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Final Declaration of the "Anarchist Days"

category international | anarchist movement | policy statement author Monday February 14, 2011 22:20author by FAU / FAO Report this post to the editors
The "Anarchist Days" (Jornadas Anarquistas) took place in Sao Paulo (Brazil) on 25-26 January 2011, organised by the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU) and the Forum of Organised Anarchism (FAO) of Brazil. [Castellano] [Português]

"Anarchist Days"

January 2011
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Final Declaration

The "Anarchist Days" (Jornadas Anarquistas) took place in Sao Paulo (Brazil) on 25-26 January 2011, organised by the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU) and the Forum of Organised Anarchism (FAO) of Brazil.

The event was called in order to strengthen the development of especifist anarchism in Latin America, to provide an opportunity for exchanges and coordination between the anarchist political organisations who recognise themselves as being part of this current. The debates dealt with themes which are common to all our organisations, on areas where we work and contribute in our various locations, in our daily struggles, in the creations and re-creations that arise from the analysis of elements that we view as strategic to the construction of libertarian socialism on our continent - Popular Power and Libertarian Federalism.

This is essential given that today - as part of a historical process - we are witnessing an important growth of our current within anarchism and concrete theoretical and political bases are being established. And this needs to be merged into a framework which is common to all our organisations from the various parts of America.

Popular Power as a strategic element

"You can never extinguish the people's hopes and dreams of emancipation; social experience continues to create new concepts of justice and freedom that have nothing to do with the perverse work of a system that confuses these concepts with rapacity and oppression". Thus began the debate on building a strategy which can make a break with the past and develop the forces of revolution.

This debate is closely linked to the question of popular power. For us, the issue of popular power is a wide one that greatly affects our overall strategy, ranging from analysis of the current situation, to the goals we seek and the strategic path we must take.

Why do we talk about power? For us, power is something that goes beyond the State. Power flows throughout society and for this reason power exists in the various spheres of the economy, of politics and of culture, ideology. Power exists in all social relationships that involve a conflict and may or may not become relations of domination and exploitation.

Starting from this broad notion of power, we can say that power cannot be taken through an assault, as it is fed into and runs through every vein of society. In this sense, we say that from our point of view, there is no determination that can be envisaged a priori by one sphere over another, and therefore we do not believe in the system of economic determination, known within socialism as the system of infra-and super-structure.

Power, therefore, involves power relations and disputes that exist throughout society and make up the foundation of what we call politics. In this sense, today's society is the result of certain correlations of force where some overcome others and thus shaping things. The result of this system today involves power, but also domination, exploitation and oppression.

We believe that the oppressed classes must create a project of power. A project which can successfully confront and oppose the dominant classes, which can be managed and built through the daily struggles.

This talk about "popular" means giving the project of power an eminently class-struggle character, though we must emphasise that we are speaking of power from the libertarian point of view. A project of the oppressed that arises from the popular movements, which accumulates with determined, strong, clear steps the social forces necessary for the showdown in the long term that we believe is necessary from the ideological point of view.

For us, socialism is an ideology and not a science. Socialism arose as an ideological expression of the popular social movements in struggle, and since its first moments, counted on aspirations, desires, indignation, rebellion, passions, loves and other sentiments that cannot be scientifically proven. Thus, socialism can only constitute itself with this set of elements, that point towards the generation of a political practice in the transformative sense, of intervention in our reality. And, therefore, ideology implies theory and practice.

We understand theory as a toolbox that allows us to interpret the current situation and events. However, as we affirm, we know that theoretical contributions must be rigorous, they must try to understand life and not be boxed in by our ideological certainties. Theory must be flexible and enable us to develop elements for our political practice. Practice clearly enriches this theory, too.

Class and Revolutionary Subject

Our combative class consciousness is based in the various oppressed subjects, independent of where they may be. We believe that a class project must be built by the people, and by people we mean this set of oppressed classes that contain the workers of the town and country, wage-earners and the unemployed, and all those that suffer oppression due to their gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality, at the hands of this system of domination that is capitalism.

Thus, the revolutionary subject is not given a priori, neither is it possible to be recognised beforehand. We believe that the revolutionary subject is the result of social and historical processes, of the struggles of popular movements, and can only be forged in struggle and from the process in which class identity is created.

Our conception of People’s (“Popular”) Power implies a basic notion of what the objectives that make up the strategy are, and that it is strategy that conditions tactics. Our final objective is libertarian socialism and our political practice is of revolutionary intention. The project of People’s Power must, necessarily, contribute to the abolition of class society during the revolution.

In order to promote first-hand participation by the grassroots of the movements, to create a strong people, it is essential that we have a plan in mind, a determined programme to be proposed and developed by these movements. Not boxing in or forcing the movements into the confines of any ideology is for us a central element in this programme. It is important to support them so that they may be as strong and united as possible by means of solidarity as a praxis and of actions, for specific demands, while at the same time, guaranteeing class independence in order that they will not be subordinated to political parties, the State, businesses or other class enemies, or even to those who, although they have demonstrated a certain affinity for the class struggle, act as a vanguard of the struggle. It also seems essential that the mechanisms of direct democracy be used for decisions taken by everyone directly involved – the whole base or grassroots – thereby creating a collective, self-managed environment. The means, therefore, must be in accordance with the ends for which we stand.

