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65 years of the FAU

category international | anarchist movement | press release author Friday October 29, 2021 17:43author by Oceania anachist communist orgs Report this post to the editors

We recognise the FAU's contributions to the libertarian movement and the sacrifice of comrades past and present. We send our congratulations on the 65th anniversary of the FAU. In solidarity with the struggle for freedom and socialism, the undersigned Anarchist-Communist groups of Oceania.

65 years ago, on the 27-29th of October, 1956 the founding conference of the Federación Anarquista uruguaya - FAU was held. Known for developing the theory of "especifismo", the contributions of the FAU in the struggle for socialism and freedom are immense.

Though the FAU was founded by a number of anarchist collectives in '56, a split soon occurred revolving around the relationship with the Cuban revolution. As the more "cultural" anarchist factions broke away, a core committed to organisation around a specific anarchist program and theory retained the name. This core of the FAU involved members instrumental in forming Uruguay's unitary trade union body in 1964, the CNT.

Within the CNT, the FAU led several unions, including those in the tire manufacturing and financial sectors. The militant unions formed a significant bloc within the CNT known as the Tendencia Combativa. Their influence meant many rank and file workers, the majority who were affiliated to the reformist Communist Party, instead followed the leadership of the FAU and other radicals. Even in a period of armed struggle across Latin America, an imperialist US taskforce declared the CNT the most significant danger to capitalist interests in the region.

When the FAU was declared illegal in 1967, the organisation had to go underground. In what became known as the "las dos patos", or "two-feet" strategy, the FAU established a legal body, known as the Workers Student Resistance (ROE) which grew to over 10k members. The ROE was considered a "rear guard" to the CNT as the vanguard. To complement the activities of both the FAU also established a unique and controversial armed wing, the OPR-33.

At a time when armed struggle was rapidly spreading across Latin America, the FAUs armed wing broke with the mould in terms of strategy and tactics. The OPR-33 only existed to support mass struggle; strikes, factory occupations and protests. The FAUs critiques of the prevalent "focismo" drew a clear distinction between the mass-focus of anarchist politics and the vanguardism of Marxist groups in the region.

When the military launched a coup in 1973, the CNT, led by the Combative Tendency, responded according to a plan largely drawn up by the FAU and other radical Marxist groups. The nation went on general strike, factories were occupied and barricades built across the cities. Eventually however, the Communist Party gave in and sent its members back to work. More radical unions held out for a few weeks, but the strike eventually collapsed.

As the country entered a period of military dictatorship, a mass purging of leftists began. Dozens of FAU militants were kidnapped, tortured and executed during Operation Condor. Today, some victims remain 'missing', while others have been identified amongst mass graves including ones in Argentina.
When the military dictatorship ended, the FAU reformed above-ground. The organisation still maintains several libraries, radio programs and a substantial presence in the union movement.
The FAU has played a huge role in spreading the strategy of especifismo across not only Latin America but the globe. The significance of the contribution of the FAU to the re-emergence of a sophisticated, mass class struggle anarchism cannot be overstated.

We recognise the FAU's contributions to the libertarian movement and the sacrifice of comrades past and present. We send our congratulations on the 65th anniversary of the FAU. In solidarity with the struggle for freedom and socialism, the undersigned Anarchist-Communist groups of Oceania.

Anarchist Communists Meanjin
Mutiny - Black Flag Sydney
Geelong Anarchist Communists
Melbourne Anarchist-Communist Group
Red and Black Notes
Tāmaki Makaurau Anarchists

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