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(en) Declaration from FAU and FAG (pt)

From "Chris R" <christopher@nodo50.org>
Date Mon, 20 Jan 2003 07:32:11 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

We are living a historical moment which is marked by the threat of
warmongering policies at any cost by the despotic policeman of the world,
the United States of America. The brutal abuses and injustices for which it
is responsible already form mountains.

The world police, the US empire, is contemptuous. Its strategy is one of
unmitigated oppression and appropriation. Through the ridiculous figure of
Bush, it threatens the world, and especially Iraq. The threat of war and
intervention in other countries is its daily bread. It draws up lists of
countries to repress.

On a geopolitical level, the United States today enjoys a hegemony that has
no precedent.

Its military power has enormous destructive capabilities. It is the top
nuclear, air and also marine power. It is the only country with a war fleet
in all the principal seas. It keeps military bases on every continent.

But at times not everything goes to plan it scores an own goal, such as
happened on 11th September. And then the crocodile tears flow and it starts
talking to us about the evil there is in the world and the Satans that walk
freely. And in the midst of its crusade against evil it massacres the
defenceless people of Afghanistan with bombs and hunger. This is its war of
good against evil, its infinite war on terrorism, which it perceives in any
show of revolt before the dramatic and miserable situation which the people

Its intervention is arrogant and varied. With advisers, arms, troop
deployment. So it was in the crusades against Afghanistan, Pakistan, the
Philippines, Yemen, Somalia and Colombia. And there can be no doubt of its
involvement in the attempted coup d'état in Venezuela on 11th April and
which is still going on at the moment.

For the year that is beginning the empire has no intention of reducing its
interventionist military policy. There is significant data on the matter.
Bush presented Congress with an increase of no less than $380 billion. This
is the biggest rearmament plan and strengthening of the Pentagon in the last
thirty years.

The events of September 11th have not altered the military and
interventionist policy which was in place. It may simply be that the spheres
of power have taken advantage of it in order to accelerate a policy which
obviously involves a series of economic interests at world-wide level.

And so now it is Iraq's turn. Sure, US interests need to be rebuilt in the
region and Iraq means a lot as far as oil is concerned. Then, and with great
emphasis on this factor, Satan himself is there, with his dangerous base of
mass destruction. Their friend from yesteryear has been transformed into a
killer whose claws need filing immediately if humanity wishes to continue
enjoying this Western, Christian civilization that only produces the
misfortune of two thirds of humanity.

In order to obtain a favourable resolution to its sinister projects,
pressure is put on countries like Russia, Germany and France and, at the
same time, the United Nations, which has so often been used as a punchbag.
So there was the arrival of the unanimously-voted UN Security Council
resolution, a frightfully ambiguous document. So much so that from
practically nothing, it was transformed into the legal basis which would
legitimise a possible war against Iraq. But this does not worry the US
empire too much either, after all it is just a formality. For the US,
international law is just a hollow phrase if it does not benefit its
strategy. Uncertainty stalks the world. US oil and arms interests are
pushing for this just war, the infinite war.

The logic of dismantling all Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is, apart
from anything else, contradictory in several ways. To begin with, when
Saddam committed his worst crimes it was with the support of the USA. But,
by applying that logic and with the support of history, it would seem that
the one we should be disarming, quickly and justly, of this sort of deadly
power of mass destruction is the USA itself. Who launched atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Who washed the world with blood as a result of
murderous, oppressive interventions throughout entire continents? Who with
their special forces, CIA at the lead, organized coups d'état and the
murders of political leaders all over the world? With that logic, the Number
One Satan is none other that the US empire.

Let us, then, mount an infinite resistance to disarm this monster not only
of its military tentacles but also of those who produce true, regular
genocide: the criminal misery that it sows all over the world.

