1683988230 Family and homeland or fear of authoritarianism This is how

“Family and homeland” or fear of authoritarianism: This is how Chilean love and rejection of José Antonio Kast work

Candidates Gabriel Boric and José Antonio Kast in December 2021, during the last presidential debate.Candidates Gabriel Boric and José Antonio Kast in December 2021, during the last presidential debate. POOL (Portal)

“When I look at Don José Antonio Kast during his election campaign and see how he treats his wife, how he treats his children, how they treat each other as a family, you recognize me (…) I want all Chilean families to be equal “The guys in this game don’t have filters, they don’t have parameters, they throw, they attack. Like Pinochet. They’re two sides of the same coin: completely opposite ideas about how former Republican Party presidential candidate José Antonio Kast , and his group, which rose to become Chile’s main political force last weekend, both statements were collected as part of the qualitative study “Support and opposition to the extreme right in Chile” published in January by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation of the German Social Democratic Party led by political scientist Cristóbal Rovira.

The aim of the study is to examine the positions of love and hate put forward by the leader of the Republican Party, the victorious force of last Sunday’s Chilean election day, where he received more than 35% of the valid votes cast and 23 of the 51st Councilors received Who will write the proposal for Chile’s new constitution?

The results show that Kastists are a homogeneous group dominated by the concepts of “family, homeland, and security,” while anti-Kasts are a diverse group who view the Republican leader and his entourage as “extreme, authoritarian, conservative” and privileged.

The study is based on surveys conducted by the applied research firm Datavoz at three points in time between 2021 and 2022, before and after the September referendum in which the first constitutional proposal was ultimately rejected by 62%. The aim of the polls was to profile those who support or oppose the extreme right in Chile, which Rovira sees as representing the Republican Party. “I always say that José Antonio Kast differs in style from other far-right leaders in the world, but in terms of party organization, the Republican Party has similar characteristics to the Front National in France and Vox in Spain,” Rovira explained.

Based on the results of these polls, Rovira believes that it is incorrect to speak of bipolarity or a pendulum of voting preferences in Chile. He explains that there hasn’t been a disproportionate increase in the Republican leader’s supporters when looking at the results of the fieldwork in the three time points: Between October and September 2021, it shows 18.42% citizen support and 50.63% disapproval. ; in July-August 2021 18.1% support and 59.49% rejection; and then, between October and November 2022, 19.86% of the opinions for and 55.45% against.

Rovira states that when looking at the percentage of Republican votes in the last election based on the total number of voters, including zero and blank votes (18.2%), Kast’s party accounted for 23%. This is an increase of five points compared to the surveys conducted. “This shows that the opposition rates for the Kast project are high and persist over time.” While it’s true that the last election has gone up, it’s interesting that the approval rate is around 20% and that hasn’t changed , it has been this high for some time now,” says the researcher.

The polls also show how support and rejection of President Gabriel Boric is developing. While they stood at 24.62% and 40.96% respectively in 2021, the president had 27.86% support and 43.63% opposition in the first poll of 2022 before the referendum, while his sympathizers were up after the referendum 24.14% and his disapproval increased to 48.15%. “This shows that anti-Borian growth would explain the broad support for the conventional right (which received 21.7% of the vote in the last election) and ultra in last Sunday’s election,” says Rovira.

The Republican “Tribe” and Anti-Kast Fears

The polls conducted among the pro- and anti-Kast groups prompted Rovira, who has been studying the world’s extreme right for years, to want to explore the motivations of these groups and their common characteristics through a series of discussion groups.

Work began in late September 2022, following Chile’s referendum, and lasted five weeks until October last year. Based on a sample targeting age, gender, socioeconomic and geographic representativeness, 14 focus groups were held, each with seven to nine participants, and filtered for people who had a high level of agreement with the character of José Antonio. Kast and others who, on the contrary, did not agree at all with his ideas. The groups were divided into seven groups under the nomenclature Love Kast and another seven Hate Kast.

None of the participants in these groups knew what they were up to or what those around them were thinking. That is, says Rovira, one of the most interesting observations of the study. To the extent that Kast’s sympathizers recognized themselves as part of the same political thought, they reinforced their positions and a sort of “tribe” emerged. “It was difficult for the moderator to get them out, they wanted to keep talking, they left their phones, they said, ‘See you.'” You can tell there’s a very strong ideological glue that binds them together. It’s an interesting component that shows you the passion it generates,” explains the researcher.

The ratio was different in the other groups. “Once everyone relaxes because they realize they’re against Kast, the group quickly starts to get tense because they have very different perspectives on reality,” says Rovira. Within this group three currents were identified: the ‘progressives’, the ‘I’m from the right…but’ and the ‘I don’t want to go back to the past’.

Among the Amor a Kast, family, order, home and security were the dominant concepts. Regarding the figure of Pinochet, the reactions were ambivalent. Mentioning it with caution is due to human rights abuses, but they also recognize a desire for the order his regime has created. “I wasn’t a Pinochetista, but I’m grateful to the military government because we raised the country. There were many poor people. “We were poor, as children we were poor, big and poor families,” reads one of the comments.

Of Kast’s qualities, two are valued most: his consistency and sincerity, two of the traits most critical of the traditional right.

In the heterogeneity of “I hate Kast” two common ideas were observed. The importance of defending the democratic system from the risks posed by the most radical groups and the “minimal achievements of civilization” understood in terms of gender equality politics and respect for sexual diversity.

In the progressive current, which tends to be center-left and made up mostly of young people or young adults, the violence that a republican government could provoke seems to be one of the fears. Regarding the Mapuche conflict, which has become more and more complex in the south of the country over the years, one of the participants emphasizes: “What I understood was that he pointed to the way of violence to solve the problem”. In other words, the Idea of ​​solving the Mapuche conflict by force, like: “Oh, not anymore, let’s fill up the military there, let’s solve everything by force of arms.”

For those who self-identified as “I’m of the right…but,” and composed of people over the age of 45 from all socioeconomic backgrounds, their argument is that they felt belittled by the Republican leader, albeit as women or as women LGBTQI population. “By what right does he interfere in the love life or interpersonal relationships of anyone? It is my decision! It doesn’t have to interfere with my decision,” said one of those participants.

While among the ‘I don’t want to go back’, which is overwhelmingly made up of people over 45, the dominant discourse is fear of reliving what they experienced under the dictatorship: ‘He’s not even able to judge.” The people who did these things! violations! There is not much to build on that basis.”