Stop criticising the Constitutional Convention and the government, which is just beginning, many say, and they may be right.

By Margarita Labarca Goddard

Remember that when Michelle Bachelet was president of this country, she said that for the good of Chile, it is necessary for everyone to “be convinced and push together”.

And very similar phrases, but with identical consequences, are the following phrases that are often said: “This is a government for everyone”, or “Progress will require broad agreements”, or “Cross-cutting agreement against violence”.

I find these statements sensational, because if everyone had understood this way of doing politics much earlier, there would have been no wars or revolutions. Napoleon would have said to Wellington, “Convince yourself and let’s push together”, and history would have changed. In short, the examples could be endless: if Robespierre had said to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette “Convince yourselves and let us push together”, there would be no French revolution or its example to the world.

In any case, it is worth noting that this beatific vision of politics has not worked very well in Chile. The milicos and the pacos rather push the boot against the prisoner’s body or shoot him in the eyes, or quietly allow Chilean and foreign criminals from the Meiggs neighbourhood to shoot journalists, which is undoubtedly very effective for the attackers.

The problem is to know which way to push, as the great Sun Tzu said in “The Art of War”. And here there are three basic possibilities, although each has its derivations, but we will not deal with the latter because no one reads long articles, as Sun Tzu would have said if he were alive today.

The first possibility is, as has been the case so far, to push to the right. In that case the country will roll like a train on well-oiled rails, without any jolts or jolts. Whether a cliff awaits it at the end of the road – which is very close – is not something that should worry us; after all, life has to be lived day by day, as a young president and the Reader’s Digest have said.

Another possibility is that some push to the right and others to the left, in which case the country is paralysed. In the middle of the road, so to speak. But such paralysis is very misleading and dangerous, as Perogrullo, who is unfairly despised by many, used to say. Because hunger is cumulative, discontent is cumulative, anger is cumulative. They accumulate little by little without anyone noticing, however much they may afterwards say “I saw it coming”, but it’s not true. And suddenly boom! everything explodes, so that the train loses its balance, chaos ensues and the country ends up in an unknown place, unless the pandemic saves it.

The last possibility is to push to the left. That’s impossible! many will exclaim. But they are wrong – with all due respect, of course. It is not a question of “all of us” pushing to the left, but of “the left” pushing to the left. That is too much to ask, you will say, because when in recent years has the left in Chile ever pushed for the left? Just look at the socialists who in the CC are pushing for the right, because they do not dare to nationalise copper, although Pinochet and Lagos had left it in the current Constitution, but it is not applied… Maybe, but in reality, this is of no real importance.

Because the people will continue to push on their side, on the side of their legitimate interests, which are also those of the country and of Latin America as a whole. You can call it the left or whatever you want, the names don’t matter. That process can be led by anyone, but they will be honest, patriotic and courageous people. But it will not be led by the left that pushes to the right, because that “left”, even if it is new and has a new president, will be swept away. Sun Tzu, Reader’s Digest and Perogrullo agree on that!