Black Chronicles: “We are in the best historical context for expanding anarchist ideas”

Conversation with Maroc Díaz

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.
In this edition we interview Maroc Díaz, literary colleague and teacher, who will be discussing libertarian education in Venezuela.

So you’re a professor and an anarchist?

I think that people like me use education as a link to expand libertarian ideas in order to raise awareness for students, taking into account that education is universal and doesn’t belong to any State. With regards to being an anarchist teacher, I don’t consider myself an anarchist per se. I consider myself more of a free thinker that sympathises with libertarian ideas because they are the only viable path capable of bringing about emancipation and total autonomy for human beings.

Are you encouraging disobedience through your lessons?

Absolutely, there will never be freedom without disobedience! Disobedience especially against all the regulations imposed by any system through education. Some of us educators try to teach through libertarian ideas.

How is the education system in Venezuela?

It is the same as any other type of government that manipulates for its own conveniences, it should be called indoctrination rather than education. Education as a whole is a synonym of emancipation. Now if you asked me about the salary or guidelines taken from the government program, everything taken by the government in any part of the world would be the same. Aspects like decadence, especially in Venezuela, political salaries and the shamelessness of educative reforms, such as imposing obligatory books for studies, are considered more important than any attempt to reform educational welfare.

Is it viable to reactivate libertarian education proposals?

Activate and reactivate until the end of time!

How can we develop a pedagogy that isn’t dogmatic?

By teaching people to think for theirselves without imposing libertarian ideas as alternatives. All teaching must be done through historical facts in order for people to come to their own conclusions. Many times people know the problem, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to solve it due to fear, apathy or pleasure.

Are you into Rock music? How is the Rock scene in Venezuela?

I like Rock, Metal, Punk, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Electronic, Caribbean, Afrocaribbean, Ska, Merengue jajaja I don’t have any band in particular that I identify myself with. I’m not familiar with the Rock scene in Venezuela, I think that younger people are trying to keep it active.

Do you buy regulated products or engage in bachaqueo ?

I buy regulated products and also deal with bachaqueo. When you have daughters, these are your only options, even though I’m always looking for alternatives.

Have you ever been robbed?

Fortunately I have never been robbed.

How do you encourage young people to study when being a delinquent is more profitable?

This is one of the hardest challenges for educators in Venezuela. The first thing I do is organize them into cultural, sporting and musical activities to demonstrate that creativity is always healthier and more rewarding.

How do you view the ticket price increase of public transport?

In this country there is no control over prices. The cost of eating increases and drivers also need to eat, so they raise the prices.

How is the issue of basic services in your home?

We have power cuts up to 2 times each day and water shortages every 15 days approximately.

Do you have light and electricity?

Yes, even though the service fails regularly.

How do you view the political and economic prospects in Venezuela?

Venezuela has always been politically and economically unstable since its “Democratic” beginnings in 1958. It continues to be more of the same thing: corruption, demagogy, media manipulation, numbness of the minds and all the other things that politicians always do, which is to screw us with their “government” game and create a moral crisis in society. This doesn’t mean that we have to put someone else in charge and look for possible solutions to the problem: they are the problem.

Where exactly are we heading towards?

If there are no more social outbreaks during the remaining time of 2016 then it is because we are clearly in a dictatorship. It is a political contradiction that in a “democratic” country facing such political, economic and moral hardship like Venezuela nothing is happening.

How do you view the anarchist movement in Venezuela?

From what I have expanded in my field, most of my colleagues are making a huge effort to maintain workshops, assemblies, self-sufficiency ideas and more libertarian activities. My colleagues in the state of Zulia, “La Hormiga” in the state of Miranda and your newspaper El Libertario in the capital of Caracas are shining examples of many organized colleagues and individuals that are expanding the anarchist movement in Venezuela.

What do you want to say to all your anarchist readers?

We are living under the best historical context for the expansion of anarchist ideas. We are living in a time where self-sufficiency workshops and libertarian assemblies could be strong alternatives against the social desperation of this militarist, corrupt government derived from Nicolas Maduro. It is urgent for all individuals and organizations to unite theirselves around ideas. Anarchist practises are necessary to change this decadent social world into a better place.

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Black Chronicles: “In Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of be-coming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe”

girl

Conversation with Sol Terán

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.

In this edition we interview Sol Terán, our libertarian colleague who belongs to the group of Vene-zuelans that have had to immigrate to other countries. She is the editor of feminist magazine Döder-line and member of the band BETOE.

