1684069589 Allende and Pinochet in todays Chile so far so close

Allende and Pinochet in today’s Chile: so far, so close

Allende and Pinochet in todays Chile so far so close

From the outside, it may seem profoundly ironic that 50 years after the 1973 coup, a political group sympathetic to Pinochet’s legacy is winning the elections to the Constitutional Council. It’s a victory won largely as an act of protest against a president who has more than sympathy for Allende and his legacy.

But the image of the Allende children being besieged by the Pinochet children 50 years after the coup is just that, just an optical effect. More specifically, neither President Gabriel Boric Salvador Allende nor José Antonio Kast, the undisputed leader of the Republican party that won the election, is Augusto Pinochet. They are not, not only because their characters are very different from those of the historical figures they claim, but also because the political project of these historical figures remains only that: the shadow of a name, the image of a possibility that is not only there was no more, but apparently never will be.

Like Salvador Allende, Gabriel Boric is a perfectly polite, educated, and flirtatious upper-middle-class provincial. Before becoming president, he was a parliamentarian and student leader. He is a politician of literature and not of personalities, who waves the flag of his convictions whenever he can, but in the end he has filled his government with personalities of the 30 years, that is, the Concertación, against which he opposed in his first years (early years, which, given his youth, encompass most of his life). Like Allende, Boric then defends the idea of ​​carrying out reforms, some of which are radical, without leaving the framework of liberal democracy. Though Boric, like Allende, left the spirit of sea change emerging at the last convention and his project for a new constitution, largely incoherent and unimaginable, separating him from an electorate that Republicans had only regained last Sunday.

Like Allende, Gabriel Boric then lives at odds with an instinctive pragmatism, a personal tendency to listen and pay attention without dismissing all the enlightenments of his coalition’s most feverish militants and the awakened events they learned in their respective postgraduate courses in England. the United States, the United States, or even worse, Canada. But it is precisely the tenor of the revolution that these graduate students dream of, the fundamental difference between Allende and Boric. Wokism hates the third way like the plague, but it inherited from it the idea that class struggle as the engine of history must be overcome. For this reason, the new left travels from university to Congress to eventually end up on television, spending as little time as possible in unions, neighborhood councils, or non-racial resident movements.

National Unity (1970-1973) was a cultural movement, an intellectual boom in many ways, but also and above all a popular movement. It was May 1968, which also had something of October 1917 about it. The latter made him ineligible for the middle and upper classes of the time: the notion that the changes they were proposing not only resembled those proposed by the 2022 New Constitution project— intellectual vacillations, but were accompanied by brown faces and calloused hands. That this consisted not only in spreading the plurinational word everywhere and replacing the judiciary with a judicial system, but also in expropriating factories and stock exchanges and placing them in the hands of their peasants and workers.

Popular unity’s mistake was similar to that of the last Congress, when it offered a revolution it had neither the democratic nor the military power to impose on those who doubted or opposed it. But the UP revolution brought about a real change in class relations, so care was taken to preserve the symbols: the flag, the constitution, the anthem, O’Higgins, Portales and all the statues in the plazas. The new left, on the other hand, has no real or realistic proposals for economic or social change, but it does have a lot to say about the statues and their place in the city.

Boric is not Allende and for this reason José Antonio Kast is not Pinochet either. The idea of ​​calling someone out of their barracks doesn’t feature in even the most fevered Republican ideas. Conspiratorial, ultramontane, more than slightly xenophobic, both libertarian and conservative, you could say anything but authoritarian about them. Like the new left, they have so far, without joking, clung to the customs and customs of representative democracy. It’s the left that thinks censorship is sane and the right that uses social networks with devilish freshness.

Kast and his people have understood that the revolution they are fighting against is primarily symbolic, i.e. cultural. Incidentally, economically they dream of a minimal state, which they know is impossible in today’s Chile. As impossible as a state planned for the left. The horizon of possibility is in many respects the same, allowing for insults, often macabre jokes, the tone of a permanent civil war, very pleasant when you don’t have the odd non-verbal weapon firing.

Thus, the 50 years that separate us from the military coup remind us of two happy and sad things at the same time: that popular unity or any other profound project of social, economic and cultural transformation in its greatest form is impossible in Chile today. But it is also impossible for a military coup to nullify this unlikely but necessary social change with violence and at great cost in blood and fear.

Rafael Gumucio is a Chilean writer