Power to the People

But what people?

By Josef Hans Lara

Political Revolutions give power to the people. But what revolutions and what people are driving these energies for change?

Political revolutions that have advanced our species are mostly based on universal rights; on the contrary, the movements that ostracize others, like Conservative Revolutions, are detrimental to our collective advance.

Conservative Revolutions are restricting and stopping our collective progress. The Conservative movements trying to obtain and keep power, even in a disadvantaged demographic and cultural position, are breaking Democracy, converting countries into judiciary-states, and standardizing repression.

Revolutions are necessary, the end of eras in history to start new ones, with the obtention of progressive rights and the better political organization. Some Revolutions are violent, other Revolutions are not violent, or at least the proponents of change do not exercise violence to mobilize. Not all Revolutions have been successful, not all Revolutions are to progress and move forward. Political movements that produce revolutions can have goals contrary to the democratization of power.

In recent history, we saw the end of despotic monarchy in the French Revolution or the October Revolution in Russia. We saw the end of colonial dependency with the Bolivarian Revolution or the American Revolution of independence.

This last week, we saw Chile’s success as a constitutional referendum passed to start a new constituent process. It came from a popular revolution. It proves that peaceful and powerful demonstrations and responses against oppression can still make a change and advance Democracy and Human Rights. The Chilean people decided, winning by a landslide, to change how they understand and organize their country, ending the constitution inherited from dictatorship that transitioned to Democracy. What an excellent new perspective for its people, the future will have the colour of their imagination. It has been possible thanks to the people claiming by the millions in the streets of Chile for change, the demand to free prisoners that were exercising fundamental rights against the previous regime. Yes, violence was exercised against the people, but finally, the state had to accept the possibility of change, then a referendum confirmed the will of the people. 

Unfortunately, other revolutions have the opposite effect, the Conservative Revolutions. These conservative revolutions are national, others religious. We have the conservative Revolution that gave fertile ground to nazism in Germany in the early part of the XX century (1918-1933). The Conservative Revolutions that ended the democratic Spanish government in 1936, replaced by a dictatorship. The Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979. It turned the state into a theocracy, isolating its citizens from the rest of the world, repressing Human Rights. Today we can see the rise of conservative populist parties across Europe and examples of Poland and Hungary governments.

The well organized conservative movements can understand how to obtain power, patiently elaborating plans to gain full control over time, despite not being the dominant public opinion; they are the loudest. When the conservative revolutions happened on societies that have characterized themselves because of their diversity and democratic liberties, Societies split, generally, into two opposite groups that grow in animosity and can dramatically end its citizens’ relations. 

The Conservative Revolutions happening in some corners of the world are ostracizing minorities, diminishing the opportunities to overcome inequality, reducing rights, and rejecting immigration based on unfounded fears. On some occasions, like in the United States, the conservative agenda, its revolutionary character of religious-nationalism and exceptionalism, being a minority not only demographically but also in public opinion, is loud, organized, mobilized, and has gain power using the flaws of the political system.

It will be better to see that power to the people goes to the majority of the people, democratically, instead of the people that in the minority can scream the loudest. To ensure that revolutions for change help advance freedoms, Democracy, fundamental rights against authoritarian regimes, we need to vote, raise our voice of opinion, and continue the demonstration, as the people of Chile just did.

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