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(en) Venezuela, Socialism to the Highest Bidder - Prepared by Nachie, for the Red & Anarchist Action Network (RAAN) VII. (7/9)

Date Fri, 07 Jul 2006 16:34:57 +0300

As the name of this chapter suggests, my analysis of the Venezuelan
anarchist movement will be largely confined to my experiences with
the representatives of that movement in Caracas. On one hand, even
this should be sufficient to give a general overview of what's going
on, since practically all national politics are centered in Caracas, and
at least in terms of propaganda and theoretical development if not
practical action, so are the anarchists.
Nevertheless I would like to take time out to explicitly condemn the
ignorant and condescending attitudes of many Northern anarchists
towards the movement in Venezuela. Generally speaking, the
international tendency has heard of Venezuelan anarchism primarily
through El Libertario and its parent organization, the Commission
for Anarchist Relationships (CRA). While El Libertario is
unquestionably the best point of reference for the movement, its
editorial line is quite pre-determined (possibly even simplistic at
times) and certainly not fully representative of all Venezuelan
anarchists. More importantly, focus on the CRA has created the
perception of the Venezuelan anarchos as a small, isolated group
within Caracas (and some scattered individuals elsewhere) whose
primary work is the maintenance of the Centro de Estudios Sociales
Libertarios (CESL) infoshop. This approach results in a hopelessly
tokenized image of the Venezuelan anarchists as a "little brother" to
the Northern movement, and does not take into account the
hundreds of less-visible anarchist and anarcho-punk projects being
undertaken all throughout the country. If there is one point I must
stress about anarchism in Venezuela, it is that it is as widespread
and diverse a philosophy and movement as it is anywhere else, and
that focusing only on the activities of our comrades in the CRA
results in the marginalizing of whole communities in struggle.

The best example of anarchist activity outside of the capital is the
UCA in Maracaibo, whose work on the Zulia campaign should be
recognized as at least as important, if not moreso, than anything the
CRA is up to. In addition to the CESL in Caracas, there is also the
Ateneo de Contracultura y Estudios Acratas "La Libertaria" in
Biscucuy, which opened on May 2nd 2005 on the second floor of a
campesino marketplace, and has a library named after surrealist
painter Mauro Mejíaz. In Valencia there exists a private house that
is used as an ateneo, (infoshop) and one visiting comrade from
Barquisimeto expressed plans to turn her patio into an anarchist
library in the near future. Of course one also has to take into account
the various DIY anarcho-punk music and literature distros spread
throughout the country, as these are also important indicators of the
extent to which the anarchists have managed to put a movement

Like the anti-statist tendency in any other part of the world, it is
extremely difficult to give a coherent overview of the Venezuelan
sections due to the fact that they are not necessarily organized, in
contact with each other, or even moving in the same direction. A
huge part, possibly even the majority, of self-described "anarchists"
in Venezuela are traveling street artisans and performers of various
types who usually have little of the time, stability, or interest
necessary to organizing (anti-)political projects of any kind. As a
result they remain mostly anonymous and do not greatly affect the
wider revolutionary situation, though many of them participate in
mobilizations when given the chance. The impression I got was that
a good deal of them also saw many positive things coming out of the
Chávez government, and maintained positions of critical support.
Although this demographic has a low visibility, (especially to
international observers) they are important to keep in mind if one is
looking to get a complete picture of the Venezuelan movement.

The physical base of recruits for the anarchist tendency is, at least on
the national scale, found in the anarcho-punk counterculture.
Although Venezuela has no appreciable history of
explicitly-anarchist direct action and the scene is certainly less
militant than others in Chile or Brazil for instance, anarcho-punk,
organized or unorganized, is undoubtedly the most consolidated and
publicly visible source of anarchist ideas in the country. Those who
have studied South American anarcho-punk should know that as a
scene it has remained much more united and stylistically orthodox
than North American variations, and as a result has had a good
amount of success in establishing itself as a culture apart from the
wider punk genre. For instance, anarcho-punks in Venezuela tend to
be straightedge, or against the use of drugs, while the larger
subculture suffers from an almost chronic abuse of cocaine and
other intoxicants. There have in fact been incidents of violence
where anarcho-punks were attacked by "traditional" punks over
these issues, and to a certain degree there is a mutual contempt
between the "conscious" anarchos and the street/crust punks - I
even saw one wearing a backpatch of the El Libertario banner, which
has been crossed out! However, this pronounced division can also
have a number of positive effects. For instance, sexual assault and
open misogyny seems to be (at least from what I could gather from
various sources) virtually nonexistent within the anarcho-punk
scene, though of course it remains endemic, characteristic, and
definitive within the wider national/global culture.

