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(en) Venezuela 2005: visions and answers from an anarchist perspective

Date Wed, 05 Oct 2005 18:36:14 +0200


* In these translated texts from EL LIBERTARIO, a newspaper from the Anarchist
Relationships Commission (Comision de Relaciones Anarquistas - CRA), we resume
the ideas and actions currently promoted by the venezuelan anarchist movement.
º Editorial, Issue 41, february-march 2005
It seems to us that 2005 will be an important year in the advance of
anarchist ideas and initiatives in Venezuela. The main editor group, the
Comision de Relaciones Anarquistas - CRA [Anarchist Relationships
Commission], just reached 10 years of continued activity, whose results
show, aside from the ability to survive as a group in less than favorable
conditions, an increasing number of achievements, proving that the anarchic
ideal is taking roots in the country as the possibility of creating freedom,
equality and solidarity by and for everyone.

In this edition, we shall review some of those recent achievements; for
example, the opening of the Centro de Estudios Sociales Libertarios - CESL
[Center for Social Anarchist Studies] www.centrosocial.contrapoder.org.ve,
the Anarcho-punk Gathering at Biscucuy, and the Sixth Anarcho-punk Gathering
in Caracas. Looking back unto the past issues of this newspaper, you can see
a remarkable variety of different writers who express themselves in it; this
is so because it is not the product of a small elite group of experts, but
instead has seeked to give voice to every libertarian socialist perspective.
By the same token, the anarchist presence is growing in the social and
cultural scene in many parts of the country. We have participated in many
demonstrations and initiatives, among them: environmentalist struggles like
those in Imataca and Perija, struggles against the dire prison conditions
and police brutality, supporting the demands of the Pemon people, opposing
the genocidal Iraq war, and standing up for women's rights. Moreover, we
have constantly resisted the political climate of agression and intolerance
brought about by both chavists and antichavists, and promoted the exchange
of ideas between all those who reject both packs of politicians. We
denounced, as no one else has done, the selling of the country's resources
to the globalizational voracity, at the hands of a government who claims to
be revolutionary but is neoliberal in practice, ratified by the silent
complicity of the oppositors who miss the old times when they themselves
bowed to the multinational corporations.

In the matter of communicating anarchist ideas and projects, El Libertario
has managed to establish a big distribution network, currently reaching 25
cities and towns in Venezuela, plus 7 countries in Europe and America. With
the support provided by both that network and the readership, we managed to
overcome the economic hardships who frequently kill these sort of
initiatives, despite many a blockhead who still insist of attributing our
survival and good health to secret financial contributions, thus proving
again that "a thief will asume everyone is like him"; such claims are
refuted by the tangible evidence of the high popularity of our publication.
We can offer as evidence (indirect but plausible) the fact that our website
www.nodo50.org/ellibertario, with only 2 years in operation, already got
fifty thousand visits, with a daily average of a hundred hits.

Aside from the paper, we have made increased efforts to promote our ideas
and practices in other realms we have managed to get ourselves heard;
namely, forums, conferences, audiovisual projections, academic events,
concerts, etc. Undoubtely, a lot more can and must be done in that respect,
but it is gratifying to see how often these opportunities have being
presenting themselves in recent times. On the other hand, and despite the
aforementioned financial hardships, we are pleased to have been able to
print several tracts of anarchist propaganda, which have been warmly
received among the local readership, making us eager to expand in that
territory. We have met with similar success distributing musical anarchist
material, our CDs and cassettes being very popular.

Even as we reflect on our past achievements, we are aware of the enormous
obstacles and adversaries that still await us. But they are no greater than
they were in 1995, when we started down this road, and yet we managed to sow
and even begin to reap. This is why we considered important to remind
everyone of all this, since, here and now, we can honestly say: We carry a
new world in our hearts, and that world is growing up right now!