It must be asked if, however, in spite of everything, if there is any deep
down interest in the reduction of weapons of mass destruction. There is no
indication from the USA. It has provided technology or weapons of this type
to any strategic ally, temporary or permanent, that it has needed for its
perverse plans of domination and appropriation. Iraq itself was one of those
allies to whom, up to the war with Kuwait, arms or technology were provided.

But we have another example to hand - Israel, a regular ally and accomplice
in so many incidents and scandalous votes in the United Nations. Let us see.
General Lee Butler, of Clinton's Joint Forces Command, said at the start of
the '90s, "it is extremely dangerous that in the cauldron of animosities
that we call the Middle East, a nation has ostensibly armed itself with
perhaps hundreds of nuclear weapons, which inspires other nations to do the
same". On their part, the Israeli authorities claim that their weapons and
Air Force is greater and more advanced than those of any European member of
NATO. It is announced that Israeli planes are making reconnaissance flights
along Iran's borders, part of a general US policy. Israel undoubtedly uses
the immense US airbases in Eastern Turkey, where the US keep nuclear
weapons. Meanwhile, Israel is also a US military base.

This state of Israel, armed to the teeth, which has been occupying the
territories and massacring the Palestinian population for years is not
dangerous if it is a friend of the USA. US political cynicism knows no

But the warmongering policy of the Bush administration has now come against
a different sort of opposition. Parts of the US population have been
demonstrating against the war, in Washington, Los Angeles and other places.
It is estimated that over half a million people have participated in the
protests. Two out of every three people in the world have indicated that
they are not for this war against Iraq and would like to do something
concrete about it. There is also, in some spheres, a great fear of the
economic impact which a war with Iraq would have in the USA, also taking
into account the violence which would surely follow. On a global level,
there are various positions of opposition. For example, most of the Mexican
Congress does not support this war, in Italy (Florence) a million people,
from all over Europe but principally from Italy, marched to show their
repudiation of the military threat. These same feeling are shared by a large
part of the world's population.

But, as we have already said, this threatened aggression on the part of
warmongering US totalitarianism extends to everything its infamous project
includes. It is orchestrated with limitless, unilateral wars and armed
interventions. In addition, anyone who clashes with the US strategy of
"everything for us" is the enemy - a terrorist. This is how they can say in
all confidence: "Weak states can represent as great a danger for our
national security as strong ones". So too is any movement that questions US
strategy and demands independence or claims its rights.

Your oil is my oil, a central part of US economic strategy seems to say.
There are three areas which are graced with the presence of US oil policy:
the Caspian Sea, Africa and our own Latin America. Although the Persian Gulf
will continue in its preferential attention, since the world's largest
reserves are there, this does not exclude diversification. The United
States' energy plan is to make a concerted effort to increase production in
many parts of the world. Its intention is certain - it is how this sector
will remain at its whim.

The example of this policy in Mexico is more than eloquent. The US
Department of Energy promotes the withdrawal of the Mexican State (and which
it extends to other Latin American states) from strategic sectors such as
oil and electricity to facilitate investors from its own country. The
approach of the Department of Energy represents the interests of the high
circles of multinational corporation owners such as Erón and El Paso, two of
the most important. Even the corruption scandals surrounding the
multinationals have not cooled the passion for privatisation of the World
Bank and, in this case, the Fox government.

But the Bush government is planning a significant increase in oil imports
from various Latin American countries. Venezuela is already the
third-biggest supplier of oil to the USA, behind Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Mexico is the fourth-biggest supplier and Colombia the seventh. But it is
America's intention to exploit our continent even more in this way. For
example, Venezuela is crucial for the USA because of its vast reserves of
crude oil only surpassed by the Arab countries. But the USA has one
difficulty that it needs to overcome with respect to Mexico and Venezuela,
where these countries have placed their energy reserves under state control
and have established strong legal barriers.

There is no doubt that the intention of the empire is for more of the same,
to continue pillaging those countries once known as Third World countries,
to cause more hunger among the populations there with the complicity,
large-scale or total, of the local power structures.

