So the people rise up, the government falls, what next? A sudden rush of "new" parties, a flood of new leaders eager to fill the vacuum, and set up a shiny new democratic representative system, which will be a bold new step back to the old world in new clothing. Or do the autonomous groups with their leaderless direct action ideology fight on to establish the community based horizontalism that will herald in a new world that brings freedom, justice and equality to all, a problem facing Chile at the moment.
On the weekend of May 15-16, 2021, voters across Chile chose delegates to attend the convention that will compose a new constitution for the country. The right wing was soundly defeated in these elections, but no institutional left party gained a majority, either. The corporate media are heralding this as a victory for “independent” politics—but what will this mean for the autonomous movements that gave the left politicians momentum in the first place? In the following analysis, our correspondent in Chile explores the irreconcilable tension between the politics of representation and the politics of direct action.