º Editorial, Issue 42, april-may 2005

As we aproach another May 1st, the date we commemorate the undying presence
of the Chicago anarchist workers in 1886, the El Libertario editorial
collective wants to devote as much space as possible in this issue to
workers' struggles and problems.

We have decided so, not only out of interest in communicating the fertile
historic legacy of anarcho-syndicalism. As it goes, today as well as 119
years ago, oppression, exploitation and injustice are still the norm in the
daily life of workers, both in Venezuela and the world, specially since the
relative improvements conquered by the organised worker's movement have
suffered a grave setback during the last 20 years, due to the bosses and
states' neoliberal offensive. Exceptions aside, worldwide statistics
indicate that wage earners' quality of life (income, stability, social
security, etc) has decreased, the bureaucracies controlling the unions being
unable to do anything about it. In fact, the new conditions brought by
modern capitalism, as well as the worsening of working conditions, have
redefined the very definition of 'worker', since a growing number of us work
as temps, outsourced and 'flexibilized', putting us in situations where the
old modes of organization and struggle developed by the industrial working
class in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are inadequate, specially
given that the 'classic' condition of being a factory worker is starting to
look privileged, compared to what so many workers have to endure today.

Venezuela is no exception to all this, where six years of "perky revolution"
(now renamed "socialist"!) has done nothing but exacerbate the continuous
decay of working conditions started by the administrations of Lusinchi,
Perez the Second, Velasquez and Caldera the Second. No doubt the apologists
for the "process" will scream bloody hell upon hearing this, and proceed to
quote the most recent official employment figures; but, those very same
figures tell us not only the total amount of employed, but the unchanged
trends towards less and less stable jobs, and a corresponding increase of
unstable and part-time jobs. Besides, the actions of this government, as
well as its so-well-publicized legal-institutional reforms, haven't changed
anything of what had been done in favor of neoliberal flexibilization of the
labour market; this is because multinationals haven't complained about that
at all, and are reaping the benefits offered by this "lip service
revolution", as was bitterly called by Domingo Alberto Rangel.

In this situation, we can't do anything but to build, and promote,
organization from below, applying the same principles that anarchism has
always advocated for the labour movement, taking into account the demands
and goals of those who need this form of organisation (but have been more
reluctant to have it): temp workers, and all the other victims of labour
market flexibilization. Moreover, this organization must act in combination
with (neither oversee nor replace) the other strategies followed by other
oppressed groups (women, young people, environmentalists, ethnic groups, and
many other excluded or discriminated against by the numerous reasons of
state). This is our fight, and you are invited to join...

º Editorial, Issue 43, june-july 2005

In this new edition, we have decided to deal with antimilitarism, a movement
we consider fundamental, both for anarchism in general and for our specific
struggle to build new libertarian socialist avenues for change in Venezuela
and Latin America.

Throughout the history of socialism, the more consistent revolutionary
currents have been radically antimilitaristic, since they found obvious that
the workings of the war machine are indisolubly tied to capitalist
domination, in its more sinister expressions of death and destruction. But
anarchists have gone beyond even that, in their criticism to uniformed men
and their barracks, since it doesn't just oppose their role, but their very
existence as a mechanism designed to perpetuate oppression, injustice,
inequality and insolidarity.

Faithful to our roots, venezuelan anarchists have been, for the last two
decades, denouncing actions and events that (in the case of "our" army) show
clearly how the same pattern occurs here, covered up only by the customary
patriotic and self-serving discourse - yesterday's litanies about national
security or struggle against subversion become today's fairy tales about
leader-army-people unity and asimetric defense against imagined american
marine invasions.