The most important contemporary anarcho-punk bands from
Venezuela are A Patia No and Los Dolares, both of which have
relocated to Germany and Spain, respectively. However, both remain
in constant touch with the Venezuelan movement and continue to
visit, and they have also been responsible for a number of different
international benefit albums and shows to provide funding for
anarchist projects in their home country. Venezuelan anarcho-punks
are often organized around traditional issues such as animal
liberation, but at least to some degree appear only as the numbers
behind the more detailed theoretical lines of "historical" anarchism
being developed by the CRA through El Libertario.

The Comisión de Relaciones Anarquistas defines itself as an
affinity group and is a relatively open body that does not have any
stipulations (such as paying dues) regarding the idea of "official"
membership. Nevertheless the collective is clearly influenced
primarily by anarcho-syndicalism, and they consider themselves to
be friends of the Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores -
International Workers' Association, (AIT/IWA) though not officially
"members" of it. The participants in the CRA are pretty evenly split
between older (or simply more dedicated) anarcho-punks, and what
you might call the "suit and tie anarchists" (not all of whom actually
wear suits and ties) - generally the more experienced middle-aged
syndicalists or libertarians whose chief defining characteristic is that
they have no personal cultural connection with anarcho-punk. This
latter group includes constitutional lawyer Humberto Decarli, author
of El Mito Democratico de las Fuerzas Armadas Venezolanas (The
Democratic Myth of the Venezuelan Armed Forces) and Nelson
Méndez, a professor of engineering who - via El Libertario - may
be the most internationally-recognized name in Venezuelan

Unlike comparable tendencies in many other Latin American
countries, the CRA owes relatively little of its origins to the influence
of Spanish Civil War veterans (specifically, those who fought for the
CNT-FAI) who fled to the region after the victory of the Franco
dictatorship in 1939. If there has been a significant foreign influence
on the group, it most likely has come from Argentine, rather than
European, immigrants. Nevertheless at least two CNT vets have
participated in the Comisión. The first is Andres Cerrano, who is
undoubtedly the oldest anarchist in Caracas and remains
energetically involved in the activities of the CRA. I must say that
meeting him was an inspiration, and certainly something I am proud
of having had the chance to do. The other ex-CNT anarchist was
named Emilio Tesoro, and passed away in 2003. Although the
library of CESL has been named after him, in the years leading up to
his death Emilio and the CRA suffered a split when he decided to
support Chávez on the merits of the comandante's
"anti-imperialism". This has more or less been the only division
within the CRA itself over the specific issues raised by the Bolivarian
Revolution, but opinions within the anarchist movement as a whole
are much more varied than the anti-Chávez editorials of El
Libertario would lead one to believe.

The CRA began in the early 90's when Méndez and a few others
came together to produce the zine Correios A. The anarchist
movement in Venezuela is really too small to sustain the competition
of various sects within it, so instead you tend to see a few different
tendencies uniting around a general concept (a strategy that North
Americans should try to learn from). A little over ten years ago, the
group began putting out El Libertario, which at this point has
generated a massive international network and become probably one
of the most important anarchist publications in the world. Nelson
Méndez provided me with five years of back issues to assist in my
research, and I feel like I got a pretty good idea of what the
newspaper is all about.

El Libertario in its current format is six newsprint pages on a double
fold, meaning 11 pages of content and a front and back cover. Earlier
in its life, it read more like a traditional newspaper with lead articles
directly on the front page, but as time went by and more contributors
signed on, it reached a more aesthetically impressive layout that
includes both front and back covers. One thing is for certain, and
that is that El Libertario is not trying to ape the formats of glossy
Euro-anarchist publications like several groups in the US.
Nonetheless due to one of the collective's members having a
proficiency in graphic design, the layouts and artwork are usually
top-notch and often quite humorous - sometimes using Star Wars or
other pop culture themes to get the point across (Chávez was
depicted as Darth Vader on one cover, with a legion of stormtroopers
behind him under the headline, "No Army is Revolutionary").

