Chile today

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Chile today

WATCH: Chile Today (and vid)

"This is a video from Chile today, where the right-wing regime imposed a state of emergency and deployed huge armored vehicles and soldiers to repress anti-austerity protesters. This is a close US [Canadian] ally. But it's not Venezuela - so you likely won't hear about it."


'WE Are Not Left Or Right, WE Are Those On The Bottom Coming For Those On The Top!'


Class War: State of Emergency in Chile



Escobar: Burn, Neoliberalism, Burn

"Neoliberalism is - literally - burning. And from Ecuador to Chile, South America, once again, is showing the way..."


If you read Spanish, Rebelión is a good source of Latin American news and analysis.



"If this video of police beating people in the streets were from Venezuela or Syria it'd be playing on loop in corporate media while neocons and R2P interventionists would be clamoring to invade. But it's from Chile - a US vassal state - so it will be ignored."

Ditto France, Palestine, etc


Patterson: Canada's Role in Austerity & Uprising in Chile

"Canada's economic relations, in the form of bank loans, investments and government supplied financial assistance have helped consolidate the Chilean dictatorship and, by granting it a mantle of respectability and financial endorsement have encouraged its continued violation of human rights..."



US Diplomat Blames Russia For Protests in Chile

"Guess who's stirring massive anti-government protests in Chile? Anybody? That's right it's the Russians, at least according to Washington's chief Latin American diplomat..."

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

US Diplomat Blames Russia For Protests in Chile

"Guess who's stirring massive anti-government protests in Chile? Anybody? That's right it's the Russians, at least according to Washington's chief Latin American diplomat..."

He better hope this doesn't get reported on Fox and Friends, or Trump will fire him.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

This story is so painful to read.

Hundreds shot and beaten as Chile takes to the streets


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from democracy now

One Million Take to Streets of Chile in the “Largest Mobilization Since the End of Dictatorship”

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has announced a major cabinet shuffle after more than one million people flooded the streets Friday in massive peaceful demonstrations over inequality, high cost of living and privatization. The protest drew more than 5% of Chile’s population and followed days of widespread civil unrest that sparked a violent police and military crackdown across the country. At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds more have been shot and wounded since protests erupted Oct. 19. The protests in Chile began in response to a subway fare hike and have grown into a mass uprising against the government. We speak with Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris, founder and director of the Global South Center and chairperson of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute, and Alondra Carrillo Vidal, a spokesperson for Chile’s largest feminist advocacy group, Coordinadora Feminista 8M.


"Chile's government, a member of the Lima Group, [like Canada] is committing brazen and severe human rights abuses in order to crush dissent. Apparently, that fraudulent champion of human rights Chrystia Freeland could not care less..."


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..been waiting for the transcript re the democracy now report. it is both relevant and instructive so will dissect it a bit. 

One Million Take to Streets of Chile in the “Largest Mobilization Since the End of Dictatorship”

..from part 1


The protests in Chile began in response to a subway fare hike and have grown into a mass uprising against neoliberalism and demands of political reform. Piñera canceled the fee increase, but protests have continued. Chile is one of the richest countries in Latin America, but also one of the most unequal.


AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of Piñera dismissing his entire cabinet to form a new one? Does that matter to you and to the protesters at this point?

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: No. We are asking him to leave. People want to overthrow this government because they are responsible not only for the political measures that have made life precarious in the last years, but also he is responsible politically for the rapes, the sexual political violence that has been taken by the military and the police. He is responsible for the disappearance and murders of people in the last week. So I think he is taking a desperate measure with this asking all his ministers to leave, but it is a desperate measure that will not calm people, because that’s not what we want. We don’t want this government to reorganize itself. We want them gone.


AMY GOODMAN: Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris, you have been involved in the struggle in Chile back through your family working in the Allende government. You then fled to this country after Pinochet rose to power. One of the chants in the protest–”Neoliberalism began in Chile; it will die in Chile.” The significance of this?

MACARENA GÓMEZ-BARRIS: This is a powerful statement, and I think one of the things it says, Amy, is the continuities that have happened since the Pinochet dictatorship. As you may know, Chile was the birthplace of neoliberalism in many ways, and structural adjustment, and the link to the Washington consensus was strong there. And there has been ongoing pressure on people, creating precarious conditions for many, many years.

And what is important to say here is that the Pinochet Constitution of 1979 that was revised during the dictatorship is still in place, so people are still living with the kind of legal apparatus that was put in place there, and the ongoing security apparatus. There’s much to be said about what is currently going on in Chile, and one thing that has not been documented in the news very directly is the connection with the anti-indigenous legislation and the kind of terrorism, the discussion of terrorism and the discourses of terrorism that have been used [inaudible] Mapuche, Pehuenche, Huilliche peoples in the southern territories. And this has been going on for the last 30 years since the 1990s.

We see this transference of what is happening in the deep south now to Santiago and other places. And this is a really important discussion, because it has served as a lab for the security apparatus. And so the human rights violations, the kinds of torture, the disappearances—they have continuity with what happened before, but it is also continuity with what has been going on much more recently in indigenous Chile.

