Thursday, 25 August 2011

Contradictory victory

Today is day two of a two day national strike. Day one was eerily calm, except for some barricades early in the morning which made the commute from some outlying areas a bit slow. Downtown was quiet, and many people just took the day off, or went to work, and left, early.

As a result, the government declared a kind of contradictory victory. On the one hand they concluded that the unions were paralyzing chilean society, and on the other announced that the strike had been a failure as things pretty much progressed as normal.

Day two, however, has been more active, with a massive march organized by the labour unions. By early afternoon, the largely peaceful demonstrations had, for a change, turned more violent. The government will use the violence, for a change, to argue that the social movement is composed of radicals and thugs. The unions will claim that, against all prediction, still have a capacity to bring thousands out into the streets.

Meanwhile, no one is talking about education.

The Economist this week reports on the state of affairs in Chile. It's a good report, bringing out the irony of the situation -- Chileans better off than ever, and more irritable than ever. The last line -- "it's not clear what might happen next" -- may be a little overly dramatic. After all, at this point, it's not clear what will happen next in Egypt, in Libya, in Greece, in Spain, in the UK, or the US. As a result, I know exactly what will happen next: the price of gold will keep going up.

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