In recent years, global discontent with the status quo, triggered by rising rates of economic inequality, has played a major role in framing the political discussion.
In May 2011, thousands of Spaniards, using the name indignados, took to the streets of Madrid in mass protest of the country’s harsh austerity measures, high unemployment rate, and politicians’ handling of the global economic crisis. Later that summer – and across the Atlantic – throngs of protesters aired similar grievances in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Their movement was dubbed Occupy Wall Street, and its blazing rhetoric of the global 99 percent spread like wildfire to cities worldwide. Meanwhile, in Chile the student protest movement commonly referred to as the “Chilean winter,” also commenced in May 2011. Its message of “la educación no se vende” (education is not for sale) mobilized thousands of students to demand a new framework for education and an end to the country’s largely privatized university system.