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Liberal democractic ideology under strain

unde.. sl..aln
Allende’s Chile
and IThe Economlsl’

John Krige
In political, philosophical and ideological
struggle, the words are also weapons and
explosives or tranquillizers and poisons.

Louis Althusserl
This paper 2 explores some of the ways in which the
ideological discourse associated with liberal democratic theory masks our cognitive access to social
reality, and isolates for special consideration one
form that that discourse takes (the so-called technocratic ideology).

It also discusses the way that
material conditions underpin an ideological system
of thought.

It arose as a direct response to the
brutalitY,recently unleashed in Chile by the military
junta which ousted Allende’s government, and the
material which will be analysed relates to events
which occurred in that narrow slice of Chilean history occupied by the Allende regime.

The election by bourgeois democratic procedures
of a Marxist president, who formed a government
comprised predominantly of Socialist and Communists,
posed acute problems for the proponents of liberal
democratic theory once that government began to
implement socialist policies. These problems were
generated in part by the assumptions which that
theory makes regarding the relationship between the
political and the economic spheres of society.

Crudely put, liberal democratic theory insists that
parliamentary democracy guarantees that power lies
in the hands of the ‘people’ who ‘govern’ through
their elected representatives,’ but also demands that
state interference in the economy be consistent with
the aims of capital, thereby imposing a limit to
popular control of the area most crucial to the
overall well-being of the population. It justifies
this exclusion on the grounds that the maintenance
of the capitalist system is in the ‘general interest’

anyway, so that the limits posed to the domain of
popular control precisely serve to block, rather
than to encourage, the emergence of narrow, sectional
interests. On this view, the health of the body
politic as a whole demands that a wedge be driven
between the economic and political realms of society.

What then is to be its response when a democratically
elected parliamentary party which supposedly represents the will of the people, strikes at the very
basis of the capitalist system – private ownership
of the means of production? At one extreme it can
claim that the interests of capital must predominate
as being in the genuine ‘general interest’, thereby
clearly exposing the limits it places on the
‘sovereignty of parliament’ or, at the other extreme,
it can cling to the latter, even if it involves
accepting the dismantling of the capitalist economic
base, and the concession that that base is not
necessarily consistent with the general interest.

Either way the theory stands to lose, being forced
to pose questions about precisely who does govern and
control the functioning of a liberal democratic



system, and whose interests are served thereby.

Rather than face up to these dilemmas, however, the
ideological discourse we shall analyse below develops
mechanisms for alleviating the intellectual tensions
born of inconsistencies as an alternative to exposing
the roots of which they are a symptom.

Most of the raw material for this discussion is
provided by reports which appeared in the Economist
between 1970 and 1973. Ever alert to the changing
balance of forces in Chile, this newspaper always
carefully considered the interaction between the
economic and the political within the framework of
liberal democratic theory. Aligning itself uncompromisingly with the interests of capital, which
it takes to be the general interest, its reports
provide a valuable insight into how ideological diecourse can ‘tranquillize and poison’ ~ confused mind,
providing rationalisations when pressures other than
those of reason gain the upper hand.

In what follows, the Economist’s treatment of
three specific events in Chile are discussed in some
detail: the mid-term elections in 1973, the departurE
of certain key technicians in the copper industry
soon after Allende’s election late in 1970, and the
attempts made by the International Telephone and
Telegraph Company (ITT) to subvert that election.

The first example thus considers reports dealing
predominantly with a political event, the second
concerns reports of an event in the economic sphere.

In the third, which was prompted by the pUblication
of a series of ITT’s internal memoranda by Jack
Anderson of the Washington Post in March 1972, the
political and the economic clearly confront each
other. There is, however, a more significant difference between this third case and the other two,
for here it is the organisations and institutions
of capitalist society, and not of Allende’s Chile,
that are under scrutiny. This demanded a completely
different kind of analysis from the Economist. For
whereas in the first two cases the desirability of
the liberal wedge between the political and the
economic could be taken for granted, and, was used to
discredit Allende’s socialist program, in the case
of ITT the existence of the wedge had to b~ argued
for, i.e. it had to be shown precisely how the
(alleged) gap between the political and the economic
levels in capitalist society was maintained. As we
shall see, to do this the Economist structured its
analysis of the ITT affair using a technocratic
ideology which itself rests on a conception of reason
from which liberalism draws its strength.

In each case considered preliminary steps are
taken towards unravelling the conditions which make
the adherence to an ideological scheme of thought
possible: in other words, an attempt is made to
explain how it is that such schemes can persist in
the face of facts so obviously at variance with
them. Although no attempt is made to develop a
systematic theory of the tenacity of ideological
discourse, in the analysis I have kept Marx and
Engels’ discussion in The German Ideology, and
Mepham’s3 and Althusser’s4 treatment of ideology
constantly in mind. To anyone familiar with them,
the influence of a bookS and a recent paperS by
Edgley will be manifest.

The political struggle
As in several other Latin American countries, a
marked trend to the ‘left’ occurred in Chilean politics in the 1960s. The precise form which this
trend took was determined by the prevailing balance
of forces in each social formation; in Chile the
politicisation and mobilisation of the masses during
this period resulted in a majority vote at the polls
for Salvador Allende in the Presidential election
held on 4 September 1970. Allende was the leader of
the Popular unity (PU) coalition of Socialist,
Communist and Radical parties which was committed to
the expropriation of foreign and private capital and
to an effective program of land redistribution within
the overall framework of socialist policies.

Allende’s majority was a narrow one, and reflec.ted the disillusionment which both the ‘left’ and
the ‘right’ felt with the reformist policies of his
predecessor, Christian Democratic President Frei.

Allende gained 36.3% of the votes, just beating
Alessandri of the right-wing Nationalist party, who
gained 35% of the votes, but well ahead of Tomic,
the Christian Democratic (CD) candidate who gained
only 27.8% of the votes. Furthermore, Allende’s
coalition of parties was in a minority in the 200seat Congress, and this meant that his ratification
as President was not assured . • To gain the necessary
majority in Congress the support of about 25 CD
candidates was required. Despite intense efforts to
swing the CD behind Alessandri, or to provoke
military intervention, both to be discussed in more
detail b~l~w, Tomic carried the party with him behind
Allende, who was nominated President by an overwhelming majority of Congress on 25 October, and
inaugurated on 3 November 1970.

The precise details of what happened in Chile
during the next two years are not relevant here.

Let it suffice to say that in the edition of 24
February 19~3 (p14), the Economist claimed that the
state controlled 80% of industrial production, and
that three quarters of the cultivated land had been
brought into the reformed sector. As pointed out
above, the penetration of the state into this level
of the economic fabric of society puts acute pressure
on the assumptions of liberal democratic ideology,
and if they are not ~o be questioned, mechanisms
for dissipating this pressure must be evolved.

The ones we shall explore in this section represent
attempts made by the Economist to save the theory
by accepting the sovereignty of parliament, only to
deny that the measures which Congress approved while
Allende was in power could be in accord with the
will of the people.

