Socialist Party of Chile

Socialist Party of Chile
Socialist Party of Chile
Partido Socialista de Chile
Leader Osvaldo Andrade
Founded April 19, 1933 (1933-04-19)
Headquarters París 873, Santiago de Chile
Coalition Concert of Parties for Democracy
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Democratic socialism[2][3]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International and the Sao Paulo Forum
Chamber of Deputies
12 / 120
5 / 38
Local government
30 / 345
Politics of Chile
Political parties

The Socialist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Socialista de Chile, or PS) is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973. Twenty-seven years later, the President of Chile Ricardo Lagos Escobar represented the Socialist Party in the 1999 presidential elections. He won 48.0 % in the first round and was elected with 51.3 % in the second round. In the last legislative elections on December 16, 2001, the party won as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy 10 out of 117 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 5 out of 38 elected seats in the Senate. This changed at the 2005 elections to 15 and 8. In the 2009 elections, it won 11 congress seats and 5 senate seats.

Socialist Michelle Bachelet Jeria won the 2005 Presidential election. She was the first female president of Chile until 2010, when Sebastián Piñera became President.



The Socialist Party of Chile was co-founded on April 19, 1933 by Colonel Marmaduque Grove, who had already led several governments, Oscar Schnake, Carlos Alberto Martínez, future President Salvador Allende, and other personalities. After the Chilean coup of 1973 it was proscribed (along with the other leftist parties constituting the Popular Unity coalition) and split itself in several groups that would not reunite until after the return to civilian rule in 1990.

The socialist thought in Chile goes back in the middle of the 19th century, when Francisco Bilbao and Santiago Arcos Arlegui raised the speech of the equality in Chilean society. These ideas took force in the labour movement at the beginning of the 20th century and the communist, anarchist, socialist, and mutualist ideals were diffused through the writing and leaders as the Luis Emilio Recabarren. On the other hand, the impact of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia gave new impulses to the revolutionary movements, that in the twenties they were identified with the world communist movement, arising the Communist Party of Chile.

The Great Depression of 1930 submerged the popular sectors and media of the country in a serious crisis that carried them to empathize with the socialist ideas, being expressed in the establishment of the brief Socialist Republic of Chile in 1932. The idea to found a political party that to join with the different movements that were identified with the socialism crystallized in the foundation of the Socialist Party of Chile, April 19, 1933. In this way, in the Mountain street 150, they concurred: 14 delegates of the Socialist Marxist Party conducted by Eduardo Rodriguez Mazer; 18 of the New Public Action, headed by the lawyer Eugenio Matte Stolen; 12 delegates of the Socialist Order, whose main exponent was the architect Arturo Bianchi Gundian; and 26 representatives of the Revolutionary Socialist Action of Oscar Schnake for protocolize the Minutes of Foundation, his Program of Immediate Action and to elect his first executive Secretary General, Oscar Schnake.

Its Statement of Principles (statements) was:

The Socialist Party adopts as method of interpretation of the reality the marxism, enriched and rectified by all contribute them scientists of the constant one to occur social. The state of capitalist exploitation based on the private property of the land, of the instruments of production, of change, of credit and of transportation, necessarily should be replaced for an economic socialist in which said state private property be transformed into collective. The production socialized is organized, according to a scientific planning, for the benefit of all the community and the distribution is carried out according to the collective needs and not with end of gain or private benefit. During the process of total transformation of the system (capitalist), is necessary the action of a representative revolutionary government of the manual and intellectual workers. The new socialist state only can be born of the initiative and of the revolutionary action of the laborious masses. The socialist doctrine is of international character and requires a supportive action and coordinated with the workers of the world. To carry out this advanced the Socialist Party will support the economic unit and politics of the towns of Latin America for arrive at the Confederacy of the Socialist Republics of the Continent, as first step toward the World Confederation. The socialism fight by obtaining, as first phase of its action, the establishment of a state that draw the general lines of a restructures economic-social tending toward developing the productive forces, to surpass the cultural, technical, and social delay, and to eliminate the economic subordination.[citation needed]

The party quickly obtained popular support. Its partisan structure exhibits since the start some singularities, such as the creation of "brigades" that groups their militants according to environment of activity; brigades that live together next to the organic that its militant youths are given grouped in the Confederacy of the Socialist Youth, or the women, organized in the Confederacy of Socialist Women. In the second half of the years 30 they enter al parted the "Left Communist", conformed by a sector splits of the Communist Party of Chile, headed by Manuel Noble Plaza and comprising the journalist Oscar Waiss, the lawyer Tomás Chadwick and the first secretary of the POS, Ramón Sepúlveda Loyal, among others.