AMY GOODMAN: Alondra, do you see this only growing? And talk about the feminist leadership of this mass movement. You have 5% of the entire population coming out this weekend.

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes. I don’t know if it has been a leadership, but it has been an important participation in this. Because I say it’s not a leadership because this has no leadership at all, I believe. People are organizing from below. And what we have done as feminists is we are encouraging people to organize local assemblies to take care of many things. One of them is care—collective care of children and the elderly—local assemblies to take care of food and the sustainment, and also to open a discussion about what we want for the future and what we want as a country. What we have done in March 8th with the several hundreds of thousands of women in the streets is to put forward a program, a political program, to confront many aspects of life. That has been a horizon of the feminist movement in the last year.

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..been waiting for the transcript for part 2 but it doesn't look like it's gonna happen. in any case it's even more revealing than part 1.

A Fight Against Neoliberalism: Over A Million Chileans Protest Amid Violent Crackdown

We continue our conversation with Chilean activist Alondra Carrillo Vidal and Macarena Gómez-Barris, founder and director of the Global South Center and Chairperson of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Jacobin has an interview with Santiago activist Isidora Cepeda Beccar which I think is worth reading.


Good lessons here for Canadians as well. When the people lead, the leaders will follow.

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Demonstrators raise their hands for a minute of silence for the deceased in the protests during the day of cultural activities called by Movimiento Unidad Social at Plaza O'Higgins on October 27, 2019 in Santiago, Chile. Marcelo Hernandez / Getty

..from the jacobin piece

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..aahh! the transcript to part 2


PRESIDENT SEBASTIAN PIÑERA: [translated] The protesters are at war against all good Chileans who want to live in democracy and peace. General Iturriaga, who is in charge of dealing with this state of emergency, has been able to deploy 9,500 men to protect your peace, your tranquility, your rights and your liberty. I want to express my gratitude to these 9,500 people of the armed forces, the military, who are confronting these violent people and criminals.


ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes. Well, almost 100 people have lost their sight.

AMY GOODMAN: Have been blinded?

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes. They have been shot in the eyes by the police.

AMY GOODMAN: So they’re using live bullets?

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: They’re using these like little bullets.

AMY GOODMAN: Rubber bullets.

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes, yes. Oh, it’s not just rubber. It’s also—it’s some kind of metal. I don’t know the word in English.

AMY GOODMAN: Lead bullets.

ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes. But they have also taken out selectively people from their houses, mostly student leaderships. They have also exercised sexual political violence. They have raped people. Not just women; also men, gay men or men that are queer. They have tortured many, many people. They also occupied the central station of the subway, Baquedano, as a torture center that was discovered by the Institution of Human Rights here in Chile. They have deployed mass violence with of course the use of tear gas and contaminated water against the people and against the mass that is demonstrating on the streets. They have—yes, I believe they have used almost every way of political violence against the people.


MACARENA GÓMEZ-BARRIS: Well, this discourse or this rhetoric of the enemy of the state is certainly one we know. It was used against social dissidents in a moment, against Salvador Allende supporters, and it was part and integral to kind of praxis of state violence. So this is rhetoric that has continued and it has resurfaced because in Piñera’s cabinet, and Piñera, and the military themselves, there’s a deep root that goes back to the Pinochet regime. This is a continuation in many ways.

So we talk about political transition and “la transición politica” in Chile, and the idea of a transition to political democracy. But this transition, which is now I think officially over, we can say, really never happened in the sense that the kind of infrastructures of the military regime continue to be there, as I discussed before, in terms of the Constitution, but also the kind of increased security state that’s happened in, as I said, indigenous territories. And we know this because there has been a kind of armament that is increased, buying and purchasing of weapons. If you look at the kind of suiting up of the police and the military, there’s a sense of a kind of expanded security regime and apparatus.

And so really this rhetoric of the enemy of the state is a kind of anti-terrorist rhetoric from the Cold War, and it has, of course, precursors in the colonial regime. And this has been used to criminalize a population, as your other guest said, who’s living in very precarious conditions. Forty percent of people—you know, the kind of most radical inequality in Latin America [inaudible].


AMY GOODMAN: Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris, can you talk about the constituent assemblies, what they are?

MACARENA GÓMEZ-BARRIS: Yeah, I think this is a really important aspect, both the kind of privatization, deregulation of many sectors in society, the healthcare across the board in terms of Social Security, retirement, and these low pensions. So this has produced a kind of relative deprivation in society that wasn’t about these Metro 4% hikes and the kind of retraction of that. It’s a longer systematic dismantling of the social system. And what’s happened in the process has been a sense of loss of faith in political parties, loss of faith in the so-called transition to democracy, a kind of elite democracy that has not represented people’s interests and their economic, financial and basic interests or met their expectations of what a democracy looks like, in terms of supposedly an economic miracle, an oasis in Latin America, as Piñera put it.

Well, that oasis has not been true, and so people have turned to other sources of social power, other dimensions of political projects, and have created a number of different forums through constituent assemblies that has really thickened what we’d call civil society or a kind of alternative to the formal political parties. So let me give you an example. In 2006, you get the rise of the Pingüino movement, the movement of middle age children that, of course, have come to age now and are living this kind of new collective moment.

That school movement and that turn away from the kinds of formal education that were happening, the squeeze on the population, the ransoming of the future, the fact that university tuition was increasing, led to the 2011 protests that were a massive student uprising that you know and you saw certain kinds of leaders in motion there. Really important. Camila Vallejo, Jackson, et cetera. And that kind of massive student protest that was also at that key critical moment globally about debt, about student debt and against this kind of fast food universities that were privatized everywhere and increasing debt for the masses because of the tuition there, really created a texture of social movements, fomented social movements from the young people, the college age people, again, all who have come to age.

So by the time you get the feminist movements and the uprising that are happening in the south with indigenous peoples, you’re really getting a transversal, coalitional, anti-state movement that has been quite thickened in its radical democracy on the ground. And this is a kind of texture for what we see in the future potentially. This is not one leader that can be co-opted or a series of leaders that can be co-opted by political parties. This is a quite rich texture of movements that has actually been criminalized but in fact, we actually see real radical democracy in motion on the ground.


AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of the United Nations sending a team to Chile to investigate the allegations of human rights abuses?

MACARENA GÓMEZ-BARRIS: Indeed. It’s no coincidence that Michelle Bachelet is at the head of that, former president Michelle Bachelet.

AMY GOODMAN: Who herself was imprisoned during the Pinochet regime. Her father killed, her and her mother tortured.

MACARENA GÓMEZ-BARRIS: Indeed. So the continuities there, and now at the center of the United Nations that has been seen by Trump and others as unnecessary, right? And the right-wing kind of rhetoric of this, trying to dismantle so many gains that have been had. So that Michelle Bachelet is taking this commission now, today, and that Piñera has decided to suspend the curfew and allow for a kind of openness, supposedly, and the rhetoric against—you know, that the state of emergency is over—it’s precisely because the world is now watching with Bachelet at the center to see what in fact is happening on the ground.


ALONDRA CARRILLO VIDAL: Yes. Many people are gathering right now at the Palace of Justice to put forward reports of what has been going on. It’s really contradictory that Bachelet is the one that is coming now, not because she was tortured and, of course, she was a victim of political violence, but because she was president of Chile, and as a president of Chile, she was part of the administration of these precarious life conditions. And it’s one of the many presidents and political forces that are being held accountable of these conditions against which people are rebelling.

So it’s important not to disassociate the repression that is being conducted by the military and the police from what’s the content of this mobilization. So I believe for me and for many of the people that are on the streets, it’s really—at the same time it’s of course helpful to have this mission coming here and making visible what’s going on with people who are protesting and going to the streets, but it’s also really—it concerns us what this can make in order to, I don’t know, hide these deep reasons why people are protesting now.

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Protests in Chile Were Sparked By a Subway Fare Hike, But Come After “30 Years of a Social Crisis”

In Chile, a new set of mass protests took place Monday as President Sebastián Piñera fulfilled the promise to appoint new members to his cabinet. As Piñera addressed the nation Monday, hundreds of protesters had already gathered outside the presidential palace in Santiago, waving flags, honking horns and demanding for Piñera’s resignation.


PABLO ABUFOM: Well, one thing is we hope that the U.N. Human Rights Commission coming to Chile makes a difference. We know that Amnesty International is also trying to investigate for a report, and we have the National Human Rights Institute giving out reports every day. Of course, the figure of Bachelet is very important in Chile. She became one of the first presidents after the massive, huge mobilization of students—college and high school students—in 2011.

And after that, we saw the real face of the regime that is so entrenched in Chilean society. That even when you have a government that is saying that it’s going to make reforms in terms of responding to social demands, we see that the demand for free education became just more scholarships, even for private higher education institutions. So the whole system of transferring public funds to private companies is still in place, even during those governments.

And then in terms of the social uprising that we see today, it is basically people are fed up with the system. So it is not just—we can tell this by looking at the response of the people to what the government has been doing. Days after the—on Monday, the government announced that they were going to freeze the subway fare hike, those 30 pesos that we were talking about. And then people continued mobilizing in massive protests and demonstrations, not just in Santiago where the subway is, but also in other cities in the country. And then we see that the government is calling the political establishment for a new social agreement, and people are still on the streets. So we can tell that people are not really looking for that kind of response by the government. They are looking for structural change in terms of the social rights, of social provisions, some kind of social security and definitely the levels of violence that we experience in Chilean society.

And so that means that when we see the unions, the big trade unions and the teachers’ associations and the social movements like the environmental movement and the feminist movement are promoting demands that are deeply felt by Chilean workers and also migrant workers who have become a very important part of our society in the past ten years, we see that that’s not—it’s part of the problem, but it is not enough. It seems that people are looking for radical, structural change, and a change of regime.