Of course the crudest way of doing this is to
point out that the party in power does not command a
majority of the votes cast in the election. Thus
in the article referred to above the Economist,
discussing the forthcoming mid-term elections in
Chile, emphasised that a ‘majority vote for the
opposition parties would show those who still remain
to be convinced that Dr Allende’s regime is not the
people’s government that it claims to be’. And
again, after the election, in which. the PU coalition
gained 43.3% of the vote, an increase of 7.1% over
the figure for the 1970 election, it remarked that
‘Sunday’s election in Chile underlined the. basic
fact about his [Allende’s] government: a clear
majority of Chileans are opposed to it.’

(10 March 1973, p18)
This kind of criticism, unless directed against
the adequacy of the electoral process as such as a
mechanism for expressing the will of the majority,
simply cannot stand up to scrutiny. Heath formed
a government in Britain in 1970 although the
Conservatives won only 46% of the popular vote, and
evan more obviously, Wilson was asked to form a
government in 1974 although his party not only won
a mere 37% of the popular vote; it actually polled
~ewer votes than the Conservatives did.

‘mandate’ from the ‘silent majority’ to govern,
given in ‘a landslide victory of historic dimensions’

in the US Presidential elections in 1972, although
representing 61% of the popular vote, in fact
represented only 32% of the eligible electorate,
almost half of whom simply did not bother to go to
the polls.

Perhaps it was the subterranean pressures
exerted by considerations like these that led the
Economist to present a different set of arguments to
show that Chile’s elected government was not a
‘people’s government’. Here is a quote from the
issue of 10 March 1973 (p32), in which one such
argument is presented:

The advances made by the marxist parties can
give the misleading impression that they gained
more ground than they actually did, since the
real comparison is with the last parlia.ent;arIJ

election in 1969, before Dr Allende came to power.

By comparison with the latest nationwide elections – the municipal poll of 1971 – the
Popular Unity vote actually dropped by about 6
per cent. Even so, the Communists gained one
more deputy and tMJ more senators and the
Socialists jumped from 14 to 27 deputies and
from three to five senators. The government
coalition as a whole now has 63 deputies and
19 senators (against 57 and 16 before); the
opposition alliance has 87 and 30 compared with
93 and 32 before’.

This is utter gibberish. Having claimed that the
real comparison is with a parliamentary election held
in 1969, the Economist goes on to compare the
results of the mid-term Congressional eleotions in
March 1973 with those of the municipal poll held in
1971! Be that as it may, these comparisons have the
effect of making the reader move mentally from the
idea that the results are misleading, to the idea
that Allende’s popularity has actually dropped, and
on to the crucial accusation that ‘even so’ the PU
coalition has increased its number of seats in both
houses. This accusation is consistent with the
campaign waged from the very beginning of PU rule
to the effect that once in power Allende’s government
would institute a one-party system. One of the
Economist’s articles on 12 september 1970 (p40),
written immediately after Allende’s success at the
polls, was headed ‘But can they vote him out again?’,
and in another (p19) it claimed that Allende’s
promise of elections in 1976 did not inspire confidence since he had hinted at legal and constitutional
changes, and would probably sink his scruples and
introduce a one-party state. After all, it pointed
out in the pre-election article of 24 February 1973
(p14), Allende’s ‘Socialist party have been telling
their followers not to worry about the results of
what they claim to be merely a “routine democratic
exercise” – one more move in a game whose rules they
never really believed in’. It is hard to know what
elections are if not a ‘routine democratic exercise’,
or why a party which fears a reversal at the polls
should not try to dispel its supporters’ fears. And
if Thorpe says that the present British electoral
system is a ‘travesty of democracy’ is he not expressing disgust with the rules of the game as presently
constituted, nor permitted to try to change those
rules with the power at his disposal? However, the
Economist’s purpose here is clearly not to provide
a balanced analysis of the political manoeuvering of
the Allende government which, for example, would
have exposed the fact that many aspects of its program had the support of sections of the Christian
Democrats who are lumped with the ‘opposition
alliance’. Remarks such as these rather serve to
prepare the ground for justifying the removal by
non-electoral procedures of the Allende government.

That this in fact is the case is apparent from
the changes in formulation of allegations of electoral
~lpractices which were used to detract from
~llende’s success in the mid-term elections.

10 March 1973 (p18) the Economist wrote that ‘There
nave been accusations of fraud, and several bags of
stolen ballot papers have already been found. The
process of cross-checking makes it unlikely that
systematic fraud could have accounted for more than
1% of the government’s vote, but if it happened on
anything like that scale the fact will soon be
known.’ [my emphases]. By 18 August (p34) suitable
facts were ferreted out as the campaign to smash
Allende’s government gained momentum; it was
reported that the Law Faculty at the Catholic
University had found that ‘up to 200,000 [about 5%]
pro-government votes may have been fictitious.

Even if these charges prove exaggerated, the government has a case to answer and the evidence tabled
so far does not encourage optimism about its
democratic intentions’. This concession to its
previous claim that malpractices of the order of 1%
would be readily detected evaporated as the Economist
desperately tried to justify the brutality of the


military coup which it supported. In an article
written partially to discredit the ‘campaign of
organised hostility in the west’ against the junta
(13 october 1973, p43) it claimed that the voting
lists needed to be cleaned up since they had been
‘padded out with false names before the legislative
elections in March. Dr Allende’s defenders rarely
mention the fact that this may have accounted for as
much as 5% of the votes that his supporters received
on that occasion’.

As a postscript to this sorry affair, here is a
quote from an article in the Times Higher Education
Supplement of 9 November 1973, written by a number of
Chilean academics and professional men who fled the
country. It suggests that the facts concerning
allegations of fraud were indeed soon known, although
the Economist did not report them, and they would
have enabled it to maintain internal consistency in
its own articles. The authors speak of a report

prepared by the Faculty of Law in the Catholic
University in May, just after the Allende regime
had increased its percentage of votes from 36
per cent to 44 per cent. The lawYers concluded
that the ballot had been falsified. This was
pro~ed two weeks later to have no basis. The
principal author of this report, Jaime Guzman,
has now been asked by the junta to rewrite the
Chilean Constitution.

What these examples show is that, rather than
admit that parliament is sovereign only as long as it
does not threaten the interests of capital, thereby
putting its liberal democratic ideology under strain,
the Economist attempted to discredit that institution’s legitimacy during the latter part of the
Allende regime by implying that it was not truly
representative of the will of the Chilean people.

To do this it not only resorted to crude an4
mystifying arguments to support its contention: it
actually went as far as to redescribe events in ways
which were inconsistent with its earlier descriptions. Its uncritical use of these devices to distort events in Chile can, in the first instance, be
explained in terms of its bias. This bias springs
from too close an inentification with the interests
of capital, and makes it possible for the Economist
to resort spontaneously to these devices, which
protect its liberal democratic ideology from assault.

Although implicit much of the time, this bias
emerges into full view as the need predominates to
protect those interests against a ‘campaign of
organised hostility’, sweeping away any vestiges of
impartiality and swamping the pressures exerted by
reason. Its presence makes the Economist’s
(sincere) claim to be ‘an independent newspaper’

which helps one to ‘find out what’s going on’ sound
rather hollow: its progressive elimination, along
with that of ideological thought, requires nothing
less than the removal of the economic base on which
class society is founded and the ongoing democratisation of the ensuing politico-economic system.

The copper industry
Copper accounts for 80% of Chile’s foreign exchange.

Until the 1960s the industry was almost wholly controlled by Anaconda and Kennecott, two United states
based companies. Norman Girvan 7 has remarked that
‘the Chilean mines proved highly profitable to both
companies over the bulk of the life of these operations. From 1915 through 1968 (excluding Kennecott
after 1964) the companies earned a total of $2,011
million in net profits and depreciation from Chile,
of which $738 million only was used for reinvestment’.

To ensure some measure of Chilean control over these
companies, Allende’s predecessor, President Frei,
initiated steps to nationalise the mines. The deals
which he negotiated ‘ . . ith Anaconda and Kennecott involved the immediate takeover by the state of a 51%
share of the industry, with compensation guaranteed,
to be followed by the gradual, phased transfer of
full ownership to the Chilean government.


Once the PU coalition came into power, a bill was
presented to Congress which proposed the immediate
expropriation of the companies concerned. This was
passed unanimously on 11 July 1971. A long and
bitter struggleS ensued between the companies and
Allende’s government over the issue of adequate compensation, which culminated with Kennecott gaining a
court order in Paris demanding that l~ million tons
of copper bound for Le Havre to be seized. The
dispute has apparently now been settled. On 15
December 1973 (pl02) the Economist reported that the
company had a good chance of getting $30Om in
compensation from the Chilean junta.

The specific issue which I wish to use to expose
the Economist’s ideological discourse concerns the
way in which it reported on the loss of skilled and
senior personnel in the copper ind~try which
occurred during the first six months after Allende
came to power. On 20 March 1971 (pS7), discussing
difficulties at Chile’s second biggest copper mine
El Teniente, it said that ‘The smelting furnaces
broke down after a walk-out by 300 mine managers
opposed to President Allende’s policies’. A report
two months later made it clear that this was no
ordinary walk-out. On 22 May 1971 (p4S) the
Economist pointed out that Chile’s economic strategist, Vuskovic, ‘will still have to work out how to
replace the copper technicians who have been streaming abroad since the PU coalition took office last
November’. On 19 June 1971 (pS5) the Economist
wrote of the ‘withdrawal of American technicians’,
thus identifying them as having links with the
United states, and beginning to shift the responsibility for their departure off their own shoulders,
and by the end of the year (25 December 1971, p7S)
it re~rked that a new copper company in Iran was to
‘be manned partly by up to 200 western copper men,
many recruited among Anaconda’s copper technicians
laid off by the nationalised mines in Chile’. By
· early 1972, as the opposition’s attempts to limit
the scope of state intervention in the economy were
constantly thwarted, the Economist lost all semblance
of impartiality. On 11 March 1972 (p25), in an
article purporting to explain the alleged drop in
production from the expropriated mines during the
first nine months of 1971 it claimed that ‘systematically government agents have worked to expel
managers and technicians regarded as political IV
“unreliable”. The result has been the loss of scores
of trained men with many years of experience’. On
14 October 1972 (p50) it bemoaned the ‘administrative
chaos’ which occurred with ‘trained managers were
pushed out in favour of “politically reliable”
supervisors’ during the first six months of 1971,
and three months before the military coup the newspaper became quite hysterical. Production in the
mines it said on 23 June 1973 (pSS) ‘has fallen
steadily since the American management was kicked
out.’ [My emphases throughout this paragraph]
Here then we have travelled all the way from a
walk-out by management and other senior personnel
to them being kicked out. If we are to explain this
somersault, given the wedge wh~ch liberal democratic
theory drives between the political and the economic,
we must first ask what kinds of reasons, consistent
with the framework of that ideology, highly skilled
and qualified personnel could have for ‘walking
out’ of a production process. One kind of reason
which is excluded is that they were politically
motivated: as a result the PU coalition’s attempts
· to replace them with ‘politically reliable’ men is
· construed as being unreasonable. What is implied,
however, is that their reasons for doing so were
purely technical ones, which in turn suggests that
the American managers ‘walked out’ because (unspecified) perturbations to the smooth and efficient
running of the industry were proving intolerable.

That granted, we see that what is merely insinuated
in the early reports becomes progressively more
explicit in the later ones. The use of the term
‘kicked out’ by the Economist indicates that it was
precisely state interference in the copper industrv
which (allegedly) led to losses in production, and

which made the lives of key personnel committed to
efficiency unbearable. Thus the precise nature of
the perturbation hinted at in the earlier reports
is identified.

Obviously this entire edifice rests on the claim
that production losses occurred in the Chilean copper
industry which could be attributed to the expulsion
of skilled and managerial personnel. There is strong
evidence to suggest that this is not the case. The
issues of the United Nations’ Monthly Bulletin of
Statistics of April and November 1972 show that the
monthly average amount of copper ore and refined
copper produced in Chile between January and september 1971 was roughly the same as the monthly average
for the previous year. In fact there was a massive
increase in September 1971 as mines abandoned by the
American companies as unprofitable were reopened by
the government. Admittedly production may have
fallen short of estimates based on earlier plans for
expansion, but that is an entirely different matter.

There were undoubtedly difficulties in the Chilean
copper industry while Allende was in power, and
political activity in the mines was probably one
factor which contributed to them. But it is only
one aspect of a complex situation, in which for
example the depressed copper prices which persisted
until early in 1973 and Kennecott’s ability to block
purchases of the metal also played an important part.

The transformations in the descriptions and reQescriptions of the single event we are considering
~ere reveals the tremendous flexibility of ideological discourse as opposed to the rigour of scientific
qiscourse. Precisely why a sequence showing this
particular trend was used can be explained, again
only in the first instance, by attributing it to
bias. In the early days of the Allende regime,
when the precise form its intervention in the
economy would take had not yet crystallised,
pressures springing from the need to defend the
interests of capital were counterbalanced by those
arising from an acceptance of the legitimacy of
parliamentary democratic procedures, which were
relatively deeply embedded in Chilean history. But
as the PU coalition extended its socialist policies
over more and more sectors of the economy, the
former pressures intensified, and the latter were
deflected by ‘showing’ that Allende’s coalition of
parties was simply using parliament as a means to
further its own sectional interest, and was not a
‘people’s government’. Its alleged willingness to
disrupt the copper industry to serve its political
objectives revealed that it was prepared to sacrifice
the lifeblood of the nation on the altar of marxist
ideology. With nothing to check the passion to
defend the interests of capital the Economist’s bias
burst to the surface; that it was always there is
most clearly shown by the newspaper’s willingness to
discredit the political process, without ever asking whether the capitalist economic base is, in
fact, consistent with the general interest.

