Bulgarian Anarchists About The Refugees

FAB

This text was published in the newspaper of Federation of anarchists in Bulgaria. We believe the people from the eastern parts of Europe have a bit different view on the global issues compared to the ones in the other parts of the world and it would be useful for the anarchists around the globe to know the way we present our analisys to them. We would be glad to receive your opinions on the text we present, as long as it contains arguments.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it true that anarchists are running away from giving opinions on the refugee problem?

It’s not.

Unlike ‘elite’ philosophers such as Andrei Raivech and Michaeil Konstantinov, we don’t slave over cliché opinions about the migrants, be they supportive or critical of the situation. Unlike Raivech and Konstantinov, we don’t believe that “the invaders must be stopped at any price” – an allusion to physical violence. We also disagree with the ideas presented by some who wish ill on the refugees so that they turn around and discourage others from coming.
This is an absurd notion that provokes similar thoughts to Bulgarian migrant workers in the rest of Europe. Equally absurd is the notion of ‘baptizing’ the refugees as a means of integration – another idea that came out of our “intellectuals”. What do we win by replacing one poison with another?

The answer to the “crisis” is actually very simple. To stop people from fleeing to any particular region, the solution is not to make the destination inhospitable for them. Instead, the place that people are trying to flee by any means necessary must be improved.

Western governments have destroyed countries in the Middle East and Africa. After the second world war, millions of Turks and Arabs from European colonies saved Germany and France from ruins. Today, European companies have not complained that the influx of cheap labor (especially certain shady businesses that launder money and drive European capitalism) is hurting their interests. Therefore, no guns at the borders, denial of humanity for any reason, nor turning Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey into refugee camps will stop the flow of refugees. Only stopping the machine guns, cannon fire, and bombings in the home countries will truly stop the problem.

But we see an issue that will exacerbate the problem. Refugee centers will become concentration camps, while regular European citizens will be eager to look for reasons of these problems elsewhere, outside of their own system.
Meanwhile today, resources spent on fences and guards would be enough for the recovery and improvement of troubled regions where the migrants are coming from. However, the West does not want to see competitors in the global or even regional markets. Because of this, the refugee crisis truly has no answer within the capitalist system which is founded on rivalry and oppression which will always create refugees.

You adamantly call these people “refugees” even though they are criminals who break the law by illegally crossing borders while not being legally deemed refugees.

Our attitudes towards the laws are, mildly put, skeptical. The law exists to so that lawmakers, lawyers, policemen, and judges can get their pay. For law-abiding citizens, the law is a thief who puts him or her on the defensive and makes him or her conform to what the law wants and keeps them from going where the law doesn’t want them to go. The law can turn anyone into a criminal – such as the case of Lora Kazanlieva, who was somehow found be an accessory in her own death when she was hit by a speeding driver because she didn’t heed the crosswalk sign. The law has already made criminals out of the homeless who dig for food in trash bins. The laws are on their way to turn anybody who doesn’t agree with elections into criminals. The “refugee status” doesn’t register the fact of whether or not somebody is really running from a warzone. The status is only a mark that bureaucrats are willing to recognize the obvious.

Then what is your answer to the problem?

First, we have doubts as to whether or not this is really a problem or if the media has overblown the issue. So far, Europe has been able to deal with the immigrants. How Europe has done so is self-evident. The products of hypocritical tolerance and financial opportunities motivates those born in the EU to bomb their fellow man, while their actions force innocents into refugee camps. The issues stem from the European powers, not anywhere else.

Our solution is a social revolution. This will happen when the exaggeration of the refugee crisis become the reality and proletariat of Europe works with them to create a new world.

Do anarchists really not see that the refugees are barbarians and invaders, dangerous to Bulgaria and Europe?

The topic of refugees is not very relevant for Bulgaria. Our nation is not the destination nor even on the ideal route of the refugees. Because of this, no agreement with the political elite in Paris, Berlin, or Brussels, nor with Moscow, Washington, or London will force us to work towards fixing the problems they have caused. Instead, we will work towards changing the existing world order.

Are the hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians that go to Shipka to celebrate Bulgarian Independence Day blind to the fact that the European governments behave just as cruel to others as the Ottoman Empire did towards us 138 years ago?

Why do anarchists not show any interest in the demise of the “Bulgarian nation”?

The disappearance of Bulgaria as a nation has nothing to do with the “invasion” of migrants. The Bulgarians are running away on their own to other nations. This also includes the battle of keeping our own language. Proud patriots often accuse migrants for being “young and healthy but not willing to fight at home”. But the same goes for Bulgarians – why are they not fighting for a better future instead of looking for an easy solution outside of the country? The paid-patriots are not fighting for the people, but for the most common enemy of the people – the state power, and they are bringing us with them under the pretense of reform.

So let us not cry or complain about the disappearances while we are actively fleeing our own country. No laws or reforms will stop the drain of Bulgaria’s people – just like barbed wire is not stopping the refugees. Something that’s dying will surely die, if it has no will to live, if it has no power to bring in hearts and minds, but has the powerlessness to force itself into a mold, a cliché – “true Bulgaria”. If “true Bulgaria” is not before all else a land for free people, who value their own freedom just as much as they value the freedom of others, there is no other way for it to be “true”, but it is instead a non-entity.

