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by El Libertario (CRA-AIT)
Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2003 at 6:57 AM
firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box: Emilio Tesoro, apartado postal 6303, Carmelitas Caracas - Venezuela
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CHAVISM AND ANARCHISM, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
1. Are anarchists "escuálidos" ("weaks") (nickname given by Chávez to his
Before anything else, "escuálidos" is a mainly mediatic term, of disdainful character in its origin and for slogan purposes, that says nothing about those it labels. It is necessary to define what is meant by this in order to judge whoever receives this label. But, if this is a name given to those of us who will not let go of our freedom and autonomy so that we would bow down to the authoritarianism of one person, of one party, of one movement, then we are so.
And if by this it is implied that we support schools of thought identified with economical liberalism, with the scornful racism from the elites towards the majority, with the pseudo-democracy or the return to the social-political organization which is now part of history, then we are not such thing.
2. Is opposing the Chávez regime a way of supporting the "Coordinadora
Democrática" (Democratic Coordinator, the "official" political opposition to the
In fact, we support neither the Chávez regime nor the Democratic Coordinator, and one thing does not mean the other. We can agree with some action of the former and the latter, with some declarations of the former and latter, but in the core we criticize most of the actions and speeches of both. We oppose the frustrations of the hopes of Chávez's supporters, but we do not support the mysterious moves from opportunistic groups that control the opposing protests for the time being. And above all, we can not, because of principles, support those who look for a better life not caring about the individual submission to the state hierarchy, something approved by both camps.
3. Chávez talks about popular sovereignty and participation. Isn't this part of
what anarchists want?
Chávez talks about a lot of things. But he himself said that we should focus on what he does and not what he says. What he does has little to do with popular sovereignty but a lot to do with sovereignty of domes (military). We just need to take a look at his reaction to the referendum, to get a clue of what he thinks of participation. In Anarchism permanent leaderships are not accepted, instead they should be constantly evaluated by those that for whatever reason they represent and that is what is meant by sovereignty and participation, which is not present in this process nor any other that bases itself on power and on the State.
4. Chávez calls to confront the oligarchy and imperialism. In spite of the differences, is it that hard to establish strategic alliances with him and then later on, once the coup d'état and the oligarchy are destroyed, try to create the anarchist revolution?
To establish strategic alliances is a type of political action that will ultimately end up with one of the allies taking power, instead of this, we the anarchists are trying to eliminate the power with the participation of all. The destruction of what is called coup d'état and oligarchy (obvious propagandistic terms), in the case that it will succeed, only helps strengthen the power of the winners, the latter will inevitably create a new oligarchy because the power tends not to be distributed but concentrated. This will make it harder for the creation of an anarchist revolution and Spain in 1936 was an example of this. On top of this is not factual to identify the Chavist project with the struggle against coup d'état, when its original aim was to overthrow the power in 1992.
The struggle against the power of a few (oligarchy) in state regimes is the end the same as to replace a few with other few. Concerning the struggle against imperialism, if we look at the policies that they support with oil, agriculture, the industry, the work sphere, they seem to present themselves as defenders of imperialism and not their enemies.
5. In case of an early election or referendum, how would anarchists vote?
We the anarchists have never considered voting as form of participation, because
elections of masters do not make us more free. Because of its recent history here, we are going to have to debate more on what specific action should be taken in a referendum, specially if it is a consultative one. We would support a referendum that would reclaim the power if this includes the beginning of direct democracy, grassroot and participative in each aspect of society.
6. The "Círculos Bolivarianos" (Bolivarian Circles) are communitarian groups and with horizontal popular participation. Why do anarchists fail to support these grassroot organizations?
The ideological identification and apparent submission of these bolivarian circles to the official politic are serious obstacles to create from this a movement with autonomous basis. From what we know of their functioning, is not understandable to talk about horizontal participation when their members repeat the very same opinions from the "unquestionable leader of this process". On top of this, we have experiences of this in Venezuela, too many grassroot organizations (like in the labour unions) have always resembled the tramways, that receive electricity from the top.
7. The Venezuelan Armed Forces, unlike imperialist armies, have clearly popular, nationalist roots and can sustain a revolutionary project. Are anarchists mistaken to criticize the Army?
Ever since modern armies first appeared in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, soldiers have always been of popular extraction and the troops of the Latin American dictatorships have not been recruited from privileged social strata. For the very reason that it is an army, which exists to defend of a power structure and its leaders, it can never support a revolution in favor of the oppressed. At most it could exchange one figure for another and some of the power structure's rules, but not eliminate it because control and obedience are its essence. For that reason we support no army, no police force, no privileged people who might use force of arms for their benefit against other people. Nationalism is not an idea that anarchists support, because it implies limiting
interests to certain people, artificially enclosed in a nation-territory, who then consider themselves different and even superior to others. We are the enemies of all forms of privilege by birth, race, culture, religion or place of origin.
8. According to Chávez, his plan is to carry out a pacific and democratic. Why
don't anarchists wait for the revolution to develop further before criticizing
Chávez talks about revolution, but this is not enough in order to believe that he will do it and that he must be supported. Too many tyrants in this continent have said the same in the past, without there being even a hope of supporting them. In our case there has been a revolution in that our way of life has been changed in many respects, but what we see of construction does not lead us to be inclined to support it. To allow his consolidation means doing things which are more difficult to change, because those changes that we demand go in a very different direction from the one which this "Process" is taking, one which is proving to be inefficient, with orientations, personnel and attitudes that we cannot share and which have evident signs of authoritarianism.
9. There are libertarians who say they support Chávez' Process. If they are
attributed as being less anarchist for that reason, is that accusation not
contrary to the anti-dogmatic spirit of libertarian socialism?
Anarchism is not a mental state, it is a way to face the changing social circumstances by seeking the well-being of each individual in the well-being of all, with proposals that arise from individuals which are discussed, adopted or rejected by the others in determinate places at determinate times. Anyone can call him or herself a libertarian, as we have no card or birthmark that identifies us as such. It is only mutual interaction that marks us and it is other anarchists who determine if we do or do not belong to the movement, on the basis of our conduct and our ideas. And, as we are not perfect, it can happen that we adopt forms of conduct or defend ideas that the collective does not
approve. But that does not make anyone more or less, it makes us different, although at times the difference is such that it becomes unbearable for the others and they can cease to recognize us as being like them.
10. Anarchists only criticize without contributing anything. What do the
anarchists propose to get Venezuela out of its present crisis?
Our fight is neither conjunctural nor of circumstances. It is for the need to adopt a new way of living our collective and individual lives, one where our existence is in our own hands, sincerely and honestly, educating ourselves through study and through our relations with others, being aware that our freedom increases with the freedom of our neighbors, respecting equality since differences do not create superiority, always remembering that our lives are possible thanks to others whose interests we must, as a priority, look after if we are to be able to satisfy our own, to that we must not renounce because we aspire to enjoy a full existence. Each one lives his or her life and is responsible for it to him or herself and to others, but nobody can take our
"redemption" on his or her shoulders. Therefore, we have no ready-made "prescription" for this (or any other) crisis, as the ideas and actions which can overcome it must be the result of a conscious collective effort, to which we are already contributing through our most enthusiastic participation.
[Translation by Julio & Nestor]
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