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In this new two-part Overtime series we will be discussing Peter Winn’s fantastic labor history book, Weavers of Revolution: The Yarur Workers and Chile’s Road to Socialism. The story of the workers at the Yarur cotton mill and their movement for worker control of the factory is rich with lessons for our struggles today. Though the Chilean Revolution was short lived, it was full of experimentation with different forms of worker control of the means of production. In this first episode, we get into the background history of the Yarur mill and the decades of struggle by the workers there for an independent union. We discuss the different class forces in play in Chile during this period and how Allende’s Popular Unity government tried to maintain a balance of these forces to allow them to advance their program of a transition to socialism. In the second part we will cover the seizure of the mill by the workers, the response from the state, and the fate of the workers’ movement in the wake of Pinochet’s coup.
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