Teachers in Chile struck last week and took to the streets with the students to demand that the government deliver on its promise to end the privatisation of education in the country. Protests took place in many towns throughout Chile. One of the main demands of the strike and the protests was 'No Reform without Teachers.' At present reforms are being pushed through without involving teachers.

Above all the teachers and students want to see public education strengthened and an end to the privatisation of schools and universities, the neo-liberal model for which Chile after the brutal Pinochet coup in 1973 became a living experiment, directly aided by Milton Friedman and his Chicago trained economists. Not only is this model in the process of being extended into most countries in the world, it has also up to now remained unchanged in Chile, resulting in years of mass protests from teachers but in particular from a courageous mass student movement. For that reason the struggle in Chile is particularly important for the global resistance to this neo-liberal project.

When the left-leaning Michell Bachelet was elected earlier this year she promised to reverse privatisation and provide free education for all. However the teachers and students say she is not going far or fast enough, nor is she engaging teachers and parents in the process. In addition to rolling back privatisation, the teachers want proper contracts with tenure and due process as well as pensions - both things which are under attack globally, where they exist - with the global precarisation of teachers work and the orchestrated attacks on tenure in the US for example.

Despite the fact that Bachelet is fond or repeating the slogan that 'education is a right not a privilege' and is therefore presumably on the same side as the teachers and students, her security forces turned water cannon on the marchers in Santiago, repeating scenes common under the previous right-wing administration of Sebastian Pinera.