Organised by the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust this concert was on the 40th Anniversary of the brutal , callous , execution of the legendary Chilean Folk Singer and Activist for the poor,needy , deprived and disenfranchised in what is still today one of the most shamefully unequal societies in our day.A shining beacon of neoliberalism whose privatised education system using vouchers is one admired by our own Education Secretary Michael Gove , a system that has been attracting many massive demonstration on the streets of Chiles cities , especially Santiago.
Unfortunately the rump of the Communist Party has joined the grouping under former leader Bachelet which is expected to win the Presidential elections later this year , a leader of the socialist block which signed up to the constitution which enshrined the Chicago school economics , which meant even though the socialists controlled the country for 20 years the economic policy remained the same , a very privatisation friendly mode including far reaching reforms in Education which were cemented under the last Bachelet Government which introduced reforms which pushed forward the neoliberal model to such an extent that present incumbent described Education as a "consumer" item , which gives rise the the extrapolation that those who can pay the most get the best "product".To their very great credit the candidates of the Access-For-All Education demonstrations have refused to back any of the choices. instead putting up their own.
As the BBC report above states the Education policies , closely followed by the UK deprive the poorer students from getting the best available resources prior to further education and then are prevented to go to University by costs that are unaffordable by low income households , thus perpetuating the cycle of poor getting poorer, this in a country that is regarded as one of the richest in the region:
"They say middle-class students have access to some of the best schooling in the region, while the poor have to be content with under-funded state schools. The country has no free universities.The night raised funds for the the Trust and also Justice For Victor Jara Campaign , a timely cause as lawyers acting on behalf of the survivors have opened legal proceedings in the US to bring to Justice one of the eight alleged killers who has been living in Florida for many years.
The campaign for educational reform is the biggest protest movement Chile has seen since the return to democracy in 1990."
According to the above article from The Telegraph Newspaper.
"Mrs Jara was allowed to take his corpse from the morgue as long as she buried him without ceremony. His body was exhumed in 2009 on a judge's orders to establish his identity and cause of death. When he was reburied, thousands turned out for the funeral that he was denied after his death.Joan Jara set up The Victor Jara Foundation to publicise and highlight the shocking circumstances of her husband and also to give voice to the relatives of several thousands who disappeared and still have not been accounted for to their families , denying the right to bury their loved ones with dignity.
Mrs Jara moved back to London with her two daughters a month after the coup, after British diplomats urged her to leave for her own safety. She spent the next 10 years travelling the world to highlight what had happened in Chile, before moving back to Santiago in 1983.
There she established the Victor Jara Foundation to keep her husband's memory and artistic legacy alive and fought relentlessly to gain justice for him in death. She is closer than ever to achieving that mission."
The other defendants have not yet been brought to trail in Chile , though the painfully slow wheels of justice may slowly be moving in the right direction.
The performers themselves were a varied and brilliant combination of old veterans who fight Pinochet back in 73 and energetic younger crop who have received and propounded the message that you always back the disempowered grassroots against the degradations and oppressive abuses of dictators.
Penny Stone rounded of the rainbow journey of neoliberalism with enchanting songs linking the murder of Victor to the plight of the Palestinians from the same people who , still today, laud Pinochet and follow many of his Chicago school based policies.
The evening was rounded of by the seven decade veteran activist and folksinging chronicle Peggy Seeger.
There was also a compilation CD especially made for the event containing contributions from the performers and also the legendary Christy Moore.
Costing £5 the proceeds went jointly to the Alistair Hulett Memorial and Victor Jara Fund.