Communist Party of Chile

Communist Party of Chile
Communist Party of Chile
Partido Comunista de Chile
Leader Guillermo Teillier
Founded January 2, 1922
Headquarters Vicuña Mackenna 31
Coalition Juntos Podemos Más
Ideology Communism,
International affiliation Sao Paulo Forum
Chamber of Deputies
3 / 120
0 / 38
Local government
4 / 345
Politics of Chile
Political parties

The Communist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Chile) is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1934 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile (Juventudes Comunistas de Chile [abbr:JJ.CC]).

In the last legislative elections in Chile on December 13, 2009, the party won as part of the Concertación/Juntos Podemos Más list 3 out of 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.



Luis Emilio Recabarren, Communist Party of Chile leader and founder (1922 - 1924)
Luis Corvalán, Secretary-General of the PCCh (1958-1990)
Gladys Marín, Secretary-General of the PCCh (1994-2002)

It achieved congressional representation shortly thereafter and played a leading role in the development of the Chilean labor movement. Closely tied to the Soviet Union and the Third International, the PCCh participated in the Popular Front (Frente Popular) government of 1938, growing rapidly among the unionized working class in the 1940s. It then participated to the Popular Front's successor, the Democratic Alliance.

Concern over the PCCh's success at building a strong electoral base, combined with the onset of the Cold War, led to its being outlawed in 1948 by a Radical government, a status it had to endure for almost a decade until 1958 when it was again legalized. By the 1960s, the party had become a veritable political subculture, with its own symbols and organizations and the support of prominent artists and intellectuals such as Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, and Violeta Parra, the songwriter and folk artist.[1] At the time, the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 27 500.[2]

It later came to power along with the Socialist Party in the Unidad Popular ("Popular Unity") coalition in 1970. Within the broad Unidad Popular alliance, the communists sided with Allende, a relative moderate from the Socialist Party, and other more moderate forces of that coalition, supporting more gradual reforms and urging to find a compromise with the Christian Democrats. This line was opposed by more radically leftist factions of the Socialist Party and smaller far-left groups. The party was outlawed after the 1973 coup d'état that deposed President Salvador Allende. Much of the Communist leadership went underground, and for a while the party's moderation continued even after the coup had taken place. Also, it has been argued by Mark Ensalaco[3] that crushing the Communist Party was not a top priority for the military junta. In its first statement after the coup, the party leadership still argued that the coup could succeed because the Unidad Popular was too isolated, due to actions of the 'far-left'. Around 1977, the party changed direction.[4] Communist Party members set up a guerrilla organization, the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front. With the restoration of democracy and the election of a new president in 1990, the Communist Party of Chile was legalized again.

As part of the Popular Unity coalition the PCCh advocated a broad alliance; however, it swung sharply to the left after the 1973 coup, regretting the failure to issue arms to the working class and pursuing an armed struggle against Pinochet's regime. Since the restoration of democracy it has acted independently of its previous partners.

In the 1999/2000 presidential elections the party supported Gladys Marín Millie for the national presidential elections. She won 3.2% of the vote in the first round. At the last legislative elections, 11 December 2005, the party won 5.1% of the popular vote, but as a result of Chile's binomial electoral rules, no seats. The small but significant support of the PCCh is believed to have aided in the electoral victories of former socialist president Ricardo Lagos in the 2000 elections, and in the more recent victory of Chile's first female president, the socialist Michelle Bachelet in January 2006, both of whom won in competitive second round runoffs.

Notable members

  • Camila Vallejo, current president of the Student Federation of the University of Chile
  • Carmelo Soria, Spanish/Chilean UN Diplomat - disappeared
  • David Silberman, General Manager of Chuqui Copper mine during the Popular Unity Government - disappeared.
  • Francisco Coloane, novelist
  • Gladys Marín, party leader until her death in 2005, she filed the first law suite against Pinochet in spain.
  • Julieta Campusano, Chilean senator
  • Luis Corvalán, educator and former Secretary-General.
  • Pablo de Rokha, Chilean poet
  • Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and nobel laureate.
  • Vicente Huidobro, Chilean poet
  • Víctor Jara, theatre director and musician tortured and killed during Pinochet's rule.
  • Violeta Parra, composer, visual artist, folklorist and ethnomusicologist
  • Volodia Teitelboim, lawyer and author.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries: