On Sunday October 25th, 2020, the Chilean people voted to rewrite the nation’s constitution. The plebiscite was a landslide victory for change: 78.24% voted for, and 21.76% against. A special convention will be formed with newly elected members, and the rewrite will be submitted to the people in 2022.
Why did Chile vote to rewrite their constitution? According to the New York Times, Chile is being wrecked by crises in both income inequality and a decaying public service system. And these have been the base reasons for unrest in the South American country since October 2019. Chile has many natural resources, but they are being exploited by billionaire capitalists from both within and without, as always happens in a free-market economy.
Chile has been a very stable nation compared to its neighbors for decades. Why? Mainly due to the overthrow of a duly elected Marxist president in 1970.
Socialist Salvador Allende was the first radical-Leftist to be elected president of a Latin American liberal democracy in 1970. And for the usual reasons, fascist military leaders, with much help from the United States government, conducted a coup d’etat that overthrew him. He was then replaced by Gen. Augusto Pinochet and he was a brutal, brutal dictator. The fascist leader committed various human rights abuses during his tenure, including forced disappearances, murder, and torture of political opponents. A government commission report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, Pinochet’s government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973. He reigned for 17 years.
In 1980, ten years before his removal from power, a constitution was written and approved by fair election in Chile by a special government commission. The Chilean people will have been living under that same constitution from 1980 to 2022. It is one of the last relics of a very dark chapter in Latin American history.
With the victory by the people, current Chilean Pres. Pinera stated, from the NYT,
“This plebiscite is not the end; it is the beginning of a path we should all undertake together,” President Sebastián Piñera said in an address from the presidential palace.
“Until now, the Constitution has divided us,” he added. “As of today, we should all cooperate to make the new Constitution become one home for all of us.”
Why do I choose this event for this week’s post? First and foremost, it is wonderful for the Chilean people for they now have a chance to enact some much needed far-Leftist reforms benefitting their entire nation, not just the rich and powerful. Second, it made me contemplate how the American people and our current governmental system is so tied to the U.S. Constitution, and maybe it’s time for a change.
The Constitution of the United States was enacted in 1789, over 225 years ago. And who wrote it? The most bourgeois, of the bourgeois of the 18th century New World. There is no way to express how “elite” these men were with their money, extensive educations, and even with the human beings many owned. Yet they are still consider near gods ruling over the pantheon of American history. The “Founding-Framers (Fathers)” are worshipped by the masses due to centuries of 1% rule.
When you look at who these men were, who do you think they wrote the Constitution for? For themselves and others of their status.
This is painfully obvious when one looks at it the right way. The United States is not built on freedom and equality for all. It is born out of the oppression by a select few who made up all the rules at the conception of the country. They wrote the Constitution so only the white, landowning, males of this nation could vote. It is so obvious. And despite how many amendments have been added to the document, it is still just advances upper-class rule. Those in power twist and contort words and clauses to justify their rule over us men and women below. The rich calling themselves liberal, or progressive, still look to this aged document to justify their superiority over us.
My question is why do we still have our lives in lockstep with the most elitist men in U.S. history? It is written for upper-class rule, not for the benefit of the people. Yet the people look to it as near scripture due to a massive system of coercion. Everything is evaluated beside the Constitution of the United States. So maybe we should break free.
The American people are in no way prepared for far-left ideologies at the moment. So instead of speaking about violent revolutions and “dictatorships of the proletariat,” we should right now frame change into a mere rewrite of the U.S. Constitution. To this day everyone still has a bitter taste in their mouth regarding Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism due to Cold War propaganda. But if we can reframe the progression to a far-Left government through the rewriting of our founding document, it may work sooner. We won’t have to metaphorically burn down everything like the Bolsheviks did. And this is not reformism or liberalism. This nation, for decades, if not centuries, will not be satisfied without a Constitutional democratic government. So let’s just change the Constitution. We can write it as we want with lines concerning the abolition of capitalism and true equality among all peoples.
In conclusion, American society, just like any other, is not bound to the Constitution of the United States through some divine order. Just like Chile, we can rewrite a new binding document. Another social contract. This country worships the Constitution and we look to it to answer every question. So let us think about just abolishing the current Constitution in order to construct and implement one that is written for the many, not they few. The one we have now was written by and for the 1%; not the 99%. Let’s just consider this strategy and maybe we will find a more palatable way into American’s hearts.