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(en) Joaquin Cienfuegos: report from Mexico on the Struggle there

Date Tue, 20 Jun 2006 12:13:22 +0300


The following is a correspondence from Joaquin Cienfuegos, traveling throughout
Mexico reporting on the struggles on the streets, the anarchist movement, the
Other Campaign, the Zapatista’s, and the over all radical climate that is building.
More updates to come. All messages are free for broad distribution and will be
sent across the net. Please forward, and let this be an inspiration to a growing
movement in North America towards internationalism.
The following are the first two report-backs combined into one.
> Report from Mexico City DF 6-16-06 by Joaquin Cienfuegos
I arrived in Mexico City at 6:00 AM (4:00 AM Pacific Coast Time).
When I arrived to El Zocalo (or Downtown Mexico City) signs and
banners stood out in the town square for support of the EZLN and
La Otra Campana/Other Campaign. Banners read, "Vivan los
Zapatistas/Long live the Zapatistas" and "Free Political Prisoners in
San Salvador Atenco."

In the evening, I attended an event at the Centro Social
Libertario-Ricardo Flores Magon. They held a speaking engagement
for 2 organizers and writers from the Basque Region in Spain. One of
the speakers, Juan Ibarrondo, mainly spoke about the libertarian
science fiction novel he recently wrote entitled "Retazos de la Red,"
which was also the name of the event. The Centro Social Libertario -
Ricardo Flores Magon is a social space on the way to becoming a
community center that is run by a collective Colectivo Autonomo
Magonista that is linked up with other collectives and organizations
in Oaxaca under the Alianza Magonista Zapatista. The event was a
forum presentation by the speakers followed by group discussion.

The novel gave a criticism of science and technology, because this
was the cause of an apocalyptic event due to global warming because
of science and technology. The topic of the discussion was based on
the destruction of the environment due to the direction of capitalism.
The main speaker, Juan Ibarrondo, also talked about his post-leftist
view on production and factories, or what they say, "the abolition of
work." At the same time he gave a criticism of Green-Anarchists, or
Anarcho-Primitivists, (as white and American), because of their
belief that there needed to be a human holocaust. Primitivists believe
that human beings are the cause of the destruction to the
environment, not capitalism, so humanity needs to be wiped out
(except for the primitivists of course because their idea and their way
of life will save themselves and anybody that follows them). He also
criticized dogmatic anarchists who say that to have an identity or to
own your identity is death. That position disregards indigenous
struggles where their fight for liberation is also upholding their
identities as indigenous people. In the discussion there was some
talk of the struggle in the Basque region in Spain. A woman asked if
there was much participation of women, the other speaker answered
(which reminded some of the movement in the US), "They’re
not that involved because they’re not comfortable with how
these groups work."

I did disagree with some of the Utopian arguments made by the
speaker, who spoke of this future Utopia -- that will come about on
its own without the need for organization, collective - class struggle,
and revolution. The discussion was pretty lively but there was no talk
of organizing, just a focus on ideas around a Utopia, the collective
and the individual, Kropotkin, and Bakunin. I participated in the
discussion and posed a question to the main speaker, Juan
Ibarrondo. I introduced myself and mentioned I was visiting from
Los Angeles, CA. I talked about my political position as an
Anarcho-Communist, and my view on the importance of the ecology
but also strategizing and organizing in communities. How the
problem is not technology or science, but the monopoly by the
capitalists of technology. If humanity had direct control of the means
of technology and production (and if they’re conscious) they
would use technology for the benefit of humanity not profit as done
under capitalism. I also asked him about his idea about the abolition
of work and the anarcho-communist position of building the
institutions and structures that will replace the capitalist system,
their social relationships and its oppression. He answered that his
criticism is for the position that factories don’t make people and
individuals. There was also intellectual discussion following this by
the members of the collective space. While this anarchist event
didn’t really interest me much, I did get a chance to connect and
meet with the compas from the Centro Social Libertario.

