After escaping Pinochet’s bloody military coup, Mike Gatehouse returned to Britain to lead the Chile Solidarity Campaign. 50 years on, he sits down with Tribune to discuss why the crusade against Chilean fascism should inspire socialists today.

Salvador Allende was deposed in a military coup 50 years ago today. (Credit:

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the military coup in Chile on 11 September 1973. The bloody overthrow of Chile’s democratically-elected Popular Unity government and the death of socialist President Salvador Allende coronated a far-right military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet, which would last for seventeen years. Tens of thousands of socialists, trade unionists, and social activists were imprisoned and tortured, and thousands were killed.

The tragic events of Chile’s September 11 sparked an international solidarity movement in defence of the Chilean working class and repudiation of Pinochet’s US-backed military junta. In Britain, the Chile Solidarity Campaign, formed in the aftermath of the coup, worked with the trade union movement, broad political left, and wider progressive and humanitarian networks to publicise the crimes of the dictatorship, campaign for its diplomatic and economic isolation, and support Chilean political exiles who arrived on Britain’s shores.

Mike Gatehouse, who served as the Chile Solidarity Campaign’s first Joint Secretary from 1974 to 1979, had lived in Santiago during the Popular Unity years, becoming active in the effervescent working-class movement to build the Chilean road to socialism. During the military coup, he, like thousands of others, was imprisoned in Chile’s vast National Stadium before eventually returning to Britain to organise the crusade in support of the Chilean people against their fascist tormentors.

Fifty years on, Mike sat down with Tribune to discuss his experiences of Allende’s Chile, the military takeover, the Chile Solidarity Campaign, and the legacy of Popular Unity’s experiment and the international solidarity movement for the socialist left today.

Owen Dowling

What would you say is the significance of the 11 of September 1973 for the history of the socialist movement and for your own life?

Mike Gatehouse

The coup in Chile aroused extraordinary international effect, indignation, and solidarity very quickly — I think more so than either the Left or the Right internationally expected or anticipated. But it somehow stuck a cord. It came at a particular moment in the history of solidarity movements. Bear in mind that there were already solidarity movements of various kinds with Vietnam, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement had begun. But somehow, Chile produced an effect comparable to the Spanish Civil War.

When I arrived back in the UK in October ‘73, I was astonished. I had no means of comprehending just how deep the reactions ran. You got spontaneous actions by seamen in Liverpool: refusing or threatening to refuse to cruise ships going to Chile, putting leaflets into cargo ships going to Chile addressed to Chilean dockers; and later on, you had the boycott by engineering workers at Rolls Royce plant in East Kilbride, refusing to service the Rolls Royce aero-engines that the Chilean air force had used to bombard the Presidential Palace of Allende on September 11 1973. These are just little indications, but it was extraordinary; right across Britain, you got people of the Left, but much more widely than just the Left — the churches, students, and other unaffiliated people who were outraged by what had happened and wanted to do something about it.

I think it also changed in a fundamental way the view of human rights, because during the period after the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) revealed the atrocities of Stalin, and then there was the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising [in 1956]. In the sixties, it seemed to me that ‘human rights’ had become weaponised by the Right in a sense, as part of the Cold War: directed against the Soviet Union but also more broadly at socialism and socialist ideas. And what Chile demonstrated to the world, if they didn’t already know it, was that the Left (or so-called ‘Left’) had no monopoly on atrocity and that human rights discourse, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Accords, all of those things would have no meaning unless they were applied with equal strictness to what was happening not just in Chile but in other dictatorships across Latin America, that were either sponsored by or caused by the US government.

Owen Dowling

Could you give a brief account of your experiences, as a Brit and a socialist living in Santiago, of the popular movement in support of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government?

Mike Gatehouse

I arrived in Chile in March 1972. I’d gone there because I’d been studying Development Sociology in the US and met a lot of Latin American students, who almost unanimously said: ‘If you want to understand what’s happening in Latin America and want to see something really unusual, amazing, fascinating, promising, you must go to Chile.’ So I went to Chile. 

I worked initially on a project to do with land reform, and later on, I worked for the Chilean Forestry Institute as a statistician and computer programmer. But I rapidly became immersed in the Chilean situation. It was the most exciting period, politically, of my life. Everybody in Chile talked politics constantly, all the time, sometimes while playing chess, at dinner parties, or wherever they went. So you were necessarily drawn into intense political discussions. I attended some Popular Unity demonstrations and got a sense of the breadth of the cultural movement that backed Popular Unity: the musical groups, the singers, the theatre groups and so on, the lively wall paintings that appeared throughout Santiago. 

