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venezuela / colombia / workplace struggles / portada Sunday June 17, 2018 17:07 byGrupo Libertario Via Libre
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La más reciente contienda electoral por la cabeza del Poder Ejecutivo en Colombia tuvo un lugar central en el debate político y social del país, llegando a convertirse en el pan de cada día de la población. La generalización de las redes sociales, la vasta propaganda eleccionaria y el intenso cubrimiento informativo, pusieron a la gente a discutir de política con una intensidad especial. Finalmente, el pasado domingo 27 de mayo de 2018, se realizó la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales de Colombia para elegir el presidente número 60 del Estado, que definió como contendientes de una segunda vuelta a los candidatos Iván Duque y Gustavo Petro.

Como Grupo Libertario Vía Libre nos parece una tarea urgente presentar algunas líneas de análisis sobre el actual panorama electoral, con el objetivo de trazar rutas de acción común. Por tal motivo, a partir de la información sobre los resultados de esta elección contenida en el boletín 54 de pre conteo de votos emitido por la Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil, queremos adelantar las siguientes reflexiones.

Ver también :
- Votando o no votando: las soluciones las conseguimos luchando Rebeldía Contrainformativa - CEP Enraizando

north america / mexico / the left / review Saturday June 16, 2018 03:28 byWayne Price

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber is an important organizer of North Carolina's Moral Monday movement and now of the national Poor People's Campaign. He and his co-workers have organized large scale demonstrations and civil disobedience at statehouses across the U.S. He has worked to build a fusion coalition of oppressed and exploited people. This book provides a view of the political and religious thinking which has motivated him and many others.

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness [mercy], and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah (Quoted frequently by Rev. Barber)

The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber became nationally known in 2013 for his role in organizing massive demonstrations of African-American and white working class and poor people in North Carolina. “Tens of thousands of people came for thirteen consecutive Moral Mondays” to rally at the statehouse. “By the end of the legislative session, nearly a thousand people had been arrested in the largest wave of mass civil disobedience since the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960.” (x)

Now he is the co-chair of the effort to re-build Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign, with demonstrations at state capitals across the country. Thousands of people have been going to their statehouses to take part in the largest coordinated civil disobedience action across states in US history. This is an effort to mobilize a vast “fusion movement” of a wide range of working, poor, discriminated-against, oppressed, and exploited women and men, together with people concerned about war and ecological destruction.

This book was written after Rev. Barber had organized the Moral Monday movement and before he had begun to build the new Poor People’s Campaign. It is an excellent introduction to his strategic and ethical thinking and to the faith which motivates him. The book covers parts of his family and personal history. That includes the physical ailment which has afflicted him for years but which did not stop his organizing efforts. However, I will focus on his overall thinking.

He calls for a “Third Reconstruction.” The first Reconstruction followed the Civil War, and was a time of unprecedented opportunities for the ex-slaves. It was destroyed in a violent conservative backlash which established Jim Crow. The “Second Reconstruction” was the result of the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, which ended Southern legal segregation. Now Rev. Barber is calling for a “Third” Reconstruction which will finally end racism and other forms of oppression.

The Fusion Coalition

Two things stand out in what Rev. Barber is doing. One is the kind of “fusion coalition” which he is working to build. The other is the moral/religious basis on which he is building it.

Consistent with the prophet’s instruction to “walk humbly with your God,” he prefers to call himself an “organizer” rather than a “leader.” From his first days organizing, he believed in a joint struggle of the African-American movement and of union organizing by workers (of all races and ethnicities), both supported by progressive forces in the church. “Civil rights could not be separated from workers’ rights….” (48) “Is the real issue today race or is it class? We answer: Yes, it’s race and class.” (128) But like his inspiration, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he came to expand this conception while building a “fusion coalition” movement in North Carolina.

We had folks who cared about education, folks who cared about living wages, and others who were passionate about the 1.2 million North Carolinians who didn’t have access to health care. We also had groups petitioning for redress for black and poor women who’d been forcibly sterilized in state institutions, organizations advocating for public financing in elections, and historically black colleges and universities petitioning for better state funding….Groups concerned about discrimination in hiring, others concerned about affordable housing, and people opposed to the death penalty and other glaring injustices in our criminal justice system. Finally, I noted the movements for environmental justice, immigrant justice, civil rights enforcement, and an end to America’s ‘war on terror’.” (49)

Over time, people with these varying concerns pulled together. “Moral Mondays…resulted from the efforts of 140 organizations that had worked together as a grassroots coalition for seven years.” (xi) Through conferences and joint actions, the groups came to realize some things: “We all recognized the same forces opposing us….{But] there were more of us than there were of them.” (50)

At times, Rev. Barber had to finesse in order to be as inclusive as he wanted. For example, there was a state referendum on same-sex marriage, deliberately raised by the right to split the LGBTQ community from religious African-Americans. His movement took the position, “it wasn’t our job to endorse same-sex marriage….But the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law was a constitutional and moral principle which our movement had not only to endorse but also to defend….The codification of hate is never righteous. Legalized discrimination is never just.” (91) This argument was persuasive in the Black community.

Another issue arose when discussing with Janet Cohn, the president of Planned Parenthood. “I’d told her that with our broad coalition we could not endorse abortion, so she asked, ‘Can you support women’s rights and access to health care?’ Absolutely, I told her.” In turn, he asked if she would “speak up for a black women’s right to vote?” (108) She was very willing to do so—and did. The coalition expanded.

However, this agreement seems unclear to me. The question of “abortion” should not be whether the movement calls for abortions, which it does not. It is whether to support women’s right to chose whether or not to have abortions or other procedures. It is not over what opinion anyone (in or out of church) has about abortion. It is over whether anti-choice people should use the courts, the legislatures, and the police—the power of the state— to enforce their opinion on all women (which, among other things, violates the moral value of humility!).

How far this effort of coalition-building by Rev. Barber and his allies will go on a national level is yet to be seen. But it is a vitally important effort. In the time of Trump and the rising of the extreme right, this is a major effort at organizing a real resistance and fight-back by the oppressed, exploited, and endangered. That has been described as “intersectionality”—understanding the ways in which different oppressions interact and overlap with each other, and the fights against them interact and overlap. This sort of fusion coalition building is essential.

However, a coalition can be too broad. He writes, “We needed to come together with banks and businesspeople….” (38) Of a unionizing drive, he states, “The factory owners could not simply be our enemy. the community needed them as much as they needed us.” (17) But what if the rich are the enemy? What if they benefit from poverty, weak or no unions, super-exploitation of the workers, the extra oppression and poverty of People of Color, the divisions among whites and African-Americans and Latinos, and between straight and LGBTQ people, and among religions, and between genders? No doubt there are personally decent business people, but overall, as a class, it is in their interest to maintain all the evils which Rev. Barber and his coalition are fighting. And he says so:

The people most frightened by our fusion coalition were the elites who had inherited the spoils of white power and had run North Carolina by proxy for generations….What they had on their side, they knew, was money. [They are] shrewd businessmen….” (62) In North Carolina, the coalition faced “an avalanche of corporate funded extremism.” (93)

It is one thing to have a nonviolent approach to racist white workers. It is really in their self-interest overall to work with African-American and Latino working people, and they can come to see it. But it is against the self-interest of the capitalists to join with their workers. It is a weakness of nonviolence as a philosophy that it does not see this (I am not speaking about nonviolence as a tactic). Further, the view that “the community needs” businesspeople shows a lack of imagination, especially for someone who once discussed “establishing worker-owned co-ops.” (5) Under present conditions workers have to live with their bosses, but it is possible to think of an alternate, radically democratic and cooperative, way to organize an economy (see Price 2014).

Writing about the English Civil War (of Cromwell and others), Lawrence Stone concluded that a necessary prerequisite to any revolution was “polarization into two coherent groups or alliances of what are naturally and normally a series of fractional and shifting tensions and conflicts within a society.” (quoted in Foner 1980; 31). While not advocating a revolution, Rev. Barber is working at building a “coherent group or alliance” out of conflicted and fractionalized social forces. This is a deliberate effort, as stated in the book’s subtitle, to “overcome the politics of division and fear.” But people need to recognize that a “coherent alliance” of the people will necessarily be counterposed to another “coherent group” of the rich and powerful.

The Moral Movement

Central to Rev. Barber’s approach is a fundamentally moral appeal. In the words of the prophet Micah, which Barber likes to quote, the aim is “to do justice [and] to love kindness” (often written as “mercy”). His views are rooted in the African-American prophetic tradition. Theologically, he presents himself as a Christian “conservative.” He jokes that his politically conservative opponents are theologically “liberal,” in the sense that they ignore or twist the large parts of the Christian Bible which speaks of doing justice and loving kindness, of helping the poor, of supporting the least among us, of rejecting riches and power, of being humble, and so on. Nor does he limit himself to Christianity. He specifically rejects the view that the Christian church should be the only champion of ethical values in society. He includes all religions, making a point of including Muslims. “My Holy Bible is not the only holy book.” (105)

The Rev. Barber rejects what he takes to be “the liberal consensus that suggests that faith is either divisive or inherently regressive.” Instead he advocates “a faith-rooted moral movement that welcomes people of all faiths, as well as those who struggle with faith. (66) As a radical humanist, I too reject liberal condescension towards religious views or the belief that religion is “inherently regressive.” I respect all faiths. While some have used religion to justify the worst of oppressions (as Rev. Barber knows), religious faith has motivated great struggles for freedom and justice.

However I find his last phrase somewhat condescending toward atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists, etc., as well as similar references to“people of no particular faith.” (38) I do not feel that I am “struggling with faith” or have “no particular faith,” since I have particular views of my own. In general, I have not found that non-theistic people are any less moral or ethically motivated than are believers in particular religions. (See Price 2009.)

Rev. Barber describes how he came to understand the importance of an directly moral approach when supporting a union-organizing drive at a North Carolina Smithfield hog-processing factory. “In the media as well as in the community, the story was simply one of workers’ interests versus business interests.” (69) It was difficult to develop community support. So they decided “to change the narrative by making the workers’ struggle a moral cause for our whole coalition.” (69) They exposed the hard work, the suffering, and the mistreatment of the workers and their families. “The public story was no longer one about workers versus bosses. It was about the moral challenge of people receiving the just fruit of the labor.” (70)

It is completely correct to point to the moral basis of a struggle, of the need to do the right thing, to do justice and love kindness in all our activities. However, as expressed, this can lead to a certain kind of blindness. Morality (justice and kindness) should not be counterposed to the self-interest of the oppressed. The issue of the Smithfield workers’ moral cause only became clear because they were struggling for their self-interest against that of the bosses. It is far easier for workers to see the justice of “receiving the just fruit of their labor” than it is for the bosses, whose financial self-interest lay in not seeing it. And it is easier for the community—and the members of the coalition—to see that justice if they realize that the struggle is in all their interests—because “We all recognized the same forces opposing us.” (50)

Elections and the Democratic Party

Most U.S. left and “progressive” forces have a strategy of electing Democrats to replace the Republicans, especially Donald Trump. (I am not talking about how isolated individuals vote every few years, but about the strategy of a movement.) The “Resistance” to Trumpism has become primarily a support for the Democratic Party. This party represents a liberal-to-moderate wing of the U.S. capitalist class. It supports capitalism, the attack on U.S. working people, the imperialist national state, and military aggression around the world. In words Democrats recognize the looming danger of global warming, but in practice they propose only mild and inadequate programs. As the failures of the Republicans has driven people to support the Democrats, so the repeated failures of the Democrats has driven people to support the Republicans. This includes the poverty, economic stagnation, low wages, and industrial decline of much of the country. Over decades, liberals, union officials, African-American community leaders, and other “progressives” have supported the Democrats as a “lesser evil.” The Republicans have consistently become more and more evil while the Democrats have become less and less good—that is, both parties have moved to their right. A minority of liberals have come to advocate a new, third, party as a strategy. This still relies on elections and the use of the government.

