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aotearoa / pacific islands / anarchist movement / opinion / analysis Saturday August 08, 2020 17:04 byAWSM

In September 2020 Aotearoa will experience a General Election. Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) has written this article to outline an Anarchist case against participating in such events.

The right to vote is seen as a necessary prerequisite for freedom across the world. People have fought and died for the right to vote in elections. Women across the world fought bitter battles for the right to vote. So why are the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) questioning this as a right worth having?

The entire electoral show is designed to encourage us to believe that not only does our vote matter, but that it’s the most important decision we could possibly make. Indeed voting is held so sacred by many that the mere mention of not voting is enough to cause outrage. When we have pointed out that our vote makes no difference anyway, we’ve been accused of being apathetic, privileged, immature, and even being part of the alt-right!

But as noted anarchist Vernon Richards wrote, “so long as we have capitalism and government, the job of anarchists is to fight both, and at the same time encourage people to take what steps they can to run their own lives.” [“Anarchists and Voting”, pp. 176-87, The Raven, No. 14, p. 179]

We argue that electoralism ensures that a statist perspective becomes dominant. Everything is seen in terms of state intervention and following the decisions of the leaders, which has always proved deadly to encouraging a spirit of revolt, self-management and self-help – the very keys to creating change in a society. Rather than being something other people discuss on behalf of working class people, anarchists argue that politics shouldn’t be a specialised activity in the hands of the so-called experts (i.e. politicians) but instead lie in the hands of those directly affected by it in the process of participation, direct action and self-management. Those that channel any “political” conclusions into electoral politics distort discussions into only what is possible within the current system. Given this, is it surprising that anarchists argue that the people “must organise their powers apart from and against the State?” [Bakunin, The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, p. 376]

We’ve already had some fairly heated debates with those who say we are wrong in saying we should ignore the electoral circus, and, as we get closer to election day, we are sure we will have some more.

We get told that “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome”, but we consider the opposite to be true. It is those who have voted, who have agreed to the rules, and agreed to be governed by the winners who can’t complain. It is those, like us, who don’t participate, who have the right to complain about the outcome more than anyone else.

We get told that the reality is that voting does change things, but we can, and do, deny that. Voting attempts to provide the population with the illusion of change while in reality it reinforces the current system. A policy here and there may change, the faces may change, but the system of a wealthy minority ruling a poorer majority remains. People are continually telling us that abstaining from voting will help the right-wing win the election, that it is better if the lesser evil wins. This may possibly be the case (although we remain to be convinced), but why should we base our society on a compromise with evil? In fact the progressive left wing party you vote for will often be ready to take the same actions as a right wing government when it comes to imposing anti-working class action upon us, (as we shall show on in this essay the state has a corrupting effect on those who enter politics with high principles). There should be a better way, and we say the dismantling of government, in all of its existing and potential forms is that way.

Most of the left wing in Aotearoa, and quite a few people who claim to identify as anarchists, will support reformist parties in the upcoming election. You will hear them saying things like “vote Labour (or Green) without illusions”, or, “vote Labour/Green but build a socialist alternative”. The slogans that these others may shout only reflect the idea that change can and should be brought about by a small number of elite politicians. Here in AWSM we don’t say things like this. There are many problems with our electoral system of democracy, which we shall run through, but we must state that first and foremost, as anarchists, we see voting as against running contrary to our anti-statist and anti-hierarchy principles, and we see electoralism as contrary to our goals and practice. It reinforces the idea that society is divided into order-givers and order-takers. Famed French anarchist, Elisee Reclus, put it well when he said :
“Everything that can be said about the suffrage may be summed up in a sentence. To vote is to give up your own power. To elect a master or many, for a long or short time, is to resign one’s liberty… Instead of entrusting the defense of your interests to others, see to the matter by yourselves. Instead of trying to choose advisers that will guide you in future actions, do the thing yourselves, and do it now!…. Don’t vote!”

Before going any further, it is important to clarify that we as anarchists aren’t merely against voting, in fact we are for democracy. What we are against is a system that allows for us to tick a box every few years for candidates that are selected for us, and policies that are chosen for us, which gives whoever received the most X’s to make decisions that affect our lives in all ways. Much of our so-called “democracy” is bogus and undemocratic, as many of the hundreds of thousands of kiwis who don’t vote understand. Politicians, once elected, have no compunction to keep their promises they made while campaigning, they can, and do, pretty much what they like because we have no power to recall them until the next election comes along, when again we will be given a barrage of promises that don’t have to be kept, and mostly won’t be kept. To call this democracy and representative of our demands is a blatant falsehood.

So to continue, we view voting in government elections as an inherently authoritarian activity, and authoritarian means can never yield libertarian results. In the words of Emma Goldman, “participation in elections means the transfer of one’s will and decisions to another, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of anarchism.” [Emma Goldman, Vision on Fire, p. 89]. The very act of voting is an attempt on the part of the voters to delegate to another person power. While states of various sorts provide some services and benefits to their citizens, the institution of government also maintains and makes use of the police ,the courts, the prison, the military, etc, to coercively interfere in the lives of its subjects. For anarchists, it is a basic belief that individuals should not have the authority to coerce others, and therefore they should not put themselves in a position to delegate such authority to any one else, which, after all, is the essence of voting.

