Michael Chanan's video blog: Protest Chile

FILM: What happens when you turn education into a business?

Since May, university and secondary school students in Chile have been involved in occupations and mass demonstrations calling for the return of free public education. Chile's education system is the most heavily privatised in the world, with the state contributing no more than 15 per cent of the budget of the public universities, forcing students and their families to finance their education by means of debt. Is this the future for education that the Coalition Government in Britain dreams of?

But Chile's model neoliberal democracy is beginning to unravel. With huge popular support, the student movement has radically shifted the political agenda by challenging the consensus of both government and opposition parties who both accommodated to the Constitution, still in place, that was imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980.

With interviews filmed in Santiago during November, this video incorporates footage shot mainly by postgraduate film students over the last few months, portraying the dynamics of the movement and the profound issues it raises about actually existing democracy in Chile.

Michael Chanan is professor of film at Roehampton University. His NS video blog documenting the UK's anti-cuts movement lead to a full-length documentary, "Chronicle of Protest". Buy it on DVD here.

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Harriet Harman warns that the Brexit debate has been dominated by men

The former deputy leader hit out at the marginalisation of women's voices in the EU referendum campaign.

The EU referendum campaign has been dominated by men, Labour’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman warns today. The veteran MP, who was acting Labour leader between May and September last year, said that the absence of female voices in the debate has meant that arguments about the ramifications of Brexit for British women have not been heard.

Harman has written to Sharon White, the Chief of Executive of Ofcom, expressing her “serious concern that the referendum campaign has to date been dominated by men.” She says: “Half the population of this country are women and our membership of the EU is important to women’s lives. Yet men are – as usual – pushing women out.”

Research by Labour has revealed that since the start of this year, just 10 women politicians have appeared on the BBC’s Today programme to discuss the referendum, compared to 48 men. On BBC Breakfast over the same time period, there have been 12 male politicians interviewed on the subject compared to only 2 women. On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, 18 men and 6 women have talked about the referendum.

In her letter, Harman says that the dearth of women “fails to reflect the breadth of voices involved with the campaign and as a consequence, a narrow range [of] issues ends up being discussed, leaving many women feeling shut out of the national debate.”

Harman calls on Ofcom “to do what it can amongst broadcasters to help ensure women are properly represented on broadcast media and that serious issues affecting female voters are given adequate media coverage.” 

She says: "women are being excluded and the debate narrowed.  The broadcasters have to keep a balance between those who want remain and those who want to leave. They should have a balance between men and women." 

A report published by Loughborough University yesterday found that women have been “significantly marginalised” in reporting of the referendum, with just 16 per cent of TV appearances on the subject being by women. Additionally, none of the ten individuals who have received the most press coverage on the topic is a woman.

Harman's intervention comes amidst increasing concerns that many if not all of the new “metro mayors” elected from next year will be men. Despite Greater Manchester having an equal number of male and female Labour MPs, the current candidates for the Labour nomination for the new Manchester mayoralty are all men. Luciana Berger, the Shadow Minister for mental health, is reportedly considering running to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of the Liverpool city region, but will face strong competition from incumbent mayor Joe Anderson and fellow MP Steve Rotheram.

Last week, Harriet Harman tweeted her hope that some of the new mayors would be women.  

Henry Zeffman writes about politics and is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2015.