This is not Rev. Barber’s strategy. He notes that his coalition-building began “when Democrats were in power” in North Carolina. (52) The biased drawing of voting districts is something “which Democrats had engaged in as much as Republicans in the past.” (83) “No one was listening to poor people. Republicans and Democrats alike….” (88) He has worked for popular demonstrations and civil disobedience, rather than voting. Criticized for “not running…candidates who would champion our agenda. [He replied]…we will not win by starting a third party. We will win by changing the conversation for every candidate and party.” (124) He wants to raise “a clear agenda that doesn’t measure success only by electoral outcomes.” (129) He has opposed any effort to tie the coalition to political candidates or parties. He reports winning over working class and rural white people who had supported Republicans in the past, but were impressed that the movement was not a front for Democrats.

Yet his approach is not all that far from the liberal pro-Democratic strategy. He and his co-workers focus on statehouses and electoral laws. They protest the unfairness of the Republicans’ gerrymandering of electoral districts and their voter suppression efforts. These things are worth protesting because they are unfair and repressive. But even the purest, cleanest, representative democracy would still be dominated by the corporate elite. And even the best democracy would still be vulnerable to forces outside of elections as such.

For example, after the Civil War, the Reconstruction era had a wide range of African-Americans elected to state offices, he writes. “More blacks were elected to public office during the period from 1868 to 1880 than at any other time in American history….African-Americans wielded significant power in every statehouse.” (56) There was a coalition between African-Americans and many white Southerners. But all this electoral power came to nothing. The Southern white upper class, former slave owners and businesspeople, mobilized racism among the poorer whites. They armed these people, built up the Klan, instigated “race riots,” murdered and lynched Black leaders, used “violence, intimidation, and the passage of laws that, together came to be called Jim Crow.”(116) They took away the right to vote and all other rights, by legal and illegal measures. The national government, led by Republicans, did nothing in the defense of democracy.

Could this happen again? Consider the history of fascist coups in democratic European countries in the 20s and 30s or in the military coup in democratic Chile in 1973. To a lesser extent, even now, we have seen an African-American president be followed by a reactionary, racist, authoritarian president (who lost the popular vote), who has encouraged fascists, who has blatantly served the wealthy, and whose party has worked to suppress the votes of African-Americans and others.

It is dangerous to rely on elections and government power. The government is an instrument of the corporate rich and their agents and cannot be anything else. A mass movement has to built outside of and against the government and its big business masters. Even reforms are most likely to be won if there is a militant and independent mass movement. Lyndon Johnson's "support for the Voting Rights Act was in direct response to the coordinated organizing of Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SNCC, and local leaders in Selma, Alabama." (119)

Along with every other issue, there needs to be a focus on workers and their unions. This is not because they are the most deserving but because they have an enormous potential power. If the working people decided not to work for even a day, the whole system would grind to a halt. And they could potentially start things up in a different, democratic and cooperative, way. This would truly be a moral transformation of society.

Revolutionary Conclusions

Rev. Barber is aware that the racist capitalist system is facing a severe crisis. He quotes the radical economist Gar Alperowitz, “What we’re really beginning to experience is a process of slow decay, punctuated by a recurring economic crisis, one in which reforms achieve only sporadic gains.” (85) Barber adds, “Though we ended Jim Crow segregation in the 1960s…the wealth divide that is rooted in our history of race-based slavery is more extreme than it has ever been.” (xii-xiii) He warns that “Anything less [than a Third Reconstruction], I fear, will mean the self-destruction of our nation.” (xv)

The implication of these statements is that the struggle for reforms can only go so far. Limited gains may be won, and have been won, but they are harder and harder to achieve. “Only sporadic gains” are the order of the day. This poses questions for any popular movement of opposition, such as the Poor People’s Campaign.

It is necessary to build a fusion coalition to fight for reforms, but this is not enough. What is needed is a moral vision of a new kind of society, based on justice and kindness, freedom and equality, radical democracy and cooperation, in all their political, social, and economic aspects. The wealth and power of the capitalist class must be taken from it. Ordinary people—the working class and all oppressed—must be empowered. The Third Reconstruction needs to be a new American Revolution.


Barber, William J., with Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan (2016). The Third Reconstruction; How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear. Boston: Beacon Press.

Foner, Eric (1980). Politics and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford/NY: Oxford University Press.

Price, Wayne (2014). “Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises: A Revolutionary Program.” Anarkismo.

Price, Wayne (2009). “Religion and Revolution.” Anarkismo.

* written for

venezuela / colombia / community struggles / opinión / análisis Saturday June 16, 2018 00:16 byRebeldía Contrainformativa - CEP Enraizando

En definitiva, la cuestión para nosotras no se encuentra en votar o no votar, sino en encontrarnos para luchar, en unir fuerzas de manera horizontal, solidaria y de abajo a arriba para lograr conseguir vida digna, respeto a nuestros territorios y autogestión social de nuestras comunidades. Y en ese camino ya estamos, y lo demuestran las banderas de lucha que todavía aún son vigentes y requieren de toda nuestra energía y esfuerzo, y que al día de hoy la respuesta de guerra del establecimiento ha dejado 370 luchadores sociales muertos que han caído en defensa de la Madre Tierra, contra el extractivismo minero-energético, defendiendo los derechos humanos de sus comunidades, resistiendo contra la guerra en sus territorios, dando la pelea por los derechos de mujeres y compas LGBTI, rechazando el militarismo y paramilitarismo del Estado; es allí donde debemos concentrar nuestras fuerzas, en la voz rebelde del pueblo, no en domesticar esa voz en manos de Petro ni alejarnos de las luchas.

