Coverage and commentary on the Chilean Student Movement; and on occasion related things. If you can't get enough of me I also have spilloverfrommyotherblog.tumblr.com. If this is your first time I advise you to go to the archive and/or ask me. Scholarships are welcome forms of appreciation. Not kidding. Thanks for visiting, and please tell your friends that this movement exists. Just add "/ask" to my URL to talk to me.
[By Katy Fox-Hodess and Francisco Nuñez Capriles, posted to the International Sociology Association’s Blog on September 23rd, 2012 - Original)
Last month, following winter break, Chilean high school and university students across the country have once again occupied their schools, the latest upsurge in a powerful student movement that began in May of 2011. Though the student movement appears once again to be gathering strength, the government has shifted from its traditionally permissive stance on school occupations to a strong-arm position of dislodging students with police force soon after schools are initially occupied and, in some cases, having the police occupy schools for up to a week to prevent further student action. This shift has placed the student protesters in a more tenuous position than the position they found themselves in last year and the situation is in a state of flux.
It is clear, however, that the movement is not yet over, and Chilean students remain highly critical of the marketized educational system inherited from the dictatorship. Despite a seven-month long militant mass mobilization of students and their supporters in 2011, the protests have yet to result in significant substantive changes to Chile’s educational policies. The failure of the government to meet the students’ demands has resulted in a growing critique of the flaws of the democratic system negotiated at the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. In this sense, the current movement can be seen as a second wave of pro-democracy protests, calling attention to the problems of marketization and the need to reduce Chile’s high levels of inequality and make government more responsive to the public.
[Written by Aaron Walck for The Santiago Times on September 14, 2012 - Original]
Standoff between diversifying movement and unyielding government prompts growing criticism.
After a dramatic month of student demonstrations, this week saw the end of various school occupations throughout Santiago, most notably at Universidad de Chile, a campus that stood as a symbol of the “Chilean Winter” the year before. While the demonstrators and occupiers claimed to be continuing last year’s fight, the most widespread protest since Chile’s return to democracy, it now appears to have petered out comparatively anticlimactically.
“The Students Are Not Alone
The Grandmothers Support Them Too”
August 28, 2012
“No More Oppression Against Those Who Fight For Better Education”
August 28, 2012
“It Doesn’t Help to Fix the Top Floor if the Base is Still Wrecked”
August 28, 2012
“Education and Gender Equality
There is Only One Guily Party in Sexual Assualts THE AGRESSOR”
August 28, 2012
Note the image of Christ in the “F” of “Fidel”
August 28, 2012
[From The Guardian on August 30th, 2012; by Richard Seymour. Original]
Correction: Protest occurred on 28th, not 29th. This seems like a big gaffe, but it’s not; trust me.
Up to 200,000 people marched through Santiago yesterday. Students and teachers protesting over education were supported by the Chilean Trade Union Congress, which called on members to join the march. It ended with police turning water cannon and teargas on the protesters. But the protests aren’t going away. For over a year now, this revolt has been developing. Mass protests and general strikes have shaken the government, as when 600,000 workers walked out last August.
The main frontline of conflict is the country’s education system. In 1981, the Pinochet regime dismantled free public education. Primary and secondary education is paid for by a vouchers system, which involves the government paying private sector providers to educate the young. Higher education is dominated by private professional and technical colleges, which cost up to £530 a month to attend. The state exists primarily as a regulator rather than a provider. As a result, working-class Chileans often receive at best a poor education, and students end up burdened with debts.
But the demand for free education drives a popular wedge right into the country’s economic structure. The students and workers say that the country’s tremendous copper resources should be used to pay for reforms rather than to enrich investors. The struggles to change the constitution reflect a recognition that the political framework established by the dictatorship is itself part of the problem. Protesters look longingly abroad to Bolivia and Venezuela, where constitutional change has been part of the struggle against the old regimes.
[from The New York Times, published on August 26th, 2012, by Pascale Bonnefoy; Original]
SANTIAGO, Chile — They appear at the student demonstrations that are once again filling the streets and occupying the schools of Santiago, and at the hospitals and police stations where the fallout lands afterward: small troops of observers in blue or white helmets, armed with notebooks, cameras, voice recorders and gas masks.
They are not there to join the protests or interfere, only to monitor and record what happens when the police crack down on the protests — as they have done with increased violence this year — and to help anyone who is injured or abused. This month, they are busier than ever.
The volunteer observers, known as “helmets,” are ordinary citizens of all ages and walks of life, professionals and blue-collar workers, university students and retirees, some well into their 70s, who see their work as crucial.
“We have to register the evidence of what we’re seeing,” said Marta Cisterna, 45, the spokeswoman for one of the helmet groups, Human Rights Observers. “No one else is monitoring police actions.”
An occupied University of Chile’s main campus on August 17
Photo by Lee Purvey