In 1934 the Socialists, along with the Radical-Socialist Party and the Democratic Party constituted the "Block of Left" (or Left-Wings' Cartel). In the first parliamentary election that participates (March 1937) obtains 22 representatives (19 representatives and 3 senators), among them its Secretary general Oscar Schnake Vergara, elected senator of Tarapacá-Antofagasta, being placed by the PS in a noticeable place inside the political conglomerates of the epoch. For the 1938 presidential election, the PS participated in the formation of the Popular Front, withdrawing its presidential candidate, the colonel Marmaduque Grove, and supporting the Radical Party's candidate, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, who narrowly defeated the right-wing candidate following an attempted coup by the National Socialist Movement of Chile. In the government of Aguirre Cerda the socialists obtained the Ministries of Public Health, Forecast and Social Assistance, given to Salvador Allende, the Minister of Promotion, trusted to Oscar Schnake, and the Ministers of Lands and Colonization, handed out to Rolando Merino.

The participation of the Socialist Party in the government of Aguirre Cerda finished on December 15, 1940, due to internal conflicts among the Popular Front coalition, in particular with the Communist Party. In the parliamentary elections of March 1941 the PS advanced outside of the Popular Front and obtained 17,9% of the votes, 17 representatives and 2 senators. However, the PS integrated the new left-wings' coalition following Cerda's death, now named Democratic Alliance, which supported the candidacy of the Radical Juan Antonio Ríos, who was triumphally elected. The Socialists participated in his cabinet, alongside Radicals, members of the Democratic Party and of the Liberal Party and even of the Falange. Oscar Schnake occupied again the post of Promotion and the socialist Pedro Populate you Edge and Eduardo Squire Forrastal assumed the positions of Lands and Colonization and Salubriousness, Forecasting and Social Assistance, respectively.

Due to this hesitancy, the youth of the party assumed a very critical attitude, which caused the expulsion of all the Central Committee of the FJS, among them Raúl Vásquez (its secretary general), Raúl Ampuero, Mario Palestro and Carlos Briones. This situation accentuated the differences in the interior of the community. In the IX Congress of the PS of the year 1943 Salvador Allende displaced the General Office of the secretary to Marmaduque Grove and withdrew his party from the government of Ríos. Grove did not accept this situation, and was expelled from the PS and the Authentic Socialist Party. These conflicts caused, in the parliamentary elections of March 1945, the PS to descend violently to only 7% of the votes, diminishing significantly its parliamentary strength.

After World War II

There was complete confusion in the Socialist Party for the presidential election of 1946. The PS decided to raise its own candidate; its secretary general Bernardo Ibáñez. However, many militants supported the radical candidate Gabriel González Videla, while the Authentic Socialist Party of Grove stopped supporting the conservative Eduardo Cruz Coke.

After the failure of the candidacy of Ibáñez (who obtained barely a 2.5% of the votes), the purges continued. In the XI Ordinary Congress the current "revolution" of Raúl Ampuero was imposed and he assigned to academic Eugenio González the making of the Program of the Socialist Party which defined its north; the Democratic Republic of Workers.

The promulgation, in 1948, of the Law 8.987 "Law of Defense of the Democracy" that banned the communists, was again a factor of division among the socialists. Bernardo Ibáñez, Oscar Schnake, Juan Bautista Rosseti and other anticommunist socialists supported it with enthusiasm; while the board of directors of the party directed by Raúl Ampuero and Eugenio González rejected it. The anticommunist group of Ibáñez was expelled from the PS and they constituted the Socialist Party of the Workers; nevertheless the Conservative of the electoral Roll assigned to the group of Ibáñez the name Socialist Party of Chile, forcing the group of Ampuero to adopt the name Popular Socialist Party.

