Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/460/1669
Chilean students fight Pinochet's legacy
ON 18 October, around 2,000 angry Chilean school students took to the streets in Santiago and around the country. In May, weeks of school student protests made the government promise an extra $200 million for the education budget, and set up a 'Presidential Authority Council of Education' to review the education system, which is based on gross inequalities between rich and poor areas.
This council included representatives of the students' movement. However, the council had yet to meet! The government's unwillingness led to renewed protests by the students, with big marches and occupations restarting in September.
The school students' movement forced Chilean President Bachelet to dismiss high-up police officials because of their brutal attacks on demonstrating teenagers. Unfortunately this did not end state repression and violence.
At the occupied school of Lastarria in Providencia for example, 41 students were arrested in a police raid. Under Ministry of Education orders. a police report was made on every student. Those involved in protests were barred from school next year, with the threat of immediate expulsion for those involved in further demonstrations.
291 students were arrested on 18 October, the day of nationwide protest. The CWI, the international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated, has organised a solidarity campaign for one leader of the May protests who has been suspended from school indefinitely (see www.socialistworld.net for details).
Both the law that students are protesting against, and the state machinery being used to attempt to crush them, are remnants of General Pinochet's brutal dictatorship that successive 'democratic' governments have maintained for the following 15 years.
Workers and young people need a mass party, and fighting trade unions, based on the lessons of history and the need for an end to capitalism and a socialist society.
In The Socialist 26 October 2006:
War and terrorism