Myths of the left and obfuscations conservative. A few notes on the transition

A story that is relatively common on the left on the transition versa as follows: Erase a country where the central element that enabled it to defeat the dictatorship was the ferment of political mobilization, and such mobilization was nipped in the bud by the decisions of an elite, who preferred a transition agreed, and I was determined not to make big changes; that if it were not for such aviesa intention, the great majority popular would have been able to achieve many transformations that are today crying her little achievement.

The above is a mythical story, in the sense that -like all myth – while it has a basis in true, modifies in such a way that the conclusion is not. The rationale is that the processes of mobilization of the ’80 is stopped in the ’90’s. It becomes myth is a forgetfulness of self-importance: That this arrest was wanted and desired by the population. The emergence of electoral democracy, the event was a happy (hard thing to remember or think of now, but the first years of the transition were the fun times, for more that she was a passenger). For example, if we now could say that it was false that Pinochet was defeated by a pencil, and that other factors were more important, what is certain is that in the mobilizations of those days it was sung and celebrated. The population would like more changes (say, finish with the model) it is more than probable; but it is also clear that with the arrival of formal democracy has had more than enough. The valuation of the fact of being able to talk without the need to take precautions was a finding common in a good part of the qualitative studies of the mid – ’90s.

Why can you say this? For the simple fact that the so-called lower the mobilizations were followed up with quickly. And almost immediately: the celebrations of the triumph of the There were not the 5 but the 6 of October, because that was what is called by the elites; but the case is that they were obeyed without problems. The aspiration to ‘normality’ was quite strong -and one of the features of that normalcy was that it was not necessary to live the life that has been mobilized. After years of public life and political life merely private had its discreet charm.

To suggest that the loss of a mobilised society is the product of a decision of the elite, elide to remember that this abandonment was widespread. By the way, and I think that Salazar has mentioned on more than one occasion, this does not imply that the nascent democracy, would be seen with the eyes of naive or approval, the critical look at the institutions already had its importance in those years; but the simple operation of them was already winning enough. Perhaps blame the elite meet symbolically with the role of let free of guilt to a population that also wanted to demobilise.


In regards to the transition, the story is conservative is not as mythical, but rather represents an obfuscation of the reality: And perhaps here the loss of clarity is a desired effect. Perhaps the clearest way of showing that obfuscation is built around the reading of one of the most famous phrases of Aylwin: ‘the extent possible’.

As possible, as a notion, is opposed to what is necessary: Where there is only what is necessary, whether it be around what that must pass around what cannot pass, there is no space for what is possible. You could say that in a world where there were only what is necessary, what is possible and what is required would be the same; but in a world of these features would not have invented the notion of what is possible. In a world in which coexist both categories is because it makes sense to distinguish between them, that what is possible and what is necessary are not the same.

Now, the case is in the readings conservative all called to what is possible in reality speak the language of need: That you couldn’t do anything else. This is an obfuscation not only from the blurring of the difference between what is possible and what is necessary, but also because of the use that will be made: Because then all I remember for whom it is agent there as possible, and that not everything is reduced to what is necessary, it is read as a form of radicalism or maximalism. And in this way the options are reduced to the path of what is necessary or insanity. Thus, we go back to the starting point: Talking this way is to eliminate the space of the possible.

The case is, then, that other paths were possible. One could well argue that the learning of the elites of the transition (an overview of the consensus in which dissent is almost gone, that everything that wasn’t union was a threat or coup or institutional crisis etc) were not the only ones learning. Further, the learning that these provisions are good unconditionally -in all contexts – rather than to be, returning to the initial phrase, ‘the extent possible’ in a given context; it is certainly a learning that was not necessary. Forget that the game as possible is a game of adaptation to various situations is another of the consequences of the obfuscation is raised.


If you notice the discussion about the myths of the left was somewhat more extensive because it concerns a matter of fact: To a forgetfulness of an event. But the obfuscation conservative is, though shorter, more insidious because it refers to a conceptual error refers to a world view and not a statement of fact. In any case, apparently between myths and obfuscations is that we will have to reflect on our recent past.

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