As we all know, the youth of today are apathetic, self-indulgent and hedonistic. Except when they’re out fighting against the residual systemic injustices still polluting their country from its darkest political period, and helping forge new
expectations of fairness and equality in places where people have every reason to have abandoned such ideas. Do I exaggerate? I do not.
Camila Vallejo, despite being twenty-three, an age at which I thought being organised and active meant getting friends to come with me to a gig instead of going on my own, is the most prominent activist in the Chilean movement to force the government to enact free public education for all, right up to tertiary level. Hundreds of school and university students in Chile have been occupying their own places of learning since April, and they are aware, motivated, and apparently stubborn as hell.
We don’t know yet how this network of protests will play out, but we can already see the skills of leadership, initiative and self-directed learning these students are honing, all by themselves. We can already admire what Camila Vallejo and her compatriots have begun, and wonder what transformations of society such people will achieve as they go on.
Below are some links to various fragments of information on these remarkable people, we should be hearing so much more about.
- Camila Vallejo’s Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camila_Vallejo
- The Daily Beast loses a couple of dozen points for dwelling on her attractiveness, but offers a more thorough profile:
- A video clip, from last September, showing Vallejo speaking (with voiceover translation):
- This is a very lively insight into some of the goings on in and around the occupied turf in Santiago: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/chile-archives-34/3249-a-view-from-inside-an-occupied-chilean-school
- Here is the SMH article that put me onto the whole thing: it details the occupation of a girls’ school, Carmela Carvajal, by its students who, frankly,appear to have set up some kind of democratic-socialist utopia.