In my own neighbourhood, which was a poor working-class neighbourhood quite close to the centre of Santiago, I got involved with one of the groups that Popular Unity encouraged and sponsored to try to control black marketeering of food [Juntas de Abastecimiento y Control de Precios (JAPs)]. So we, to a degree, tried to control the little shops in our area to prevent them from selling at the black market prices and to guarantee to them a supply of basic products like oil and sugar and tea, sometimes meat, which they could then sell at official prices.

My impression was of a country embarked on an extraordinarily exciting project that was engaging ordinary people in a way perhaps they’d never before been engaged politically, because traditional politicians didn’t talk to them, who had a real conviction and belief that they were doing something different — and in the words of a song of the time (referring to Allende’s 1970 election): ‘This time it’s not just a change of President. This time, it will be the people who will build a really different Chile.’

And people, obviously with limitations, but to an astonishing degree, were deciding and participating. There were lovely projects like Quimantú, the publisher which Popular Unity took over. They published a huge number of popular books in very cheap editions, which were then sold in factories and bookstores in town centres, wherever books could be sold, and began to reach a whole generation of people who’d scarcely read — they weren’t illiterate, but they’d not read. Books were things that were too expensive. But this project meant that these often classic books were available to them very cheaply.

Owen Dowling

In the months leading up to the military coup in September 1973, what was the feeling among the popular movement as regarded the developing crisis in the country?

Mike Gatehouse

In October 1972, the right-wing, almost certainly with substantial CIA money and perhaps input, sponsored what was called the ‘lorry-drivers’ strike’. It was no such thing; it was a lorry-owners’ lockout. A lot of transport was small, owner-drivers who were beholden to the bigger companies, often sub-contracting to them, and they more or less had to do what they were told. So they took their lorries off the road, creating barricades across Chile’s main highways, a country where almost everything went by road. But when that failed to produce a change, the Right, for the time being between October ‘72 and March ‘73, devoted itself to trying to win a good result in the March ‘73 congressional elections. So they sponsored black marketeering, and they had endless propaganda about how terrible everything was under Popular Unity — and bear in mind that the popular press mostly was controlled by the Right; some of it was owned by the Chilean equivalent of The Times, El Mercurio. The banking clan, the Edwards family, owned El Mercurio and several other papers.

But in March ‘73, contrary to [the Right’s] expectations, Popular Unity improved its situation in the polls, won several seats that they didn’t have before, and almost overnight, the Right concluded that it was not going to win the electoral battle and that they did not want to wait until the next presidential elections, which were due in 1976. So from then on, they devoted themselves more and more to violent disruption and acts of sabotage, such as blowing up electricity towers. They staged an abortive or, if you like, ‘dress rehearsal’ coup on the 21 June 1973, when a tank regiment mutined and surrounded the Presidential Palace. The coup [known as ‘El Tancazo’] was non-successful; the main body of the armed forces didn’t support it, and the mutineers surrendered quite quickly. But even then, it was clear to most people in Popular Unity that that was not the real thing, that it was a minor sideshow, and indeed, the violence and the sabotage increased.

Where I was working at the time, the Forestry Institute, we were based in Santiago, but most of the forestry land in Chile was in the south, and our staff went by vehicle, usually jeeps, to the south. From about July or August ‘73 onwards, those jeeps couldn’t leave Santiago because if they did, they would be ambushed by right-wing patrols on the roads, the jeeps forced off the road, the drivers beaten up, and the jeeps trashed. That was just a sample; similar acts of sabotage were taking place regularly, particularly targeting the electricity supply network, blowing up key pylons and so on.

So by the beginning of September 1973, it was clear to me, those I worked with, and people in the Chilean Communist Party to whom I was close, that there was, in effect, a de facto state of civil war in the country. We all expected some kind of military movement or intervention. What nobody expected was that it would be so quick, so decisive, and, in a sense, so unanimous: some military officers refused to take part and were imprisoned or exiled, but the majority acquiesced and went along with it.

When the coup itself happened — between the evening of the 10 of September, when the navy mutinied in Valparaíso, and three o’clock in the afternoon on the following day, by which time the Moneda Palace was a smoking ruin, Allende had been killed or had committed suicide, and the military were in total effective control of the country — we were, or certainly I was, amazed, and didn’t think it could have been done so quickly. To this day, I disbelieve the idea that this was a plan solely executed by the Chilean armed forces; I strongly believe that the amount of planning and logistical support [from the CIA] was substantial.

