSCh went through the most serious\ud crisis of its history, which had already been dominated by many divisions\ud and disagreements over its political strategy.\ud From 1979 to the present, the existence of a variety of Socialist\ud 'parties', with only one having a solid underground apparatus in Chile —\ud the PSCh led by Clodomiro Almeyda, former Foreign Secretary of\ud Allende — prevented a more successful and effective unity of the Chilean\ud left, and thus a more credible political alternative of power to the military\ud regime of General Pinochet.\ud This paper will focus on the process that took the PSCh to its deepest\ud crisis, in 1979, attempting a reconstruction of the schisms and disputes in\ud organisational as well as political terms and an explanation of the reasons\ud behind them. Answers will also be sought to the following questions:\ud what is there left of the traditional Socialist Party yet another federation\ud of groups and ideological tendencies or a more homogeneous organisation?\ud Where should we place the origins of the political crisis of 1979?\ud The conclusion that the PSCh suffered an irreversible process of atomisation\ud must be a tentative one. Yet it could be said that it would be very\ud difficult to imagine a pre-coup style PSCh.