“Most of the polls will say every day, until the last one, that the Rejection wins; that’s what they are paid for. If they instill fear in you, there is nothing left to do but, as in the dictatorship, overcome that fear so as not to live in shame. The truth is played out in the street. The historic moment calls once again on the millions who gave birth to this historic birth, to say once again: I approve”.
Guillermo Scherping (Director of Teaching, Alejandro Lipschutz Science Institute)
According to journalist Claudio Marchant Lastra, the enormous amount of fake news that floods the social networks on a daily basis is destined to maintain the profits of the privileged groups; therefore, progressivism must act now to destroy the uproar of lies and disinformation. This is how this apostle of communications is selflessly collaborating in liquidating this media campaign of terror; among the denials he has spread we find:
-Does the New Constitution (NC) eliminate the Carabineros de Chile? No, the draft includes an article on police, dependent on the ministry in charge of public security, destined to guarantee public security, give efficacy to the law and safeguard fundamental rights.
-Will the Carabineros continue to have control over weapons? Yes. The state monopoly of force is established, stating that “the law shall regulate the use of force and the weapons that may be used in the exercise of the functions of the institutions authorised by this Constitution”, which include the police.
-Can the Armed Forces (Armed Forces) cooperate in disaster situations? Yes, they can within the framework of a state of emergency or disaster. When a state of disaster is declared, both the armed forces and the police will be in charge of the civil authority designated by the President. Therefore, if the designated authority requests the assistance of the armed forces or security forces, they must be called in.
-Will parents be able to choose their children’s education? Yes, the right of parents to choose their children’s education is enshrined, as well as the possibility of participating in the definition of the educational project.
Will grant-aided schools continue to exist? Yes. The state will continue to finance these schools, but there will be some restrictions on profit.
-Will I be able to own my own home? Yes. The NC ensures the right of ownership “in all its species and over all kinds of property”, so housing – current and future – is fully protected.
-Will I be able to have/keep my second home? Yes. Just like the main dwelling, it will be protected by the right of ownership.
-Does the right to private property remain? Yes, the right to property is maintained as a fundamental right. The norm is clear: “Every person, natural or legal, has the right to property in all its species and over all kinds of goods, except those that nature has made common to all persons and those that the Constitution or the law declares inappropriate”.
-When we refer to compensation, what does “fair price” mean? The just price for compensation cases is not an invention of the NC, it is contemplated in Constitutions such as those of France, Portugal and Belgium. Likewise, the American Convention on Human Rights states that “no person may be deprived of his property except upon payment of fair compensation…”. In this sense, what is enshrined in the NC is part of a long constitutional tradition that is reaffirmed at the international level.
-Does the Central Bank (CB) lose its autonomy? No. The CB remains autonomous from the government.
-Will it be possible to reform the New Constitution? Yes, it can be reformed with 4/7 of the Congress of Deputies and the Chamber of Regions, which is a lower quorum than the current one. For some more sensitive issues, 4/7 plus plebiscite or 2/3 will be required.
-Will drug traffickers and terrorists be allowed to run for public office? No. Those who have been convicted of certain crimes, such as crimes against humanity, sexual crimes or corruption, are disqualified from running for office. This has generated debate as it does not include terrorism and drug trafficking as grounds for disqualification, but leaves the law a mandate to determine other grounds for disqualification.
-Is the House of Regions decorative, and was it created only to eliminate the Senate? No. The Chamber of Regions has a role of local representation. The Chamber will act as a jury to settle constitutional accusations, participates in the appointments of the main State authorities together with the President of the Republic, and participates in the shaping of laws as a revising chamber.
Gender and Diversities
-Can a woman have an abortion up to 9 months? No. The NC enshrines the free exercise of sexual and reproductive rights; and establishes that a law will regulate the time limits and possible grounds for abortion. Abortion up to 9 months does not exist, since by definition an abortion is an abortion as long as there is no fetal viability (the probability that a fetus will survive outside the uterus), i.e., up to 22 or 24 weeks of gestation.
-Does this put an end to judicial independence and the irremovability of judges? No, the rule is clear: “Judges are irremovable. They cannot be suspended, transferred or removed except in accordance with the grounds and procedures established by the Constitution and the law.
-Will the judiciary be eliminated? What is known today as the Judiciary is renamed “Justice Systems” in the constitutional proposal. It will have similar powers; it is not eliminated.
-Does the existence of the National Health System mean the end of private health care? Will the isapres cease to exist? No, they will have a complementary role.
-Will we all be in Fonasa? We will all be in the National Health System, whether it is Fonasa or another public body determined by law. And we could complement with extra insurance through isapres.
