Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Guardian on Chile

The Guardian published this piece last week on Chile, claiming that the country is shedding its post-authoritarian fear. The general argument is sound, except that it could be argued that more than shedding fear, young people never actually felt it.

That being said, there are several details in the piece which are not quite right. The Confech was led by a Communist, Camila Vallejo, not by a Socialist. I would also question whether "worker's struggles" are all that relevant. In fact, student leaders often been put in an uncomfortable position precisely because union leaders have tried to hitch their wagons to the student movement. Hardly a sign of resurgent labourism.

And finally, the attempt to draw parallels with other movements around the world ring rather hollow. Each context is vastly different. In Chile, if one needs to draw broader conclusions about what is going on, these are to be found in the attempt to move beyond the political restrictions of the transition years (which is much more in line with the 'abandoning fear' argument of the title), and not with class struggle, which the Guardian tries to hard to rehash.

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