Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 12: Paternalism, Taylorism, socialism: the Battle for Production in the Chilean textile industry, 1930–1973
Under the socialist Popular Unity (UP) government of Salvador Allende that ruled Chile from November 1970 to the military coup of General Pinochet of 11 September 1973, the country’s workers engaged in a ‘Battle for Production’, a campaign for vigilance and resolve in the factories against sabotage and efforts by domestic and foreign capital to limit supplies of primary materials and machinery. Pursued most vigorously by the country’s communist party, the Battle for Production marks the culmination of the formation of the working class as a political subject. Workers interpreted it as a mandate not just to protect their workplaces, but also to defend past gains and demand an extension of nationalization and liberation from the stranglehold on the economy by foreign capital. In addition, the campaign fuelled a drive to expand nascent forms of worker control in the ‘industrial belts’ (cordones industriales). Thus the Battle for Production came to symbolize the radicalization of a working class seeking to transform both their workplaces and the political order.
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