Celebrations as Chile votes by huge majority to scrap Pinochet-era constitution - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15130405
I'll be the first to say that I wouldn't recognize a constitution that was written and imposed by a military dictatorship and I understand why people would be pissed off about it. Plus, I'm not in favor of a document that would enshrine neoliberalism of all things into law, and I definitely doubt that the Pinochet era plebiscite for that document was fair. Chile is not the only country that needs a new constitution either; I think mine does too.
#15130421
B0ycey wrote:Didn't Pinera say this might take some time? In any case nothing changes and if nothing is agreed this will remain the case and you maintain the status quo (which is what you want). Or a deal can be made and a compromise is reached (which is what you fear can't occur). Either way you win right?


I don't necessarily want the status quo, but I don't think the problems (at least the economic ones) are really Constitutional in nature. Much of the debate here is symbolic, and indeed when it comes to concrete proposals, I've seen little of these. Hopefully we'll see some more, if so, I'll actually make the arrangements to vote in Chile.

But it doesn't matter, there is no going back. Let's say the proposed Constitution is rejected in a couple of years. OK, then what happens?

I think even a shitty Constitution would be passed if only because people will want to end the process and start a new stage, come what it may.

Pants-of-dog wrote:Since existing lawmakers are not going to be part of the process of writing a new constitution, no deals need to be made with them.


The electoral system is the same as for the Lower Chamber. That means political parties will play a key role by design.
#15130469
In Stunning Display of Popular Will, Protests in Bolivia to Chile Force Public Reckoning of “Chicago Boy” Economics
Like in Bolivia, the strength of public opinion in Chile was so immense that the government, led by Chile’s richest man Sebastian Piñera, immediately conceded.

With almost all votes counted, the people of Chile have overwhelmingly chosen to discard their old constitution, written and implemented under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. 78 percent of Chileans voted “Sí” yesterday for a new constitution, paving the way for a new era in the country’s history and a possible break from the structures enshrined by the fascist dictator.

Thousands of jubilant citizens packed into Santiago’s city center, especially Plaza Baquedano (now commonly known as Plaza Dignidad (Dignity Square) in honor of those protesters killed there last year). The word “rebirth” was projected onto tall buildings around the city center.



The 1980 constitution was largely written by Pinochet advisor Jaime Guzmán and enshrined into law the neoliberal ideas of American economist Milton Friedman and his team of “Chicago Boy” economists who dictated the country’s economic policy for decades, leading to a volatile society and rapidly increasing wealth inequality.

The Chilean people also selected the more radical option for their new constitution, with 79 percent opting for a constitutional convention where citizens themselves will be elected to write the document rather than leaving it to a panel of expert lawmakers.



“Yesterday Bolivia, today Chile, tomorrow Ecuador”
The historic vote comes just days after another overwhelming progressive electoral victory in Bolivia, where citizens rejected the conservative Añez administration, who came to power in November in a U.S.-backed military coup. Instead, voters handed the Movement to Socialism Party an enormous mandate to reverse Añez’s attempts to privatize the economy and return it to the socialist path pursued by President Evo Morales (2006-2019).

“Yesterday Bolivia, today Chile, tomorrow Ecuador. It’s possible for popular movements to win. Latin America has shown that numerous times in the past 20 years,” remarked Ollie Vargas, who covered the events in Bolivia for MintPress. Ecuador is currently engulfed in nationwide protests against the neoliberal government of Lenín Moreno, who came to power promising to continue the progressive, anti-imperialist policies of Rafael Correa, but instead lurched his country to the right and towards Washington, D.C. once more.

Like in Bolivia, the strength of public opinion was so immense that the government, led by Chile’s richest man Sebastian Piñera, immediately conceded. “Until now, the constitution has divided us,” he said, adding that the vote marked, “the beginning of a path that we must all walk together.” “From today we must all work together so that the new constitution is the great framework of unity, stability and the future.”

