Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The Spirit of Chile in New York City?

All over the world, people are rising up. Just in the last month, there have been uprisings in Lebanon, Ecuador, Iraq, Catalonia, Haiti, and Chile. On Friday, a thousand people were jumping over turnstiles at a subway station in Brooklyn to protest against high fares and police violence. Is the global revolt coming to the U.S.?

Tatiana Cozzarelli

November 3, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share
M Stan Reaves/REX

All over the world, people are rising up. Just in the last month, there have been uprisings in Lebanon, Ecuador, Iraq, Catalonia, Haiti, and Chile. All over the world, austerity measures are being publicly questioned by the masses in the streets. All over the world, the working class and oppressed are saying that enough is enough. 

And these protests are being led by young people—people who grew up in the wake of the 2008 crisis, seeing the wealthy get wealthier while they and their parents have to tighten their belts. Some of these youth know, either implicitly or explicitly, that capitalist politicians will only offer us false promises. If we want to win, we need to take the struggle in our own hands.

Youth rising in Chile.

The example of Chile is important. When President Piñera increased the subway fare by 30 pesos, high school students began occupying the subway stations, jumping the turnstiles and opening the doors so people could enter for free. When these students, so clearly on the side of the entire working class, were brutally repressed by the riot police, all of Chile stood up. It wasn’t about 30 pesos, it was about 30 years of neoliberalism. 

For almost two weeks, the Chilean masses have organized mass protests, with over a million people in the streets, building barricades and confronting the police in street battles.

It was only a matter of time before that spirit made its way to New York City, the heart of world capitalism.

On Friday night, a thousand people gathered in Brooklyn to protest against the racist police of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). While the subway is falling to pieces, the governor has invested in 500 new police to patrol the stations. This is just another criminalization of poverty, spending millions on repressive forces to make sure that people pay the 2.75 subway fare. Black and brown people are the most criminalized. Over the past weeks we have seen horrible images of police violence for “theft of service,” i.e. taking the subway without paying. These have included video of 10 cops rushing  Adrian Napier who was sitting on the subway, of the cops tazing a Black person laying on the ground, of the cops punching Black youth who were not even 18 years old. That’s why we need the cops out of the subway

From New York to Chile,  we have the right to free public transportation. The subway should be free.

And we know it’s bullshit when they say there isn’t enough money. There is enough money for 500 new cops and to cameras at turnstiles. There is always enough money to criminalize Black, brown and poor people.

And as Chile shows, when we fight, the government can find the money. The Chilean government has increased the minimum wage, stopped the subway fare hikes, and increased pensions.

The police are the armed defenders of this deeply unjust system. They are on the side of the ruling class. Their sole function is to repress working-class people and people of color. Their sole purpose is to hold up this capitalist system based on white supremacy, patriarchy, and queer-phobia.

As we chanted on Friday, you spell racist NYPD.

On Friday night in New York City, the spirit of Chile was alive. But it wasn’t just the spirit of Chile: it was the spirit of the most combative elements of Black Lives Matter. It was the spirit of the indigenous people in Ecuador and the youth in Iraq. It’s the spirit of the moment in which we live: a moment where class struggle is not one sided anymore. We are fighting back.

That combative spirit was alive as we took the streets—thousands of us weaving between cars. For the moment, they were our streets. 

As we jumped over the turnstiles, we knew that the oppressed and working class can tear down this system and build something better. Any spark can set off a fire. The subway protest has now passed. But then it could be the next protest that sets a fire. 

 But to actually win, we need to get organized to kick the cops out of the subway, to make the subway free… and even to crush this racist capitalist system.

Facebook Twitter Share

Tatiana Cozzarelli

Tatiana is a former middle school teacher and current Urban Education PhD student at CUNY.

United States

Three activists stand together while one activist holds up an "uncommitted" sign with the word "vote" written on it many times. In the left side of the picture another activist holds a sign that says "abandon Genocide Joe"

Don’t Vote Uncommitted — Commit to Breaking with the Democrats

Tapping into deep anger with President Biden, the left wing of the Democratic Party is urging Michigan voters to vote “uncommitted” in the primary election. But this strategy funnels progressives’ energy back into the Democratic party when we need political independence from the parties supporting the genocide in Gaza.

Brian H. Silverstein

February 27, 2024

The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024
A NYPD officer arrests a masked pro-Palestine protestors wearing a kaffiyeh while other cops and masked protesters look on.

Attacks on the Pro-Palestine Movement Are Attacks on the Right to Protest

As the movement for Palestine against Israel’s brutal military invasion of Gaza and attacks on the West Bank continues at a lower intensity than last fall, the State is cracking down on the leaderships of the movement and rolling back gains made by the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2020. The movement must grow in order to fight back against repression and protect our democratic right to protest.

Carmin Maffea

February 10, 2024

When Columbia Students Are Under Attack, We Must Stand Up, Fight Back!

On January 19, two Columbia University students who are former Israeli Defense Forces soldiers attacked students with a chemical-based weapon called “skunk,” at a campus protest against the genocide of Palestinians. Students must unite with workers to defend our movement; from Palestine to Low, the attacks have got to go!

K.S. Mehta

February 2, 2024

MOST RECENT

Protesters at an evening protest in NY carry a sign that reads "from ferguson to palestine occupation is a crime"

This Black History Month, Let’s Fight for Palestinian Liberation

Black liberation struggles have always expressed solidarity with the struggle against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. This Black History Month, as Israel continues its genocide in Gaza, this tradition takes on a special importance.

Carmin Maffea

February 26, 2024
All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Two Years of War in Ukraine

On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the war in Ukraine after two years, and the continued need for an independent, working-class solution.

Left Voice

February 24, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

New York's anti-zionist movement is is rising up and speaking out for Palestinian liberation.

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024