Mining for the Nation: The Politics of Chile's Coal Communities from the Popular Front to the Cold War

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The dramatic story of Chile's coal miners in the mid-twentieth century has never before been told. In Mining for the Nation, Jody Pavilack shows how this significant working-class sector became a stronghold of support for the Communist Party as it embraced cross-class alliances aimed at defeating fascism, promoting national development, and deepening Chilean democracy. During the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s, the coal miners emerged as a powerful social and political base that came to be seen as a threat to existing hierarchies and interests. Pavilack carries the story through the end of World War II, when a centrist president elected with crucial Communist backing brutally repressed the coal miners and their families in what has become known as the Great Betrayal, ushering Cold War politics into Chile with force. The patriotic fervor and tragic outcome of the coal miners' participation in Popular Front coalition politics left an important legacy for those who would continue the battle for greater social justice in Chile in the coming decades.