Owen Dowling

What social layers in Chilean society supported the coup? In whose interests was it enacted?

Mike Gatehouse

In truth, the interests of very few people, essentially the wealthy: the owners of major industries, banks, latifundias (large estates, though they had already been impacted by the land reform); and external interests, the mining countries whose mines had been nationalised by Popular Unity; owners of the press, El Mercurio, who also owned the major paper industry in Chile. But I don’t think they were very numerous.

I mean, people were induced to support the coup, people who were frightened by the change that Popular Unity was bringing in, which of course included sectors of the working class, lots and lots of unaffiliated people, people who were persuaded that the rationing and lack of food was down to Popular Unity and that if they just got rid of Popular Unity, everything would be wonderful. So the kind of people, I suppose, who supported Bolsonaro in Brazil, or who now still in Chile support and vote for [Jose Antonio] Kast, the extreme right-winger, and who voted against the new constitution in the plebiscite last year.

Owen Dowling

Talking of the extreme right, there was also the presence of a fascist street movement in Chile?

Mike Gatehouse

Yes, Patria y Libertad, which was linked to the military to a degree. It was certainly closely involved in the tank regiment mutiny, El Tancazo, on the 21 of June. I think they were, if you like, useful tools or useful fools; I don’t think numerically they were that significant. They did have weapons, they brought weapons in from Argentina, and they were involved later in a place called Colonia Dignidad, which was used as an extreme torture centre by the junta. But I think, in truth, the significance of Patria y Libertad was not that great, They were used to create chaos, but they were not really syndicated into the Right, and certainly, I think after the coup, their influence was probably fairly small.

Owen Dowling

What was your own experience in Santiago during the military takeover?

Mike Gatehouse

I was at home on the day of the coup. I was due to go to the Government Computer Centre, which was just about two blocks from the Moneda and, therefore, the epicentre of the coup. Fortunately, I woke up late, so I didn’t set out before I became aware that something was going on. I could hear curious sounds on neighbours’ radios, which was the first military proclamation, and I looked out of my window and could see soldiers filing up the street headed towards the town centre.

I did what was the general instruction among all Popular Unity sympathisers, which was [in the event of a coup attempt]: ‘If you can, go to your place of work.’ So I headed to the Forestry Institute, which was based on the eastern edge of Santiago, right up against the Cordillera of the Andes. I managed to get there with some difficulty to find the place in chaos; the workers gathered in an informal assembly and decided what to do. A lot of people were heading home to collect their children from school. It was clear to people that a major military coup was underway and that it was happening in Santiago — nobody knew much about what was happening elsewhere in the country — and also that the main radio stations had already been taken over by the military or knocked off the air.

I stayed there that evening along with a group of about a dozen of us in order to try and safeguard the premises, and in the course of the night, we went round people’s offices removing lists of trade union members, party members, the more overt posters or leaflets, incriminating things. Nobody told us to do this, it was a sort of spontaneous exercise of self-censorship, because it was already apparent that the coup was there and effective and that people would suffer if their affiliations were known. We slept somewhere else overnight; in the morning, we went back to the offices to find they’d been ransacked. The military or police had come in overnight, broken down several doors, arrested some other people who’d been still there and taken them off. 

I was hidden by the cleaners from the Institute who lived in a nearby shantytown for a couple of days, and then after, I went from house to house of various friends, because I didn’t dare go home: I’d already been warned by neighbours that our flat had been raided and that I shouldn’t go home. That carried on for ten days, and then eventually, foolishly, I went home. Within an hour or so of being there, trying to pack up some clothes and so on, just as I was leaving my flat, an armed police patrol of eight or ten police, guns in hand, was coming up the stairs to arrest me — because one of my right-wing neighbours had obviously summoned them.

So I was taken to a police station and thence to the National Stadium.

The Stadium itself was an extraordinary experience. It was Chile’s equivalent of Wembley Stadium, the national football stadium, and it was very large. If people have seen photos of it showing a handful of prisoners in the stands, the vast majority of the prisoners were held in the changing rooms beneath the stands and in administrative offices, as we were. There were 130 of us in our changing room. At night in order to sleep, we were so densely packed that we had to line up in rows and lie down by numbers, dovetailing heads and feet.