So it seems that we are basically looking at a crisis, at a deep crisis of the capitalist and colonial formation of the state in Chile. The unions are already calling for another general strike tomorrow. The port workers and the miners are organizing for a stoppage of their work in the mines and in the ports in Chile. That means that this is not going to end so easily as the government thinks. They changed the Cabinet—they put new faces, young faces in the Cabinet—but it’s not making a difference. Because it seems that they are not really taking into account, they are not really considering, the nature of the civil unrest that it’s basically a social crisis, a social emergency that we are living.


Re: 'Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Speaks With President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera'

"Chile's right-wing President has brutally repressed protests, resulting in at least 18 deaths, but when Justin Trudeau spoke to him, Trudeau didn't denounce Pinera's human rights abuses. Rather, Trudeau expressed concern about the election of a left-wing government in Bolivia."

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Trudeau, Chile's Pinera speak before APEC and climate summits cancelled


Ben Rowswell, the head of the Canadian International Council, said the Chilean situation is a part of a global trend that reminds him of the Arab Spring uprisings across several countries in 2011. What's different is today's protests are taking place against a variety of governments whether it is authoritarian regimes in China, the Hezbollah-backed government in Lebanon, or Chile that has traditionally been a strong economic and political ally of Canada.

"There's a remarkable wave of protests taking place across the world right now from Hong Kong to Lebanon to Chile," said Rowswell, a former Canadian ambassador to Venezuela.

"The balance of power between states and their populations seems to be shifting. The states have less power than they used to. You've got well mobilized populations that are in the streets, and determined to stay there."


When I read this Canadian press agit-prop I too was reminded of the 'Arab Sting'.  Sounds like Ben Roswell and his Canadian International Council are just the right sort of covert- reactionary/imperialist assholes to appeal to a wide and stupid cross-section of the Canadian political spectrum from right wing to pseudo left. Chileans themselves need no such advice or steering from such friendly-fascist Freelanders or their foreign stink-tanks.

See also:

Canada's Meddling in Venezuela: the Case of Ben Rowswell

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i posted that #22 piece to show that the enemy (for lack of a better word) understands the shift taking place. 

"The balance of power between states and their populations seems to be shifting. The states have less power than they used to. You've got well mobilized populations that are in the streets, and determined to stay there."'s not often you catch them doing that.  

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i found this to be an excellent analysis. 

A New People Is Born in Chile

Thanks to the ongoing protest movement in Chile, the legitimacy of the country’s neoliberal model is currently on trial — reason enough to feel hopeful. The huge revolts have been even larger than the impressive mobilizations seen earlier this decade in Chile, capturing the imagination of radical resistance movements around the globe. With the staggering popular turnout on the streets, covering almost all sectors of Chilean society, there is plenty of reason for optimism, but this opening also poses a number of serious challenges for the Chilean left.


Filling the Void

This model may be losing its grip, and what we see emerging is a new popular consciousness with a broad social outlook. For better or worse, we are witnessing the birth of a new Chilean “people,” partly forged out of the neoliberal experience and of a different variety to its twentieth-century predecessor.

Chileans have been individualized under neoliberalism, but paradoxically, this individualization has also incubated a demand for authentic individual autonomy — an attitude that does not sit easily with the traditional Chilean left.

But street mobilizations are no less dynamic. In cacerolazos, we find not only expressions of rage directed toward the business class and government. We also find expressions of joy, of people dancing and singing, celebrating the power that comes with being united in common struggle. It is no accident that the most emblematic figure of the movement is none other than the Chilean flag: there, in all its heterogeneity, a new Chilean people is being born.

The Right’s Countermobilization

In the lingo of the Latin American left, the protests in Chile constitute an “inorganic” movement: it lacks a centralized leadership. There is no legitimate social organization that can represent it, although all of Chile’s political and social organizations, new and old, find themselves drawn into the mix.

Institutional politics in Chile have been completely thrown off-balance by the protest movement. The most conservative elements — sectors of the Democratic Independent Union (UDI), Opus Dei, and a series of powerful impresarios — won the initiative in responding to the movement. Indeed, the rentier class has long been lobbying the government to take a more interventionist right-wing approach. Economic deceleration has only emboldened this fraction of capital to double down on its strategy of accumulation by dispossession. Represented in politics by ultra-conservatism and backed by fractions of the military and the media, this sector will fight tooth and nail against any proposed redistributive reform.

These same groups have been promoting the imposed curfew and the state of emergency. Their aim is not to avoid violence, but rather to stoke it. Already desperate, small fractions of poor Chileans can easily turn to looting, and this in turn can feed the narrative of criminality that distracts from social demands.

Others on the Right — fractions of National Renovation (RN), like Senator Ossandón — know that the conflict cannot be settled only with violence, even if they are not themselves opposed to military tactics. This right-wing sector is actively trying to use the popular movement in the hope of neutralizing its radicalism. Rhetorically calling for law and order, and condemning the violence, they nonetheless attempt to profit from the generalized distrust of elites. It offers a demagogy of social redistribution, introducing the basic ingredients of a right-wing populist discourse.