The Socialist Popular Party proclamation, in its XIV Congress, carried out in Chillán in May 1952, as its presidential standard bearer to Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, despite the refusal of the senators Salvador Allende and Tomás Chadwick. Allende abandoned the party and united the Socialist Party of Chile, which, as a group with the Communist Party (outlawed), raised the candidacy of Allende for the Front of the People. The triumph of Ibáñez permitted the popular socialists to have important departments such as that of Work (Clodomiro Almeyda) and Estate (Felipe Herrera).

After the parliamentary elections of 1953; where the Socialist Popular Party obtained 5 senators and 19 representatives, the popular socialists abandoned the government of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and proclaimed the need to establish a Front of Workers, in conjunction with the Democratic Party of the People, the socialists of Chile and the outlawed communists.

Finally, on March 1, 1956, the two socialist parties (Socialist Party of Chile and Socialist Popular Party), the Party of the Workers (communist outlawed), Democratic Party of the People and the Democratic Party all signed the minutes of constitution of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP) with Salvador Allende Gossens as the president of the coalition, which participated successfully in the municipal elections of April 1956.

After the parliamentary elections of March 1957 the "Congress of Unit" was carried to power, formed from the Popular Socialist Party directed by Rául Ampuero and the Socialist Party of Chile of Salvador, directed by Allende Gossens. These chose the secretary general of the unified Socialist Party; Salomón Corbalán.

July 31, 1958 the Law of Permanent Defense of the Democracy was derogated by the National Congress, therefore the ban of the Communist Party was repealed. In the presidential elections of 1958, the standard bearer of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP), the socialist Salvador Allende, lost the presidential election narrowly to Jorge Alessandri. In spite of the loss, the unification of the socialist parties had a new leader, and Chile was one of the few countries of the world in which a Marxist had clear possibilities to win the presidency of the Republic through democratic elections.

The overwhelming triumph of Eduardo Frei Montalva over the candidate of the FRAP Salvador Allende Gossens in the presidential elections of September 1964 caused demoralization among the followers of the "Chilean way to the socialism". The National Democratic Party (PADENA) abandoned the coalition of left; and the influence of the Cuban revolution and above all of the "guerrilla way of Ernesto Guevara" they were left to feel the heart of the Socialist Party. The discrepancies of the party were perceived clearly. In July from 1967 the senators Raúl Ampuero and Tomás Chadwick and the representatives Ramón Silva Ulloa, Eduardo Osorio Pardo and Oscar Naranjo Arias were expelled, and founded the Popular Socialist Union (USOPO).

In the XXII Congress that took place in Chillán in November 1967, the political line was radicalized, as favoured by political line was made, favored by Carlos Altamirano Orrego and the leader of the Rural Confederation Ranquil. The party now officially adhered to Marxism-Leninism, declared itself in favour of revolutionary, anticapitalist and anti-imperialist changes.[4]

The Popular Unity government

In the year 1969, the skepticism for the "Chilean way to the socialism" was the majority in the Central Committee of the PS. Salvador Allende Gossens was proclaimed presidential preliminary candidate of its party with 13 votes in favor and 14 abstentions, among them that of its secretary general, Aniceto Rodriguez, of Carlos Altamirano Orrego and of Clodomiro Almeyda Medina. Nevertheless, the candidacy of Allende galvanized the forces of left, who constituted, in October 1969, the Popular Unity coalition of the Socialist Party, Communist Party, Radical Party, Popular Unitary Action Movement (split of the Christian Democrat Party) and former supporters of Carlos Ibáñez grouped in the Independent Popular Action alliance, that culminated with the presidential triumph of September 1970.

October 24, 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens was officially proclaimed President of the Republic of Chile. There was world expectation; he agreed to manage the coalition and to be a Marxist president with the explicit commitment to build socialism, while respecting the democratic and institutional mechanisms.

The position of the PS at first,, of the government of the UP, was radicalized with the choice of the party's direction, chosen in the XXIII Congress, carried out in the Serene One in January 1971, by the senator Carlos Altamirano Orrego; who proclaimed that the party he should transform into "the Chilean vanguard in the march toward the socialism".

In the municipal elections of April 1971, the leftist coalition reached the simple majority in the election of managers, which caused growing polarization due to the alliance of the Christian Democrats with the sectors of the right in the country. The retreat of the Party of Radical Left from the government, with its 6 representatives and 5 senators, meant that the government of Allende remained with less than one third of both houses of the parliament.

1973 election poster for PS candidate Fidelma Allende. Slogan reads 'Against the Black Market - Forward with the Socialists'.

In the parliamentary elections of March 1973, the Popular Unity ruler coalition managed to block the initiative of the opposing Democratic Confederation to promote a constitutional accusation against the president Allende, to obtain this two thirds of the votes would have been required.

The Socialist Party under Pinochet

Nevertheless, the serious economic problems that faced the government deepened the political division of the country. The Socialist Party, that had achieved its better historic voting, was opposed, along with MAPU, to any dialogue with the right-wing opposition. On September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet led the military coup against Allende's government, putting an end to the Presidential Republic Era started in 1924. President Salvador Allende refused to give the power to the Armed Forces, and committed suicide in its office of the Palace of La Moneda, submitted to an intense air bombardment.[citation needed]

The coup d'état was devastating for the organization of the Chilean Socialist Party. Within a few weeks of the coup; 4 members of their Central Committee and 7 regional secretaries of the PS had been murdered. Other 12 members of their Central Committee were imprisoned, while the remainder members took refuge in various foreign embassies. Its secretary general, Carlos Altamirano, managed to escape from Chile appearing in Havana on January 1, 1974, during the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

The lack of experience in the subterranean work during the ban produces the break-up of the Secret Direction of the Party. The secret services of the military state infiltrate and one to one are persons under arrest their main leaders; Exequiel Ponce Vicencio, Carlos Lorca Tobar, Ricardo Lagos Salinas and Víctor Zerega Ponce. Their bodies have never been found.

Other victims of the repression are the former home Secretary, José Tohá González and the former Minister of National Defense, Orlando Letelier del Solar. Slowly the self-critical analysis of the consequences of the rout of the Popular Unit, united to the experience of the refugees in the "real socialisms" of Eastern Europe, al permanent contact with the western European social democracy and to the strategy to continue against the regime of Pinochet causes deep dissents al interior of its exterior organization, whose central direction was in the German Democratic Republic.

In April 1979, in the Third Full Exterior one, the majority sector of the party, names to Clodomiro Almeyda as new secretary general, to Galo Gómez like the undersecretary; and expels of the party to Carlos Altamirano, to Jorge Arrate, to Jaime Suaréz, to Luis Meneses and to Erich Schnake under the charges to be "representative elements of the unpleasant aftertaste of a past in trance of beating and that testify the survival Implacable and resistant al development qualitatively superior of an authentic revolutionary vanguard".

Altamirano does not accept is situation, declares the re-organization of the party and calls to a Congress. The XXIV Congress is carried out in France in 1980 and in the; Altamirano declares: "Only the rigorous and very deep renewal of definitions and proposals of action, of lenguage, of style and methods of" to do politics" will do cash our revolutionary action (..) It does not it oblige us "to relaunch" the Socialist Party of Chile. It signifies, yes, "to renew it", to understand it as ours more precious instrument of change, like an option to be able, as an alternative of transformation"

In the 1980s decade the socialist factions revived as opposing assets al government of Pinochet. A sector; that of the calls "socialist renewed", case the "Socialist Convergence", alliance to which concur the Movement of Unit Popular Action, the MAPU Working Rural and the Christian Left and search, as a group with the Christian Democracy, through "methods not rupturistas" the term of the dictatorship. The other sector (majority among the socialist militants of the interior of the country) promulgates, for equal end, as a group with the Communist Party, the Movement of Revolutionary Left and the Radical Party of Anselmo Sule, the line of that of popular rebellion". After the First Day of National Protest against the state of Pinochet, occurred May 11, 1983, the activities of the different factions of the Socialist Party intensify.