Written by the federation of anarchists in Bulgaria, Федерация на Анархистите в България

Assassinations and Scientific Anarchism by Woo-Jae Kim

Assassinations and Scientific Anarchism / Woo-Jae Kim

The anti-Japanese movement during the Occupation (1909-1945) can be divided into three major currents. The nationalists and the communists have continuously had conflict with each other and are the basis of ideological conflict between the left and the right. Additionally, there were anarchists who often expressed their views in a very romantic sense in various films. People who understand modern Korean history as the struggle between the ideological conflict between the left and right, try to ignore the anarchists as painfully as possible. However, modern Korean history is based on the sacrifice of the anarchists. They have been stigmatized and ostracized as ‘mutineers’ in the south and ‘bourgeois-socialists’ in the north. They are remembered as people who seek to destroy the status quo through terrorism or mutiny. The film <Anarchist> is typical of the warped historical understanding concerning the anarchists.

Barring Christianity, Herbert Spencer’s social evolutionism was the most influential of all western ideas that East Asia first encountered in the nineteenth century. Social evolutionism is a sociological theory which simplifies Darwin’s concept of natural selection of the survival of the fittest; it also simultaneously stretches the concept to justify Western imperialism. To the intelligentsia of the time who were struck in awe of the mighty Western civilization, social evolution was deemed critical for East Asia in order to survive. Ironically, East Asia, while being subordinated by Western Europe, sought out other victims.

Not all members of the East Asian intelligentsia of the time agreed with Spencer. Socialism, which seeped into East Asia together with social evolutionism, became an ideology representing freedom for the proletariat, oppressed by royal authority and authoritarianism. Whereas we understand this ‘socialism’ as Marxism until the 1920s, the socialists of East Asia were divided into two major camps, the socialists and the anarchists. The ‘Red Flag’ incident of the 3.1 Movement, the ‘Civil Rights Equality and Anarchist Movement’ led by Do-won Jang in North Korea in the 1920s, and the incident where Han-Seol Jeong (a silent film narrator) instigated people with anarchist ideas, all signify the underlying influence of anarchism. These incidents were not only limited in Joseon, but also in China through Sun Wen and in Japan through the “Japanese Emperor Assassination Plot”.

The East Asian intelligentsia and activists generally accepted the mutualist theory by Kropotkin, who was a zoologist dubbed as ‘the Prince of Anarchism’, and later on created the concept of “Scientific Anarchism”. Mutualism, at the time, was the only ideology against social evolutionism and is a theory that encompasses not only the society but also the nature. Chae-Ho Shin, who is remembered only as a nationalist, was ‘baptized’ by Kropotkin and reborn as an anarchist. The nationalist historian Chae-Ho Shin developed into an internationalist who corresponded with Japanese intellectuals after the encounter with Kropotkin. The most famous anarchists of Korean independence activists who made up more than half of the Anti-Japanese movement during the Occupation, such as Chae-Ho Shin, Hoe-Young Lee, Won-Bong Kim, Rim Yu, and Ja-Myeong Yu, were heavily influenced by the theory of scientific anarchism. In a society where Confucianism and western ideology were heavily interconnected, they embraced anarchism based on their Confucian sophistication, thus showing that the ideals of scientific anarchism were not too deviated from those of Confucianism.

Perhaps anarchism will still be associated with assassinations; however, the development of grassroots democracy, civil rights movements, and direct democracy through the internet owes its existence to anarchism. To quote Kropotkin, it is because “Anarchism is an attempt to apply the synthesis made through natural science with the inductive and the deductive to the assessment of various institutions of men.” Thus, anarchism is beyond mere assassinations.

 

Woo-Jae Kim, Drosophila geneticist.

Translated by David Heo
This text was originally published on 08/03/2015 in the column section of a daily newspaper called 한겨레  or Hangyorae. Original URL: http:// http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/opinion/column/702909.html

 

El Sol Acrata, Chile: COMMUNITIES FIGHTING AGAINST THE RESERVOIR OF RELAVES TALABRE

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SOME OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF MINING AND EXTRACTIVISM

We share this article, originally published in El Sol Ácrata N°31 (Abril, 2016), where we reflect on the geopolitical key in regards to the problematic Proyecto RT-Sulfuros, which implicates, among many nefarious activities: the enlargement of the Tranque de Relaves in the Salar de Talabre and the installation of new processing plants and associated infrastructure. Additionally, the project involves many mining initiatives that want to sack natural resources and exacerbate the dispossession of the communities in the desert of Atacama, in the north of the Chilean region. We must fight for the sake of the world against these mining initiatives!

For a couple of months the communities of Chiu Chiu and Calama have been fighting against the approval of the RT Sulfuros project, as the program enables the expansion of the Tranque de Relaves located in Talabre by turning it into in  large industrial landfill for mining. The project, dependent on Codelco, seeks to expand the operating capacity of the reservoir, despite the nefarious ecological and social consequences that it generates to the local communities.

The most immediate consequence of this project is the irreversible damage done to the aquifers of the river Lola, as they have been affected by the filtration of polluted elements through the underground aquifers, caused by the lack of impermeability of the reservoirs. This situation largely impacts the Chiuchiu community because agriculture is one of the main activities of the subsistence of their population. This could even cause a fragmentation of social relations amongst the members of this community, as the program makes it impossible for them to continue ancestral traditions of cultivating the land. Thus, the project imposes upon the community a different style of life based on the mining model – extractivism and a sacker of natural resources, protecting the myth of abundance and supposed necessity of “development and progress” for the population.