When the Third Way Is Not Enough

Once buoyed by a national-popular alliance that underwrote much of its legitimacy in the twentieth century, the Concertación — the coalition of Socialists, Radicals, and Christian Democrats that led the state from 1990 to 2010 — is undergoing a vertiginous decline. Serving for decades as the custodian of neoliberal policy, its historic social-democratic identity has been effectively buried. Over the years, the upper tier of the coalition party has been molded into an efficient conduit between the state and rentier sectors, a technocratic caste that saw enormous economic gains while in power. It has become, in a word, the elite.

Where once Concertación was ashamed to defend the neoliberal model, today, strands in the party openly support the most regressive, right-wing interests. In 2019, there are sectors that don’t even merit comparison with the Third Way neoliberal progressivism of Blair or Clinton. It is possible that they will join with Piñera in the name of forming a “national unity government.”


Challenges for the Left

The protests also present a huge challenge for the Frente Amplio (“The Broad Front”), the new left-wing coalition party with parliamentary representation. What the street revolts make clear is that if the Frente Amplio is to have any future role in national politics, it will have to do more than replace the decrepit Concertación in the equally decrepit electoral contest, with a current abstention rate of 60 percent.

The entire political class wants to see the end of this popular uprising, and it will do everything possible to enlist the Frente Amplio to that end, be it militarization, demagogic populism, or “national unity.” And if this new left-wing force — originally inspired by an insurgent impulse to overcome the old ruling political caste — allows itself to be co-opted, it will likely become the next victim of the larger crisis of political legitimacy.

The challenge then is to transform the popular unity expressed in the streets into an effective political force. And this, of course, requires incredible political acumen and the forging of alliances, where the challenge, as always, is to join forces without being subordinated.

Chile’s new left will only be up to the task if it can abandon the temptation to invoke nostalgic left-wing identities and narrow electoral ambitions. It must put forward a new model, one that reconfigures the relationship between society, the economy, and the state. It must act in unison with, rather than behind the backs of, the protest movement. It must make the struggle for a constituent assembly more than propaganda.

To secure a meaningful place in Chile’s future, the Frente Amplio must act to protect the mobilization; without a mobilized society, there is no meaningful left in Chile. To that end, the Frente Amplio must reinforce the space won by protesters and help deliver further victories.

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Thousands of Academics Demand Chile End Violent Crackdown Against Protests

In Chile, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Santiago again on Monday against rampant economic inequality. The protesters are demanding major reforms to the country’s current Constitution — which was written during Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal military regime. Over 4,000 academics around the world have signed a petition demanding the Chilean government stop the violent repression of anti-government protesters. At least 19 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been shot and wounded, since protests erupted on October 19 in response to a subway fare hike.

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Chilean Government Bows to Protests & Agrees to Rewrite Constitution

The Chilean government has agreed to rewrite its Constitution in order to replace the one that was written during Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal military regime. The rewriting of the Constitution has been one of the key demands of the massive demonstrations that have rocked Chile in recent weeks. The Chilean authorities have killed at least 19 people and wounded thousands more since the protests erupted on October 19 in response to a subway fare hike and quickly grew into a revolt against austerity and economic inequality.

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Massive General Strike in Chile Demands a Constituent Assembly

About 129 organizations adhered to the general strike Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of Chileans across the country took to the streets in the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the anti-neoliberalism protests. 

"The General Strike stands for the unity of both public and private workers who are seeking structural transformations and a constituent assembly," Chile's National Association of Fiscal Employees (ANEF) said and added that what prevails is a broad effort for "the conquest of social rights."

A wide range of sectors joined the strike as port, agro-industrial, commercial, banking, health, and public services workers, as well as teachers and students,  unified their petition of structural changes through a Constituent Assembly.

“The whole country will be paralyzed. This, in the context of demanding a Constituent Assembly, as a new Chile is being claimed in the streets,” President of the Union of Teachers Mario Aguilar told El Desconcierto.

Although the Chilean government has agreed to replace the 1980 Constitution, which dates back to the Pinochet dictatorship, it will be President Sebastian Piñera, cabinet members and political allies who will lead the process of re-writing the document, according to Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel.

Chile's Communist Party said in a statement the Piñera administration had still not gone far enough, demanding a referendum even before the process begins so the "people can determine the mechanism for drafting the new Constitution."

“What the people demand is a New Constitution elaborated in a broadly democratic and participatory process. That path is the constituent assembly. Citizens will not validate a constitution emanating from Congress even if, in a deceptive way, it is assigned the name of ‘constituent’,” the statement reads..... 

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Demands from the Workers of Chile

The uprisings that continue in Chile began as a student protest against a proposed fare increase for public transport. It quickly evolved into a general wave of protest against the government of Sebastián Piñera and all the mounting grievances of neoliberalism – horrible working conditions, social inequalities, privatizations, a negligible welfare state, and more. The government declared a state of emergency and curfew, deployed the military and unleashed a wave of fierce violence against the protests, killing many and detaining thousands. The Chilean national trade union movement, Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile (CUT-Chile), has been part of broad fronts of groups aligned against the government. Its so-called Union Bloc has produced the following set of demands.


