Beyond Pure Trade Unionism. Activism Synergies in the Movement Against the Pension System in Chile.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Natalia MIRANDA, CriDIS / University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
This proposal aims to show how trade unions can transform their political culture due to the articulation with a more citizen-driven activism within a social movement.

Based in the “No más Afp” movement which is opposing the private pension funding system in Chile, we claim that trade union organizations are still a main device for developing the foundations of a social movement. Nonetheless, this is not enough for massively extending the movement and its demands to the whole Chilean society.

While trade unions are key actors for producing the struggle agenda, planning public rallies, and the politicization of the movement, a citizen-driven activism has emerged in it, placing digital technologies at the core of their practices, the “everydayness” of the struggle, and reaching the average Chilean person beyond the worker.

We argue that these two political cultures meet each other within the movement, with tensions and learnings, settlings a cross-fertilization process from the articulation of their different practices of activism.

We would like to show this encounter process, exposing their risks, challenges, and the potential to strengthen the movement. Then, to examine the role of trade unions in current and future social movements, especially from a post 2011 era, which has contributed to reinforce the use of the internet and technologies in the coordination of collective action and protest around the world. Finally, to discuss how this encounter can enrich the classic debate between old and new social movements, proposing some ideas for future approaches.