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(en) About the FSA-Caracas 2006 and the venezuelan situation

Date Thu, 19 Jan 2006 16:19:47 +0200

In this interview with the mexican alternative news group La Rosa
Negra (LRN-ci), the CRA from Venezuela explains the importance of the
Alternative Social Forum, which will take place in a few days, and
comments about their activity as an anarchist group.
1.- Why is there, in your opinion, the need for an Alternative Social
Forum - ASF (or Foro Social Alternativo - FSA)?
* We, at the Comision de Relaciones Anarquistas (CRA) in Venezuela, as
well as the publishers of the paper El Libertario
(http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/seccioningles.htm), believe it is
important to create and maintain spaces for discussion and promote the
construction of dynamics for a positive social transformation. Judging
from past experience (National Social Forums, events of solidarity with
Venezuela, the Sixteenth World Festival for the Youth and the Students),
as well as the organization and dynamics of the very same Commitee for
the Promotion of the Sixth World Social Forum in Caracas, we have good
reasons to believe that the next World Social Forum - WSF(which will
take place in Caracas, January 24 to 29, 2006) will not be the diverse,
self-managed, open, independent and participatory encounter as it is
claimed to be in its mission statement. Because of this, we have
participated in the promotion and organization of the FSA -taking place
in the same days, and in the same city, than the WSF- so that there will
be an encounter of movements, and not of the agendas imposed by leaders
of any kind; an encounter that challenges not just the old regime of
traditional parties (the "puntofijismo"), but also the blatant
contradictions and ineptitudes of the Chavez administration; an
encounter where we can discuss without barriers the meaning of
revolution and the role of traditional politics in the era of
globalisation; a place that prizes the diversity, self-identity and
autonomy of the participants; and, in the best case, to become an open
and permanent network linking together the diverse individual and
collective actors.

2.- Could you elaborate in this Forum's agenda, from an anarchist

* The agenda for the FSA (which can be found at the event's website
www.fsa.contrapoder.org.ve <http://www.fsa.contrapoder.org.veor
http://fsa.ve.tripod.com, and contacted at
<mailto:forosocialalternativo@gmail.com>) proposes the creation of a
space to discuss, from clear anticapitalistic and antiauthoritarian
perspectives, issues that are vital to building really revolutionary
alternatives for Latin America. As we have frequently stated, as so much
evidence confirms, we have to do that because the WSF is closed to those
discussions, since it is subservient to the interests of populist
governments, sanitized NGOs and multinational industrial moguls. I.e.,
it is vital to make a critical analysis of the experiences we've had of
having the Left in charge in Latin America, their accomodation of the
needs of the current capitalist globalisation, the new instances of
militarism and pseudo-socialistic populism in the continent, the
suppression of the transformative potential of the new social movements
at the hands of the NGO's and/or the leftist populists' projects for
political control, as well as the challenges the oppressed have to face
in order to build and improve radical proyects genuinely based upon
freedom, equality and solidarity. With these purposes, the FSA's agenda
identifies itself with the proposals that the revitalized anarchist
movement presents to our continent. This is not by chance, since
venezuelan anarchists from the CRA - El Libertario have participated in
the creation and development of the FSA initiative, where our points of
view have been warmly received, due to the common points we share with
the other instances of the venezuelan radical left.

3.- Is there any specific issue you'd want to prioritize in the
Alternative Forum? If so, why?

* One of the most satisfactory things about the creation of the FSA, is
that it allows whoever participates in it to carry on activities of
their specific interest, within the spirit of the Forum's principles, of
course. Thus, we from the CRA - El Libertario are promoting a series of
events within the FSA's program dealing from issues that matter to us
here and now. We don't buy into the old marxist story about having to
cede the spotlight to a "primary goal" within a collective's party line,
so our buddies are acting autonomously in order to promote her(their)
favorite issue(s) and contribute collectively to the success of the FSA.

4.- What decisions expects the CRA - El Libertario to be taken at this
Alternative Social Forum?

* It is not our intention -nor that of any of the other individuals and
collectives participating in the ASF- to concoct ont of those events the
traditional left likes so much, where you have the final decisions made
before you even summon the participants. It is very clear for all of us
that this is a place for dialogue, not a place to "win votes" in favor
of one or another little group interested in electoral victories. If we
the anarchists expect anything, it is precisely for the Forum to
accomplish anything it was meant to do.

5.- We have read carefully the articles written by Pablo Moras, Rafael
Uzcategui, as well as the answer from El Libertario to Pablo Moras.
Three angles for the same situation, of course, but here is something we
are curious about. From our point of view (we at LRN-ci), Uzcátegui, in
his article "World Social Forum 2006, shroud for venezuelan social
movements", paints a bleak landscape for the social movements in
Venezuela; from an anarchist point of view, are there social, political
or histórica constraints that explain Uzcátegui's grim picture?

* We think that Uzcátegui's article speaks for himself, about the causes
of the hard times the social movements in Venezuela are living through.
This issue, along with others that extend and complement Rafael's, has
been explained repeatedly in El Libertario since 2004, both in the
Editorials and several articles and notes about the situation of the
social struggles in the country, so much that the best answer to your
question is to point you to both our printed edition and our website.