The Socialist Party XXIV Congress (or "renewed"), directed by Ricardo Ñúnez concurs to the foundation of the Democratic Alliance, coalition of democrats-Christian, radicals of Forest Cimma, and sectors of the republican and democratic right, which calls to the National Protest Day Quarter (August 11, 1983) and favorable, in September 1983, the formation of the Block Socialist, first intent of unification of the low, Chilean socialism Democracy Now!.

In the meantime the Socialist Party "Almeyda", as a group with the Communist Party, radicals of Aníbal Palm and the Movement of Revolutionary Left found September 6, 1983 the "Popular Democratic Movement" (MDP), which calls to the Fifth Day of National Protest.

The signing of the National Accord to the end of August 1985, between the Democratic Alliance and sectors of related right al military state deepens the division of the Chilean left. Al gradualist focus of transition toward the democracy is opposed the way political-soldier of the most radicalized sectors, whose main exponent is the Patriotic Front Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR).

Al PS "renewed", now directed by Carlos Briones, adds him themselves the MAPU-OC, whose main figures are Jaime Gazmuri, Jorge Molina and Jaime Estévez.

In September 1986, the way political-soldier of the "national uprising" finally is aborted after the failure from the "Operation 20th century", like al is known I try of murder of Pinochet on the part of the FPMR. The own PS-Almeyda begins to take distance of the Communist Party, al to consider some of its main leaders, among them Germán Correa Díaz, Luciano Valle Acevedo and Ricardo Solari, that the idea of the overthrow of the dictatorship is an unfeasible strategy.

In this way is imposed in the socialist left the tendency that a "negotiated exit" al conflict does not be able found al margin of the conditions created by the Constitution of 1980.

In March 1987, Clodomiro Almeyda enters secretly to Chile and is presented before the justice to normalize its situation. The socialist leader is deported to Chile Chico, condemned and despoiled of his civic rights.

In April 1987, Ricardo Núñez, new leader of the socialism "renewed" announces in the 54° Anniversary of the PS: "To Pinochet do not we be going to remove him of the political setting by the weapons, we shall defeat Him in the ballot boxes (..) Ourselves are convinced that the town is going to stop to Pinochet through the ballot boxes. That we are going to build that army of seven million citizens to face the different alternatives of the Chilean political panorama".

In December from 1987 the socialism renewed founds the Party by the Democracy, a party "instrumental" that serve as tool to supply legally to the democratic forces for participate in the Plebiscite of 1988 and in the subsequent elections. It is appointed to Ricardo Lakes as their president and upon they adhering some radicals, dissident communists, and even democratic liberals.

In February 1988 is formed the Concertación de Partidos por el No (Coalition of Parties for the No), to which they adhere 17 parties and Chilean political movement, among them the ones that formed the Democratic Alliance, the PS-Almeyda and the Christian Left. The political direction of the campaign falls in the Christian Democrat leader Patricio Aylwin and in the socialist one Ricardo Lakes, which culminates existosamente with the results of the Plebiscite of October 5, 1988, where near the 56% of the votes valid emitted they reject the idea that Pinochet will continue as the President of the Republic.

After the plebiscite of October 1988, the Coalition of Parties for Democracy requires a constitutional reform that eliminate the "authoritarian enclaves" of the Constitution of 1980.

This aspiration of the democratic opposition partly is received by the authoritarian government by means of the Plebiscite of July 30, 1989, where 54 reforms to the Constitution are approved in force, among them the revocation of the controversial article 8°, which served of base for the exclusion of the political life of the socialist leader Clodomiro Almeyda.

In November from 1988 the PS-Almeyda, the Christian Left and the Communist Party, among others organizations of left create a party "instrumental" called Amplies Party of Socialist Left (PAIS), with Luis Maira as the president and Ricardo Solari like secretary general.