In the earlier brief survey of the events surrounding the election of A11ende on 4 september 1970, it
was pointed out that the support of the Christian
Democrats was essential if he was to be ratified
as president, taking over from President Frei, on
25 October. This time delay provided A11ende’s
opponents with an opportunity to thwart his bid for
the presidency, and they pinned their hopes on
creating the conditions which would make this
possible. The so-called ‘Alessandri formula’ was
promoted. This rested on one of two lines of a~tack.

Either Frei was to persuade his followers to back
A1essandri rather than A11ende on 25 October, in
which event the former would be elected president,
or the military were to be persuaded to intervene,
deposing Frei (who was apparently not averse to a
military coup) and then calling for new elections.

If Frei was successful, A1essandri would immediately
resign the presidency, Frei would again be eligible

for re-election for a further 6 years, and it was
felt certain that in a straight Frei-Allende fight
the former would easily win. If the military intervened, A1essandri would again not participate in
the new elections; the problem here though was that
Chile was almost unique among Latin American
countries in its record of military non-intervention,
and only a very serious threat to the country’s
stability could provoke them to act.

It was realised by Alessandri’s camp that the
alignment of the Christian Democrats behind the
right, or military intervention, depended on the
threat that economic chaos and possibly bloodshed
would ensue if Allende were victorious. This was
the atmosphere which they tried to creat during the
key 50 days between the elections and the nomination
of A11ende, and the Anderson papers provide a
valuable insight into the co-operaiton whi~h they
received from several United states based organisations. The ones discussed below cover the period
from 14 September to 18 November 1970 9 • It is
necessary to analyse these in some detail before
discussing the Economist’s part in them.

It is clear from the Anderson papers that
A11ende’s enemies in the United states realised that
outsiders like themselves would have to work through
the existing Chilean political system to achieve
their .objectives. Furthermore, they realised that
in 1970 any American action had to be taken in the
light of growing anti-US sentiment in Chile. They
knew that if their involvement was too blatant, the
Chilean people would swing decisively against the
right, and unite solidly behind A11ende on an antiimperialist platform. If this happened, the deep
split in the electorate would temporarily recede
into the background, and the spaces in which the
opposition could move to overthrow A11ende would
contract accordingly. This probably explains why
Berrellez, an ITT employee based in Buenos Aires
emphasised that ‘Every care should be exercised to
insure that we are not – repeat not – identified
openly with any anti-A11ende move.’ (43) He also
spelt out the conditions which would have to be met
if the ‘Alessandri formula’ was to work: ‘Chances
of thwarting A11ende’s assumption of power now are
pegged mainly to an economic collapse which is being
encouraged by some sectors in the business and
political community and by President Frei himself •.•
Undercover efforts are being made to bring about the
bankruptcy of one or two major savings and loan
associations. This is expected to trigger a run on
the banks and the closure of some factories resulting in more unemployment.’ (42) It was hoped that
the economic chaos would convince the Christian
Democrats that the business community had no faith
in Al1ende’s policies, so that they would side with
A1essandri, or that ‘massive unemployment and unrest
might produce enough violence to force the military
to move.’ (43) Yet they were not optimistic about
the latter. Berre11ez and a colleague, Hendrix,
reported that ‘The marxists will not be provoked.

“You can spit in their face in the street” Matte
[A1essandri’s brother-in-law] said, “and they’ll
say thank you.” This means that the far left is
aware of and taking every precaution to neutralize
provocation.’ (32)
In what follows I will discuss separately the
role played by the State Department, the CIA and ITT
in this deliberate attempt to provoke unemployment
and violence in the name of defending freedom and

The State Department
The State Department’s agent in Chile was Korry,
the US Ambassador in Santiago. His ‘gutsy final
effort to block Al1ende, so unusual in our diplomats’ (105) was praised by Berrel1ez. Yet it is
clear that he acted more or less independently of
State for much of the time, taking a far harder
line that Assistant Secretary Meyer or his deputy
Crimmons would have liked. Long before receiving


any official authorisation Korry had been putting
pressure on Frei to unite the party behind him and
against Allende. Admittedly about 10 days after
the september election ‘Korry finally received a
message from state Department giving him the green
light to move in the name of President Nixon. The
message gave him maximum authority to do all
possible – short of a Dominican Republic-type
action – to keep Allende from taking power.’ (29)
Nevertheless it was only with difficulty that Korry
persuaded Washington to reduce by as much as possible
the $3Om of aid already in the pipeline for Chile,
and to block existing letters of credit. ITT official Neal reported that ‘This “cut-off” will be
denied by state, who will say, as it has in the past
“there has been no shut down of aid to Chile; the
program is under review.'” (57)

The political and economic initiatives taken by
the CIA were of a rather different kind. On 9
October Merriam, the ITT president in Washington,
informed McCone, a former CIA director, and then an
ITT Board member, that the CIA had continued to make
approaches ‘to select members of the Armed Forces
in an attempt to have them lead some sort of uprising – no success to date.’ (52) A week later
Hendrix reported that, at about that time, Washington had in fact discouraged Roberto Viaux, a
Brigadier General in the Chilean army, from staging
a coup. It was felt that he did not have sufficie~t
support for such a move, and that if it failed it
would be counter-productive. ‘As part of the
persuasion to delay,’ U.endrix added, ‘Viaux was
given oral assurances that he would receive material
assistance and support from the us and others for a
later manouver.’ (60)
On the economic front CIA Director Broe
approached ITT Vice-President Gerrity late in
September, ‘looking for additional help aimed at
producing economic collapse.’ (40) He presented a
5-point plan to Gerrity involving the application
of pressure by both financial institutions like
banks, savings and loan companies, and businesses
like ITT. It was suggested that the latter ‘should
drag their feet in sending money, in making deliveries, in shipping spare parts, etc,’ and ‘should
withdraw all technical help and should not promise
any technical assistance in the future. Companies
in a position to do so should close their doors.’ (40)

Probably the most sensational aspects of ITT’s
involvement in Chile was its offer to Broe of the
CIA of a million dollars for use in “any plan to
defeat Allende. Less frequently spoken of is the
offer made by Company President Geneen to the State
Department’s Latin American adviser to Kissinger to
‘assist financially in sums up to seven figures’ to
protect its Chilean interests. As Neal pointed out
on this occasion, ‘all along we have feared the
Allende victory and have been trying unsuccessfully
to get other American compani~saroused over the
fate of their investments, and join us in preelection efforts.’ (28)
It is clear that ITT’s senior personnel regarded
intervention of this kind to be a logical extension
of us policy in Chile as it had developed in the
1960s. Neal, complaining bitterly about the state
Department’s hesitancy in dealing with the new
Chilean situation, analysed figUres for us economic
assistance to the country during this period and
concluded that ‘the us realised the danger of Marxism in Chile; so fought it with grants and loans but
did not have the extra forethought to follow its
intuition by taking a more active part during the
pre-election period to assure the defeat of Allende •••
Why should the us try to be so pious and sanctimonious in September and October 1970,’ he added, ‘when
over the past few years it has been pourinq the tax-


payers’ money into Chiie, admittedly to defeat
Marxism.’ (47) Hendrix echoed these judgements:

‘The United States failed even to head off in 1970
that which it so successfully and energetically
aided Chileans to avoid in 1964 – the emergence of a
Marxist president. Meyer and Crimmons jointly led
the effort to make certain that the US this time
did nothing with respect to the Chilean election.’