10. New Political Constitution via Constituent Assembly

Chile’s debt to the workers is not just a debt over rights, it is also of minimum democratic guarantees. We are invited to participate in the electoral processes such as the great space to exercise our voice and sovereignty, but over the most relevant projects for the future of our lives – such as education, health, housing, pensions, salaries – we have no direct participatory space. Today it is necessary to deepen democracy with more rights, but also with mechanisms of effective participation, that enhances citizenship with politics.

To build a New Social Pact, it is not enough to achieve ‘agreements’. Discussing a New Social Pact is to build a new Constitution among all, considering the most wide participation. And the only mechanism that allows us to open the doors to all feeling called and challenged is through a Constituent Assembly.

We are aware that no actor, social or political, can and should not attribute the representativeness or spokesperson of the mobilized social majorities, but with that same clarity we point out that we will not allow agreements between four walls to be imposed, shielded in which there are no clear ‘proposals’ after social mobilization. 

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Chilean Activist: Same Elites Who Caused Social Crisis Can’t Be Trusted to Write New Constitution


PABLO ABUFOM: Yeah. So, this is so cruelly and tragically symbolic. We have been chanting for almost four weeks now that Chile has awakened and now the people have opened their eyes, that we have opened our eyes. The police are basically taking our eyes off. And the National Human Rights Institute has at least 200 reported individuals who have been shot in the eye. But we’ve also known from the Association of Doctors that they have received pressure from the government not to report or to underreport those cases. So we still don’t know how many people have lost their sight in one or both eyes, as you said.

This has been very common during the past weeks. And we were already used, sort of, to the tear gas and water cannons by the riot police, but now we’ve seen another level of violence against protesters and just people walking down the streets during those demonstrations. They are shooting old people, young people, even kids. And we all — as of now, we all know someone who has been shot by one of those pellet shotguns by the police. And it seems like they are testing new repression tactics. So, this gives us a sense of what the government and what the Army and the police are thinking of this situation, is that it’s a testing ground for new tactics of repression of civilians.


NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Pablo, in addition to the number of people who have been wounded, there have also been over 5,000 people arrested. Can you talk about what their situation is and what prospects there are for a hearing or for their release? Or are some of them being released, have been released?

PABLO ABUFOM: Well, that, we had a report — the last report from the National Rights Institute was four days ago, and that was before the general strike on Tuesday. So, we can guess that there are at least 2,000 more people that were detained in the past four days.

We also have — today is a very important day. It’s one year after a Mapuche young man was killed in the south, in occupied indigenous land. And so today is going to be a day of demonstrations and protests, not only in Santiago, but also in the south. And this is very interesting, because what the Mapuche have been living in the south for 500 years is something that we are seeing right now in a militarized Santiago.

So, what’s happening with the detained is that some of them are being released. Some of them are being withhold in jail during the investigation of their charges. And we see that as sort of like a political punishment for being part of the protests, because, of course, a lot of those people, I mean, they haven’t been even involved in anything. They are just being taken off the streets by the police. So, basically, the police are operating, are acting as a political police, taking people off the streets as a way to normalize the situation.

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Activist Dies in Chile’s Plaza Italia as Police Repress Medics

The rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons attacked the crowds with no mercy or compassion.

The paramedics tried to help Abel Acuña when he went into cardiac arrest. They almost saved him, but the repression was so strong they couldn’t continue their medical treatment and Acuña died. The Plaza de la Dignidad is in mourning today, but that pain is being transformed into anger and into hate against a regime that only a few hours after the repression was asking for peace. 

The magnitude of the repression suffered in the Plaza was outrageous. It was the audacity, rebelliousness, solidarity, and courage of the people that prevented the death toll from being even higher. The heroic youth confront the hated police, preventing them from continuing their slaughter. The vast majority of the population cheers on and appreciates the youth. 

The barricades are going up and people know those barricades are protection from the next police offensive against them, their sisters, and their brothers. In the Plaza there are no “violent” and “peaceful” protestors. In Plaza de la Dignidad people are resisting for their lives.

The entire Chilean regime has given a green light to repress. The hatred against the ‘pacos’ (cops) is so strong it creates a sisterhood and brotherhood of young and old that is changing the course of history....

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Self-Organization in the Chilean Revolt

In Antofagasta, the port city in the north of Chile, workers and students have come together to form bodies of self-organization. These are known as Emergency and Protection Committees. We offer a detailed, first-hand account of how this committee works. 


Patricia Romo, president of the Antofagasta local of the Teachers’ Association, and one of the main representatives of the Committee, stated that this body:

is a space for self-organization, an example of how to remain organized beyond just the calls for marches, and thus open up a democratic space for the discussion of how we can win our demands. It is clear that we will not achieve our demands through the action of Piñera and his murderous government, nor through dialogue that will only end up being a diversion. On the contrary, we have to direct our strength towards the big organizations of the workers, so that these rise to the occasion and call for an indefinite general strike that continues until Piñera falls. Only in this way will we be able to impose a Constituent Assembly that is free and sovereign.

