To Joaquín García Chanks and Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda, comrades and co-conspirators.
“… every revolutionary opinion draws its strength from the secret conviction that nothing can be changed.”
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier.
“Alicia: How long does it last, forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes just for a moment.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
The discontent are the new starting point of the impetuous popular protests that run through the geography of the globe. Hong Kong, France, Algeria, Iraq, Haiti, Lebanon, Catalonia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile, are the lavish protagonists of the wave of massive urban revolts that shakes the world.
While it is true that these profuse protests have very particular triggers that explain them (specifically Hong Kong and Catalonia, with their independentist rallies), it would be naive to think that this accumulated rage is disconnected. The increase in the costs of goods and services, coupled with austerity – with its consequent loss of jobs and unequal economic survival as global growth slows down – are the common denominator of most of these mobilizations.
However, it is undeniable that these protests also share another great backdrop that far exceeds the economic analysis and that very conveniently is not addressed in the means of mass domestication and intentionally escapes the analysis of political scientists and apologists of domination: anti-government convulsion, a tiredness against those who govern and, against all political parties, whatever their ideological color.A feature that withholds the absence of leadership and / or leaders and facilitates the ephemeral realization of Anarchy.
Undoubtedly, the specific features of this last antagonistic assembly, a priori excites many comrades and fellow anarchists, who continue to analyze events through the lens of ideology and remain stranded in uneasy nineteenth-century paradigms. Nothing more lethal to ideologies than reality itself.
Obviously, that old model of anarchist society that was shaped around a framework of values, a prototype of society, a project of change and a corresponding practice, can no longer be replicated in our day.
As comrade Alfredo Bonanno well pointed out in one of his conferences held in Athens, entitled The Destruction of Work: «The first thing we must eliminate from our minds is to think that in the future, even in the case of the revolution, there is something to inherit from State and Capital. Remember the old peer analysis of twenty, thirty years ago, when it was thought that through the revolutionary expropriation of the means of production from the hands of the capitalists and their delivery to the proletarians – duly educated in self-management -, we would create the new society? Well, this is no longer possible.»(1)
Today, it is not enough with the multiplication of spontaneous revolts or with the generalization of the strike or with the triumph of a Social Revolution or with expropriating the means of production and inverting the pyramidal structures of domination so that the self-managed and libertarian conditions of coexistence are materialized as an immediate possibility.
However, we cannot settle for pointing out that the old struggles are no longer valid today.
Again, we have the same inability to always cross the line and pass once and for all to the other side. With the inability to leave the dead end that Power induces for us, to get rid of ourselves, to unravel the road and definitely give up the circular route. We then have to thoroughly review our historical scaffolding, remove the rotten and / or eroded boards by time and replace them with solid and fresh timbers.
We will have to rethink Anarchy or, think against thinking. Invert the diagrams. Thinking – Deleuze reminds us from Hell – is “throwing an arrow every time from oneself to the target that is the other, making a ray of light shine on the words, making a scream be heard in visible things. To think is to see what reaches its limit, and to speak its own (…) it is to issue singularities, to throw the dice. The dice roll expresses that thinking always comes from outside (that outside that already sank into the interstitium or constituted the common limit). Thinking is not something innate or acquired. It is not the innate exercise of a faculty, but it is not a learning that is constituted in the outside world.” (2)
For those of us who were teenagers in that iconic year of 1968 – and for those who excel me in writing almanacs and lwho live by throwing cobblestones or in much more engaging scenarios -, the exuberant revolts that occupy us today cause us a kind of déjà vécu, that is, that feeling of have “already lived”, that history repeats itself or of having faced that same experience in the past.
Indeed, mass mobilizations are not new. The demonstrations of ‘68 were also massive and formed a devastating movement of anti-authoritarian content – never planned and much less promoted by the churches of the official anarchism of that time. They overflowed the political and economic coordinates that expressed it, giving life to a civilizing crisis that put a check on the disciplinary society and anticipated the crisis of the capitalist world of the 1970s and the collapse of the welfare state.
Then the protests – equally massive – continued against the war in Indochina (Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia). Subsequently, the Italian May of ‘77 would come, followed by the anti-nuclear demonstrations and, to close the century, in 1999, a chain of mobilizations against so-called “globalization” were unleashed internationally (Seattle, Washington, Prague, Quebec, Genoa, Barcelona, Thessaloniki, Warsaw, Guadalajara) extending until 2004.
