Camila Vallejo is a former Chilean student leader and a member of the youth wing of the Communist Party of Chile.
Chilean student leaders Camila Vallejo and Noam Titelman began their U.S. October 2012, visit with their counterparts from the United States and Canada here recently at a panel discussion on organizing strategies, the struggle for quality, affordable higher education and its relationship to democracy. The City University of New York Graduate Center hosted the panelists.
Vallejo, vice president of the Universidad de Chile Student Federation, and Titelman, president of the Universidad Catolica Student Federation, were in the U.S. to receive a human rights award on behalf of the Chilean student movement. Vallejo became internationally known last year for her leadership in the student struggle that challenged the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera and for her membership in the Young Communist League of Chile. The New York Times called her a "glamorous revolutionary," a tagline the media uses, often underplaying her intellect, social media savvy and leadership skills.
Vallejo also met with leaders of the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League. Vallejo makes it a point to meet with the Communist Party in every country she visits. As a leader of the Chilean YCL, Vallejo says she wants to learn about the activities of other Communists around the world. Titelman also joined the meeting.
Vallejo said she knew about and appreciated the long history of solidarity between Chilean and American Communists. She and Titelman were interested in the CPUSA's strategy of defeating the ultra-right danger electorally and helping to build movements of the main class and social forces capable of doing just that. Titelman said in his experience he has seen a difference between having a massive "naïve" movement that does not affect politics, and having a massive "effective" movement that does. Titelman said that if the U.S. far right is in power it is a threat to progressive movements and people around the world.
Tiffany Dena Loftin's Letelier-Moffitt Award Speech
Tiffany Dena Loftin, president of the United States Student Association, presented Camila Vallejo and Noam Titelman with a 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies, October 17, 2012. ·
- I consider it a honor to have been asked to present this award to the Chilean Student Movement and to the two remarkable leaders seated here before me, Camila Vallejo and Noam Titelman.
- I serve as president of the United States Student Association, the country’s oldest and largest student run student lead organization. For 65 years, we have pressured decision-makers for an accessible and affordable higher education for everyone. This year, student leaders and allies across the country have focused on federal and state-based legislation that give undocuments students an opportunity to apply for federal loans and afford a public education.
- We have mobilized students across the country to register to vote, to fight against budget cuts for important programs for communities of color, and we demand corporate accountability and student loan debt forgiveness. All while training young people to build community by learning skills that build real power on their campus to fight for a just society.
- Many of our students are inspired and fired up from the strategy and power lead forward by the Chilean Student Movement.
- They have created and sustained, for over a year and a half, one of the most dynamic student movements the world has ever seen, raising up the right to education as a fundamental right for every student in Chile and inspiring the tactics of other student organizations across the world.
- They have organized a half million people onto the streets of Chile, a nation of only 17 million people. That would be the equivalent of us getting over 9 million people on the streets in this country.
- They have rethought social protest in bold and often humorous ways, from kissathons to superhero dance offs, to a mass zombie Michael Jackson Thriller dance routine.
- They have innovated with social media — Camila has a half million followers on twitter.
- They have forged alliances with miners and unions and a broad spectrum of Chilean societies.
- They have focused and never compromised on their demands for free universal education, and they have rejected “piecemeal” government offers of reform. They have refused to be bought off.
- While focusing in on education, they’ve made the critical leap to the larger development model and the inequality that is endemic in that model.
- For us in the United States, they are a model of forcing a society to face and grapple with the giant crisis of millions of students who cannot repay their student loan debt.
- This Chilean Student Movement is led by internationalists. They are making links to, and helping to motivate, a global movement. They see the links from the indignations of Spain to the revolutionaries of Egypt to the Occupiers of the United States.
- Tonight, I pledge to you that students of the United States stand in solidarity with you, we have your back. We join in your demands to end student debt fairly and justly, and will continue to fight for a free education.
Chamber of Deputies
In 2013, the Communist Party of Chile, which held 3 seats in the outgoing lower house, doubled its representation with the election of six deputies. One of the newly elected deputies is Camila Vallejo, the former student leader and head of the Young Communist Chile, who played a major leadership role in the street protests demanding educational reform.