The genius of El Libertario is that it finds ways of using statistics
from NGOs and the government itself against Chávez, and so
usually packs a good deal of information in its pages rather than just
theoretical wanderings. In addition, a massive network has sprung
up around the newspaper and as a result sometimes upwards of half
the content is submitted by contacts in Argentina or e-mailed in
from various anarcho-punks throughout Venezuela. Because of this,
one gets the sense of El Libertario as being a very inclusive
publication, and as I heard first hand from a few different anarchists,
the CRA itself is wonderful with helping individuals get involved and
representing different parts of the libertarian tendency. Surprisingly,
the bimonthly anarchist periodical is one of the only consistent
left-wing publications in the country; officialism has relatively few.

The CRA seemed for the most part to be run by males - which is not
to say that there are not many active compañeras in the
movement, but that actual influence and power relations apparently
remain dominated by men. There have of course been many
informal talks and even a CRA-sponsored forum regarding the ideas
of anarcha-feminism, but as of yet no independent group has been
organized along these lines and all the women I spoke to generally
agreed that the scene was too small for such a thing to be of any use
at the present time.

The fundamental critiques leveled against Chavismo in the pages of
El Libertario fall into two categories, economic and social. As I have
already demonstrated, the actions of the Chávez regime have only
managed to secure Venezuela as an uncritical participant in the
insanity of the world energy market, which of course as far as capital
is concerned, is the only thing the country is good for. The social
critique relates to the lost autonomy of the mass movements against
Caldera that have since been absorbed into the Bolivarian process,
and the idea that this has been a qualitative regression for the
potential of those movements.

What is difficult for many to understand is that Chávez comes from
the death of traditional politics, and the tendency towards
state-capitalism is a necessary side-affect of the total failure of IMF
policies. For the CRA, Chávez has not progressed beyond the
populist social welfare schemes of the 60's and 70's, and yet in the
aftermath of the Caracazo his policies may even appear
revolutionary. Barrio Adentro for instance, is for the anarchists only
a nice face to cover up the actual activities of the government, which
is creating a "Boli-bourgeoisie" out of the state oil revenue in exactly
the same manner as the original capitalist class was consolidated
over 80 years ago. But since Chávez cannot draw from the
traditional political and ruling classes, he uses the military instead.

The big theme is paternalism, and to what extent the government is
able to buy off the social movements by making clients of them.
Because the Bolivarian Revolution is a fundamentally political
(rather than post-, extra-, or anti-political) project, its advances
come down to the question of elections, and so the social
movements can be neutralized in anticipation if Chávez promises
that this or that issue will be taken care of soon, but first "one more
election" is needed to consolidate power. Ultimately, only the image
and not the results will be important, much like Freddy Bernal's
redshirts. Meanwhile, the country will continue to import over half of
its food and as time goes by the old capitalists are finding more and
more ways to get along with the new ones. And like the populism of
the past, this one will not be able to survive any substantial change
in world oil prices. The anarchists theorize that the national currency
will be devalued this year so as to give the impression that the
government is spending "more" on social welfare.

Frankly, out of everyone I spoke to it was the anarchists who had the
most developed and systematic critique of the capitalist system and
understood that - whether he realizes it or not - the role Chávez has
played is to reform representative democracy and give a new face to
precarious institutions. Many of his "revolutionary" initiatives do not
surpass the policies even of the Caldera government, which was
already toying with European-style "co-management" via the
Programa de Participación Laboral.

Chávez' is seen as a hopelessly confused, personalized, and
authoritarian project. The roots of his ideology come from
Peronist/Nasserist populism with influences of 70's leftism and even
the extreme-right wing. During an interview with Méndez, I asked
if the Bolivarian Government did not at least create an open space
for the discussion of revolutionary ideas, and could it therefore be
seen as at least a step in the right direction? His reply was that this
was what was said about Peronism in Argentina, and as we saw
there, those baited hopes turned out to be completely unfounded. It
is on this point that I find myself in a potential disagreement with the
editorial line of El Libertario. My experiences with the left-wing
governments of South America, specifically Lula in Brazil, has been
that the outright betrayal of popular aspirations tends to lead to the
social movements taking on more radical critiques of electoral
politics as a whole. It remains to be seen if this will be the case in
Venezuela, but there are certainly some promising indications.

