Victory over neoliberalism in Chile, and our Taliban allies

Last week the socialists won in Bolivia. Today was Chile's turn.

Chileans voted overwhelmingly to replace their military dictatorship-era constitution in a referendum, the electoral service said on Sunday evening, citing partial results.

Out of the 11% of votes counted so far, a total of 77.27% had approved the option of a fresh charter to replace one drafted in 1980 under the right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Unofficial tallies by local broadcasters suggested the vast majority of voters had also picked a specially-elected body of citizens to draft the new constitution, rather than a mixed body of lawmakers and citizens, news agency Reuters reported.

Center-right President Sebastian Pinera pledged the referendum in a bid to quell mass protests that broke out in 2019 against the country's neoliberal economic policies.
...
Many Chileans see the current constitution as deeply flawed. It lacks fundamental social rights, particularly for Indigenous peoples. It was also created to limit state intervention to a minimum and privatized the social welfare system, said political scientist Gabriel Negretto, a former adviser to the United Nations.

As a result, Chile suffers from poorly funded public education and health systems, high costs of living, appallingly low pensions and high levels of private debt.

In completely unrelated news, it seems that we've been helping the Taliban.

What Frye didn’t know was that U.S. Special Operations forces were preparing to intervene in the fighting in Konar province in eastern Afghanistan — not by attacking both sides, but by using strikes from drones and other aircraft to help the Taliban. “What we’re doing with the strikes against ISIS is helping the Taliban move,” a member of the elite Joint Special Operations Command counterterrorism task force based at Bagram air base explained to me earlier this year, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the assistance was secret. The air power would give them an advantage by keeping the enemy pinned down.

Last fall and winter, as the JSOC task force was conducting the strikes, the Trump administration’s public line was that it was hammering the Taliban “harder than they have ever been hit before,” as the president put it — trying to force the group back to the negotiating table in Doha, Qatar, after President Trump put peace talks there on hold and canceled a secretly planned summit with Taliban leaders at Camp David. Administration officials signaled that they didn’t like or trust the Taliban and that, until it made more concessions, it could expect only blistering bombardment.

In reality, even as its warplanes have struck the Taliban in other parts of Afghanistan, the U.S. military has been quietly helping the Taliban to weaken the Islamic State in its Konar stronghold and keep more of the country from falling into the hands of the group, which — unlike the Taliban — the United States views as an international terrorist organization with aspirations to strike America and Europe. Remarkably, it can do so without needing to communicate with the Taliban, by observing battle conditions and listening in on the group. Two members of the JSOC task force and another defense official described the assistance to me this year in interviews for a book about the war in Konar, all of them speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about it

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mimi's picture

the vast majority of voters had also picked a specially-elected body of citizens to draft the new constitution,

Why not? Does the empire has to collapse completely, before they write a new constitution, like Germans did and had to do after the Third Reich was successfully destroyed?

Allies? What is that?

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@mimi

at this time. This country is a conservative country. Polls show broad support of some left-leaning things, like Medicare For All, but when push comes to shove America's people are a fearful, conservative lot. Moreover, the most outrageously inhumane right-wingers in this country are much more aggressive about pursuing their interests. I have little doubt that a CC would result in an America even further right, and more fascist, than the current incarnation.

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mimi's picture

@BayAreaLefty @BayAreaLefty
and find it as unsatisfying (to be polite) as ever. I could be more direct, but folks told me
1. to think
2. to take a deep breath
3. lie politely and
4. just say nothing.

which I hereby do.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@BayAreaLefty ...but I agree now is an inauspicious time for a new Constitutional Convention, as I fear the Bill of Rights wouldn't survive (let alone be improved); too many people seem to have forgotten the importance of freedom.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@BayAreaLefty
Voters?
That's what happened when Illinois rewrote it's Constitution.

