[eng] Javiera Manzi - The Constituent Process is also all these, our, histories

I came by bicycle from the former National Congress after a long day in the Constitutional Convention where the first articles of Justice Systems were voted. Suddenly I was overcome by something like a tremor in my whole body and then that cry, like a dam overflowing. 

I thought about that day at the Justice Center when my friends from the Coordinadora Feminista 8M [Feminist Coordinating March 8th Committee], the Red Chilena Contra la Violencia Hacia Las Mujeres [Chilean Network Against Violence against Women], my neighbors from the territorial assembly, my friends, my lawyers, my mother with her lifelong friends, my family and the families of the three accused arrived. I thought of each person who was present that day, but above all in the previous ones and how I am deeply grateful to them. 

I remember us doing the LasTesis [The theses] performance that morning, "patriarchy is a judge" we shouted so loud right there in front of the judges, in front of that giant glass and concrete building.

Three days after the Feminist General Strike, on March 11, 2020 we had the final hearing of a bullshit trial for the lawsuit we faced for allegedly defaming a government authority. We, the three accused, got to know each other in the process and learned to accompany each other.

I thought about that process that took more than a year of our lives, of our sleeplessness, of our impotence for being involved in a trial that was about all that "violence they do not see". While I was pedaling I thought about each hearing and its preparations, I remembered that lunch where we told each other those stories that led us to meet and that each one of us had lived more than 10 years ago. Experiences that were brought back to life with that spectral presence that dwells in so many of our silences. I remembered how I memorized my testimony for that hearing, to which after all they did not come, they excused themselves and we could not beat them either as we had hoped for months.

I thought of all those moments of one more story among so many others, I thought of how I will return to it in the future when it becomes increasingly unthinkable that others will get to live it.

Today, Chile became the first country in the world to enshrine the gender perspective and parity as a principle of the exercise of justice in the New Constitution of the Republic draft. And this, which is a profound and collective triumph of the feminist movement, is also and most intimately, each and every one of these small battles. 

I thought of that day where I felt so deeply vulnerable and accompanied, and just as I arrived home tonight, I felt again that relief of when I knew it was over. 

I thought about that echo in the courts that I hear again today. That echo that repeated in many voices a certainty with which we learned to conjure shame and fear.
"The fault was never ours, nor where we were, nor how we dressed."

I smile. The Constituent Process is also all these, our, stories.

* Javiera Manzi A. Sociologist, archivist at the University of Chile. Researches the intersections between graphics, politics and social movements; co-author of the book "Resistencia Gráfica. Dictadura en Chile 1973- 1989" [Graphic Resistance. Dictatorship in Chile 1973- 1989"]. Militant of the Coordinadora Feminista 8M [Feminist Coordinating March 8th Committee], she was advisor to Alondra Carrillo in the Constitutional Convention. She has written books, articles and columns on feminist politics and social revolt in Chile.

[1] Translated from the Spanish by Andrea Balart.

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