Democracia real Ya! (Real Democracy Now!), the peaceful protest movement of the ‘Indignant’ who took to the streets of Spain on May 15th to demand real democracy, states its support and solidarity with the Chilean people in their legitimate demand for free quality Public Education as a fundamental right for all of society. We also support the initiative by the student movement to conduct a referendum to resolve this conflict in a direct and legitimate way, while we condemn the Chilean government’s intransigence, its denial of citizens’ right to assembly and public gathering, and the brutal police actions against the people of Chile.
The Democracia real Ya! platform is an open network of individuals, groups and autonomous movements that work together for real democracy. Democracia real Ya! began in Spain in early 2011 and called for the May 15th demonstration under the slogan: ”We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers.” From this call to take to the streets, emerged a spontaneous popular protest in the form of tent cities that later evolved into neighbourhood and town assemblies. All of this constitutes what is known as the 15M movement (May 15th movement), which has united hundreds of thousands of outraged citizens. Currently, we are networking with people around the world.
In the case of Chile, we support the students’ demands for increased public funding in higher education as a percentage of GDP, for a democratization of the system, and for equal access to quality education for people from diverse social backgrounds. We also condemn profit making by private universities that use state funds, which has generated the most expensive, segregated and unequal education system in the world. It’s worth noting that profit in education is illegal in Chile, but for over 20 years society has implicitly accepted it, without the authorities taking any action to deal with this.
In addition, what outrages us today is Chile’s Ministry of Interior’s repeated violation of basic human and civil rights guaranteed in any constitutional democracy. We repudiate the unacceptable violence by the Chilean Police Force, who are using tear gas and water cannons against peaceful demonstrators, causing serious harm to their dignity and health. The Carabineros are also using police infiltrators to incite violence in demonstrations and are have carried out violent evictions of occupied educational establishments, even when students did not put up resistance.
It is intolerable that the government and the special police forces do not allow citizens to exercise their legitimate right to “peacefully assemble without permission and without arms”, stipulated in Article 19, clause 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of Chile. Furthermore, we condemn the refusal of the authorities to permit citizens to exercise their legitimate right to “petition the authority on any matter of public or private interest, with no limitation other than to proceed in a respectful and appropriate manner”.
Due to the above, we support the resolution of this conflict through a plebiscite, referendum, or any other mechanism of direct democracy, which in this case, needs to be ratified by the Congress through a constitutional amendment, so that citizens can legitimately exercise their right to express their will regarding this issue.
In tune with social movements around the world, Democracia real Ya! blames the global financial system for this new form of domination over the sovereignty and self determination of people. We also share citizens’ outrage at the pollution and lack of respect for the environment, including the brutal plundering of natural resources in Latin America.
For all the above reasons, we call on Chilean authorities to heed the legitimate demands of its people for Public Education, to stop the repressive measures against those who exercise their right to demonstrate publicly and to seek a peaceful solution for the sake of the Chilean society.
Finally, we call upon citizens around the world to organize and rise up peacefully to demand their rights. We cannot just sit and wait. We must act. Several parts of the world have already begun to awaken. We must be the protagonists of our own destiny.
Fuerza Chile and to all citizens of the world.
Global Democracy Now.
Democracia real Ya!, August 17, 2011