But I believe it is only fitting to refer readers to the words of Marc Cooper, a FOB (friend of the Blog) and one of the great writers of our time on Latin American Politics. Cooper wrote a wonderful piece for the Nation in 2003, "Remembering Allende," to mark the 30th anniversary of the coup, which was, of course, also the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
As Cooper wrote,
Though most often characterized as the "first freely elected Marxist head of state," who proposed a "peaceful transition to socialism," Allende intended something more sweeping. His insistence on the use of democratic means to achieve power and radically reconstruct society was neither a mere tactic nor just a euphemism for minor and moderate reform...It is important to remember that, in addition to his years of terror and criminality, General Pinochet dealt global politics by ending Allende's groundbreaking experiment.
Allende saw a third way--in no way to be confused with Tony Blair's self-declared middle path between corporate free markets and social democracy, but rather an authentically socialist and democratic alternative to meek social reform, on the one hand, and authoritarian "people's democracies"--Stalinist dictatorships--on the other.