The Winter Chilean Students Said, Enough!

In sum, what was different and more important about this third cycle of student protests in democratic Chile? With respect to differences, university students consolidated an autonomous identity unconnected to political parties and developed a strong mobilization resource base. Innovative framing linked the inequality within the market-driven education system to larger problems of inequality in Chilean market society. That framing turned students into the fulcrum for a broader process of coalition-building that sustained mass demonstrations. This feeds into the question of their importance. In this third cycle of contention, the student movement was a catalyst for an unfolding process of broader political change. It put inequality front and center on the Chilean political agenda. It successfully called into question what it perceived as a sclerotic institutionalized party system. Labor, environmentalists, and identity groups had tried, but never with the agglutinative power and echo chamber to their framing as the student movement did. It was this cycle of student protest that brought contentious politics back into the Chilean political scene as a force to be dealt with.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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