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From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 18 Aug 2003 08:29:55 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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1. Are anarchists "escuálidos" ("weaks") (nickname given by Chávez to his enemies)?
Before anything else, "escuálidos" is a mainly mediatic term, of
disdainful character in its origin and for slogan purposes, that
says nothing about those it labels. It is necessary to define what
is meant by this in order to judge whoever receives this label. But,
if this is a name given to those of us who will not let go of our
freedom and autonomy so that we would bow down to the
authoritarianism of one person, of one party, of one movement, then we are so.
And if by this it is implied that we support schools of thought
identified with economical liberalism, with the scornful racism
from the elites towards the majority, with the pseudo-democracy
or the return to the social-political organization which is now part
of history, then we are not such thing.

2. Is opposing the Chávez regime a way of supporting the "Coordinadora
Democrática" (Democratic Coordinator, the "official" political
opposition to the regime)?

In fact, we support neither the Chávez regime nor the
Democratic Coordinator, and one thing does not mean the other.
We can agree with some action of the former and the latter, with
some declarations of the former and latter, but in the core we
criticize most of the actions and speeches of both. We oppose the
frustrations of the hopes of Chávez's supporters, but we do not
support the mysterious moves from opportunistic groups that
control the opposing protests for the time being. And above all,
we can not, because of principles, support those who look for a
better life not caring about the individual submission to the state
hierarchy, something approved by both camps.

3. Chávez talks about popular sovereignty and participation. Isn't
this part of what anarchists want?

Chávez talks about a lot of things. But he himself said that we
should focus on what he does and not what he says. What he
does has little to do with popular sovereignty but a lot to do with
sovereignty of domes (military). We just need to take a look at
his reaction to the referendum, to get a clue of what he thinks of
participation. In Anarchism permanent leaderships are not
accepted, instead they should be constantly evaluated by those
that for whatever reason they represent and that is what is meant
by sovereignty and participation, which is not present in this
process nor any other that bases itself on power and on the State.

4. Chávez calls to confront the oligarchy and imperialism. In
spite of the differences, is it that hard to establish strategic
alliances with him and then later on, once the coup d'état and
the oligarchy are destroyed, try to create the anarchist revolution?

To establish strategic alliances is a type of political action that
will ultimately end up with one of the allies taking power, instead
of this, we the anarchists are trying to eliminate the power with
the participation of all. The destruction of what is called coup
d'état and oligarchy (obvious propagandistic terms), in the case
that it will succeed, only helps strengthen the power of the
winners, the latter will inevitably create a new oligarchy because
the power tends not to be distributed but concentrated. This will
make it harder for the creation of an anarchist revolution and
Spain in 1936 was an example of this. On top of this is not factual
to identify the Chavist project with the struggle against coup
d'état, when its original aim was to overthrow the power in

The struggle against the power of a few (oligarchy) in state
regimes is the end the same as to replace a few with other few.
Concerning the struggle against imperialism, if we look at the
policies that they support with oil, agriculture, the industry, the
work sphere, they seem to present themselves as defenders of
imperialism and not their enemies.

5. In case of an early election or referendum, how would
anarchists vote?

We the anarchists have never considered voting as form of participation,
because elections of masters do not make us more free. Because of its
recent history here, we are going to have to debate more on what
specific action should be taken in a referendum, specially if it is a
consultative one. We would support a referendum that would
reclaim the power if this includes the beginning of direct
democracy, grassroot and participative in each aspect of society.

6. The "Círculos Bolivarianos" (Bolivarian Circles) are
communitarian groups and with horizontal popular participation.
Why do anarchists fail to support these grassroot organizations?

The ideological identification and apparent submission of these
bolivarian circles to the official politic are serious obstacles to
create from this a movement with autonomous basis. From what
we know of their functioning, is not understandable to talk about
horizontal participation when their members repeat the very same
opinions from the "unquestionable leader of this process". On top
of this, we have experiences of this in Venezuela, too many
grassroot organizations (like in the labour unions) have always
resembled the tramways, that receive electricity from the top.

7. The Venezuelan Armed Forces, unlike imperialist armies, have
clearly popular, nationalist roots and can sustain a revolutionary
project. Are anarchists mistaken to criticize the Army?

Ever since modern armies first appeared in Europe in the 17th and
18th centuries, soldiers have always been of popular extraction
and the troops of the Latin American dictatorships have not been
recruited from privileged social strata. For the very reason that it
is an army, which exists to defend of a power structure and its
leaders, it can never support a revolution in favor of the
oppressed. At most it could exchange one figure for another and
some of the power structure's rules, but not eliminate it because
control and obedience are its essence. For that reason we support
no army, no police force, no privileged people who might use force
of arms for their benefit against other people. Nationalism is not
an idea that anarchists support, because it implies limiting
interests to certain people, artificially enclosed in a
nation-territory, who then consider themselves different and even
superior to others. We are the enemies of all forms of privilege by
birth, race, culture, religion or place of origin.

8. According to Chávez, his plan is to carry out a pacific and democratic. Why
don't anarchists wait for the revolution to develop further before
criticizing the Process?

Chávez talks about revolution, but this is not enough in order to
believe that he will do it and that he must be supported. Too many
tyrants in this continent have said the same in the past, without
there being even a hope of supporting them. In our case there has
been a revolution in that our way of life has been changed in many
respects, but what we see of construction does not lead us to be
inclined to support it. To allow his consolidation means doing
things which are more difficult to change, because those changes
that we demand go in a very different direction from the one which
this "Process" is taking, one which is proving to be inefficient,
with orientations, personnel and attitudes that we cannot share
and which have evident signs of authoritarianism.

9. There are libertarians who say they support Chávez' Process.
If they are attributed as being less anarchist for that reason, is that
accusation not contrary to the anti-dogmatic spirit of libertarian socialism?

Anarchism is not a mental state, it is a way to face the changing
social circumstances by seeking the well-being of each individual
in the well-being of all, with proposals that arise from individuals
which are discussed, adopted or rejected by the others in
determinate places at determinate times. Anyone can call him or
herself a libertarian, as we have no card or birthmark that
identifies us as such. It is only mutual interaction that marks us
and it is other anarchists who determine if we do or do not belong
to the movement, on the basis of our conduct and our ideas. And,
as we are not perfect, it can happen that we adopt forms of
conduct or defend ideas that the collective does not
approve. But that does not make anyone more or less, it makes us
different, although at times the difference is such that it becomes
unbearable for the others and they can cease to recognize us as
being like them.

10. Anarchists only criticize without contributing anything. What
do the anarchists propose to get Venezuela out of its present crisis?

Our fight is neither conjunctural nor of circumstances. It is for the
need to adopt a new way of living our collective and individual
lives, one where our existence is in our own hands, sincerely and
honestly, educating ourselves through study and through our
relations with others, being aware that our freedom increases
with the freedom of our neighbors, respecting equality since
differences do not create superiority, always remembering that
our lives are possible thanks to others whose interests we must,
as a priority, look after if we are to be able to satisfy our own, to
that we must not renounce because we aspire to enjoy a full
existence. Each one lives his or her life and is responsible for it to
him or herself and to others, but nobody can take our
"redemption" on his or her shoulders. Therefore, we have no
ready-made "prescription" for this (or any other) crisis, as the
ideas and actions which can overcome it must be the result of a
conscious collective effort, to which we are already contributing
through our most enthusiastic participation.

[Translation by Julio & Nestor]

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