Social Movements and Constitutional Change in Times of Outrage. The Case of Mexico in Contemporary Perspective.

Contemporary processes of political transformation and constitutional change are characterized by a growing sense of distrust of and dissent from the way in which governing elites implement their strategies for modeling change. Inasmuch as elites aim at preserving the status quo, social movements strive to reject its central elements and bring into-the-wall something that was off-the-wall (and vice versa). This dichotomy between preservation and transformation has been a constant in the interplay between elites and social movements. This essay will explore in contemporary perspective, the way in which growing popular movements such as those comprised by the victims of the war on drugs and more recently, the women’s movement, are striving to shape constitutional change in Mexico. A critical part of their predicament lies upon the lack of institutions and procedures to model change outside the system and a governing political elite utterly unequipped to capture the movement’s signaling.

Chile's Constitutional moment

Unexpectedly, a constitutional moment has arisen in Chile in the context of the protests that started in October 2019. Just a few weeks after the start of said protests, during November, most of the politically relevant parties in the country agreed on holding a referendum to let the Chilean citizens decide whether the current constitution should be replaced by a new one; the agreement also outlines a procedure and timeline for the drafting of the new constitutional text. The presentation will analyze the reasons behind the protests and how they are connected to the current constitution, originally enacted by the dictator Pinochet. Furthermore, it will try to assess the explanatory potential of political and legal terminology often used to conceptually channel constitutional breaks (especially the idea of the constituent power of the people) and highlight some particularities in the Chilean process, which might be of interest from a comparative perspective.

Right to Resist and Deliberative Democracy. Reflections on the social outbreak in Chile, and proposals for the new constitution.

This paper argues that the current Chilean social outbreak could be explained by the early modern idea of the right to resist. It also argues that the theory of deliberative democracy is appropriate to manage the conflicts that give rise to this right.
For early constitutionalism, the right to resist was the power to challenge the ruler when he tried to impose decisions that were illegitimate for those who should obey them. Considered as alienable right, modern democracies avoid its exercise creating institutions and procedures to legitimize political decisions through representative decision-making.
In Chile this framework failed. Constitutional decision-making devices have lost legitimacy and a large part of the population is defying the law. Finally, a referendum was called to decide on the adoption of a new constitution.
Just as a deliberative democratic device allowed measured resistance, the new constitution could incorporate others in it to improve Chilean democracy.

Too “far” to be heard? Social participation in the decision making process.

Nowadays the effectiveness of social demands is yet to be an undisputed topic.Through the last few years we’ve seen political polarization getting stronger,as well as the weight of the social media in organizing and sharping the social demands.This two factors have had a massive impact in determining the dynamics of the decision making process.Trust if often a missing element in any polarized political context.If the actors in the field see the others as axiological opposites,there is small room for concessions thru dialog,because it’d mean giving up “my values” in favor of the“wrong” ones.This is the scenario Latinamerican democracies are facing right now.The cases of Colombia and Chile show the block the political dynamic could face in a context of “No Trust at all” among the parties at the table. Being this the diagnose, we aim to present a balanced analyze of the specific causes that lead to this situation, and to study the development it has shown the time that follows the protest

Lebanon: The protests as symptoms of a failed and outlived political system.

Lebanon is currently facing the biggest and longest popular protest it has known, since its foundation in 1926.What started as a relatively small protest against a whatsApp tax turned into a national movement expanding to all regions, and pointed towards all the state dysfunctions.Unfortunately, Public Law and Political Institutions’ response came deceiving,and similarly to other protests and revolutions,the Lebanese movement faced a domino effect phenomenon:The initial distrust and dissent that sparked the protest was only amplified by the response of the political institutions.
This presentation aims to focus on the factors behind distrust and dissent that took citizens to the streets;the challenges the movement is facing and the general political and legal concepts used by institutions to discredit it; and finally an analysis of the deceiving governmental response (including the constitutional and legal violations through the process).

Patterns of civic mobilization in Poland: 5 years of the PiS government

Previous tenure of the Law and Justice party (PiS) was marked by several notable protests within the civil society. Occupational groups protested (medical doctors, teachers, parents of disabled persons, judges), and ordinary citizens were mobilized to protect independent courts. However, none of them achieved their aims, and none was transformed into a political party (however, some of the protesters successfully run for elections in 2019 from the lists of established parties). The aim of this paper is to analyze the motives for the civil dissent in years 2015-2019, as well as provide reasons why the protests did not manage to overthrow the PiS government. Contrarily, they were used to undermine public trust toward these specific groups via the smearing campaigns directed at some of the protesters. Applying three levels of recognition distinguished by Charles Taylor (1991), those groups were visible, but not listened to nor they found empathy within the members of the governing party.