We know for a fact that these debates are equally just as useless as the “environmental studies” that represent mining companies, whose donations, “mitigation” methods, promises of “entrepreneurial responsibility” and “technological innovation” are just a smokescreen to reduce their taxes and avoid responsibility for their role in the ecological devastation that is affecting a large part of the desert of Atacama.

Unfortunately, the enlargement of the reservoir is not the only plan that the RT Sulfuros project has envisioned: The program is also looking to extend its scheme onto six other communes of the region (Calama, Sierra Gorda, Antofagasta, Mejillones, Tocopilla y María Elena). Additionally, RT Sulfuros is also contemplating the installation of a desalination plant (14kms from the south of Tocopilla). It also wants to build 160 kms of subterranean tubes (under the river Loa), powerlines, a concentrator plant and find new ways of plundering; all of which would have their exportation point in the already critical port complex of Mejillones. All of this with the intention of exploiting 354.000 tonnes of copper and 7.000 tonnes of molybdenum annually, as declared by Codelco.

In the same way, this project represents one of the multiple plans of destruction of the territory by transnational firms. These companies finance the mining programs in total complicity of the Chilean government and the rest of the South-American states, who do nothing more than put a price on our natural resources and favour their exploitation by facilitating the quick circulation of merchandise on an international scale through oceanic corridors, long roads, power stations and other large scale projects. These programs are approved through deals like the I.I.R.S.A (Integration of infrastructure in regional South-America), a pact signed by UNASUR (South-American United Nations) in May of 2008. It should be noted that groups and projects like RT Sulfuros, the enlargement of the port of Mejillones and the internationalization of the airport in Antofagasta not only entail environmental damage in the desert of Atacama but also in Argentina, the Paraguayan territory and the south of Brazil.

As a result of all of these events we support the necessity to fight for the defence and autonomy of these territories, rejecting those who try to change these movements into political agendas or negotiate our future behind the backs of the communities. Other than worsening this problematic matter from a geopolitical perspective, as pointed out by colleagues of “El Kintral”, a reflection that goes further than “environmentalism of each square feet of land” needs to be implemented in order to build and strengthen new community relations between us and nature. This is what our territory and the health of our communities depends on rather than the judicialization of politics.

Fight for our world!

Against capitalism and mining!

Artticle taken from Chilean anarchist newspaper El Sol Acrata (https://periodicoelsolacrata.wordpress.com/ultima-edicion/)

Article translated by Pietro Casati

Venezuela, Interview from France to the editor of El Libertario

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Interview from France to the editor of El Libertario

Ballast Magazine (http://www.revue-ballast.fr/)

-You published a book about the history of anarchism in Venezuela. Let’s discuss the 20th century in particular. What role did the anarchist movement develop during the period of the Punto Fijo Pact and the “Caracazo” of 1989?

The presence of anarchist groups during the democratic period prior to the Chavist reign can be divided in two parts: one that goes from 1958 to 1970, where the Spanish exiled presence is a notable characteristic until the dismantling of the experience in the Central University of Venezuela, and another part which began from that event and lasted until the early decade of 1990.

Before that, a connection existed between some militants from Accion Democratica and Spanish exiles of the CNT. Bernardo Perez Salinas, Jose Gonzalez Navarro, Augusto Malave Villalba, Salom Mesa Espinoza and Francisco Olivo were some “adeco” figures that helped many exiled Spanish Anarcho-syndicalists during 1945 by facilitating their entrance into the country and helping them obtain employment, along with supporting them financially. As opposed to PCV, URD or COPEI, during their beginnings AD was an incredibly agrarian and anti-imperialist party that had access to logistic support from Spanish refugees.

With the emergence of factors like the decay of the previous social-democracy, the defeat of the armed forces that pushed for a left-wing Marxist regime in the decade of the 1960s and the continual institutional deterioration, there was a modest resurgence and apparition of anarchist groups that rejected the social-democratic status quo (during the end of the 70s and 80s).

The “Caracazo” (27/2/1989) was a populist event that had certain anarchist traits (looting, attack on private property and houses of political leaders, confrontations with the army), but it was not orchestrated by anarchists because they didn’t have any relevant leadership or organization. We can find similarities of this social explosion with the subsistence riots through the fifteenth and nineteenth century in Europe.

What does need to be rescued from our anarchist history is that the Caracazo affair kick-started a resurgence of anarchist presences in different unions, neighbourhoods and amongst the peasant community through organized events, such as the strike of HRH. Other ways in which these anarchists fuelled their revival in Venezuela was through their presence in the neighbourhood assemblies, mobilizations against the economic system, protests against the celebration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of the Americas and the solidarity with the peasants in the area of Los Cañizos-Palo Quemado (in the state of Yaracuy).

If you happened to be more interested in this particular anarchist timeline I would recommend to you the book Contracorriente: La historia del movimiento anarquista (1811-1998), which will be released this year through La Malatesta Editores in Madrid. The anarchist presence during this aforementioned period is exposed chronologically and is very well documented.

-What relationship did your newspaper have with the first attempted coup d’État of Chávez in 1992 (support or condemnation)? And with the movement of the fifth republic? were any compromises drawn with “chavismo” before the arrival of power in 1998?

El Libertario didn’t exist – as a publication or collective –during 1992. It started publication in 1995. However, a clear and well-reasoned opinion of the rejection of the military coup of 1992 was expressed in Correo A, an anarchist column published in Caracas (see http://correoa.blogspot.com). Other than that, any association with the military group that planned the coup was avoided because it was inspired by completely different ideals towards the intended form of social liberalism.

