Communist Party of Chile

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Communist Party of Chile
Partido Comunista de Chile
Leader Guillermo Teillier
Founded January 2, 1922
Headquarters Vicuña Mackenna 31
Santiago
Newspaper El Siglo
Youth wing Juventudes Comunistas de Chile (JJCC)
Coalition New Majority
Membership  (2009) 46,792 (8th)[1]
Ideology Communism,
Marxism–Leninism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Sao Paulo Forum
Colours Red and Yellow
Chamber of Deputies
6 / 120
Senate
0 / 38
Website
http://www.pcchile.cl/
Party flag
Flag of the Communist Party of Chile.svg
Politics of Chile
Political parties
Elections

The Communist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Chile) is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1932 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile (Juventudes Comunistas de Chile [abbr:JJ.CC]).

In the 2013 legislative elections the party won as part of the New Majority list 6 out of 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

History[edit]

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

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.[2] At the time, the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 27 500.[3]

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[4] 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.[5] 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 2005 legislative election, 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.

Currently, the PCCh is a member of “New Majority” (Spanish: Nueva Mayoría), a leftist coalition led by Michelle Bachelet.

Leaders[edit]

General Secretary Tenure President Tenure
Ramón Sepúlveda Leal 1922–? Elijah Lafferte 1956–1961
Luis A. González ?–? Dissolved 1961–2002
Galvarino Gil ?–? Gladys Marín 2002–2005
Maclovio Galdames ?–? Guillermo Teillier 2005–present
José Santos Zavala ?–?
Isaias Iriarte ?–1929
Carlos Contreras Labarca 1931–1946
Ricardo Fonseca 1946–1948
Oyarzun Galo González 1948–1958
Luis Corvalán 1958–1990
Volodia Teitelboim 1990–1994
Gladys Marín 1994–2002
Guillermo Teillier 2002–2005
Lautaro Carmona 2005–present

Electoral performance[edit]

Keys
Election Chamber of Deputies Senate Presidential
No. of votes  % of votes Seats No. of votes  % of votes Seats Year Nominee No. of votes  % of votes
1918 1,548 0.64% 0 1920 Luis Emilio Recabarren 681 0.41
1921 4,814 2.16% 2 1925 José Santos Salas 74,091 28.4
1924 1,212 0.49% 0 1927 None
1925 19,446 6.72% 9 1931 Elías Lafferte 2,434 0.9
1932 3,350 1.0% 1 1932 Elías Lafferte 4,128 1.2
1937 7,543 5.1% 1 7,543 7.1 1 1938 Pedro Aguirre Cerda (RP) 222,720 50.5
1941 65,671 14.4% 17 28,449 12.2 3 1942 Juan Antonio Ríos (RP) 260,034 56.0
1945 46,133 10.3% 15 25,708 12.8 3 1946 Gabriel González Videla (RP) 192,207 40.2
1961 157,572 11.8% 16 75,123 12.2 3 1952 Salvador Allende (SP) 51,975 5.5
1965 290,635 12.7% 18 5 1958 Salvador Allende (SP) 356,493 28.9
1969 383,049 16.6% 22 181,488 18.0 9 1964 Salvador Allende (SP) 977,902 38.9
1973 578,695 16.2% 24 5 1970 Salvador Allende (PUSP) 1,070,334 36.61
1993 336,034 5.0% 0 65,073 3.5% 0 1989 Patricio Aylwin (PDC) 3,850,571 55.17
1997 398,588 6.9% 0 357,825 8.4% 0 1993 Eugenio Pizarro (Ind) 327,402 4.70
2001 320,668 5.2% 0 45,735 2.6% 0 1999 Gladys Marín 225,224 3.19
2005 339,547 5.14% 0 104,687 2.19% 0 2005 Tomás Hirsch (HP) 375,048 5.40
2009 133,718 2.02% 3 2009 Jorge Arrate 433,195 6.21
2013 255,242 4.11% 6 6,467 0.145 0 2013 Michelle Bachelet (NMSP) 3,466,358 62.15%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]