[Marxism] Eyewitness: Chile rocked by student revolt

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 22:44:26 MDT 2011

Chile rocked by student revolt

Adrian Wright, Santiago

As I walked out of the *tercera comiseria* (police station based in the
centre of Santiago) on August 4, it hit me what had transpired on this
incredible day.

All I could hear were the sounds of the *cacerolazo*, people beating pots
and pans in protest, every street corner occupied by protesters who had
erected barricades and lit bonfires.

The echo of an updated song from the time of the Pinochet dictatorship
sounding through the streets.

The police, who spent most of the day throwing tear gas canisters and
beating the shit out of people, could only look on as the people took
control of the streets.

The central store of La Polar, a giant chain of department stores implicated
in a huge fraud of investors and customers, had been burnt to the ground.

Everyone over the age of 40 told me the same thing -- "It's like being back
in the eighties", referring to the epic street battles against the Pinochet
dictatorship between 1982 and 1986.

I'll give you the background.

Since May, the campuses and schools of Chile have been epicenters of revolt
and protest. Students are hell bent on overthrowing the neoliberal
profit-based education system operating in Chile.

At one point, more than 180 schools and university campuses were *en
toma*(under occupation by students). In some cases, students were
evicted from their tomas by police and security forces only to then go on to
reoccupy them.

Every Thursday, tens of thousands of schoolchildren as young as 14 and
university students have taken to the streets, facing down the
*pacos*(cops), with their
*guanacos* (water cannons), tear gas and clubs.

The city centre has the semi-permanent smell of tear gas and you can't go
far without seeing a school or university campus en toma.

If you catch a bus, you are likely to see an *evangelista*, usually a
teenager sent by a school en toma, board the bus and explain to the
passengers with inspiring eloquence what they are fighting for (a high
quality education system for all, free of charge), why it is possible and
why it is necessary.

full article: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48526

"Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity's
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion." -- Oscar Wilde, Soul of Man
Under Socialism

"The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?" -- Jarvis Cocker

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