With a much closer date in time, we saw the massive mobilizations and camps carried out by the 15-M movement, also baptized as “movement of the Indignant” (2011-2015) in the Spanish State and, its reply, the Occupy Wall Street movement (from 2011-2012); as well as the protests in Syntagma Square in Athens and those carried out by the Nuit deboutmovement in Paris and, even more recently, those carried out by “The yellow vests”.
Despite the answering spirit that encouraged them and their manifest expontaneity, all these mobilizations (without exception), exhausted their strong momentum by recreating the Marxist dialectic of the constituent power and, they concluded trapped in the capture devices of the system of domination. As comrade Bonanno reminds us “The machine of ’68 produced the best officials of the new techno-bureaucratic state.” (3)
Here is the portentous capacity for co-option by the structures of domination of social movements as an inexhaustible source of restoration.
Thus, we saw the transformation of the “movement of the indignant” in the squares of the Spanish State in Podemos [Spanish leftist party] to become defenders of law and order on behalf of the humble; and to Syriza [Greek leftist party], leaving the squares of Athens and implementing the austerity policies of the European Union, becoming its faithful executor once in the government. Or, to the Nuit debout calling to institute a new Constitution and, to the Occupy Wall Streetmovement, swelling the ranks of Bernie Sanders in his contest for the White House.
In fact, once this tally of past protests and mobilizations is made, some uncertainty arises that invites us to question whether we are really perceiving a déjà vécu, that is; if history is really repeating itself and if we have the absolute certainty that these experiences have happened before or, we are experiencing an alteration of memory that makes us believe that we remember situations that have never happened and, truly, we are facing a phenomenon never seen, never heard and not even dreamed of before.
If in May of ‘68 the protests were inspired by utopia – as well as the entire collection of mobilizations mentioned above; The absence of a utopian perspective is evident in the current mobilizations that shake the world. Anger and despair have no utilitarian motivations, they are not political or ideological(4), – they are “irrational”, they go beyond intrapolitical denial and are driven by a dystopian tension.
Although at times the protests are intermingled and confused with the citizenist demands promoted by parties and unions – always ready to join the predominant populist reaction – the negative excess that emerges from it articulates repressed passions and the erotic force of sedition, creating volatile insurrectional subjectivities that give fleeting life to Anarchy, subverting order and causing crises in control mechanisms.
Snapshots of the Chilean revolt (first approach) (5)
Since October 18 of the current year, Chile has become the epicenter of the Latin American insurrection, giving us real street battles against militias and police minions. After fifteen days of perennial revolt, the generalized insurgent fire has managed to disrupt the unclean normality that prevailed after the rigged “transition to democracy”, after long years of fascism, taxes of blood and fire by the military-corporate dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
Without a doubt, the generalized insurrection that exists in Chile today is the reliable face of despair, the nihilistic gesture of those who have abandoned waiting, the explosion of anarchic rage that we have been sensing since the beginning of the century, that of a large orbit of subversive affinities, a set of accomplices and co-conspirators with vivid presence and practical experience around the world.
Beyond the thousands of graffiti’s of a fist-in-the-air that today encourages the prolonged rebellion in the cities of Santiago, Valparaíso and Concepción, the conflict manifests itself in multiple ways throughout the Chilean region.
In Santiago, in addition to the mobilization of 1.2 million protesters who have made the news in all the news – with its performative effects and its symbolic magnitude -, the regular attack on the icons of domination has materialized, discharging all the anger contained against the capitalist multinationals, destroying the merchandise, burning dozens of public transport buses, vehicles and buildings, sabotaging and burning subway stations and carrying out numerous mass expropriations in shops and supermarkets.
Continuing with the symbolic assaults, the television channel “Mega” was attacked three times by young people, masked and with incendiary devices. A statue in honor of the police was blown to pieces in the Barnechea district, along with so many other monuments – iconic symbols of domination – that have been destroyed in countless squares in the country.
Similarly, rivers of protesters have repeatedly tried to take La Moneda, facing the fierce response of militias and police. The assault on the government house has become the main objective of the social insurrection, driving some reminiscence of the taking of the Winter Palace that should call us to reflection.
