From the Occupied Classrooms to the Neighborhoods

The student movement is surrounded and under attack from different sides. Witness:

The government has decided to pass on the claims and proposals to the parliament, since it is no longer possible to annihilate the “Penguin” secondary student movement by setting up negotiating tables with the Fech( Federación de Estudiantes Universidad de Chile) and the Teachers College (controlled by the PC, Communist Party). This time, that party, which still calls itself left is in a bind because the students are not so dumb, and have learned from past defeats. The failure of the PCs in CONFECH (Confederacion de Estudiantes Universidad de Chile) is a textbook case. The students in the regions broke the apparatus instituting a new parity, with 2 from the south, 2 from the north, 2 from the coast and 2 from the Metropolitan Region, which previously monopolized 50% of the posts and was totally lead by the Comrades. What’s more, the PC superstar Camila Vallejos pleaded not to join the CONFECH for heavens sake! “God forbid!” said the Reds, the Federation of Mapuche Students. The new correlation of autonomous and rebellious student forces decided that one star should not shine so bright, incorporating students of that nationality, which is a popular and communitarian victory in any light.

The government, seeing that, and the radicalization of the student petition which includes funding of student financing from copper revenues, described the proposal as ideological and out of context. It would have been insufficient, however, if the young people had only made demands without offering concrete solutions to the problem of funding.

Piñera had no other choice but to pass the ball to the Concertación in the parliament, where the “included” 3 MPs from the PC, who won their seats thanks to votes from the DC (Christian Democracy) by means of the pact of omission, could distinguish themselves by raising their hands gracefully to say yes or no. This, by the way, reinforces ties with the DC proposed by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation which visited the country and met with government leaders . The German DC is right-wing, and the Chilean DC attempts to pose as a centrist party, but fails despite the kid gloves it uses in its dealings with the student federation of the Catholic University, whose rector stepped down because of what he called the intransigence of the council of rectors, who faced with the wave, or better said, the tsunami of young people in the streets had to bite the bullet and say NO to Lavin, that super minister who cannot solve the Sphinx mystery.

On the other hand the students are being attacked by Concertación which had just declared that it would not abandon the student movement, but would channel and direct it. Those parties are in full out campaigns for municipal elections, and big surprise, in debates for the next presidency, since the PS (Socialist Party) states that Bachelet can only come if she stays in bed with the DC and they refuse to listen to the siren song of the PPD (Party for Democracy) to make separate lists in the municipal elections, as this hinders the heroine who now occupies a high position in the UN thanks to the right-wing international social democracy. Caroline Tohá of the PPD, along with Lagos Weber of the same party, threaten to organize separate lists with “independents” from the social organizations, selected by them, obviously so the parliamentary moves are going to tend to pick electoral fruits and nothing else. This has been declared time after time in letters to the PS.

The rectors will accept parliamentary negotiation, since they are from those parties and will be slicing the cake themselves.

The students, however, have declared that they will continue the occupations in spite of these moves, the threats of evictions, and the postponement of vacations. The PC finds itself doomed to frenetic meetings and collusion with their puppet in the College of Professors and Vallejas from the Fech to find ways to neutralize the advances of the autonomous and rebellious student currents, but the door is shut in their faces, since this youth is no longer the same. There is a perceptible advance in grass-roots democratic positions, whose takes it strength from the bases, and not from the apparatchiks.

That is encouraging, no doubt.

So a group of autonomous and rebellious secondary and university young people from different schools met at the Campus Goméz Millas in the University of Chile, under occupation, to break the pattern and go out to the neighborhoods, learning from the movements of the Indignant in Spain and Greece, from the autonomous Zapatista municipalities and from other experiences of self-organization. They have decided that demonstrations and protests are not enough if they end up in bottle-necks with the higher-ups in the existing institutions., instead that it is necessary to open up horizontally towards the community and they have chosen two locales in which to begin working to agitate and organize for education, along with other community needs, such as health care, alternative energy, gardens, and a range of activities that focus the attention and enthusiasm of the neighborhood population.

Students from other centers of study have joined the initiative to avoid another bottle-neck. New neighborhoods will be chosen for them to begin a fight for rights which cannot be won by the Partyocracy, but only by the initiative, coming together, enthusiasm and dynamism of the population who will not be kept waiting.

The first point was to characterize the student pyramid, which has on the bottom children of 6, who form 100%, but have a very high drop-out rate, resulting in a very low percent of students finishing university. In terms of numbers, for example, for 1000 children, 800 might enter elementary school, with perhaps 600 finishing. Of these, maybe 450 go on to middle school, with 225 finishing. Maybe 100 enter the university, with 40 finishing, 20 getting a degree, and 10 of these actually using their title, the other 10 working in whatever they can, except what they studied. From 1000 to 10. The pyramid is quite narrow and instructive. Run the numbers, and see if the problem is funding or lack of classrooms.

The educational structure is not for the benefit of population, but to select an elite, while poverty, unemployment and marginalization of the population increase.

What do the 990 of every 1000 who “fail” in the education pyramid do? Do they compete ferociously with each other? They fall into a psychological mentality of losers and subordinates, who accept their condition of defeat and become convinced that others are better. The vertical hiererarchical and authoritarian system is imposed without discussion. It is not strange then that an important part of the population is carried away by the allure of drug trafficking, which promises status, money, recreation, relaxation, escape and local power, with drugs entering the county under the blind eye of the authorities who have an interest in maintaining the militarization of the community to preserve its subordination. The peripheral areas are growing everyday with migration from the country to the city and from the poorest countries to those with more “opportunities” as in in thousands of Peruvians, Ecuadorians and Colombians who come to the territory occupied by the Chilean state and must endure the patriotic racism of many who have been “educated” in Chilean schools.

University and even high school students should become aware of this injustice and begin to consider other educational models for those who will not reach the point of the pyramid, that is to say 99% of the population whose situation will never be resolved by parliamentary councils.

Hence, the proposal of these young people who gathered in the Goméz Milla Campus responds to this pyramid, attacking the problem at its root cause, applying methodologies of self organization among that pat of the population who will neither start nor complete their “studies”

The Free University and the Network of Popular Economy and Social Ecology has aligned itself with this proposal and is providing consultation, training, support, and local staff to this initiative which is as urgent as it is motivating. This invitation is open without a framework of previous paradigm or conditions. Anybody, without regard to philosophy or world vision, be they Christian or Humanist, Marxist, Anarchist, feminist, ecologist, free thinker, atheist, religious, etc. can contribute from his or her point of view in practical activities with the neighbors for the development of the human pleasure of being together and the creation of spaces of community empowerment with people who learn by doing and do, learning along the way, about common necessities and interests.

Contribute to this initiative. Contac

Disseminate these words among friends, social networks, websites, blogs, listserve and any other means at your disposal. Be an activist. Find out about the upcoming days, times and locations of upcoming activities.

No more bureaucracies or partyocracies.

It is the time for the autonomous and the independent

Receive a fraternal and combative greeting

Jaime Yovanovic Prieto

Universidad Libre
Red de Economia Popular y Ecologia Social