By Andres Kogan Valderrama
HAVANA TIMES – Since the beginning of the TV slot, on August 5th, for the popular referendum that will pass or reject the new Constitution in Chile, the most interesting thing has perhaps been the use of “love” as part of the rejection campaign.
I’m pointing this out, because even though it was expected, the rejection campaign would focus on the Chilean people’s fear, preconceptions, and uncertainty (nourished by fake news and apocalyptic readings), it’s very striking that the first time they have to vote for a constitution, they have adopted the idea of “rejection with love is a new opportunity (1).”
Thus, if you study the video in question, you will see that the opposition are trying to pitch anger against love, to argue that the Constitution has only been built upon anger, and not love, which is quite surprising.
First of all, anger isn’t the opposite of love, nor is desperation, hate or even rancor, like the rejection’s video wants to suggest; indifference is the opposite of love, as it is making the existence of another person invisible or denying it.
Meanwhile, anger the emotion doesn’t deny another person’s existence, like the video wants you to believe, but is in fact a consequence of this denial, of not being seen, which is very important in Chile’s political context right now, after decades of co-existence in a country fractured by different exclusions and violations.
What happened in Chile in 2019 therefore makes a lot of sense from this perspective, as the social uprising was the response to the political, economic and cultural elite’s indifference and scorn, who only saw themselves and hijacked Chile’s democracy.
You just have to remember different statements made by different ministers at the time and even President Sebastian Piñera, just before the social uprising, laughing at those who had been marginalized in society the most, pointing out things like Chile was a real oasis, in comparison to other countries in the region (2).
As a result, saying that “rejection with love is a new opportunity,” doesn’t only not make a lot of sense, is confusing and even an oxymoron, but it is them mocking, yet again, all of those people that have been humiliated, discriminated against and trampled all over throughout History, by the ruling classes who have been totally indifferent to injustice, abuse and inequality.
On the contrary, the new Constitution was built with love, not because anger has never been present, but because it was so much more than this, as it finally seeks a Constitution that will bring us back together as Chileans, making women, indigenous peoples, LGBTIQ+ groups, children and teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, neurodivergents visible and bringing them to the conversation.
The new Constitution also seeks to make us all equal with social rights – such as education, health, social security, housing, care -, leaving inequality, segregation and an individualistic and competitive culture that only benefits a select few, behind.
The same goes for Rights of Nature, which will allow us to place ourselves as living beings like other feeling nonhuman beings, after years of ecocide policies that never thought about our land and common natural assets, but only about business whatever the cost.
In other words, many people will finally be heard and engaged in the conversation and considered in the document itself, after being neglected by a negligent State, that wasn’t fulfilling its key role of taking care of the community, like Humberto Maturana so poignantly pointed out before passing away.
As a matter of fact, following Maturana and the Biology of Love that he was able to develop with Ximena Davila in Matriztica, rejection as an emotion is precisely refusing to see the other person, to hear them and be present, which means they can’t stand sharing and collaborating with somebody they perceive as different.
While indifference is a complete negation of love, rejection also closes doors for a broader conversation, within the framework of mutual respect and acceptance, as I reject something I don’t like and also see as a threat to my own identity, which automatically triggers suspicion and fear.
On the contrary, approving is not only passing a new Constitution, but is also passing a new democratic co-existence in Chile, that brings us together as a society and allows us to build bridges and open doors, precisely from love.