Chile, the rejection of the Constitution

The strength of the Chilean revolt since October 2019 is undeniable, but in the same way, the political setback that has come in September 2022 is also undeniable. What are the contradictions of these political moments? To begin with, I will say that it is not only that the right won, but that the Chilean left lost the north.

The Chilean political changes achieved in 2019 and 2020 criticized the establishment, once sacramented by all the national oligarchies. The popular demands tried to be institutionalized by Sebastián Piñera, but he had to summon a Constituent Assembly.1 The “independent” left achieved a large majority in the Constitutional Convention, apparently 100 of 155 constituents.two The lefts also won several municipalities, prefectures and councils. And finally, Gabriel Boric, a young representative of the left and social democracy, came to win the presidency of Chile with the 55.8% in 2021. However, from the possession of Boric, on March 11, 2022, until the second half of April, his popularity it fell from 46.5% to 24.2%, and rejection of the Constitution rose to 40%.

On September 4, the effective vote of the plebiscite arrived, with results of REJECTION, of 61.86%, and APPROVAL, of 38.14%. What happened on this short journey?

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention fell early into great public disrepute, it was compared to any other congress and not to a Constituent Assembly that really wanted changes. The political errors were taken advantage of by the right-wing opposition and the so-called center-left. The particular problems of many constituents were generalized throughout the Convention as a new circus.3 All this generated a negative image of the Constituent Assembly in public opinion. To resolve this nonsense, the Boric government and the Convention forces looked elsewhere, trying to make coalitions with the right and the center.

While in the forms the Constitution was branded as “radical”, “socialist”, and “communist”, although its articulated It was no more than moderate. The structure of state power was not altered, nor was Chilean dependency. The initial 64% of the left was divided on internal problems, and the center and the center left they called to vote for the rejection. The elite of the old regime, if they won the Approval, had a Constitution of the center, and if they won the Rejection, they kept the previous one. The right and traditional oligarchy had advantages on either side; on the contrary, if they lost, Boric and the pro-constitution forces entered into a paradox: the majority of the population voted to change the Constitution, but not for the one that reached the referendum on September 4, 2022; which, moreover, was a thermometer on the image of the Convention and Boric.

Boric’s government

Boric’s government began by failing to fulfill its own program: Izquia Siches, the Minister of government, the repression of the Wallmapu (the Mapuches) continued with millionaire sums and the government positioned the discourse against terrorism in the south, due to the indigenous protests. The state of exception was constant in the Piñera government, and now too. Boric made alliances with several reformist parties and with neoliberalism that has been called “progressive.” The section of the Chilean socialist party, which was closer to the big bourgeoisie and the Pinochet order, was now resurrected with the Broad Front. Due to the political fragmentation of Chile, Boric said that there is an “absence of hegemonies”. Boric arrived, without his own social base, at mere circumstantial alliances; such as the new cabinet change after the rejection of the Constitution and his call for a new constitutional itinerary. This weakness has made the president adjust, at times, with social democracy, with the neoliberal forces, with the Bacheletist forces. There is a great contradiction in the government: he claims to fight against neoliberalism, but he makes agreements with its promoters, there is a permanent cession to the right. The students they go out to protest for a new constituent process and the government acts with repression.

The great historical crisis of inflation (stagflation) that is hitting the world is also hitting Chile, and people do not see changes.

The recomposition of Chilean conservatism

The right, bankers, and the media made their counter-campaign in advance: they predicted the worst inflation because of the Constitution, for approving new pensions, redistribution in education, health, and social security. The rancid Chilean oligarchy dusted off its racist discourse against the indigenous and popular, xenophobic, against the poor foreigner, and rescued the “virtues” of the Pinochet model. With its distances, in this conservatism there is also the bourgeois center of Lagos and Frei, and the so-called “bacheletista socialism”. The majority of Chilean conservatism is concerned about a new turn of mass mobilizations, such as the Uprising in Ecuador.

Ecuador: The popular indigenous uprising, experiences and broken paths

The Broad Front and the Communist Party of Chile called for moderation of political discourse, but they found a clear contradiction with the social movements that emerged in the Chilean revolt. While the right was inserting itself in the politics of the Boric government, in the agreements of the Constitutional Convention, in the new norms; in public opinion, the culprits were the “leftists” of the Constituent Assembly and the increasingly unlikely Socialist Constitution.

The pro-constitution forces fell for the strategy of the right. The “house for all” of the right was to maintain the foundations of Pinochet: whether he won the Constitution because it was moderate, or if he lost the referendum because the previous one was left. The agreements with the right, led the social movements to move away from the government and the Convention, and this was further exploited by conservatism to reject the Constitution.

In the midst of this situation, there is a social upheaval, little by little, of workers, high school and university students, as well as a critical left disillusioned with Boric. Some twitterers they say that Chile is “a pressure cooker” with “some hope” or with a “clogged valve”. The vote for the rejection of the Constitution shows a reconstitution of the hegemony towards the right, while begin a new aporia politics. In 2021, 64% of Chilean citizens thought that the outbreak had been positive, today 61% of voters think that the Constitution is a failure. The popular claim points out that the representatives moved away from the popular demands, from the needs of the workers, that the problems demanded in October 2019 have not been resolved. A political setback for Chile, for Latin America, which, to understand it, there is no to think of it only as a rejection, but as a popular criticism of the institutions of the supposed transition, of the bubble created by power.



1 see note about the call.

two Over the voting results to the Convention.

3 A constituent would have lied to have cancer for his election. Another voted from the shower in the session.

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