“El sufragio universal, mientras sea ejercido en una sociedad en la que el pueblo (…) esté económicamente dominado por una minoría detentadora de la propiedad y del capital, por independiente o libre que sea (…) o que lo parezca desde el punto de vista político, no podrá nunca producir más que elecciones ilusorias, antidemocráticas y absolutamente opuestas a las necesidades, a los instintos y a la voluntad real de las poblaciones.”- Mijaíl Bakunin

Colombia vive un escenario histórico que jamás había experimentado en 200 años de historia como República: la posibilidad de que quien ocupe la presidencia sea un candidato afín a la izquierda. Esto, por supuesto, teniendo presente que personajes famosos en el pasado que pudieron llegar a dicho cargo fueron asesinados por la oligarquía, dejando en los anales del país la tradición de que todo político alternativo que tenga posibilidades de disputarle el poder ejecutivo a la derecha termina primero muerto que presidente. Sin embargo, las condiciones actuales del país, la región y el mundo han posibilitado que Gustavo Petro, antiguo militante político del grupo armado M-19 y líder indiscutible del movimiento “Progresistas” -hoy Colombia Humana-, pueda estar en segunda vuelta presidencial contra Iván Duque, alfil y ficha clave de la extrema derecha colombiana y que hoy cuenta con el apoyo de prácticamente toda la burguesía nacional, pero cuya candidatura representa el proyecto de extrema del partido Centro Democrático y, obviamente, de su caudillo Álvaro Uribe. Pero, posicionándonos desde abajo y hacia la orilla libertaria, ¿qué pensamos y proponemos frente a la actual coyuntura?

Creemos que a estas alturas es importante abordar la discusión desde la mirada más profunda posible y superar las fórmulas facilistas o los eslóganes desgastados, que poco o nada permiten entender la dimensión real de las circunstancias, y de otro lado, solo pretenden llenar egos morales y políticos. Así, partimos de la premisa que antes de llegar a una propuesta frente a la coyuntura, debemos entender dos aristas del debate: por un lado, lo que representan los candidatos en sí y los escenarios donde cada uno sea presidente, y de otro lado, el fenómeno electoral, estatal y parlamentario en sí mismo y lo que representa para las oprimidas y el pueblo colombiano. Primero queremos empezar por hacer un recuento de las figuras que hoy centran nuestra atención:

Iván Duque es un político que poca politiquería parlamentaria ha hecho, más bien, se ha concentrado en desarrollar su carrera como agente administrativo de diversas instituciones (incluyendo el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo y las Naciones Unidas), no en vano hace un año era un completo desconocido para la mayor parte del país, al nunca haber ocupado un cargo público a parte de senador, al cual accedió solo a través de la lista cerrada del Uribismo. Sin embargo, se ha prefigurado como uno de los líderes más fuerte dentro del Centro Democrático, especialmente, por ser considerado el cuadro del sector más joven de la bancada y su carisma mediático (jugando fútbol, haciendo retos en YouTube, tocando la guitarra, entre otras cosas). La fuerza real de Duque ha descansado sobre la tremenda maquinaria ideológica y politiquera del uribismo, que a la larga le permitió ganar la consulta para su candidatura presidencial contra Marta Lucia Ramírez (cabeza no oficial del ala dura del Partido Conservador) y Alejandro Ordóñez (líder ultracatólico en el país) con un amplio margen, y desde el comienzo, puntear en las encuestas apoyado por amplios sectores de la derecha radical. Sin embargo, la anterior contradicción no se puede explicar sino es por la mano firme que ha tenido en la campaña Álvaro Uribe Vélez, antiguo presidente por 8 años y ahora senador, punta de lanza de los sectores de extrema derecha del país y caudillo del discurso anti-izquierdista, retardatario y paramilitar. Duque es solo el títere que esconde el retorno al poder de Uribe, quien luego de ser presidente intentó gobernar a través de Santos, y al sentirse traicionado por su anterior mano derecha, logró construir una poderosa maquinaria legislativa en el congreso, donde por dos periodos será senador y es en la práctica la principal fuerza; Duque en la presidencia sería un paso más para la retoma del fascismo criollo del poder, y cuyos planes serían seguidos por un intento de unificar las cortes, retrocediendo en la historia a los tiempos en los que el paramilitarismo gobernaba el país a su antojo. Esto se ve aún más profundizado por las propuestas de Duque y quienes le rodean, enfocadas a la reducción de libertades individuales (consumo de sustancias psicoactivas, aborto y enseñanza de la sexualidad en las escuelas), agudización del neoliberalismo a través de extractivismo, y una serie de propuestas económicas y militares que pretenden retomar la llamada “seguridad democrática”, que no es otra cosa que la militarización de nuestros territorios.

