Abstract

This article examines the politics of food during Chile's Popular Unity (UP) revolution (1970–73). Organized around the rise and fall of the Juntas de Abastecimiento y Precios (Price and Supply Committees, JAPs), a state-backed network of collectively managed stores and ad hoc food distribution sites, the article explores how the UP revolution expanded long-standing practices of community-led price monitoring and food distribution to make the promise of economic democracy more concrete for urban, working-class consumers. As the JAPs' power grew, however, such efforts became a political lightning rod, unifying Chile's domestic opposition around the claim that the state's presence in the food economy—rather than its absence—created scarcity and needlessly politicized domestic life. Ultimately, the article contends that the consumer marketplace was a key arena for competing conceptualizations of democracy and the state in early 1970s Chile, anticipating the centrality of consumption to the neoliberal counterrevolution that the country experienced in the post-UP era.

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