Revolutionary Space: Cordon Industrial Vicuna Mackenna and the Chilean Road to Socialism, 1972-1973

Scott, Nicholas, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Klubock, Thomas, AS-History, University of Virginia

In November 1972, a document entitled “The Manifesto of Cordón Vicuña Mackenna” appeared in the Socialist press of Santiago, Chile. The Manifesto appeared alongside the creation of a new form of revolutionary labor organization known as the Cordones Industriales (industrial belts). The workers of the Santiago Cordones argued that they should be organized, and cooperate, geographically rather than by trade and/or industry. This thesis unpacks Cordón Vicuña Mackenna’s attempts to instantiate socialism on the local level through a close reading of its Manifesto and the direct actions undertaken in its name. In doing so, it intervenes in the historiographical debate about the relationship between the Cordones and the Chilean Revolution. By drawing attention to the local definitions and practices of socialism in Vicuña Mackenna, this paper challenges the historiographical trend of analyzing such practices within the framework of state economic planning. Drawing on a range of sources including labor archives, press, and sociological studies undertaken by a team from the Catholic University, I argue that the residents of nearby poblaciónes (shantytowns) infused local factory struggles in the Cordón, which largely revolved around wages and workplace conditions, with a new ideology of popular justice. This new vision empowered individuals to reprioritize the production and distribution of basic necessities in order to fulfill the Manifesto’s demand for a dignified life.

MA (Master of Arts)
Cordones Industriales, Vicuña Mackenna, Popular Unity, Chile
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