Some of the areas of discussion and organization that have been promoted in the Teachers’ Association building are:

  • The two assemblies of education workers, attended by over 400 people, and with over 90 teachers, classroom assistants and union representatives from private schools. These assemblies passed resolutions against the repression and in favor of safeguarding the safety of students. They called for a general strike and a fight for the end of Piñera and his government in order to promote a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly.These assemblies also denounced the repression suffered by preschool teachers in Santiago. They called for the resignation of the Minister for Education Marcela Cubillos, who still maintains her dismissive and intransigent stance towards of the strike of teachers and educators from June of this year, and continues to try to divide teachers and other  education workers. These forums for  discussion and deliberation have led to a profound questioning of the current market-driven education system and led to a debate on the kind of education system that is needed.
  • This space has also hosted assemblies of university and high school students, who have sought to organize themselves, especially since after several days of national mobilizations, their leaderships have not taken the lead in promoting the organization of students. This is a contradiction since it was students who were the spark that gave life to the national days of protest. Students have suffered the most repression under the Piñera government and the right-wing mayors, with their “Safe Classroom” program, curfews for those under 18, and heinous measures like Preventive Identity Control for children under 14, along with brutally repression like that at the National Institute [the all-male public high school in central Santiago where the Carabineros entered classrooms and tear-gassed students].
  • The Auxiliary Committee that of the Emergency and Protection Committee brings together over 100 people, including doctors, health workers, and students from various health professions. This committee has played a very important role in helping those who have suffered repression, including gunshot wounds, the effects of tear gas, injuries, etc. They have offered first aid to hundreds of demonstrators. This space launched an assembly of health workers with over 70 people who declared that the public health crisis has its roots in the legacy of the dictatorship.
  • In the same fashion, members of the Committee have demonstrated against the statements of Paulina Núñez, the center-right deputy for Antofagasta, who has signaled through the media that the curfew should be reimposed, and has even suggested that Human Rights observers are fabricating their claims, even after one of them was shot with birdshot.
  • There is also a Human Rights and Legal Committee that has been set up by lawyers and law students, as well as people from human rights groups such as Providencia [a group supporting the former political prisoners held in the local Church of the Divine Providence when it was converted into a detention and torture centre under Pinochet]. This Committee has been instructing others in what to do if detained and has supported the self-organization of demonstrators, workers, youth and women. In the Antofagasta region alone there have been over 1,000 detainees, and this Committee has assisted the detainees and their families. One example is the underage students detained by the Carabineros under the order of right-wing mayor Karen Rojo.
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Chileans Are Hungry for an Alternative to Neoliberalism


The tentative peace agreement sets in motion two national referenda: one to start a constitutional process, another to approve the final version. The treaty agrees to a constituent assembly of people proportional to the number of congressional representatives.

Protesters were at first elated. But the euphoria of my hosts on November 15, at what seemed like a clear victory, quickly evaporated over the next twenty-four hours. In the morning, I saw people on the news celebrating in Plaza de la Dignidad, the downtown center of the protests. By the time I walked over to see it myself, the protesters had thrown red paint on a reporter who was broadcasting live on national television. This was a harbinger for interactions to come that day.

That afternoon, we attended a demonstration in downtown Santiago that had seen up to 1.2 million participants weeks earlier. Notably, attendance still remained in the hundreds of thousands. Despite the agreement, police continued their teargassing and the violence that led to the death of a young man later that night.

The multigenerational aspect of the rallies was gone. It was much younger and angrier. The Frente Amplio cadre noted that day that they were greeted negatively for the first time. In the beginning, I assumed this reaction came from more conservative forces, but it soon became clear that the social base that had initially supported the uprising was eroding.

But the discontent is deeper than feelings toward the ruling elite. It also stems from the social and economic demands of the revolt and the lack of clarity about the constitutional process. The progressive social and economic reform agenda will come with both a revised constitutional process and continued street pressure. But absent one majority-supported group or coalition to push this left agenda, people will feel unsatisfied and distrusting of any process. This could negatively impact the chances of a nonviolent resolution to the uprising.

Constituent Assembly and Its Discontent


While the constituent assembly to write a new constitution offers democratic promise, it opens up many questions about democratic process. Currently, Chileans are able to vote for representatives to the Constituent Assembly only if those candidates are on party lists. Thus, unless independents are able to join a political party’s slate, they will be left out.

This greatly disadvantages the many Chileans unaffiliated with any party. Chileans already have one of the lowest levels of trust in Congress in Latin America, and more than half the country doesn’t vote. Mimicking congressional elections likely would only delegitimize the assembly. Besides independents, many are demanding gender parity (currently slightly more than one-fifth of Chilean federal elected officials are women) and quotas for indigenous people, who make up roughly one-tenth of the country.

