To recover the democratizing sense of the popular

Interview with


    Reception: February 6, 2020

    Acceptance: February 18, 2020

    Cristián Parker is a Chilean sociologist who has worked especially on popular religiosity, educational and other issues, addressing them from a perspective that assumes the heterogeneity of social relations, as well as the areas in which they are built and expressed. In this interview, conducted in Guadalajara while in Santiago and most of the cities of Chile a popular and citizen uprising was taking place (and still occurs) against the inequalities of the neoliberal system, Parker explains the antecedents and characteristics of such a powerful social movement That seems a surprise to many, given the opinions that the global financial organizations referred to the success of the Chilean model. Undoubtedly, this shows that the averages with which the macroeconomic figures are analyzed and presented did not reflect the enormous inequality generated by a systematic chain of abuses that produced boredom, but also the awareness of the margins of dignity that the mobilized Chilean people now demand in the streets to the government and the political class. Both the president and Congress have an average approval rating of 6 and 3 percent in the polls, respectively, and the police are in a deplorable state of legitimacy due to the dramatic, multiple and serious human rights violations recognized and credited in the field by different international organizations. This as context.

    In his research, Dr. Parker has worked in depth on the concept of multiple modernities, and in this interview he characterizes them as conflictive when referring to the social outbreak of October 2019 in Chile. In the same area, he argues that the capitalist accumulation strategy typical of neoliberalism has made "inequalities grow" to a point where "expectations are not satisfied", which generates a crisis of legitimacy of the social order and another of legitimacy of the order. political. The first was caused by "a system of abuse" and inequality, coupled with corporate corruption that was combined with political corruption. The second was encouraged by a class of “professional” politicians and delegitimized parties, detached from the citizenry and incapable of transforming the political system itself.

    Based on a brief historical and sociological sketch published in the Chilean press, entitled "21 theses to understand the oligarchic crisis in Chile and the need for a new social order," we asked Parker about his general vision of the popular uprising and citizen that began in October 2019 ( and-the-need-for-a-new-social-order /? fb_comment_id = 2999637290051983_3004344086247970). The social outbreak and popular demonstrations have forced congressmen and political parties to induce a legislative solution to the crisis, approving a reform to the Pinochet constitution that has led, up to now, to a constituent process that surely (and after a plebiscite of approval or rejection of a new constitutional text) will put an end to the neoliberal regime that was imposed in 1980 by the Constitution born illegitimate during the military dictatorship.

    In general perspective, the sociologist and academic from the University of Santiago de Chile explains that the antecedents of this crisis go back to a process of recomposition of the oligarchic order that took place after the 1973 coup against the popular government of President Salvador Allende, a fundamental question in the subsequent historical process that has as a consequence the current state of affairs. It was during the bloody civic-military dictatorship (1973-1990) that the economic, social and state welfare system that makes up neoliberalism was constitutionally consecrated, in a pioneering way in the world. What analysis is required in this regard from the social sciences? Is a reconfiguration of the people also necessary? Parker encourages "recovering the democratizing sense of the popular", proposing to transform the neoliberal client into a citizen. At present, it is essential, considering the crisis of generalized legitimacy, to ask about the validity of a political solution to the crisis in Chile. Parker argues that politics, as it has been known for the last four decades, must be reconfigured to be a mediator between citizens and political power. New leaderships should appear that take the participation of society as a priority, articulating capacities that build a social and political democracy.

    Finally, and as mentioned in the interview, it is important and a social, political and academic responsibility to condemn the serious and sustained human rights violations that occurred in the months of social outbreak by police officers and the armed forces. Chilean women against unarmed citizens, men and women, boys, girls and adolescents who have been imprisoned, tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered in the context of peaceful demonstrations. The sentences written on the walls of Chilean cities allow us to understand that the current situation in the country is not explained only by the rise in public transport that triggered the outbreak (“it's not thirty pesos, it's thirty years”), but on the contrary, because such a process of systemic pressure generated discontent that caused millions of people to take to the streets demanding that basic rights such as education, pensions or health not be developed under an economic and market logic. Thus, during the spring of October 2019, “Chile woke up”, and it will not sleep “until dignity becomes customary”.


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