Here are some reports of the latest uprisings in Chile.
The students are being joined by many others/unions. The student leader, Camila Vallejo is amazing.
Perhaps we can follow Camila Vallejo's lead. Her words are direct and clear. For example....
Angel Gonzalez writes:
Please watch links below see to articles, powerful pictures; videos of street protests in Chile this week and this past month. Inspiring to hear song (the people united will never be defeated)of the MIR and Allende 1970's era being song by huge throng of thousands.
Chile since the 1970's has been suffering from neoliberal reductions in the standard of working class living conditions, diminished labor rights,services and in particular devastated school system plagued by a private profiteering & voucher systems.
Conditions have reached intolerable levels and are at a boiling point, as evidenced by these recent series of massive protests.
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido.
Thousands in Chile take to streets, demand change
Union members, students, government workers and center-left opposition parties took part in the final day of a nationwide two-day strike, which included four separate protest marches in the capital and demonstrations across Chile. In many areas, families grabbed spoons and spilled into the streets to join in noisy pot-banging shows of support.
President Sebastian Pinera's ministers sought to minimize the impact. Police estimated Santiago's crowds at just 50,000 and said only 14 percent of government workers stayed off the job.
Union leaders claimed 600,000 people joined demonstrations nationwide. Raul de la Puente, president of the government employees union, said 80 percent of his members joined the strike, at the cost of two days' pay.
Pinera called the strike unjustified because Chile's economy is growing strong and providing more opportunities. He also said he remains open to those seeking dialogue, although his administration has refused to discuss some student and union demands, arguing the real work of reform must be done in Congress.
What began three months ago as a series of isolated classroom boycotts by high school and university students demanding education
Protesters now want increases in education and health care spending, pension and labor code reform, even a new Constitution that would give voters the chance to participate in referendums - a form of direct democracy previously unthinkable in a country only two decades removed from a 1973-90 military dictatorship.
Polls taken before the strike said a majority of Chileans side with the protesters, though it's unclear if the violence will affect popular sentiment.
Chile's much-praised economic model of fiscal austerity and private-sector solutions has failed to deliver enough upward mobility to a new generation whose members see how their country compares to the rest of the world, said Bernardo Navarrete, a political analyst at the University of Santiago.
No More Shock Doctrine in Chile. Millions Protest, General Strike Looms and Student Leader Emerges.24/08/2011
In Chile it is clear that enough is enough and amongst many others a new leader is born. Camila Vallejo Dowling a 23 year old, geography student at the University of Chile and president of the Student Federation has as one reporter writes "... has become the most popular and inspiring leader of the current and massive student movement that have brought to its knees, for the last 3 months, Sebastián Piñera’s right wing government. Even opinion polls carried out by media supporters of the current government can’t ignore the truth; Camilla is the most popular activist/politician in Chile with nearly 70% approval. Clearly she is not the only leader that fights for the cause of education in Chile, as it is really a whole generation of eloquent, savvy and dedicated youth, but Camila has become the most visible face of this, thus far, peaceful rebellion"
Camila is daughter of Communist Party members who fought against Pinochet;s repressive regime, the regime that the CIA installed after murdering Salvador Allende, the first democratically elected socialist leader in Latin America. Allende intended to address inequality and redistribute wealth and opportunity by nationalizing industries and actioning land and agricultural reforms with many small and cooperatively owned farms.
Camila has risen to the fore and as one writer reports: "attracted international media attention for her youth, her beauty and eloquence, but more importantly for the clarity and accessibility of her policy proposals and the strong resistance to the counter proposals driven by the government that have failed to illicit support from the public" and "Her voice and attitude reveals a measured, unhurried and very charismatic personality that has a deep understanding, unlike many of her elders, of the power of the media and social networks, Camilla seems undeterred even in the face of repeated death threats received, some even clumsily sent via Twitter and issued by government officials aligned with the Piñera government"
In an attempt to discredit Camila, other prominent activists and the protests in general, Chile's corporate media seem only to be fanning the flames as the above video showing the most remarkable scenes of solidarity demonstrates. The AlJazeera report below reveals that the protesters are not interested in compromise, and government officials will have to find real solutions if they want to restore relative calm. In the face of ongoing hunger strikes and a call by the largest worker’s group in the country for a general strike it seems fitting that with the neoliberalism that was first imposed in Chile, that it is these great people that are now bravely showing the rest of us the meaning of people power and with all sincerity and hope that together we can change the system, the system that after all is meant to represent us all and not the interests of the wealthy few. It is also clear that president Allende's final words have been far from forgotten and as he himself has said that his 'sacrifice will not be in vain'
"These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain...Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seed which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They have strength and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested neither by crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history......Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny.....Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk to build a better society"
Long live Chile! Long live the people!