Our continent's industries are being dismantled, dependency reaches an
enormous degree and our peoples are aching in cruel misery. It has been a
process, as it is often called nowadays, of "making a new Africa" out of
Latin America. But has this period ended? Does the empire have other plans
for the future? Everything seems to indicate the contrary. Some voices
inside the system have been heard, demanding that this explosive situation
be addressed. But the current policies pay no attention to this concern.

What is the FTAA if not another round of appropriations within our continent
by the empire and transnational corporations. Some economists say that the
USA has serious economic problems, such as the overcoming of its severe
budget deficit and that it has decided to obtain a significant appropriation
in the very short future, without any mercy.

The FTAA is an appropriate instrument for pillaging, if one considers the
fact that this agreement aims to institutionalise what the USA has already
been doing, through the inclusion of Section 11 of the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for instance. This Section goes beyond any other
Agreement or commercial treaty in the world by securing a number of
protections and guarantees for international investors. Such unprecedented
power given to the corporations limits the sovereign powers of governments
on decisive matters such as public welfare and environmental protection. It
establishes a new relationship between foreign investors and the State. But,
however brutal this Section may be in the NAFTA, its FTAA version is even

Last year 29 US corporations and their associates, including petrochemical
and pharmaceutical firms, signed an open letter making public their approval
of NAFTA terms being the chosen model for the FTAA.

In passing, let us say that the Section named "Resolving Disputes", gives
foreign corporations special rights to secretively use international
arbitration beyond any real public control. Such international arbitration
supersedes national laws and courts. National laws and regulations are
abrogated leaving the bourgeois legal framework of countries even emptier.
The section on "Expropriation" establishes that any government which through
its actions may have caused a reduction in expected profits may be sued
through the courts.

It is a treaty which enables the most shameless appropriation and
legitimises it juridically. This would allow them to go further than they
are in fact already doing right now.

Max Neff states that "the FTAA is a disaster, it is robbery on the part of
the USA. It has one basic hidden truth: the countries which abide by WTO
regulations are in effect renouncing their own national independence.
According to WTO regulations, any national law that exists and is a problem
to any big enterprise, is to be amended to fulfil WTO-dictated business
interests ... and Latin America is already on the precipice. If such a
process has led us to the present situation, how can somebody pretend to
cure us with the same medicine ... If the people cared to see what has
happened in Mexico with NAFTA, they would see that some ten million
indigenous peasants have been stripped of everything. They are immigrants in
the cities in search of non-existent jobs. A country that had a strongly
maize-centred culture is now forced to import heavily-subsidized maize from
the USA because its own national production has been destroyed."

What Max Neff says about Mexico seems to us so similar to what happens in
the other Latin American countries, that we do not think it is absolutely
necessary to describe in detail the painful and shameless drama that
Argentina is facing.

The dependency that the imperial policies have generated is monstrous.
Already the institutional framework of these countries has become dry,
without real life. There remains neither the potential nor those functions
which gave the appearance of popular participation and of a national,
sovereign state. Even now, national states only execute the decisions which
come from the big international organizations such as the IMF, the World
Bank and the Inter-American Bank, which implement strategy which the G8 has
already drawn up. Such plans have been heavily influenced by the TNCs.
Central governments and parliaments, in such a context, are mere puppets.
The bourgeois democracies are chasing their tails in this circular chase.
Within this logic, following their laws, there is no way out for the people.
Their misery grows, exclusion reaches gigantic and murderous proportions.
The ways to build and overcome this global state of barbarism, which imposes
such a model and system as this on us, must lie elsewhere.


There is something with theoretical significance and with great consequences
in political affairs that we must analyse. In the first place, because of
the careless way people  speak about possible solutions coming from the
State. From this state that is attached to a model and which makes room for
its development. It is a contradiction to expect a fundamental "piece" of
the capitalist system to adopt a position different from the rest.

