Chile has seen a series of mass protests for free education. In some cases up to 200,000 youth have rallied on the streets. Uncontracted and casualised teachers have supported the movement protesting against changes to their pay and conditions. Alongside mass protests direct action tactics like occupations and strikes have been employed.
By Mark Poore, Socialist Party
Chile has become one of the most unequal societies in Latin America, despite experiencing economic growth. The country has suffered from a legacy of brutal neoliberalism with its origins in the 1973 coup by General Pinochet. The largely privatised universities in Chile are now among the worlds most expensive.
The movement has pressured the government to make some concessions. They have pledged to provide free education to 60% of the poorest students starting in 2016 but the students argue that the changes do not go far enough. At the same time the government is refusing to adhere to the teachers demands. More protests are expected.
This ongoing movement has highlighted not only the dire state of Chilean education but the deep problems that stem from the profit driven capitalist system. The movement has broad support with 85% of the nation supporting the students in opinion polls.