The atmosphere was one of great fear and, to a degree, suspicion, because none of us knew who the others were; we’d been brought in by chance. The day I was arrested, when I arrived at the stadium, guarded by police in the assembly area where police and military patrols were bringing in busloads of prisoners, the area was covered with people in white coats. I learned afterwards that these were doctors, nurses, and orderlies from one of the main hospitals, where the right-wing heads of the Chilean Medical Association had denounced them and drawn up lists of names to give to the military and have them all arrested on the day of the coup.

Owen Dowling

When you were in the Stadium, were you aware that torture was taking place?

Mike Gatehouse

I was in the sense that the prisoner next to me, who was a Brazilian engineer, was taken out for questioning. They’d found out who he was, he’d worked in one of the metal factories in Santiago, and he was accused ludicrously of fabricating armoured cars to be used by the people against the military. He was taken out, interrogated in the presence of Brazilian intelligence officers, hooded, and beaten around the head with a paddle until he was virtually deaf, then returned to our cell. I don’t know what happened to him afterwards. I suspect he was killed.

People in my cell were not tortured, as far as I knew, but people had been arrested with violence. We were interrogated in a deeply intimidating fashion. The Stadium was divided into segments with passageways. It’s an oval stadium, and there were machine-gun emplacements manned by soldiers. All the soldiers that guarded us were armed. So it was a concentration camp, and it was the atmosphere of being in a concentration camp.

Owen Dowling

As a British citizen, were you personally expecting that sooner or later you would be repatriated, or did you feel no such confidence as to your own fate at that point?

Mike Gatehouse

I suppose I didn’t have any particular expectation [that I would be], and in a sense perhaps not the wish, because I felt such solidarity more widely with Popular Unity and what was happening to the Chilean people, and then with the people in the cell with me. You know, inevitably, I was relieved when I was taken out, but I felt some sense of guilt. And that was increased by being placed in the house of the First Secretary of the British Embassy, a man called Peter Summerscale, who was everything that you could fear or expect in the worst kind of British diplomat: patrician, detached, utterly indifferent to what was going on around him or to the fate of the people of Chile, cynical, saying openly that ‘any fool could see that this is what would happen’, and evincing or showing no sympathy of any kind.

The British Embassy was one of the very few embassies in Santiago that took in not one single person seeking asylum, and although people ran through the British First Secretary’s garden to get over the wall to a more sympathetic embassy premises next door, he himself didn’t accept anyone and indeed agreed with the request of the police to padlock his gate at night and inhibit people from coming in.

Owen Dowling

Where did the Chile Solidarity Campaign in Britain come from?

Mike Gatehouse

Bear in mind that I’d been out of Britain prior to October 1973. I’d been away since 1969 — four years. But there were strong movements in support of Popular Unity [in Britain], there was a lot of interest in the Labour Party and trade unions, and some people had been to Chile. There was a general sense of interest and curiosity, particularly on the left of the Labour Party with the whole idea of this democratically elected but overtly socialist government and the prospects it offered. I don’t think people were necessarily naive in thinking that the Chilean road to socialism could be mechanically applied elsewhere, but I think they thought that it was an extraordinarily optimistic and promising thing, and they were intensely interested in it. And so they had formed several organisations: there was an organisation called Academics For Chile, there was the Association of British-Chilean Friendship, and there were just individuals who’d been to Chile like Dick Barbor-Might [Tribune’s contemporary reporter on Chile, who was detained during the coup]. 

So they began to coalesce in the month after the coup, and meetings were held in the House of Commons. Judith Hart was very much involved, as was Martin Flannery, Eric Heffer, Jo Richardson, Ian Mikardo, Stan Newens, and the whole group of generally progressive left-wing MPs. They brought together trade unionists, whose feelings were equally strong: Jack Jones, the General Secretary of the TGWU, who himself had fought in Spain in the International Brigade; Hugh Scanlon of the AUEW, the engineering workers’ union — those two at the time the largest British trade unions, of immense power and influence. It was rapidly determined to form a solidarity campaign; it would be based around the Labour Party and the trade union movement but also open to Communists and people on the far-left in Britain. And that unity was maintained not without some difficulty but throughout the life of the Campaign, and that was actually kind of a political phenomenon in its own right, arguably mirroring that with which we were in solidarity, i.e., Popular Unity, which was a similarly broad church.

Owen Dowling

You were, with Steve Hart — then secretary of Liberation, and like yourself a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain — one of the two first Joint Secretaries of the Chile Solidarity Campaign. What were the aims of the Campaign as initially devised?

