If Chile is to be the grave of Neoliberalism, let this be played at its funeral!

Chile has been described as the birthplace of Neoliberalism. Specifically, it was the Pinochet regime that seized power from the democratically elected Salvadore Allende, with U.S. support, that then enacted a brutal regime of torture, murder, and privatization with the continued backing of the U.S. government, and advice from “the Chicago boys“, acolytes of Milton Friedman’s cult of The Invisible Hand of the Free Market that pioneered the ruthless profit-seeking and “marketization” of every aspect of life that has become typical of American capitalism in the decades since. I’ll pause here to once again link you to the free audiobook of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”.

Recently, the left has been rising again in Chile, finally moving back towards the kind of society they had been trying to build before capitalists tried to crush that dream, and presidential candidate Gabriel Boric has been credited with saying, “If Chile was the birthplace of Neoliberalism, it will also be its grave!”

Now, Boric has released the funniest political ad I have ever seen, and while I was going to take today off, I had to share it with you.

If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!
If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution!
If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.
If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming

-Emma Goldman


  1. Ichthyic says

    Here’s hoping Chile is finally turning the corner after the destruction caused by Pinochet, and from the Americans that helped install him.
    Neoliberalism has literally destroyed the planet. it’s well past time that it had the life choked out of it, the corpse burned to ash, and the ashes scattered.

  2. No respect says

    After Pinochet, Chile became one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in South America, with one of the strongest economies in the region, and things only started to get bad when the leftists began to gain power once again. Anyone who says otherwise is either brainwashed or willfully lying.

  3. No Respect says

    In fact, the whole South American left and its brainwashed masses has been nothing but a disaster for the region. The worse effects are yet to be seen, but they sure are coming.

  4. rblackadar says

    What, just two replies from NR? I want to know whether Pinochet made the trains run on time.

  5. says

    @No Respect

    Yes, in fact my brain is so shiny and clean that I don’t even know better than to check whether “powerful and prosperous” is a meaningful concept in a world where “the richest country in the world” has tent cities springing up while billionaires race to be the first trillionaire.

    “We get no assistance,” explains Melissa Niera, showing me the self-built camp she and her husband Emmanuel call home in one of Santiago’s southern suburbs, “we are considered middle class, not poor”. The people I met all had jobs – as gardeners, care assistants, labourers and in cellphone shops – with joint incomes that put their families just above the poverty line. Yet their makeshift homes are built on a reclaimed dump and made of thin chipboard, the communal bathroom – shared between a dozen or so families – is four sheets of corrugated iron and has no roof.

    Santiago-style inequality creates hidden poverty that official statistics do not pick up. It is caused in part by high prices: living hand-to-mouth, families like Melissa’s buy goods from small local stores on informal credit, adding up to 20% to the cost of basic goods. Another driver is a refusal to supply: Santiago’s pharmacy chains see no reason to operate in the poorer parts of the city. In Recoleta, one such district, I met Daniel Jadue, a communist local politician forced to set up a state-run “people’s pharmacy” as a result.

    Far from soothing inequality, a twisted market for education has come to cement it. Privatisation did boost numbers: in the 1970s there were eight universities in Chile, all government funded. Now there are over 150, two-thirds of which are for-profit outfits run by private firms. The Chilean government commits just 0.5% of GDP to higher education, the lowest in the OECD, yet Santiago seems like a city of learning: there are universities everywhere – on main roads, up side streets, and between car showrooms.

    Competition is supposed to drive prices down and quality up. In Chile, things have gone the other way. The average university course cost 41% of the average income, the highest in the OECD. Anything costly, including pastoral care, is cut as university-companies seek profits: the country’s 50% university dropout rate is another dubious statistic in which it is a world leader. Melissa and Emmanuel both regretted their time at university which had done nothing for their job prospects yet shouldered them with debt that will take years repay.

    Mutated competition also blights high schools. With the sector effectively privatised, exam scores have become a kind of equity value; the result is aggressive selection to weed out poor performers, rather than help them. It is a city in which performance can be bought and the stratification that has resulted is staggering: as you travel south, away from the leafy Las Condes district where Melissa and her neighbours work and towards the one where they live, educational results and incomes fall in perfect unison. One parent described the scramble that results as an “educational war”.