As anarchists we argue that no one, whether in or out of government, should have such power. We argue that anarchists who oppose political power and coercion of any sort cannot advocate voting in national elections and stay true to the principles of anarchism. This is a system that divides us into a massive majority ruled by a tiny minority, and which allows for power, wealth and privilege to be ever more concentrated into the hands of that minority. The state is not a neutral body which can be used by all classes in society to protect their interests, rather it is an instrument of class rule that exists to protect the wealth and power of the ruling class and enforce their property rights and authority.

We believe that what we are offered as democracy is a farce, a dictatorship of capital devoid of any real choice. Even worse is that this form of democracy gives the illusion that we, the people, have the power to change it, while simultaneously reinforcing it. No wonder all politicians agree on one point – that we should vote. They want you to sanction the process by which they acquire their position, because without that sanction they have no legitimacy, and it is that claim to legitimacy they use to dismiss any actions taken by oppressed or marginalised groups outside of parliament as illegitimate. Before going to cast your vote remember that there is a real limit to what governments can do anyway – winning an election is not taking power. The real decision-making takes place in the boardrooms of corporations, not in parliament. Political parties, even in a majority government, can only do what capitalism allows them to. The politicians’ only argument is to organise capitalism in a “kinder way”, but we at AWSM want to smash capitalism, not waste our time trying to make it kinder.

MPs are little more than the committee for managing the affairs of capitalism. We cannot elect the revolution, or even a radical government, because capitalism will use its economic power, in the form of things such as sanctions and the flight of capital, to punish anyone who wishes to radically reform society, regardless if the majority voted for it or not. Even worse, in some situations the elected government may well see itself undermined by outside influences, even facing invasion and war. Realistically though the nature of the state means that capitalists rarely have to use these tactics.

While many radicals may be tempted to agree with our analysis of the limitations of electioneering and voting, very few automatically agree with our anarchist arguments of not voting. Instead, they argue that we should combine direct action with electioneering, and they will suggest that the state is too powerful to leave in the hands of right-wingers. Those that say this though ultimately fail to take into account the nature of the state and the corrupting effect it has on politicians. If history is anything to go by, the net effect of radicals using elections is that by the time they are elected to office the radicals will happily do what they once would have condemned the right-wing for doing.

Given that we have had many decades of universal suffrage, not only in Aotearoa but worldwide, and we have seen the rise of Labour and other so-called progressive parties aiming to use that system to effect change, it’s sad to say that we are probably further away from socialism than ever. The simple fact is that these parties have spent so much time trying to win elections that they have stopped even thinking about creating socialist alternatives in our communities and workplaces.

The state shapes people. As Noam Chomsky argues, “within the constraints of existing state institutions, policies will be determined by people representing centres of concentrated power in the private economy, people who, in their institutional roles, will not be swayed by moral appeals but by the costs consequent upon the decisions they make — not because they are ‘bad people,’ but because that is what the institutional roles demands.”

It was Bakunin who predicted in 1869 (three years before Marx hoisted his parliamentarianism onto the First International) that when “the workers . . . send common workers . . . to Legislative Assemblies . . . The worker-deputies, transplanted into a bourgeois environment, into an atmosphere of purely bourgeois ideas, will in fact cease to be workers and, becoming Statesmen, they will become bourgeois . . . For men do not make their situations; on the contrary, men are made by them.” [The Basic Bakunin, p. 108] Similarly, Krotpotkin argued that “in proportion as the socialists become a power in the present bourgeois society and State, their socialism must die out.” [Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 189]. History has undoubtedly proven the anarchists correct.

We can’t repeat this often enough, electioneering results in the party using it to become more moderate and reformist — indeed the party often becomes the victim of its own success. In order to gain votes, the party must appear “moderate”, “responsible” and “sensible” and that means working within the system. This has meant that (to use Rudolf Rocker’s words):
“Participation in the politics of the bourgeois States has not brought the labour movement a hair’s-breadth nearer to Socialism, but thanks to this method, Socialism has almost been completely crushed and condemned to insignificance. . . Participation in parliamentary politics has affected the Socialist Labour movement like an insidious poison.” [Anarcho-Syndicalism, p. 49]

Every time a so-called or Labour party has come to power, they have acted in a way that makes them almost indistinguishable from their more right-wing opponents. Despite their promises to act for the working class, once in government they always seem to be more concerned with being ‘respectable’ and ‘reasonable’, and not doing anything that would offend the rich, the real rulers of our society. Nowadays we have ‘progressed’ to the stage where parties don’t even pretend to campaign on the basis of representing the working class, limiting themselves to saying they are more “trustworthy”, or are a “safe pair of hands” to control the economy. Socialism is an embarrassment from the past.

The Labour Party in Aotearoa has been one of a history of compromise with capitalism and anti-working class action. Three quotes from Peter Fraser, early once a self-proclaimed revolutionary socialist and Labour prime minister 1940-49 demonstrates this. In 1913 Fraser was writing: “Industrial Unionism plus revolutionary political action, in my opinion, provide the most effective and expeditious means of reaching [socialism].” By 1918, Fraser had moderated his views. Instead of revolution he called for “the peaceful and legal transformation of society from private to public ownership and the increasing of democratic control over land and industry”. By the early 1930s Fraser saw Labour’s main objective as a simple one: jobs for the unemployed.

