Neoliberalism’s children are rising up to demand justice all over the world

From Chile to Lebanon, mass mobilizations are calling for a political and economic revolution against the neoliberal consensus.

By Medea Benjamin Nicolas J S Davies

November 09, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -  Uprisings against the decades long dominance of neoliberal “center-right” and “center-left” governments that benefit the wealthy and multinational corporations at the expense of working people are sweeping the world.

In this Autumn of Discontent, people from Chile, Haiti and Honduras to Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon are rising up against neoliberalism, which has in many cases been imposed on them by US invasions, coups and other brutal uses of force. While the severe repression against these activists have led to more than 250 protesters killed in Iraq in October alone, the protests have continued to grow. Some movements, such as in Algeria and Sudan, have already forced the downfall of long-entrenched, corrupt governments.

A country that is emblematic of the uprisings against neoliberalism is Chile. On October 25, 2019, a million Chileans – out of a population of about 18 million – took to the streets across the country, unbowed by government repression that has killed at least 20 and injured hundreds more. Two days later, Chile's billionaire president Sebastian Piñera fired his entire cabinet and declared, “We are in a new reality. Chile is different from what it was a week ago.”

The people of Chile appear to have validated Erica Chenoweth’s research on non-violent protest movements, in which she found that once over 3.5% of a population rise up to non-violently demand political and economic change, no government can resist their demands. It remains to be seen whether Piñera’s response will be enough to save his own job, or whether he will be the next casualty of the 3.5% rule.

It is fitting that Chile should be in the vanguard of protests sweeping the world in this Autumn of Discontent, since Chile served as the original neoliberal laboratory.


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