To start this conversation can you tell me a little more about your magazine Döderline and where this name comes from?

The Döderlein Zine is an anarchist magazine elaborated manually that deals with several issues like feminism, sexual liberation, politics and punk. We gave the magazine this name because the bacillus bacteria in charge of protecting the vagina from infections and diseases is named after it. It is some-what of a tribute towards these microorganisms hat support us in the protection against external agents that want to hurt us jejeje

How did you manage to run the magazine in Venezuela with the high cost of printing and pa-per shortage?

During the days when the first number was released we didn’t really notice the paper shortage, alt-hough copies were very expensive. What we did was only print when somebody solicited the maga-zine, along with always asking for collaborations in order to get photocopies.

Venezuela is renowned for its beautiful women. Do you think that this fact is stereotyped ac-cording to those interested in managing capital?

Of course! Publicity is completely exploited, in Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of becoming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe. From a young age they are educated into a certain lifestyle, specific ways of eating, how to dress and act. The only beneficiary of this upbringing is capitalism.

Is there any way of being an anarchist and feminist whilst maintaining the gentleness and sweetness of women?

I think that ideals don’t define your character and gentleness and sweetness aren’t conditioned by gender.

The presence of women inside initiatives and libertarian activities in Venezuela is scarce…What causes this “masculine” majority in Venezuelan anarchism?

I think that libertarian ideals are stereotyped, I have known many libertarian and anarchist women in Venezuela that embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle off the grid, working with the community and do-ing things for themselves without the necessity of using any labels. On a conceptual level they don’t know that this lifestyle entails a label, for instance in the case of women that live in the countryside and indigenous women.

How was it living in a country where you must queue for hours to obtain menstrual pads or where obtaining contraceptive pills is a nightmare?

It was sad to see how conditioned Venezuelan women are thanks to the oil income, which has given the country industrialized products without providing the opportunity for any choice and in a certain way this is a favourable advantage. Through publicity capitalism creates the illusion of the necessity of a certain product and when this product is scarce, people start looking for other options. Menstru-al pads, tampons and contraceptive pills are not a good choice, there are thousands of natural alter-natives that are less harmful for organisms and the planet. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to start this magazine was to spread these natural resources for everyone.

In Venezuela maternity is seen as an obligation and not a choice…What are your thoughts on this? Are you in favour of abortion?

This happens due to the values indoctrinated into girls when they are little, as they are taught that their only goal in life, growing up, is having children and spending the rest of their lives being mothers and looking after the house and taking care of the family. This is like a form of control caused by our overwhelmingly sexist culture. In Venezuela there are still many families that think this way and don’t propose female empowerment. I am in favour of abortion because I think that as owners of our bodies we have the right and freedom to do whatever we want, and I also think that sex should stop being a taboo in the sexual education of children.

In Venezuela no crime statistics exist, do you think that this is due to the complicity of the State?

Silence is complicity. Venezuela has a criminal government, it doesn’t take any measures against the basic necessities of people, like human rights, in a criminal state. In Venezuela the majority of crimes receive impunity because the government allows criminal gangs to acquire power by giving them weapons and protection.

In Venezuela the number of crimes committed against women has increased…are we the new city of Juárez in South America?

No, crimes against women haven’t necessarily increased, it’s just that now women have decided to report more because they now know that it’s a crime that is wrong. Abuse towards women has al-ways existed, but there was always a lot of silence due to fear of retaliation.

You are from the Andes (Andina) but you have also lived in Puerto Ordaz and Caracas. How was it living in those places?

Caracas being the capital was full of people, lots of chaos in the street, lots of traffic, it was really hard for me to adapt to that city and I was very stressed. Afterwards I lived in Maturín, an eastern city of the country that was very hot, boring and quite sexist. Going out in the streets entailed listen-ing to a variety of barbarities. Finally, I returned to San Cristóbal, which I think is the only city of Venezuela where you can live calmly, people are very shy and respectful, even though this has also changed throughout these last years.

Why did you emigrate? What pushes Venezuelan anarchists to leave their country and go to other places?

To learn new ways of living and doing things for my personal growth. In the tour that we did with our band B.E.T.O.E last winter we had the chance of sharing our experiences with many anarchists from many different places that did incredible things. This opened our eyes a little more in regards to different ways of living and doing things.

What recommendations and suggestions can you give to those who decide to stay?

Fighting for what you believe in is always comforting, it gives us all motive to keep moving for-ward.

To end…would you like to say something to your followers?

