Reflecting on Local Power and Insurrection

We left Chile a couple weeks early because of a health emergency (todo está bien ahora). It was hard to leave, but we will be returning in 2020. We’ve been writing from the front lines since mid-August, informed by our first-hand experiences and the perspectives of our friends and comrades of the generation who foughtContinue reading “Reflecting on Local Power and Insurrection”

Piñera to Chile: It’s all about “public order”

On Nov. 15, the Piñera government and the left opposition agreed to an acuerdo por la paz [see previous blog], for a national referendum (April 2020) to vote on whether or not to create a new constitution, and if so, with what process. It seemed that no sooner had the ink dried than the right-wing state wentContinue reading “Piñera to Chile: It’s all about “public order””

It’s Complicated

It’s complicated. Chile has re-awakened and people across the country have become engaged in discussing and acting to create a new Chile. The uprising over the past 37 days has, among other things, put on the table the possibility of a new constitution that can overturn the constitution created (1980) under the dictatorship that structurallyContinue reading “It’s Complicated”

Nosotros Somos Mapuche (We Are Mapuche)

Thursday was a march in Valparaíso on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Camilo Catrillanca, a 24-year old Mapuche activist and father who was killed by the Chilean special forces on November 14, 2018. This was an international day of memory for Camilo in solidarity with the Mapuche people, with marches across Chile andContinue reading “Nosotros Somos Mapuche (We Are Mapuche)”

The Whole Working Class is On the Street—Marcha Feminista y Paro Nacional

On Nov. 12, a nation-wide general strike was called by at least 129 unions and organizations. They issued a call to shut it down – blockade roads, highways bridges, ports. And they did. There were massive marches throughout the country. A neighbor told us that it was the largest march he had ever seen inContinue reading “The Whole Working Class is On the Street—Marcha Feminista y Paro Nacional”

Chile’s Spring/La Primavera de Chile

After a few days in Greensboro, NC for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre, we returned to the mass uprising in Chile. Our arrival captured the moment. First, we were struck by the attempt at normalcy in the Santiago airport: the usual maze of duty-free shops, fancy perfumes, and designer clothes that hardlyContinue reading “Chile’s Spring/La Primavera de Chile”

Somos el Rio, Recuperando su Cauce: We are the River, Recovering its Course

Trying to take a bus out of Valparaíso today felt like being in a movie about living under a state of siege. The army had set up barricades blocking off main streets and surrounded the bus station (only the back entrance was open). The stench of tear gas hung in the air, and armored vehiclesContinue reading “Somos el Rio, Recuperando su Cauce: We are the River, Recovering its Course”

In the Cerros of Valparaíso, a Dignified People Demand a Dignified Life

Today was Valparaíso’s turn. A working-class port city that backs up into the cerros/hills where Valpo’s overwhelmingly working class lives, celebrated the dignity of a people that has stood up, a people who support each other. We got up early to walk to the small farmer’s market in nearby Cerro Monjas. After a week of fear andContinue reading “In the Cerros of Valparaíso, a Dignified People Demand a Dignified Life”

Víctor Jara Sings Again in Chile

It is an historic day. Despite Piñera’s attempt to dampen protest with his program of concessions—that continue the neoliberal logic (see previous blog)—as we write this, Friday evening, Oct. 25, the biggest demonstration in the history of Chile has taken over the center of Santiago. At least one million people are marching in total rejection of theContinue reading “Víctor Jara Sings Again in Chile”

The Remedy is Struggle and Organization/El Remedio es la Lucha y Organización

Yesterday in Valparaíso there was a massive rally and march of health workers and others. It began at the Hospital Carlos van Buren where doctors, nurses, and other health workers massed in front of the hospital with a huge banner. The crowd doubled in just 30 minutes and roared when four ambulances pulled up inContinue reading “The Remedy is Struggle and Organization/El Remedio es la Lucha y Organización”

The People of Chile Are Not at War! – A Struggle for the Narrative

The Saturday night curfew in Valparaíso ended at 7 AM Sunday. But by the time we made it down from the cerros to el Plan in mid-afternoon Sunday, the tear gas had still not blown away. As we walked through Plaza Victoria (a major public space), we were actually blinded and choking. The center of Valparaíso was eerily empty. Nearly everyContinue reading “The People of Chile Are Not at War! – A Struggle for the Narrative”

Uprising Spreads Beyond Santiago—Military Occupations and Curfews

Today, October 19, the crisis in Chile escalated with rebellions breaking out in Concepción, Punto Arenas in the South, Valparaíso, and elsewhere. Despite the state of emergency and military with tanks and armored vehicles patrolling the streets, people were out continuing to protest. Santiago continues to be a war zone. By 3:15 pm 16 buses were burned. AtContinue reading “Uprising Spreads Beyond Santiago—Military Occupations and Curfews”

From Subway Fare Protest to State of Emergency

What started as a protest of high school students in Santiago against transit fare hikes (see yesterday blog) escalated into an urban rebellion. President Piñera went on TV just after midnight, declared a state of emergency for the whole metropolitan region of Chile—with the military in charge of and patrolling the streets—and walked off theContinue reading “From Subway Fare Protest to State of Emergency”

Students Shut Down Subway in Transit Fare Strike—¡Vamos Cabras! ¡Evasión Masiva!