En la otra orilla se encuentra Gustavo Petro. Como ya se señaló, en su juventud fue militante del Movimiento 19 de abril, donde desempeñó tareas de masas ocupando el puesto de concejal en Zipaquirá y participando en la construcción de barrios populares, por cuya labor fue apresado y torturado por el ejército, hasta salir libre y ser partícipe de los diálogos de paz entre el “m” y el gobierno nacional. Luego de ahí se enfocó en asumir cargos públicos, primero como Representante a la Cámara por Cundinamarca (y luego repetiría por Bogotá en dos ocasiones), agregado diplomático en Bélgica, posteriormente senador de la república y finalmente como Alcalde de Bogotá, siendo también candidato presidencial en el 2010. Su carrera política ha pasado por la Alianza Democrática 19 de abril, el Polo Democrático Alternativo y, luego de su renuncia a este partido por diferencias con el trato que se daba a la corrupción interna y pujas personales, fundaría el “Movimiento Progresistas” cuya plataforma electoral para la Alcaldía de la capital fue la “Bogotá Humana”, hoy transmutada a la “Colombia Humana”. A lo largo de los años no ha logrado establecer un verdadero partido político alrededor suyo, pero si un movimiento que logra captar otros partidos, capas de ciertos movimientos sociales y ciudadanistas, intelectuales de centro-izquierda y un fuerte apoyo popular, mostrado lo anterior por ejemplo cuando fue destituido de la Alcaldía capitalina y donde logró movilizar una parte importante de la ciudad hasta la vuelta a su silla. Su propuesta de gobierno es cercana a las posturas reformistas, progresistas y de centro-izquierda, enfatizando en desarrollar un modelo económico que ha llamado “capitalismo humano” y tiene como objetivo llevar a Colombia por el rumbo del desarrollo económico regional con una visión ambientalista y social más proclive a los intereses de los sectores históricamente marginados del país. Dentro de quienes lo apoyan, se encuentra sectores históricos como el Partido Comunista, la Unión Patriótica, el MAIS (partido electoral indígena), la práctica totalidad de los movimientos políticos-sociales alternativos (Marcha Patriótica, Congreso de los Pueblos, MODEP) y la izquierda parlamentaria con la excepción del MOIR (partido-ficha de Jorge Enrique Robledo), contando también con las más actuales adhesiones del centro (Alianza Verde y Clara López) e incluso de ciertas bases y parlamentarios liberales, santistas y fajardistas.

Queremos comenzar por analizar que implica un gobierno de cada uno de los candidatos y luego abordar el debate desde un posicionamiento para que las de abajo nos alcemos con nuestra libertad, más allá de las pujas parlamentarias:

“Al fascismo no se le discute, se le destruye”- Buenaventura Durruti

Una muy probable victoria de Iván Duque implicaría toda una aplicación de la estrategia de guerra contra quienes luchan, estrategia que ya viene de tiempo atrás y también ha aplicado al pie de la letra los 8 años del gobierno Santos, pero que Duque llevaría un paso más allá. De esa forma, un dominio total de los poderes públicos de parte del uribismo significaría la militarización de los territorios, especialmente de aquellos de interés vital para el extractivismo, donde podría profundizarse el poderío paramilitar, las masacres y el desplazamiento forzado, que ya viene recobrando fuerza desde hace años a pesar de la supuesta “paz” que vende el gobierno Santos. Un gobierno de Duque también implicaría un sabotaje total a lo que se ha logrado por medio de las negociaciones de paz en términos de memoria y reparación para las víctimas del conflicto armado, y que, aunque no creamos que dichos acuerdos solucionen de fondo los problemas de las de abajo de ninguna forma, echar un paso para atrás es aumentar la impunidad (sobre todo en torno al mismo Uribe), revictimización de los luchadores sociales y la falta de verdad para quienes aún esperan los cuerpos de sus familiares, saber quién los mató o simplemente atar cabos con las alianzas multinacionales-paramilitarismo. Además, su presidencia implicaría un retroceso en las libertades individuales que ya se han mencionado. Con Uribe-Duque en la presidencia, el marco de acción para los movimientos sociales sería muy limitado, habría toda una ofensiva judicial, mediática y militar contra las luchas populares, donde sin lugar a dudas, la respuesta popular se hará sentir muy a pesar de los activistas de campaña de Petro quienes prefieren ofrecerle al pueblo desesperanza si su candidato pierde y no alternativas para la lucha.

En caso de esa victoria, es importante redoblar esfuerzos dentro del movimiento popular para resistir a la guerra que se viene. En este punto queremos señalar que la forma de resistir no puede ser caer en los errores del pasado y darles un carácter heroico, donde el conflicto armado en Colombia no solo ha sido doloroso por culpa del Estado y su mano negra, sino también por la justificación de medios de parte de las actuales y antiguos guerrillas: debemos ser críticos con las prácticas de las insurgencias tradicionales, por lo demás, patriarcales, militaristas, verticales y donde subordinan el poder de la comunidad al poder del fusil. Para resistir a la avanzada paramilitar, que se dará con el gobierno uribista pero cuyo escenario también es muy posible si Petro ganará y la derecha pretenda hacer guerra sucia desde los territorios, proponemos apoyar, cuadrar, convocar y organizar encuentros de los movimientos sociales que tienen en su agenda y praxis la defensa del territorio, avanzando con el intercambio de saberes respecto a territorialidad y democracia desde abajo, donde sin lugar a dudas guardias populares, campesinas, indígenas, cimarronas y urbanas no armadas más que con la fuerza de la común-unidad serán indispensables para afrontar la militarización y paramilitarización, forma de lucha que a su vez promueve valores positivos de equidad, no militarismo, horizontalidad y trabajo conjunto con las comunidades. También creemos indispensable redoblar esfuerzos en la denuncia antirepresiva, por la defensa de los derechos humanos y la solidaridad efectiva nacional e internacional, así como una actitud permanente de vigilancia hacia lo que acontece en los territorios y no centrar esfuerzos en el debate parlamentario que invisibiliza la masacre que viven las que luchan hoy. En todas estas propuestas, quienes suscribimos al campo autonomista libertario, creemos indispensable nuestro papel, y, por tanto, la unidad de quienes nos pensamos prácticas horizontales, autogestionarias, antipatriarcales, ecologistas sociales y de democracia directa, será objetivo más que necesario para afrontar el paramilitarismo en el poder, aunque bien, también es tarea en caso de una victoria petrista.