    This does hidden damage to the fabric of a city. Unwritten divisions of income that everyone in Santiago understands delineate places and activities. The Plaza Italia, scene of recent riots, is a dividing line the wealthy avoid stepping south of. There are high-class parks and lower-class parks – the informal conversion of public spaces into gardens where access is based on income. It is perhaps the ultimate privatisation – that of a city’s social infrastructure – and the only one the Chicago Boys did not intend.

    It’s almost like most metrics used to declare a country prosperous focus on volume of money rather than where that money goes, or what life is like for the residents of that “prosperous” nation.

  6. No Respect says

    “We get no assistance,” explains Melissa Niera, showing me the self-built camp she and her husband Emmanuel call home in one of Santiago’s southern suburbs, “we are considered middle class, not poor”.

    In Chile, people that talk like this come in two flavors: those who are paid by politicians to lie about being poor (that “self-built camp” was probably a fake temporary residence), and those who are brainwashed into believing that they are poor.

  7. says

    Ah yes. Everyone who disagrees with you is either lying or brainwashed, but YOU? You know the REAL truth! It’s IMPOSSIBLE for you to be wrong!

    Very convincing.

  8. No Respect says

    Indeed, I know the real truth, but I certainly can be wrong. For example, I used to think that the Earth was round. That humanity really did go to the Moon. But then I felt something was wrong, and after lots of investigation I realized how we were being duped by “science”. How we are controlled through chemtrails and fluorine in the water. The lies about the existence of poverty, climate change and more. THAT is the truth, and I hope that one day you’re able to awaken to it like I did, though I doubt it.

  9. says

    Well, I can tell when I’ve been beaten. I’ll let these comments stand as a testament to my shame, and a warning to those who may come after me.

  10. StevoR says

    Some pertinent breaking news at least currently in Oz for me :


    @ No Respect : Are you for real or a parody? What the.. ?

    After Pinochet, Chile became one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in South America, with one of the strongest economies in the region, and things only started to get bad when the leftists began to gain power once again.

    It may interest you – and others here – to see this analysis :


    Which among other things notes of Chile’s economy :

    cording to Chilean economist Alejandro Foxley, 44% of Chilean families were living below the poverty line at the end of Pinochet’s regime.[16] Based on World Bank data, Chile’s Gini Index was over 57% in 1990. Today, Chile still suffers from a Gini Index of about 47%, which represents a very high concentration of wealth in the hands of a relatively small number of citizens, but it’s still lower than the Gini Index of the United States, which is over 48%.[17] In fact, Chile’s economy has been performing significantly better than the U.S. economy almost every year since the end of Pinochet’s neoliberal reign of terror…


    In reality, the miracle of Chile’s economy did not emerge until after many economic and social stability policies were implemented on top of Pinochet’s privatization and market liberalization reforms.[18] And contrary to popular neoliberal myths, significant portions of the Chilean economy are still owned or controlled by the government, including dozens of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).[19] These SOEs include the national copper company (CODELCO), the national petroleum company (ENAP), the National Postal System (Correos de Chile), and the state-owned bank (Banco Estado), among many others.

    The graphs there are make interesting if technical viewing too although I can’t cut & paste them here. Nor am I an economist but still.

    Also regarding Chile going bad economically post-Pinocet’s murderous even genocidal dictatorship see :


    Noting :

    Efforts to reduce poverty in Chile have been very successful, and have dropped from 48% of Chileans living below the poverty line in 1988, to just %20 in 2000.In 2010, the results of these market reforms culminated with Chile becoming the first nation in all of South America to win membership in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development which is restricted to the world’s richest countries. Chile currently enjoys one highest economic freedom rankings in the world.

    Based on this bit of admittedly cursory googling and reading I’d say the reality here is what the opposite of No Respect wrongly asserts – whether the asserting was made in not-so-funny jest parody or deluded sincereity.

    Oh and at NoRespect #3 : “The worse effects are yet to be seen, but they sure are coming.”

    I am morbidly curious over what NoRespect means by those vague “worse effects” exactly?

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