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Recuperators of the existent
In the second issue of this publication [Negación] was already a text about the role that the integrators in the system, like NGOs or different left and reformist groups, play to pacify uprisings and conflicts, assimilating various struggles and stripping them of the essential characteristics they had by moments acquired. We had explained how also the system integrates into its ranks, through its programmes of citizens’ well-being, various groups that in the future might represent a danger for the social peace or the stability of the country. Together with these institutions, various collectives of the left area play this recuperating role, being it consciously or unconsciously.
All this has been called “recuperation”: when a struggle tends to radicalize, it gets integrated in the system by left groups and NGOs; or when it is the State itself who is doing this job by its own means, recuperating the struggles by bringing them under its control, surveillance and handling. But also when different leftist groups try to participate in conflicting struggles by proposing reforms and mediations with the State, rendering these struggles vulnerable for control by the system.
It is evident but necessary to emphasize that the shock groups of the State play an important role in this process of recuperation and/or assimilation during uprisings or revolts.
To extend this question a bit more, I will give some examples.
In Mexico, during the insurrectional troubles of the 1st of December of 2012, when thousands of people went out on the streets to protest against the ascent to power of Enrique Peña Nieto, the groups of the democratic left, left political parties, anti-system groups (including the FAM, Mexican Anarchist Federation) and groups of known out-and-out “integrators” and reformists like a big part of the movement “Yo Soy #132” (1) also went out to protest, but always with the guidelines – some in an indirect way – to put out any insurrectional outbreak, to manage the revolt themselves and bring water to their own mill.
To their misfortune, the troubles took the form of revolt. The attack against the symbols of power and the self-organisation started to spread, and also the anarchists without flags, acronyms or formalised organisation stood on the side of the rest of the exploited, self-organising the revolt. This self-organisation of which I am speaking went beyond the guidelines who were calling for “calm” coming from various leftist groups which saw clearly that control was slipping out of their hands.
Also some anarchist collectives felt the same when they saw that in the insurrectional moment their synthesis organisation was nor leading, nor representing in anyway as was the case in 1936 or 1910, that chaos generalised and that the autonomy of the exploited, the excluded and the self-excluded overcame their old guidelines, their old schematics and their eminent and repeated calls to waité for the “due organisation”. This was con firmed later on when the leaders of the Revolutionary Anarchist Alliance, who adhere to the FAM, denied the participation of the acrates in the troubles.
On the first of December of 2012 revolt broke out. During the riots in which various headquarters of capital where sabotaged and heavy fighting took place with the cops, hundreds of people were arrested, the majority of them coming from the left and anarchist area. There were the usual violations of the so-called human rights and “excessive punishments” for the detained. The majority of the arrested were accused of attacks against the public peace, a felony of the old law which can lead up to 36 years of prison.
At that moment, the issue – especially for the move-ment #132 – was the derogation of the felony of attack against the public peace as being an anti-constitutional felony without juridical foundations. This mobilised hundreds of persons, left groups and anti-system collectives, including some anarchist sectors. Some weeks lat-er, on the 28th of December, the legislative Assembly of the Federal District modified the felony of attack against the public peace, considering it as a non-serious felony and with possibility of bailout. In this way, all detained got released, but with a process pending.
Much has been said about this reform. The #132 boasted about it, calling this “change” an “achievement” and a triumph of the people and the social movement. Nevertheless, even when these mobilisations which called for the derogation of the law on attack against the social peace put little pressure, we can see clearly that the strategy of the government was a quite different one.
Converging with this whole scenario of riots, molotovs, mobilisations, detentions and torture of demonstrators, came the change of government of the Federal District. Marcelo Ebrad left power and his successor – a part from being an ex-attorney of Justice in the capital of the country – the police academy doctor Miguel Mancera, took hold of the tasks of Chief of Government of the Capital. Neither Ebrad nor Mancera, being left persons and eager liberal social-democrats, could leave or enter the power office stained with blood, discredit, torture and arbitrary detentions; but neither with riots and balaclavas, weapons that their political adversaries would use to make “bad publicity” for them.
And so the law on attack against the public peace was reformed. In our opinion, this was a political step to answer to the crisis of the moment.
Together with the decision to reform the law as a political strategy to stay in a certain way good and clean in the eyes of the population of the capital city, we can mention the fact that with this concession, the government of the city betted to calm the burning hearts of the protesters who had another claim now: liberate the political prisoners. But not only this, also inside such speech one can find back the seeds of recuperation.
Directly or indirectly, as part of a strategy or by coincidence, the government of the capital city went out of office having gained for the moment that the progressive left, the reformists and especially groups like Yo soy #132 celebrated this concession as an “achievement” and considering it as an advance of “democracy in these lands”. Maybe without wanting to see that this was nothing more than another link on the chains which the proletarians are carrying.
The government won, because as this was considered an achievement, it meant mediation, agreement and pacification.
The Yo Soy #132, together with the so-called “social movement”, went into silence, delegation, dialogue and compromise. The objective to chasing Peña Nieto from power – although very discussable from the point of view of anarchist perspective – was for the moment the only thing that was able to unify the discontent of the proletarians and which culminated in heavy clashes which opened up space beyond the “objective”, remained reduced to a heap of petitions and the celebration of yet another day on the revolutionary calender.
