2. October Strike of 1972

In 1972, Chile was in the midst of a serious economic crisis. As inflation soared, shortages increased, and discontent spread across the nation, the stage was set for a momentous event that came to be known as the October Strike.

The strike had its origins in CORFO's attempt to assume control over the transportation industry in a remote northern region. The private sector vehemently opposed this government intrusion, leading to protests that soon engulfed the entire country. Far-right movements, such as Patria y Libertad, had ominously warned of Allende's limited time in office, fueling tensions further.

Excerpt showing the October Strike from Patricio Guzman's “The Battle for Chile”

As the strike escalated, the government took decisive action, detaining leaders of the Association of Truck Owners. However, this move backfired, and the strike, spreading across the country, ground Chile to a halt.

In the midst of the crisis, a young Fernando Flores rose to the occasion. Leveraging cybernetic theories inspired by Stafford Beer, Flores (flanked by his trusted lieutenants such as Mario Grandi) set up an industrial headquarters within La Moneda, the presidential palace. Supported by the Cybersyn project team, he worked to address the situation.

Ultimately, the resolution of the strike came with a precarious compromise. The military entered the government, effectively ending the strike but sparking discontent on both ends of the political spectrum. While the right feared the military was getting politicized, the left saw the generals involvement as the downfall of Allende's socialist revolution.

More archival footage from the weeks of the strike

In the end, the strike brought the country to a turning point. While it was resolved, the aftermath left Chile polarized and on the brink of greater political upheaval. The events of October 1972 were a prelude to the turbulent times that followed, culminating in the military coup of 1973 and the tragic end of Salvador Allende's presidency

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