Mike Gatehouse

We sought to bring together the widest possible constituency to protest against the coup. I suppose most of us thought that it would be fairly short-lived, that there would be some kind of return to democracy — how wrong we were. So we began to encourage the affiliation of national trade unions, and then of Labour Party branches, trades councils, Communist Party branches, and student unions, and this grew very rapidly so that we became an organisation of affiliation. 

In a parallel track, people interested in culture and music perceived the importance of Chilean music and organised concerts from the very early days. We were lucky enough to have a woman called Peggy Kesell, who worked at the National Theatre and was a member of the Communist Party but had a whole range of actor, singer, and musician contacts. And so they made the first big concerts that were held with the two big Chilean folk music Popular Unity groups, Inti-Illimani and Quilapayún, and then others, Isabel Parra, and other groups formed, sometimes formed by Chilean exiles as well. So the cultural aspect of the Campaign became very important. Prominent British actors would appear on the stage of the solidarity events: people like Glenda Jackson, Miriam Carlin, Sebastian Graham-Jones, a whole raft of left, progressive, somewhat Hamstead-based but nevertheless genuinely committed people.

Owen Dowling

What was the Campaign’s strategy of engagement with the labour movement?

Mike Gatehouse

Quite early on, the issue of boycotts became relevant and important, although, in truth, there was not a lot the Campaign could do itself on the shop floor because we didn’t have those kinds of contacts. We encouraged and did our best to publicise those boycotts that took place, to encourage others to participate in them, and, once the Labour Party won the election in February 1974, to encourage the Labour Government: a) to admit refugees; b) to give substantial support to them, such as in the World University Service [WUS] scholarship programme; c) to break off diplomatic relations or at least minimise diplomatic relations with Chile; and d) to not send any kind of aid to Chile, to cancel existing arms contracts notably for frigates and submarines.

Owen Dowling

Following on from that, what, in practice, was the Campaign’s relationship with the post-1974 Wilson Labour Government?

Mike Gatehouse

On the whole, it was a relationship much curated, cared for, and nurtured by Judith Hart, who was both genuinely progressive and a very astute political operator. She was Minister of Overseas Development. She obtained the money that Britain had previously paid to Chile as aid to finance the refugee scholarship programme through WUS. She was a very good advisor to the Campaign and brought in not just MPs who were notably on the left, like Eric Heffer, but also a wider tranche of Labour MPs who might have been more cautious.

We had a meeting, for instance, with Edmund Dell, who was Secretary of State for Trade, to try and persuade him not to renegotiate Chile’s foreign debt. We won that campaign, and Britain declined or delayed renegotiating Chile’s foreign debt at what were called the Paris Club meetings.

Owen Dowling

A regular speaker at the annual Chile Solidarity national demonstrations was Allende’s widow, Hortensia Bussi. What was your relationship with her?

Mike Gatehouse

I acted as her interpreter for most of the time and on most of the visits when she came and when she went to meet government ministers: we went to Downing Street to meet Jim Callaghan when he was Prime Minister and David Owen when he was Foreign Minister, and so on. I also, with the Campaign, organised her tours. I had a kind of a personal relationship with her, which as an interpreter, you tend to build up, and I developed an enormous respect for her, because she worked extremely hard. 

She was a woman then in her early sixties with considerable pain from arthritis and spinal problems, but she travelled incessantly and spoke devotedly. But she was also very impressive because she rigidly declined to get involved with sectarian politics within the Chilean left and always insisted that she spoke for the Chilean people and for Popular Unity, not for any individual political party. She was meticulous in her dealings, and I had a great admiration for her.

Owen Dowling

Beyond the practical facilitation of refugee resettlement, what was the relationship between the Campaign and the community of Chilean political exiles that coalesced in Britain?

Mike Gatehouse

Generally, it was very good, and certain key figures on the Chilean left first of all agreed to bury whatever differences [among them] in the interests of maintaining a common front for solidarity, and secondly agreed that the Solidarity Campaign should be similarly broad, and should not divide on sectarian lines. 

There were two main problem areas [on that front]: one was that the left parties, the International Marxist Group and International Socialists, might have divided and gone their own way, because they had profound differences of opinion about the causes of the coup and what should be done about it. Secondly, less well known but I think actually a much greater danger was that the mainstream of the Labour Party, and particularly right-wing elements within that and in the trade union movement, would have moved aside, formed their own [separate] ‘Labour Party Solidarity Campaign’ in solidarity with the Chilean Radical Party through the Socialist International. 