A big hug to everyone that fights every day to make this world a more just and egalitarian place! If you want copies of döderlein zine send an email to doderlein.diystro@gmail.com and we will send you copies. Thank you for the support and long live anarchism!

 

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Mexico: Solidarity with the struggle of the teachers and popular uprisings

México  Solidaridad con la lucha de los maestros y la insurrección popular

Mexican Anarchist Federation

On the 19th of June, the Mexican Federal police fired with real bullets against demonstrators that were blocking the road close to the village of Nochixtlán in the State of Oaxaca. This violent state repression has left many injured and a dozen deadly fatalities.

This rally was organized by the National Coordinator of Workers of Education (CNTE), along with several students and parents, many of them belonging to indigenous communities. For several months, especially in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Michoacán, the movement against the “Education Reform” intended to be imposed by the Government has suffered harsh attacks through violent means like tear gas and rubber bullets: teachers are also constantly threatened, fired or imprisoned. Thus, roadblocks were undertaken during the beginning of June after the arrest of several leaders of the CNTE from the area of Oaxaca.

A huge media war  has been waged against these ‘rebels’ by labelling them as “terrorists”, “opposed to progress”. Such “progress” from the “Education and Quality” consists in transforming education into a commodity by delivering it to the private sector so that it benefits the most privileged economic sectors of the population. As the banner exposes “The education reform not only affects teachers but also society as a whole”. Many families, especially indigenous communities, support teachers and have attended these manifestations.

Already in June 2006, teachers had taken control of the center of Oaxaca, before being brutally evicted. The population –fathers, students, indigenous villages- joined them and organized the resistance and autonomy of the city: it was only in November when the “Commune of Oaxaca” was defeated by military and police repression through extreme violence.

Our comrades of the Mexican Anarchist Federation are fully involved in this fight and have been informing us on the situation. In response to the National Indigenous Notice (CNI) and the zapatistas of EZLN directed on the 20th of June “to the village of Mexico and the entire world”, the Anarchist Federation declared its complete solidarity with the teachers in their struggle and popular uprisings. It demands the immediate end to this repression and the release of all its prisoners.

What is being established by the Mexican State is an authentic “state of siege”, not a common “state of emergency” that allows other countries like France to restrict more liberties in order to try and impose a “Labour law”. In a period where some preach resignation and submission and others advocate for a nationalistic direction through the illusion of elections, the Anarchist Federation reaffirms itself more than ever as an internationalist practice founded on concrete solidarity with those who don’t succumb against the State for the service of capitalism.

This is how it is remembered by the CNI and EZLN: “A storm, along with chaos, also fertilizes the earth where a new world is always born”.

[Translated from http://federacionanarquistademexico.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=73:solidaridad-con-la-lucha-de-los-maestros-y-la-insurreccion-popular&catid=35&Itemid=160.]

Translated by Pietro Casati

Stories of Libertarian education

imp_uenne22_WEB  4 .pdf

Circle in the woods – Italy

Silvia Antonelli

Whilst Trieste votes and tries to imagine itself after the elections, I decide to find and give voices to that desired reality, sometimes small, sometimes big, that has been largely disseminated through the territory and which is based upon modalities of self-sufficiency and shared experiences. In reality I don’t even travel that far: I arrive in Longera, a small village outside of the city.

I find the community of Casalonjer. Here I am welcomed into their garden; and sitting down they tell me about their experience. Together, harmoniously, their words design the idea of a future they have in mind; an ideal future that remains well planted into the reality of their daily lives. It is Anna who speaks first and explains how the group, which now has six people, has changed over the years: “The group has changed throughout the course of time depending on the people that come and stay with us. We define ourselves as an intentional community, to distinguish ourselves, for instance, from student groups that live together. What characterizes us is the presence of specific projects and methodologies that help everyone stay together. In each community it is understood that the crucial bond is developed through relationships. How can we communicate properly? This is a question that risks undermining not only the communities but also all social places where people live together.

The community , other than examining practical and efficient relationships based on sharing, develops and works towards the realization of numerous projects. Their name choice suggests immediately the intentions and the vision that nourish their community: “Our name unites two different languages for several reasons, as the community of Longera is bilingual and also because we have many diverse cultures. The house and family are concepts that we feel the most connected with. Ours is more inclusive compared to the traditional mononuclear family. Our house is a roof under which anybody can gather.”