“¿Saben? Uno de los engaños de arriba es convencer a los de abajo de que lo que no se consigue rápido y fácil, no se consigue nunca. Convencernos de que las luchas largas y difíciles sólo cansan y nada logran. Trucan el calendario de abajo sobreponiéndole el calendario de arriba: elecciones, comparecencias, reuniones, citas con la historia, fechas conmemorativas que sólo ocultan el dolor y la rabia.”- SupGaleano

Entendemos que para una parte importante de compañeras de lucha, movimientos sociales y sectores populares la candidatura de Petro representa un desahogo de 200 años de “historia patria” dominada por la derecha, y que la posibilidad de un candidato alternativo de ganar genera alta esperanza. Sin embargo, esa esperanza no debe convertirse en ingenuidad: la campaña de Petro, como toda campaña dentro de la disputa electoral, ha estado enmarcada en sus propuestas y quien las plantea, donde respectivamente, una cosa lleva al desconocimiento de la dinámica de lucha social y lo otro lleva a un culto a la personalidad increíble. Queremos partir por esos puntos:

Para entender el “fenómeno Petro” es importante tener en cuenta tres elementos que nos parecen claves: primero, que parte de su programa recoge las banderas de lucha que ha impuesto el movimiento social en el debate nacional y no son simplemente “buenas intenciones” del candidato; segundo, que la creciente petrista se puede explicar en parte por el momento histórico que vive el país, donde la dejación de armas de las FARC y las negociaciones de paz con el ELN han abierto una brecha dentro de la democracia burguesa donde la campaña de Petro ha recogido sectores afectados por el conflicto armado y donde en antaño la guerra hacia casi imposible el proselitismo; y tercero, que Petro en sí mismo no posee maquinaria ni un partido político fuerte, y si ha llegado donde ha llegado, no ha sido -por lo menos en una importante parte- gracias a él mismo, sino a la esperanza que depositan amplias capas populares en él.

Si analizamos los anteriores puntos, nos encontramos entonces con dos conclusiones: que los movimientos sociales en el país tienen una fuerza increíble que fácilmente se desinfla para poner energías en la disputa electoral, y que al tiempo no existe una “vanguardia” ni “hegemonía” dentro de la izquierda, y por tal razón, las consensos electorales se hacen fácil y en torno a personajes cercanos al centro como Petro, incluso, dejando de segundo lado al pueblo como protagonista de la historia nacional. Y esto lo decimos porque una parte importante de quienes le hacen campaña a Petro, deliberadamente o no, omiten mencionar que el pueblo que lucha posee esa fuerza y ha logrado instalar en el debate público discusiones como la paz con justicia social, la corrupción, la defensa del territorio, la denuncia del paramilitarismo, el respeto a la Madre Tierra o el patriarcado dentro de la sociedad, discusiones que le han costado al pueblo colombiano muertos en los paros cívicos y toda una oleada de asesinatos a sus luchadores. Pareciera que desde la Colombia Humana se quisiera reemplazar o convertir lo acumulado en las calles y veredas, por lo menos, desde hace 10 años en términos contemporáneos, por la disputa coyuntural que se da ahorita, agotando esfuerzos en “conseguir votos” y “pegar carteles”, mientras son más bien minoritarias las fuerzas alternativas que saben que allí no se debe poner todas las esperanzas, pues en caso de una victoria petrista la institucionalización de la lucha sería más bien sencilla (como en los casos que sucedieron luego de la llegada al poder del progresismo en Brasil, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador o Nicaragua en las últimos 20 años), o en caso de una victoria uribista, la desesperanza nos llevaría a una dispersión mortal con la cual sería casi imposible mantener una resistencia en el corto plazo.

Así que, en caso de que alguien que lea las presentes palabras desee votar por Petro, queremos manifestarle nuestras preocupaciones en torno a que ese voto sea acrítico e ingenuo. Debemos saber que parte de las propuestas de campaña de Petro no se realizarán, y no solo por la fuerte oposición parlamentaria que tendrá, sino porque también desde ahora y cada vez más, empezará a tranzar con sectores de centro y centro-derecha abiertamente neoliberales, lo que eventualmente lo pondrá en contra de los intereses de las de abajo y en cuyo escenario, esperamos, la fe ciega no quite el pensamiento crítico y la independencia que debe caracterizar al movimiento social. También nos preocupa una futura institucionalización de las luchas, mostrado eso por ejemplo en las referencias indirectas a ellas que realiza el candidato a la Colombia Humana (por ejemplo, citando los monocultivos de caña de Ardilla Lule, eje central de las luchas de corteros, indígenas, afros y campesinos en el sur-occidente del país) y que, al igual que en los países mencionados anteriormente, pueden llevar a que el movimiento social colombiano, fuerte desde hace unos años y que, salvo los momentos electorales, avanza a pasos de gigante con cada paro cívico y protesta social, pueda terminar dando pasos atrás y perder los horizontes anticapitalistas, ecologistas y transformativos. Sabemos también que Petro es un personaje cuestionable incluso dentro de la misma izquierda parlamentaria, que sabiendo en el terreno donde se encuentra, es lo más pragmático posible poniendo en duda su ética política: no solo ha sido figura clave en el ascenso político de personajes como Alejandro Ordóñez (de extrema derecha) o Clara López (política oportunista), sino también ha tenido el descaro de hacerle campaña a Santos en las pasadas elecciones presidenciales desde primera vuelta (dándole la espalda hasta a la izquierda que dice recoger) a sabiendas de la actitud que tiene él con las luchas sociales y lo que su gobierno ha representado para el pueblo colombiano; de esa forma, no nos extrañaría que una vez Petro en el poder preferiría negociar y tranzar con sectores cuestionables (incluso de bancadas como la de la U o liberal) que responder a los intereses populares. También queremos recordar que la gestión administrativa del Estado no implica de ninguna forma que mecánicamente las luchas se profundicen, basta solo con recordar que en su Alcaldía en Bogotá practicó un profundo “oenegecismo” que puso incluso a pelear a procesos barriales por obtener recursos, pero que al final y al cabo luego de dejar el puesto, prácticamente todas las iniciativas populares en la ciudad se vieron en “reflujo” al establecer relaciones de dependencia con el petrismo.