A year of struggle
While Piñera might sound magnanimous today, he was forced into accepting a new constitutional referendum by over a year of continuous and widespread popular struggle. Millions of Chileans protested his rule, with his crackdown leading to 36 deaths, more than 11,000 people wounded, and over 28,000 arrested — enormous figures considering Chile’s relatively small population.

The spark for the nationwide revolt was a 30-peso increase to the Santiago subway fare, but it quickly escalated into a general protest about the direction Piñera was taking the country, continuing with the discredited neoliberal model that has been in place since the days of Pinochet. As the popular slogan went, “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years.”

The long shadow of fascism
While popular protests pushed Pinochet to officially step down as president in 1990, he did so from a position of power, continuing as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces for another eight years. His handpicked officials in the military, police, courts, civil service, and other influential positions were not removed, nor were the laws or the constitution he implemented. As a result, Chilean society is still marred by the dictatorship, with those at the top of society inordinately Pinochet loyalists.

Piñera, a conservative billionaire business tycoon, has often, consciously or unconsciously, imitated Pinochet. When the protests first broke out, he sent tanks into the streets to crush them, declaring “We are at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing nor anyone,” echoing Pinochet’s infamous catchphrase.

A new hope?
The progressive victories in Bolivia and Chile have raised the possibility of the dawn of a better era in Latin America. By 2011, the vast majority of South Americans were living under avowedly leftist administrations, all of whom were overtly hostile to aggression and imperialism. Yet throughout the 2010s, many lost power, sometimes in part due to the continent-wide economic decline, other times (such as in Brazil in 2016 or Bolivia last year) thanks to U.S.-supported coups.

Sunday’s referendum is the beginning of a process that will draft a new constitution scheduled to be presented to the people for a popular vote in mid-2022. In the meantime, Chile remains one of the world’s most unequal countries, and public dissatisfaction with life remains high. However, in a year with such bad news, the weekend’s events in Chile undeniably represent a positive step forward for all those who value democracy and the will of the people.
https://www.mintpressnews.com/protests- ... sm/272271/
#15130501
Pants-of-dog wrote:If the delegates to the convention reflect the same voting patterns as the referendum, the Pinochetistas will not like it.

Because no deals will have to be made.


Do you really think that the country that elected Piñera just 3 years ago will suddenly give Frente Amplio or parties further to the left 80% of the vote? :lol:
#15130502
The results are interesting because they show what percentage of the population are unhappy with the current state of health care, education, and to a lesser degree, women’s rights and indigenous rights.

I totally understand why the elite will try to capture the convention process to try and stop all radical changes. After all, they are the 21% that are profiting from the lack of available healthcare, education, and rights for women and indigenous people.
#15130515
Pants-of-dog wrote:The results are interesting because they show what percentage of the population are unhappy with the current state of health care, education, and to a lesser degree, women’s rights and indigenous rights.

I totally understand why the elite will try to capture the convention process to try and stop all radical changes. After all, they are the 21% that are profiting from the lack of available healthcare, education, and rights for women and indigenous people.


Just because someone is unhappy with the state of affairs, it doesn't mean they'll automatically vote for the far-left in April. Even more so when around half of the right called their voters to vote for the change of the Constitution, hoping to ride on the victory wave (they obviously won't, people are not stupid - people who wouldn't vote for them, ever, won't do it just because they changed their tune now).

Let's see how many of their previous supporters vote for their representatives to the Convention. I think many will, if they move to the left they'll vote Christian Democrat I think, and that seems unlikely. Of course this won't give them the power to shove anything on anyone's throats, but it should be enough to also block others from doing the same to them.
#15130653
Rugoz wrote:Here's a question: Is the current constitution an actual hindrance to certain left-wing economic policies with majority appeal or does it have other defects with practical consequences? I wonder if this convention is just symbolism.


The current constitution does pose an actual hindrance to certain left-wing economic policies with majority appeal, such as public healthcare and subsidised education. This is a legacy of the neoliberal economists like Friedman who worked with the dictatorship to use Chile as en experiment in radical free market initiatives.

Most of the current unrest is tied to the inequality created or exacerbated by these neoliberal policies.