In the meantime, the folks at El Libertario are facing an uphill battle,
and openly admit that they have had an extremely difficult time
getting their analysis out into the public - both nationally and
internationally - due to the predominance of the Chavista version of
events. The newspaper's website is probably one of the only Latin
American anarchist pages with an extensive section in English,
which the CRA is extremely proud of but also admits is only in
response to the increased attention that Venezuela has been
receiving in the past few years. There are currently no plans to create
an Independent Media Center (IMC) in Venezuela, as there would
be no way to do it openly without the project quickly becoming
simply another mouthpiece for Chavismo.

Aside from putting together El Libertario and functioning as a
clearinghouse of information and contacts for the country, the CRA
is mainly involved in two other projects (not counting of course, the
FSA). The first is the organization and coordination of the Jornadas
Anarchopunk, (sometimes called simply Jornadas Anarquistas or
more recently, Libertarias) which are incredibly important
"conferences" where the national and international movement has a
chance to congregate and share ideas. These have also been held in
several cities other than Caracas. South American anarcho-punks
formed a continental federation (though not in the sense the word is
generally used in the North) in 2002, and in Brazil the Jornadas have
for years been used as functional alternative forums to the
institutionalized Porto Alegre FSM.

The other project that the CRA is responsible for is the Centro de
Estudios Sociales Libertarios (Center for Libertarian Social Studies,
CESL) in the heart of Caracas. The CESL (or as I grew fond of
calling it, "Cecile") opened on November 14th, 2004 and due to a
lack of available staff is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from
3:30 to 6:00, and Saturdays during the day. During its early days, the
Center was open almost all week and two members of the CRA lived
right next door, but they have since been evicted. The donated
personal collections of CNT veterans who have now passed away
accounts for the bulk of the Center's over 2,000 (often rare) titles,
making it one of the best anarchist libraries on the continent. They
also have a rather extensive section of international anarchist
publications that have been donated from abroad. Although there is a
small shelf with a few t-shirts, patches, books, and videos for sale,
the CESL is really more of an autonomous space than a business.

Unfortunately, a reduction in its hours of operation is not the only
setback that the Center has suffered. By practically any standard, the
neighborhood in which the infoshop is located is a "sector popular",
directly at the edge of where the planned city meets the actual barrio.
In one corner of the space, a stack of tiny children's chairs harkens
back to a time not so long ago when the children of the
neighborhood would use CESL as their own space. At first it had
been an overwhelming and unexpected development, but collective
members soon learned to adapt the Center to the community's
needs, helping the children with issues such as nutrition, parental
abuse, and homework - one shelf still carries a large collection of
textbooks on biology, mathematics, and other subjects. For a while,
the children even managed to organize themselves into a forum that
would discuss issues such as what film they wanted to watch at the
space that afternoon, and the anarchist project seemed on the verge
of real integration into the community.

However, this was not to last. Some parents in the neighborhood
began to attack the anarchists as "Satanists" and prohibit their
children from visiting the space. Although the Center survived this
battle, to a large degree it lost the participation of the local kids and
has not yet fully recovered from the stigma that comes with such
accusations in a largely Catholic nation. The anarchists are thus to a
large degree isolated from the population, and have been directly
slandered by the Bolivarian government on many occasions. During
a public debate on and between social movements at the FSM, a
representative of the government was asked for his position on the
national anarchist tendency. His response? That they are golpistas
receiving money from the CIA. And all that the Chavistas have to do
is repeat that enough times for it to become true in people's minds.
Do you sense a trend? In their world, anyone who is critical of
Chávez is working for the CIA.

Outside of the CRA there are only a few anarchist groups in Caracas,
by far the most relevant of which is the Cruz Negra Anarquista
(Anarchist Black Cross, CNA - known in some parts of the world as
the Anarchist Black Crescent). This informal international prisoner
support and prison abolition network is probably the single most
important achievement of the modern global anarchist tendency, and
in the capital of Venezuela provides the greatest overlap between
CRA and the anarcho-punks (I am unaware of any other Black
Cross groups elsewhere in the country). The Venezuelan CNA has
been around for three years and is an interesting group because there
are actually no anarchist political or social prisoners in the country at
the time of this writing. As a result the collective is sometimes
unsure of its immediate purpose, but through benefit shows has
managed to do some really important work including raising funds
for those recently arrested in the United States on charges of
belonging to the Earth Liberation Front.

The Cruz Negra is also responsible for a full page of prisoner-related
content in every issue of El Libertario, which is usually an interesting
mix of international news, solidarity alerts, and recent statistics
about prisons in Venezuela. All in all, it is one of the best features of
the newspaper. Unfortunately, the CNA has very little experience
with letter-writing campaigns and for the most part international
mail is too expensive to make possible regular correspondence with
anarchist prisoners.

