Chile: Debates in the constituent process

The regime is recalculating and there is a chance to turn everything around

By Maura Fajardo Gálvez and Martín Miranda, Movimiento Anticapitalista

The process of “list making” towards the Constituent Convention showed the system of parties that hegemonized the political action of the last 30 years, in a quiet “pragmatic and convenient”, to use a gentle term, stage of reconfiguration. In this context, the independent lists and candidacies burst in, adding a dose of uncertainty and leaving a clear way which is important to face from the debate.

With their glance that looks beyond the own convention, the same as always prepare formulas to reach La Moneda in the following months and keeping everything as it is. We, the organizations that propose to put an end to the regime of the 30 years, have the challenge of developing alternatives that are an expression of the new stage the country is living since October of 2019. With a huge social rupture with the old, there are no excuses for not jumping to write a new story that has us, the working people, as protagonists.

The electoral kitchen of the old politics

Undoubtedly, the phrase that better fits the role played by the parties and the conglomerates of the regime in the last few days is: “They were united by horror, not love.” Beginning by the Pinochetist left that aims at consolidating the 20% that left the rejection and going from there to appear as the most ideologically and politically solid bloc. Thus, they run in single list that joins the political project of the “Creole Bolsonaro” of Kast with Chile Vamos, led by its liberal “youth”, the same one that led the “pact for peace” that saved the government of Piñera in the midst of the outbreak. This bloc is not exempt from frictions and is the main target of the mass rupture, but far from giving up they fight, supported by the rest of the political arc that saved them at their worst moment and still sustains Piñera with 5% of approval.

#ListaDelApruebo is the “nice” and opportunist name found by those who have jointly ruled with the right since 30 years ago. Disguised in their hard core of conservatives and traditional politicians with the rest of the FA, social organizations and “independent” candidacies, we find the DC and the PS, the builders of this rotten regime and defenders of “changing” a little to change nothing. Their “progressive” narrative and the glittering appearances of their last minute presidential cards cannot hide that they are part of the old, a group of conservatives who fear the popular expression and future outbreaks, who offer themselves to “responsibly” manage this system of misery, precariousness and privatization. All of this was not only proven to be a failure, but also the tiredness of all the people.

These sectors are joined by a choir of “independent” candidacies that seek to, being part of the phenomenon of rejection to the old politics, collect support at the service of sustaining the regime disguised as independent. “Non-neutral” and some well “lined” participate in the battle with more intentions of negotiation than rupture. They are opportunists, accommodated and have no program. This is the clearest vision of the electoral store as a business. Their intention is to vote independent candidates because they are different and were not part of the disaster the “politicians” led us to. Check the payroll as there are wolfs disguised as sheep that are signing in for the race more for what is coming than for making positive changes in the Constitution.

The Communist Party and the left of the Pact

Finally after a lot of tussle, the unitary list of the PC-FA and other organizations was presented. The “news” to some was the incorporation of Unidad Social, an organization that sought to be the reference of the unionist and social world but that has shown little in practice during the hot months they went through. This conglomerate has a clear horizon: to be the platform of a future candidacy of Daniel Jadue for president, although not all sectors have expressed their support to the mayor yet.

Their proposal associated with a possible “anti-neoliberal” government does not leave many definitions on the central issues of the country’s structure, thinking also of the international models they seek to emulate, which also showed no signs of putting the life of the majorities at the center when the crisis of 2008 had just begun. The reality of this 2021 is that this anti-neoliberal government project is 15 years behind the examples that preceded them, where the world economic crisis gives very little margin to apply lasting measures that benefit the social majorities. A transforming mask for a force that for many years has focused its efforts on administering the Chilean rentier State rather than on overthrowing it in order to build a new State at the service of the majorities. The leader of the party himself, Jadue, has expressed his will for the murderer Piñera to finish his term in the established time and his party has supported key laws such as the “Employment Protection Law” which makes possible the suspension of workers’ salaries in times of crisis.

With the discourse of a “serious and responsible” Left, the reality is that it is neat in the administration of the model and reliable for the elites.  They permanently tempt the different expressions that the street has given in the last months to join the path of “the possible”.

The FA, in pieces, has become a progressive commodity also out of touch with the economic and political reality of our country, which is rented to cover any store. Gone are the enthusiastic young men and women who knew how to be part of the combative mobilizations of the student movement. Today they are ladies and gentlemen who voted in the midst of the outbreak laws that criminalize protest, signed the pact with the Pinochettist right wing that saved the government from 7%, give their opinion from correctness, with careful tweets and tidy projects that do not move the political ammeter.

If at this point the article were to end, it could seem that little or nothing has changed in the country, but we are far from this. We are living a new political stage opened in October of 2019 and all these realignments of the political superstructure are taking place in a scenario of deep mass rupture with the regime and the old parties. A B side of politics is emerging and is in conflict: social movements, trade unions and the possibility of building a new left that is revolutionary, rebellious, feminist, ecological, that reflects this discontent and is also capable of proposing alternatives of in-depth transformation, avoiding and fighting the reformist deception for which the regime and its forces are working at full steam.