The Movimiento V República (MVR) was founded after Chávez’s prison departure in 1997. Due to the movement’s vile characteristics (pro-militarism, affinity with more authoritarian expressions, opportunism and alliances with transnationals, shameful subversive speeches centred on prejudice), we looked for no relationship whatsoever with such group. In fact, that party generated fear among us in regards to what their eventual ascent to power would mean for Venezuela. This daunting prospect was unfortunately proven to be true during the start of Chávez’s first presidency reign in 1999. In our website www.nodo50.org/ellibertario you can consult the editions of El Libertario that covered those years more in-depth.

Additionally, a part of our collective in El Libertario presents a testimony that amplifies and highlights this answer towards Chávez:

«In my own case I was one of the hundred founders of the movement Quinta República, as evidenced by all the constitutional documents from that political organization. I was a witness to the foundation of that party and I perceived clearly that it was based on a militarist and Stalinist organization. The leader Hugo Chávez decides everything about the party, such as the financers of his electoral campaign.

It was a heterogeneous movement because frustrated left-wing members coming from a previous military, political and social defeat were participating. After the frustration of the armed conflict Chávez gave the left-wing an opportunity of a quota of power and that was very attractive for those in several Marxist groups: the Communist Party, The Socialist League, sectors of the Red Flag and Tercer Camino-Ruptura, the MAS, the MEP and all kinds of left-wing political spectres. Similarly, there were also neo-fascist militants that had participated in the repression of the 27th of February of 1987 with their own reactionary formation of administrators of violence of the state in Venezuela.

Chávez was so militaristic that his option of the coup d’état had no presence in the means of communication of the masses or in the civil participation of its planning, as the plan was only organized by the officials of the Armed Forces. Therefore, a military lodge wanted to take power in Venezuela without requiring society. »

-You are very critical in regards to the “Boliviaran revolution”. Why don’t they deserve that name? What balance do you believe is there to be made from “transition until socialism” through the state’s power?

Firstly, the own adjective of “bolivariano” only serves to cover up, with fascist terminology, the invocation of the liberator Simón Bolívar in order to give him certain military legitimacy and identity, associating it with processes like the secession of the fallen Spanish empire at the start of the 19th century.

There was no such thing as a “Boliviaran revolution” because in Venezuela there has been no type of social, economic, cultural or political transformation. It’s basically a continuation of the bourgeois democracy system that was installed during 1958 with the military. Their politics are essentially based on Clientelism with irrelevant reforms. Additionally, it is an authoritarian experience with overtones of a major political presence in national life. Never before, not even in the military administrations of Juan Vicente Gómez and Pérez Jiménez, had such a wide space of society been occupied by the state apparatus. With Chávez the armed forces were allowed to control finances, food, construction, military purchases, and even criminal businesses centered around the contraband of gasoline and drugs.

As there was no revolution there was simply no transition towards socialism. It’s a fictional narrative used to sweeten the Venezuelan scheme based around Fidel Castro. Not even the economy is socialist because only 3% of the Gross domestic product belongs to the social sector. Similarly, not even on the political side have steps been made to create a democracy based on participation but the exact opposite, as every time there is a bigger concentration of power in the hands of the armed forces and the deceased leader. No power of the state is socialist because it is an apparatus aiming for domination of society.

So much more must be expressed in a critical tone towards the so-called “Bolivariana revolution”. This isn’t possible for all of the interview, so we recommend the excellent book of Rafael Uzcátegui, colleague of El Libertario, Venezuela, la revolución como espectáculo, edited in Spanish, English and French, which is accessible on the internet.

-You point out that one of the biggest red flags is the absence of environmental policies. what solutions do you suggest to get rid of the petroleum business that nowadays finances important social programs of health and education?

One of the many red flags are precisely the decisions made towards the environment. Multiple violations exist against the environment, as demonstrated by the extraction of coal in the state of Zulia, which is then given to transnationals. Other multiple examples include the platform where gas is extracted, the building of electric cables towards Brazil where no attention was paid to the environment and the constant use of fracking confessed by the monopoly of petroleum. Even the construction of infrastructure is a serious ecological matter because it has no respect for urbanist regulations in the denominated Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela, which is an entirely improvised program where they have built infrastructure in areas of high seismic risk such as Ciudad Caribia next to the freeway of Caracas-La Guaira.

Venezuela can’t continue being an extractivist economy because that paradigm is responsible for the current critical juncture. Several well-known figures like economist Alberto Adriani, intellectual Arturo Uslar Pietri, founder of the OPEP Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso and professor and prolific writer Domingo Alberto Rangel all predicted this. However despite this voiced opposition the administrations of Juan Vicente Gomez (gomecismo), Pérez Jiménez (perezjimenismo) and the representative democracy were never interested in the outcome. There was never any intention to rectify the oil industry, simply because that is the role assigned by global factors of power in Venezuela, such as being providers of fossil energy, which was enforced with obedient enthusiasm by the local political élite.

Contrary to popular belief, the oil industry doesn’t finance social programs, instead it finances health programs, which operate on a much smaller and effective scale that try to make us believe the official propaganda. Missions are mere populist mechanisms to obtain an immediate solution to long-term problems because they don’t attack our hierarchial roots: poverty and lack of social security, which have not been solved by Chavismo or Maduro’s government.