The Concertacion

In May 1989, the PS "renewed" carried out (in an unpublished fact in the history of the Chilean socialism) internal elections by secret ballot of its membership throughout the country. The list was composed of Jorge Arrate and Luis Alvarado, besides the competitive lists of Erich Schnake and Akím Soto; and of Heraldo Muñoz (this last one supported by the internal tendency of Ricardo Lagos).

The winning list of Jorge Arrate represented the tendency of the "socialist renewal", follower of a permanent alliance with the Christian Democracy in the framework of the Coalition, as he was a firm champion of the unification of the party, to the opposition of the other internal currents, more excépticas in this last matter. They finalized the elections in the XXV Congress, that was carried out in the locality of Costa Azul, and in which the transcendental decision for the Chilean socialism was taken to abandon its traditional isolationism and incorporate the International Socialist.

In June 1989, the Coalition appointed the Christian democrat Patricio Aylwin as its standard bearer for the presidential elections. Aylwin had imposed, in the internal elections of its party, to the preliminary candidates Gabriel Valdés and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and received, in the few weeks before its election, the support of the radicals of Silva Cimma and of the own one PS-Almeyda. Finally the PS-Arrate (or "renewed") low to its candidate Ricardo Lagos and adds to the candidacy whose was one of the main adversaries of the government of the Popular Unity, being president of the Christian Democratic Party.

The candidacy of Aylwin is imposed easily in the presidential elections of 1989, gaining more than the 55% of the votes valid. This position was strengthened as 16 representatives of the Party were elected, 13 of whom were militants of the PS-Arrate. In matter of senators, three of their militants were chosen (Ricardo Núñez Muñoz, Jaime Gazmuri and Hernán Vodanovic), but there was regret over the rout of Ricardo Lagos in his candidacy of Santiago West.

The PS-Almeyda obtained a total of 7 representatives, two of them chosen via Amplied Party of the Socialist Left and 5 of them chosen as independent in the ready Coalition. In matter of senators, Rolando Calderon Aránguiz was chosen by Magallanes.

The fall of the wall of Berlin, which occurred November 9, 1989, affected deeply the Chilean left, especially in its more orthodox sector, which accelerated the process of unity of the party, which itself strengthened December 27, 1989. This opportunity incorporated itself to the PS Unified the Movement of Unit Popular Action, headlined by Oscar Guillermo Garretón.

Between the 22 and November 25, 1990 the Savior Unit Congress Allende was carried out , where itself incorporated historic leaders as Raúl Ampuero and Aniceto Rodriguez and the Christian Left headed by its president Luis Maira and its two representatives (Sergio Aguiló and Jaime Naranjo). In that Congress Jorge Arrate MacNiven was chosen as the president, Ricardo Núñez Muñoz as vice president and Manuel Almeyda Medina as secretary general.

The first challenges for the unified socialism were the exercise of power and the relation of "double membership" that had the "socialist renewed" in the PS and in the Party for Democracy. Finally, the Socialist Party decided to be recorded under its name and symbols in the electoral rolls and gave a time limit to its militants of two years to opt for the PS or the PPD. A prominent number of socialists "renewed" did not return; among them Erich Schnake, Sergio Bitar, Guido Girardi, Jorge Molina, Vicente Sotta, Víctor Barrueto and Octavio Jara.

In power; the socialist Enrique Correa (as the minister General Secretary of Government), Carlos Ominami (Economy), Germán Correa (Transportation), Ricardo Lakes and Jorge Arrate MacNiven (Education) and Luis Alvarado (National Goods) integrated the cabinets of the Patrician president Aylwin, while in the Camera (House) of Representatives the socialist José Antonio Viera-Gallo and Jaime Estevéz exercised its presidency.

In the elections of 1992, Germán Strap was chosen as president of the PS, supported by the sector "renewed" of Ricardo Núñez Muñoz and the fraction "tercerista" of the almeydismo, who imposes on themselves the candidacy of Camilo Escalona, Clodomiro Almeyda and Jaime Estevez, who represent an alliance between the traditional supporters of Clodomiro Almeyda and a faction of the "renewed" of Jorge Arrate MacNiven.

Presidents elected under Socialist Party of Chile

See also


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