(91) Even though these analyses are crude inasmuch
as they ignore the changes which had taken place in
Chile itself during Frei’s presidency, changes which
precisely made possible the election of Allende,
they are particularly revealing about the aims of
the United states AID program, and the actions which
ITT’s personnel took to be ‘normal’ practice.

The pre-election difficulties which ITT had had
to persuade other us business interests to support
in their attempt to block Allende probably accounts
for Gerrity’s lack of enthusiasm for Broe’s plan
for economic subversion discussed above, which he
thought was unworkable. He noted that there was a
growing economic cr1S1S anyway, and also established
that Hobbing, another CIA agent, had been told by
an Alessandri representative to ‘keep cool, don’t
rock the boat, we are making progress •.• This is
in direct contrast to what Broe recommended.’ (45)
Nevertheless, apparently to appease Broe, ITT ‘made
repeated calls to firms such as GM, Ford and banks
in California and New York,’ (51) but without
success. As Merriam reported to McCone, ‘Practically no progress had been made in trying to get
American business to co-operate in some way so as to
bring on economic chaos.’ (52) GM and Ford claimed
that they had too much inventory on hand in Chile
and, despite assurances to the contrary, the Bank
of America did not close its doors in Santiago.

These activities by ITT on the home front were
complemented by direct action in Chile and elsewhere,
much of which reflected” its importance as a
communications company. Hendrix and Berrellez
identified Frei and-:the Mercurio newspapers, who
were outspoken in their condemnation of Allende, and
under severe pressure from Allende aides immediately
after the election in September, as two crucial
supporters iri the campaign to stop Allende.taking
power in November. Korry applied pressure to Frei,
telling him ‘to put his pants on’ (31) and ITT
offered financial help to the Alessandri group, as
well as pumping advertising into Mercurio. Hendrix
and Berrellez also suggested that ‘we help with
getting some propagandists working again on radio
and television’, that the Washington office of the
United states Information Service ~SIS) be approached
and asked to distribute Mercurio editorials around
Latin America and in Europe, and that ITT’s contacts
in the key European press be urged to ‘get the story
of what disaster would fall on Chile if Allende & Co.

win this country.’ (34) They also proposed that the
company assist financially to relocate in Argentina
for a month to six weeks the families of certain
central figures involved in the fight against

By the middle of October it was clear to the ITT
management that Frei could not carry the Christian
Democrats with him, and that a military coup was
most unlikely. Assuming that Allende would be inaugurated in November, they drew up a detailed set
of recommendations pertaining to US action on Chile.

These were to be put to the State Department and to
Kissinger in the White House, and demanded the
diplomatic and economic isolation of Chile if adequate compensation was not paid for expropriated
properties. It was also recommended that US representatives on international banks be told to blcck
the extension of credit to the Allende regime
(which did in fact happen). Furthermore in an
attempt to discourage ‘leftist nationalism’ in other
countries in Latin America, threats to sever their
lines of credit were also proposed. At this time
an appropriation of $2.9 billion to the US-government
sponsored Inter-American Development Bank was
awaiting final ratification by the Senate. Merriam
reported that ‘we ar.e planning ••• to approach

senators Scott and Mansfield to see if they will
just “forget” to take up the bill. We could prepare
statements from them which would get a message to
the other Latin American countries that Chile’s
action is affecting them too, albeit indirectly.’ (72)
The overall picture which emerges from the
Anderson papers is one of three United states based
organisations applying pressure at those points at
which each thought that it could be most effective
to bring about economic chaos, unemployment, violence
and bloodshed in Chile. With the possible exception
of the state Department, which was committed to a
‘low-profile’ policy in Latin America, neither ITT,
the CIA or Korry had any compunction about generating
the conditions in which a military coup would be
possible, and bloodshed inevitable so that Allende’s
bid for the presidency would be thwarted. As far
as they were concerned it was essential to stop him
before it was too late, for if he succeeded ‘Whatever the trappings, there is unlikely ever to be
another truly free election in Chile'(84) – truly
free, that is, for the us to ‘successfully and
energetically’ intervene to stop the emergence of
a Marxist president. ‘The repression of the human
spirit which the doctrinaire Marxist always
imposes’ (87) was to be countered by setting in train
a series of events in the hope of precipitating
violence, which is somehow supposed to expand and
enrich the ‘human spirit’. Writing to Kissinger,
ITT Vice-President Merriam said that ‘Our company
knows the peoples of the Americas deserve a better
way of life and we believe we have a SUbstantial
interest in diminishing their problems. The
countries themselves are unable to furnish necessary
development funds, the us taxpayers cannot, and us
private enterprise can provide only that part which
a proper climate affords.’ (95) And of course, as
far as he was concerned, if the ‘proper climate’

did not prevail it was up to organisations in the
United states to create it, and that done to maintain it at all costs by all possible means. ‘The
peoples of the Americas’ deserved nothing less.

The limits set
by technocratic ideology
It is clear that activities like those we -have
just discussed, in which a business concern unambiguously aligned itself with one side rather than
another in a policital conflict, and attempted to
subvert the democratic political process to serve
its own interests can present problems to the
adherent of liberal democratic ideology. It does
not necessarily produce such problems because, for
example, in this case the involvement occurred in
a so-called ‘under-developed country’, which is
characterised as one in which there is a low GNP and
per capita income, a lack of health and educational
facilities, and a high incidence of poverty a~d
misery. To solve these problems a massive injection
of foreign capital is (allegedly) required, so that
the subversion of political moves which threaten
the flow of ‘development funds’ is readily justified
on the grounds that the unimpeded operation of
capital is in the ‘general interest’. As Merriam
put it above, ‘The peoples of the Americas deserve
a better way of life’ toward which ITT could contribute, and it is considerations like these which
serve to deflect any pressures generated by a concern for the sovereignty of parliament or for those
people who may have been harmed if attempts to
provoke violence and bloodshed had succeeded.

However, in the particular case of ITT’s involvement in Chile wider issues were at stake which
effectively blocked this loophole in the liberal
scheme and questioned its most basic assumptions.

For the Anderson papers provoked hearings by the US
Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the influence
which multinational firms had on the course of
political events in the countries in which they
operated; as the Economist put it (1 April 1972,
p42), ‘It is often said, and is being said of ITT,
that the huge assets and omnipresence of the multi-

national companies give thela virt:acrllr ttmo- s:I:at:mJ
and the power of governments.’ Clearely if this
allegation was shown to be true, the postulated
symbiotic relationship between the political and
economic spheres, with power residing in the former,
would be placed under severe strain.

In an attempt to come to terms with this threat
the Economist, in the article referred to above,
analysed the Anderson papers within the framework of
a technocratic ideology. Its treatment provides a
valuable insight into how this ideology, which
shares with liberal ideology certain general postulates about -the domain of reason and the relationship
between reason and action, limits one’s thought
about the problem under consideration.