The challenge of building the new, the opportunity of achieving it, the debates we must hold

Outside this more controlled scenario of the regime, numerous experiences have emerged that reflect in a more real way what is going on in the underground of reality. Independent lists and candidacies where assembly sectors, expressions of social movements, bureaucratic union leaderships, icons of revolt, social fighters, young feminist and dissident activists, male and female workers coexist. Despite the attempts by some sectors to present a univocal line of who the “legitimate fighters” are, the process of forming the lists could not be contained to this narrative, on the contrary, it was widely surpassed, demonstrating diverse expressions that appeared in the heat of October and at the same time complexities for the unity of an electoral system made to privilege the parties.

What is the driving force behind these phenomena? The social outburst, the open cycle of mobilizations from 2006 onwards with demands that have not been met, the repudiation of old politics, the criticism not only to the right wing and its failed “neoliberal oasis” but also of the failed experiences of “21st century socialism” and on the way to seek new ways of doing politics, of participating in the great national debates from “one’s own territory”, making a weakness out of “independence” in the sense of political organization. As all real phenomena, far from being pure, they come combined, with a base that pushes to radicalism and directions that in many cases propose to measure, to stop, to dialogue with the possible, to pass insurmountable “stages”. But there is a Chile that woke up and in the constituent process we will have an opportunity to debate openly about the program we need to transform it and also the political strategy we need to do it. To all that diffuse conglomerate, organized or not, to the assemblies, social movements, environmental activists, feminists and workers we propose to open this debate. What program for a new Constitution for a Chile of majorities, with what methods of construction and with what strategy. Because if October has shown us anything, it is that a program on paper is of little use if there is no strategy to make these lines materialize in reality.

Our proposal to open the debate

There is a program that set up the social outburst and that has remained in the streets until today. It is the one that points out the bases of a new Chile, not “anti-neoliberal” but rather “anti-capitalist”, that program is the one that made us take to the streets, the demands of a life possible to be lived that is a correlate of the “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years”. The put Piñera and his government on trial for his performance in the face of the explosion and bankruptcy to which he led the country, the demand that his term ends as soon as possible, the non-existent support to his administration is more than eloquent in this point; the end of the AFP and the creation of a new model where not only the socially produced profits go to the pensioned majorities but also where they play a leading role; the creation of a single national health system, public and free, incorporating the private system to put an end to profit and ensure decent working conditions and care; transformation of the educational model, free education (which is not synonymous with low quality) for all, non-sexist education with a feminist perspective and an appropriate infrastructure, among other positive changes;  the end of job precariousness, outsourcing and corporate dictatorship, the recognition of domestic and care work that we women do as a social mandate – as work – with a salary in line with the cost of living to be recognized in the new social security system; an end to male violence, the worst of pandemics, through emergency plans that contemplate social prevention as a fundamental scheme, as well as rapid and timely action in cases of violence against women, girls and dissidents; the recovery of all our common goods, water, land and all our natural resources free from corporate plundering. That is why we are also going for a Constitution with the workers at the center, with freedom of union association, freedom of protest and this combined with strong taxes and control of large fortunes to finance what is necessary to serve the majorities. Of course, as we always maintain and have been pillars in our campaign to collect sponsorships for the candidacies of Maura Fajardo Galvez in the 12th district and Camilo Parada Ortiz in the 10th district, feminism and eco-socialism as inalienable identities, to be clear and clear that we do not seek to recover old bureaucratic experiences of the past.

These are just a few points, our program is much more extensive and of course all the organizations and social movements have their concerns and programmatic points, we understand that it is key to debate them in order to advance, but advance in what sense?

Well, from the Anticapitalist Movement we understand that it is time to set up a new political reference, new because the parties of the “30 years” have given ample evidence of their inability to change, of their power of infinite adaptation to the maneuvers and the kitchen, the dirty kitchen of traditional politics, where everything is “political consideration”, without the participation of the bases.

This is the fundamental motivation of the presentation of our candidacies, to lead in the whole process, together with the program, the need for the union, feminist, social and popular expressions to stop looking at themselves in the deformed mirror of bourgeois politics and to be able to dare to go for what the system considers “impossible”. Maura and Camilo will be our voice with that message, to the social movements, to social activism, to union activism, to the neighbors tired of seeing how politicians get rich without anything changing, to those who leave their lives in the fields, factories and companies while a handful of rich people strip us of everything in the closed offices of the ministries and parliament.

We fight for the “impossible”, to change everything. We believe that a historic window has been opened to achieve it. Those of us who are patiently organizing for these moments have to be up to the task. That is our call, without exclusions other than those of fighting to change everything, not as an electoral slogan, but as the fundamental task of the coming months. In the Anticapitalist Movement there is a place to bet on that development and as Anticapitalist Movement we promote all the unitary spaces that can favor these debates with the popular, feminist, environmental and revolutionary forces that are ready for the challenge.