Outside the dedicated focus of the CRA and CNA, the anarchists of
Venezuela, along with everyone else in the country, have found
themselves living in extremely turbulent times where traditional
alliances have been tested and in many ways broken. There had of
course always been the anarcho-punks who went to shows and wore
circle-A patches yet never actually contributed to the movement, but
now under the Bolivarian Government a lot of these kids are even
becoming "anarcho-Chavistas" due to the preponderance of
officialist propaganda and the (potentially quite rational) assertion
that if it's not Chávez, it's somebody worse. The majority of these
kids have had no ideological or practical introduction to anarchist
thought other than through the liner notes of their favorite punk
bands, and many are uniting under "left" Bolivarian personalities
such as Roland Denis, or joining more militant-looking Leninist
groups such as the Alexis Vive Collective. Although for the purposes
of this text I am dismissing the importance of the
anarcho-Chavistas, it is worth keeping them in mind if one is to have
a complete picture of the situation on the ground.

Other than the CRA, there are to my knowledge only two "all
purpose" anarchist collectives with a street presence in Caracas. The
first of these is the RACHE Collective, ("Rache" being German for
"Vengeance") a tiny group of self-motivated anarcho-punks from
whom I saw no activity other than a film screening at a high school
that was cancelled at the last minute. Truthfully, the only
importance of RACHE was in the fact that a recent split over
differences in strategy had given birth to the CA3 (Colectivo
Autonomo Amanecer Anarquista - Autonomous Collective for an
Anarchist Tomorrow).

The CA3 began recently as an effort between some three or four
Caracas anarcho-punks, a Colombian comrade, and two anarchists
traveling from Spain. These internationals have since left, leaving
the collective sapped of its original energy and more or less in limbo.
This should serve as a stark warning to the new waves of
"revolutionary tourists" from the North who might be planning to
come down into Venezuela to participate in anarchist projects: these
groups are not charity cases to be built up over summer vacation and
then discarded once you get your plane ticket back home.
International anarchists traveling to do solidarity work in Venezuela
should do so only with a thorough understanding of what the
situation is for the movement down there, and an awareness that
asks, "Are my actions going to help build this in the long term, or
are they just for my own self-satisfaction in the short?"

Regardless, the CA3 (who in more than just name, reminded me of
our Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians [DAAA] collective in
California) is a group committed to direct action and community
involvement that, while ideologically in agreement with the positions
of the CRA, feels that the Comisión has no long-term vision for
anti-authoritarian intervention in the Bolivarian Revolution, and are
hopelessly disconnected from the street. The CA3 split from
RACHE over a determination to get out into the community and at
least do something, regardless of whether the people they work with
are Chavistas or not. The group's focus is immensely practical, and
their small size allows for a coordination based directly on direct
action, without a need for any weekly official meetings. During my
stay in Caracas, I would participate with the CA3 in two events. The
first was a joint RAAN-CA3 Parkour workshop that will be
discussed in the chapter on network intervention, and the second
was one of their own workshops on street mural painting.

The mural workshop was attended by only four people, including
myself and the aforementioned "secretary" of RASH, and turned out
to be an extremely interesting experience. The CA3 crew has been
involved in mural paintings in a number of communities throughout
Caracas, and considers the tactic to be one of their most effective
since it allows them to work side by side with Chavista groups such
as Alexis Vive on street art that usually deals with mutually "neutral"
issues such as anti-(foreign)militarism. This particular workshop had
been meant only as an introduction to mural preparation, and was
held in the Zanjón barrio near the residence of one of CA3's
founders. The first half of our work was focused on clearing badly
mixed cement from a wall behind a primary school, which turned
out to take a good deal of physical effort. Once the wall was relatively
smooth, we began whitewashing it with a base coat, which was then
going to be the final step for that day.

Before we were too far into the whitewashing, a few residents of the
barrio began coming up to us and in a pretty confrontational manner,
demanding who we were and who had given us permission to paint
on that wall. The situation was tense for a minute, but was then
defused surprisingly fast once we had made it clear that we were an
autonomous collective holding a workshop, and had planned to
consult with neighborhood residents before finalizing any design for
the mural (at that point we hadn't even begun to draft it). Once this
was clarified, the residents opened up to us and it became clear that
their initial anger and strong reaction to our presence was based on
what they had seen as the opportunistic use of their community for
propaganda purposes by Chavista groups in the past.

