There is little doubt that Chile has been on the forefront on matters of human rights in Latin. Chile's human rights discourse has been dominated with social movements and the main arena of confrontation has not been the state (Safa, 1990).
Social movements in Chile date back to the late 19th century when Chile was known for its strong labor movement (Somma, 2012). In the 1960s this social movement rolled from the urban areas to the countryside as the leftist parties and Christian Democrats canvassed for peasant votes.
Such social movements occurred in the 1960s during the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-1973). They were orchestrated by the blue-collar workers against attempts by upper middle class conservatives to overthrow Allende's elected government. It is these movements and their repercussions that captivated the mind of Andres Wood who then came up with the film Machucha in 2004. The film shows that the social movements in Chile, whose objective was to bring about meaningful societal change, triggered political unrest, polarized the country and widened the economic divide between the rich and the poor.
[...] (2003). Emerging Trends in the Study of Protest and Social Movements. Political Sociology for the 21st Century 213-244. Safa, H.I. (1990). Women's Social Movements in Latin America. Gender and Society, 354-369. Somma, N.M. (2012). The Chilean Student Movement of 2011-2012: Challenging the Marketization of Education. Interface, 296-309. [...]
[...] The Impact of Social Movements on State Policy: Human Rights and Women Movements in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Retrieved from http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-12092011- 134225/unrestricted/FernandezAndersonC122011D_vol1.pdf. Carruthers, D. ( 2009). Environmental politics in Chile: legacies of dictatorship and democracy. Third World Quarterly, 1-29. Foweraker, J. (2001). Grassroots Movements, Political Activism and Social Development in Latin America: A Comparison of Chile and Brazil. Retrieved from http://www.unrisd.org/unrisd/website/document.nsf/240da49ca467a53f80256 b4f005ef245/dc22e12d3f6ab4eb80256b5e004d27a8/$FILE/fowerake.pdf. Oliver, P.E., Cadena-Roa, J. & Strawn, K.D. [...]
[...] The movie Machucha does not give an analytic of the impact of social movements in Chile in 1960s. But it does tell us three things about the impact of social movements. Social movements can result in political unrest, sow seeds of distrust and widen the divide between the different social classes. However, these social movements can improve their operations by linking up with likeminded professional bodies and individuals; pushing for the formations of relevant institutions. That way, social movements can succeed. References Anderson, C.F. (2011). [...]
[...] That is why the Historical Truth and Commission Report of 2003 encountered problems from conservative landowners and roadblocks who argued that granting self-determination to the indigenous would result to the “dismemberment of the Chilean state” (Carruther, 2001). In the third scene, Infante's family acquires even more wealth. This is at the expense of the socialist movements who wanted meaningful societal change. The socialist movement thus widened the social divide instead of bridging it. Ironically, most social movements are staged with the primary objective of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. [...]
[...] Indeed, although protests by Mapucho have yielded some gains: have come at a heavy price in repression and in deeper divisions in the communities and the movement .For example, President Bachelet's government continues to use ‘racism and terrorism even in the face of hunger strikes among the prisoners and sustained pressure from the human rights group” (Carruther p.20). Reactions to the film Social movements are critical if the government is to address some non- bread and butter issues (Anderson, 2011). [...]
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