Central to the technocratic conception of reason
is that the term rational be reserved for the means
an agent uses to achieve certain ends; the question
of the rationality of the ends themselves does not
arise. These are non-rational; they serve to activate one’s deliberation about means, which presupposes the intention on the part of the agent to
achieve the end, but cannot themselves be the object
of deliberation. Of course some ends (e.g. stopping
Allende from taking power) are intermediate, means
to a further end (i.e. staving off expropriation),
and as such their rationality can be debated. But
again they are only judged, not as ends, but on
their appropriateness as means to achieve that
further end, where the most appropriate means is
that which achieves the end with the greatest
efficiency. ‘Know-how’ enables one to make this
decision; once equipped with it the agent is in a
position to select from the means at his disposal
that which is most likely to ensure the successful
attainment of his objectives with the least possible
input of the available resources. As such, it helps
him to avoid behaving irrationally, and thereby to
control his own destiny. Since it enables those
who have acquired it to do things they would not
otherwise be able to do, ‘know-how’ is the source
of the power agents have to achieve the goals they
set themselves. It is also the prerogative of
experts in specialised disciplines, who have had
the requisite training and who are equipped with
the skills necessary to decide on the most rational
course of action in a particular situation.

This pattern of relationships permeates the
Economist’s discussion of the Anderson Papers. It
is realised that ITT could only achieve an economic
objective (staving off appropriation) by achieving
the intermediate political objective (stopping
Allende from taking power). And the crucial question
of whether or not the company had the ‘status or the
power’ of a government is construed as the question
of whether a business concern staffed by economic
experts had personnel with adequate political knowhow to achieve this political goal. The criterion
for the rationality of the measures which ITT took
to thwart Allende’s bid for the presidency is the
views of the political experts: Korry in Santiago
and the State Department in Washington. Measures
considered by the company which deviated from those
deemed appropriate by these experts are judged to
be irrational; that ITT entertained them at all
indicates its lack of know-how, and suggests its
corresponding inability to influence the course of
Chilean political affairs, which lies beyond its

Two examples from the report in question will
show how the choice of certain words at key points
in the description allude to the technocratic
ideology which structures it. The first concerns
the offer of financial assistance made by ITT
President Geneen to Kissinger’s White House office,
which is described in the following terms: ‘Perhaps
the weirdest fact to emerge from the ITT Chile
papers is that one of the company’s men, in a
telephone conversation with a Latin-American specialist in the White House, actually offered to help
with the the cost of stopping Dr Allende “in sums
of up to seven figures”. Naturally the offer was
not taken up, but the papers s~ no eche or- any


cl(‘ar sharD ?rlministration voice tellinq TTT that
this is not the way government is conducted.’

‘[‘h~ increcluli ty ,,,hich this account expresses is
Vii tholt foun<iation.

There was nothing ‘,,,eird’ about
the fact that TTT ‘actually’ offered monev to the
:·tatf, [)(!nartment” As T nointed out above, the
.n<1orson naners th(!msolves show that the US Dlaved
an activ!: role in promoting Frei' s successful bid
for the Tln'sidency in 19(,4, and continued to funnel
mon,'y into ('hile to block the eMergence of a '1arxist
Tlresicl(~nt ther!!after, so TTT had good reason to
think that it would do so aqilin. .Zn offer to
provir1(; Slm to nrotect interests in Chile which it
valu.:nt ‘sai<l he could understand '·lr.

(;(,n(‘(~ll’ s ,:oncern and anpreci ated hi s offer to
assist.’ PH)
1‘!heth{‘r or not ‘·leyer subse(1uentl’t took
up th(, offer is not clear from the naners; “‘hat is
clear j s that ])roe of the CIA tolrl IT’r Vice-Presirlent
r;errity that ‘mone” ,·!as no nroblem.· (40)
There was
thus also nothinq ‘natural’ about the offer not beinq
taken up; it Has turned down (and, as “e sa…” subS”(fu.’ntlv used bv ITT for other nurnoses), because
suffici”nt fun(ls had alreadv been made available,
il.t least to tile CTl.

He that as it Ma’!, the F:conomi.c;t’s report has
<T('ated the impr(;ssion that the TTT nersonnel came
up with a 'w('ird' and 'unnatural' scheme to block
/ 1 lendC' , s bid for nower. The' natural' way of conductinq Cjovernment is that embodied in the methods
favoured by Latin AMerican experts in the state
])('partrwnt and the I,nli te flouse, who have the
rpquisite know-how to deal with political affairs.

~hat is only imnlied in this description of the
mon’ sensational aspect of ITT’ s activities is quite
(‘xTllicit in the account the report gives of the
cornorZl.tion’s role in implementing the Alessandri
formula to thl”art Allende’ s bid for the presidency.

Tt “,ill be remembered that this required that a
climZl.te of economic uncertaintv and instability be
(:r”att~d which was sufficiently unsettling to swing
the alleCjiancf’ of the Christian Democrats awav from
/ll,’ndp or, failing that, to provoke military interventioll.

Tt is referred to on two separate, unrelatc!c occasions in the article: ‘A scheme was
promoted ”’hich would have produced new elections
but nothing ,:ame of it. This was the outcome that
“Ir. rOorry nredicted,’ and ‘other memoranda in the
fi 1” sllqq,’st that the ITT men buoyed up their fading
hOD(~s with thoughts of mi li tarv intervention and of
(:re,lti nq snmt,thinq thev cilllpd “economic chaos” (a
rt’lativl’ term in Chile) which might mvsteriously
(‘alls,’ nr . .:ll,”nd(‘ to be excluded, or to fall, from

Thpy do not contain anv evidence thilt the
ilI:bassa,lor or the state Depilrtment entertained
(‘i tlH’r of thl’sp ideas.’

Both of these’ Cluotations suggest thilt the
,’l,’ssClndri formula WilS sOI:ething dreamed up bv ITT’s
l’I:ployees, and both effectivelv discredit the
1l01itical acumen of those personnel, suggesting that
they lilcked tIll’ know-how to nursue their ob;ectives
succ,’ssfully and efficiently.

Tt was presumablv
because of what the Economist called their ‘unauenchable spirit’ that they persisted with their ill,;onL·,>1ved plans, ignoring the rational advice of
their political mentors. After all, Korry had
‘pn’c1icted’ that their scheme ,,,ould fail; neither
hp nor the state Department ‘entertained’ anv other
(Although it is clear from the
.7’lnclcrson paners that it is the (1uestion of the
formula’s success that is at issue here, the seconrl
CTuotc’ Clbove is in fact so aI:biguous that it miqht
t’vpn be taken to mean that the measures nronosed were
so bizarre that they never even occurred to the
))01 i tical ,~xpcrts.)
In the light of thi s i t COMes as
no surnrise to find that the renort concludes that
TTT, and, if it is at all representative, other
multinational firms too do not have ‘the appronriate
I:(?n or the correspondinq knowledqe’ to achieve
Tlolitical ends.


The use of the word ‘mysteriously’ in the second
auotation above is particularly significant.