Let us examine this subject briefly.

In the face of so many more or less statist solutions, we ask ourselves
"What is the current articulation between the world of politics and the
world of the economy?"

Observing the new articulation of the economy with the State does not mean
that we despise the fact that the political structure has its own specific
form and, so to say, "relative autonomy". But we seem to be confronted with
a phenomenon that does not have the oft-equated symmetry of "the State
versus economical structure". The reduction of the State is, throughout this
phase, a self-inflicted reduction. It is making room with new legislation to
an immense field of economical domination. It is no longer the
State-policeman as during the initial period of capitalism, it is something
more complex, there is great change and technological development in many
fields during a whole period of history. And history never goes backwards.

The present State is something different from the previous known forms.
There is no doubt that it belongs to another phase within the same system
but has specific shapes and functions. It keeps the fundamental
characteristics that produce its identity - it is the guarantee of the
reproduction of existing social relationships, it carries out its functions
of oppression and the maintenance of general repression.

There is a certain discontinuity in these relationships if we compare it to
other moments of the capitalist system. We can say, therefore, that there
are some structural changes, not only superficial ones. That being the case,
one cannot simply speak about a post-Fordism-Taylorism epoch, which leaves
all the previous fundamental relationships intact. A form of production that
involved big factories and large quantities of workers has given place to
different technical and work relationships. Of course, we do not believe
that an explanation through the economic structure alone can be enough. The
so-called "welfare state" has also seen changes in this new form of State. A
whole series of functions previously in the hands of the State went to the
private sectors. The transnationals, on the other hand, are assuming roles
and functions that in other moments were State monopolies. It seems
inadequate to try an explanation only using a juridical and political
structure to define the configuration of the present system. Even more so
when there are changes in ideological and cultural domains which articulate
themselves powerfully to the above-mentioned structures.


This phase in this particular period of capitalism, under the well-known
neo-liberal model has destroyed diverse economic, political and social
conditions throughout all of Latin America. The national State and even the
so-called Welfare State (that never was a panacea for the poor) have been
abandoned. It estimated that more than half of the population of our
continent lives in poverty, a great part in stark misery. It is known that
savage and criminal globalisation has sunk our people into even greater
suffering. More and more of the population has been put on fringe of society
with atrocious living conditions. If "Africanisation" depends on them, it is
the fate they have assigned us.

But the people, like in so many other occasions, have shown their resistance
and no-resignation against this barbarity in many diverse ways.

It is not our intention to make a clean sweep of everything and to
characteristically simplify this wide scope of struggles and opposition. It
is clear that the policy of razed land that the system has followed means
that improving the living conditions of the poor doesn't begin at zero but
rather at ten below zero. Many speak of economic reactivation accompanied by
social programmes as if they could quickly return to the previous period of
capitalism. But it was those winds that brought these tempests.

There is no doubt for us, in the mark of the current framework of world
domination, that the policeman and dictator of the world is not only the
USA, they are not the only fleecing us. The European Union and Japan
actively participate in this framework. There are several European
international and State-owned companies that have intervened, decimating
these economies and creating high levels of unemployment. Europe and Japan
are working here with the same logic.

But despite all of this, the people have not been calm and quiet.

Our peoples have not been at rest, rather we can say that we have produced
an unruly and defiant Latin American scenario. There is a wide range of
movements that often contradict one another. There are many forces at play
that have shown their willingness to follow a higher or lower level of
confrontation against the neo-liberal globalisation in course, and against
its devastating effects. There are who lean towards organisational forms
that bring about thorough change outside of the system's traditional
mechanics. They want a different social classification that will allow us to
leave the vicious and infernal circle of oppression and misery. At the same
time, there are those who want to manage capitalism in a better way and to
carry out certain reforms. The former choose non-institutional forms and
methods of struggle, the latter enter an institutionalism that finally ends
up strengthening the structure of domination without effective possibilities
of carrying out major reforms. Thus, the current scenario ranges from
neo-populism to neo-Social Democracy at same the time that popular
mobilisations and various self-managed forms are, in spite of everything,
trying rebuild a social structure based on solidarity.

