The Constitutional Anti-utopia in Chile

The far-right campaign to “recover” Chile.

By Andres Kogan Valderrama

HAVANA TIMES – We are just weeks before Chile’s Constitutional Council delivers the written draft to the Expert Commission, on October 7. The possibility of having a new Magna Carta that lives up to the country’s historical moment and takes charge of society’s more important problems seems very unlikely and not very hopeful.

This is regarding the different amendments presented by the constitutional constituent members of Chile’s Republican Party, which contain the worst of far-right ideological fundamentalism. They want a new Magna Carta even more extreme than Pinochet’s 1980 constitution, still in force, and which given this scenario seems like we will continue with it for a while longer.

I point this out because the only way to generate the political conditions for voting in favor of a new constitutional proposal is for the Republican Party to give in to its ideological fanaticism and not make major modifications to what was written by the Expert Commission. It would not be the constitution I dream of, but it is more democratic and better than the current one we have.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party is not budging and has opted for the identity-based and uncompromising path, replicating what has been done by other far-right extremists in the world. In this way it differentiates itself from the traditional right and allows them to portray themselves outside of the institutionality and as something supposedly different.

However, the problem for the Republican Party of Chile is that this is not a presidential election, as happened in countries like Italy, the United States, Brazil and possibly in Argentina with Milei. However, it cannot lead a constituent process of which they have always been against, even proposing conspiratorial ideas about the social revolt of 2019, claiming it was something planned from the left in the country.

They show themselves not in the least interested in writing a constitutional proposal that is based on dialogue and agreements. In that way, they reproduce many of the bad practices of some of the former 2022 Constitutional Convention members, where they fell several times into triumphalism, exacerbated, completely closed in on themselves and disconnected from Chilean society.

That said, reviewing what has been approved and rejected so far by the Constitutional Council, we are headed straight to a constitutional dystopia that will surely be voted down in December. It reveals the dogmatic and fanatical nature of a sector of the country that seeks to polarize and generate divisions among Chileans.

Consequently, aberrations such as the prohibition of associations contrary to morality, the exemption from payment of taxes by religious congregations and individuals; making rodeo a national sport; the protection of unborn life; the transfer from prison to house arrest for former uniformed officers who violated human rights; the increase in the age to be a presidential candidate, and granting any type of property to private individuals.

In the same way, fundamental aspects of these times have been rejected in the different commissions, such as parity between men and women, rights to non-human animals, the recognition of climate change, that every human being is a person, thus denying basic, comprehensive principles by falling into a kind of constitutional electoralism, as if it were a government program of the Republican Party.

As you can see, the extreme right is not willing to compromise on anything, in order to maintain its pure identity and thus differentiate itself from the traditional right. They assume the cost even though it may leave them weaker for the next elections, as it became evident how intransigent they were on the Constitutional Council and their inability to lead a process, shown in their actions in the face of the large majorities.

Given this, if there is something good about this new constituent process, it is the possibility of discrediting the extreme right and for many sectors that have voted for it to see what they really are, since Expecting something positive from the constitutional proposal that will be put to a plebiscite at the end of the year becomes very unlikely, not learning anything from the previous failed constitutional process.

I expect the Expert Commission will improve the far-right constitutional mess, but the population already saw how flawed this new process was, since instead of being something somber, orderly and that would unite Chileans, it ended up being monopolized by a particularly extreme sector. A group that has little or no interest in the future of the country, but rather continues with a particular and fanatical agenda of an economic and religious nature, which will make us close in the worst possible way the most important democratic process that Chile has had in its history.

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