How The Working Classes and Indigenous Masses Rose Up To Neoliberalism

Much of the last few months has been made out of the Hong Kong protests by the western media. This should come of no surprise, when any legitimate concerns of the Hong Kong masses against the Dengist regime are ignored in the face of far right thugs who fly the American flag and plead for American/British colonial intervention. The accusation of a reemergence of “yellow peril” in the western media can certainly be seen from their ignorance of a reawakening against neocolonialism that is taking place around the world. Chile, Ecuador and Argentina have all seen the militant masses rise once again to reject the IMF and World Bank’s austerity measures, without so much as a glimpse from mainstream media.

Chile has seen, apparently, its biggest protests of all time against the forces of neoliberalism. What first started as a protest against train fare prices has exploded into a working class rising against the cost of living and the corruption of the influential companies. This anger could certainly be seen through the burning down of the Enel energy company headquarters, whom had earlier wished for a price increase on energy costs. Despite a cabinet reshuffle, the Chilean masses have not faltered and have maintained their presence on the streets. The legacy of the Pinochet regime has evidently lived on through the brutalisation of protesters by coked up riot cops and the army being back on the streets, yet this has not stopped the Chilean people. For they demand and shout one clear message,”Out with Pinera!

A protester in Chile, referring to the shock therapy reforms of General Pinochet and the Milton Friedman inspired “Chicago Boys”

In Ecuador also, an attempt by the IMF to impose rigid austerity measures was shown up for the neocolonialist plot it was by the nations indigenous population who led the protests front and centre. Fierce clashes with countries police force helped eventually lead to a rejection of the IMF deal by the government. This is quite exceptional if you only paid heed to the whims of western media who, for long, have only focused on Venezuela as a ploy to state that “Bolivarian socialism is over“. Quite frankly, the fightback throughout Latin America exposes this for the lie it is, as coup forces faced defeat in Venezuela and the masses in Ecuador proudly held the hammer and sickle when facing down against the police.

Communist protesters keep up the pressure against neoliberalism

Finally, Argentina has also faced down its own government once again over issues relating to neoliberalism. In recent years, Argentina has seen numerous protests against government corruption and their attempted neoliberal reforms. The protesters no doubt see the reforms as an obvious move by the nations elites to cosy up even further to the Washington Consensus. Despite the country being perhaps the worst victim of the US backed genocide of Operation Condor known in Argentina as the “Dirty War” which included the “disappearance” of over 30,000 people, its people remain defiant against US meddling and the despotism of the nations authorities. The result this time round has been the imposition of a new centre-left government, one that must undo the damage of the last regime or face a similar demise.

It is, of course, not just in South America where the general masses have made their feelings known with the dialectics of street politics. France this year saw the rise of the Yellow Vest movement, who engaged in vandalism against symbols of wealth and anti-fascist activity against Nazi opportunists. Spain too recently, has seen the brave Catalan people face down both the Franco-esque riot police and Neo-Nazi thugs of Spanish authoritarianism with some decent success. The symbol of Catalan independence remains bright and poignant in spite of the crackdown from Madrid, seen most glaringly when they shutdown Barcelona airport to the anthem of the Italian anti-fascist song Bella Ciao .

Catalan socialist graffiti on prominent display

Whilst times may seem dark as reactionary forces are gathered to seemingly plunge the world into extinction, working class and indigenous people have fought back once more against the hegemony of neoliberalism. It can certainly be hoped that the yoke of neoliberalism may soon be shattered, yet it cannot be left up to the Global South alone. They have led the way in how to fight against oppression and it is up to the rest of us to follow on from them, and start truly confronting the forces of reaction who seek nothing but to horde their own destitute wealth as capitalism decays around them.

Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Durham University

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