The compas filled me in on what events were coming up in Mexico
City and which I should attend. We talked about the Other
Campaign, and my collective organizing work in Los Angeles where
I talked about Cop Watch LA, what we do and how we want to
participate in the process of building autonomy, self-determination
and the self-defense of our communities. I talked about what is
going on with La Otra Campana organizing in Los Angeles. I talked
about my experience with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern
California Anarchist Federation. They told me about their efforts to
build something similar throughout Mexico. I talked about my
criticisms of the anarchist movement in the US and the privileged
leading it and building an organization of the oppressed that come
from these oppressed communities. The comrades have edit a
newspaper entitled Autonomia, and also work to edit with the
Alianza Magonista Zapatista newspaper entitled, Viva Tierra y
Libertad. It was great meating with the Colectivo Autonomo
Magonista, and they said they will connect me to what is going on in
Mexico in terms of the Other Campaign (which they’re
adherents to, and so is Cop Watch Los Angeles) and the
libertarian-anarchist movement throughout Mexico. I will continue
to build a relationship with these compas who also wanted to
participate in the speaking tour of the Consejo Indigena Popular de
Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magon, where they can present a view of the
entire struggle in Oaxaca not just one of an organization.

en lucha,

Joaquin Cienfuegos
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Report from Mexico City DF 06-17-06
By Joaquin Cienfuegos

Today I had more of a chance to walk and talk to people, especially
the people who seem to have some support for the movement being
built within the Other Campaign. There is a general feeling from a
lot of people that they are tired of all the political parties; they want to
seek freedom from their rule. A lot of people see them all falling
soon.

In the early afternoon I attended the Chopo Cultural Tianguis. The
Chopo has been around for 25 years and has been a place where
young people in Mexico City can come together, hang out, buy their
clothes, their music, and get whatever resources they need for their
lifestyle. There are vendors for graffiti writers, punks, metal heads,
artists, skaters. At the end of all the vendors there is usually music.
El Chopo happens every Saturday. Today there was an emo band
that was playing, and I got a chance to talk to some of the people
who were vendoring. Some gave me their contact information to go
to their house so they can hook me up with some music. I talked to
some of them about politics, and they all anticipated the fall of the
Mexican government.

I had a chance today to visit El Museo de Fida Kahlo in Coyoacan,
Mexico. This part of the city seemed to be more for tourists, where
there were more cafes and had more of an artsy crowd. The museum
was great. As for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, they were great
artists, but they were into old ideas and were very eclectic. Frida
Kahlo seemed to be into Marx, Mao Tse Tung, Stalin, and Trotsky
(even though she didn’t have a picture of him on her wall).

Throughout the day I met people who had tables set up in support of
the EZLN and La Otra Campaña. I had a chance to talk to some of
them, and mentioned that I was from Los Angeles. Many people had
already heard about the struggle in the South Central Farm in Los
Angeles and were asking questions about it, I will try to get them
some information in Spanish (if people can also send me updates of
what is going on and information on the farm in Spanish, that would
be great).

In the evening I hooked up with people at the Centro Social
Libertario-Ricardo Flores Magon and el Colectivo Autonomo
Magonista (CAMA). They were holding an asemblea popular or an
assembly of anarchists from all over the City of Mexico. There were
different trends from Mexico City, anarco-punks, Magonistas,
anarco-comunistas, and anarco-feministas. They read the notes on
the last assembly that they had, where the discussion was around the
role of anarchists within the Other Campaign (there are
disagreements with the groups involved, for example the
Communist Party of Mexico and their position that they are the
vanguard party of the proletariat and their upholding of Stalin). Other
points from the last assembly included, knowing our objectives as
anarchists before we jump on board of anything, criticism of
Subcomandante Marcos´ protagonism, and some anarchists
thought that there shouldn’t be a division between the adherents
and those who aren’t adherents to La Otra Campaña. The
points of unity or principles of unity that they came up with were:
Autonomy, Horizontalism, Self-Organization (autogestion), and
Direct-Democracy.