Alto al SIMCE comrades here are following the CTU-school workers strike in Chicago, while some of our TSJ comrades are following the transportation protest in Chile. From Chicago schools and communities to Chile’s transportation, this system is not sustainable. Yesterday, high school students In Santiago began a transit fare protest, urging people to evade the turnstilesContinue reading “Students Shut Down Subway in Transit Fare Strike—¡Vamos Cabras! ¡Evasión Masiva!”

Rodrigo Rojas de Negri -“To be a Photographer During the Dictatorship Was a Political Act”

We don’t have the words for this. We just came back from an event commemorating Rodrigo Rojas de Negri, a young photographer who had attended Colegio Pablo Neruda, the public neighborhood elementary school in our cerro. Rodrigo, born in 1967, went to the school during the dictatorship, after the 1973 Coup d’Etat. But his family was politicalContinue reading “Rodrigo Rojas de Negri -“To be a Photographer During the Dictatorship Was a Political Act””

Hablemos de Racismo y Bordadoras por la Memoria—Culture and Resistance: Feminists of Two Generations

On Monday we attended an anti-racist cultural event, Hablemos de Racismo (Let’s talk about Racism) in the public square, Plaza Aníbal Pinto, in Valparaíso. The event was organized by anti-racist and immigrant rights feminist organizations: Brigada Migrante Feminista and La Radioneta on the second anniversary of the death of Joane Florival, a 28-year old Haitian immigrant woman who was beaten toContinue reading “Hablemos de Racismo y Bordadoras por la Memoria—Culture and Resistance: Feminists of Two Generations”

Alto al SIMCE—The Campaign Against High-Stakes Tests

For the past five years we have been sharing lessons on resistance to neoliberal education policies with the Alto al SIMCE [“Stop the SIMCE,” Chile’s high-stakes, standardized test] campaign. Through occasional face-to-face meetings, joint conference presentations, and visits between our two spaces, we have built an important relationship of solidarity and learning. We sat down with Javier Campos,Continue reading “Alto al SIMCE—The Campaign Against High-Stakes Tests”

Politics are Always There, Even at Fish Fries & County Fairs

¡Hola! September 18th & 19th are official Chilean holidays. The 18th marks Chile’s independence from Spain in 1810, and September 19th is a celebration of the armed forces (dating from 1915, so it’s not connected to the 1973 Coup). In fact, it seemed to me in asking several Chileans, that people weren’t all that clearContinue reading “Politics are Always There, Even at Fish Fries & County Fairs”

Education and Local Power—More Questions

We want to expand on a couple points made in our earlier blog posts (link here earlier post) Chile is very complicated–vibrant street art everywhere (at least in Valparaíso and Santiago), so much poverty and inequality, deep institutional and ideological neoliberalization, yet powerful social struggles (students  and teachers, feminist movement, Mapuche [indigenous people] struggles) and political graffitiContinue reading “Education and Local Power—More Questions”

Sept. 11 in Valparaíso—Perseverance and Hope

Last night, we went to a memorial and march commemorating the Sept. 11, 1973 coup (previous blog). We want to share our experience while it’s fresh. A theme, very clear in the memorial and march, was De la Memoria al Poder (From Memory to Power). Chilean people know, remember, and are continuing the struggle for theContinue reading “Sept. 11 in Valparaíso—Perseverance and Hope”

Chile’s September 11

(This will be a long post because this is an important day for Chile.)  In Chile: The Other September 11: An Anthology of Reflections on the 1973 Coup, Ariel Dorfman (Argentinian author and advisor to Salvador Allende), wrote, “very few of the eight billion people alive today [after Sept 11, 2001] could remember or would beContinue reading “Chile’s September 11”

Our First Blog Post

We’ve been here two weeks and are just getting started on this blog. Getting set up in our apartment, in this city, finding our way around, buying food, struggling with Spanish, and meeting, meeting, meeting with our friends and comrades and colleagues. It’s been a lot! But we’re here! Valparaíso is a world heritage city—designatedContinue reading “Our First Blog Post”