Other than activities entirely based on of communal living and sharing of knowledge, from 2012 Casalonjer has started the project Circle in the woods, a pioneering activity in Trieste. “A group of us began a couple of years ago a pathway involving children and parents in order to develop and expand libertarian pedagogy. We then reunited to start this project and the first question that we asked ourselves was how were our own experiences in state schools. Through this brainstorming session all of us relived memories and traumas. From these entirely negative school memories we identified a series of common situations and scenarios that we didn’t want our children to ever experience. Arguing over what we didn’t want our children to encounter in state schools, we made a list of the things that we intended to propose in order to develop a libertarian education.”

The improvements and alternatives towards the harmful aspects of the traditional school system has been developed throughout time and has been enriched by the contribution of everyone from our community. In fact, multiple perspectives have structured a critical, precise and reasoned evaluation. This allowed them to shape and plan the specific traits of their project. “The term “public school” should be abolished because, in fact, public schools don’t exist. What exists, instead, are state schools that, as such, constantly pursue their own goals: growing a compliant personality. When children starts school (when they are six years old) in a short amount of time their enthusiasm and joy in regards to the exploration of knowledge is turned off instead of being reactivated. Everything belonging to children’s natural curiosity eventually becomes extinct, hence why learning new things is seen by children as a tedious imposition in state schools.

The essential task of state schools doesn’t aim towards expanding the knowledge of students. Its only goal is to specialize competences in order so that these children can become useful for the capitalist system. This is why children are trained from such a young age to have precise rhythms and timetables in state schools. Someone constantly tells them what to do and what not to do. These are a series of mechanisms and regulations that don’t belong to children and aren’t healthy for their development.

These dynamics emerge already from nurseries and kindergartens through an entire series of intermissions that constitute the natural evolution of the child’s processes and these structures are approved and inserted inside a pre-established scheme. This is also seen through an organizational perspective: when an adult is responsible for only 25 children it is inevitable that assembly line situations will be created. The atmosphere in which we move is legalistic due to our constitution, as within it lies the right of education for children and the obligation of the parents to guarantee this. Therefore, there is no obligation to attend a state school. There is, however, an obligation from the parents or the educative figure to guarantee that the child can learn. The reality that we live in has distorted this principle: the obligations of the adults are now transformed into their rights of delegating their own children to somebody else far away from home for a lot of hours, and the right of the children to grow from their own knowledge freely, following their own predispositions, becomes another obligation: you have to go to school, you have to do homework and then, in the end, you will also be judged on whether you have behaved well or not.”

The first steps in Circle in the woods have been started through this critical analysis. Initially the project, which originated from the exigency to provide children an alternative education route than that found in most state schools, is structured thanks to the commitment of the parents. The Kindergarten is initially itinerant: in summer the children are in parks and in winter the parents provide their own houses.

“From this situation an idea in regards to space was born that we decided to bring and which references the Nordic model of Kindergarten in the woods: the children live and study outside, even in winter; even when it rains. We provide them with instruments to face the diverse climatic conditions – we also have a closed heated place – and nature becomes the teacher. They play and learn through nature, using also several materials for artistic activities. It is a project that functions thanks to the collaboration of families, friends and supporters. All roles are fundamentally different but they work in conjunction harmoniously.”

Currently there are seven children, divided into two age groups. In a couple of years they will enter school age and then, the parents and people from Circle in the Woods, want them to be ready for libertarian school.

This is a structure where adults, children and teenagers collaborate on the same path of exploring of the world and increasing the knowledge of each individual in perfect harmony with the group. The center of the learning process is found through the child, his aptitudes, talents and curiosities. It is a school capable of “growing responsible adults” because this factor can emphasize the focus of the individual. Due to this the decisions from the Circle in the woods are always taken trough assembly dynamics where adults and children discuss together as equals all the difficulties and possibilities that they face. “Adults are an instrument”, specifies Aldo, “useful when children want to expand their curiosity and knowledge on certain topics. The adult is well regarded in this society and is capable of satisfying the requirements and demands of children by creating specific channels.”

They recount the continuous and constructive comparisons with other experiences of libertarian education present in Italy. They explain how spontaneous learning enriches global knowledge, which doesn’t stop in some predetermined notions and instead embraces multiple experiences and contexts. The preparations behind libertarian schools are many and the goal is big: dissolve traditional education schemes that guide the individual, from a young age, to follow strict oppressive paths that go against the attitudes of children. Hence, the process of learning can return to its original intended goal and become a joyous experience that takes into account the different talents and personalities of each subject.