It is
not merely that it leads the reader to think that
ITT’s proposals for stopping Allende were hopelessly

It is rather that there was nothing
‘mysterious’ at all about how economic chaos would
do so; in fact, one of the ways in which ITT’s ~en,
and others, thought that this would happen is stated
in the quotation itself, i.e. by creating a climate
which would provoke the military to intervene. A
careful reading of the Anderson papers leaves one in
no doubt about this, since Barrellez unambiguously
ties the two together: ‘Chances of thwarting
Allende’s assumption of power now are pegged mainly
to an economic collapse … massive unemployment and
unrest might produce enough violence to force the
military to move.’ (42-3)
This is a striking example of how ideological
discourse structures an analysis, radically distorting the material at its disposal.

In this instance
the confusion arises in the following way.

If the
military had intervened, it would thereby have
denied Allende the presidency. These are not two
events, but one and the same event under two different descriptions.

Economic chaos was the means
thought most likely to achieve this single objective.

Yet in the Economist’s report it is seen as a rival
to military intervention; the experts are said not
to have entertained ‘either of these ideas’, which
are construed as alternative means to the same end.

It may seem remarkable that the central link in
the chain of events leading from economic collanse
through unemployment and unrest to militarv intervention could thus disappear from view.

Its absence
indicated pressures arising from another source:

the liberal democratic “,edge between the political
and the economic, the influence of which explains
how it ,,,as possible for the report to regard mi li tarv
intervention and the inducement of economic chaos
as separate, rival means to thwart Allende. Their
isolation from one another governs the statement
that ITT ‘thought of military intervention and of
creating’ economic chaos, ,,,hich identifies the
economic sphere as the domain of activity of a business concern. This wedge is consolidated by the
remark in the report that ITT thought that an
economic collapse ‘might mysteriously’ block Allende,
which implies both that its personnel’s specialised
skills do not extend beyond business matters, and
that there is an unbridgeable gap between the
political and the economic realms.

In this resrect
the use of the term ‘Mysteriously’ serves the same
purpose as that served by the term ‘naturally’ in
the first example discussed above; there it was said
that loJhite H()u~ officials ‘naturally’ did not

accept ITT’s offer of financial assistance for a
program to stop Allende because this is ‘not the ‘vav
government is conducted’. By thus dovetailing
liberal democratic and technocratic ideologies the
report in question so structures its argument that
the conclusion it reaches that multinational companies
do not have significant political know-how and
therefore power, is already contained in the premises
from which it is drawn.

As another instance of this dovetailinq one can
cite the exclusion of any discussion of the contracts
between ITT and the CIA from the report in the
Economist which we are analvsing here. This is presumably because, as a clandestine intelligence orqanisation, the CIA is supposedly not a political organ
and the links established with it are accordinglv
deemed irrelevant to an evaluation of ITT’s abilitv
to control political affairs. The inverse of this
position is that adopted by many radical critics of
American involvement in the third world: an exaggerated emphasis on the role of the CIA as an instrument
of subversion to the exclusion of an appraisal of
the political leverage contained potentially in
‘foreign aid’ programmes, for example, which are
administered by more ‘respectable’ organisations.

By assuming that injections of foreign capital are
politically neutral, so that the only external
threat to the sovereignty of the government in a
‘less developed’ country comes from an underground
organisation like the CIA, these ‘radical’ critics
are adopting a position consistent with the assumptions of liberal democratic ideologv. They are not
rejecting that mode of discourse; they are operating
within its framework and contributing to its

Another significant absence from the Economist’s
report is an evaluation of ITT’s activities from a
moral point of view, i.e. the additional misery
which the already oppressed would have faced if the
attempts to create unemployment had succeeded in
sparking off unrest, violence and bloodshed is nowhere commented upon. This is a consequence of the
alleged value free and morally neutral character of
technological statements which, identifying rationality with efficiency, relegate considerations about
the harm done to others. in achieving pursued ends
to the ‘irrational’ and ‘subjective’, domains which
lie beyond the scope of cold, calculating technical
reason. That granted, the Economist’s conclusion
that ‘In short, nothing terrible was done’ is not
one that can be disputed by insisting that, on the
contrary, by deliberately trying to create an explosive and unstable situation in Chile ITT did do
‘something terrible’, and potentially harmful to
the oppressed masses in that country. For this is
clearly not a moral judgement but one that reflects
the tendency to reserve the notion of doing something for actions which achieve some objective, as
if trying to achieve a goal is not also something
that an agent can be said to do. This of course is
a consequence of looking at actions only from the
point of view of their efficiency or success in
attaining a pursued end; if they fail to do so, not
only has the agent done ‘nothing terrible’, it is
sometimes even said that he has done nothing at all.

The systematic exclusion of moral considerations
by the discourse that constitutes technocratic ideology and of behaviour which is guided by it, is
symptomatic of its manipUlative character.

adherents assimilate the social to the natural universe, treating human beings and the groups and
classes which they form as objects only to be
reasoned about, and not as members of a rational
species which can also be reasoned with. Control
over them as individuals or groups is exercised by
giving them reasons for pursuing the goal that the
technocrat chooses for them. From his vantage point
‘deviant’ behaviour is either irrational or reveals
that the agents have chosen to pursue a different
objective which conflicts with the one preferred.

These alternatives exact different responses from
him. He can either argue that the agents in question are incapable of behaving rationally, and


commit them to a mental institution, or he can
escalate the pressures on the agents until the
reasons which they have for pursuing the goal vhich
has been set for them outweigh the reasons ,,,hich
they have for pursuing a ‘dvsfunctional’ objective
of their mm choosing.

The rational thing for them
to do will then be to bo”, to the will of the technocrat and to pursue the goal which he has set for

In either case the influence of technocratic
ideology and the institutions which embodv it
gradually permeate society, and existing patterns
of dominance are reproduced on an ever-expanding

Tf this seems unduly exaggerated and pessimistic
it is onlv because the account given here is onesided.

Tt is important to emphasise that the escalation referred to above rises in response to
pressures springing from within the bod~ of societv
i.tself and that the limi ts to which it can be pushed
and the success which it achieves will themselves be
subject to’ the prevailing balance of forces.

On the
other hand i.t would be a mistake to think that
social theories do not insinuate themselves into the
very body of society, structuring the social system
to fit their patterns of commitments. Consider for
example hOv a theorist like Downs lO sI
from a passive to a manipulative postures in his
discussion of the meaning of economic rati.onalitv,
which relies heavily on the technocratic conception
of reason:

Economic analysis thus consists of tt·m ma for
steps: discovery of the ends a decision-maker
is pursuing, and analysis of t.,hich means of
attaining them are most reasonable, i.e., rerru}re
the least input of scarce resources.

Tn carrrling out the first step, theorists have qenera11t/
tried to reduce the ends of each economic acrent
to a single goal, so tl~t one most efficient
way to attain it can be found.

Tf mtl1tip1e
goals are allowed, means appropr.iate to one
may block attainment of another; hence no
unique course can be charted for a rat.fona1
decision-maker to fo110 …,. To avo}d this
impasse, theorists posit that firms maximize
profits and consumers maximize utility .•..