“No creemos que el tema esencial sea en definitiva votar o no votar. Lo que importa es lo que se hace y no lo que se vota.” – Gerardo Gatti

En resumidas cuentas, creemos que quien voté hacia el progresismo debe responder a una claridad respecto a lo que se viene, que eso no implica un “papel en blanco” para que Petro logré tener un respaldo que puede justificar muchas cosas (y ya de forma soterrada las viene justificando), sino que debe ser un voto crítico para cerrarle filas al Uribismo. Pero respecto a las tareas del movimiento popular, la “Colombia Humana” no puede reemplazar nuestra tarea histórica de tomar los rumbos de nuestros territorios y comunidades desde nuestras propias manos, de formas no-estatales y poniendo en prácticas otros muchos modelos de sociedad. Creemos precisamente que lo anterior es lo central en la discusión, por lo cual también, una postura de abstención activa que se plantee desde una militancia enfocada hacia la construcción de territorios libres y autónomos es también valiosa. Sin embargo, se pueden presentar dos casos que a estas alturas nos parecen no responden a las necesidades reales que piden las luchas a lo largo y ancho del país: de quienes votan por Petro pensando en que su gestión reemplazará lo que debemos conseguir con la lucha directa y nuestro papel es simplemente hacer valer “el derecho sagrado” de votar (pero no decidir), y de aquellas compañeras abstencionistas más bien pasivas, que aparecen a sentar posición cada 4 años y en los últimos tiempos han estado al margen de la gesta que libra el pueblo, repitiendo mecánicamente consignas vacías y prediseñadas que para quienes luchan les resulta abstractas, lejanas o simplemente pataleos.

En definitiva, la cuestión para nosotras no se encuentra en votar o no votar, sino en encontrarnos para luchar, en unir fuerzas de manera horizontal, solidaria y de abajo a arriba para lograr conseguir vida digna, respeto a nuestros territorios y autogestión social de nuestras comunidades. Y en ese camino ya estamos, y lo demuestran las banderas de lucha que todavía aún son vigentes y requieren de toda nuestra energía y esfuerzo, y que al día de hoy la respuesta de guerra del establecimiento ha dejado 370 luchadores sociales muertos que han caído en defensa de la Madre Tierra, contra el extractivismo minero-energético, defendiendo los derechos humanos de sus comunidades, resistiendo contra la guerra en sus territorios, dando la pelea por los derechos de mujeres y compas LGBTI, rechazando el militarismo y paramilitarismo del Estado; es allí donde debemos concentrar nuestras fuerzas, en la voz rebelde del pueblo, no en domesticar esa voz en manos de Petro ni alejarnos de las luchas.

En ambos casos, la tarea que nos queda es encontrarnos y caminar a través de las afinidades. A pesar de una relativa dispersión de los movimientos sociales en el país, es imposible negar que una nueva etapa de luchas se han abierto y esas gestas ya se vienen dando a grandes pasos, algunas incluso poniendo en práctica principios libertarios; es tarea nuestra estar allí, promover y construir la autonomía comunitaria y desde abajo, en miras hacia una forma de organización social y territorial que sea antipatriarcal, ecologista y horizontal, donde se promuevan valores anticapitalistas, no-parlamentarios y de solidaridad.

En esa lucha ya estamos, y con todas nuestras fortalezas y deficiencias, procuramos que por allí camine nuestra praxis. Respecto a la palabra frente a la actual coyuntura, solo nos queda invitarles e invitarnos a luchar, a encontrarnos, a juntarnos, a empeñar la palabra de que abajo nos encontramos y nos encontraremos.

Rebeldía Contrainformativa
Centro de Comunicación y Educación Popular – Enraizando

mashriq / arabia / iraq / imperialism / war / opinion / analysis Friday June 15, 2018 08:02 byMandy Moussouris

The ongoing war in the Middle East, the Arab Spring followed by what seems to be a winter of war that rivals Game of Thrones has seen the death of many a revolutionary and many a revolutionary dream.

Within this ongoing war are stories of struggle against tyranny, struggles by ordinary people to gain some sort of control over their lives as they get buffeted between superpowers and ideologies fuelled by greed and underlying neoliberal capitalism. The struggle of the Kurdish people of Rojava is one such story. It is not a new one and it is not a perfect one. It is a story of courage and inspiration, of brave women and men, of complexity and of huge challenges. It is a story of our age, where competing geo-political powers fuel wars in other lands and on other people to further their own interests.

Since 2014, the Kurdish people and their peoples’ defence units in Syria – the YPG (Male Defence Units) and YPJ (Female Defence Units) – have been defending their towns and areas against one of America’s most wanted terrorist groups, the Islamic State (IS), after Syrian state forces retreated from Kurdish areas. IS on the other hand have been fighting the YPG and YPJ for control of the area. Turkey says the YPG and YPJ are linked to Turkey’s most wanted terrorist group, the PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party).

Over the years, the YPG and YPJ have pushed back IS and increasingly built a safe zone within their borders where feminist principles and a system of participatory self-management have been core to the society they are busy trying to protect and develop. The Kurdish controlled zones are collectively known as Rojava.

Whilst there are some problems and contradictions within Rojava, there are important revolutionary principles and social experiments taking place. For more information on this check out our educational series here.

There are many lessons we can learn from Rojava. One important one is how attempts by people to build self-management and fight institutions like capitalism and patriarchy get used and battered in the never ending war between Karl Marx’s proverbial “band of warring brothers” and the states that support them.

When the war in Syria first broke out in 2011, after popular uprisings against the Assad regime, a vacuum in power developed which saw a number of different parties/organisations/interests fighting to fill the power vacuum. One of these groups was IS and this gave the United States of America (USA) the perfect excuse to get involved. Because the people of Rojava were defending their areas against IS and had succeeded in forcing them back the USA agreed to support their self- defence units (YPG and YPJ) with weapons. This assisted with the further push back of IS. At the same time the Syrian government and their supporters, backed by Russia, were also fighting IS but the USA does not support the Syrian Assad Government or Russia. Turkey, in turn, covertly supports IS because it does not support the Assad regime and it doesn’t want a revolutionary Rojava on its doorstep that could spread into Turkey.