Notes for a collective reflection
Why would we have to storm La Moneda? Our purpose is not to take palaces but to demolish them. Or what is the same: subtract us from Power. That is, crush every vestige of constituted power and abort any attempt at constituent power.
In this sense, it should be very clear that the convergent efforts of the red pacos and other agents of the left of Capital, with their Social Unity Board and their insistent calls to the plebiscite, to “a new Constitution with binding citizen participation” and, to the conformation of the Constituent Assembly; like the controlling attempt of the Allendist Movement for a New Constitution (6); or the repulsive convocation of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front to “the patriotic military, to the conscious police officers” to “subordinate themselves to the people and contribute to the struggle and termination of bad governments” (7); and the screaming schizoids of the Libertarian Left and, Socialism and Freedom crying for “popular unity”; Not only are they alien to our fighting goals but they represent a new attempt to perpetuate domination and strengthen Capital “with a human face.” Tentative that we must fight with the same impetus with which we face the constitutions of power.
Even before the call of the most radical wing of armed social democracy, the so-called Manuel Rodríguez-Autónomo Patriotic Front (FPMR-A) and the Revolutionary Left Movement-Guerrilla Army of the Poor (MIR-EGP), it is not only our turn to keep a healthy distance being extremely skeptical, but also to confront by all possible means it’s offer of Popular Power.
Unfortunately, there are still companions who insist on the “social” nature of the contemporary revolt and maintain their expectations in a pretend –and unrealizable in our day– libertarian society that, as Alfredo pointed out in the aforementioned conference: “I am convinced that even if “anarchy were realized”, anarchists would be critical of that constituted anarchy. Because that anarchism would be an anarchist institution, and I am sure that the vast majority of the comrades would be against that kind of anarchism”(8)
For many lovers of social struggle from the multiple and particular interpretations of anarchism, we must “understand that the struggle against capital has several fronts and forms of action” in order to move forward “towards the future, our future.”(9)
Affirmation is not only difficult to “understand” but to digest from the contemporary anarchic perspective without succumbing to reformist positions of a clear social democratic sign. Without a doubt, the members of the editorial group of this zine – and those who reproduce it almost six years later – still have faith in “our future” and for that, they do not skimp on forming alliances with “other revolutionaries” and participating in “several fronts” and in different «forms of action».
Unquestionably, when looking for alliances, the objectives are modified by means of the political justification of the struggle: a “better future”. Without repairing that faith in the future is essential to perpetuate domination. To always live in the future is precisely the traditional method of not living here and now, moving away forever from the permanent conflict implicit in the contest of anarchic warfare. That was what our Novatore has warned us for a century!
In the background, behind this positioning, the outdated institutional aspirations are housed. Faithful to the echo of the siren songs, we intuit in them as couplets of praise for freedom – which always reverberate at the dawn of every Revolution – ignoring that they are really hymns of praise to the new constituent Power.
Then, the naive elucidations will come in search of motivations and causes of “deviations”, of “betrayals” and the old history of the “betrayed revolution” will be repeated until tired, instead of glimpsing that the Revolution has never been (nor will it be) on the side of freedom but in the service of Power because every revolution is intrinsically instituting.
The Robespierre, the Committee of Public Salvation, the Lenin, the Stalin, the Castro, the KGB, are not alterations or deformations of the so-called “revolutionary processes” but their natural consequence.
Hence, our compulsive obsession to “reinvent” Anarchy, to restore theory – but above all to practice – it’s emancipatory power. Nothing more obscene in our day than abandoning Anarchy in the name of a vulgar version of postmodern “libertarian communism” to which we are invited as an alternative. We must dismantle the fetishes that keep us stranded and give up the alternatives (all alternatives for sale).
Any alternative to Anarchy is a sign of stagnation and a cowardly exit that seeks to perpetuate domination under the insidious mask of transformations.
Unfortunately, the distorted view of ideology – strongly entrenched in our stores – still invites many to conceive of anarchism as a realization (which “lasts forever”), instead of admitting that it is a dystopian tension that provides us moments of Anarchy that we have to extend through the accurate attack, but in order to crystallize the attack, to materialize the destructive will, the prior organization of the anarchic insurrection is required; that is to say, the informal articulation of small affinity groups capable of coordinating and intervening anarchically during a spontaneous insurrectional movement is needed.
