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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If Seumas Milne leaves Jeremy Corbyn, he'll do it on his own terms

The Corbynista comms chief has been keeping a diary. 

It’s been a departure long rumoured: Seumas Milne to leave post as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy to return to the Guardian.

With his loan deal set to expire on 20 October, speculation is mounting that he will quit the leader’s office. 

Although Milne is a key part of the set-up – at times of crisis, Corbyn likes to surround himself with long-time associates, of whom Milne is one – he has enemies within the inner circle as well. As I wrote at the start of the coup, there is a feeling among Corbyn’s allies in the trade unions and Momentum that the leader’s offfice “fucked the first year and had to be rescued”, with Milne taking much of the blame. 

Senior figures in Momentum are keen for him to be replaced, while the TSSA, whose general secretary, Manuel Cortes, is one of Corbyn’s most reliable allies, is said to be keen for their man Sam Tarry to take post in the leader’s office on a semi-permanent basis. (Tarry won the respect of many generally hostile journalists when he served as campaign chief on the Corbyn re-election bid.) There have already been personnel changes at the behest of Corbyn-allied trade unions, with a designated speechwriter being brought in.

But Milne has seen off the attempt to remove him, with one source saying his critics had been “outplayed, again” and that any new hires will be designed to bolster, rather than replace Milne as comms chief. 

Milne, however, has found the last year a trial. I am reliably informed that he has been keeping a diary and is keen for the full story of the year to come out. With his place secure, he could leave “with his head held high”, rather than being forced out by his enemies and made a scapegoat for failures elsewhere, as friends fear he has been. The contents of the diary would also allow him to return in triumph to The Guardian rather than slinking back. 

So whether he decides to remain in the Corbyn camp or walk away, the Milne effect on Team Corbyn is set to endure.

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.