History demonstrates that capitalism will not walk towards its own destruction. We cannot, therefore, hope that it “commits suicide”. We believe that it is only by means of their will and emancipatory practices that the oppressed classes will be able to resist and confront and to build libertarian socialism. Capitalism does not carry the germ of socialism and, although the creation of socialism has to start within capitalist society, it can only happen by means of a process of revolutionary rupture. Such a process of construction must take place in the midst of the daily social struggles, that accumulate strength for our project of People’s Power.

It is a question of constructing new historic subjects, of promoting our project in the midst of the struggle and of creating a strong people.

It is, then, a question of reconstructing the social fabric, the fabric of social relations and also of another culture, that will, together with economic and political elements, allow new subjects capable of knowing themselves, others and their situation to be forged. Fundamentally, capable of constructing and of strengthening popular movements, taking decisions, sharing with others, empowering themselves, stimulating the strengthening of other people in all of society, with autonomy and not dependence.

Libertarian Federalism

Federalism is an organisational form, a model, a concept that has been a part of the social and political life of anarchism throughout its history. It enables the incorporation and the adaptation of its forces for resistance in the clash with capitalism, the joining of all those whose ideas are along the same lines to produce the libertarian ideology and, as well, as a practice to be able to project, to imagine and to bring about an offensive against capitalism that will construct the society that we want: a new civilisation.

It is for this reason that federalism must not be accepted as a legitimate model in itself. It must be libertarian and, in this sense, the ideological constitution that it contains will be a determining element in the development of its power to transform.

This ideological constitution determines the practices that will be generated, foreign to authoritarianism and to vanguardism, and with a “bottom to top” discussion dynamic, opposed to centralism and unitarianism. In this way, the “top” must be understood as a construction, by means of direct democracy, as the delegate of the grassroots and its functions cease when in the presence of the grassroots.

The “bottom” is not subjected, nor is there a vertical hierarchy. Instead, anarchists work together in a functional and dynamic way, rooted in the various areas in which the political organisation projects its ideology. These specific spaces are built and constituted from within the fronts of popular struggle in the form of nuclei or grassroots groups, organised in such as way as to better interpret or approach the reality experienced by each space, in a global organisational concept that emanates from the anarchist political organisation.

This globality, this integrality, must be vast and diverse, as it develops during struggle in different areas of work. It is necessary to recognise, as a whole, that there is no “one transcendental struggle” above all others, which erases and diminishes the importance of these others. The struggles must coexist within the organisation.

Communicate and teach the political practices of the various fronts of struggle that come from other more specific paths of militancy. Enrich, by means of these practices, the political analysis of the current situation, our theoretical development and the class solidarity that is demanded and is so necessary in these times.

Federalism must serve to strengthen both the specific and global action of the organisation. We call this dynamic federalism, which serves the established purposes. It is that which, in the framework of a general strategic line of revolutionary rupture, sustains the advance of the resistance to capitalism, as well as the planning of a new world.

In relation to what has been said, this model, this organisational form, must be integrated into an organisational structure grounded in the base - the grassroots - with respect to minority positions, but constructing a kind of body, with binding agreements that delineate the organisation’s action in space and time; with categories and guidelines necessary for coexistence which do not end up in non-functional assemblyism and which possess dynamics and rhythms that combat authoritarian practices.

Surviving in isolation, everyone working on their own, without having to deal with others, without empowering and educating themselves, without coming together to form a strong fist with which to strike, “means condemning oneself to impotence, to wasting one’s energy on small, insignificant acts and quickly losing faith in the objective and falling into complete inaction”.

In this way anarchists’ unity becomes a reality and is strengthened. This union comes together in order to work towards a new humanity, to plan and delineate the strategy with which we will deconstruct this world. Pillars and principles such as equality, direct democracy, autonomy, class independence and self-management are the basic elements that are essential for the libertarians of the world. Consequently, they must be fundamental in the political organisation, too.

It is, therefore, a question of creating, conceiving of and practising a type of organisation that we understand as federalist, with practices, agreements and styles that are different to those of capitalism. Going from the political organisation to the popular organisations, and in this way deepening a little more the idea of building an organisation not just for the tactical necessities of the present. This organisation cannot be circumstantial, a momentary need – it must be the rock onto which we carve our desires and passions, our utopia and our Freedom.

Imagining, dreaming of, loving a new world. Seeing in our comrades of the struggle, in the people, the urgent need for transformation because of so much injustice, exploitation and oppression, carried out as part of a disgusting system that, in its daily whirlwind, devours and spits out so many brothers and sisters, so many people.

For the construction of Libertarian Socialism, in a firm and solid process.
For everything we yearn, for the memory of our brothers and sisters who have suffered the worst of this atrocity called capitalism.
Let’s build utopia through the practice of freedom!!!
Build a strong people!!!
Up with those who struggle!!!

Declaration signed by:

Coletivo Anarquista Luta de Classes (Brazil)
Coletivo Anarquista Zumbi dos Palmares (Brazil)
Columna Libertaria Errico Malatesta (Argentina)
Columna Libertaria Joaquin Penina (Argentina)
Federação Anarquista de São Paulo (Brazil)
Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (Brazil)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
Federación Comunista Libertaria (Chile)
Fórum do Anarquismo Organizado (FAO, Brazil)
Núcleo Pró-Especifista de Recife (Brazil)
Organização Resistência Libertária (Brazil)
Para Além do Estado e do Mercado (Brazil)
Rusga Libertária (Brazil)

Coletivo Espiral (Costa Rica - observer)

Translation by JP/NM for Anarkismo

Some of the participants during the event
Some of the participants during the event

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