Just like that, we give life to Anarchy in those ephemeral interruptions of all “normality”, extending the illegal mood, spreading chaos to the last consequences, destroying work and all the pillars of domination.
As White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland) reminds us: Forever sometimes only lasts for a moment and it is in that time period that we must blow up all the bridges of return, burn all the return ships and burn the merchandise, demolish the recovery machine. For this we must be prepared, even if only for a fleeting instant Anarchy is merely realized, knowing that its existence is only occasional.
The goal is not to fight to establish anarchism. The essential thing is to live Anarchy in the daily struggle with that vital passion that floods us and enhances our uncompromising action, reminding the victors of the present that they will NEVER sleep in peace again.
Planet Earth, November 2, 2019.
1) Lecture given at Pantio University, Athens. Alfredo M. Bonanno, Domination and Revolt, Second edition revised and corrected with additions, Edizioni Anarchismo, Trieste, 2015. pp. 139-176
2) Deleuze, Gilles, Foucault, Ediciones Culturales Paidós, México, 2016, pp. 151-152.
3) Bonanno, Alfredo M., Armed Joy.
4) Here, again, make the distinction of the cases of Hong Kong and Catalonia, where the motivations are political and ideological.
5) For more infos – Anarquía Info (https://anarquia.info), ContraInfo (https://es-contrainfo.espiv.net) and, ANA (https://noticiasanarquistas.noblogs.org/)
6) Proto Stalinist Alliance formed by the Communist Party-Proletarian Action (PC-AP), Christian Left (IC) and, the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR).
7) FPMR, “A provisional government, a constituent Assembly, new constitution.” Available at: https://www.fpmr.cl/web/ (Accessed 1/11/19).
8) Op.Cit., Alfredo M. Bonanno, Domination and Revolt, pp. 139-176.
9) VP, La Peste Collective, “The organization in the social struggle: a libertarian critique”, Originally published in Peste zine, No. 11, May 2013, republished by those who insist on the same canon on January 22, 2019 in Portal Oaca, Available at: https://www.portaloaca.com/opinion/14123-la-organizacion-en-la-lucha-social-una-critica-libertaria.html (Accessed 1/11/19).
—To Joaquín García Chanks and Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda, comrades and co-conspirators.
“For I am the sworn poet of all the intrepid rebels of the entire world,
And whoever comes with me leaves peace and routine behind,
And you play to lose your life every moment.”
Walt Whitman, To a frustrated European revolutionary (1856), Leaves of Grass.
“… where there is danger, what grows saves us.”
Friedrich Hölderlin, Patmos.
A month and six days after the insurrection began, Anarchy is still alive in the Chilean region. It is an unprecedented event in Chile and Latin America. It has been the kairos of Anarchy: the emancipatory moment that occurs in the relevant time and place, the bold incarnation of a pronounced denial of the State and of all authority.
The echo of the old anarchic slogan “Neither God nor State nor Patriarchy” rumbled throughout the southern geography and has made hearts vibrate from Cape Horn to the banks of the Sama and Camarones rivers.
It is evident that in their daily subversive work, the insurrectionary anarchism of the informalist tendency, maximized their potentialities and also explored their difficulties and their own limits, using ephemeral junctions – mutating from one place to another – that allowed them (via conflict and various contingencies) to sketch out the chromatic possibilities of their theoretical-practical background and, encourage unmanageable disobedience, concentrating specifically on individual actions and / or small affinity groups aimed at attack and expropriation.
However, dynamite was missing. Diesel and gasoline failed. The attack was spared. There was a lack of expropriations. The headquarters of ALL political parties were not demolished. No prisons or madhouses were assaulted. We lashed out at the symbols but missed the target. A gigantic bonfire is still pending for the hundreds of flags that are seen on the marches (including the red and black ones, because ALL the flags are full of blood and shit). This shortage has allowed the power of denial to divert to be “triumphant”, instead of injecting the conflict with life and going beyond the institutional songs that already threaten to impose the peace of the grave.
Today, the neutral point of the insurrection begins to reveal itself clearly. The mixture of two elements does its thing and the complete snapshot emerges, showing us the impasse in its right dimension. Understanding it will be a huge leap from the anarchist pedagogy that can contribute to the awakening of the dogmatic drowsiness in which a considerable sector of the so-called “anarchist movement” is mired.
