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European Solidarity with Chile – 1970s – 1980s


Edited By Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris and Magaly Rodríguez García

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and the coming to power of a military regime led by Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973 drew worldwide attention towards Chile. The political repression shook the world and ignited one of the largest social movements of the 1970s and 80s. Hundreds of solidarity committees and a gamut of human rights and justice organizations mobilized thousands of people. This volume offers a compelling insight into the exceptional impact that the Chilean crisis made in Western and Eastern Europe. In doing so, it provides a new and broader perspective into the history of the Cold War, transnational activism, and human rights.
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The United Kingdom: Competing Conceptions of lnternationalism


← 144 | 145 → The United Kingdom: Competing Conceptions of Internationalism

Shirin Hirsch

The Chile Solidarity Campaign (CSC) was launched in September 1973 as an immediate response to the coup by Pinochet, and continued until the democratic transition marked by the first free elections in December 1989. ‘Chile’s fight was our fight,’ the organizers of the CSC explained, and thousands of British citizens would similarly take up this identification.1 Through a range of activities, solidarity activists began to transform the CSC into a high-profile organization that aimed to support the Chilean people against the ravages of the dictatorship and to work ‘with all people concerned about the situation in Chile in an attempt to isolate the military junta.’2 This chapter addresses the different forms that this declared internationalism took within the CSC. While collective resistance had for several years been crushed within the boundaries of the nation-state under the conditions of the military junta and was only to break through again in Chile in the 1980s when protest started to swell, a plethora of citizens and organizations abroad formed a groundswell to support the Chilean people under the dictatorship. In Britain, this created a single solidarity organization which brought dimensions of unity to the mobilization, contrasting with the more loosely organized solidarity movements of other European countries that lacked such an umbrella organization. Despite this relative organizational unity within Britain, there were also serious ideological tensions as to what form ‘solidarity’ would take, and how to respond...

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