Janet Biehl sums up the effects on the German Green Party of trying to combine radical electioneering with direct action:
“the German Greens, once a flagship for the Green movement worldwide, should now be considered stink normal, as their de facto boss himself declares. Now a repository of careerists, the Greens stand out only for the rapidity with which the old cadre of careerism, party politics, and business-as-usual once again played itself out in their saga of compromise and betrayal of principle. Under the superficial veil of their old values – a very thin veil indeed, now – they can seek positions and make compromises to their heart’s content. . . They have become ‘practical,’ ‘realistic’ and ‘power-orientated.’ This former New Left ages badly, not only in Germany but everywhere else. But then, it happened with the S.P.D. in August 1914, then why not with Die Grunen in 1991? So it did.” [“Party or Movement?”, Greenline, no. 89, p. 14]

Here in Aotearoa the effect has been the same on our own Green Party, whose evolution has seen it tie itself firmly to sensible budgeting and relying on market forces to solve our problems, and moved from something of an activist party to one of “professional politicians”.

It’s not enough to blame the individuals elected to office for these betrayals, arguing that we need to elect better politicians, or select better leaders. For anarchists nothing could be more wrong as it is the means used, not the individuals involved, which is the problem. Writing of his personal experience as a member of Parliament, Proudhon recounted that “[a]s soon as I set foot in the parliamentary Sinai, I ceased to be in touch with the masses; because I was absorbed by my legislative work, I entirely lost sight of the current events . . . One must have lived in that isolator which is called a National Assembly to realise how the men who are most completely ignorant of the state of the country are almost always those who represent it. “There was “ignorance of daily facts” and “fear of the people” (“the sickness of all those who belong to authority”) for “the people, for those in power, are the enemy.” [Property is Theft!, p. 19] Ultimately, as syndicalist Emile Pouget argued, this fate was inevitable as any socialist politician “could not break the mould; he is only a cog in the machine of oppression and whether he wishes it or not he must, as minister, participate in the job of crushing the proletariat.” [quoted by Jeremy Jennings, Syndicalism in France, p. 36]

Ultimately, supporters of using political action can only appeal to the good intentions and character of their candidates,and hope for the best. Anarchists, however, in contrast to Marxists and other radicals, continually give an analysis of the structures of government and the other influences that will determine how the character of the successful candidates and political parties will change. Only anarchists, like us in AWSM, continually present an analysis of the effects of electoralism and its effects on radicals. History is our proof, electoralism, as Bakunin put it, “inevitably draws and enmeshes its partisans, under the pretext of political tactics, into ceaseless compromises with governments and political parties; that is, it pushes them toward downright reaction.” [The Basic Bakunin p. 288]

Not only is making use of the ballot box as a tactic harmful to politicians and their parties, but it also has a negative effect on the rest of the population too. Support for electioneering is at odds with us being in favour of collective mass action. It hinders the arguments for collective organisation and action as the voters expect their representative to act and fight for them. Political actions become solely considered to be parliamentary activities, made for the people by their representatives. There is no other role for the people than that of passive support and spectators. So, instead of working class self-activity and self-determination, there results in a non-working class leadership acting for the people. The real causes and solutions to the problems we face are not understood and ignored by those at the top of the party and rarely discussed in the open, less they damage their chance of re-election.

There is nothing more isolated and individualistic than voting. It is the act of one person in a booth by themselves. It is the total opposite of collective struggle. The individual is alone before, during and after the act of voting. Indeed, unlike direct action, which, by its very nature, throws up new forms of organisation in order to manage and coordinate the struggle, voting creates no alternative forms of working class self-management. Nor can it. It simply empowers an individual (the politician) to act on behalf of a collection of other individuals (the voters). Political parties forsake direct action in favour of success in elections (indeed, winning elections will soon enough become the be-all and end-all of their activity). Also, if radicals are elected the whole focal point of struggle changes. Rather than direct struggle against the state and the boss, this is seen as being no longer needed as the elected representatives will act, or people will think they will act, and so do not act themselves. They have elected someone to fight for them and so do not see, or realise, the need to fight themselves.

In a lot of ways, direct action is a more effective means for people to have a say in society than voting is. Voting is a lottery, your preferred candidate may not get elected, and all the time and energy put into supporting them is wasted. With direct action, you can be sure that your work will offer some kind of results, and the experience you gain, the lessons learnt, and networks and connections built up in the process, cannot be taken away from you.

Also voting is only possible when election time comes around, direct action can be applied whenever the need rises. Relying on electoralism means you can only address whatever topics are current in the political agendas of candidates, while direct action can be applied to deal with the issues in every aspect of your life.

In other words our support for direct action is linked with our rejection of voting, and our call to not vote stresses the importance of direct action, as well as having an important educational effect in highlighting that the state is not neutral, but serves to protect class rule, and that meaningful change only comes from below. So just not voting is not enough, we need to organise and fight. In the words of an anarchist member of the Jura Federation writing in 1875:
“Instead of begging the State for a law compelling employers to make them work only so many hours, the trade associations directly impose this reform on the employers; in this way, instead of a legal text which remains a dead letter, a real economic change is effected by the direct initiative of the workers . . . if the workers devoted all their activity and energy to the organisation of their trades into societies of resistance, trade federations, local and regional, if, by meetings, lectures, study circles, papers and pamphlets, they kept up a permanent socialist and revolutionary agitation; if by linking practice to theory, they realised directly, without any bourgeois and governmental intervention, all immediately possible reforms, reforms advantageous not to a few workers but to the labouring mass — certainly then the cause of labour would be better served than . . . legal agitation.” [quoted by Caroline Cahm, Kropotkin and the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism, p. 226]

So we urge people to not vote in order to encourage activity, not apathy. Instead of spending our time urging people to vote for one set or another of groups offering slightly different ways to manage capitalism, we raise the option of choosing to rule yourself, to organise with others in your workplace, in your community, everywhere. We offer the option of something you cannot vote for, a new society. Instead of waiting for others to make some changes for you, along with all anarchists we urge people to do it themselves. In this way, we can build an alternative to the state, which can reduce its power now and, in the long run, replace it. This is the core of our anarchist principles and why we say don’t vote.