The shock power of an insurrection is not measured by its effects or resides in the quantitative growth of the insurgents, but in what radiates ipso facto of it. It resides in the vitality of its force of negation, in its offensive mood, in the sharpness of action, which makes the insurrection a different symbolic rite.
The ferocity of anarchic action resides in itself, which is why it feeds audacity, feeds destructive creativity and advocates subversive will, multiplying anti-authoritarian violence and illegalist practice.
Snapshots of the revolt (second approach) (1)
As expected from the first day of the insurrection, the repression was not long in coming. So far, according to the official figures themselves, there are more than 20 dead, 5 of them resulted from being shot by the repressive forces; 6500 people detained, of which 759 are minors; 2391 wounded (41 by shots fired from firearms, 964 by less-lethal rounds, including 222 with eye injuries – those who have lost sight in one eye or become completely blind. 909 people were injured as the result of brutal beatings) and; hundreds of women raped and sexually assaulted. It was discovered that the Policía de Investigación (PDI) installed a torture center in the Arauco Quilicura shopping centre, where hundreds of protesters arrested during the riots were tortured.
For their part, the insurgents have attacked military barracks, police stations, toll booths, churches, supermarkets and other commercial facilities with firearms and handcrafted devices; They have managed to shoot down police surveillance drones with the help of hundreds of laser pointers.
Thanks to the timely diligence of hackers and the application that revealed the residence of many uniformed men, attacks on police houses across the region have multiplied: in Viña del Mar, hooded people attacked the residence of a police commander and several houses of uniform were spraypainted with death threats and their vehicles destroyed. In San Antonio, the Tejas Verdes barracks were attacked and part of their facilities burned down. In Chiguayante, a group of insurgents broke into the homes of some policemen, destroying everything they found in their path. In Quinta Normal, a policeman was stabbed at his residence and, in the town of Lo Hermida, the police station was attacked, with an outcome of six wounded policemen.
While police officers doze in their cars, they are constantly assaulted with incendiary devices, an easy-to-replicate practice that has begun to spread to several neighborhoods. During the protests in the city of Rancagua, they threw a dynamite cartridge at a patrol of carabineros that did not explode. In the town of La Victoria, district of Pedro Aguirre Cerda, in the southern center of Santiago, a uniformed house was set on fire, as in the province of Coyhaique, where properties owned by carabineros were attacked with dozens of incendiary bombs.
In the heart of Santiago, hooded men attacked the Parish of the Assumption and used furniture and images of the Saints to make barricades; they burned the Church of the Sacramentines and, the Church of Veracruz in the Barrio Lastarria, declared a “historical monument” during the fascist dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Valparaíso Cathedral was also attacked by a crowd, burning some of its doors, destroying benches, altars and the baptism font. In Puerto Montt, during the early hours of Wednesday the 20th, hooded men attacked the Graciela Bórquez pastoral house, in the heart of the city and, in the Coihuin area, burned the house of priest Luis Izquierdo who’s accused of sexual abuse.
In addition to the Catholic churches – consistent with anarchic practice and as a tribute to the famous Kropotkian phrase (“The only church that illuminates is the one that burns”) – several evangelical temples were burned and destroyed, highlighting the attack on October 28 in the city of Santiago of the recording studios and offices of the Ministry of Communications GRACIA TV, in Santa Rosa. The same day and in the same neighborhood the Church Blessed to Bless and, the Church International Ministry for the Family (MINFA), a dependency of the Mercure Hotel, in Santiago Centro, were attacked. In Valparaíso, on October 20, the International Restoration Center (CRI-Chile) was attacked by hooded men and, on October 26, the Presbyterian Church of Valparaíso. In Temuco, at the dawn of October 20, the Assemblies of God Church was attacked and; in Araucanía, in the rural sector of the Púa, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.
In the city of Los Andes, a hooded crowd expropriated a pharmacy to bring diapers, medications and cleaning supplies to a nursing home.