The leftist groups got comfortable again, all took their part from this uprising and many things got calm again. All happy with their miserable reform. All happy with another day on the calender to celebrate, yearning that the year to come would be the same.
Also the other recuperators did their work – including the politicians from the FAM and other groups who follow the same line calling for the junction – and tried to include at any cost the dissident groups inside of their organi- sations, calling for calm and waiting, including different sectors implicated in the games of the system, in social programs, in political parties. Crossing out the insurgents as mere vandals, especially the anarchist and anti-system individualities which participated in those days in the popular uprising. A job well done for the integration – and in a certain way for the canalisation of rebellions and new upsurges of violence – that bared fruit in later mobilizations which were less big and less uncontrolled.
But why this recuperation job?
Simply because these revolts that for the moment yelled out against the rise to power of a PRI dinosaur, went not only beyond the claims and programs of those groups, but also went beyond their own initial call. The 1st of December was not a revolt against Peña or against the PRI. Although it kicked off as such, it took later on the form of a revolt which went, in that moment of spontaneous chaos, beyond the classical phase of claims, the claim phase which is exhausted and which is easily recuperated by political “opposition” reformists and parties and which always comes down to the killing of the passions for living a life of quality. The revolt of December was the united rage of all exploited against their exploitation, that is to say, against this world and those who rule it.
For a while, some of us put into question the attitude of many anarchists which were eagerly repeating during the riots the anti-PRI and reformist claims as it seemed that their participation went together with a lack of perspective and of a clear project, an insurrectional project. Not a project of an exactly anarchist insurrection, be- cause the ongoing revolt was not this, but an insurrectional project which would tend to influence with clarity the revolt, as to make it not only generalize concerning the revolutionary violence, but also generalizing the critique of the conditions of exploitation and death to a more wide critique and therefore global critique. A generalisation of the critique and the attack that doesn’t follow a previously established program, nor quite apocalyptic views, but that manifests itself in the spontaneous process of self-organisations of all exploited. To influence is not the same as to impose.
To participate in a popular revolt doesn’t mean to blindly repeat the words of the “people” or the programs of the established social movements. Such delegations of our individuality do not interest us. To participate in a popular revolt is first of all a point of meeting between individuals, it means to propose a perspective of a new world, a world freed of all authority; it means to create an own perspective together with the rest of the exploited, without following programs nor leaders. To participate in a popular revolt doesn’t mean to sacrifice oneself for the “cause of the people”, it means to self-organise with the others, to discuss, to dialogue to come to common points. To participate in a popular revolt means to be participants in the first person, not as lambs following outside schemas. But above all, it means to influence to radicalise the motives of revolt and the revolt itself.
The year 2013 was a time of tensions in the capital of this stinky country, with the rising of the price of the metro tickets, the self-organisation of the exploited and the oppressed came back to the surface proving that not everything is vilely assimilated or recuperated by the State.
Massive demonstrations in the streets, blockades of the main entrances of the metro, sabotage actions of the ticket machines, some clashes with the forces of order, a climate which smelled like tension and powder. In this limate of tension, an action against the SCT (Secretary of Communications and Transport) tried to propagate the reproducibility and re-appropriation of easy acts of sabotage, an action that – like many others – tried to give its contribution for the conflict to generalize. During that weeks of rising tension, we saw again the self-organized, but also spontaneous rage of the proletarians. An example, simple but clear, were the hundreds of sabotage actions against the torniquete machines of the metro and the “boletazo” [blocking or sabotaging the gates to the metro so that people can pass without paying]. It made clear that sabotage, direct action, self-organization and self-management of the struggle are no exclusivity of some group of specialists and neither of some professional politicians and leaders. It are above all weapons which are within reach of all.
It was again a concession which put an end to that weeks of rebellion: the government of the Federal District gave a special rate for vulnerable persons: housewives, students, unemployed etc. With that agreement, pacification of the expressions of revolt was achieved.
To conclude, I would say that on the other hand we have been responsible for what happened. We and our halfheartedness facing the fact of criticizing with perceptiveness and objectivity, but also strongly and without mediation, this type of recuperating and leftist organizations who seem to play “revolution”; independently of the fact if they work with the State or if they are independents or anarchists. This lack of critique is partly what allowed the advance of the recuperators and integrators, which, as we know well, will not back off with just a critique of their job, but that might influence the perspective that the comrades and other persons have towards them, that might even invert the
climate of existing “acceptance” around these recuperating organizations of the existent.
Of the year 2014, what to say(2). All protests, actions and riots for the disappearance of the 43 of Iguala, but also for the destruction of the State-Capital, for freedom, made clear that the rage is still alive and kicking, that social pacification has not reached its desired levels, that in this year, moods didn’t got down and that every day, the conditions are on the table.
Anyway, in this climate of tension that keeps existing in the capital city of the country, the recuperators of whatever color are doing everything they can to put out the fire. But, in contrast with the paragraphs above, I ask myself… but have they done their job well? Maybe yes, but only for the moment, in the future, we will see.