Umanita Nova

Cerchio nel bosco

Translated by Pietro Casati

 

“Betray your motherland, be anti-nationalistic”

50 years ago Carl Johan De Geer created a poster of a burning Swedish flag on which he wrote “the cock”, and the attached message “Soil the flag, refuse all arms”. Now the picture is once again topical, and is being seld as support for the newspaper “Expo” [a far left Swedish newspaper].

Carl Johan De Geer, why do you relaunch the picture?

– I think the thesis “Betray your motherland, be anti-nationalistic”, which I got convicted for in Svea Court of Appeal 1967, is still relevant. In 1967, I showcased the posters at Karlsson’s gallery in Stockholm, but to my great grief the police arrived the next day and confiscated everything.

What were you convicted for?

– I was sentenced to 75 fines for “insulting the state symbol and incitement.” The funny thing is that I just now have begun hearing from people who think I should be put to jail, or be punished once again. But this already happened once, and these people seem to not know Swedish law, which states that you cannot be punished for the same crime twice.

Are you taking a stand against the same nationalism now as you did in 1967?

– No. Today’s nationalism is xenophobic and racist, it wasn’t in the sixties. At that time no xenophobic movement counteracted the refugees and deserters who took refuge in Sweden. But then again, that time was a lot closer to the second world war, and movements of Nazi nature weren’t considered normal at that time; people thought they had seen it for the last time.

– Today both the world and nationalism are different. In Europe, as well as in Sweden, manipulative politicians have given nationalism a terrifying new grasp. Today people flee Syria in masses, and many want to open all borders while others build barbed wire fences. It’s hard to say what should be done about this nationalism and xenophobia that’s now showing it’s face, and therefore it once again feels topical to urge people to soil the flag. Nationalism leads to dictatorship, I believe.

Some try to reclaim the flag as a symbol, what’s your opinion on that?

– For decades now people have said that we have to reclaim the flag from the extreme right. I do not think so. Besides it’s use in sporting events, I think the flag is a destructive symbol which can lead to war and terror. It’s the nationalists that are the terrorists of today.

Should we make an updated flag with an EU-flag?

– No, I do not think so. The EU will dissolve as a result of it’s own inner disharmony. In 30 years it will probably no longer exist. But I do not work as an artist in the sensational way anymore, now I work more with humor. I used to be young and angry, now I am old and mild.

The 11th of October [2015] will everyone who bought a t-shirt gather at Nytorget in Stockholm to take part of a manifestation.

http://www.etc.se/kultur-noje/svik-fosterlandet-var-onationell

…THE GREATEST EVILS: A BIGGER CLUB

By: The campaign against the criminalization of protest and the popular struggle.

http://noalacriminalizacion.blogspot.com/

The criminalization of social protests and popular struggles are a strategy of all the states of the world, applied by governments-of the right and the left,-that involves the modification and the use of laws to detain and condemn social activists to high sentences. These measures are, in their great majority, outside of the law and include indictment, persecution, incarceration, torture, abduction, and the assassination of those whose actions are motivated by a desire for a different kind of life. The state compares these people to delinquents or terrorists.

In Colombia the strategies and measures which criminalize social protest have been the order of the day. It has occurred to the Colombian state that, before the increase of mobilization as well as social and popular protest, motivated by the increasing political, economic, and social inequality, the politicians have in turn looked to create new crimes, increase the penalties of others and generate detailed reforms to the penal code. These are changes that don’t look to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Colombian people but generate the appropriate situations to indict, persecute and incarcerate, all in all, to criminalize.

The strategies and practices they have adopted in the first period and that go to the second of the Santos government, set up the criminalization of protest, and they have used the same excuse as always: increasing citizen insecurity. But in reality we know that, for whatever “good intentions” the politicians have to combat citizen insecurity, developed and fed by the state and the bourgeoisie, what they look for is to generate social immobility and in large part prohibit social and popular protest as an indispensable tool of social transformation.

In the last four years the government of “national unity”, in addition to resorting to its own practices of state terror, have promoted legislative initiatives that in their contents openly lay out the criminalization of social and popular protest, that is to say: the Law of citizen security and reform of the police code.

Law of Citizen Security: “A club to punish those that violate the law”

On the 24th of June 2011 the law of citizen security was approved (1453 of 2011). This law alters more than 100 articles and modifies the penal codes, the penal procedure for infants and adolescents, the rules about expiration of incarceration, it pretends to fight against organized crime and terrorism, increases the effectiveness of penal procedures, the expiration of control, juvenile penal responsibility, and ties in the community in the prevention of crime. In the moment of the bill’s approval the word of the president Juan Manuel Santos were clear and telling: “A club to punish those who violate the law.”

