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Contra Parada
Submitted by Gary

El Ciudadano

Despite the widespread police forces deployed during the military parade in the Parque O’Higgins, hundreds of people protested by banging pots near...


Chile: Student movement blamed for fall in numbers of volunteers for the military

Chile reformed its military service seven years ago, to focus recruitment for military service on volunteers. Ever since, Chile's armed forces were able to fill their ranks entirely with volunteers, although generally a process of conscription was started in October to select potential conscripts as a backup. In October 2008, 70,461 youth were chosen in the "sorteo general" (recruitment lottery) and had to report to the recruitment authorities, but in the end nobody was called up for military service against his will. This was repeated in the following years.

However, in October 2011, the military announced that only 14,127 persons had so far volunteered for military service, compared to 20,431 the year before. The military plans to recruit 11,340 soldiers by spring 2012, and according to the recruitment department they would need 2.5 times the number of volunteers.


The Militarization of Young People in Chile

When examining militarisation and young people in this country, we must necessarily look back and take into account the hundreds of years of militarism in the area's history: land occupations and violence by European colonists, construction of the 'national heroes' to motivate patriotism, legislation of obligatory military training, exponential military spending versus the social spending diet, introduction of of military training in civilian schools, and mutation of the armed forces according to the dominant economic model. All of these measures have targeted sectors of the population that are economically vulnerable but are also potentially quite strong in political terms: the boys and girls and young people of this country. The vulnerability of this sector of the population allows militarisation to settle in comfortably and then neutralize possible pockets of resistance.


Violence, military service, and the education system in Chile

Manifestación en Santiago, Chile

Dan Contreras

In order to relate militarisation and youth in Chile, we must look to the past and recognise the hundreds of years of militarism in the history of this region. Chile has seen territorial and violent occupations by European colonists, the construction of 'homeland heroes' as the core motivational idea behind patriotism, the legalisation of mandatory military training, huge increases in military spending as compared to social spending, the incorporation of military practices within civilian schools, among many other examples. The brunt of these actions has been born by the population’s most economically vulnerable group, but potentially the strongest in political terms: the country’s boys, girls and young adults. The vulnerability of this segment of the population has allowed it to be exposed to militarisation with ease; potential pockets of resistance are neutralised.

Today, militarism is instilled in society through three different approaches:

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