Neoliberalism vs. The People of Chile

According to the WSJ, the government of Chile is being unfairly and irrationally undermined by an international socialist konspiracy.

Yet no one expects Argentina’s center-right, if it loses, to go rampaging through the streets, burning cars, stealing, blocking roads and destroying public transportation. That kind of politics is the specialty of the left. It has been on display this month in Chile, where left-wing terrorists savaged Santiago and cities around the country with violence.

He's right. The neoliberal center-right rarely riots.
That's because they don't have to. If the neoliberals need to inflict some violence they can always use the police and military (and often do).
Thus the neoliberals can keep their hands clean. At least according to the media, which are unable to see who is giving orders.

As for those terrible left-wing terrorists, just look at them savage Santiago in this tweet with their brutal guitar music.

Terrifying, huh?

The central government already subsidizes nearly half the public transportation fare in Santiago.

Yes, it seems incredible that public transit should be subsidized at all, amirite?
It's almost as if some people take the world "public" seriously.

The Chilean right has largely abandoned its obligation to engage in the battle of ideas in the public square. Mr. Piñera isn’t an economic liberal and makes no attempt to defend the morality of the market.

Except for when they were torturing and murdering leftist dissidents, they made no attempts at defending capitalism at all.

To chalk it up to spontaneity requires the suspension of disbelief. As one intelligence official in the region told me Friday: “It takes a lot of money to move this number of people and to engage them in this level of violence.” The explosive devices used, he said, were “far more sophisticated than Molotov cocktails.”

Foreign subversives are suspected of playing a key role, with Cuba and Venezuela at the top of the list...The actual list of assailants, we don’t know. But Chile has been hit by a well-organized enemy out to bring down the democratic government.

You forgot to blame Russia!
More than a million people are out protesting, and all left-wing popular movements are konspiracies. Because everyone knows that the working class loves vast inequality and austerity almost as much as it loves to grovel before the master's carriage.

Young, old, poor and middle-class, protesters said they were united by frustration with the so-called neoliberal model that has left Chile with region-topping prosperity along with a widely criticized private pension system, and two-tiered health and education systems that blend the public and private, with better results for the minority who can afford to pay, protesters said.

Many Chileans talk of waiting a year for an appointment with a specialist, or families receiving calls to finally set up appointments for loved ones who died months earlier.
...“The whole constitution makes me angry,” said Alan Vicencio, a 25-year-old call-center worker. “The constitution allowed the privatization of every aspect of our lives and it’s being doing it for more than 30 years.”

To show how much the ruling elite cares about the concerns above, assistant secretary of health care networks Luis Castillo suggested people show up early to health centers to socialize while waiting to be seen.
According to polls, 83% of respondents said they supported the goals of the demonstrators, while just 14% support Chile’s billionaire president Sebastian Pinera. 80% of Chileans did not think his reforms were adequate.
The richest 1% of the population holds 33 percent of the nation’s wealth, which make Chile the most unequal country in the OECD.

Just a few days before the riots broke out, Piñera claimed Chile was “a true oasis within a convulsed Latin America.”
When the demonstrations broke out, the right-wing government reacted in typical fashion - an iron fist.

The subsecretary of the interior, Rodrigo Ubilla, declared—on Oct. 17, the day before the widespread unrest—that “this is delinquency, purely and clearly.” “We are going to be absolutely firm and clear with prosecutions,” he said, announcing that wrongdoers would be prosecuted within the penal system. One might have thought he was addressing the occasional acts of vandalism that took place during the fare-dodging protests. Not so: He meant all the protesters. That same day, right-wing politicians presented a proposal that would increase the penalties for fare evasion to up to 480,000 pesos (about $660).

Hundreds have been shot by police and at least 19 have been killed. None of that has mattered to the ruling elite. The only thing they respect is power, and the fact that the working class refuses to give in, is power.
The lack of empathy and compassion in Chile by the ruling class is even worse than in the United States.

