The strength of the extreme right

The strength of the right-wing candidate in Chile is scary. José Antonio Kast: after surprising by winning the first round of the presidential elections, he is head to head in the final stretch for the presidency. What factors make a candidate of the extreme right so strong, in a country with a tradition of institutional continuity since the restoration of democracy? Since 1990, at the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, there was political stability, with moderate governments in the coalition between the PS and the DC.

Two years ago there were the largest popular mobilizations in a long time, initially protected by students, but later generalized throughout the country. That they achieved the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, with equal representation between men and women, specific representation of the Mapuche, and that they elected a Mapuche leader as president. The country elected the constituent delegates, with a predominance of progressive representation, which makes the first decisions of the Constituent Assembly democratic.

But the case of Chile is not unique. Support for Bolsonaro in Brazil is impressive, given the wear and tear of his government and his leadership, he still stands at close to twenty percent, far behind Lula, but well above other candidates. In Argentina, a candidate from the extreme right occupied a space for the first time in the presidential race and managed to elect parliamentarians. In other countries, far-right leaders are emerging, still incipient in their strength, but no one denies that they have growth potential.

Where does this horde come from? What is your platform? What proposals have the most impact on public opinion? Are your proposals common?

Certainly, there are common elements between them. Starting with the issue of the antipolitical or apolitical stance. Criticism of traditional politics, of traditional political parties and leaders, from the right and the left, affects the population, tired of the lack of solutions to their problems and the accusations of corruption against these politicians. The forces of the left and their leaders seem to be part of this policy, with accusations of corruption that, with such insistence, always leave their mark.

A second issue is that of violence, which affects and concerns a large part of the population and for which the democratic forces have no solution or effective proposals in the eyes of the people. While the proposals of the extreme right are to toughen action against violence, strengthen the police and release their action and make their processes more flexible, when they act inappropriately.

Faced with the increasing cases of police violence and the number of deaths, especially among the poor, blacks and young people, the population tends not to favor their punishment and to turn a blind eye. They even support these forms of police action, accepting the suspicion that they are illegal. In practice, it ends up producing a delegation of broad sectors of the population, especially the middle class, to police action.

The proposals of the democratic forces, linked to the defense of human rights and other forms of restriction of police action, have not had an impact on either the mass of the population or on the performance of the police in alternative forms of action. Especially the poor population, on the outskirts of large cities, feel helpless in the face of daily violence, the actions of drug traffickers and militiamen and, although they themselves are victims of arbitrary and violent police action, they end up tolerating their actions more. The right seems to be more concerned about the violence of which these populations are victims and that worries broad sectors of the middle classes.

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A third point of the positions of the extreme right leaders is that of anti-statism, the fight against the presence of the State. Central theme of neoliberalism, concentrates attacks on the state of mismanagement of companies, excessive spending through many taxes, excess public servants, source of State corruption. To the point that, over time, even in progressive governments that opposed these positions, privatization has always been sympathetic to most opinions. Even without concrete examples, the idea is maintained that private entrepreneurs and the market would be more effective, more dynamic, less costly for the population.

Every time the dismissal of public servants is announced, the majority of the population tends to receive the news in a favorable light, as if they were to pay less taxes, as if they were laying off employees who were useless to society. It never mentions how many nurses and public health personnel will be laid off, how many teachers, how many social workers.

Another feature that characterizes the extreme right is hostility to the rights of so-called minorities: women, blacks, indigenous people, young people. They express aloud the conservative positions of expressive sectors of the middle classes, uncomfortable with the growing spaces and rights conquered by these sectors, feeling threatened by this movement.

In the same way that they react negatively to the policies of income redistribution, which promote the rights of the popular sectors, always postponed. They feel threatened by the rise of these sectors, instead of being in favor of the fight against social exclusion, the poor, hunger and abandonment.

As a whole, extreme right-wing ideas are strengthened in public opinion, which explain the strength of the candidates and leaders who defend these positions. Candidates who may soon be elected president, as is the case in Chile, but who tend to occupy more and more spaces in other countries.

It is an issue that has to be central to the left and all democratic forces, taking into account that the programs of these forces and leaders do not usually contemplate it, with efficient responses for public opinion. And bear in mind that political victories are always preceded by victories in terms of ideas and that, thus, the dispute in the struggle of ideas ends up being decisive for the present and future of contemporary societies, especially those in Latin America, where it is more important. . the dispute between conservative and democratic forces is fierce


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