By making the principled choice not to participate in the election, we open up an opportunity to question the acceptance of the status quo. We consider it is important to stand up and remind people what’s wrong with voting. Maybe by consciously not voting, and explaining to others why we’re not voting, we can change people’s beliefs about government. We use this opportunity to say that there are better, more meaningful ways to achieve a fairer, freer, more meaningful life; that we don’t need to resort to the state to solve problems.

As anarchists we simply think that our policy should be the destruction of the State rather than looking to work with it. We believe this stance is essential if we are to be able to promote anarchism, and if we are going to mark a divide between others and ourselves, and place ourselves firmly outside the activity and the political games of all the other parties. We believe this is essential so as not to be seen as another bunch of leftists after votes, and to avoid being tainted by the inevitable failure of any government to meet our needs. We believe in revolution and have a revolutionary ideology and we want to win people over to anarchism. If people started associating Anarchism with the political parties, then it would be difficult for people to understand what Anarchism actually is.

By arguing for our anti-electoral position we can get our ideas across about the nature of the current system, how elected politicians are controlled and shaped by the state, and how the state acts to protect capitalism. In addition, it allows us to present our ideas of direct action and encourage those disillusioned with political parties and the current system to become anarchists by presenting a viable alternative to the sham of party politics. For, after all, a sizeable percentage of not just non-voters but voters too are disillusioned with the current set-up. Many who do not vote do so for essentially political reasons, such as being fed up with the political system, failing to see any major differences between the parties, or recognition that the candidates do not represent their interests. Many who do vote do so simply against the other candidate, seeing them as the least-worst option. This is an opportunity when people are talking a little more about politics to challenge the notion that important decisions can only be made by a few, and put across our anarchist ideas.

We started with a quote from Vernon Richards, and we will finish with one:
“If the anarchist movement has a role to play in practical politics it is surely that of suggesting to, and persuading, as many people as possible that their freedom from the Hitlers, Francos and the rest, depends not on the right to vote or securing a majority of votes ‘for the candidate of one’s choice,’ but on evolving new forms of political and social organisation which aim at the direct participation of the people, with the consequent weakening of the power, as well of the social role, of government in the life of the community.” [“Anarchists and Voting”, pp. 176-87, The Raven, no. 14, pp. 177-8]

So… Don’t vote, or spoil your vote if you want, and let’s start making a real difference.

internacional / movimiento anarquista / opinión / análisis Thursday July 30, 2020 18:57 byJosé Luis Carretero

“Para dejar de ser esclavo hay que trabajar”. Estas palabras, pronunciadas por el anarquista Lucio Urtubia en una entrevista en Radio Klara, fueron las que elegí colocar al inicio del prólogo de mi segundo libro, “El bienestar malherido. Seguridad Social, desempleo y flexiguridad en el siglo XXI”, publicado en el año 2008.

Eran los tiempos del inicio de la crisis global más importante desde 1929. “El bienestar malherido”, un libro breve en formato de bolsillo con una portada del compañero Oscar O., que imitaba, trascendiéndolas, las ilustraciones de sendos discos de Dead Kennedys y The Crass, pretendía hacer una aproximación didáctica y manejable a las nuevas (entonces) tendencias gerenciales a favor de la flexibilidad laboral y la reforma de las pensiones. El corazón de lo que luego conoceríamos como “austeridad neoliberal” estaba ahí.

Y también, como ya he dicho, estaba Lucio Urtubia.

A Lucio lo conocí gracias al libro que me pasó José López, más conocido en los ambientes ácratas madrileños como “el López”, entonces un agitado joven insurreccionado, cliente de mi despacho y, por cierto, objetivo de alguna acusación penal de la que yo llegué a defenderle como abogado, de la fue finalmente absuelto porque era inocente.

Era un libro sobre un gigante. Un gigante ácrata. Y, aún más importante, un gigante vivo. Quienes no sepan quien fue Lucio Urtubia, hasta su recientísimo fallecimiento, y sólo lo conozcan por las escasas referencias que de él quedan en los medios de comunicación masivos, no pueden valorar en su justa medida la dimensión del personaje. Digámoslo claramente: la dimensión de un revolucionario.

Porque Lucio Urtubia fue ante todo un revolucionario. Un revolucionario anarquista que se dedicó a la actividad clandestina contra la dictadura franquista, que compartió luchas con militantes legendarios como Quico Sabaté, y que se especializó en falsificar documentos que salvaron las vidas de miles de militantes clandestinos de toda Europa, pertenecieran o no a su corriente política.

