State and Capitalism: The Coup in Chile


  1. The Coup in Chile” by Ralph Miliband
  2. Interview with Álvaro García Linera, “In Moments of Crisis, Behind Every Moderate Liberal, There’s a Fascist”


  1. In groups of two, discuss and create a mind map or sketch of the following question: “What is the state”?
  2. Can “the state” serve the interests of the working class? Discuss, making sure to analyze concrete examples of either side of the argument.  
  3. The coup in Chile occurred as electoral support for Allende was on the rise. Allende’s coalition won 36 percent in 1970 and 43 percent in 1973, and a coup occurred. 
    1. Marx writes about the difference between the “right to rule” and the “power to rule”. What does this mean? 
    2. Why is this distinction important as we think and organize towards a possible Bernie presidency? 
  4. Many factors were pushing against the socialist project in Chile. For one, there was a US-pushed embargo on Chilean copper. Second, the US government successfully pressured the World Bank to refuse loans and credit to Chile. What are some of the other factors listed by Milliband? Put otherwise, what does the case of Chile teach us in terms of the challenges to a socialist government within a capitalist state apparatus? To start answering these questions, you may want to consider the following:
    1. What is the role of the military in a capitalist state? 
    2. What is the role of coercion in managing or furthering class struggle? Why is thinking about this question important to how we plan for a successful transition to socialism?
    3. What is the role of:
      1. the police? 
      2. government administration? 
      3. parliament? 
      4. courts? 
    4. What does this mean for our socialist strategy?