-Nicolás Maduro criticizes the economic situation by blaming it on factors like the united states: the lack of food, the voluntary depreciation of Bolívar and treacherous media campaigns would supposedly form part of the classic strategy of south-american liberals: do you believe this explanation? Would a common ground against the reaction be possible?

It’s a shame that the question is presented in such a tone which seems to assume, or at least give credibility, to the “anti-imperialist” language used by Maduro’s government to excuse the horrendous failure of his economic management, which is a mere continuation of the path drawn by Chávez. Seeing an American conspiracy based on imperialism as a main cause for the critical situation we are living nowadays in Venezuela makes people ignore – and even cover-up- the true people responsible for this situation.

There is simply no such thing as an economic conspiracy against Venezuela perpetuated by the Pentagon, the CIA or Wall Street. The erratic path taken by Chavez’s management and Maduro is solely responsible for the economic and political decay that has occurred here. The lack of food, shortages and hyperinflation (highest in the world) are all a consequence of a truly incapable government. Chávez proposed closing the industrial and agrarian sector to accentuate people’s dependence to the state, and to substitute the absence of national production he employed petrodollars in a massive process of importations. But what ended up happening through this reckless policy was that the price of the oil barrel fell and now there is nothing else to import. This is ironic considering that Venezuela was a country that no long ago exported coffee and other agrarian products like grains.

The national currency has suffered a process of devaluation and such circumstances have generated an inflation of more than 200% in 2015 alone. The real value of the American dollar is somewhere between 200,000 Bs. Foreign exchange doesn’t even exist and an aggressive speculation has been created towards the American currency.

We are also unable to talk about media campaigns because Maduro controls the majority of the press, radio and television. The state doesn’t have many resources but they have somehow figured out how to purchase several forms of communication through bourgeois business groups closely linked to the government, thus closing some in the process like Radio Caracas Televisión. All written resources have also been bought, such as the newspaper Últimas Noticias and very popular papers like Universal, whose clients are mainly middle and upper class citizens. Through illegal methods they have achieved complicity and communicational silence. Other than that, disqualifying all corruption accusations that operate on different levels in our government (such as drug trafficking) with the predictable excuse of “American imperialist campaigns” allows the government to enjoy virtually no voiced criticisms.

-Do you participate in popular neighbourhood’s communes? are there any negative opinions towards them? is it an instrument used so that the population becomes a “political subject” for the local democracy?

Again, this is another question made from a perspective which has certain ingrained propaganda overtones, which are only believable for those unaware of how the reality of life is in neighbourhoods, agrarian communities or Venezuelan indigenous communities. Communes are semi-governmental entities controlled and financed by the executive national power, which is clear and explicitly regulated. The communes have no autonomy and they complete the function of administrating political clients of military regimes.

-Chavism uses a patriotic narrative of the population by taking advantage of the political history of the country (Bolívar, Miranda, Zamora, etc.). what opposing narrative do venezuelan anarchists and libertarian movements use?

Chavism has mixed Juan Vicente González and Eduardo Blanco’s historical period with the Marxist-Stalinist, whose most well-known historians are Carlos Irazábal, Federico Brito Figueroa, J.B. Fuenmayor y J.R. Núñez Tenorio. It’s a unification of the foundations based around the militarization of the nation and the “Discovery of America”, with revolutionary figures like Simón Bolívar. This oligarchy élite was highly racist and subjugated the Spanish into their social hierarchy. It’s their strategy to re-write national history to justify and obtain certain legitimacy.

The Venezuelan population has been formed by authoritarian symbols and its history has been taught form a reactionary perspective that has proposed to create and impose patriotism within the population. The narrative that we, as anarchists, steer towards is more towards a path of liberation, of freeing ourselves from our tragic past and even worse present. This can only be achieved with a high degree of social consciousness that exposes the fact that conservative symbols have sponsored left and right-wing authoritarianism.

-The last electoral results in Argentina and Venezuela indicate a turn towards the right-wing of the continent. how do you predict the future and reconfiguration of the forces from the left in South-America?

Another question which requires clarification, as, for instance, suggesting that in Argentina Scioli represented the “left-wing” and that, due to his defeat, there has been a “turn to the right-wing” is surprising and even grotesque. Equally, if we look closely towards essential economic and social processes, further from the superficial distinction that separated the regimes of the right from those of the left.

The state’s power in South-America has remained the same, regardless of left populist or right-wing regimes. In the decade of the 60s it was the military regimes of the Cold War, in the 70s social-democratic populism emerged, during the 80s it was Neoliberalism, in the 90s the left-wing and now the center right-wing. They are all variants of the same administration of power of the region. Who can still possibly believe in the historical renovation of events like corruption in Brazil through the leadership of Lula Da Silva y Dilma Russef, or the immense appropriation structure of the oil industry by the Venezuelan military? They are the same thing, the only difference is the language they use to justify their actions.

The left-wing of the future must look for the destruction of power instead of managing it because its role has been evident from the beginning. This modification will through an ideological redefinition and a reformulation of objectives for the future of Venezuela.

 

31/January 2016

 

[Note: The French version of the interview will be published in the magazine BALLAST, which will be printed out during the 1rst term of 2016.]

Translated into English by Pietro Casati

El Libertario, Venezuela: Black Chronicles – Juan Pablo Núñez

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Black chronicles

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles the face living in one of the few socialist regimes. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.