At the least, it would be a big amendment and have to be signed by 3/4 of all the state legislatures.
I doubt if the Right controls that many states. If they did, they would have put forth an amendment to ban abortion.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Roy Blakeley's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness or conventions within 3/4 of states would be required for approval. Given the makeup of state legislatures, a constitutional convention would likely result in a major turn to the right.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@BayAreaLefty

America is a country that has no idea how to deal with power. Especially authoritarian forms of it. Everything from bullies to fascists to outright neo-Nazis. No idea.

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

so thanks for the excerpts.

from Telesur english:

'According to official data by Chile's official electoral body, with 45.24% of the vote counted, 77.85% percent of the voters checked the Approval box, an overwhelming figure in contrast to the 22.15% percent who chose to legitimize the current Constitution, which was supported by a majority of right-wing parties. Chileans also overwhelmingly chose a constitutional convention as the method to create a new constitution.'

in RT.com's ‘WATCH Chileans celebrate as voting signals end of Pinochet-era constitution26 Oct, 2020

‘A new 155-seat citizen body is to be elected to work on a draft for a new constitution. The group will include an equal number of men and women. Also, several places are reserved for the representatives of indigenous communities.’

i looked it up and found that about 10% of the population is indigenous (many tribes), so mr. wd did the math for me: there should at least be 15 indigenous at the constitutional convention.

but what i'd pinged was Chicago Boys economics the underlying reasons for the revolutionary ardor last year and found:

A revolution in Chile sparked by U.S.-style economics. Our billionaires should be very worried | Will Bunch’ October 27, 2019, inquirer.com

What they did over the next three years [aided by kissinger and nixon] -- starting with the CIA-backed assassination of a Chilean general in 1970 -- was one of the bloodiest and most morally unconscionable chapters in the history of U.S. foreign relations. It culminated with history’s original Sept. 11 attack -- a violent American-aided coup on that date in 1973 that led to Allende’s death, the empowerment of military dictator Augusto Pinochet, and a reign of terror in which at least 3,000 and perhaps many more political opponents were murdered or “disappeared,” soccer stadiums became concentration camps for thousands, and many were brutally tortured.

But the warm and fuzzy relationship between Washington and the brutal, authoritarian government of Pinochet, who remained in power into the 1990s, allowed for a lesser-known chapter that’s highly relevant for today’s moment of rising unrest. Here at home, a rising cadre of prominent right-wing economists saw not horror in Pinochet’s dictatorship but an opportunity -- a chance to test their radical free-market ideas without hindrance from pesky left-wing politicians or labor leaders who had almost magically disappeared from the scene in Chile.

The economists who ran Chile’s economy during the Pinochet era were called “the Chicago Boys” because of their close ties to the University of Chicago and its free-market guru Milton Friedman, who famously said he didn’t see the “evil” in simply giving economic advice to a violent right-wing dictator.

now bunch doesn't mention obama and his chicago boys 'make the economy scream' economic advisors, just sadly jumps to liz warren.

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this morning from our local expat daily's BBC reprint.. It's an encouraging event. It looks like an actual democratic process.

With respect to the US doing something like this, no way. Chile is far from a united people but are at least able to agree on "this shit has to stop." The people of the US can't agree on whether the sun will rise in the morning. Writing a constitution requires that people at least have to be able to talk to each other. Those in power now wouldn't let it happen and would never resist ensuring they have the process rigged in their favor. Sadly, I think that conditions in the US need to become much, much worse for us to be willing to come together on anything as important as Coke or Pepsi much less a constitution.

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"But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now..."

El Salvador voted against neoliberalism

El Salvador has been dealing with constitutional crises throughout 2020. In February, authoritarian president Nayib Bukele intimidated and coerced the country’s Legislative Assembly, threatening to dissolve it while invoking emergency law.

Now, in a rejection to Bukele’s power, and the corporate control of land and water, constitutional reform has passed the Legislative Assembly, to establish a fundamental human right to water that guarantees access to a quantity of clean water “sufficient for personal and domestic use.”

Under the reform, the state would have the “obligation to remove whatever barrier, be it fiscal or economic, which impedes access to water—especially for the poor and hysterically marginalized groups.” (All translations by this author.)

The constitutional reform also aims to sustainably preserve water systems and declares water “bien público” or a “public good.”

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