Chile’s race politics a study in why the Voice will fail

Chile’s race politics a study in why the Voice will fail. By Timothy Lynch.

Last year, [Chile] tried to indigenise and environmentalise its constitution. Its citizens rebelled. Sixty-two per cent said no. There are lessons here for Australia.

Last month, I crossed Latin America. I was part of debates about race that were strikingly like those that afflict us. I got to see how indigeneity impacts politics. I left optimistic for what awaits Australia if we vote, like Chile, not to racialise our constitution.

President Gabriel Boric, while not indigenous (his heritage is Croatian and Basque), is a Chilean version of Thomas Mayo, the Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man, and poster boy for the Yes campaign. In 2022, Boric led a failed campaign to entrench racial grievance in a new constitution. …

The proposed lefty constitution:

Following protests against rising costs of living in 2019, the Chilean government commissioned a new constitution. The drafting process and the resulting text were a progressive’s wet dream. …

Fifty per cent of the drafters had to identify as women. Rights were afforded to nature — forests and rivers would be given legal standing. Miners, the nation’s great wealth creators, as here, would be penalised. Land stolen by Spanish colonists would be returned to the Mapuche, the nation’s largest indigenous group, and to other First Chileans.

Advised by assorted Australian academics, Boric sought to transform Chile’s politics from an imperfect neoliberalism — informed by Milton Friedman — into a dubious experiment in woke environmentalism — informed by Greta Thunberg. But dream it remained: two-thirds of voters rejected the overwrought compote. …

How best to conceal intent?

Chile presents a key difference here: the drafters of its constitution assumed interminable detail would conceal ideological intent. In Australia, the Yes campaign is based on the absence of detail to advance its wider ideology.

We are being asked to vote on a vibe; that this must be the right thing to do because there is so much weeping and emotion on the Yes side. … In keeping details of the voice short, opaque and grounded in emotion, its opponents have a much harder time countering it. …

A third lesson is to not assume that all indigenous people, in Australia and elsewhere, are the natural constituencies of the progressive, campus left. Sizeable numbers of indigenous Chileans did not see their liberation in the new constitution. Rather, many feared it would perpetuate the condescending paternalism of their left-wing champions. Sound familiar?

In Paraguay, to my surprise, I encountered a robust conservative indigenous politics. Young Guarani professionals, despite many being trained in the woke classrooms of Australian universities, identified as centre-right. Sceptical of the Boric-Mayo quasi-communist path to liberation, they had built businesses, created jobs and sought not to radicalise the poorest sections of Paraguay’s society, but to free them from state welfarism. They wanted race to matter less, not more. All this from within a culture much more scarred by indigenous genocide than anything Australia has approximated. …

The Voice turns out to be part of a worldwide movement to harm people of European descent. Move to Europe? It’s fast being colonized by non-whites, and there is no talk there of natives or anti-colonial movements there. White lives matter? Anti-white racism has gone global, thanks to left wing politics. No wonder it’s all about race, race, race now. Australia is about to join that club, regardless of how the Voice referendum turns out.

Much better than the article: