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russia / ukraine / belarus / miscellaneous / non-anarchist press Wednesday March 20, 2019 20:34 byVolodymyr Ishchenko

Five years after the “EuroMaidan” protests in Kiev and elsewhere toppled the government of now-exiled former president Viktor Yanukovych, the people of Ukraine are set to elect a new leader. Over 34 million Ukrainian citizens will be eligible to cast their vote on 31 March, although several million will be prevented from participating due to the ongoing conflict situation in the country’s eastern Donbass region. Should none of the candidates receive an absolute majority, a second round of voting will be held on 21 April.

Ukraine consistently ranks among the poorest countries in Europe – last year it overtook Moldova to occupy the top spot in the list. The largest post-Soviet state after Russia in terms of population, it finds itself torn between the European Union promising economic integration and a limited degree of freedom of movement, and deepening the country’s relationship with Moscow, the largest consumer of Ukrainian exports to which Ukraine is tied by centuries of shared history, tradition, and repeated conflict.

EuroMaidan exacerbated the country’s ongoing economic decline and mounting social pressures in 2013–14, ultimately triggering the war in the Donbass region and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. These tensions have facilitated the rise of a vicious Ukrainian nationalism that the government led by current president Petro Poroshenko is not afraid to manipulate for its own purposes. Attacks on left-wing activists and ethnic minorities are becoming increasingly common, while armed far-right paramilitaries like the so-called “Azov Battalion” are normalized and integrated into mainstream political life.

That said, not everyone in Ukraine is happy about these developments. Although none of the candidates in the upcoming elections offer a particularly radical or progressive vision for the country, voters will at least be able to decide whether to endorse Poroshenko’s current course or throw their support behind another figure. Loren Balhorn of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung spoke with Kiev-based sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko to get a better understanding of the candidates, the state of the county, and what is at stake for the people of Ukraine in 2019.

Loren Balhorn (LB): Ukraine is scheduled to hold presidential elections at the end of the month, preceding elections to the national parliament, or “Verkhovna Rada,” later this year. Is there anything special about the timing? What exactly is the president’s role in the Ukrainian political system, and what implications will the vote have for parliamentary elections in October?

Volodymyr Ishchenko (VI): The timing is simple: it’s been five years since 2014 and the Maidan Uprising, when snap elections were called that saw Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions lose a lot of strength. The first round of the presidential elections is at the end of the month, and it is very likely that there will be a second round because no candidate will receive over 50 per cent (at least according to polls).

The president is very important in Ukrainian politics. The country is formally a parliamentary-presidential system, neither fully parliamentary nor fully presidential, but this is a very uneasy balance of power. The prime minister is an important position elected by the parliamentary majority, but the president also has influence over important government ministers. As is true of many post-Soviet states, however, beyond this formal institutional division of powers the informal divisions are much more decisive. Who is loyal to whom and who is dependent on whom plays a much bigger role in “real” Ukrainian politics than formal powers and privileges.

Petro Poroshenko, the current president, is the most important person in Ukrainian politics. His powers are formally limited but he has other ways to exercise influence and his own party, the “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” that forms the government together with the “People’s Front,” the party of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Another important figure in that party is the current Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, who is also a very wealthy man.

LB: Avakov also cultivates ties to the Azov Battalion, no?

VI: This is widely suspected, but the precise nature of those ties has never been proven. I am sceptical of the idea that the Azov Battalion is merely a puppet of Avakov, I suspect it is something like a mutually beneficial cooperation.

If Poroshenko loses we will see a lot of defections by MPs from his bloc. Ukrainian politics operates as what political scientists call a “neopatrimonial regime,” meaning it is characterized by rival, informal power blocs. If the Poroshenko Bloc loses, it will reshuffle loyalties in the parliament from one patriarch to another.

LB: What do you mean by “neopatrimonial regime”?

VI: By that I mean Ukrainian politics is characterized by competition between various power blocs, you could also call them pyramids or even clans. Poroshenko builds his pyramid while Arakov builds his own pyramid, etc. The current Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, was originally perceived as a loyalist of Poroshenko, but now even he seems to be cultivating his own pyramid and will probably triangulate between various political blocs.

LB: How did Groysman come to replace Yatsenyuk?

VI: As friction between Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk grew, Poroshenko financed a public campaign against him, attacking him and calling for his resignation. But Yatsenyuk had a lot of support from the West, especially the U.S. Vice-President at the time, Joe Biden. Eventually an agreement was reached that he would step down and be replaced by Groysman.

This represented a conflict between different patrimonial structures within the governing elite, but also reflected a wider conflict between Ukrainian oligarchs and the West more generally. Many leftists in Ukraine see the country as a colony of the United States, but it’s much more complicated than that. Ukraine is definitely dependent on Western economic and financial aid, political support against Russia, etc., but it’s not a colony – it’s not ruled from the American Embassy. Local oligarchs like Poroshenko and Arakov have their own interests that they defend staunchly against the West. At its core, this is a conflict between transnational capital and the local bourgeoisie.

One key issue in these debates, and the crucial issue for the West and the IMF, was corruption and the establishment of “anti-corruption” institutions to ensure transparent rules of the game in Ukraine. But what they call “corruption” is basically the most important advantage that the Ukrainian bourgeoisie has against transnational capital: namely, their property is secure from the state while that of their competitors is not. This is also what scares away potential international investors. Because of this fear, foreign direct investment (FDI) is actually declining despite the Ukrainian government’s steps toward Western integration.

LB: So fear of corruption is harming investment?

VI: Yes, although the war is of course another factor.

In the beginning, in 2014 and 2015, we had a lot of people in the government without Ukrainian citizenship who received their positions because they were neoliberal, Western-oriented professionals, like the Lithuanian citizen Aivaras Abromavičius who was a minister under Yatsenyuk. Gradually, those neoliberal reformers were pushed out and replaced by people loyal to the ruling oligarchs. Yatsenyuk being replaced by Groysman was just one particularly important example of this process.

LB: It sounds like a pretty grim scenario. But even if electoral politics is just competition between oligarchic factions, certainly there must be some other issues being debated at least on the surface? What are the dominant themes the candidates are using to attract support?

VI: Poroshenko has been most successful in setting the agenda with an aggressively nationalist campaign – his main slogan is “Army, Faith, Language.” He side-lined the socially populist issues that Yulia Tymoshenko tried to raise by portraying the election as a choice between him or Putin and depicting his opponents as puppets of Moscow.

LB: And is it working?

VI: Yes, to some extent. His support has been rising in the polls since the recognition of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

LB: Was that split between the Ukrainian Church and Moscow supported by the government?

VI: Yes, it was actively organized by Poroshenko as a strategy to win the election. Formally, the Ukrainian Orthodox church enjoyed broad autonomy but was dependent on the Moscow Patriarchate and was recognized by other Orthodox churches. A separate church founded in the early 1990s, the Kiev Patriarchate, was unrecognized by any other international church but still fairly popular in the country. In reality most people didn’t care which church they attended. The split was purely political, there were no theological differences.

Poroshenko started to push the theme in 2017 and 2018 that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was something like an “agent of Moscow” in Ukraine. The details are quite complicated, and to be honest many people in Ukraine didn’t really understand these structures until last year either, but for people who care about national issues, who care about Ukraine asserting itself against Russia, this was an important step. Nevertheless, it looks like the majority of local parishes will actually stay with the Moscow Patriarchate.

LB: You have alluded to the conflict with Russia several times now as setting the terms of the debate, and making it easier for politicians to distract from social questions by focusing on nationalism. Is there any kind of visible, vaguely progressive social opposition in the country?

VI: Most politicians and the three leading candidates for the president are not significantly different on the question of the conflict in the Donbass region. Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, and Volodymyr Zelensky are all within the patriotic consensus, although Poroshenko is more militant. Candidates who actually have a different opinion and are not as popular sprang from the former Party of Regions, later branded the “Opposition Bloc.” They failed to negotiate a common candidate for the so-called “Southeast,” the region where the Russian-speaking minority mostly lives. Despite raising important issues like peace in Donbass, re-claiming national sovereignty from the West, and re-industrialization, these candidates – Yuriy Boyko and Oleksandr Vilkul – are representatives of major oligarchic financial-industrial groups. There is no significant “grassroots” movement behind the issues. There are of course labour struggles, and there have been some strikes, but they are weak. There are some feminist mobilizations but they are miniscule compared to the radical nationalists. Not just the anti-capitalist “Left,” but also progressive liberalism is very weak.

The Left is in a bad situation. The Communist Party has been banned. They are appealing the ban but their public visibility has declined to practically zero. Their leader, Petro Symonenko, tried to register as a presidential candidate but was not accepted by the government, and no other relevant left-wing parties exist on the national level.

LB: Government corruption, oligarchic control of the economy, a decimated Left – a lot of this sounds familiar. Couldn’t we, at least to some extent, compare conditions in Ukraine to the situation in all of the former Eastern Bloc countries?

VI: I don’t think so. EU membership makes a big difference, it imposes certain rules that are absent in Ukraine. The presence of strong oligarchs, for example, is pretty specific. The other Eastern Bloc countries don’t have a strong local bourgeoisie, but are largely dominated by Western capital. There are no Polish oligarchs, Czech oligarchs, Hungarian oligarchs – we only hear about Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. What makes Ukraine different is that the oligarchic system is pluralistic. We have multiple, competing oligarchs, whereas in Russia and Belarus one neopatrimonial pyramid managed to emerge as dominant in the last 15 years.

The promise of EU membership restructured Eastern European politics beginning in the 1990s, whereas this was never a prospect in Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus. But we still didn’t see the rise of any figure like Vladimir Putin or an Alexander Lukashenko in Ukraine. I think this has to do with the country’s divided identity: almost every election has been framed as a question of “East vs. West,” with one candidate supported by the western half and the other by the eastern half. In this sense it’s comparable with Donald Trump: any time a Ukrainian president comes to power he is opposed by half the population from day one. This makes it very difficult to consolidate nationwide power.

LB: Are there not also economic aspects to the East/West division?

VI: Yes, the East has more heavy, Soviet-era industry, exporting primarily to the markets of the former USSR and uncompetitive on Western markets. For example, the people supporting Yanukovych and opposing EuroMaidan were at least partially concerned about keeping their jobs in a Ukrainian economy dominated by the EU.

LB: So it’s not only a nationalist issue, but also one of bread-and-butter economic issues?

VI: Yes, absolutely.

LB: Speaking of “East vs. West,” has anything changed since Ukraine’s accession to the visa-free regime for Schengen states in 2017?

VI: That was one of very few positive developments under Poroshenko, and he’s touting it a lot during the campaign. Freedom of movement is of course something good and something we support, but it was particularly good for younger, highly educated Ukrainians in the major cities.

It has also facilitated increased labour migration, which has really risen since 2014. I don’t have any precise statistics but we’re talking about millions of people. Many Ukrainians go to work in Poland, which actively recruits them because they are seen as culturally and linguistically “closer” to Poles (unlike refugees from the Middle East). You could say that cheap Ukrainian labour is subsidizing the Polish economic boom. The Czech Republic is also popular, and Germany will probably be next.

As workers from the eastern EU states like Bulgaria and Poland move west to work they’re replaced by cheaper labour from Ukraine, but no one moves to Ukraine. There is a lot of discussion in the Ukrainian media about how it simply does not make sense to work in the country when you can make two or three times more across the border.

LB: But does this not mean that the Ukrainian labour market is gradually getting tighter? Wouldn’t it at least theoretically put organized labour in a more advantageous position to fight for higher wages?

VI: Yes, theoretically! But Ukrainian trade unions are very weak, and they have failed to take advantage of the situation.

LB: You recently gave an interview to Jacobin Magazine in which you compared the situation of the Ukrainian Left with that of Latin America in the 1970s. I found that very striking, given that the Left was quite large in Latin America at the time and microscopic in Ukraine today. Could you flesh out that comparison a bit? Where exactly do you see similarities?

VI: Ukraine is a deindustrializing, peripheral economy. Most Soviet-era industry fell apart after 1991, and what remains is not competitive on the Western European market. Ukraine has thus become a supplier of raw materials with low added value like iron. In this sense it is a very peripheral capitalism characterized by extreme inequality and powerful oligarchs, like Latin America. There is also the major role played by far-right paramilitaries – this doesn’t happen anywhere else in Europe, except for briefly in former Yugoslavia. We also have a strongly pro-American and highly dependent government, very similar to Latin America.

I think it’s logical to look for comparisons and lessons from similar historical social formations. If the Ukrainian Left is looking to fight a corrupt, authoritarian, anti-Communist regime, and given how weak the Left and even liberalism is, we have to work together to fight for basic democratic rights and against the nationalist hysteria to lay the base for a movement that could perhaps become more significant in the future. Here I see parallels to the Latin American Left’s struggle against dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

LB: Do you think it’s possible in a geopolitical situation where tensions between the EU and Russia are so prominent to formulate a broad, democratic programme that stands above this fray?

VI: It’s obviously very difficult, but what other options do we have? Become puppets in the geopolitical game? There was a split on the Left in 2014 when many chose EuroMaidan and the “West” while others chose Anti-Maidan and the “Russian” side. Both sides ended up tailing more powerful right-wing forces and failed to formulate their own independent positions.

LB: But would anything else have been possible?

VI: Well, obviously we can’t seriously entertain the building of a strong left-wing party under such difficult conditions. What is possible, however, is to maintain some kind of milieu for left-wing ideas. The groups and networks that exist have to consolidate a possible embryo for a strong Left in the future. It’s important to be realistic and understand what’s possible or completely impossible. We might not be able to formulate some kind of “Third Camp” in Ukrainian politics right now, but that is our objective situation, and we should try to figure out what we can realistically do. We should work on strengthening our groups, our unions, our intellectual initiatives, to hopefully be able to do something bigger in the future.

Corbyn, Podemos, and Mélenchon are inspiring figures, but we need to understand what is specific about the political regime in our country and respond in a specific way. We need to try to expand the range of the possible for left politics at the moment. Even if it isn’t so inspiring and very weak, we still have to try. The kind of system that exists in Ukraine can’t last forever. There are many contradictions, divisions, and cleavages exacerbated by the ruling groups, and all of these will lead to a situation at some point where weaker groups might become politically relevant and important again.

LB: Before we wrap up I wanted to ask you about the third major candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky. If I understand correctly, he stars in a TV show about a politician and has now become the politician he plays on TV. Is that correct – and is he popular? Does he have a chance at winning or is this a stunt?

VI: Actually, he’s currently the most popular politician in the country. According to polls he has significantly more support than both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, and could very possibly become the president.

There are basically three groups of people voting for him: firstly, fans of his TV show, a very popular comedy about Ukrainian politics. Another large group are just so disappointed and tired of these oligarchs that they will vote for any fresh face.

LB: So he’s similar to Donald Trump in some ways?

VI: In some ways, but what’s different from Trump is the third group of his supporters, namely people who are voting for him because he is perceived as less nationalist than the other candidates. Zelensky himself is Russian-speaking, he’s from the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, and has attracted lots of support from Russian-speaking citizens.

That makes Zelensky different from Trump – he’s actually trying to campaign on unifying themes, not divisive ones. He opposes Poroshenko’s attempts to push the Ukrainian language on Russian speakers, for example.

Another thing that makes him different from Trump or Beppe Grillo is that he has no populist movement behind him, or any movement at all for that matter. All he has is his TV show, around which he is now trying to build a political party from scratch. This is different from other populist figures – there was no mass mobilization preceding him. Trump, for example, is obviously somehow a result of the Tea Party movement, while Grillo represents the Five Stars Movement (in Italy).

Another difference is his connection to Igor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest oligarchs now in opposition to Poroshenko who founded the country’s largest bank, Privat Bank, and still owns a controlling share of the national airline. Zelensky’s show is broadcast on one of Kolomoisky’s eight TV stations, and one of his lawyers is a key architect of Zelensky’s party, Sluha Narodu, which translates to “Servant of the People” (also the name of his show). Right now it’s not possible to say how independent Zelensky is. I wouldn’t call him a puppet, but there are definitely connections to the ruling class.

All of this means that Zelensky will be very weak if he wins, and not only because he’s inexperienced. For the first half year he won’t have much support in parliament. He has no loyal political party behind him. He will surely get some opportunists to defect from other parties, but hardly a majority. I don’t know what he could do in that situation. After the parliamentary elections he might face a more favourable constellation, but it will also depend on how he does in the first months.

It’s impossible to say how he would perform as president. He has zero political experience. I fear that he may understand politics even less than Donald Trump. He is a blank page on which anything can be written.

LB: So he reflects the vacuum in civil society more generally?

VI: Exactly. He is a glaring symptom of what’s going on in Ukrainian society. People hate the oligarchs, they hate the faces they’ve seen for decades. Revolutions come and go, elections come and go, but life just gets worse and worse. People don’t want another five years of Tymoshenko or Poroshenko and are happy to vote for any recognizable fresh face who isn’t implicated in serious corruption. People are voting less out of hope than out of anger. Better to vote for an incompetent comedian than the same old corrupt experts.

At the same time, civil society is so weak that it couldn’t put up any competing figure. Only a TV star was able to do that, nobody from the pro-Western, liberal NGOs came even close. None of those figures poll even one per cent. This says a lot about Ukrainian “civil society”: it’s totally incapable of producing competent, popular leaders.

If he is elected, it will be strong proof that the people are sick of the old style of politics, that they aren’t being manipulated by Poroshenko’s nationalism and want something better. Nevertheless, I am very sceptical that Zelensky will be able to change anything. Real change in Ukraine will be a much longer process, and will require the building of a different kind of political opposition that we haven’t seen in this country for a very long time.
argentina/uruguay/paraguay / género / opinión / análisis Wednesday March 20, 2019 19:39 byFederación Anarquista Uruguaya

No es lo mismo una trabajadora o desocupada que una milica que reprime en los barrios a las hijas e hijos de las trabajadoras. Este es el día de la mujer de abajo, muchas veces sostén económico del hogar, que se encarga de la crianza de sus hijos e hijas, de las tareas de la casa, entre otras cosas, sin valorización de todo ese trabajo. Hay una cuestión de clase que marca una línea divisoria. No es el día de todas las mujeres, es el día de la mujer que marcha junto a los oprimidos con sus sueños de un mundo distinto y mejor.

Un nuevo 8 de Marzo
POR UN FEMINISMO DE CLASE Y DE ABAJO

El 8 de Marzo se conmemora el Día Internacional de la Mujer Trabajadora. Es el día de la mujer que practica la resistencia, de la mujer que lucha contra el patrón y el Estado. Es un día de nuestra clase, de las de abajo. Su origen está históricamente ahí. El 8 de marzo de 1857 las trabajadoras costureras y textiles de Nueva York se declararon en huelga. En la textil Cotton las trabajadoras fueron encerradas por el patrón para evitar que se unieran a la huelga, prendiendo este fuego a la fábrica con las compañeras dentro. ¡Un crimen de clase! Ese es el origen del 8 de Marzo.

Luego vendrán una serie de movilizaciones con el paso de los años reivindicando esa fecha y recordando a las trabajadoras asesinadas. En estas el papel de la militancia anarquista fue importante. Compañeras trabajadoras, que abrazaron el ideal libertario, organizaron sindicatos, actividades, conferencias sobre diversos temas atinentes a la mujer obrera. Todo ello en el marco de una perspectiva emancipadora de clase y de género. Pese a los roles dominantes determinados desde todos los mecanismos y dispositivos del arriba, se comprendía que la mujer tenía que incorporarse a la lucha igual que el hombre, estar en la primera línea de la pelea en la forja de un mundo más justo, igualitario y solidario.

Entre tantas compañeras, podemos destacar la intensa actividad militante y de protagonismo en distintas revoluciones a Emma Goldman y Louise Michel o Teresa Claramunt, Teresa Mañé y la generación de compañeras integrantes de Mujeres Libres en plena Revolución Española. Compañeras que sufrieron represiones, persecuciones, prisión, clandestinidad y algunas fueron fusiladas, pero siempre fieles a su compromiso con su clase y sus ideas. Mujeres anarquistas, clasistas, anticapitalistas, combativas y solidarias.

En el Río de la Plata están los ejemplos de militancia abnegada de Virginia Bolten, Juana Rouco Buela, María Collazo, solo por mencionar las más notables. Compañeras que organizaban sindicatos de trabajadoras, sostenían publicaciones de combate, daban charlas y conferencias e impulsaban la conquista y defensa de los derechos de la mujer, y que fueron perseguidas y expulsadas de la Argentina por la Ley de Residencia. Aquellas compañeras defendieron reivindicaciones puntuales como la postura a favor del aborto o la abolición de la prostitución, entre otras temáticas que hoy continúan vigentes pero que se presentan a nivel masivo como novedosas, y que estas militantes anarquistas han trabajado hace más de un siglo.

Ya a mediados de la década de 1880, publicaciones anarquistas en nuestro país hablaban acerca del papel de la mujer en la lucha contra el sistema capitalista y por la construcción de una nueva sociedad. Veamos qué dice en 1884 el periódico La Lucha Obrera: “La nueva sociedad se edificará lentamente… y si las mujeres se abstienen de tomar parte en los nuevos arreglos, los hombres no le ofrecen ciertamente el mejor sitio. Es necesario que la mujer pueda poner con el hombre las bases de la sociedad del porvenir”.

Tenemos presente que nos encontramos en una etapa distinta del capitalismo que, pese a mantener su núcleo duro intacto, son muchos los cambios operados. Muchas también las luchas y resistencias de los y las de abajo en todo este periodo, en el que el feminismo ha dado pasos de cierta importancia logrando distintas reivindicaciones y poniendo al descubierto entramados de opresión y discriminación que estaban invisibilizados y hasta naturalizados.

Teniendo todo ello muy en cuenta, en términos de contenido fundamental, los y las anarquistas de FAU ubicamos nuestra concepción del feminismo en esta larga tradición del Anarquismo, donde un conjunto importante de compañeras militantes realizaron valiosos aportes, organizaron pueblo y se jugaron la vida luchando.

La nueva “Marea” feminista

En gran parte como fruto de una larga pelea, en estos últimos años ha crecido la movilización feminista y también la problemática de la mujer en el seno de la sociedad. Se ha reivindicado con énfasis el rol de la mujer y se han puesto en evidencia una serie de opresiones que sufre en el seno de esta sociedad patriarcal y capitalista. Entre otras, se denuncia la violencia de género y los femicidios. Todo ello ha ganado un espacio social importante. Se han hecho visibles ciertas opresiones que siempre se escondían detrás de otras y que son muestra de la brutalidad con que el sistema capitalista opera día a día en la vida cotidiana de la gente, y de cómo ha producido roles con miras a su reproducción permanente. Así, ha hecho frente a las ideas conservadoras que se quieren introducir desde algunos sectores sociales y políticos.

Entendemos que toda esta movilización social, sin soslayar lo que tiene de específico, hay que articularla con otras luchas, y sobre todo, con otros posicionamientos que nos interpelan también, fundamentalmente el de clases oprimidas. Allí es donde reside para este movimiento su potencialidad del carácter rupturista. Esto también vale para gran parte de las movilizaciones por reclamos inmediatos, por ejemplo, a favor de la legalización del aborto en Argentina y en el Ele Nao en Brasil contra Bolsonaro y el machismo de corte fascistoide que naturaliza con su prédica y políticas. Asimismo con esa articulación se fortalecen otras movilizaciones y peleas de los y las de abajo en otros campos específicos.

Una política para lavar y confundir

En fechas recientes, el propio sistema capitalista tuvo la necesidad de intentar hacer un fuerte lavado ideológico respecto a la memoria histórica e identidad de los y las de abajo, especialmente ante el resurgir del movimiento de mujeres con la fuerza de estos últimos años. En ello se percibe una sostenida e intensa campaña de quitarle connotación de clase a la conmemoración del 8 de Marzo, del mismo modo en que ya desde hace un buen tiempo, por diferentes vías, se le ha quitado todo el contenido posible por al 1º de Mayo.

Hoy, en este caso específico, procuran que en general se conmemore el día de la mujer mostrando como iguales a las burguesas y a las trabajadoras, igualando a mujeres millonarias que viven en Carrasco con mujeres de los sectores populares.

Ello se manifiesta claramente y con total desparpajo cuando vemos como figuras mediáticas del 8 de Marzo personajes como Beatriz Argimón o Glenda Rondán; o con la participación en la marcha de mujeres integrantes de los “sindicatos” policiales o las empresarias. Para nosotros no es lo mismo una obrera de la aguja que Beatriz Argimón, una docente que María Julia Muñoz, que, entre otras cosas, aplicó la esencialidad contra las docentes en huelga en el año 2015. No es lo mismo una trabajadora o desocupada que una milica que reprime en los barrios a las hijas e hijos de las trabajadoras. Este es el día de la mujer de abajo, muchas veces sostén económico del hogar, que se encarga de la crianza de sus hijos e hijas, de las tareas de la casa, entre otras cosas, sin valorización de todo ese trabajo. Hay una cuestión de clase que marca una línea divisoria. No es el día de todas las mujeres, es el día de la mujer que marcha junto a los oprimidos con sus sueños de un mundo distinto y mejor. No es el día de mujeres como Angela Merkel, causante del desempleo y hambre del pueblo griego, o Hillary Clinton, responsable de la muerte de miles de niños y mujeres en Libia, o de Marine Le Pen, connotada fascista. Importa y mucho, dónde está ubicado en términos de clase cada grupo o movimiento en la estructura social. Importa mucho ver todo lo ideológico-cultural que pertenece al capitalismo patriarcal, que a través de sus relaciones y mecanismos de opresión trata de reproducir para seguir sembrando miseria, explotación, desigualdad extrema y dominación.

Independencia de clase en toda forma organizativa de los oprimidos

“Una concepción y una práctica de poder popular tiene su producción específica, tiene su propio universo. Tiene su propia producción. Para que juegue como fuerza transformadora, condicionante de coyunturas, produciendo avances desestructurantes hay una condición necesaria: debe mantener en todo momento su independencia. “Independencia de clase” se decía en otros momentos del desarrollo histórico, hoy diríamos, con ajuste al nuevo contexto: independencia de las clases oprimidas, vale decir, de todos los movimientos populares.

Ya es bien sabido, las mallas del poder dominante trituran, manipulan, moldean. Insertan en su seno, partidos, ideologías, movimientos, historias, los amasan y después los devuelven como buenos seguidores de lo viejo y reproductores de lo actual. El mecanismo se repite una y otra vez. Y se reiteran un montón inconmensurables de fuerzas girando en esa rueda loca. A estos dispositivos es a los que hay que dispararle con propuestas y acción de un contenido diferente. Con una coherencia que permita pisar firme. Pues de más está remarcar que la circulación al infinito de las mismas dinámicas y lógicas no puedan crear algo nuevo, sólo recrear lo existente, con mayor o menor fantasía.

Para hacer posible otras relaciones sociales, los hechos parecen indicar la necesidad de uso de otros materiales para esa nueva construcción. Otro enfoque, otra perspectiva, otra lógica, otras prácticas, otros mecanismos. Otro punto de partida. Nada original, es la nueva civilización que bosquejaron los viejos socialistas. Ese proceso debe descansar y desplegarse en una férrea independencia de las clases oprimidas. De un pueblo construyendo su destino al ritmo que las condiciones históricas habiliten. Los escollos, las relaciones, las propias alianzas tácitas y explícitas deben hacerse desde esa perspectiva de independencia. Como no puede ni debe aislarse, como debe estar en el medio del pueblo y los complejos y variables acontecimientos sociales ese factor adquiere una importancia de carácter estratégico de primer orden”. (Documento Wellington Gallarza y Malvina Tavares, Fau-Fag)

8 de marzo y feminismo hoy

Como en todo movimiento de esta dimensión hay diversidad de opiniones y corrientes de pensamiento. Lo mismo pasa con el movimiento obrero y sus organizaciones sindicales. No son pocos los que hablan de “feminismos” para designar esta variedad. Allí encontramos a los sectores más vinculados a la socialdemocracia europea y ONG’s, también a sectores decididamente liberales, hasta en algún caso liderado por alguna ultra millonaria, o a los organismos internacionales como la ONU opinando acerca de cuáles son los principales problemas de las mujeres. También están aquellas corrientes que colocan a la mujer como víctima y la victimizan aún más, tratándola como parte de la población a “la que hay que atender” con alguna política social, pero nunca como sujeto con voluntad propia, y asignándole un rol infamemente prefabricado. Por otra parte están aquellos grupos que ponen el acento principal en la violencia de género y toman esa triste e indignante realidad puntual y existente aislándola del contexto de descomposición social del sistema que lo produce. Por otra parte, un feminismo de clase y emancipador, que entiende que el cambio real y de fondo se va a construir en conjunto, entre los y las de abajo, entre mujeres y hombres del pueblo, sin exclusión de ningún tipo.

Combatiendo el sistema que es padre del engendro histórico infame de todo un disciplinamiento y sus respectivos dispositivos para tratar de mantener esa cruel doble opresión que en determinado grado necesita para su mantenimiento como sistema.

Todos los oprimidos y las oprimidas para ese largo y difícil trayecto de pelea orientado al cambio profundo, para su labor de resistencia y construcción cotidiana, deben munirse de la estrategia correspondiente pues: “En la medida que aumenten las posibilidades de una práctica de la acción directa y de la democracia directa, pueden asumir responsablemente la defensa de sus intereses y adquirir, a su vez, la capacidad necesaria para fortalecer su posibilidad de decisión; madurando en la medida en que se hacen cargo de sus aciertos y sus errores asumiéndolos como propios y evitando subordinarse a planteos externos y ajenos que los colocan en situación subalterna. Los métodos de acción directa deben englobar todos los ámbitos de quehacer social, político, ideológico, cultural, económico, etc. que constituyen la capilaridad y el conjunto de todo el cuerpo social”. (Documento Wellington Gallarza y Malvina Tavares, Fau-Fag).

Es este un día de clase, de compañeras y compañeros que tienen claro que mientras haya capitalismo habrá sociedad patriarcal, injusticias en todos los terrenos, desigualdad creciente y un puñado de dueños del poder y de la riqueza. Esto no significa posponer en nada la lucha cotidiana de la mujer por múltiples reivindicaciones de corto y mediano plazo.

Reivindicamos, entonces, a las mujeres resistentes integrantes de las clases populares: trabajadoras, desocupadas, amas de casa, estudiantes, presas, a todo el conjunto de mujeres que codo a codo con los hombres, forman parte del pueblo, de las clases oprimidas que no se resignan a vivir miserablemente y que luchan y sueñan por nuevas y justas relaciones sociales. Y porque entendemos que la perspectiva es de Emancipación Social, es que creemos que debe potenciarse una visión clasista del feminismo, enraizada en las luchas populares, en clave de ruptura, camino hacia el Socialismo y la Libertad.

Esa es para nosotros la cuestión central: la emancipación es del pueblo en su conjunto, de todos los oprimidos y las oprimidas. Al decir de Bakunin no somos verdaderamente libre más que cuando todos los seres humanos que nos rodean, hombres y mujeres, son verdaderamente libres. Siempre teniendo presente lo específico de esta fuerza social de mujeres, igualmente podemos decir que en lo de fondo es un tema de clase, más que de género, en este sentido bien puede parafrasearse aquello de Chomsky: la clase trasciende al género. La emancipación debe ser protagonizada por las clases oprimidas en su conjunto. Todos los logros que vayan realizando las fuerzas sociales con resistencia y lucha deben tener presente ese horizonte fundamental. No es tarea sencilla pero no hay duda: “La complejidad que reviste un proceso de transformación exige un alto nivel de comprensión de los mecanismos sociales. Obliga a caminar con un proyecto finalista de tal ductilidad que pueda ser operativo en las más diversas circunstancias coyunturales. Plantearse y resolver problemas, planificar periodos de acción, estar atento a los cambios, estimar las fuerzas propias, las del enemigo y de amigos puntuales. Desarrollar una capacidad de análisis que permita visualizar acontecimientos para poder operar con mayor eficacia en ellos. Trabajar por un desarrollo técnico y político que permita la incidencia pertinente… asegurar la continuidad de la estrategia… Ubicar lo más precisamente posible al Estado como estructura política especial del enemigo de clase; toda su capacidad represiva, todas sus instituciones de “perversa fantasía”: elecciones, parlamentos, etc. Pero teniendo presente al mismo tiempo que el poder dominante no se encuentra solamente ahí, que corre por distintas arterias del cuerpo social”. (Documento Wellington Galarza y Malvina Tavares, Fau-Fag)

Resumiendo. El sistema capitalista quiere llevar el agua a su molino

Señalamos antes que en los últimos años las movilizaciones del 8 de Marzo han tomado una masividad inédita. Ello ocurre a lo largo y ancho del mundo. Esa lucha histórica bien lo merece, su contenido aún más. Pero también, una vez más debemos estar alerta ante las estrategias que intenta el enemigo de clase. Diversas instituciones del sistema capitalista, han promovido sútil y tramposamente un “feminismo integrado” al propio sistema. Pretenden, como ha ocurrido en los medios obreros clásicos, realizar su política de “conciliación de clase”. Hay fuerte incidencia de las corrientes liberales y de la socialdemocracia para tratar de domesticar a un movimiento con un potencial cuestionador y movilizador importante. En Uruguay es claro y este fenómeno ya tiene algunas décadas, el despliegue de varias ONG’s que con una política totalmente socialdemócrata, desarrollan una concepción de la mujer como “objeto” al que hay que atender o estudiar como decíamos más arriba. No está en su concepción organizar para luchar, menos aún el anticapitalismo. En todo caso, suman su voz a un planteo muy útil al sistema que es el de la “cuota” en cargos de gobierno, haciendo causa común con la clase política. Intentando llevar el feminismo a ese corral de ramas de la institucionalidad burguesa.

Claro está, para el sistema capitalista es útil un feminismo que no cuestione las bases estructurales de la sociedad, que solamente coloque la problemática en compartimentos puntuales. Al sistema no le interesa nada un feminismo que critique la incidencia de las estructuras sociales en las relaciones humanas. De cómo las clases sociales, toda la estructura de poder dominante, opera e influye en la problemática de género. Tratan de presentar tramposamente como motivos principales aquellos, que pese a tener su importancia puntual, son secundarios. Pero no siempre logran sus maquiavélicos propósitos, hay sectores que tienen presente cuales son unos y otros objetivos de la lucha.

Es así que debemos destacar en América Latina, las movilizaciones y coordinaciones de movimientos feministas cuyos planteos son de clase en Brasil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, México etc. y donde esa lucha se articula con otras. Un saber que producto de sufrimientos y resistencias lo fue indicando: la lucha de las mujeres no puede ser una lucha aislada, se debilita y debilita la estructura de pelea de los oprimidos y las oprimidas de la que forma parte.

“ ´El sujeto también es una producción histórica´” nos avisan los estudiosos y por lo tanto hay que poner en funcionamiento prácticas de liberación que lo vayan produciendo y organizando. O fortalecer aquellas que ya están funcionando… Siendo así, otro sujeto histórico no vendrá de la nada, no aparecerá como por arte de magia, deberá ser el fruto de prácticas que internalicen otras cuestiones que chocan con lo dominante. La participación efectiva, la autogestión, la acción directa, la forma federal de funcionamiento realmente democrático, la solidaridad y apoyo mutuo, necesitan de mecanismos, organizaciones, prácticas regulares para su desarrollo. Y sólo si se produce en el pueblo podrá hacer realidad el cambio… necesita constantemente organización en el seno de su activa creación. La continuidad que necesita, para un despliegue que permita el cambio, requiere de una sostenida estrategia. Una estrategia coherente, para que no se desteja lo que en un momento dado se teje. Una estrategia que tenga en su interior un mundo distinto que va desplegando desde el seno de otro que le es antagónico”. (Documento Wellington Gallarza y Malvina Tavares, Fau-Fag)

Nuestra plena identificación con el 8 de marzo
Por un feminismo de clase y de abajo

Porque somos anticapitalistas. Porque creemos que el patriarcado está en la composición misma de la estructura capitalista. Porque queremos la igualdad social entre los seres humanos. Porque estamos convencidos que todo esto solo puede lograrse en una organización social totalmente distinta a la actual. Porque queremos que todas las fuerzas sociales converjan en la formación de un Pueblo Fuerte. Porque bregamos por un Frente de categorías sociales y clases oprimidas. Por todo ello impulsamos un feminismo clasista, de abajo, resistente. Lo entendemos en el seno de las luchas del pueblo, con inserción social y protagonismo de las compañeras, hombro con hombro con los compañeros. Deben ir juntas las luchas populares, nos debe cohesionar una ideología de unidad de los y las de abajo. Porque el camino final de emancipación es de socialismo y libertad para todas y todos.

En esa senda han militado numerosas compañeras libertarias a lo largo de la historia que siempre recordamos. Por esa senda pretendemos que se continúe construyendo el feminismo libertario de FAU.

Construyendo un pueblo Fuerte todos los días.
Por avanzar sin tregua hacia el Poder Popular
Por el socialismo y la libertad
¡Arriba las y los que luchan!

FEDERACIÓN ANARQUISTA URUGUAYA

western asia / indigenous struggles / opinion / analysis Wednesday March 20, 2019 19:25 byShawn Hattingh

For the past few years, most people would have come across news stories of how Kurdish fighters in Syria, especially women, have been crucial in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Very few, however, would be aware that in the north and eastern parts of Syria these same Kurdish fighters are part of a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far-reaching as any in history.

In the north and eastern parts of Syria, an attempt to create an alternative system to hierarchical states, capitalism and patriarchy is underway and should it fully succeed it holds the potential to inspire the struggle for a better, more egalitarian Middle East, Africa, South Africa and indeed world. As in any revolution it has had its successes and shortcomings, but it is already an experiment worth reflecting on as it shows a far different world could be built to the extremely unequal and increasingly right-wing and authoritarian one that exists today.

A Glimmer of Hope: The extraordinary story of a revolution within the Syrian civil war

Shawn Hattingh

For the past few years, most people would have come across news stories of how Kurdish fighters in Syria, especially women, have been crucial in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Very few, however, would be aware that in the north and eastern parts of Syria these same Kurdish fighters are part of a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far-reaching as any in history.

In the north and eastern parts of Syria, an attempt to create an alternative system to hierarchical states, capitalism and patriarchy is underway and should it fully succeed it holds the potential to inspire the struggle for a better, more egalitarian Middle East, Africa, South Africa and indeed world. As in any revolution it has had its successes and shortcomings, but it is already an experiment worth reflecting on as it shows a far different world could be built to the extremely unequal and increasingly right-wing and authoritarian one that exists today.

The start of Rojava

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Syria, most of the country descended into a hellish nightmare as a vicious civil war erupted between the brutal Assad regime and equally reactionary groups claiming to be inspired by Islamic fundamentalism. Compounding this was the intervention of imperialist powers such as the US and Russia, and regional powers such as Turkey, Israel and Iran. One area where there was a difference was the mainly Kurdish enclave in the north of Syria known as Rojava. 1

There, on 19 July 2012, popular protests erupted against the Assad regime. Government buildings were occupied and taken over by the people. Many of the people involved in this had been building a popular movement for almost a decade that had the vision of implementing a radical concept — Democratic Confederalism.

The vision of Democratic Confederalism

Democratic Confederalism was first outlined by Abdullah Ocalan, who began his political life as an adherent of Stalinism and was the head of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PPK) that had been engaged in a guerrilla war for the national liberation of the Kurdish people in Turkey.

In 1999, Ocalan was captured in Kenya — in an incident involving intelligence agencies from Turkey, the US and Greece — and tried for treason by the Turkish state. He was initially sentenced to death, but that was commuted to a life sentence as, at that point, the Turkish state had aspirations of joining the EU.

Since then, he has been held on the prison island of Imrali, often as the only prisoner, and now in total isolation since April 2015 — indeed the right-wing Erdogan regime has even denied visitation by his family members and lawyers (presently hundreds of people across the world are on hunger strike demanding an end to his isolation).

In the early 2000s, Ocalan nonetheless began a process of reflecting on what went wrong with past revolutionary struggles, most notably the Russian Revolution and the communist party’s rise to power as head of the Chinese state. During these revolutions, the energy of millions of people was released, a hope of a better future grew, only to flounder on the rise of the totalitarian states that emerged.

At the same time, Ocalan also began reading the works of libertarian socialist and social ecologist Murray Bookchin, as well as studying the experiences of the anarchist-syndicalist inspired Spanish Revolution of 1936 (which was one of the most radical revolutions in terms of worker democracy and control; although it too is not well known).

Ocalan came to the conclusion that the main reason past revolutions had failed is that they did not put an end to the structure of the state. Rather, communist parties entered the state and through that process, the leaders of these parties became rulers and a new elite within those societies.

In these states figures such as Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao and those loyal to them held real power; not the majority of people. Ocalan, therefore, argued that all states, whether claiming to be revolutionary or not, were hierarchical and subjugated, oppressed and exploited the majority of people.

He also argued states were inherently patriarchal and first arose in societies where a minority became an elite ruling class, but also importantly, in ones in which men began oppressing women and exploiting their labour. He concluded, due to their very structures — which centralised power — states could not escape or be altered to fundamentally shift away from their original purpose: Enabling an elite to hold power and rule over society.

Ocalan maintained that if a revolution was to be achieved, women’s liberation would have to be a central component. He also reasoned that capitalism needed to be replaced, but so too did the state. To replace these he argued for a communal economy that was based on the socialisation of the means of production and production for need, not profit.

He also argued such an economy needed to be ecologically sustainable and democratic. To replace the state, he maintained federated assemblies and councils should be created and they should function on the basis of direct democracy.

This, he felt, would prevent the emergence of an elite as within direct democracy there could be no hierarchy as delegates were always subject to the will of assemblies at the base of society. Monopolisation could not take place in a socialised and democratic economy.

By the mid-2000s most people involved in the Kurdish national liberation struggle in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran had come to adopt Democratic Confederalism. With this, they began to attempt to forge a new world in the shell of the old by building a mass movement of community-based councils and assemblies across southern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and northwestern Iran.

In this, direct democracy, feminism and participatory praxis replaced undemocratic notions of hierarchy and vanguardism as defining features of the Kurdish national liberation struggle.

Implementing Democratic Confederalism

Since 2012, when the Syrian state left the north and eastern parts of the country, people in this area known as Rojava — Kurds, Turks and Arabs — expanded these structures of direct democracy. As part of this, they set up thousands of communes — made up of 60 to 100 households — right across Rojava to run the society from the grassroots on the basis of a radical democracy without a state.

People themselves, through participation in the communes, decide through direct democracy on policies, plans, and how to meet needs in their own communities. They democratically deal with issues such as crime at a local level and use restorative justice as opposed to punitive justice in order to constructively heal communities.

This includes dealing with issues such as gender-based violence. Due to having a history of being involved in a movement based on direct democratic organisations, people were already familiar with such politics and putting such a system fully into practice was not alien.

The communes, in fact, have full autonomy and are where true power resides. Through mass meetings, they are the sole decision-making bodies regarding the economy, services, development, education and defence in the areas they cover. No structure or institution has any right or ability to override decisions made by the communes.

The communes, while being autonomous, are federated into neighbourhood assemblies — in this, the communes send mandated and recallable delegates to neighbourhood assemblies to share their ideas, views and plans to ensure co-ordination from below. Recallable delegates from the neighbourhood assemblies are then sent to City Assemblies. These are all linked through delegates that are sent to a structure that covers the entire region, named the Syrian Democratic Council.

By 2016, a form of representative democracy had also been introduced in the Syrian Democratic Council. Other parties and formations — who were not mandated delegates from the communes and assemblies — also began to participate in the Syrian Democratic Council through an election.

This has proven to be a controversial issue. Some argue that the introduction of a form of representative democracy in the Syrian Democratic Council undermines the direct democracy envisioned in Democratic Confederalism. They contend it introduces practices similar to those of a state. Others argue that it was a necessary step to ensure unity of the people of Rojava in the face of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks and some form of international recognition.

Linked to this argument, its proponents contend that as a minority of parties and organisations had refused to participate in the communes and neighbourhood assemblies some form of representative democracy in the Syrian Democratic Council was necessary to also give such people a say. Those defending this move also point out that the communes remain the real holders of power and the Syrian Democratic Council cannot override their decisions nor impose any policy, practice or law on them.

Ultimately it does seem to be the case that the communes do hold real power, although introducing elements of representative democracy in the Syrian Democratic Council holds the real danger of introducing new hierarchies. An important development, though, is that women play a central role in this system of Democratic Confederalism. Each assembly or council — including the Syrian Democratic Council — have to ensure gender parity among delegates. To have a quorum in commune meetings at least 40% of the participants have to be women.

In the process of the revolution, real strides have been made to create a genuinely democratic form of people’s power with women playing a central role. As the fighters from Rojava have rolled back ISIS, new areas have joined the system of self-governance based on Democratic Confederalism. Presently 4.6 million people live and participate in this system, now known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

On the economic front, there has been an attempt to replace capitalism with a communal economy. At the heart of this experiment are worker self-managed co-operatives that produce not for profits, but to meet peoples’ needs. Besides being based on workers’ democracy, these co-operatives are also accountable to everyone involved in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria through being answerable to the federated communes.

Large industries, of which oil is the only real one, and ex-state-owned commercial farms have also been socialised — that is, ownership is by all. By some estimates, 70% of economic activity is conducted through co-operatives. Small-sized businesses still do exist, but these are required to be based on meeting peoples’ needs and are reportedly accountable to the communes — to temper profit motives and price gouging.

Threats from many sides

Over the course of almost seven years, the people of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria — mainly through democratic militia — have fought off the many dangers that have been posed to the revolution, which have included the forces of the Syrian state, ISIS and the Turkish state.

In the process a tactical military alliance was formed in 2015 with the US — it only arose because the Kurdish forces proved the most capable in combating ISIS. The US, as always, has only adhered to the tactical military alliance for its own purposes and has categorically refused to politically recognise the existence of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. It recently mooted that its troops would pull out of Syria in a move that will give the Turkish state a free hand to militarily intervene against the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

In January 2019, the Turkish state in fact began to make plans for the invasion of northern Syria to end the revolution. The Turkish state fears the revolution will spread into Turkey itself and it does not want an experiment in direct democracy, feminism, ecology, anti-statism, and anti-capitalism to succeed.

Already in 2018, the Turkish state invaded part of Rojava, Afrin, and is now unleashing plans to invade the rest of north and eastern Syria. These plans have been condemned by the peoples of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. They have called for a genuine international peacekeeping force to be deployed to prevent the invasion. Indeed, if such an invasion occurs there will be a massive escalation of the war in Syria, which will at the very least lead to thousands more deaths and hundreds of thousands of new refugees. 1

Showing us the potential for a better way

Despite some weaknesses and the threats the revolution faces, it is a beacon of hope. For South Africans, the revolution in northern and eastern Syria holds real lessons and potential hope.

When the liberation movement in South Africa gained state power, it promised to use this to improve people’s lives, end racism, address sexism and bring about equality. This has flatly failed to happen.

Ocalan’s analysis that once in state power, former liberation movements become a new elite and new rulers that develop self-serving interests precisely due to their new power and privileged positions they occupy, has proven to be correct. It is exactly why we sit with corruption throughout the state in South Africa as officials abuse the hierarchical power they have to enrich themselves.

Democratic Confederalism, as is shown in Syria, offers another way to run society. Its direct democracy can temper corruption and create greater equality as power cannot be centralised in such a system and wealth cannot be accumulated individually.

Developments in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria also demonstrate how a non-racial society can be built through a radical democracy and that gender relations can be changed through a participatory revolutionary process. This is something that is desperately needed in South Africa where gender-based violence, sexism and racism are everyday occurrences.

In South Africa, we are saddled with one of the most corrupt private sectors in the world. Practices such as price gouging, collusion, transfer pricing and tax evasion/avoidance are prevalent in the private sector.

Working conditions, especially in the agricultural sector, are often harsh and even brutal. Pay is often low, which is one of the reasons we are one of the most unequal societies in the world. Unemployment, too, is rife and precarious work a growing phenomenon.

Past revolutions have shown, however, that nationalisation is often not the answer. Developments in Syria to create a socialised communal economy that is democratic shows another path could be followed.

In order to create a more democratic and egalitarian path (which Democratic Confederalism shows can be done), a new mass movement with a new vision, clear ethics, sound principles and truly democratic practices in South Africa is needed.

Without such a movement we will remain mired in a society defined by exploitation and corruption. To build such a movement will be no easy task, but it is what is needed: What the revolution in northern Syria shows is that it can be done.

international / anarchist movement / policy statement Wednesday March 20, 2019 19:12 byJornadas Anarquistas

In these challenging times, where there is great political confusion, where old practices which lead to the same port are renewed, as is the case with the variety of electioneering offers that ensure they are not going to deviate from the path of a “responsible and mature” politics: while global poverty, precariousness, unemployment and the desperate migration of millions of people increase; while despair grows and authoritarian and neoliberal proposals are gaining ground, where technical coups take place with a view to the most rancid bourgeoisie taking up the state's helm again. Nothing should escape its control and, within this framework, the imperialist policies of the USA and European Union place their chips and interests on the global game board. Thereby increasing, with variants in every region of the planet, the so-called surplus population, stripped of the essentials to live; while the population that suffers various levels of precariousness grows in size and severity. A world that is increasingly designed for less and less people, an increasingly small population that is fully “integrated” into the global capitalist system, where precariousness, segregation, segmentation and survival are constantly increasing. And at the other extreme, wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer people.

Castellano

Anarchist Days 2019

PORTO ALEGRE

In these challenging times, where there is great political confusion, where old practices which lead to the same port are renewed, as is the case with the variety of electioneering offers that ensure they are not going to deviate from the path of a “responsible and mature” politics: while global poverty, precariousness, unemployment and the desperate migration of millions of people increase; while despair grows and authoritarian and neoliberal proposals are gaining ground, where technical coups take place with a view to the most rancid bourgeoisie taking up the state's helm again. Nothing should escape its control and, within this framework, the imperialist policies of the USA and European Union place their chips and interests on the global game board. Thereby increasing, with variants in every region of the planet, the so-called surplus population, stripped of the essentials to live; while the population that suffers various levels of precariousness grows in size and severity. A world that is increasingly designed for less and less people, an increasingly small population that is fully “integrated” into the global capitalist system, where precariousness, segregation, segmentation and survival are constantly increasing. And at the other extreme, wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer people.

This situation, with variants, is more familiar to us. There will be no transformation of this situation through the channels that the system leaves available (elections, parliaments, governments and judicial system), since all these structures are established in order to perpetuate and deepen the "bourgeois" social order. It is for this reason that a way out for the people themselves is necessary and urgent. A way out regarding which we organised anarchists have a lot to say and contribute.

This is why the action of Politically Organized Anarchism (Especifismo) has a lot to say and contribute, on an effective strategy for struggle, but also to learn and be updated at this juncture. We are convinced that Anarchism must be operational, agile, that it must be in tune with the new social realities in order to combat the brutality that this ruthless system imposes on those at the bottom of society, the oppressed class. But for this, we reiterate, Anarchism must be organized politically. It is the Political Organization that enables militants to process necessary discussions and debates, to make pertinent contextual analyses, to define action and development plans, to refine tactics with precision, but also to determine a finalist strategy and the adequacy of that strategy for each period of action, for each conjuncture – what we call Strategy in the Strict Sense – and also to develop the necessary technical aspects inherent to the political organization. All this in constant interaction with the social environment; the Political Organization's reason for being is the social insertion of Anarchism, precisely to make it more effective and to influence and provide a pole of attraction to processes of popular outcome.

Therefore, it is not enough to be inserted, to do things in the social environment without planning. We live life in insertion, but it is necessary to complement it with the Political Organization, that small engine that pushes the popular movement. The Anarchist Political Organization, according to the especifista conception, is not a vanguard, but militant abnegation with the purpose of encouraging and guiding a process of revolutionary rupture with the widespread participation of the organized people. Deeply respecting the specificity of that level. We have called that process Popular Power, the process of building the people’s organisms of power with which bourgeois power structures will be replaced. Thus, social insertion and political organization go hand in hand and are articulated horizontally in a very different way to that proposed and developed by all the vanguards of the left until now; which have done nothing more than limit the development of popular organizations and instrumentalize them as "apparatuses" useful to their parties. For that reason Especifista Anarchism speaks about a Strong People and not about a "strong party" as all the currents of Marxism have proposed. We advocate a Strong People, a people that builds its own destiny and its instances and degrees of freedom according to its experience of struggles and development and advances in the process of rupture.

For a long time already in Latin America we have been making a constant effort and with all the modesty of our forces, in the direction of promoting Especifismo. A not insignificant journey has been made. Moreover, today Organized Anarchism has a presence and pole of attraction in countries where it had practically disappeared. It affects the popular level and in a strong way. We must continue this path, we must give it a "push", help to move it forward. We need Especifismo, that is to say Politically Organized Anarchism, to grow and strengthen in other countries and regions. To strengthen processes that have been cementing themselves, at a serene pace, calm but firm. Something similar can be said about the need to grow and strengthen in other regions of the planet.

We are speaking about Political Organization with an Organizational Charter, Declaration of Principles, regular functioning of its organisational instances and a practice of Federalism, development and monitoring of work plans for each social environment, plans for tasks specific to the Organization, propaganda and dissemination of ideas and of the general and concrete political proposal for every environment and circumstance.

But the Political Organization is also in charge of the formulation of theory, that is the tools of analysis to know the reality, interpret it and be able to act with greater accuracy and effectiveness in it. This task, of theoretical development, is understood by us as one of primary importance and of necessary constant exchange between Organizations.

The development of the Political Organization must take place within the framework of the development of insertion – and together with it – in the different work fronts. Often there are limited possibilities to develop insertion in all possible fronts of work or in those that we define as priorities because of class allegiances or the social weight of said sector in the ideological notions that it produces. But one must take these limitations into account and work in that direction, planning a project of insertion or for approaching certain sectors that allows us to grow our orientation in the most vast popular sectors.

These are the common tools – together with political practices – that allow us to demonstrate a common militant style and matrix, but also a common proposal and societal project. In the same way, a common criticism of the capitalist system of oppression. Presenting a common body at the international level strengthens our current and our approach; logically, with the particularities of each country or region, which enrich the global process.

But we want to insist on the need to enhance Especifismo and have a kind of international "relaunching" of our political current, or give it strength and consistency, anchoring organizations where we are not yet present, strengthening those that do exist and the bonds between us.

The times that lie ahead demand concerted action and permanent solidarity between organizations, with the necessary mutual aid that potentiates concrete projects of social insertion and fronts of action, but that also amplifies our voice and political proposal at a general level. It demands equally of us greater militant rigor and political training of all our militants. We also need to develop the necessary instruments and tools to face the circumstances that are coming.

Therefore, in this instance of Anarchist Days we have discussed and agreed on the following proposals:


1) Consolidating the construction processes of specific organizations.

2) Strengthening bonds of solidarity and political exchange between organizations on a daily basis, including organizations’ appropriation of the Anarkismo.net website, in order to spread our activities, positions and materials. This website should be a platform for launching our current and political and social project.
3) Joint work on the development of our theory and tools of analysis. There are already texts being circulated, but others can be proposed and topics to be investigated and worked on together (for example, Popular Power, Resistance, etc.) can be established.

4) Moving towards the coordination of organizations at the level of each region (Europe, South America) and establishing organizations responsible for monitoring and supporting other processes in other parts of the planet.
5) Defining general courses of action in the coming years and areas of work, as well as the necessary support from outside (for example: in the face of the advance of the extreme right in European countries, or the intensification of repression in Latin America).

Signed by:

Coordinación Anarquista Brasilera (CAB)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU)
Federación Anarquista de Rosario (Argentina) (FAR)
Organización Anarquista de Córdoba (Argentina) (OAC)
OSRL Anarquismo Organizado (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Núcleo Pro-Federación (Chile)
Coordinación de Grupos Anarquistas (CGA-Francia)

internacional / movimiento anarquista / policy statement Wednesday March 20, 2019 19:08 byJornadas Anarquistas

Estos tiempos que corren, donde la confusión política es grande, donde se renuevan viejas prácticas que conducen al mismo puerto, como en el caso de las variadas ofertas electoralistas que aseguran que no van a desviarse del camino de una política "madura y responsable”; mientras aumenta a nivel mundial la pobreza, la precarización, el desempleo, las migraciones de millones de seres humanos en forma desesperada, mientras crece el desconsuelo y ganan terreno propuestas autoritarias y neoliberales, donde se producen golpes de Estado de carácter técnico en aras de retomar el timonel del Estado por parte de la burguesía más rancia. Nada debe escapar a su control y en ese marco, la política imperialista de EEUU y la Unión Europea disponen en el tablero mundial sus fichas y sus intereses. Aumenta de ese modo, con variantes en cada región del planeta, la población llamada sobrante, desplazada de todo lo elemental para vivir y también crece en volumen y problemática la población que sufre varios niveles de precarización. Un mundo diseñado cada vez para menos gente, cada vez menos población "integrada" plenamente al sistema mundo capitalista, donde aumenta de la precariedad, la segmentación, segregación y la sobrevivencia. Y en el otro extremo, la consiguiente concentración de la riqueza cada vez en menos manos.

