The Chilean Student Movement has been a huge event in the post dictatorship social movements, and it has achieve to summon the student’s mayorities in a process of questioning some of the structural bases of the present Educational System.
If we had the need to define the central elements of the Students demands, we could find that in tangible way some axis that may be reduced to reforms, in the evolution of the Students demands, it’s possible to recognize important voices at leader’s and bases levels, that have indicated the direct link between the intended changes and the need to carry out substantive changes, that obviously exceed the sectorial demands.
The scenario in which the Students protests emerged in Chile has been marked by the low credibility in the official politics of a society that is mostly non-organized and fragmented, and has starred important social issues; recent experiences that begin to confirm this are the uprising in the Magallanes porvince to the rising oil prices, the gigantic manifestations, most in Santiago, against the hidroelectric to be built in the South of the country – The HidroAysen Proyect – and later the even more massive Student’s Protests that elevated the level of participation, not so often seen in the Contemporary Chile, more than 500 thousand people protesting for Education.
In a diagnosis more or less shared within the political spheres and the multiple left wing organizations of the political panorama in the principal universities of the country, serious social problems were to be found like Access to Higher Education or withholding of students of certain social class depending of the educational institution, the excessive cost of the mensual payment at universities, the lact of democracy – in more or less measure – within, and the existence of universities that didn’t respect the present legislation and profited with their institutions.
A variety of cotextual element may need to be placed if it to be intended to understand the reaches and possiblities of this movement. First of all, the condition of Chile like a neoliberal experiment in which the role of private corporations has a huge importance and a State that has been reduced to a subsidiary role, and a weak social organization only to certain levels. Secondly, the low rating of the first right wing goverment since the military coup and particulary the president, who has a weak political oposition, but doesn’t count with people’s sympathy. With an Educational System inherited from the dictatorship, and reinforced by the consecutive goverments of the center politics (la Concertacion) that conglomerates members of the Socialist Party and the Christian Democrats, who gave an significant role to educational merchants in all education and have aid to create a system that’s totally segragated and unfiar, where you can find institutions that embrace high economic position students, and other that grab some low reasources students, with such level of unjustice that the mensual payment for a university career always exceeds the salary that most part of labor force of Chile receives.
The last conclutions are relevant, as they consider some of the fundamental qsdf of the Chile upcoming the military coup, but with this conditions being present for years, why now the emergence of a Student Movement like the one today?
The answer to this question could be explained from the different points of view of a longer and continious analisis of the process of the movement. Nevertheless, it seems to be a process of maduration tre critics to the neoliberal system that was established by force and a rising number of students participating that has prevented the movements of being used by it leaders that are close to the traditional political class.
In this scenario, at the begining of August, it’s a bit different of what could be found in the month of June, when the school and universities occupations were at thier peak, and street manifestation were larger. Despite the mediatic weakness of the goverment, there’s a structural impossibility to obtain an education that not linked to the neoliberal scenario that were in to, and in that respect the strategic victory may not be within a short term reach, but more in the reconstruction of the social tissue and organization that could make us advance towards a new society and thus a new education. This can be seen by the radicalization of the last weak of the movement, with street clashes, barricades and the popular support reflected by the “Cacerolazo” of the 4th of August.
In Summary, soo much as students of higher and secundary education have been capable of surpass minor demands to question the political and economical model, and also has sum the sympathy of different social sectors, allows to preview a more promesing future than before in the organizative potencial of the people, and allthough the institutions haven’t been overcome completly, today a mayor questioning towards the logics of the neoliberal and political class exists, what could bring fortunate consequences if a revolucionary proyect was consolidated withing the people organized that pretend to dispute the dominance of today’s system.