Voting has begun in the plenary sessions of the Constitutional Convention to approve different articles for the new Magna Carta, a historic milestone for democracy in Chile. It gives great hope for building a very different state from the one imposed on us from the early 19th century onwards.
The general approval of articles with large majorities (2/3 of the votes is required), as is the case for legal pluralism, parity, and a gender approach in the jurisdictional function and a regional, pluractional and intercultural state, is a true nightmare for Chilean conservatives, however. It also can be seen as the beginning of the end of the Portalianic state, named after Diego Portales.
Although much has been said about the end of the 1980 Pinochet constitution and its imposition of the subsidiary and neoliberal state, the colonial, patriarchal and capitalist bases of the institutional structure were imposed long before, with the so-called Portalianic night in the constitution of 1833.
That is why the approval of these types of articles has to do with the end of a civilizing project of death. This project promoted a monocultural, extractive, presidential and fiercely centralist nation-state, which sought to homogenize all those who lived in the territory through a completely exclusive idea of being Chilean.
Diego Portales, the founder of the authoritarian Chilean state, was perhaps the public figure who has done most damage to democracy by building an institutional framework subordinated to the economic powers of mining and landowners and guarded by the armed forces and the Catholic Church, after the oligarchic civil war of 1829.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that Portales inspired, through the 1833 constitution, both the subsequent ‘pacification’ of Araucanía (conquest of Wallmapu, including genocide) and the War of the Pacific (against Peru and Bolivia for control of saltpeter), which were only the consequence of the formation of a racist, expansionist and anti-democratic state.
This Portalianic state, which despite attempts at reform through the constitutions of 1925 and 1980, only remained and even consolidated into dictatorship; it rested on a foundational charter made by and for a small group of privileged and supposedly enlightened people, who believed they had the right to define the destiny of the country.
For that reason, the results of the Constitutional Convention are so relevant for the future of Chile and could mark a historical break. The idea generates real terror in the conservative sectors that admire Portales and which are represented by the political and economic right-wing.
Seeing how the country they appropriated for centuries is being transformed into something much more democratic irritates them so much that a group of right-wing constituent members has even raised the idea withdrawing from the Convention.
Hence, the right put forward completely delusional ideas about the Convention, accusing it of being a Marxist, indigenist and separatist body, which only seeks division, privilege for indigenous peoples, end equality before the law, and participate in a macabre plan to destroy the country.
It doesn’t matter that liberal countries even right-wingers admire, such as Canada or New Zealand, have legal pluralism, or that Spain and Italy are regional states. For them, the approval of these articles will make us the Venezuela of Maduro.
For those who think they alone have reason, the entire constitutional process has been engineered by an extreme left, with external financing, which has deceived an ignorant, emotional population.
Lastly, this right in ruins has no choice but to victimize itself in the current context, being an ideological minority in the Convention. It keeps repeating the line of Diego Portales, of contempt for politicians, since what they have always wanted is to have a dictator who takes care of their businesses and allows them to continue perpetuating the concentration of power.
Andrés Kogan Valderrama is a sociologist, with a Master in Communication and Contemporary Culture and a Diploma in Education for Sustainable Development. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Latin American Social Studies.