Three years after its approval and implantation, this club has not lacked for poor Colombian people to be used on, on the contrary it has had many. Farmers, indigenous people, workers, and students have suffered the full weight not only of the law’s implementation but also the macabre actions of the state death squads whose actions and violations of human rights are respected and accepted by the law.

The state violence is not just represented in its death squads but also in its laws. The law of citizen security is without a doubt a law made like those of a totalitarian regime and with the constant threat of the penal law restricts and prohibits all mobilization while institutionalizing its criminalization. For better clarity we read article 44 of the law: “He who by illicit means incites, directs, compels or provides the methods to obstruct in a temporary or permanent manner, selectively or generally, the roads or the infrastructure of transportation and in such a way that threatens human life, public health, food security, the environment or the right to work, will be punished with 24 to 48 months in prison, and a fine of 13 to 75 current legal monthly minimum wages and loss of rights and public functions  for the same form of punishment as prison.”

In Colombia it is a known truth that in the territories dominated by the Colombian state the population suffer at first hand the misery, the economic inequality, the repression, the systematic elimination of the poor, and when they break under the unfounded fear of the state and they dare to subvert the established order they are quickly labeled as violent and terrorists. However it is worth the effort to ask ourselves: How come it isn’t violence and terrorism that we reject the opportunities to live more dignified lives? Is it not through violence and terrorism that the rich of the country continue accumulating riches by their action of dispossessing the most poor of their lands? Isn’t the imposition of forms of life that benefit a “powerful few” violence and terrorism? Is it violence and terrorism to protest against the economic, political and social violence generated by the state and the bourgeoise?

The New National Code of Police and Coexistence: “more power to the Police”.

To the Colombian state it was not enough to act like a murderer and be complicit with paramilitaries, the creation of death squads like the ESMAD, nor much less the application of laws that stigmatize, condemn and criminalize social non-conformity. A new gem that the Santos government gives is the new National Code of Police and Coexistence. In effect, on the past 29th of September, the minister of defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, and the director of the national police, General Rodolfo Palomino, went around the ministry of the senate in such a way to ensure the passage of the new National Code of Police and Coexistence, which should replace the one that has existed for 44 years. The actual project has more than 200 articles and pertains to the rules for civilian conduct and behavior. Besides being a genuinely prohibitionist code, it has new high new economic sanctions for those who break the rules from $82,000 to $625,000.

In its presentation minister Pinzón, like president Santos, guaranteed that this project is made in the search for the prevention of crime and the endowment of new tools for conflict resolution to the police. As if the club and the pistol not sufficient already?

Between the many prohibitions contemplated in the new code what stands out are various articles that without a doubt look to generate immobility in the actions of protest:

1 – it prohibits the participation of people younger than 14 years of age in public protests without the accompaniment of their parents. Furthermore, adolescents between 14 and 18 years of age that want to protest can only do so with the written authorization of their parents.

2 – It contemplates the prohibition of doing graffiti in good cultural areas or zones that are not authorized for such artistic and political expressions. The violator of this rule is mandated to clean and leave the surface in the same conditions that it used to be in. Was the crime of the state against graffiti artist Diego Felipe Becerra not enough to send a clear and forceful message to anyone who with art expresses their sentiments of opposition and critique against a system that promotes inequality, injustice and terror?

3 – Every public gathering or parade that threatens or puts at risk coexistence, free movement or the fundamental rights, especially those of the under-aged, will be dissolved by the national police. In this form, this will impede the realization of public gatherings, marches or parades that have not been opportunely announced or when they don’t meet the conditions set by the authorities.

Everything prior is not meant to fill us with fear and make us hope with our hands together than the situation changes. We know that Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the world, with a dominate assassin class which is the enemy of the public; and an extensive absence of social, political and economic rights. A place where social protest is not only a legitimate form of vindication, but a necessary one.

From the Campaign against the criminalization of protest and the popular struggle we make a call to resume direct action as an individual or group initiative, focused to give prompt responses to concrete situations, or for the creation of more favourable conditions, using the means available, that which has been a tool historically of Colombia’s poor to dispute the unfair supposed order of the powerful of the country.

NO TO THE CRIMINALIZATION OF PROTEST AND THE POPULAR STRUGGLE.

Translated by William Ginn