As concerns any anti-authoritarian insurrection, politicians have also been targeted by insurgent attacks regardless of the ideological color of their parties. In Talca, hooded people burned the parliamentary seat of ultra-right senator Juan Antonio Coloma of the Independent / Popular Democratic Union Party (UDI / P). In total, eight UDI offices and two National Renovation sites have already been attacked. On Friday 22, a group of demonstrators from the Assembly of Feminists of Arica, attacked the senator of the Socialist Party, José Miguel Insulza, with paint and spit, at the gates of Radio Cappísima and; In the early hours of today in Punta Arenas, an affinity group attacked the La Idea Community Space, parliamentary headquarters of Deputy Gabriel Boric of Social Convergence with incendiary bombs.
Despite the growing subversive dynamism and the leading participation of insurrectional anarchism, some communiqués from groups similar to the informal tendency point to paranoid behaviors in certain “comrades” who support conspiracy theories, in absurd theses on supposed coups and other fanciful omens, call for demobilization and begin to generate fear creating a climate of early defeat.
This psychosis managed to penetrate some sectors formed in “the ominous citizen culture of believing that each attack is a montage” and they began to accuse trusted comrades of being “undercover agents.”
At the same time, the strategies promoted by the system of domination through its means of mass domestication have been adopted by the citizen-protesters who carry out an anti-hooded paramilitary work that only benefits our enemies. This counter-insurgent atmosphere caused a group of these protesters to brutally beat a young man and hang him from the Pio Nono Bridge, accusing him of being an undercover policeman without the slightest foundation.
Unfortunately, these nefarious attitudes also still prevail with great roots in our scenes, particularly in those scenes contaminated with liberal discourse and among those who are assumed as an integral part of the so-called “left.”
The traps of peace: Coincidentia Oppositorum
As Bakunin put it: “I think I have tried, and events will soon prove better than I have been able to do”(2), that, the Chilean spring begins to move towards a certain exhaustion. The unmanageable disobedient fire is being stifled. The anarchic flame begins to languish. The oxygen that gave life to Anarchy is depleted.
In his Letters to a Frenchman about the current crisis, Bakunin recommended “the immediate non-political action of the people, for the mass uprising of the entire French people, spontaneously organizing from the bottom up, for the war of destruction, the wild war to knife”(3); but his exhortation dates from 1870 and, definitely, one hundred and forty-nine years have not passed in vain. In fact, Bakunin himself would end his days very disappointed with the “mass” and, he would bet more on the coordination of related wills, emphasizing the conspiracy of unmanageable minorities and propaganda by the deed.
In our times, we cannot give into the slightest illusion about the “masses.” We well know how voluntary servitude acts. If the generalized insurrection and “the war of destruction” were verified, “the wild war with a knife” took place, the end of the film is already known in advance. A few seconds before the title appears: The End, the Pied Piper of Hamelin emerges who guides the herd of rodents at will.
The dangerous thing about the “mass” is its malleability. Just as easily as the liberal democrats shape it, it is also modeled by religious leaders and dictators. Its enormous plasticity allows it – without distinction – to promote the most intrepid libertarian deeds or to enliven the most obscene fascism.
Participationist ideology always plays its role and ends up retaking the reins through the machinery of co-option.
It is enough to keep an eye on the blockbuster that since yesterday navigates in networks with a tendency to viralize in record time, entitled“The United People, A New Dawn”(4), to corroborate the reliable intentions of the control devices of the system domination. Right there, from a seemingly insignificant narrative, the counter-insurgency work comes alive.
This explains the requirement of a wide angle view to be able to include in the photo the parliamentarians of all the tendencies that today pose smiling for «the agreements reached». From Wall Street to Zurich, the powerful applaud the cohesion of the political class. Historical! They emphasize to the heights the covers of the printed newspapers, announcing the fall of the Pinochet Constitution. The irreducible “Plaza de la Dignidad” (formerly Plaza Baquedano or Plaza Italia) is magically covered at dawn by an immense white canvas as a symbol of peace.
The Marxist dialectic of constituent power begins to monopolize the struggle. The negotiating role of the Social Unity Board is not accidental. The way out of the “crisis” on the left is the ideal recipe to give continuity to our global capitalist paradise. The “national populism” – whether from “right” or “left” – is the solution. From Latin America to Europe they impose it on us as the only way of “restructuring”, that is, the way to sell us more capitalism (but now “with a human face”, off course).
