Fear vs Participatory Politics in Chile

We care for and defend the Constitutional Convention!

By Andres Kogan Valderrama

HAVANA TIMES – As the constitutional process advances in Chile, with the approval of different laws during the plenary session of this unprecedented democratic entity, some of the most conservative sectors of Chilean society have been quick to express their anxiety , their worries and even their fear.

Along with the catastrophic images that right-wing parties and business groups expose to us every day in the major media concentrated in their hands, new sectors are joining them, which seek only to discredit the most diverse and more participatory. political process in the history of Chile.

One of these sectors has attracted a lot of attention and visibility in the Chilean press oligopoly over the past month: the group called Amarillos Por Chile (1), whose literature professor and radio host Cristian Warnken has been its main spokesperson, mobilizer and the most visible face of those who make up this political space.

The list of well-known names belonging to Amarillos Por Chile ranges from former Accord members (Alejandro Foxley, Carolina Goic, Andres Velasco, Jose Joaquin Brunner, Soledad Alvear, Mariana Aylwin, Fulvio Rossi, Ignacio Walker, Gutenberg Martínez), to people close to the so-called centre-left, like Mario Waissbluth, Luis Riveros, Sol Serrano, Ivan Jacsic, Claudio Elortegui, Jose De Gregorio, to name a few.

One might wonder what harm is there in a new political group emerging and wanting to enter the public conversation, in a context of constitutional dialogue, with statements, proposals and views on what discuss the various commissions of the Convention.

The problem does not lie in what this group sees in ideological terms, but in how and when it expresses itself, with a discourse centered on fear, only a few months before the drafting of the new Constitution proposal, which will be submitted to a popular referendum this year.

This is why the tone of the manifesto of the Amarillos Por Chile on the work of the Constitutional Convention so far should come as no surprise (2), using expressions such as institutional collapse, red flag, stalemate, dismemberment, maximalism, failure, failed experiment.

In the meantime, it presents a rhetoric of dialogue, conversation, listening, balance, caution, moderation, agreement, reasoning, on the other hand, as if most of the constituent members (who were democratically elected) only wanted to impose an exclusive and polarized point of view. authoritatively over others.

The reality is that it would be more honest on the part of Warnken and the rest of Amarillos Por Chile, if they thought about why this center-left that they want to revive at the moment, has practically no representation at the Constitutional Convention, after decades of government (with the center-right) in a vertical hierarchy and remote from the demands of social movements and many civil society organizations.

Just as it would be good for them to reflect on how this accumulated malaise and constant sense of abuse, which exploded in October 2019, responds to a center-left process hollowing out their ideology, which believed in the end of the history and a very limited idea of ​​democracy, completely subordinated to the biggest business groups in the country.

On the other hand, if it is valid from their point of view not to believe in what the Constitutional Convention is approving at the moment, just like what happened with the regional state, plurinationalism, the rights of nature and well-being, it does not give them the green light to put forward a rhetoric of fear and disqualification, where the approval of the constitutional text with these laws means that Chile is jumping off a cliff.

Meanwhile, it is particularly striking to see Amarillos Por Chile pointing the finger at the Convention, for being the one that excludes anyone different and legitimizes violence, when none of them have raised their voices for decades to open a constitutional process of this type in the campaign.

Worse still, they were comfortable and quiet during the 90s and 2000s, when virtually everything continued to be privatized and the state denied people basic rights such as health, education and life. water, and entrenched racism against indigenous peoples, enforcing anti-terrorism laws and developing the logging industry.

Finally, it is infuriating that they use a political discourse that is so similar to that of the right today, in terms of what they have to say about the Convention. It’s a bit embarrassing to hear them talk about the radical left, excessive indigenous activism, ecological fundamentalism, as if we were living under a kind of dictatorship or totalitarianism of certain groups over others.

The good thing about all of this is that it’s the latest fuss from a political sector that refused to understand what was happening in Chile during the student protests of 2011 and beyond. Amarillos Por Chile will be remembered as a simple anecdote, part of a historic political process in the country.

I don’t normally give advice, but now might be the best time for Cristian Warnken to go beyond his garden and look at his surroundings with a little more care, curiosity and fewer ideas. preconceived.


*Andres Kogan Valderrama is a Chilean sociologist

1: https://www.amarillosxchile.cl/

2: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YX8S6TkXOk2rUyriDA2Igg42BRxzAB0X/view

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