Industrial workers in Allende's Chile lived its revolutionary process most intensely. The Yarur cotton mill, Chile's largest, was the first big factory to be seized by its workers, nationalized by Allende, and incorporated into the social property area. It was also the first to introduce worker comanagement, an experiment in economic democracy that transformed workers into managers from the production sections on the factory floor to the elected worker councilors in the boardroom, and the unexpectedly powerful coordinating committee, composed of representatives from all of the work sections. “Ex-Yarur” workers also benefited from increased wages and benefits, internal promotions, and opportunities for social mobility and political advancement. Within the nationalized factory, there was also greater liberty, equality, and fraternity and increased worker dignity. Ex-Yarur was a success story of democratic socialism. But this success could not stop consumer shortages, programmed financial losses, or the counterrevolution outside the factory gates.
1 January 2016