There are problems that are basically common throughout the continent and
which are responded to according to the specific social situations and
history of each country.

In this variety of struggles and political and social practices there are
concrete situations that enable specific joint actions. Not all of them do,
of course, but we should be open-minded and attentive to join forces when it
is useful and possible, and not against our coordinated strategies.

Schematically, which is all a declaration of this type allows, we will
mention some aspects in certain countries on our continent that we feel are

The neo-populism of Chávez. The emergency of Chávez has its explanation in
the I total discredit of parties such as Acción Democrática and COPEY. His
authoritarian politics, with some features of rightwing nationalism, uses
petroleum to provide him with the means to carry out a few reforms in some
areas: health, housing, education, and land. His project has not convinced
all the population, causing, apart from a war among the poor, the
traditional right and the North American empire to rush against him using
all their guns. To this end, we have seen how the owners of the country,
Fedecamaras, the mass media, the CNN as a blatant US supporter and
enthusiast, the corrupt union bureaucracy, the military, attempt time and
time again to pull off a coup. Behind them lurks the US power strategy and

Plan Colombia. It began being formally and cynically as a plan to combat
drug traffic. Now they have already openly announced that it is to combat
the legendary Colombian guerrilla armies that constitute a bad example for
these times of defiance and despair. It is clearly not separated from the
purposes of the empire and is also related to petroleum and the need to
control the area as a strategic part of the continent. The US coordination
with the puppet government in turn has intensified the combat against the
FARC and ELN. The guerrilla armies continue to show a high operational level
and important support of the population in certain areas.

Indigenous Ecuador. The indigenous rural movement is the reference and gives
structure to the Ecuadorian grassroots movement. Their efforts have produced
different political events. They were decisive in the last elections and
were a fundamental axis of the popular revolt of January 2001 that opposed
the adjustments ordered by the IMF and the "dollar-isation" of the economy.
This revolt was formed with a major organisation of workers and students. It
is a movement that, being a new social force, has made a few contradictory
social-political moves but that seems willing to continue looking for a
popular project in benefit of the oppressed parts of society.

Resistance in Bolivia. There is a strong rural and indigenous movement that
has pushed for several demands in recent times. They have had clashes with
the police and the army. Labour groups of the COB, miners, also had a
combative march a year ago. An anti-Yankee feeling, identified as the cause
of the injustice they suffer, has grown. But maybe one of the more
highlighted events was what happened in Cochabamba with an international
water company. When it tried to unlimitedly increase its rates the people
took to the streets and carried out a real rebellion that finished with an
expulsion of the company. Now there is a Water Commission that embraces a
wide social spectrum, practically the whole popular movement. The Sin Tierra
(landless movement) continue to carry out their activities with some
important steps forward.

Brazil. The institutional political map of Brazil changed in important ways
with the recent election and the victory of Lula nationally and the defeat
of the PT [Lula's party] in several [regional] governments, like Río Grande.
There is an important and long-standing tradition of social activities in
this country, such as the homeless and landless movements, and of the
cooperatives of waste collectors. Ten million signatures were recently taken
in a campaign against the FTAA. Brazil, like other countries of the
continent, is a place with rampant poverty. No less than 44% of the
population earn less than two dollars per day, and 40 million live in dire

The reality of Argentina. Perhaps the one best known to us, for its nearness
and for the frequent information we receive from this country. In these days
we have suffered the emotional blow of seeing children who have died of
hunger in Tucumán and other parts of the country, their skin stuck to their
bones. But this reality of brutal hunger, of people in dreadful poverty is
not a isolated phenomenon in Argentina; eighteen million people are poor and
nine million are poverty-stricken, it can be said that they are dying of
hunger. Argentina is where the neo-liberal pattern was most orthodoxly
applied, where the IMF employed its modus operandi to aid a very corrupt
political class. Here the modern version of the capitalist system showed its
true soul. The international companies and banks, and corrupt politicians
drained the country empty. And with the people dying from hunger, the IMF,
in the name of neo-liberal policies, wants to plunder even more while the
politicians continue stealing what they can.