Therefore, we defy the grotesque militarism inflicted upon Venezuela today,
in the most poignant and critical manner, something never seen among the
fatcat ideologues of the socialdemocratic "opposition" nor the right, who
deep inside aspire to become the bullies themselves. In the same vein, we
give a space in our pages to the stinging accusations made by our companions
in Chile in the wake of the killings of conscripts at Antuco, yet another
proof of the inhuman barbarism that marks the daily life in any country's
barracks, in the face of which the interest groups who wield, or aspire to
wield power, keep a hypocritical silence, as we have seen ourselves here in
so many cases of conscripts murdered in the name of military discipline. We
made available these testimonies and analysis so you, the reader, can
decide, as we reiterate that they have been written from the highest
commitment to freedom, equality and solidarity.

In this last paragraph, we'd like to express our sad indignation before the
twin losses we speak about in these pages, which have affected us deeply. We
shall never forget Simon Saez Merida and Nicolas Neira Alvarez, of whom we
keep the most heartwarming memories. As Alí Primera said, with that singing
voice no loudmouthed sergeant and no grey red-beret bureaucrat can take away
from our minds: "those who die fighting for life aren't truly dead".

º Editorial, Issue 44, september-october 2005

Many individuals and groups who communicate with us for the first time
(wether by means of this newspaper, Internet, or personal contact)
frequently as us: "What is so different in the ideas promoted at El
Libertario, as opposed to the two more popular choices in the countrys'
political scene?"

To answer that question, we must point out an important fact of the
venezuelan political scene: the political actors contesting to get
institutional power, wether it is the currently-in-power chavism or the
rightist or socialdemocrat opposition, have been successful imposing their
agenda upon the grassroots social movements, wether labour, feminists,
environmentalists, indigenous, tenants, students, cultural, etc. They
consented to abort their autonomous process of strugle and organization,
under the illussion that their goals would be realised the moment their
political Messiah got elected. Because of that, we, as well as the
opposition party, saw the stunned representatives of the "civil society"
marching like Hamelin mice behind the flute that drove them to the ravine of
the "civil strike" and the electoral debacle of April 15. From the other
side, participatory illussions were crushed by a government whose modus
operandi are total submission to the warlord and the subsequent servilism
from his followers, supported by the revenue from the oil profits and
demagogic hullaballoo, consistently breaking all their promises, wether by
postponing them for when the illusory enemy threat has been defeated
("Yankee invasion", "President murderers", "coup d'etat conspiracies") or
for when the unending cycle of electoral contests finally ends.

Facing such a bleak situation, we express something different. We are not,
nor want to be, contestants for control over institutionalized power: we are
anarchists, and desire the dissapearance of both state power and every
oppressive hierarchical structure. This is not a mere declaration of
principles; here and now, it means to commit ourselves to promote and
improve the autonomy of every nonauthoritarian social movement. Such as it
is, we are not interested in building "anarchist social movements", which
would be so useless to any collective progress as the dying bolivarian
circles or those opposition parties disguised as NGOs. We support social
movements who build dynamics of independent action and organization, based
upon everybody's participation at all levels, which allow people to
reapropriate or build modes of direct action and self-management outside the
control of the state or any other instance of oppression; because only in
this way can shared spaces of freedom, equality and solidarity can be build,
which will be the seeds of the kind of future we fight for. All in all, our
offer can be best expressed in John Holloway's lemma: "to change the world
without seizing power".

We reckon that this proposal must be carried out and debated by and with
those who (both inside and outside of Venezuela) are commited or sympathize
with the autonomous rebuilding of the social movements. Certainly, that
communication and discussion would be very different from the
bureaucratic/sycopantic charade which was the Sixteenth World Festival of
Youth and Students last August, whose model is going to be repeated in
January 2006 in the Sixth World Social Forum.
So, in parallel with supporting and associating independent grassroots
organisation efforts, such as those so often reviewed in this paper, we are
part of the budding initiative to realise (also in January 2006) an
alternative forum outside of the political and economic control of the
powers that be, where those who carry a new world in their hearts would
discuss the things that interest them. If you and/or your association feel
in tune with these ideas, please get in touch with us!

ellibertario@nodo50.org
www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/seccioningles.htm

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