An insurgent without regrets
March 2015 – Mexico
1. The movement Yo Soy #132 was a political-student movement of clear reformist signature. The first generation of the movement was born in the IBERO private university when a group of students demonstrated against the meeting of Enrique Peña Nieto on this university as a part of his presidential campaign of the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party, more or less the main political force of Mexico]. The movement #132 had a clear PRD-stamp [Party for the Democratic Revolution, a main political formation on the left of the PRI], but with time passing there were various splits which chose another more militant leftism. Some people compare this movement to the one led by the Chilean student Camila Vallejo. There exists a book about #132, which for us means nothing more than a mystification of this movement.
2. At this point, I recommend to read the text “Conflicto, la disgregacion y la guerra social”.
On anarchist internationalism
As other comrades put it well: we anarchists are internationalists until we have destroyed the nations. Even if the first step is to not recognise nor accept them, their destruction is part of the project of destruction of the State.
Anarchy has always stood on an internationalist position. We are well aware that we should take our local context into account, but internationalism is an inseparable characteristic of the thought which tries to annihilate any sort of State and authority, opposes all form of progress and forges a life attitude in revolt against the whole existent.
The exchange of ideas and thoughts between comrades on different latitudes on the planet has been fundamental for the building of an internationalist anarchist perspective which rejects the limitations of borders and ethnicities, for example through spreading the fights comrades are waging in other contexts. Direct action and sabotage have also allowed, starting from practice itself, to forge international links between anarchists from one place or another. That goes as well for the punctual and personal support between comrades of different places, a support which manifests itself in the struggle and the common projects which are being built day after day. Translations of communiques, dialogues between comrades, solidarity actions, pamphlets to spread the stories of comrades, support to different projects, journals for exchange of ideas, thoughts and critiques, sabotage, support to comrades who are on the run, weaving fraternal relations between comrades are some examples of the way in which the movement has put into practice the internationalism that characterizes it.
From the movement in solidarity with Sacco and Vanzetti when sabotage were realized, amongst others, by the anarchist circles close to the journal Culmine to the sabotage actions in solidarity with the hunger strikes of the Greek comrades, from the coordination and support between comrades of the United States and Mexico to organize and propagate the insurrectional upheavals of 1910 – including the support to comrades on the run or in prison – to pamphlets in solidarity with the comrades of the 5E-M in Mexico, anarchism has showed clearly that there exist no borders for solidarity and coordination, that is to say, for the struggle itself. From comrades in Norway or Finland, countries where social pacification is strongly spread to comrades in Turkey, Syria or the Arab countries which are since years finding them-selves in a logic of all out war, we anarchists are not going to create social or ethnic categorizations, neither are we going to reproduce those categorizations that the capitalist system has created to divide. We are not going to treat comrades as little bourgeois due to the fact that by they are born in a place different then ours, just as we are not going to discriminate (“positively” moreover!) others who are born in much more catastrophic and rotten places than where we are living.
It is clear that each place has its own characteristics that in a certain way define the conditions of the struggle and that the insurrectional project has to be adapted to this characteristics, but even as such the anarchist struggle does not only correspond to local outlines of struggle. On the contrary: the struggle tries to be global reality of attack against State and Capital. As such, anarchy is far away from leftist realism, that left realism which incites passivity, waiting, reformism and kills all dreams and desires for a life of quality through the speech of what is possible and what can be done based on “the reality we are living”.
Finally, we think that we should formulate our theses starting from what we are living locally – that’s why we, the group of comrades who are participating in one way or another, from the moment we started publishing this journal, tackled themes starting from what we have in front of our eyes (and this tears down the big lie that says that there is a sort of Europeanization or European exportation existing in Mexico). But at the same time, we refuse to exchange our dreams for political realism and we believe that also contributions from comrades from other latitudes, as well as the international solidarity, may never be neglected, because they are before everything else one of the bases of anarchy which is trying to destroy all kinds of limitations. We are individualists as we believe in ourselves and act in consequence, but we also share perspectives and project with many other comrades. We learn from our past and our own experiences, but also from experiences and perspectives from other latitudes which nourish us. We refuse anyway to fall into idealizations.
If comrades in Mexico have taken over on certain moments the acronyms of CCF or FAI to claim their sabotage actions, we do not think now that this has been due to a – total – lack of own analysis neither to photocopy a speech. Although we have a critique on revendication acronyms and what is commonly called “neo-nihilism”, we can not deny that they and other comrades have put forward, in acts, a manifestation of living anarchist internationalism, to take part in the attack against power according to their own premises and perspectives.
In the same way, nowadays there exist editorial projects in affinity with the insurrectional project that doesn’t rejoice about acronyms. Those projects try to be a link between anarchists from all over the world; but there is also the practice, inseparable from theory, to express clearly that anarchy can never be reduced to an alternative without perspectives of attack against power, and neither to a regionalist speech justified by unfounded arguments that are therefore sterile of any potentiality of real, and not fictitious, confrontation.
If we are individualists, we do not idealise anything of “our own or of abroad” and we represent nothing but ourselves. The social ware is latent and our life is the authentic battlefield.
March 2015 – Mexico