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      Fifty years after Popular Unity: Chile’s estallido social in historical context

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          Abstract

          In this article, the co-editors introduce key themes and contributions of this special issue of Radical Americas, particularly as they pertain to the 50th anniversary of Chile’s Popular Unity revolution (1970–3) and the more recent estallido social (social uprising), which began in Santiago de Chile in October 2019. They underline the historical context for contemporary events, arguing the need to recognise the influence, memory and significance of the past in the present.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Collective trauma, feminism and the threads of popular power: A personal and political account of Chile’s 2019 social awakening

          Chile’s 2019 uprising marked a moment of social awakening for many Chileans, recasting historical memory tropes and shattering the fear of collective action internalised during the years of dictatorial rule (1973–90). This article explores the political legacies of the Popular Unity period (1970–3) made apparent during the 2019 uprising and the popular movement that emerged in its wake. It also centres on the Chilean feminist movement, its historic role as a political force in Chilean politics and how a new feminist discourse became the necessary preamble to Chile’s 2019 social awakening. Lastly, this study describes the sprouting of a neighbourhood assembly movement within days after the 18 October 2019 uprising, its role in rearticulating politics from below and its alignment with the feminist movement, culminating in mass participation in the 8 March 2020 feminist strike. This article places personal and familial accounts in conversation with scholarly works, utilising the 2019 uprising as a lens to revisit the historical past within the onward moving historical present.
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            The Chilean counter-revolution: Roots, dynamics and legacies of mass mobilisation against the Unidad Popular

            The election of Salvador Allende and the Unidad Popular (Popular Unity) in 1970 unleashed a radical and original revolutionary process, discernible not only in the depth of its redistributive measures and the expectations it generated, but also in the ferocity with which those who identified with the counter-revolutionary ideal responded to that project. The counter-revolution, initially confined to the conservative and reactionary sectors, in a matter of months became an immense mass mobilisation that would end up paving the way for the military coup. This article analyses that counter-revolutionary process, exploring its historic roots, the main actors involved and the innovations in political practices it developed at the time. The ‘counter-revolutionary bloc’ was formed by a diverse array of political and social actors – some of whom did not have previous experience in political mobilisations – who based their actions on the adoption and socialisation of a long-standing anti-Communist script, through which they could make sense of the period’s changing reality. That script – based on decades of taking in events from other parts of the world, elaborations and accusations against all those who identified as Communists – aimed to reduce the originality of the Unidad Popular’s political project to a remake of classic socialist experiences in Chilean territory and processed in a dystopian key. The counter-revolution’s power would be projected into the military dictatorship that began in 1973, when it became a sort of official state ideology, and it would become a foundational experience for Chilean conservative sectors with reverberations even in in the present.
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              Movements in dialogue

               Mario Garcés Durán (corresponding) ,  Peter A.S. Winn (corresponding) (2021)
              In this interview, historians Mario Garcés Durán and Peter Winn discuss the emergence of the estallido social , or social uprising, that began in Santiago de Chile in October 2019 and quickly spread throughout the country. The two historians also consider connections between past and present, in particular the legacies of the Popular Unity revolution (1970–3), in which both were active participants.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                RA
                Radical Americas
                UCL Press
                2399-4606
                01 June 2021
                : 6
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
                [2 ]Associate Professor, Department of International History, London School of Economics, London, UK
                [3 ]Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Article
                RA-6-14
                10.14324/111.444.ra.2021.v6.1.014
                © 2021, Joshua Frens-String, Tanya Harmer and Marian Schlotterbeck.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ra.2021.v6.1.014.

                Page count
                Pages: 6
                Categories
                Editorial
                Custom metadata
                Frens-String, J., Harmer, T., Schlotterbeck, M. ‘Fifty years after Popular Unity: Chile’s estallido social in historical context’. Radical Americas 6, 1 (2021): 14. DOI: 10.14324/111.444.ra.2021.v6.1.014.

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                Radical Americas
                Volume 6, Issue 1

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