In the assembly of today the discussion was more focused around a
national encuentro of anarchists in Mexico City that will happen
closer to elections in Mexico. The discussion was focused around a
proposal of building a national federation, and/or a much more solid
organization of the different collectives of anarchists throughout
Mexico. The anarchists of Mexico City would propose this at the
encuentro to the anarchists of Mexico. They would organize around
the unity of anarchism and around people who identify themselves
as anarchists. The encuentro will be held for two days, one will be
for the Aderentes de La Otra Campaña (adherents of the Other
Campaign), and the other day will be open for all anarchists whether
they’re aderentes or not. There was also discussion of security
for the encuentro and acknowledging that they’re living in a
super-repressive atmosphere in Mexico right now (that anarchists
are suffering from as well as anybody rebelling, resisting, organizing,
and fighting).

The idea of building a federation nationally, but connecting with
people internationally, was something that everybody consensed on.
There is an urgency in Mexico in general, but as well as anarchists
and libertarian socialists in particular, to build a movement
nationally. Anarchists in Mexico feel that regardless of which party
wins, building a strategy, find tactics based on which party wins,
The PAN are Francoists or Neo-Francoists who persecuted
anarchists in Spain, the PRD has also repressed anarchist
contingents in Mexico DF. I was able to share some of my own
experience in Los Angeles in this discussion, but also I let people
know that they know the situation and the conditions in Mexico and
I know the ones in my communities (ultimately they’re going to
do what they feel is best for themselves, as a visitor I can only give
my experience in my community and create a space so we can learn
from each other’s struggle) which are much different at this
point. I talked about my experience within the Southern California
Anarchist Federation and the Los Angeles Chapter, and how it failed
because the unity was around anarchism, and there were some
political differences, and a divide between those who were serious
about a revolutionary organization and those who wanted an
anarchist network. I also acknowledged as another compa at the
meeting did, that it’s important to keep on trying if you fail once,
to keep on learning from experience. I mentioned how this is what
also happened with us, the collectives and projects still exist and
we’re still organizing, and working closely with people we have
more unity with politically and strategically. I talked about the project
that I´m working with now and how we want to participate in the
process of building self-organization (autogestión), autonomy,
self-determination, and the self-defense of our communities. The
people within that organization, along with others, are also building a
specifically revolutionary, anti-imperialist, horizontal, solid
organization (federation, but the structure is still being discussed)
made up of people who come from oppressed communities and the
oppressed themselves (I gave my opinion also and my critique of the
anarchist scene in the US and how it is made up in the majority with
people with privilege white, middle-class/upper-middle class, males
where we feel the oppressed need their autonomy because our ideas
and our urgency to free is much greater but where we can support
from privileged communities who are also organizing and fighting
for their own liberation). We discussed organizing in communities
workplaces, and schools. We then discussed the anarchists role
within popular social movements in particular the Other Campaign
(which has become a movement on the national level with support
internationally from people who are building in other communities,
regions, and countries).

There was a question asked about what are the social movements
that anarchists support in the US or the ones we work in within the
US. I could only talk to the ones that I´ve been involved with
recently. I talked about Cop Watch, what we do, and what is our
goal, and why feel that we need to organize for autonomy,
self-determination, and self-defense within our communities. I
talked about our involvement at the South Central Farm (some
people had heard about it already). I also talked about the immigrant
rights movement and the marches that took place in Los Angeles
recently. Also I wanted to offer our solidarity, and my position that
the best solidarity we can offer for the people of the world is a
revolution and building a revolutionary movement in the US (that is
connected to people fighting internationally) because this country is
responsible for the suffering of people around the world and the
people in oppressed communities within the US.

En lucha,

Joaquin Cienfuegos

P.S. people thought my last name Cienfuegos, :] was great, we
talked about Camilo Cienfuegos from Cuba and his libertarian ideas.
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