The trench of political democracy

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By TARSUS GENUS*

Gabriel Boric faces the first major political and state management crisis, from the left, in South America

The angel of history in Paul Klee's painting, quoted by Walter Benjamin, looks to the past and sees destruction and wars, but in the future he sees dazzling progress and hope. President Gabriel Boric's address in Santiago is almost a metaphor for his political situation in Chile: orphanhood, freedom and hope. Gabriel Boric resides on the street Orphanslocated between the streets Libertad e Hope.

Orphan abandoned by half of the voters who took him to Palace of La Moneda with 56% of the votes; Freedom, for being a liberation candidate from the fascist moorings of the power of Augusto Pinochet, to open the “Hope” in a new Chile, in which the desires of each and everyone come true far beyond the visible possibilities posed by the real world. It is the democratic utopia of a new Chile, the desires of all and far beyond what the history of a country that emerged from fascism would allow them, when it had not yet occurred – all the settling of its accounts with the past.

President Gabriel Boric today faces the first major political and state management crisis, from the left, in South America. After the systemic crisis of the leftist parties that occurred on a global scale, Gabriel Boric alone was the ball of the hour here in South America, where the defeats that had already occurred in different electoral processes around the world, were dumped against the insurgent Chilean youth.

All over the world, the traditional left either handed over the rings so as not to lose their fingers, or handed over power with humiliation. The “reformed” social democratic and communist parties were targeted – on the one hand – by the universal emergence of the extreme right on the international stage (without being prepared to face the new forms of struggle for power) and – on the other hand – because, surprised by the new forms of political domination and reproduction of capital on monetized platforms, were forced to reconcile and lose their political authenticity.

On a world scale, “money markets” and new technological means, which annihilated the common way of life in the world of work in the last century, reign supreme in politics and adapt, to a greater extent, parties, leaders and movements to their strategic needs. . The trench of political democracy, the defense of human rights and fundamental rights, however, still allow us to recover the utopian energies stored in the revolutions of the last century. And this is how it is resisted, with some success, in South America, predominantly in Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay, under the sign of the social Constitutions, which came after Weimar, as well as the proclamation of the era of freedoms configured in the revolutionary announcement that all “Born equal in rights”.

The devotions of the Enlightenment and the promises of the Revolutions falter and in their place arise the demands of a sea of ​​libertarian fragments, which only reveal that there is an enormous will to revolutionize modern politics, but without a project for society and without a project for a nation. Mere revolt, without a project capable of being the majority and without the capacity to create new ruling elites committed to emancipation, either ends up in failure, or goes into the void: which is the same thing. The victory of the popular and libertarian camp in Chile was a great initial achievement and President Gabriel Boric is a great political leader, but at this moment without an electoral support field and without the capacity to govern with hegemony, since he lacks a social and political project of unification of a national majority to face fascism. Gabriel Boric can still recover if he understands that he needs to reinvent himself.

In fact, the fragmented political structures of the emancipatory and democratic field will not be alternatives of democratic power if they do not count, to formulate their project of a new left, with ideas aimed at the government and not only at the hard and happy anarchy of protest, if they do not absorb something fundamental about democratic struggles, revolutionary struggles, corporate struggles, concerted efforts and advances, which comes from the history of the left in the XNUMXth century. This, due to the simple fact that their organizational emptiness and their inability to unify a majority field beyond street mobilizations, attests to them – vis-à-vis their own base – as incapable of exercising power in democracy.

After the 2021 election – the result was proclaimed – Gabriel Boric took office in March 2022. It was supposed that he would form a democratic coalition government there to draw from that brilliant victory the application of a program of social and national cohesion – affirmation of human rights and popular sovereignty – to face Pinochet's assault on power, this time through the ballot box.

This did not happen: the “angel of history” incarnated in him only looked at the miserable past that he wanted to demolish, but was unable to open his eyes to a future capable of bringing the nation together. The new Constituent Assembly is formed, as of the last elections for that decision-making college, by a conservative majority and a strong parliamentary base of the extreme right that will outline the near future of the country.

The new Constitution of 388 articles – a patchwork of social and identity struggles coming from the Assembly convened under pressure from social movements during the presidency of Sebastian Piñera – was rejected in September 2022, disapproved by almost 70% of Chilean voters. The fragments that elected a majority to write the new constitutional text did not meet again in parliamentary political action and the “old left” did not have the capacity and organization, not only to intervene in the government of Gabriel Boric in an orderly and collaborative manner, but also lacked the strength enough to influence the writing of a democratic Constitution, capable of sheltering the social and identity fragments in a nation project.

What is asked is whether there is still the possibility of composing a broad social and political alliance, of classes and fragments, to block fascism and expand political democracy. Only one person can lead this process, which requires a lot of daring, sincerity and independence of spirit: it is the young President Gabriel Boric who will be able to demonstrate, in this way, that democracy has a future in Chile and South America, if he is convinced or convinced. It is known that scattered fragments not only do not form a whole, but do not cross the streets of hope cheerfully and seriously.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts).


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