The parity and quota demands come from the uprising itself. The demands of women and indigenous communities were ubiquitous during marches and could be seen in graffiti on the streets. Chile has some of the most restrictive laws for reproductive rights. A popular bandanna (used to counter the tear gas) demanded “legal, safe, and free” abortion. Flags of the Mapuche, the country’s largest native tribe, became a symbol of the uprising, too. Mapuche resistance has increased, especially on the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Camilo Catrillanca, a young Mapuche man, and the failed cover-up that followed.

At private meetings, I voiced concern that the hundreds of thousands of newly immigrated Colombians, Haitians, and Venezuelans seem to lack a concrete way to participate in the process as noncitizens who will also live under the new constitution. In general, activists understood this as an issue tied to the fact that social movements and labor don’t have the ability to elect their own representatives to the assembly.

Despite this uncertainty, it is impossible not to have some hope for a more progressive Chile. The left-wing social movements have not let up despite the treaty and still have representatives in Congress (although some elected officials in parties of Frente Amplio have resigned their memberships to support the agreement because their parties and formations opposed the accord). This tension within the uprising means that there is sustained energy for political and social reform, if not revolution. What is critical now is to maintain popular support for the mobilizations.


This uprising coincides with popular and reactionary unrest in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador. But its reflection can also be seen in the United States. Chilean activists are deeply moved by the recent New York City transit mobilizations against racist policies targeting fare evaders and unlicensed vendors, as their own uprising was sparked with an anti-fare-hike action.

The interconnectedness of the mass resistance throughout the continent reflects the hopes and fears of the socialist movement at the current juncture. Absent a coalition of social movements and progressive parties gaining legitimacy from the majority as its representative in the reform process, however, there is a real chance for continued instability. This could force an even worse violent response from the state and paramilitary actors not yet seen in this historic moment.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..check out this powerful video

Chilean anti-rape anthem becomes international feminist phenomenon

A Chilean protest song about rape culture and victim shaming has become a viral anthem for feminists around the world.

Un Violador en Tu Camino – A Rapist in Your Path – was first performed in late November as Chile’s nationwide uprising against social inequality pushed into its second month.

Videos of the song – and its accompanying dance moves – quickly went viral, spreading across Latin America and the world, with performances taking place in MexicoColombiaFranceSpain and the UK.

The song was written by Lastesis, a feminist theatre group based in the city of Valparaíso, who credited Chile’s women protesters for helping spread the work around the world.

“It was never intended to be a protest song – the women of the marches transformed it into something more” said Paula Cometa, speaking on behalf of the group, whose other members are Sibila Sotomayor, Daffne Valdés, and Lea Cáceres.

A Rapist in Your Path is based on the work of the Argentinian theorist Rita Segato, who argues that sexual violence is a political problem, not a moral one.

The lyrics describe how institutions – the police, the judiciary and political power structures – uphold systematic violations of women’s rights: “The rapist is you/ It’s the cops/ The judges/ The state/ The president.”....

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Thanks for the link, epualo!


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..your welcome laine.

The popular assemblies at the heart of the Chilean uprising


Throughout the dictatorship and up to today, neighborhoods originating from land takeovers have maintained their traditions of autonomy and resistance, often marking the boundaries of their territory with burning barricades in times of conflict to warn off government forces. While typically characterized by the media as crime-ridden and lawless, these communities are also home to numerous self-managed projects related to culture, health, education and local resource distribution that strengthen relationships between residents and promote a culture of working-class activism.

All of the above is coordinated by “territorial assemblies,” a form of egalitarian social organization where every neighbor has a say. Many assemblies have inherited a specific orientation from the groups that aided in their founding — such as the Communist Party or Revolutionary Left Movement — but participants are not required to adhere to any political line beyond what is collectively decided and the emphasis is on direct democracy rather than leadership from above.

Since the objective is to build a popular voice for the community, territorial assemblies are not limited to just one issue or demand. Rather, they adapt to the needs and priorities of their base and are capable of responding to the smallest of local issues as well as carrying out national campaigns related to housing, urban development and quality of life issues.

Like the country’s many other labor and social organizations, pre-existing territorial assemblies were able to hit the ground running when the rebellion exploded. In fact, they provided the ideal space for neighbors to seek out support and organize resistance. No Santaguino was surprised to see the capital’s most politicized neighborhoods rise up in a time of conflict; they had done so under the dictatorship in much more dangerous conditions. The surprise came when new assemblies began to emerge in neighborhoods with little to no history of them — or neighborhoods where such efforts had been previously tried and failed. By the end of October, dozens of new formations had sprung into existence, multiplying and expanding with every passing day. As politicians and pundits complained that the rebellion lacked leadership, the people had already begun to build their own democratic structures.


"Another historic victory for the people of Latin America: Chile just voted in a landslide in favor of a referendum to rewrite the current, radically right-wing constitution, which is from the Pinochet dictatorship."

A dictatorship Canada supported of course.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Definitely good news.