To their great credit, people like Jack Jones and Alex Kitson opposed this; they helped prevent this from happening and helped keep the Campaign united. That was seen again in the [1977] miners’ delegation to Chile by the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), which had a fairly right-wing general secretary Joe Gormley, but nevertheless, he played it very well, very decently. The delegation went, they got to Chile, they behaved impeccably, they went and met with Chilean miners of all political persuasions, they didn’t allow themselves to be coopted by the military in any way, they came back, they wrote an extremely effective and moving pamphlet. And the three actually quite right-wing British miners who’d been on that delegation all were themselves, I think, changed by the experience and went round the country afterwards speaking about Chile in a very moving way.

Owen Dowling

In 1979, after six years as Joint Secretary, you stepped down from the role, remaining involved in the Campaign in other ways. This was also the year of the election in Britain of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. What was the significance of Thatcher’s election for the activities of the Campaign and its messaging?

Mike Gatehouse

It obviously changed the ballgame very rapidly, though I think not perhaps as rapidly as some people feared, because of the lingering influence and significance of the Campaign. So, for instance, Nicholas Ridley, as one of Thatcher’s Foreign Ministers, met with Madame Allende, somewhat to our surprise: I mean, he was pretty cold and unpleasant, but he did meet with her. The refugee programme was curtailed but not altogether stopped. So I think Thatcher trod a little bit warily.

What we perhaps didn’t appreciate at the time, or at least I didn’t, was the depth of the importance of the laboratory experiment in Chile previously to the whole Thatcher political experiment in Britain, the whole monetarism thing. We sort of knew about it but perhaps didn’t understand how deeply it ran, and also that subsequently, that explained Thatcher’s personal relationship and affection for Pinochet when he was arrested, [and that of] figures like Nigel Lawson and others, because they were already deeply committed, ideologically involved, intellectually curious about the whole Chilean experiment. So for them, it was perhaps more fundamental than we understood at the time. 

Someone charted this brilliantly, in what I still think is one of the best analyses of the coup, was Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine: she talks about these links and about the whole way that group of Chicago economists first of all won influence in Chile and then won influence more widely.

Owen Dowling

There is a widespread understanding on the contemporary Left of the significance of the coup against Allende and the institution of the Pinochet regime for the long arc of neoliberalism and the transformations in international capitalism since the 1970s. On the other side of that coin, what is the lasting significance of the Chile Solidarity Campaign for the internationalist left in Britain, and what lessons can be taken from the Campaign for other movements for international justice in Britain today, such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign?

Mike Gatehouse

First of all, I think the importance of internationalism, because the labour movement in Britain way back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, to Chartism and even before, has had an incredibly deep and passionate attachment to internationalism, before Marx even, and certainly as emphasised by Marx to a huge degree. And that tradition lived on right through the 1920s and ‘30s. The Movement for Colonial Freedom, founded by Fenner Brockway and others, Liberation, which was the successor organisation, Vietnam Solidarity, Anti-Apartheid, Chile Solidarity, Nicaragua Solidarity, and others are a part of this tradition. It still exists, but in a very subdued form, and I would say if you look at the Labour Party today, you hear very little in terms of announcements, policies, or even thinking about internationalism. Perhaps I do them an injustice, but my impression is that it just is not there. And that sense of the primordial importance of internationalism — which for God’s sake, if globalisation has taught us anything, it’s that it’s even more important, and yet I find it lacking. So I think the Chile Solidarity Campaign, among others, has an enormous significance in emphasising the value and importance of that.

The second thing I would say is that much of the Left in Britain, certainly the Labour Party, has not yet understood how monetarism operates or what its importance is, why monetarism (or neoliberal economics) is even in terms of capitalism a perversion of capitalism, that all the signs in the world’s economies are that it’s actually not doing well. I hesitate to say it’s on its last legs, but its stuttering, its hesitating, its incapable of dealing, for instance, with climate change — although [capitalists’] own interests are going to be profoundly damaged by it. And yet I fail to find that in the stances of the Labour Party.

The biggest impunity of all that has yet to be addressed in Chile,  here, and elsewhere in the world is the impunity of wealth. Unless and until we learn to attack wealth, reduce wealth, and redistribute wealth, we cannot expect socialism in any shape or form or any variety of progressive politics to have any tenure, any guaranteed standing, or any survivability.

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