FOR MOST OF THE 20th century, the two dominant parties of the Chilean left were the Communist and Socialist parties. Although both shared a Marxist perspective and declared the establishment of socialism to be their goal, they had distinct origins, membership, and programs.

For most of its history, the Chilean left used elections and the democratic process to achieve its aims. The 1970 election of socialist Salvador Allende to the presidency appeared to confirm this decision, but the 1973 military coup that overthrew him and ushered in 17 years of military dictatorship under the command of General Augusto Pinochet challenged it.

The Communist Party of Chile formed in 1922 under the leadership of Luis Emilio Recabarren. The development of the Communist Party (CP) reflected the increased militancy ...

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