-Will private clinics be closed? No.
-With the Single Health System, will waiting lines grow? No. Because having a Single Health System means that the available funds will increase, and these will be used to strengthen public health (and the entire network), so queues should not increase.
Will indigenous justice apply to non-indigenous people? No. It is established to constitutionally recognise different practices, but if a person is not indigenous or does not belong to an indigenous community, he/she will naturally be subject to the already known system.
-If there is a person who belongs to an indigenous people and another who does not, will it be necessary to choose which justice system prevails? No. Legal pluralism applies to the resolution of problems in the communities, according to the traditions and worldviews of each people.
-Will indigenous people be exempt from traditional law if they commit a crime? No. Pluralism does not mean judicial separatism.
-We are not going to have one state or one republic or one nation, but we are going to have different nations. False. While it is recognised that within Chile there are several nations, they are framed within a single State and Republic of Chile.
Conservatives are enemies of political change; in social matters they defend the values of the traditional family, the Catholic Church and nationalism; they are convinced that every society needs a hierarchical and unequal order; they govern on the basis of tradition but not through major social and political agreements.
The history of the most rancorous right-wing in Chile reflects a vile course with respect to constitutionalism, especially with regard to the three most famous Magna Carta’s that have governed our republic.
Political Constitution of 1833: fruit of the constituent power of arms. The conservative triumph (estanquero-pelucón) at the battle of Lircay in April 1830 put an end to the civil war against the pipiolos, and inaugurated a long period known as the “portalean regime” or the “State in form”, the initial phase of which was the clearest expression of the unchallenged domination of the aristocracy, especially in Santiago and the central region. This Constitution, inspired and drafted mainly by the ultra-conservative Mariano Egaña, was the direct result of the military victory of the Estanquero-Pelucona regime in the civil war of 1830. Although article 133 of the 1828 Constitution stipulated that it could not be reformed until 1836, the victors of Lircay overruled this provision and, using various ruses, imposed its reform. Shortly afterwards the regime led by the merchant Diego Portales and General José Joaquín Prieto was installed, the Cabildo of Santiago (controlled by the winning side) asked the government to authorise the next National Congress to undertake constitutional reform through a “Great Convention” convened exclusively for that purpose.
The result was the establishment of a veritable aristocratic dictatorship determined to sweep away any obstacle that stood in its way. Many opponents were imprisoned or forced into exile; the army underwent a severe purge of officers suspected of sympathising with the liberals; a network of secret police spies was generalised and strengthened; and a strict press censorship was established that prevented any substantive debate on the constitutional text that was being prepared, except for the exchange of ideas that could take place between supporters of the new regime. Historian Gabriel Salazar sums up some of the aspects of the repressive climate to which the country was subjected at the time of the portalean constitutional process in this way:
“Hundreds of civil servants not addicted to the new regime were exonerated, establishments such as the La Serena Mint, scholarships for students such as those at the Liceo de Chile […], the Medical Society of Chile (established by Blanco Encalada and headed by a Spanish doctor) was closed down, while opposition newspapers were closed down or heavily fined and new bodies of ‘civic guards’ were created”.
The famed Constitution of 1833 was nothing more than a text designed to give legal legitimacy to a regime with dictatorial characteristics resulting from the military victory of the conservative side at Lircay. The new constitutional text was a tailor-made suit for the dominant faction of the aristocracy, which exclusively concentrated power for several decades. Centralism, authoritarianism and elitism were its main features. The vast majority of the population was excluded from active political life by means of censorial suffrage, for example: the right to elect and be elected to representative office was reserved only for married men over 21 or single men over 25 who could read and write and who owned real estate or had capital invested in some kind of business or industry.
This situation caused growing unrest in the intellectual, social and political sectors, which led to new civil wars (1851 and 1859), until 1891, when the oligarchic right-wing allied with British capital to prevent the political, social and economic reforms promoted by President José Manuel Balmaceda. Balmaceda’s defeat gave rise to a “parliamentary” regime, which allowed the right wing to maintain total power and, in this framework, to violently repress the nascent social movement through the massacres of Valparaíso (in 1903), Santiago (in 1905), Antofagasta (in 1906), the Santa María School in Iquique (in 1907), Punta Arenas (in 1920), San Gregorio (in 1921), Marusia and La Coruña (in 1925), just to mention the most violent ones, which meant thousands of workers killed, and accused of using violence for daring to demand shorter working hours, better wages, job and social security, education, etc.