Es en medio de ese actuar de décadas en la clandestinidad y de ese aprendizaje de la resistencia y de la lucha por la libertad, que Lucio hizo aquello que más fama le ha dado ante la opinión publicada, ante los medios masivos. Lucio falsificó una enorme suma en cheques de viaje del City Bank, que fueron usados por las redes clandestinas de los revolucionarios europeos para financiarse. Y, cuando la gran transnacional se enteró y trató de agarrarle y meterle en la cárcel, consiguió dar la vuelta a la situación y salir relativamente indemne. Como un Robin Hood rojinegro, navarro y afable, Lucio robó a los más ricos para defender los derechos y las libertades de quienes buscaban en la lucha una forma de superar un sistema ya periclitado, pero aun brutalmente sanguinario.

También organizó fugas, como la del dramaturgo Albert Boadella, encerrado entonces por los cancerberos del dictador Francisco Franco. Esos que no fueron juzgados después, ni por los tribunales ni por los académicos grises de la España sin memoria, que aún se pregunta si sería lícito hablar de lo que sucedió en los campos y las cunetas de la muerte de los años cuarenta y siguientes.

Lucio dijo más de una vez que, ante todo, era albañil. No debemos tomar esta declaración como algo secundario, frívolo, poco importante. Lucio era revolucionario, también, porque era albañil. Porque todos los días acudía a su trabajo y porque no pretendía vivir de aparentar la revolución desde los mullidos sillones de la mascarada que llaman política. Lucio intentó “tomar los cielos por asalto” sin dejar de levantar las paredes de las casas proletarias con su sudor y su energía prometeica. No estamos hablando de un prometedor aspirante a pertenecer a la “La Casta” que habla contra ella, de un pulido constructor de arabescos discursos nebulosos, sino de un trabajador que, en su tiempo de vida hurtado al patrón tras ganarse la vida con su trabajo, expresa su voluntad de liberación desde una práctica más allá de las normas falsarias de lo cotidiano.

Para dejar de ser esclavo hay que trabajar. Porque los que no trabajan acaban siendo esclavos de quienes les alimentan e infectos espías de aquellos a los que tienen que traicionar para ser alimentados. Hay quienes asumen su condición de proletarios, con o sin trabajo. Saben que no tienen la propiedad de los medios de producción y que, por lo tanto, tienen que vender su fuerza y su energía al patrón unas horas al día, para poder combatirlo y expresarse libremente el resto de su vida. También hay quienes, huyendo del trabajo, acaban vendiéndole al patrón cosas mucho más importantes, como la dignidad o la amistad, y entregan lo más profundo de su personalidad tratando de convertirse en una marca que no necesite “trabajar”.

“El bienestar malherido” se iniciaba, también, con otra cita de José Ingenieros:

“Vivir es aprender, para ignorar menos; es amar, para vincularnos a una parte mayor de la humanidad; es admirar, para compartir las excelencias de la naturaleza y de los hombres; es un esfuerzo por mejorarse; un incesante afán de elevación hacia ideales definidos.”

A la luz de este texto, no hay duda de que Lucio vivió, desde el sudor de la obra hasta el fragor de la lucha clandestina. Vivió con dignidad, lucidez y la libertad posible para un revolucionario en la sociedad de la ignominia.

Tampoco hay duda de que admirar a Lucio es también vivir. Vivir con la plenitud de la revuelta y el sabor vibrante la camaradería.

Salud, Lucio. Albañil de la nueva Arcadia. Un día levantaremos finalmente los muros que no has podido terminar.

internacional / movimiento anarquista / comunicado de prensa Monday July 20, 2020 19:51 byFederación Anarquista Uruguaya

Ha fallecido Lucio Urtubia, compañero militante anarquista español, exiliado en Francia, donde vivió gran parte de su vida. Obrero albañil, dedicó su vida a la actividad militante hasta el final. Luchador contra la dictadura franquista, participó en actividades de resistencia y colaboró activamente con todos los movimientos sociales y políticos que luchan por un mundo mejor. Brindó solidaridad a compañeros/as perseguidos/as y exiliados/as que llegaban a Europa desde América Latina.

Se hizo conocido por una acción contra el City Bank, una falsificación de travellers de dicho banco. No pudo ser condenado por dicha acción, incluso habiendo sido detenido. La planificación desarrollada por Lucio para este tipo de acciones era de alto nivel. Estuvo en Uruguay en 2006 para los 50 años de FAU, en el marco de todas las actividades desarrolladas en dicha conmemoración. Participó de una actividad en nuestro local donde se abordaron diversas temáticas. Fue por demás importante su presencia para toda nuestra militancia.

Hoy un 18 de julio, en otro nuevo aniversario de los acontecimientos españoles, al producirse el golpe de Estado de Francisco Franco y la ejemplar Resistencia del pueblo español, donde no solo se enfrentó al fascismo sino que a la par se construía una sociedad distintas con las colectivizaciones, Lucio se va, se despide de todos nosotros con esa sonrisa cómplice y el puño en alto.


ireland / britain / anarchist movement / opinion / analysis Monday July 13, 2020 20:26 byZaher Baher

This is a very tiny contribution about the factors that caused the weakness of anarchism and the anarchist movement. Once we establish our weakness perhaps it won’t be difficult to overcome our problems. This article covers only three of our weak areas.

Why anarchism isn’t a popular idea?

By: Zaher Baher
June 2020

I am sure that many people have written about this subject before. However, this is one of the major questions where the more we write about it, the more clarification and explanation is needed.