Even though {<.Ie cannot decide whether a deci sionmaker's ends are rational, we must know wha t they
are before ~e can decide what behaviour is
rationa1.for him.II
On this view an economically rational society is one
in which different groups of economic agents pursue
a single goal uncompromisingly – the maximi7.ation of
profits by the producer and the maximizatjon or
utility by the consumer. To ensure that limi.ted
resources are not used inefficiently, 'we' must not
'allow' other goals to 'block' the attainnent of these

If society can be structured in such a
way that each economic agent is given reasons
sufficiently strong to outweigh all those which
might distract him from their pursuit, an ‘impasse’

can be ‘avoided’ and a ‘unique course can be charted’

by ‘us’ which if followed will guarantee that no
irrational waste of resources occurs. Technical
reason not,,,i thstanding, we are here clearly not confronted with a value-neutral theory, but one committed
to the reproduction on an expanding and
scale of the capitalist mode of production, the
success of which demands engineered conformity.

The ‘we’ of whom Downs speaks in the above
quotation refers of course to the experts, the faceless theorists who have ‘tried to reduce the ends of
each economic agent to a single goal’. This elevation of the technocrat to the status of the guardian
of rationality is an integral feature of a mone of
ideological discourse which assimilates the social
to the natural world with the manipulative consequences we have been examining.

Tt arises because
the relationship between the expert and the layman
in the natural sciences is one which, by definition,
excludes the socialisation of most, if not all the
former’s knowledge beyond the confines of the scientific community of which he or she is a member.



an astronomer predicts that a comet will appear over
Britain in January 1974, the fact that he or she, as
an expert, thinks that this is so, is a good reason
that a layman can have for thinking that the comet
will appear. As a layman, the reasons which the
astronomer has for thinking this do not enter into
the formation of his beliefs; those reasons are
~ather subject to criticism from fellow members in
the community of astronomers who are sufficiently
familiar with the theory on which the prediction
Vas based. The natural scientist reasons about nature and with scientific colieagues, and his or her
conclusions constitute the rational grounds for many
of the layman’s beliefs about the natural world.

If the social world is reduced to the natural
one, considerations like these come into play structUring the Vay in which a theorist like Downs thinks
about his object of study.

If one is to escape from
the constraints imposed by a technocratic ideology
it is essential that one concede that when dealing
with human societies, the object of study comprises
groups of rational interacting human beings, who can
both be reasoned about and reasoned with. This
implies that the community of social scientists can,
potentially at least, be expanded to embrace the
members of society themselves, and with this socialjsation and democratisation of knowledge the distinction betwee~ layman and expert is progressively
(‘roded. Along with it the opinion of the ‘expert’

loses its sacrosanct character and no longer serves
in itself as a rationally adequate ground for the
‘layman’s beliefs about society.

Consioerations like these provide us with some
idea of the sense in which an ideology may be said
to ‘reflect’ a material base. For it is now clear
that the technocratic mode of thought derives its
plausibility from the fact that it is grounded in a
social system which is characterised by a rigid
oivision of labour, and by a corresponding fragmentation, specialisation and hierarchisation of
knowledge, which is taken to be of the ‘natural
order’ of things. As a consequence of these divisions
the utterances of those who wield power are set up
as if they were not to be questioned by the masses,
who are always confronted by jargon whenever they
attempt to penetrate beyond the claims of those in
iluthority. As such the ideology not only ‘reflects’

a social system, it also legitimates and reinforces
it, precisely by posing questions which presuppose
its basic divisions rather than undermining them.

~lat is more, as we have seen above, a technocratic
idt?ology also serves as a basis for the reproduction
and intensification of these divisions from which
it springs to the extent that it is embodied in”
insti tutions ,.,hich so structure society that conflicts between ‘multipl~ goals’ are not ‘allowed’.

Explanations of this kind do not exclude explanations for the tenacity of ideological discourse
which appeal to bias, like those which were
presented in the earlier part of this paper. As
Was suggested there, the occurrence of bias has
itself to be explained in terms of a particular
kind of social structure, and what we have done here
is to unravel some of the characteristics of that
structure. ~at has emerqed is that the cleavages
Vhich underpin liberal democratic ideoloqv and the
related technocratic ideology can be woven into the
very framework of a social formation, shackling
in the first instance the minds of the intellectuals
who reflect on it. Nothing short of a revolution
in consciousness is required of them if they are to
free themselves from the limits it imposes.


L. Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other
Essays, New Left Books, 1971, p2l.


T am grate:ul to Roy Edgley and John ~tepham for
extensive criticisms of an earlier draft of this

J. ~epham, ‘The Theory of Ineology in Capital’,
Radical Philosophy 2, Summer 1972, pp12-l9.



L. Althusser, ibid., pp127-l86.


R. Edgley, Reason in Theory and Practice,
Hutchinson, 1969.


R. Edgley, ‘Freedom of Speech and Academic
Freedom’, to be published in John Mepham (ed.),
Ideology, Social Science, Freedom of Speech,
Harvester Press, 1974.


N. Girvan, Copper in Chile, Institute of
Social and Economic Research, University of the
West Indies, 1972, p60.


This is discussed in more detail in my ‘Copper:

The Chilean Experience’, of which I have a fe-,
copies available.


Subversion in Chile: A case study in U.S.

corporate intrigue in the Third ~Qrld, Spokesman
Books, 1972. Figures in brackets in the te~t
refer to page numbers in this selection from
the Anderson papers.


A. Downs, An Economic’ Theory of Democracy,
Harper and Row, 1957. pp4-5, 6.

and bou..geois
KT Fann
Most Marxist philosophers dismiss Wittgenstein as a
typical bourgeois philosopher whose philosophy is
essentially reactionary. It is strange that these
same Marxist philosophers find it perfectly.permissible for Marx to learn from the arch idealist-conservative philosopher Hegel but do not permit themselves
the benefit of learning from a philosopher of
Wittgenstein’s stature. Just as Marx had to settle
his philosophical accounts with Hegel modern Marxist
philosophers must settle their accounts with

It is true that the formalism, solipsism, and
mysticism of the early wittgenstein was bourgeois
philosophy at its logical extreme. Precisely because
of this, Wittgenstein’s later attack on his early
philosophy constitutes a major attack on bourgeois
philosophy in general. The later wittgenstein was a
fighter against bourgeois philosophy from within.

His attack on formalism, solipsism and skepticism,
his characterization of traditional philosophy as a
kind of disease to be cured, his branding of metaphysical statements as nonsense, and his urging his
students to quit academic philosophy and do something
useful – all this and more can only be regarded as
a progressive movement within bourgeois philosophy.

Like the proverbial child who called attention to
the king’s nakedness Wittgenstein called attention
to the emptiness of bourgeois philosophy.

Engels remarked somewhere that those who
employed the Hegelian method became revolutionaries
and those who followed the Hegelian system became
reactionaries. Wittgenstein made a significant
contribution to the philosophical method which may
well prove to be an important contribution to the

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