6.- It is known that the anarchists collectively known as the CRA - El
Libertario and the like face a three-fold opposition: a) from the
chavist pseudoleftism currently in charge, b) from the anti-chavist
opposition commanded by the socialdemocrats and the rightwing, and c)
from the traditional leftist groups and parties. Considering all that,
can your country's anarchists be considered to be confined in a ghetto,
imposed by the State, the right wing and its socialdemocrat allies, and
the traditional left, or is it a necessary strategic retreat?

* We believe that, no matter what political or social situation of a
country, whoever wields -or aspires to wield- any kind of coercive
power, will try to repress any sign of sincere anarchist struggle,
building "ghettoes" of open or covert repression in an attempt to
confine it. Thus, to confront the establishment is almost inherent to
being anarchist, a condition we accept without reserve and, above all,
without conforming ourselves to the supposedly unavoidable condition of
marginals. We at the CRA refuse to imprison ourselves within our own
shell awaiting better times, and whoever has direct contact with our
activities, or simply reads El Libertario regularly, will find evidence
that we aren't a self-confined group at all...

7.- Here at La Rosa Negra, we feel that the victory for abstentionism in
the latest elections, as well as the retreat of civil struggle groups
towards "non-participation", is fertile ground for statist (chavist)
initiatives and imposing them by force; how true is our perception from

* We must inform you that, according to the official statistics
themselves, abstentionism, the voluntary non-participation in an
election by segments of the population who have the right to do it, has
been a majority in every election held in the country since 1989, even
during the Referendum to Revoke the President in 2004, when the politico
opposition gangs and the populist government made a stupendous effort to
mobilize the unbelieving masses. We refuse to call "civil defense
groups" those who now opportunistically pretend to call people to
abstention, since they in no way express the real current social forces
in Venezuela. In any case, no doubt the chavist regime intends to impose
statist control methods everywhere but, being such an inept and corrupt
government, which deludes itself into thinking it is building solid
popular support by turning the poorest segment of the population into
dependent receivers of statist alms, will have a lot of trouble
advancing that contradictory chimera called "Socialism for the 21st
Century", which in reality is taking us to a crude capitalism of the
19th century.

8.- Also, we think that the venezuelan anarchist struggle has become
trapped in a sea of so-called "anti-imperialist" propaganda, promoted by
what we at the LRN-ci call the Kirchner-Chavez-Morales-Castro Axis; is
that true? if so, will the venezuelan anarchist resistance be forced to
redouble their efforts?

* We can't understand how can anyone have the perception that we are
"trapped" between the anti-imperialist propaganda of the pseudo-leftist
demagogues that have jumped into the bandwagon in Latin America. In
fact, we think that whoever has followed closely our actions and
writings (as an example, read the answer to P. Moras mentioned in a
previous question), will find that we haven't let ourselves fall into
the false dichotomy of "either you are with Chavez or with Bush", as we
have clearly exposed the evidences that debunk that farce. It hasn't
been easy to hold that position, since it goes outside of the simplistic
perspectives that have driven the latin american left to failure for
more than eighty years, and the redoubled efforts to keep it up-to-date,
but our stubborness begins to give fruit, modest but hopeful nonethless.

9.- About the previous question, if that's so, are we then talking about
a wider and more open participation of the anarchist movements in your
country and the rest of South America?

* We aren't sure we understand the question, but we must express our
optimism about the renewed activity and presence of anarchism in South
America, still a minority trend, but which has made advances since 1990
that are, both quantitatively and qualitatively, very important compared
to what happened in the five or six previous decades. The challenge we
face now is to convert that modest rebirth into the capacity to have a
significant influence in those forces for positive social change our
continent urgently clamors for.

10.- The Kirchner-Chavez-Morales-Castro Axis has several faces: one of
them presents itself as the triumph of parliamentary democracy; another
as the flagship in the struggle against the Empire; yet another, as the
mediator of the popular movement and thus, as the catalyst of civil
resistance. What role do the venezuelan anarchists see themselves
playing in all this?

* We understand this question as asking about our proposals for the
current situation in Venezuela; about that, we will quote a paragraph
from the editorial for the issue 44 of El Libertario, September-October
2004: "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'".

11.- Considering the whole picture, would the CRA - El Libertario
consider appropriate a wider work propagating the anarchist ideas?

* Considering Venezuela's history, which lacks the notorious anarchist
presence many other countries in America and Europe had, since we made
our first steps, the task of communicating our ideas has been a high
priority, since we live in an environment where the anarchist ideal was
virtually unknown. Now that we have spent ten years doing that, we are
proud of mentioning our modest acomplishments in making it known, but
those have been just the first steps, there is still much to do, so that
the propagation of anarchist thinking is still a constant preoccupation
of us at the CRA - El Libertario.

12.- ...anything else you'd like to add?

* We'd like to thank you for this interview. Also, to invite you all to
the Alternative Social Forum, as well as to spread the word about our
work, to establish contacts with like-minded people, whether in person
or in the Net, visiting the locales and social gathering places where we
perform our activities -i.e. the Centro de Estudios Sociales Libertarios
(Center for Anarchist Studies) in Caracas,
http://www.centrosocial.contrapoder.org.ve-, and getting information
from the Internet about the Anarchist Relationships Commission (CRA) and
El Libertario from Venezuela.

ellibertario@nodo50.org <mailto:ellibertario@nodo50.org>
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