In this edition we interview Juan Pablo Núñez, member of the band Doña Maldad, soloist in Cadáveres podrido, activist, colleague of El Libertario and anarcho-punk from the region of Zulia.

-How is it being a young anarchist in Venezuela? Is it challenging?

 I have been fighting for this cause for more than 15 years. I am an adult, but I am still young at heart so I can answer the question: I don’t think that it is different from any other country. The matter which makes the situation complicated is the strong polarization that is dividing people. We must establish opinions that aren’t seen as crazy or even despised. Socialist Venezuela is a huge farce because it is merely the continuation of what the system supposedly criticizes to gain the same power, resources and people’s autonomy.

First Manuel Rosales, then Eveling Trejo to culminate with Francisco Arias Cardenas… haven’t the people from Zulia learnt their lesson?

Neither the people from Zulia or Venezuelans from other states have learnt that regardless of who rules it is only a tool for their own interests. Manuel Rosales was governor and Dimartino was the mayor. When this happened there was a strange competitiveness between both groups of power. Meanwhile Arías Cárdenas is the governor and Trejo is the mayor. In their continuous battle to sink their political adversaries they have left the city destroyed: full of garbage, black water… In essence, their businesses and personal interests rule over the interests of the people.

Arias is a very strategic militant, he wants to transform Zulia into a powerful state, just like his advertisements suggest. His mission is to expand the territory with neoliberal projects of development and other interests from Colombia which include infrastructure, coal mining, ports for exportation, militarization, etc. The consequences of his policies could leave Zulia without any water resources, along with contributing to a high level of deforestation and increase in Colombian contraband. Zulia has become another business for the military.

-How do you see the lack of criticism from NGO’s towards the role of Francisco Arias Cárdenas, knowing that he is destroying the Sierra de Perija?

 Political matters are based on blackmail. Chavism knows a lot about this because I think that it has always been their main pressure tool. I am not surprised that many organizations and NGO’s obtain mutual support from people like Francisco Arias in exchange for turning a blind eye to certain problems. They have already destroyed our lake a long time ago and nothing was done to solve this from any NGO’s.

 The death of Sabino Romero… What is your opinion on his death?

 Sabino Romero was an important figure for his speeches and the actions he undertook to obtain land for ethnic groups like the Yukpas. He was a threat to the government because he was a firm believer in Chávez’s speech. He also altered the power relations between farmers, the military and the government. Sabino was also serving as an inspirational example for other indigenous communities in the country. This is why Sabino was killed by the farmers with the complicity of the government.

-How do you see the issue of the Arco Minero del Orinoco and the current focus on extractivism by the Venezuelan state?

 The Arco mining issue is something very worrying and we have to take action right now. The majority of the Venezuelan terrain in situated in the river Orinoco. They have already installed an oil-bearing station in Faja and they are about to start mining in the south. The mere action of inviting 135 transnational businesses and accepting their partnership is something incredibly nefarious for our territory and our people. We are talking about a mining program that is occurring over important reserves of water, fauna, flora and indigenous communities. The Arco Minero marks the beginning of the end of all of our natural treasures. If this doesn’t stop then death, wars and sickness will soon come. Full destruction. The Venezuelan state is approving the biggest eco-suicide known in our entire history and the Bolivian government is complicit.

-After so many defeats… How do you currently see the resistance of indigenous communities?

 The example and reference that I have are the battles of Zulia. We are currently living the consequences of subsidized activism. Chavism gave and took away the same blackmail that we talked about. The Yukpas, after so much hardship, are now surviving because they have been abandoned to their own luck. The Wayuu of Socuy social movement have managed to start projects that keep indigenous communities optimistic. But I think that the autonomy would be the flag that should be risen and demonstrated through examples to prove that that they don’t need the state to solve their problems. Instead they must build strong alliances with the movements of the city to establish relations where people are involved and feel a sense of belonging.

-You play in music bands like Doña maldad and now started the band Cadáveres podridos… Is it challenging to produce independent music in Venezuela?

 No, I don’t think that it is that hard, especially now when you can record with anything.

-Do you queue to buy regulated food or do you engage in bachaqueo?

 I don’t queue, the feeling of impotence and rage that I feel don’t allow me to do so. I don’t engage in bachaqueo either because it is an extortionist practise. If you thought that only the population could save themselves from this mess take a look at this phenomena and the collective desperate desire for survival. I imagine that you must ask yourself if I buy any contraband. Our alimentation at home has been severely affected by the current situation. We eat lots of fruits and grains from a standard vegetarian diet but now we can’t even pay for grains, fruits or anything for that matter. Everything is too expensive. We should start planting seeds, everyone should do that.

-Have you been a victim of the increasing crime rate? Have they lynched anybody where you live?

 Yes, I have been mugged several times, even by pointing a gun at my face. I am aware of thieves being killed by the police on a regular basis.

-How is electricity rationing where you live?

 Two daily hours, sometimes this timetable is maintained and sometimes it’s not. In fact whilst I am writing this right now I know that the light will go off soon.

-How have people reacted to the price increase of public transport?

 There have already been protests across the universities. People seem visibly miserable. I tend to use my bicycle, it’s the best option.

 -Do you have any problems with your internet?

 It is very slow. I don’t have any Internet connection at home because it broke and nobody has fixed it yet.

-Do you think people are starting to get fed up not only with the government but also with the opposition? Where are we heading towards?

 I hope that we are heading for a revolt.