The constitution also has other defects with practical consequences, most notably in terms of not supporting women and gender minorities, or acknowledging indigenous rights. For example, anti-terrorist laws passed by Pinochet have been used to suppress indigenous dissent to Chilean laws.
#15130665
Rugoz wrote:Here's a question: Is the current constitution an actual hindrance to certain left-wing economic policies with majority appeal or does it have other defects with practical consequences? I wonder if this convention is just symbolism.


I don't think so, there is jurisprudence on this matter. @Pants-of-dog and others love to claim the opposite, but there are rulings stating there is a Constitutional obligation for the Government to e.g. offer a public healthcare system. Free education until high school is actually explicitly mandated by the current Constitution.

Other things the left wants are in fact blocked by the Constitution as it currently is. For instance, the current Constitution explicitly protects the right to life of the unborn.

Here's what the Chilean Constitution says about subsidized education:

Chilean Constitution, Constitute Project (text by 2015) wrote:10. The right to education.
Education is directed to the full development of the individual at the
different stages of his life

Parents have the preferential right and duty to educate their children. The
State shall provide special protection for the exercise of this right

It is mandatory for the State to promote preschool education, for which it
will finance a free system starting from the middle-lower education level,
intended to ensure the access to it and to its higher levels. The second level
of transition is mandatory, being a requirement for admission to primary
education.

Primary and secondary education are mandatory. For this purpose, the
State must finance a free system, aimed at ensuring access to it to all the
population. In the case of secondary education, this system, in accordance
with the law, will be extended until the age of 21.

It will also correspond to the State to encourage the development of
education at all levels, encourage scientific and technological research,
artistic creation and the protection and enhancement of the cultural
heritage of the Nation.

It is the duty of the community to contribute to the development and
improvement of education;


There is no mention about tertiary education, but it is also partially subsidized for most students since 2016 (I emphasize most here as a way to distinguish it from scholarships or credits).
#15130667
Please ignore @wat0n when he claims to know what I advocate, as he is often incorrect.

The main impetus for this referendum started with widespread dissatisfaction at transit fares, but quickly grew because of the high cost of living for most Chileans, caused by the private parts of the educational system and healthcare system.

The top 1% of Chilean society own about ten times as much wealth as the bottom 50%, to give you an idea.
#15130674
Pants-of-dog wrote:The main impetus for this referendum started with widespread dissatisfaction at transit fares, but quickly grew because of the high cost of living for most Chileans, caused by the private parts of the educational system and healthcare system.


Actually that's driven more than rent than even education or healthcare - something you quite obviously have no experience with, since you live in Canada and have no need to search for a place to rent in Santiago. I know this first hand, since I'm in the age bracket where rent is a problem, and even having a degree doesn't guarantee you will be able to actually start your own life. While this happens in several developed countries, this is new in Chile and it's not what those of us who started university back in the 2000s, and paid for it, expected. While this of course affects the middle classes more the truth is that even upper middle class Chileans are having trouble to leave their nest without any parental help. My solution was to seek a degree abroad and, well, it turns out I have an easier time affording things here than there.

But regardless, it is indeed true that the cost of living (relative to earnings) has gone up. And it is also objectively true this has been particularly bad for millennials.

Another major issue has to do with the pension system, particularly for pensioners but millennials obviously get to see what can happen to you when you grow old.

As for inequality, it's high as usual and (interestingly, actually) at levels around the historical average (and has been decreasing a bit these last few years, but nothing significant). Inequality alone doesn't explain this given its roughly average levels. I think the above + broader ideological trends in the West (American style identity politics) are a better explanation.

PS: Oh, and lest I forget - this is something we are both missing but it's a major factor too - the political parties, the Church and several government institutions were completely delegitimized by a string of corruption cases where punishment was not duly granted. For instance, there was a major case of a mix between bribes and tax evasion scheme (corporations would bribe politicians and pass it as expenses, thus evading taxes) where the majority of politicians came out scots free as the Chilean IRS decided not to prosecute back in 2015. The IRS head is named by the President.

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