Political Constitution of 1925: in 1924 the young officers of the army declared themselves in rebellion, organised a democratic military assembly, where they abolished the ranks and performed a surgical operation to remove what they called “the political gangrene” that had been infecting the national state for a century, and staged a bloodless coup d’état, shutting down the National Congress afterwards to force it to pass the social laws that had been held up for thirty years. They succeeded in getting President Alessandri to go into self-exile in Italy and called for a free election (Manifesto of 11 September 1924), so that the people could express their sovereign will by dictating a new Constitution. They sought the support of the working class and the popular movement in general, and for the first time in the history of the 20th century a civil-military front emerged to fight for a freely elected and legitimate Constituent Assembly. The situation became complex because the military did not know how to organise such an Assembly, nor did the workers. To carry it out, they ordered Alessandri to return from exile in Italy, finish his term of office and preside over the constituent process by convening and organising a National Constituent Assembly. Alessandri returned and, unfortunately, the revolutionary citizens’ military assembly dissolved itself due to various problems.
Alessandri found himself the arbiter of the situation, and instead of calling for a Constituent Assembly, he handpicked the members of a constituent committee (not an assembly), and with that committee composed of his acquaintances and friends, he ended up dictating the new fundamental Charter at his convenience. Therefore, this Political Code was illegitimate.
Political Constitution of 1980: devised and plebiscited under a regime of terror that kept the country under the control of the military and business leaders who were implementing an extreme neoliberal economic and social project. Citizens lacked the minimum conditions to freely debate and express their ideas and preferences. Thousands of opponents had been killed, imprisoned, tortured or exiled. There was no freedom of the press, no right of assembly or association for opponents; electoral registers had been burned by the military coup leaders; a state of emergency was in force throughout the country and the “political recess” or ban on the functioning of political parties had been in force since the day Allende was ousted.
Although the government authorised an opposition rally led by former President Frei Montalva (who, after supporting the coup, had joined the opposition), other demonstrations against the regime were banned and the pro-government forces used all the resources they had at their disposal, including their total control of the state apparatus and extensive control of the media, to campaign for the approval (the “Yes” vote) of the new Constitution. It was this Political Code that implemented subsidiarity, privatisation and the pillars of radical and extreme neoliberalism.
According to historian Sergio Grez, “All constitutional texts have been drafted and approved by small minorities, in contexts of restricted citizenship (as happened with some variants in the 19th century) or as a result of impositions by armed force (as happened during that same century and invariably in the 20th century). The three main charters (1833, 1925 and 1980) had as midwives the armed forces which, acting as “guarantors” of the state and social order, used their rifles and cannons to tip the balance in favour of certain constitutional solutions promoted by socially and politically minority factions. The moments of re-founding the state and political society in Chile have always had this same trait. Even certain historical junctures in which there was no constituent process but a mere constitutional reinterpretation – such as the parliamentary reading of the presidentialist Constitution of 1833 from 1891 onwards – were also the fruit of the “critique of arms”. Historical evidence shows that Chilean Constitutions have emerged from military imposition and manoeuvres, generally combined with the use of armed force, by the hegemonic groups of the ruling classes and the political class (civilian and military). With the exception of a few aborted attempts, such as the “small constituent assembly” of 1925, the citizenry has almost always been a spectator or a secondary actor who, at most, has been called upon at the last minute by the groups in power to support or plebiscite stealthily prepared constitutional projects, but never to participate actively in their generation”.
In synthesis, we are referring to the same oligarchic right wing that in 1811 overthrew José Miguel Carrera, whose government had officially declared Independence, passed the First Constitutional Act and abolished slavery through the Law of Freedom of the Womb. The same right wing that in 1823, at the beginning of the government of Ramón Freire, when there were still more than 20,000 slaves in Chile, demanded compensation for them due to the enactment of the law abolishing slavery. The same right wing that in 1891 could not tolerate the social advances of Balmaceda’s extraordinarily progressive government and corrupted the loyalty of the Navy, leading us into a Civil War where approximately 5,000 compatriots lost their lives.
Finally, can the hordes of the Rechazo offer a progressive and solid work of development? Creole conservatism from the 19th century to the present day has opposed the civil registration of births and deaths, secular cemeteries, the first civil marriage law, the end of book censorship advocated by Andrés Bello in the mid-19th century, women’s suffrage, contraception, family planning, therapeutic abortion, the first organ transplants, the equality of children born in the United States, and the first organ transplants, the equality of children born in and out of wedlock, the abolition of film censorship imposed by the 1980 Constitution, the promotion and use of condoms, the free distribution of emergency contraceptives to low-income women, active euthanasia, civil unions, same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by homosexual couples… Remove them yourself in the run-up to the 4 September plebiscite¡Prohibido olvidar! and Approve!