To start, we need to ask a couple of questions: What kind of system do we live under? What does the system actually want?

We live under the most powerful and brutal system that recent history has seen, and it is a global system too. It does not miss any opportunity to strengthen and renew itself, anytime and anywhere. Neither the systems of feudalism and slavery had this strength, or a global reach, so they both remained local systems.

The capitalist system does not just create different laws and tools to maintain its survival, it manages to contain and control anything that has ever been built or made. Its tools are used to serve the system in one way or another, and if it can’t co-opt an idea or movement, it can defuse and distort it easily through its mainstream media and social media.

Capitalism has developed all kinds of bodies, such as the parliamentary system, media, markets, political parties, spy networks, military, police, banks and other financial institutions, many hierarchical institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), charities, businesses, nationalism, religion, media and sports. In addition, the state encourages useless demonstrations and protests to continue, although with much restriction: watching, photographing and monitoring the participants. In doing so, the state can at least benefit in a couple of ways: it knows that it is a good way for people to take out their anger and frustrations with no result. Through these demonstrations and protests, the state can discover the identities of these activists, leading them to be watched, monitored and put on a blacklist.

The capitalist system is not just an economic system, it is an entire system that includes all of these bodies I mentioned above. All of them serve the system in different ways, while also operating to reject any serious and effective ideas or activities which might undermine capitalism.

All of these institutions have been built on a hierarchical system. The job of these institutions is not just to allow the people at the top to make all the decisions, but to make the individuals at the bottom voiceless, and completely dependent on those at the top. The purpose of these institutions is to make people forget their individual minds, their ideas and interests, their creativity, and finally their agency to change society.

In short, the system uses its media to persuade people to do more shopping and to consume unnecessary goods through bombarding people with adverts, while also putting them in debt. It tries to convince people that this is the best and only type of life, and that exploitation, poverty, homelessness and unemployment have always existed throughout history.

This is the system we live under. It forces us to do whatever it wants and imposes on us whatever conditions suit itself.
Anarchism does not just totally reject all of these conditions and restrictions, it rejects the system itself that created all of these. Anarchism is the only real enemy of the system, and it struggles and fights it in different ways. The state, the politicians, and the liberal and neo-liberal economists all know this reality.

While the theories and strategies of anarchism, are very well known by the state, the majority of the general population does not recognise or understand what anarchism actually is. Those who are familiar with the idea find it strange and unworkable. They do not believe that society can be organised by the people themselves, nor do they believe that a classless and non-hierarchical society can be achieved.

People have difficulty understanding that it’s possible for them to run an entire society and make their own decisions for themselves. But this is not just possible, it has happened throughout history. People don’t think that without managers and directors, they themselves could do all the work in every department:- from the NHS, to education, transport, construction work, agriculture, shops and supermarkets, municipalities, and other services in the society.

We are the people who create the capital and the capitalists in the first place, not the opposite. If you put all of the world’s billionaires in a house for a year, along with all of their money, they couldn’t make a penny.

The politicians and media always remind us that it’s the rich who maintain society, creating work that brings prosperity to all of us, so we must be grateful to them. In fact, these bodies are hiding the truth from us that work and the workforce came first, and money and capitals came second. In other words, it is the work and the workforce that creates the wealth that maintains the state and capitalists. The history of human beings has shown that people have lived without the state and capitalism.

There is another factor as to why anarchism is not popular. We are not as active as we need to be. We are divided between ourselves, instead of having solidarity and support for one another, we criticise each other and write about each other. Although, we call ourselves the real fighters against the system, many of us have probably adapted a capitalist mentality, or are under great influences of it. We do not communicate often, even with our comrades. We are individualist, cutting ourselves off from our communities. We do not share our communities’ problems and we do not participate when they are fighting for their demands. We believe in mass or social revolution, yet we marginalise ourselves by staying in a corner, either doing nothing or very little, but still calling ourselves active anarchists.

internacional / movimiento anarquista / opinión / análisis Wednesday July 08, 2020 21:16 byper

Reflexiones acerca de la intelectualidad anarquista: Sobre la presentación del libro Hacia un Pueblo Fuerte de Felipe Correa

1) Como decían nuestros queridos Sin Dios … La Facultad, clínica muerta …

Según Antonio Bar en La CNT en los años rojos, los orígenes del sindicalismo revolucionario español (que diferencia de la fase anarcosindicalista posterior) estuvieron caracterizados por cierta desconfianza respecto a los intelectuales: hasta que no se crea el Sindicato de Obreros Intelectuales y Profesiones Liberales estaba vetada, de hecho, su afiliación. Se les consideraba poco menos que sospechosos de desviación ideológica pequeño burguesa. Se admitía, entonces, su colaboración desde fuera de los sindicatos siempre que a un ideal individual de encumbramiento sustituyan el de emancipación colectiva. Que no se me malinterprete: quien escribe esto, por suerte o por desgracia, al igual que el compañero que hizo, el 12 de junio de 2020, la presentación de su libro, ha sido sometido al intento de tamizado mental de la engrasada maquinaria académica burguesa.

