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European Solidarity with Chile – 1970s – 1980s

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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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West Germany: Professions of Political Faith, the Solidarity Movement and New Left Imaginaries

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Georg Dufner

The so-called Chile solidarity movements in Europe gained most of their momentum and widespread public attention immediately after the violent toppling of the Unidad Popular coalition government on 11 September 1973. The overthrow of Allende was one of the first examples of a broadly documented military coup in the Third World. It was brought to the eyes and ears of an increasingly global audience that was more and more sensible to Latin American developments, and a public that was also increasingly politicized by the contestation movements in the wake of 1968. These movements developed a sense of guilt, obligation, and ensuing sentiment of solidarity with the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial Marxist movements in the Third World. Influenced by these tendencies, notions of Marxism and dependency theory, as well as the more basic elements of indigenist exoticism, were molded together, marking the distinctive imaginary of the time, creating semiotic and aesthetic imaginaries. I will investigate the meaning, creation, and use of these imaginaries in West Germany. Writings on the mobilization for Chile by Western European activists have often focused on activists’ intentions being morally motivated by the struggle for human rights, something for which much has to be said, of course. Yet, here I will also try to critically assess some of its origins and goals, and the overall effectiveness, and its embeddedness in contemporary politics in West Germany.

Initially growing at a very fast pace, the heterogeneous West German Chile solidarity movement soon...

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