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Program Information
50th Anniversary of Fascist Coup Demanded and Financed by U.S. Corporations and Government
Professor Ruth Needleman - Labor Historian
 Dale Lehman/WZRD  Contact Contributor
Aug. 15, 2023, 1:38 a.m.
Ahead of the 50th Anniversary of the September 11,1973 Fascist coup that over threw the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile, Labor History Professor Ruth Needleman organized several months of exhibitions and events at the Uri-Eichen Gallery in Chicago. Professor Needleman had gone to Chile, as did many other foreigners, to witness the “peaceful road to Socialism” that the government of President Salvador Allende had embarked on in the preceding years. For ten months, just prior to the coup, she witnessed the popular struggle of the working people against the counter revolutionary forces in Chilean society and the direct role that the U.S. Government and Corporations played in enabling the coup and the murderous repression of Chilean workers and human rights activists. She speaks of the “class consciousness” she witnessed
on both sides of the historic human rights struggle underway when she arrived; that of a worker and that of a businessman, an official of a trucking owners syndicate whom she serendipitously interviewed. She also exposed the American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) role, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, in destroying Chilean labor unions under the pretext of teaching labor democracy. The American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) was established in late 1961 by the AFL-CIO in the western hemisphere. It received funding from the US government, mostly through USAID. The names of labor activists and leaders that it assembled during its work in Chile were turned over, she discovered, to corporate financed death squads and then to the Fascist dictatorship for elimination following the coup.

Coup survivors, members of the Chilean diaspora who fled for their lives or were deported after torture, artists and cultural workers, who refused to allow the dictatorship to erase the memory of its victims and crimes, displayed their work and told their stories. Formerly classified documents from the National Security Archives were displayed confirming Nixon's and Kissinger's direct involvement in the coup. Chilean solidarity activists and family of the two Americans, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, who were murdered during the coup spoke about what they uncovered. That it was on the orders of U.S. Navel Intelligence who were active in the coup that the two men were murdered as the U.S. Government worked cover up its direct involvement. The film "Missing" does a good job of portraying the wanton military violence directed at workers and the duplicity of the U.S. Embassy as it attempted to frustrate their search, according to Joyce Horman, who along with his father searched for her husband. He had gone missing shortly after the coup began. Charles Horman had accidentally encountered a hotel full of CIA and Navel Intelligence types just prior to the coup. Frank Teruggi, labeled a subversive by the FBI for his anti Vietnam war activism, had his file turned over to the Chilean military.

Professor Needleman compares the incremental events that shifted over months middle class opinion to accept a military coup in Chile with events that we have witnessed in the United States. While the presence of American Nazis manifest as the Proud Boys, the KKK and the National Security State, there is also a 30 year long history of recruiting by religious fascist on military bases; significantly at the US Air Force Academy. Radio Curious has a program documenting that present threat to constitutional democracy and human rights.

Professor Ruth Needleman, Indiana University retired
Uri-Eichen Gallery, Chicago

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00:47:31 1 Aug. 8, 2023
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