The lack of basic medical treatment for the largely working-class victims of gunshot wounds was notable inside Posta Central, as staff described shortages of supplies in the public health facilities and emphasised the gulf between services at this run-down structure and the gleaming private clinics just 10km away.

Patients at Posta Central were dying, workers said, due to the lack of basic supplies, including surgical gloves, syringes and masks...
One professional recounted a recent incident in which a patient at Posta Central had died. The doctor turned and walked to the charts. A detail on the patient’s chart shocked him: the patient was married with children. Surprised, he turned around and said to a colleague: “Oh. I thought he was indigent.” The lack of empathy for working-class patients is reflected in the attitude of the health minister Jaime Mañalich, who on national TV mocked the upheaval as just “a march” and who has repeatedly sabotaged attempts to record the number of gunshot wounds inflicted by security forces.

In both 2016 and 2017 students protested for reforms, and in both cases they were answered by tear gas.
Back in 2016, Marcelo Correa, spokesperson for the national students’ group CONES said, “If they do not listen to us we will give it everything we have got.”
They didn't listen, because they don't respect the working class. Now the ruling class has a real problem on their hands.

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Wally's picture

Monument to Salvadore Allende in Venezuela:

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neoliberalism has certainly attained it's peak in Chile.

That's why this revolt against inequality in Chile is so symbolically important.
Libertarians have been using Chile as the poster child for what they want in the world for decades.

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lotlizard's picture


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Wally's picture


It seem's that Chile was where:

(Milton) Friedman first learned how to exploit a large-scale shock or crisis in the mid-seventies, when he acted as an advisor to the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. . . p.7

So I suppose you can say it was Chicago where Friedman developed his theorizing about applied economics but it seems fair of that protester to say that it was born and first tested in Chile as a mainstay of US foreign policy.

But there are other origins of neoliberalism, too.

Chicken, contemplate that egg.

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ppnortney's picture


It's chilling.

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The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. --Aesop

the worst sec of education ever

The Department of Education will have to pay a penalty of $100,000 to a fund created for the benefit of students who attended schools operated and owned by the for-profit college conglomerate, Corinthian Colleges, Inc.
In the course of the suit, Judge Kim enjoined the Department of Education from seeking to collect the outstanding federal loans from Corinthian students who had filled out an “attestation form” regrading the fraud. But, as Mitch McConnell might say, DeVos persisted.

According to Judge Kim’s order finding Devos in contempt: “[The Education] Department had erroneously sent 16,034 notices that payments were due to Corinthian borrowers. In response to those notices, 3,298 Corinthian borrowers made one or more payments . . . The Department also mistakenly notified at least 3,000 Corinthian borrowers that their loans were entering repayment, rather than stopped collection or forbearance status. After the preliminary injunction was issued, Defendants provided adverse reports to credit reporting agencies for 847 Corinthian borrowers and collected on the loans of 1,808 Corinthian borrowers through wage garnishment or offsets from tax refund.”

Judge Kim was not amused by the fact that, as a result of the Department of Education’s intransigence, students who had already been defrauded by Corinthian were further subjected to wage garnishment and damage to their credit rating. She also found the DOE had done little to correct its errors. She brought down the hammer, ruling: “there is no question that Defendants violated the preliminary injunction. There is also no question that Defendants’ violations harmed individual borrowers who were forced to repay loans either through voluntary actions or involuntary methods (offset from tax refunds and wage garnishment) and who suffered from the adverse credit reporting. Defendants have not provided evidence that they were unable to comply with the preliminary injunction, and the evidence shows only minimal efforts to comply with the preliminary injunction. The Court therefore finds Defendants in civil contempt.”

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Pricknick's picture

The new world is arising.
It wont be pretty, yet it will be what humanity dictates.
The train has left the station. Enjoy the ride.
All aboard the Soul Train.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

lotlizard's picture

and run combination religious cults / torture camps like Colonia Dignidad anymore?

That’s what’s so fake about the so-called Resistance, Antifa, and the like.

If they were really against fascism they would be, as Occupy was, fighting 24/7 against the corporate power of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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