English

JORNADAS ANARQUISTAS 2019

PORTO ALEGRE

Estos tiempos que corren, donde la confusión política es grande, donde se renuevan viejas prácticas que conducen al mismo puerto, como en el caso de las variadas ofertas electoralistas que aseguran que no van a desviarse del camino de una política "madura y responsable”; mientras aumenta a nivel mundial la pobreza, la precarización, el desempleo, las migraciones de millones de seres humanos en forma desesperada, mientras crece el desconsuelo y ganan terreno propuestas autoritarias y neoliberales, donde se producen golpes de Estado de carácter técnico en aras de retomar el timonel del Estado por parte de la burguesía más rancia. Nada debe escapar a su control y en ese marco, la política imperialista de EEUU y la Unión Europea disponen en el tablero mundial sus fichas y sus intereses. Aumenta de ese modo, con variantes en cada región del planeta, la población llamada sobrante, desplazada de todo lo elemental para vivir y también crece en volumen y problemática la población que sufre varios niveles de precarización. Un mundo diseñado cada vez para menos gente, cada vez menos población "integrada" plenamente al sistema mundo capitalista, donde aumenta de la precariedad, la segmentación, segregación y la sobrevivencia. Y en el otro extremo, la consiguiente concentración de la riqueza cada vez en menos manos.

Esta realidad, con variantes, nos es más conocida. No habrá transformación de esta situación por vías que el sistema deja abiertas (elecciones, gobiernos, parlamentos, sistema judicial), ya que todas esas estructuras están montadas a efectos de perpetuar el orden burgués y profundizarlo. Es por ello, que se hace necesario y acuciante una salida propia para los pueblos, una salida a la cual los anarquistas organizados tenemos mucho para decir y aportar.

Es por ello que la acción del Anarquismo Políticamente Organizado -o Especifismo- tiene mucho para decir, aportar, en una estrategia de lucha efectiva, pero también para aprender y refrescarse en esta coyuntura. Estamos convencidos que el Anarquismo debe ser operativo, ágil, estar a tono con las nuevas realidades sociales para enfrentar la crudeza que este despiadado sistema impone a los de abajo. Pero para ello, reiteramos, el Anarquismo debe organizarse políticamente. Es la Organización Política la que permite procesar a los militantes las necesarias discusiones y debates, hacer los pertinentes análisis de coyuntura, definir los planes de acción y desarrollo, afinar la táctica con precisión, pero también diseñar una estrategia finalista y la adecuación de dicha estrategia a cada período de acción, a cada coyuntura -lo que llamamos Estrategia en Sentido Estricto-, también desarrollar los necesarios aspectos técnicos inherentes a la organización política. Todo ello en una constante interacción con el medio social; la Organización Política tiene su razón de ser en la inserción social del Anarquismo, justamente para hacerla más eficaz e incidir y gravitar en procesos de desenlace popular.

Por lo tanto, no alcanza con tener inserción, hacer cosas sin planificación en el medio social. En la inserción se nos va la vida, pero es necesaria junta a ella la Organización Política, ese pequeño motor que empuja al movimiento popular. La Organización Política Anarquista en la concepción especifista no es vanguardista, sino de abnegación militante, con la finalidad de incentivar y orientar un proceso de ruptura revolucionaria con amplia participación del pueblo organizado. Respetando profundamente lo específico de ese nivel. Ese proceso lo hemos llamado Poder Popular, proceso de construcción de los organismos de poder del pueblo con los que se sustituirán las estructuras de poder burgués. Entonces, inserción social y organización política van de la mano y se articulan horizontalmente de un modo muy diferente al que han propuesto y desarrollado todos los vanguardismos de la izquierda hasta el momento, que no han hecho más que limitar el desarrollo de las organizaciones populares e instrumentalizarlas como "aparatos" útiles a sus partidos. Por ello el Anarquismo Especifista habla de Pueblo Fuerte y no de "partido fuerte" como lo han planteado todas las corrientes del marxismo. Propugnamos un Pueblo Fuerte, un pueblo constructor de su destino y de sus instancias y grados de libertad según su experiencia de luchas y desarrollo y avances en el proceso de ruptura.

Desde ya hace un buen tiempo en América Latina, hemos venido desarrollando un esfuerzo constante y con toda la modestia de nuestras fuerzas, en el sentido de impulsar el Especifismo. Se ha avanzado un trayecto nada despreciable. Es más, hoy el Anarquismo Organizado tiene presencia y gravitación en países donde prácticamente había desaparecido. Incide a nivel popular y de manera fuerte. Ese camino debemos continuarlo, debemos darle un "empujón", ayudar a hacerlo avanzar. Necesitamos que el Especifismo, es decir que el Anarquismo Políticamente Organizado, crezca y se fortalezca en otros países y regiones. Afianzar procesos que se vienen cimentando, a paso sereno, calmo pero firme. Algo similar podemos decir respecto a que es necesario crecer y fortalecerse en otras regiones del planeta.

Hablamos de Organización Política con Carta Orgánica, Declaración de Principios, funcionamiento regular de sus instancias y práctica del Federalismo, elaboración y seguimiento de los planes de trabajo para cada medio social, planes para tareas propias de la Organización, propaganda y difusión de las ideas y del planteo político general y concreto para cada medio y circunstancia.

Pero también la Organización Política es la encargada de la elaboración de la teoría, digamos de las herramientas de análisis para conocer la realidad, interpretarla y poder actuar con mayor rigor y eficacia en ella. Esa tarea, la construcción teórica, la entendemos como de primer orden y de necesario intercambio entre las Organizaciones en forma permanente.

El desarrollo de la Organización Política debe darse en el marco del desarrollo de la inserción -y junto a ella- en los diferentes frentes de trabajo. Muchas veces hay limitadas posibilidades de desarrollar inserción en todos los frentes posibles de trabajo o en los que definimos como prioritarios por pertenencia de clase o peso social de dicho sector en las nociones ideológicas que produce. Pero debe tenerse en cuenta esta limitación y operar en ese sentido, planificar un trabajo de inserción o acercamiento a ciertos sectores que permitan hacer crecer nuestra orientación en los más vastos sectores populares.

Son esas herramientas comunes -juntos con las prácticas políticas- las que permiten mostrar un estilo y matriz común militante, pero también una propuesta y un proyecto de sociedad común. Del mismo modo, una crítica común al sistema de opresión capitalista. Presentar un cuerpo común a nivel internacional fortalece a nuestra corriente y a nuestro planteo; lógicamente, con las particularidades de cada país o región, las cuales enriquecen al proceso global.

Pero queremos insistir en la necesidad de potenciar el Especifismo y hacer una especie de "relanzamiento" internacional de nuestra corriente, o darle la fuerza y consistencia enraizando organizaciones allí donde aún no estamos presente, fortalecer las que existen y fortalecer los lazos entre nosotros.

Los tiempos que se viene demandan una acción concertada y de solidaridad permanente entre las organizaciones, con el necesario apoyo mutuo que potencian los trabajos de inserción concretos y frentes de acción, pero también que amplifican nuestra voz y propuesta a nivel general. Nos demanda igualmente mayor rigor militante y formación política del conjunto de nuestra militancia. También generar los instrumentos y herramientas necesarias para estar a la altura de las circunstancias que se vienen.

Por lo tanto, en esta instancia de las Jornadas Anarquistas hemos abordado y acordado las siguientes propuestas:

1) Consolidar los procesos de construcción de organizaciones específicas.
2) Estrechar los lazos de solidaridad e intercambio entre las organizaciones en forma cotidiana, incluyendo la apropiación de las organizaciones de la web Anarkismo, de modo de difundir nuestras actividades, posiciones y materiales. Dicha web debe ser plataforma de lanzamiento de nuestra corriente y proyecto político y social.
3) Trabajo en conjunto sobre la construcción de nuestra teoría y herramientas de análisis. Ya hay materiales en circulación, pero pueden establecerse otros y ubicar temáticas a investigar y trabajar en conjunto (ejemplo, Poder Popular, Resistencia, etc.)
4) Avanzar en la coordinación de las organizaciones a nivel de cada región (Europa, América del Sur) y establecer las organizaciones responsables del seguimiento y apoyatura a otros procesos en otras partes del planeta.
5) Prever cursos de acción general en los próximos años y ejes de trabajo, lo mismo que las apoyaturas necesarias desde el exterior (ejemplo: ante el avance de la extrema derecha en países de Europa o intensificación represiva en América Latina).

Firman:

Coordinación Anarquista Brasilera (CAB)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU)
Federación Anarquista de Rosario (Argentina) (FAR)
Organización Anarquista de Córdoba (Argentina) (OAC)
OSRL Anarquismo Organizado (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Núcleo Pro-Federación (Chile)
Coordinación de Grupos Anarquistas (CGA-Francia)

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