The people were protagonists on various important battlegrounds. The
"piqueteros" continue to be a social force with strong demands and a
capacity of struggle, especially one sector of the "piqueteros." The people
joined together in struggle, there were demonstrations with clashes and
deaths, a wide range of self-managed activities have been set up, some
factories have been re-opened by the workers. Their raw and brutal reality
was confronted in a creative fashion. A feeling that all politicians should
leave gained support in the people, it settled in their minds that in the
present framework there is not solution to their misfortunes and yearnings.

Mexico. On the one hand we have the Mexico of President Fox, of the sold-out
politicians who have handed over key sectors of their country to
international companies especially linked to the North American empire. On
the other hand, the Mexico of the Zapatista march that mobilised a million
people in 2000. There was recently a rural rising in San Juan Atenco, where
they defended their lands from those who wanted to expel them. With a will
to fight and machete in hand they broke the government's plans there.

At this time Subcomandante Marcos has broken his silence. In a recent
interview he tells us: "The rebel hits the walls, because he knows that the
labyrinth is a trap, he knows that there is no way out other than knocking
down the walls ... Among the snares of history there is the phrase 'it was
better in the past'. When the Right says it, they are admitting their
reactionary inclination. When it is the parliamentary Left who postulate it,
they are showing their current admission of defeat ... When the
institutional left looks at itself in the mirror of the power and says: 'I
am a responsible and mature Left', in fact it is saying 'I am a Left that
pleases the Right'". The Zapatista movement, the Mexican peasant movement
still has a lot to say in this history of struggle that carries on and that
the social circumstances call for it more so than ever.

Uruguay. The press gave economic statistics a few days ago, complete
unemployment continues to grow and has already arrived at 19.2%. But this is
an insufficient figure, as more than half of the active population has
employment difficulties. At the same time there is a loss in purchasing
power in wages that on their own do not provide for staple items. No less
than one of every three people is considered to be below the line of
poverty, a euphemism used to say that they are dying of hunger or surviving
who knows how.

The health and prospectives of the children are being destroyed. More than
half of the children live in poverty.

When we look at the items on the political agenda, it clearly arises that
what worries the rulers are other things and not the brutal sufferings of
the population. What matters for them, like in so many places, are the
Banks, financial Capital, "honouring the foreign debt," making sure there
are more jails for next year, with the highest possible degree of impunity
for recognised murderers or sticky-fingered bankers. Simultaneously, they
increase the general repression and police deployment and surveillance.
Prison, hence, is for those who rebel against hunger and now for the union
leaders of ADEOM. In some of these points, part of the electoral left have
coupled with the government.

These are difficult times, times of struggle.

What we have before us are not easy times. But our people won't resign to
that cruel fate of misery that the powers that be have assigned them. For
the people, in order to improve their situation, it has always meant times
of struggle and today is the same once again. Many examples of dignified
survival, of fighting back, of non-resignation, are underway or already form
part of this new reality.

It is important that we look for ways that allow combined action so that the
struggles do not die down or become separated. The different popular combats
need to be surrounded with support and solidarity. We are part of these
people that suffer and  dream, and their struggles must be our struggles.
Without any paralysing or isolating dogmas, se must widely and continuously
attend to the specific problems of this historical moment. With united
actions in a mark of respect to the real plurality that is found in our
social and political organisations. With sufficient firmness to impede
entering dead-end roads or closed circuits do not shelter future hopes. Once
again, only struggle will open the door.

January 2nd 2003

Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU)
Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (FAG)

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