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Conversations with Allende: Socialism in Chile

The election in Chile of the Marxist leader of the Socialist Party, Salvador Allende, to the presidency in October 1970 inaugurated a political situation unique in Latin America and of world-wide significance. Allende’s Popular Unity coalition embraced Socialists and Communists and campaigned on an election programme of unprecedented radicalism – nothing less than the abolition of monopoly capitalism and imperialism in Chile. In this book Régis Debray, recently released from his Bolivian gaol, questions President Allende about his strategy for socialism. These discussions range widely over the history of the workers’ movement in Chile, the strength of imperialism in Latin America, the experience of the first months of the Allende government, the role of the Chilean armed forces, Allende’s personal background and friendship with Che Guevara, the seizure of land by peasants since the Popular Unity victory, and the international outlook of the new Chile. In an introductory essay Debray furnishes an analysis of Chilean history and politics which situates Allende in the past and present of the country, and explores the dynamics of the class struggle now unfolding there.

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  • Macron, or the coronation of America: A conversation with Régis Debray

    The fact that Macron adopts this position is a reflex, it is not something he has thought about doing. Everyone is the child of their own time and the circles they move in. That is the cost of his youth: for this generation has known nothing other than the hegemony of American visuals, an unconscious domination that has become like second nature. And the Finance Inspectorate, or banking is also a mental ecosystem in which the United States, the parent company, takes the code name "globalisation."

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  • The desire for a leader

    Sophie Wahnich's reflection on the first round of the French presidential election was first published in L’Obs on 27 April. 



    What I take from the campaign and the result on 23 April is French people’s increasingly powerful desire for a leader. The three figures who dominated the debates expressed this same aspiration: Marine Le Pen, of course, but also Emmanuel Macron, acting solo against the parties, and finally Jean-Luc Mélenchon, even if he claims not to be doing so.

    This aspiration to be led by a powerful incarnating figure is a worrying one. For the people crying out for this are often the same ones who often refuse themselves to engage in the invention of the society of tomorrow. The desire for a leader often goes hand-in-hand with a refusal to take responsibility. Certainly, the presidential election encourages this. In my view, this desire is a symptom of the present day world, and is not specific to France.

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  • Let’s lose interest in elections, once and for all!

    This text by Alain Badiou first appeared on the Mediapart blog. Translated by David Broder.



    I understand the bitterness of those remonstrating after the first round of the elections, particularly those left disappointed by Mélenchonism. That said, whatever they do, or say, there was no particular aberration, no swindle, in this vote.

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Other books by Régis Debray