Solo que uno se sorprende a veces de como su lenguaje y categorías analíticas abstractas han llegado a colonizar el anarquismo y los movimientos sociales ¿a qué me refiero? A mi modo de verlo este acostumbra a mostrarse como una incapacidad manifiesta de descender a lo concreto perdiéndose en vaguedades teóricas que solo parecen descifrables en el contexto de las instituciones de las que provienen. Cierto estilo académico acostumbra a caracterizarse por la ausencia de ejemplos, expresados en el lenguaje de sus protagonistas, y su incapacidad por conectarlos con las categorías usadas a fin de hacerlas más comprensibles para los protagonistas de las luchas. Los abordajes teóricos del anarquismo especifista acostumbran a pecar de ello lo que pone en evidencia, a mi entender, la férrea división del trabajo existente en esta corriente: de forma similar al bolchevismo existe una visión acrítica del papel de la intelectualidad (a diferencia del sindicalismo revolucionario) como vanguardia esclarecedora de las masas.

2) El libro en cuestión

En cierto sentido, lo anteriormente dicho, se refleja en Hacia un pueblo fuerte de Felipe Correa. Expresiones que ahora puedo rescatar como las estructuras sistémicas de los distintos tipos de dominación constituyen el sistema de dominación o protagonismo popular de las clases dominadas son auténticas perogrulladas (verdades evidentes) y tautologías (repeticiones innecesarias) que no aportan mayor información y cuyo objetivo parece ser buscar el asentimiento fácil del lector sin entrar en temas que puedan ser realmente espinosos. Esto es más evidente cuando se aterriza de lleno en la problemática cuestión del sujeto revolucionario, aquí Correa afirma que:

En la concepción anarquista del poder popular no se da preferencia a una clase o sector de clase (…) pues los anarquistas, a pesar de reconocer que el contexto económico es absolutamente central, consideran que este no determina todos los demás ámbitos de la sociedad y, por lo tanto, un proyecto de poder popular debe tener en cuenta, además del ámbito económico, los ámbitos jurídico-político-militar e ideológico-cultural.

Analicemos este párrafo con detalle: el contexto económico puede que no determine pero si condiciona, es más, constituye, en una economía capitalista, el principal condicionante social lo que justifica sobradamente dar preferencia a la clase trabajadora (eso sí, manejando un concepto amplio de ella que incluya a los asalariados de la economía formal y a la creciente pobreza urbana caracterizada por la heterogeneidad en sus formas de vida). Entonces, tener en cuenta los otros ámbitos que expone al final no es óbice para defender esta preferencia. Pero es que la oscuridad conceptual de este párrafo puede llevarnos fácilmente a la sospecha: si en las conceptualizaciones de estos anarquistas el hecho de que no se da preferencia a una clase guarda relación con tener en cuenta los ámbitos jurídico-político-militar e ideológico-cultural…

¿Significa esto que hay que buscar, junto al proletariado, la construcción de un sujeto revolucionario que incluya, por ejemplo, fiscales, políticos profesionales y oficiales del Ejército? (esto es lo que se puede desprender de considerar el ámbito jurídico-político-militar como esfera autónoma del ámbito económico: incluir, en consecuencia, a los sectores beneficiados por la autonomía relativa del Estado que decía el marxista Poulantzas). Este asunto es espinoso: se podría responder, por ejemplo, que la CNT y la FAI también contaron con la colaboración de algunos de estos en organismos revolucionarios creados durante la Revolución y la resistencia al Alzamiento fascista pero, en todo caso, colaborar no es idéntico a considerarlos un sujeto revolucionario al mismo nivel de la clase obrera (el jurista Eduardo Barriobero se puso a disposición de los anarcosindicalistas en la Oficina Jurídica al igual que los pocos militares republicanos en Barcelona).

Por otra parte, respecto al ámbito ideológico-cultural en el punto 4 de este artículo se explica el significado que intuyo en el texto de Felipe Correa. En relación a esto también hay que señalar una constante en la mayoría de textos del especifismo anarquista y este no es una excepción: la ausencia de un análisis del papel de las clases medias, y la política a adoptar respecto a estas, en todo proceso revolucionario. ¿Se debe moderar el discurso a fin de incorporarlas y no correr el riesgo de que graviten hacia la reacción o se debe defender el programa revolucionario de la clase obrera entendiendo que esta se basta con sus fuerzas para forzar la incorporación subordinada de los sectores medios? Para nosotros, en Catalunya, esta pregunta es de lo más pertinente debido al viraje social, protagonizado por el pequeño empresariado y sectores de la aristocracia obrera intelectual, hacia las propuestas independentistas de un sector emergente de la burguesía catalana.

Para finalizar este punto, me gustaría destacar la confusión que acostumbra a darse en el especifismo latinoamericano, y la obra de Correa no es una excepción, entre los planteamientos históricos del anarcosindicalismo español de la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) y el movimiento obrero anarquista de la Federación Obrera Regional Argentina (FORA) del Vº Congreso. Fundamentalmente, la diferencia radicaba en que, en la primera, a partir de su Congreso de 1919, se reconoce la finalidad anarquista de la organización si bien está abierta al conjunto de la clase trabajadora, mientras que en la segunda la presencia ideológica del anarquismo (concretamente el de raíz más individualista y humanista) es mayor y se niegan las teorías del sindicalismo revolucionario por ser, según esta visión, de influencia marxista y contrarias al anarquismo. Así debe quedar claro que la doctrina de la FORA-Vº Congreso no era propiamente anarcosindicalismo y que, por tanto, no puede argumentarse el rechazo de este último, en cuanto a estrategia, en base al doctrinarismo histórico de esta organización libertaria argentina.