There are Kurdish people living in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq and there have long been calls for Kurdish independence in Turkey which led to the 1980’s formation of the PKK, who have used insurrectionist tactics to fight for independence. As the YPG and YPJ have got stronger and brought larger areas in Syria under their control and gained access to arms via the USA, so the perceived threat to Turkey has increased, culminating in Turkey invading Afrin (an area in Rojava), through both airstrikes and ground troop attacks close to the Turkish border but within Syrian territory.

The Syrian Government has been reluctant to defend its border and has allowed the Turkish army to conduct the airstrikes but also has tacit agreement to support the Kurds, and has unofficially sent in “Popular Mobilization Units” (PMU) loyal to the Assad regime. Both America and Turkey are members and allies in NATO but are backing each other’s so-called terrorists in the Syrian War and at the same time trying to save a bit of face publicly. As a result America has started withdrawing its political support for the Kurdish people in Syria and has made no statements condemning the attack by Turkey on Rojava leading to the death of hundreds of civilians, including many children.

And so, once again, like in Spain in the 1930s a movement of ordinary citizens to create a new, different and better life without patriarchy and capitalism is betrayed by the geo-political powers that claim to support them but ultimately only ever work for themselves alone and will crush any and everything to get what they want.

mashriq / arabia / iraq / the left / opinion / analysis Friday June 15, 2018 07:57 byShawn Hattingh

In this education series we look at experiments, which have arisen through working class struggles, to create alternatives to capitalism. This will include looking at present and past alternatives to capitalism. In doing this, we are not saying these experiments should be carbon copied – they have often taken place in very different times and contexts.

Rather we are trying to show that, through struggle and experimentation, new societies that overturn capitalism can be brought into being; even under very harsh conditions. This, we believe, provides hope to working class struggles: what we have today under the capitalist and state system can be ended and replaced by a better society. Experiments in alternatives show clearly how another world is possible.

In this article, the first article of the education series on alternatives to capitalism, we look at an experiment that is taking place today, known as the Rojava Revolution, to overturn capitalism and the state system in northern Syria (which is being subjected to an imperialist and civil war). In Rojava a social revolution, influenced by libertarian socialism, has been underway since 2012 and a new society has emerged in the process.

Rojava is an outcome of the struggle that has been waged by the Kurds for national liberation. Nonetheless, it has gone beyond even national liberation and has become an experiment to create a confederation of worker and community councils and communes to replace capitalism and the state.

Initially up until the 1990s, the Kurdish national liberation struggle was mainly influenced by Stalinism. However, in the late 1990s the movement began reflecting and analysing the failed experiments in Russia, China and Cuba which saw the Communist Parties in those countries setting up state capitalism in the name of revolution. As part of the reflection and analyses, the Kurdish liberation movement – in which the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) plays a key role – came to view all states as hierarchical and patriarchal institutions that, far from brining freedom, always ensured the oppression of a majority by a minority that headed these states.

As part of this, by the early 2000s, the Kurdish liberation movement had come to be heavily influenced by some of the ideas – although not all – of the libertarian socialist Murray Bookchin. Bookchin himself started out his political life as a Stalinist but moved to anarchism before adopting a form of libertarian socialism based on communalism, social ecology, feminism and libertarian municipalism.

Under this, the goal of the Kurdish movement broadened to struggle for a revolution in the Middle East as a whole. As part of this desired revolution, and in line with its left libertarian and feminist orientation, the movement has explicitly stated that it does not aim to create a state; but rather a system of direct democracy that would be defined by people setting up assemblies, councils and communes that are confederated together. It has called this ‘democratic confederalism’. However, there are contradictions too; for example there is a glorification of the symbolic leader of the Kurdish struggle, Abdullah Ocalan, that runs counter the egalitarian goals of democratic confederalism.

Nonetheless, in Rojava in 2012 – as the Syrian state withdrew from the area as the civil war erupted – elements of democratic confederalism (although not all) began to be implemented. As part of this communes, federated neighbourhood assemblies and a federated Rojava council have been established with the aim of ensuring that there is a direct democracy in Rojava without a state. Women play a central role in this and each community assembly, commune or council has to ensure gender equality amongst the mandated and recallable delegates that participate in these forums. This is one of the central pillars of the experiment in feminism.

In terms of the economy, it has been reported that the people in Rojava have also begun rolling back aspects of capitalism. Some sources estimate that 80% of the economy is now run through democratic workers’ co-operatives. Small private businesses still exist, but they are reportedly accountable to the communes – and are mandated by these to meet the needs of the people.

To defend the Revolution, Rojava has established a democratic militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), in which unit leaders are elected and recallable. The establishment of democratic militia has been part of shunning the notions of a hierarchical standing army, which are associated with states. Thousands of people – including from other countries – have joined these militia and have been engaged in struggle against various grouping wishing to destroy the revolution, including the Islamic State (ISIS). Women play a central role in the militia – in fact there are women-only militia’s called the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). The YPJ are some of the best units of all and played a key role in the defeat of ISIS.

Rojava, however, does face threats. Internally a state may yet still arise, and the elevation and glorification of Ocalan is deeply concerning. Externally, the biggest threat to Rojava in the foreseeable future is Turkey. In January 2018, Turkey invaded parts of Rojava to stop the revolution spreading to its territory – which has a large Kurdish population. The invasion is ongoing. The US temporarily backed Rojava militia against ISIS. With the defeat of ISIS, however, it too could turn on Rojava. Despite the threats, Rojava shows a more just society can be created by working class struggles, even in the context of a harsh civil war.

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Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

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