That is why the call to “popular unity” through a mellow sononete who rescues the Quilapayún trova with the help of a new musical arrangement – with some Soviet reminiscence -, coupling a panfletary lyric that reiterates to exhaustion “the country is forging unity”(5)
Despite the brief stanzas of a couple of ‘hip hoppers’ in the service of vernacular patriotism (“We are not from the right or from the left / we are not of that shit” and, “we determine ourselves as humans without parties” (6)), the hand that rocks is unquestionable the cradle. The images of the video clip are axiomatic: a massive and varied march dressed in Chilean flags and (to a lesser extent) Mapuches, showing at the end of the countless countless banners and cardboard demands recording a wide range of citizenist demands and, closing, with a clasp of gold, a gigantic national flag with the motto:“Let’s go! Chile does not give up”(7).
By way of preliminary conclusion
Some comrades believe that it is not yet time to draw conclusions and that we must expect that “the waters take their course and the results of the insurrection are verified”(8). They assure that «the new Constitution, the new Constituent Assembly, the impending fall of Piñera»(9) and, the whole set of political changes that follow one another, are the core of the «popular triumph that will transform Chilean society forever»(10).
These “comrades” insist that they “think clearly before issuing comments”(11) so as to appreciate the outcome.
Beyond the use of common places and the abuse of cheesy images, it is clear to me that those who think so are betting on the restoration of normalcy.
On the contrary, I consider that the time of thinking is now: in the heat of the moment, reconciling the reflexive act with the excitement of the fight, with the fire in the eyes and even with the black hands for the residues of gunpowder. And, consequently, I pronounce:
In these days when some already celebrate the “popular triumph,” it is when we understand that our lack of freedom will continue to curse us with a new face, with a new Constitution and, probably, under a new government. It is then when we perceive that our goal was never the subsidy of public transport or a rise in wages or pensions or new job opportunities or the end of precarity or free education; It is when we reveal – before ourselves, those we know and strangers – that our struggle was never for a National Health Insurance or for a new Constitution or for a Constituent Assembly or against corruption or for democratic transparency or for parliamentary participation or for the sensitization of pacos or for the powerful arrive of a popular government and, much less for a new homeland.
All these sets of citizenist demands were only the pretext to exacerbate rage and unleash the libertarian passions, the sublime situation to spread chaos and give life to Anarchy. We, the anarchists, do not fight for reforms. The anarchic struggle takes place outside the sphere of legal “rights.” That’s why I think the war has to continue.
Perhaps the days on the barricades and mass expropriations ended but the time has come for the natural decantation that will potentiate the action of a reduced unmanagable hardcore that once again confirms the dynamic relationships of affinity groups and the relevance of those in solidarity. Our war is against all Authority, for the end of merchandise, for the liquidation of production and against all harmfulness, for the destruction of work, for the destruction of the enemy.
The time has come to banish from our stores the mask of political correctness and the anarcho-leftist attitudes that have been so expensive to solve. Our actions do not require the acceptance and empathy of the crowd. As a well-known Bonanno question goes, how much does it cost us to wear the mask of revolutionary respectability?(12)
“Anarchists often do not present themselves as they really are. They do not say immediately: we are anarchists, we want to destroy the enemy. They are usually softer, so as not to scare those who are listening. Because they think that quantitative growth can strengthen the anarchist movement, they believe that in this way anarchists, who today are one hundred or one thousand, tomorrow may be ten thousand, one hundred thousand, and make the revolution possible.”(13)
In a three-pole world (USA/China/Russia), where paradoxically, “opposite” ideological programs are no longer confronted but three variations of a predatory capitalist expansionism with common interests and enemies (14), it is very clear that there is no alternative, there is a no viable “triumph”. There is no possible revolution, only a world to destroy.
Given this, the question of rigor in the subject at hand as to where is Chile going? That is, what intentions really underlie the slogan “Come on! Chile does not surrender” which appears as an epigraph on the gigantic flag with which the aforementioned video clip ends.
To answer this question, perhaps there are those who recommend us to review beforehand the “predictions” of some postmodern libertarian Marxists who glimpse in “accelerationism” the collapse of capitalism through its over-development and which is a supposed sign of post-capitalism through the development of capitalism itself into a global post-industrial transition to a Collaborative Age (where the biosphere will be regenerated and “a more just, more humanized and more sustainable global economy for all human beings on Earth”)(15).
