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Embrace conflict


Getting involved in politics is inevitable, taking into account that we are relational beings conflict is inevitable and the essence of a pluralist democratic system, as in the case of Colombia. In this sense, the most necessary thing is that in these societies there is the possibility that there may be discrepancies on the part of society and that there are institutions through which such divisions can manifest themselves.


In Colombia it is still difficult to understand conflict, relate to it and think that the goal of a democracy is not for everyone to agree. One of the reasons for this is that, in the majority of citizens, there is no clarity about the differences between policy and politics.

What paralyzes us is that in our society only one language always prevailed, the one that Gaitán tried to eradicate from the soul of the people, that exclusive and stately discourse that repeats that a few are legitimately owners and spokesmen for the country, and that all the others are the insignificant mob, the rabble. It is the dissociative discourse that excludes everything that is not part of the circle of privileges.
William Ospina

We are politicians


The political refers, as the philosopher Chantal Mouffe says, to the antagonistic dimension that constitutes societies, that is, in all social processes, being essentially relational, there are differences and conflicts and there is a strong affective and emotional component. In any case, by being with others and trying to establish a collective identity there will always be a construction of who 'we' are based on what differentiates us from 'them'. In this sense, one of the main challenges for democratic politics is to be able to appease but not eliminate the potential antagonism that exists in human relationships.


This does not mean that antagonism has to be expressed in a violent way, since the purpose of a democratic system is to stop perceiving the other, who is different, as an enemy to be destroyed, but to see him as an adversary with the which can be discussed and not agreed, but whose right to defend their own ideas is not going to be questioned. For this, it is necessary to build social and legal spaces where the conflict can manifest itself and develop without opposition or the lack of agreements with another leading to the suppression of the other either by means such as murder or other such as reducing it to impotence or silence him.


The desire to only reach a consensus can be a form of authoritarianism.

In Colombia, thinkers like Estanislao Zuleta have made this call, making it clear that "the eradication of conflicts is not a desirable goal" because when this is the objective, what will happen is, inevitably, that all differences, oppositions and confrontations. According to this philosopher from Antioquia, those who demand conciliation to eradicate conflicts and who seek to deny dissent and difficulties are those who defend the established order, especially governments that, in addition, do not recognize the plurality of interests that may exist in the society and that is precisely why what they do is to impose unity on people.


The best societies are those that can have the best conflicts


Contrary to what one might think, communities recognize and can live intelligently with conflicts, they have a better political culture. For this reason, the main task of democracy is not to eliminate passions or relegate them to the private sphere to make rational consensus possible, but to mobilize those passions and affections in such a way that they promote more democratic forms, as Martha Nussbaum has stated when speaking of political emotions.


This is what Chantal Mouffe has called agonist politics, that is, the possibility that those who think differently do not see themselves as enemies but only as rivals, that is, where different perspectives can discuss to reach a compromise where, probably, neither one nor the other are fully satisfied with the result, but at least and most importantly, that everyone accepts this result as legitimate.



For its part, politics, as Mouffe understands it, refers to those practices and institutions that try to establish a certain order and organize human coexistence, without denying that the conditions of this coexistence are always conflictive. In this way, the most important thing for the democratic system to function, in countries like Colombia, is that a framework of political debate can be strengthened in which each of the people who manifests themselves, can recognize the others as legitimate participants and that they can fight and claim so that everyone can introduce their demands into the public sphere.



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