3) Desempolvando la trabazón anarquista

Por otra parte y volviendo a la terminología del libro, hay que entender que expresiones como estrategia política de construcción de un proyecto libertario de masas son más bien ajenas al lenguaje tradicionalmente utilizado por el anarcosindicalismo, no demasiado amigo de florituras que tras un sonido rimbombante esconden la clásica visión vertical de lo social supeditado a lo político. Como nos recordaba cierto cartel confederal: La CNT no es una organización de masas sino de trabajadores confederados. Por otra parte, es posible que, en Latinoamérica, donde el anarcosindicalismo empezó a perder fuelle antes que en España, no se conciba, por parte del anarquismo especifista, la relación entre intelectuales y movimiento obrero como eminentemente problemática, cuando aquí nos encontramos bien viva la sana desconfianza respecto a los primeros presente en el alma sindicalista revolucionaria del anarcosindicalismo.

Antonio Bar nos recuerda como esa desconfianza fue perdiéndose, en parte, a raíz de la fusión anarcosindicalista que representó, en buena parte aunque no solo, la toma de conciencia por parte de los intelectuales anarquistas de la necesidad de militar en los sindicatos a fin de no aislarse de los trabajadores. Esta idea, que daría lugar posteriormente a la expresión de trabazón como defensa de la colaboración estrecha entre los grupos anarquistas y el sindicato, difiere de la rígida separación en los niveles político y social que promueven los especifistas, aunque lleguen a defender también un nivel intermedio calificado como tendencia y que consiste en agrupar a los anarquistas y afines como corriente interna dentro de movimientos sociales más amplios. Un rígido esquema que lo único que significa, en la práctica, es la obsesión por enchufar o captar a ciertos militantes libertarios o sociales artificialmente creando una imagen irreal de que se es algo en lugar de priorizar la propaganda por el hecho, es decir, la extensión de las ideas anarquistas en base a la práctica concreta.

La vieja idea de la trabazón (como noción que promovía un anarquismo insurreccional que aun así no dejaba de estar al servicio de la lucha obrera) difiere también de la desvinculación patente que existe hoy en día, y de forma recíproca, entre ciertas expresiones anarcosindicalistas y anarquistas: debido a que, por una parte, se sostiene a veces una visión excesivamente sindicalista pura del anarcosindicato (obviando que se trata, si usamos con las debidas reservas el lenguaje de los especifistas, de una organización político-sindical más que exclusivamente sindical) y a que, por la otra, se ha asumido por ciertas corrientes del anarquismo discursos postmodernos referentes a la desaparición de la clase obrera o, como mínimo, de su potencial revolucionario: y considero que, a menudo, no se es suficientemente consciente que estas concepciones provienen, en buena parte, de la colonización que los valores de clase media han realizado entre los mismos trabajadores y los sectores precarizados de esta.

4) Intelectuales, trabajadores y poder popular

Unos mismos valores que considero que, en el caso del especifismo latinoamericano que sirve de referente a algunas expresiones libertarias ibéricas, no dejan de representar cierto encumbramiento de la intelectualidad académica por percibirla como la única capaz (a través de sus categorías creadoras de un determinado sentido) de cohesionar unos sectores populares cuya heterogeneidad de clase no deja de guardar relación con el fallido proceso histórico de industrialización y las privatizaciones. De ahí el uso de algunas categorías como Poder Popular, o incluso Ruptura Democrática en sus expresiones más pacatas, que aseguran conceptualmente la ausencia de tensiones entre los trabajadores cada vez más precarios y los pocos que consiguen pasar los filtros de clase de unas instituciones universitarias cada vez más elitistas: recordar que en algunos países como Uruguay, por ejemplo, si bien se da la gratuidad de las matrículas universitarias, no existen becas para mantenerse lo que hace prácticamente imposible permanecer en un sistema que exige la evaluación continuada.

El aterrizaje en Catalunya de las nociones de Poder Popular defendidas por Felipe Correa, aparte de significar la continuación del intento de implantar unas categorías que chocan con la pervivencia del obrerismo anarcosindicalista y su desconfianza innata hacia las vaguedades de un populismo de corte intelectual, representan también el intento ciertamente desesperado de algunos sectores de la intelectualidad académica para que no se profundice la brecha entre ella y los sectores explotados de la sociedad. Intento paradójico, por cuanto, por otra parte, se sigue teniendo una concepción rígida de lo político y lo social absolutamente compartimentada y dividida en tareas especializadas. Y esto no puede más que generar las mismas desconfianzas y susceptibilidades respecto a los luchadores sociales honestos que produce cualquier otro grupúsculo revolucionario con pretensiones.

5) Concluyendo …

Así que ante disfraces conceptuales que para lo único que sirven es para seguir reproduciendo (eso si, en una versión más izquierdista) un sesgo de clase que, hoy en día, se traduce cada vez más en la esfera del conocimiento (como nos recordaba, aunque suene paradójico, el científico social chileno Rodrigo Larraín respecto la progresiva cretinización de los mejor educados) solo queda recuperar el discurso y la práctica del anarquismo obrero y el sindicalismo revolucionario: recuperando la propaganda por el hecho en las movilizaciones sociales a fin de extender el pensamiento libertario y realizando un esfuerzo por hacerse entender más allá de los círculos de militantes anarquistas.

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