What Students Walking Out Over Covid Can Learn From Student Movements

Fed up with mandatory in-person school attendance policies that fail to keep them safe, students are marching out of classrooms and into the streets.

Last week, hundreds of students from over 30 public high schools in New York City walked out of class to protest the unsafe conditions in city schools. Despite the latest Covid-19 wave, during which over 38,000 students and teachers tested positive COVID, school officials have insisted on in-person classes. That same week, students from a group called the Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance (Chi-Rads), formed days prior, led a walkout followed by a protest at Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Their demands included masks, tests, laptops for remote learning, and a voice at the negotiating table for COVID safety plans.

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Why We Must Fight To Free Political Prisoners In 2022

Newly elected Chilean president Gabriel Boric’s victory speech was interrupted by a chant that went through the crowd: “We’re not all here.” This has become a slogan for many of the last vestiges of the 2019 Chilean uprising, a reference to the protesters who currently sit in cells, either awaiting trial or serving sentences for protesting the government. These political prisoners must be freed. What is left of the movement understands that, and they are demanding that Boric  take action to free them — something he appears very hesitant to do.

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Chile: Another Good-Sized Nail In Neoliberalism’s Coffin

This brings us to a central political issue: what has the October 2019 Rebellion and all its impressively positive consequences posed for the Chilean working class? What is posed in Chile is the struggle not (yet) for power but for the masses that for decades were conned into accepting (however grudgingly) neoliberalism as a fact of life, until the 2019 rebellion that was the first mass mobilization not only to oppose but also to get rid of neoliberalism. The Rebellion extracted extraordinary concessions from the ruling class: a referendum for a Constitutional Convention entrusted legally with the task to draft an anti-neoliberal constitution to replace the 1980 one promulgated under Pinochet’s rule.

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Far-Right And Left Face Off In Second Round Of Presidential Elections

José Antonio Kast of the far-right Christian Social Front and Gabriel Boric of the left-wing Approve Dignity coalition won the first round of the presidential elections held in Chile on November 21. They will now face off in the run-off on December 19. According to the results released by the Chile’s Electoral Service (SERVEL), with 100% of the votes counted, Kast obtained 27.91% of the votes, while Boric closely followed him with 25.83% of the votes.

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Chile, Two Years After The Popular Uprising

That October 18, 2019 was a blow that, in one fell swoop, brought down the deceptive façade of the conservative regime and inaugurated a new stage in the history of Chile. The enormous injustices maintained and deepened during the very slow (and failed) “democratic transition” initiated in 1990 were exposed. The explosive combination of free market without anesthesia and a democracy lacking in substance and completely delegitimized—thus becoming a rapacious plutocracy—was able to stay afloat thanks to the resignation, demoralization and apathy of the citizenry, skillfully induced by establishment politicians and the media oligarchy, partners of the ruling class. The spell was broken on October 18.

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Chile Is At The Dawn Of A New Political Era

“It feels like we are at the end of an era,” Bárbara Sepúlveda tells me on October 12, 2021. Sepúlveda is a member of Chile’s Constitutional Convention and of the Communist Party of Chile. The era to which Sepúlveda refers is that of General Augusto Pinochet, who led the US-backed coup in 1973 that overthrew the popularly elected government of president Salvador Allende. During the Pinochet era, the military acted with impunity, and the left was assassinated and sent into exile—while big business (both Chilean and foreign) received all the blessings of the dictatorship. That’s the era that has slowly been sputtering to a halt since Pinochet’s removal in 1990 and since the Chilean people voted to throw out the dictatorship’s constitution of 1980 and write a new one.

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Chile Is Taking The Final Steps Of Dismantling Dictatorship

The Institute for Policy Studies holds this program every year at the site of the 1976 assassination of IPS colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Letelier was a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and Moffitt was a 25-year-old IPS development associate. A virtual human rights awards program in their names will be held on October 13.

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Defending The Legacy Of Chile’s 2019 Uprising

On July 5, after a tumultuous morning both inside and outside the former National Congress building, the inaugural meeting of Chile’s Constitutional Convention carried out its first act, electing Elisa Loncon Antileo as its president. Loncon, an Indigenous delegate representing the Mapuche people, made history as she addressed the assembly first in Mapudungun, her native tongue, and later in Spanish.

Here we are, brothers and sisters, here we are, thanks to the support of the different coalitions that placed their trust in us, invested their dreams in the call made by the Mapuche nation to choose a Mapuche, a woman, to change the history of this country.

As an activist and linguist, Loncon has advocated for the preservation of Indigenous languages and underscored the importance of the right to speak these languages in both public and private life.

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Union Hopes High As Chileans Rewrite Anti-Labor Constitution

Many Americans have become accustomed to hearing that every presidential election is “the most important in a generation.” But for Chileans like myself, these words were undeniably true when describing our election on May 15 and 16.

When we went to the polls that weekend, we did so not just to choose who would be our next mayors, governors, and councilpersons, but also to choose who would write the next constitution—from scratch.

Following a November 2020 referendum in which 80 percent of voters supported a new constitution, 155 constitutional delegates were elected in May to design the legal and political framework for the country’s future. Independent candidates, mostly of the left and center-left, received almost one-third of the seats.

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Preserving A People’s History Through Quilts

More than 600,000 people in the United States have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began, a number that is incomprehensible. Few people understand the magnitude of this loss more than 14-year-old Madeleine Fugate. Since April 2020, the eighth grader from California has spent her weekends constructing the Covid Memorial Quilt, a tribute to the casualties of the virus.

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Meet The Communists Who Now Govern Chile

Javiera Reyes, who is 31 years old, is the new mayor of the Santiago municipality of Lo Espejo in Chile. “I grew up in a home where [former President of Chile] Salvador Allende was always the good guy,” she told us, “and [military dictator] Augusto Pinochet was a tyrant. That marked my life.” Reyes’ comment reflects the old divides that have convulsed Chile’s politics since General Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’état against former President Salvador Allende of the Popular Unity coalition on September 11, 1973.

Almost 50 years have gone by and yet Chile is still influenced by the legacy of that coup and of the Pinochet dictatorship, which lasted from 1973 to 1990. The May 2021 election that propelled Reyes to the mayor’s office in Lo Espejo also voted in a new Constitutional Convention to rewrite the Pinochet-era Constitution of 1980.

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Towards A New Chilean Constitution

A leaderless social movement gathering millions of people across Chile began in October 2019. After decades of protests over healthcare, pensions, education and other issues, these multiple demands converged as one general clamour for social justice and dignity. The referendum for the new constitution, one of the core objectives, would reveal that the status quo had lost legitimacy and that the Chilean people were demanding the re-foundation of the country. This meant dismantling the legacy of the Pinochet regime which benefited a handful of people who today own companies that once belonged to the Chilean State. These were privatised very quickly and cheaply during the dictatorship.Con

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Chile Is Reborn: A (Political) Earthquake Emerged From The Streets

What happened in Chile this past weekend seems to be one of those historic events that cannot but follow its inexorable course. It is like an enormous, powerful tsunami wave whose size cannot be appreciated on the high seas, until it comes crashing into the coast, stunning everyone with its massive strength. This happens with processes of change from the left and the right, in times of democracy and times of dictatorship.

Could any human force have stopped the inexorable onslaught of that immoral showman Donald Trump on his path to the U.S. presidency? Who would have believed that someone so dysfunctional on so many levels could have governed the most powerful country on the planet for four years?

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