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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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Hungary: Connecting the ‘Responsible Roads to Socialism’? The Rise and Fall of a Culture of Chilean Solidarity, 1965-89

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James Mark and Balint Tolmar*

Building on an increasing attraction to Latin American politics, culture, and economics which had been developing since the early 1960s, the rise and demise of Allende’s peaceful and parliamentary road to socialism in Chile in the 1970s sparked great interest amongst hardline and reformist elites, new student movements, and within progressive popular culture in socialist Hungary. During Allende’s rule (1970-73), different groups sought out lessons for their own country’s socialist path in the particularities of the Chilean ‘revolution’, most notably in its rejection of armed struggle, technocratic edge, inspirational culture, and seemingly effective resolution of the tensions between authentic democracy and ambitious socialist transformation. This level of fascination was in many ways strengthened following the Pinochet coup in 1973: the collapse of a Latin American socialist experiment not only gave rise to the last mass solidarity movement which was capable of evoking popular enthusiasm in late socialist Hungary, but also became part of national debates over the future of state socialism in Eastern Europe. At the core of this chapter are a number of hitherto seldom examined themes: the circulation of ideas between different parts of the ‘socialist world’ in the 1960s and 1970s, and the ways in which globally travelling concepts of revolution were domesticated at an elite level, and interpreted, contested, and used within the intellectual and mass culture of a specific socialist country.1

Hungary and Latin America before Chile’s coup

Allende’s democratic assumption of...

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