-Have you ever thought of running away, crossing the border? Or do you have to stay to build and fight?

 Yes, I have thought about leaving on numerous occasions, but I want the current government to leave even more. All of them. In these moments we have to fight because the plans of the government are nefarious for all Venezuelans.

-Did you know that we all have to be inscribed to obligatory military service? How do you see the militarization of society?

 Yes… I knew, but I didn’t inscribe myself. The country has ended up like this because we are in the hands of the military. What we have lived and what will soon come isn’t going to be easy, especially with CAMIMPEG, a military-mining corporation.

 What activities are you performing in Zulia? Do anarchist organizations exist?

 There is a little bit of everything in Zulia, the movements I involve myself with are related to the defence of water, against the mining of coal… Here there are a lot of things for everybody, but we must expand our capacity in the city. Cyclers, musicians, poets, everyone in the world should establish objectives and plans of action to save this city from political unconsciousness.

-What should be libertarian attitudes in these moments?

 In this moment we must continue organizing lots of demonstrations to highlight the inefficiency of the state.

Would you like to add anything to end the interview? What would you recommend for fellow anarchists?

Assist popular markets, support fights, demonstrate your discontent and turn off your phones.

Article taken from anarchist Venezuelan newspaper El Libertario (http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com/search/label/Cr%C3%B3nicas%20Negras)

Written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Translated into English by Pietro Casati

El Libertario, Venezuela: Black Chronicles – Esteban Mejiaz

EstebanMejiaz

Black chronicles

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles the face living in one of the few socialist regimes. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.

In this edition we interview Esteban Mejiaz, a French anarcho-punk radicalized in Lara and son of the famous painter Mauro Mejiaz. From the beginning of his arrival in Venezuela he has collaborated with many initiatives like El Libertario.

 -A French anarchist in Venezuela…could you talk to us about your journey and how you ended up here?

I arrived during 2000 when I was 28 years old because I was in charge of bringing my father’s ashes, who was Venezuelan, to his native village in Biscucuy. I fell in love with the country, the warmth of the people, and I took advantage of the change of regime. I have been an anarcho-punk since 1984, I started in 1987 with my brother Macario with a blog (https://angrrylabel.wordpress.com/) and after with a monthly paper of alternative news. I participated in anti-fascist and anti-capitalism fights and in the organization of a lot of anarcho-punk concerts in Paris, Lyon and Geneva. In 1995 I opened a music shop in Lyon, I had a travelling workshop. In 1995 I moved to the Alps and I carried on organizing concerts. It was in the Alps where I began to develop an interest for the countryside, farming and animals. I moved to Venezuela for good in 2003.

-How is the issue of agriculture? Is it easy to obtain seeds? Are people cultivating the fields?

Commercial farming is very expensive now, other than the constant drought, people can only cultivate when they have water and money, so they mainly live from planting and breeding. I also find some seeds across the fields.

-Is there any relationship with other farmers where you live?

Thankfully, there is still mutual support amongst farmers and some of them meet to criticize the government’s plans.

-How do you see the topic of Henry Falcón (governor of Lara) and his presidential aspirations?

He is yet another corrupt figure with the sole ambition of stealing on a national level, just like all other politicians.

-Have they stolen from you?

Not yet, which is strange considering that they have stolen or killed lots of people around me. They tried to steal from me in Caracas but failed because I wasn’t scared and I had a couple of tattoos and piercings.

-Have you suffered any political repression in Venezuela?

In 2000 just 3 days after arriving in Venezuela I was kidnapped and robbed in Guanare by an extermination group, nobody understood why I wasn’t killed. In 2005 I was victim to constant death threats and was then tortured in Biscucu by the regional police. In 2013 I was threatened by some scammers because I had denounced them. My Christian colleague wrote about this incident (http://lalibertaria.acultura.org.ve/blog/2013/05/10/418/) and thanks God for my luck, but I am an atheist and shit on God! Hahah.

-Do you queue or engage in Bachaqueo? Is it easy to cultivate in your area?

I don’t queue or do bachaqueo because they are too far way. I buy what I can and they give me food in exchange for other products, people help me by giving me food. In my area there is too much wind which ruins the seeds, I am going to cultivate wheat because it doesn’t suffer from the wind. We also eat what the mountain provides us with (watercress, wild fruits, I also have chickens and goats).

-Are you experiencing any water problems where you live?

We are one of the few sectors that has access to a lot of water, I live inside the national park of Dinira.

-You are also a father… how is it being a father in socialist Venezuela?

I imagine that it must be the same as being a father under French capitalism, I work hard every day for my daughter just like my parents did.

-How do you see the issue of the Arco Minero in Orinoco and the exploitation of coal in the Sierra de Perijá?

It represents the destruction of the environment and lots of human beings just for a couple of dollars for a select minority of elites, it is disgraceful, history repeats itself, listen to the song from Subhumans “the same old story”.

-I know that you are a huge defender of indigenous communities… Could you explain to us how you started this connection and how you see the resistance amongst indigenous communities in Venezuela?

I am half indigenous by blood, my father was Chaman and I heal people through my genetic indigenous connection. I got into contact with them due to the issue of coal exploitation in Sierra de Perija, their resistance is old and strong and will never end as long as some of them remain.

You are a great promoter of alternative means of communication against the government blackout… Is it time to create our own means of communication?

