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University of Puget Sound

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


The Chilean State is currently in a political era defined as the Crisis de Legitimidad (Crisis of Legitimacy) in result of extreme socioeconomic inequality and widespread political disillusionment. In 2011, a social movement led by university students became the most important movement since the democratic transition began in 1990, succeeding in re-politicizing the population. The movement started as a demand that the State offer free higher education and end various injustices in the entire education system, however, in time the movement and became a statewide expression of the frustration felt against the neo-liberal state. Over 80% of the Chilean population supported the movement, yet the student leaders faced several institutional barriers, which blocked many of their objectives. In 2012, a group led by many ex-student leaders, including well-known student leader and current Diputado Giorgio Jackson, established the political movement Revolución Democrática (Democratic Revolution). The leaders of Revolución Democrática (RD) realized the need for social platforms to transition and function within political institutions in order to achieve real, long term change. This investigation analyzes how the social movement was institutionalized into a political party in order to serve as the collective voice of the people within the government. This project recognizes the formation of RD within the framework of Chile’s recent political and economic historical context and evaluates interviews with academics and several national leaders and party militants of RD. The analysis serves as a living history of RD’s development as a political party. The project does not investigate RD’s political platform closely, but rather it considers the current state, and potential future of RD and Jackson. RD must overcome several institutional barriers and developmental challenges in the coming years. However, although RD is young and the future is unknown, Jackson and RD have emerged as a rare source of hope, with the capacity to become an important political force in a Chilean state in need of change.


Growth and Development | Income Distribution | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Political Science | Politics and Social Change


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