"Just look at all this, look at how we're living," explained the most
vocal member of the group, "they come in here, they set up a Barrio
Adentro, they take some pictures, they put up some programs inside
the school walls where we can't even go, and then they leave. They
take pictures and then they leave." He motioned behind us to a tiny
Barrio Adentro that had closed for the day, and the community
center next to it that is always locked up except for a silkscreening
workshop on Saturdays; nobody in the neighborhood had any idea
who ran it or how they were supposed to get involved. The man
continued, "they're not doing anything for the chamitos, and that's
what we need. They have no sex education, no drug education, no
art programs, they're just being forgotten."

Over the course of this discussion, we were able to make plans with
the residents regarding how we were going to design the mural and -
potentially - get a group of the neighborhood kids together to paint it.
They seemed genuinely interested in this and were more than willing
to help with these projects when it became clear that we were not
interested in just occupying their wall for our own purposes. All in all
it was a very eye-opening experience and gave me hope that, if more
anarchists were able to unite with CA3's focus on immediate
community involvement and organization, the movement in Caracas
might have a chance of breaking out of its ideological ghetto in some
very real ways.

The theme that kept coming up again and again during my
involvement with CA3 was their total lack of funding. As an
all-teenager collective, they were often scrambling to put money
together for some of the most basic needs such as painting supplies,
and usually running on a very shoestring budget. The CRA on the
other hand receives a good number of international donations due to
its visibility through CESL, but it is unlikely that those amount to
anything very significant, or that they filter through in any way to
more independent groups such as CA3.

The other common concern voiced by libertarian street activists I
spoke to was that the anarchist movement was incredibly small, and
they often had trouble figuring out projects that they could
realistically work on. On March 6th, there was a joint
CNA/RASH/CRA demonstration outside of the Spanish consulate in
support of comrades in Barcelona who had been jailed on terrorism
charges, which drew about 30 people - including a handful of
internationals. Taking into account that the majority of the Redskins
couldn't attend because they had to work, I thought the turnout was
actually pretty good, and was impressed by the amount of work the
anarchists had done on painting large protest banners and preparing
a variety of different informational flyers about the arrests, hundreds
of which were handed out.

During my last weeks in Caracas, a number of important
developments began to take place in the anarchist scene. The first
was the creation of a brand new periodical named Samizdat, (a
Russian word referring to anti-government literature passed out in
Soviet times) which was an eclectic mix of different anarchist
resource listings, histories, and articles printed on a single page of
newsprint. Samizdat's sensibilities seem to run more towards direct
action, with the cover of the first issue calling on readers to "organize
your rage". Interestingly, the zine comes with no contact information
in an effort to de-emphasize the importance of organized political
groups, but is known among anarchists as a publication "of the
CNA". Regardless, I was impressed by the layout even if the content
was mostly recycled anarchist tracts from the Internet, and hopefully
it will take its place alongside El Libertario and some of the more
well known anarcho-punk zines as an important source of
anti-authoritarian propaganda.

Also around this time, the CA3 informed me that they were planning
on splitting up as a group, as they saw little future potential in their
activities. They had a couple film screening events planned over the
next few months, and after those would be ceasing to organize
independent actions under that name. However, all the members
remained committed to anarchism and were hoping to focus more
energy on the CNA, of which they were all members to begin with.
Simultaneously, the Cruz Negra itself was undergoing some
changes, with members making tentative plans to begin working
directly on solidarity campaigns with non-anarchist prisoners in
Venezuela, the big proposal being literacy initiatives. The CA3's film
screenings would hopefully be raising the funds to get these projects
off the ground.

Meanwhile, the CRA itself was going through an identity crisis. Due
to an equal combination of the extra attention they have been
receiving because of the Bolivarian Revolution and FSA, El
Libertario's growing influence as a point of reference for the entire
South American movement, and the kind of critiques groups like
CA3 have brought against it, the CRA has begun holding a series of
meetings discussing the essential nature of the collective and if it
would be appropriate to formalize the group, change structure in
some way, or begin working on projects that have not been
considered in the past. The final results of these discussions are still
up in the air, and they may not actually lead to anything. What has
become clear, however, is that in modern day Venezuela the
anarchist movement needs to rethink its tactics and decide how they
are going to more actively intervene in the processes shaping the
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