Yes, I’ve been fighting for this cause since 2007 in Venezuela, but we were denied this by the Chavistas. This is why I am still so grateful that newspapers like El Libertario are still running, I hope that 2016 is a moment to organize ourselves with all the country. No more apathy!

-Do you have problems with access to the Internet?

It is very slow and in the Andes region it is very expensive and the connection is very weak. I am waiting for them to install WIFI through the antenna that I have on my roof.

-Why are you staying in Venezuela, why not just move to France again and live their anarchist scene?

South America is a paradise, I don’t fear challenges: I will resist without giving up, I will never go back because I never felt like I belonged in France or Europe anyways. I always say that “I will lower my hands only to cultivate the earth”. My home is the planet and I feel at home in this piece of land regardless of what happens.


-How do you see the situation in Venezuela? What should be anarchist attitudes? Who do we collaborate and who are we against?

The situation is complicated and interesting, the crisis has completely altered people’s lifestyles and they have to react to survive, change lots of habits. This is the moment for anarchism, I wish people stopped trusting governments and politicians and begin controlling their own destinies. I never voted in any election, not even in France, each anarchist should know what to do wherever they live. We should be against anybody that threatens our freedom… With the people, against the power!


-Wild and free until the end? …should that be our motto? 

Yes, I always say: the fight is like life, it only ends when death catches on to us. The motto I share with my brother is: Do what you want by whatever means necessary!

Text taken from Venezuelan anarchist newspaper “El Libertario” (http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com/search/label/Cr%C3%B3nicas%20Negras)
Originally written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca
Translated into English by Pietro Casati

El Libertario,Venezuela: Black Chronicles -Carlos Equiz

carlosequiz

Black chronicles

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles the face living in one of the few socialist regimes. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.

In this edition we interview Carlos Equiz, anarchist, cyberpunk and programmer.

How is it being a cyberpunk anarchist in such a socialist country as Venezuela? How is your everyday life?

It’s a constant battle, especially of ideas. In this current version of Venezuela where the masters present themselves on TV with rifles, the best weapon to fight is knowledge to sharpen our intelligence.

It is a well-known fact that Venezuela is one of the countries with the slowest Internet in South-America, how do you deal with that?

If there is one thing in particular which has strengthened my patience, it is the speed of my Internet, of 1 mb maximum. Add to this service interferences and you will get an idea of how much of a challenge it is to download and upload any content.

The government has invested money and publicity in promoting free software systems… What are your thoughts on that?

I am a free software user in my daily life, I recognize that there is a free software community dedicated to the development and promotion of that type of culture, but their ideological compromise with power completely steers away from my principles.

Indeed, the majority of the software used in Venezuela is free or has been liberated. In any place you can obtain a pirated Windows copy and that software is widely used in big businesses, banks, government entities and even in our own homes.

 You are from the east of Venezuela, how are things there? Do you suffer there from the typical Venezuelan situations of “scarcity-insecurity-militarisation”?

We’ve suffered the same fate as everyone else, scarcity is acute, queues for food are very long and the repression and abuse from the military is also becoming present. Reality slaps us in the face when we see uniformed men in supermarkets with their merchandise, demonstrating that you have become a second class citizen.

Do Internet networks contain certain anarchist traits and practises? Without hierarchies?

Currently the most used Internet networks are capitalistic, so people do what CEO’s tell them to do.
Do you engage in “Bachaqueo” online? What are your thoughts on whatsapp networks used to inform people where regulated products are located?

I don’t do bachaqueo. I am currently unaware about these whatsapp networks.

 Scarcity has generated new apps that inform their subscribers where to obtain certain products. What is your opinion on this?

From an optimistic perspective, I think that the constant need to innovate through apps that informs people of the availability of a product can be of great help for people living in isolated zones away from the city. However the real problem here is scarcity itself.

What are your thoughts on groups like Anonymous Venezuela?

From what I know they are an organization that supports ethical hacking, but I have never contacted them.

A question that has never been formulated to an anarchist is: What is
your opinion of social networks? Facebook, twitter, Instagram? Where is the limit between spectacle and propaganda?

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram obey economic interests, it is a little hard to put into context the amount of information they control, and what they do with it. Basically, every piece of information that users give to these networks grants them the power to submit us all to close inspection to present content that, in their own words, “interests us more”, so you must always question everything you see in these networks.

In Venezuela many people have been arrested for tweeting against the government in social networks. What are your thoughts on this situation?

I extend my solidarity to them if we don’t share the collective ideology, I think people are experiencing a very delicate situation, as evidenced by the cruelty of the totalitarian state. I don’t know all the cases and I dread to think that by simply writing a tweet the government can destroy your house, accuse you of being a terrorist and destroy your life by sending you to jail.

Venezuela is living in a strange situation… ex-anarchists being deputies or culture ministers… How do you see this?

There is no such thing as an ex-anarchist because they never were one in the first place. Pizarro and Ñañez represent everything that I don’t want to become when I grow up.
 

What should our attitudes be towards the crisis that Venezuela is facing?

They have taken away lots of things and imposed others. It’s time we end this passivity and submission.

Thanks for the interview. Any last words you want to say?

I am very grateful for this interview, it has been really fun to answer your questions, you are more than welcome to come and appreciate our beaches and contaminated sunsets.

 

 

Text taken from Venezuelan anarchist newspaper “El Libertario” (http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com/2016/05/cronicas-negras-entrevista-salvador.html)
Originally written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca
Translated by Pietro Casati