Undoubtedly, these optimistic seers who claim that after the wave of planetary insurrections the end of capitalism is envisaged, they only try to appease and distract us along the path of “social construction,” knowing that we will not compromise in our efforts to destroy everything. It oppresses us because our struggle is for total liberation.
We are aware that we are witnessing the end of an economic cycle and this entails multiple transformations that generate exclusion, frustrations and hopelessness. The “Washington consensus” has concluded, giving way to a multi-centric model of global capitalism. The United States, China, Russia, Europe and, in a certain way, Latin America(16), represent specific models of global capitalism that expand without limits to all the ends of the Earth.
Despite the “specific characteristics” of each of these countries or blocks of countries, they all leave the market economy intact, which reduces in practice the “differences” in the way to which each particular project represses the local antagonisms that emerge from the dynamics of global capitalist development.
The rapid progress of capitalism from Congo to Ecuador is irrefutable. China and Viet Nam are reliable examples of its rapid growth. Despite all the auguries, capitalism is renewed with every “crisis” and keeps getting healthier. Which leads us to conclude that whatever the outcome of this insurrection may be, Chile is moving inexorably towards more capitalism.
Thus, the “future” (17) that predicts the remix of El Pueblo Unido, is reduced to more of the same but now, probably from the hand of the left. «The light / of a red dawn» (18) announcing «the life that will come» (19) is nothing but the strange scarlet luminosity of the toxic fog of the main Chilean cities (20), the warning of the environmental catastrophe that is approaching due to the high industrial pollution , the ruthless mining and vehicular overload, all work and grace of capitalist depredation and; “Life will come”, consequently, but it will be post-apocalyptic, by then, and we will surely have to thank Monsanto for the provision of fruits and vegetables at affordable prices, at the dawn of a collaborative capitalism.
However, this certainly does not frighten us. On the contrary, it invites us to abandon all utopian typecasting and to reaffirm Anarchy in the 21st century as a permanent field of war. Recognize that there is no alternative, it is not a call to limp behind but the guttural expression that incites us to an anarchic approach with the knife held between the teeth, a proposal of daily war: all the immanent reasons to make Anarchy alive in the here and now, until that there is no trace of any institution or authority.
Planet Earth, November 24, 2019.
Unavoidable postscript: The enemy of Anarchy in Chile is no longer the repressive government of Piñera (with its murderous pacos in the street and bayonet militias at the ready) but those who sincerely celebrate the “triumph” and begin to play the card of the Constituent Assembly and sharpen their fangs for April 2020. The new enemy is that instituting force that begins to show its face. Fighting it – with the same fury with which the current powers have been confronted – is the objective. There is little time and much to destroy. No seat of the Communist Party has been set on fire, nor has deputy Boris Barrera been given his much deserved shit bath.
1) From information gathered from the communiqués of different affinity groups and/or groups housed in the related portals Anarquía Info (), ContraInfo and, ANA, and through epistolary exchange with dear comrades, witnesses and protagonists of the events.
2) Bakunin, Miguel, Letters to a Frenchman about the current crisis, August 25, 1870, included in: Complete works, volume I, La Piqueta Editions, Madrid, 1977, P.55.
3) Ibídem, P.78.
4) Download https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUOF9wxrYFI
8) Those who sign the letter in question do not deserve to be cited and require a much more forceful on-site response than I can give them in this way.
12) Conference multicited in my previous letter, given at Pantio University, Athens. Collection in: Alfredo M. Bonanno, Domination and Revolt, second edition revised and corrected with additions, Edizioni Anarchismo, Trieste, 2015. pp. 139-176
14) Or at least, they try to make us believe. The United States, China, Russia and even Iran share interests in the fight against ISIS and its international cells, although in reality they simulate fighting it with the aim of crushing their true enemies.
15) Such is the case of Jeremy Rifkin and his so-called “collaborative commons” – which has permeated so much in our stores – where he identifies a new mode of production and exchange that renounces market relations and private property, in the hands of the “Internet of things” and with the advantages of a society of almost zero marginal cost giving way to “sustainable cornucopia”. For more information, Vid., Rifkin, Jeremy, The Society of Zero Marginal Cost: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Paidós,Barcelona, 2014.
16) Without fear of being wrong, we can affirm that in Latin America, populist capitalism is on the rise. Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the Bolivia of deposed Evo Morales are concrete examples of State Capitalism in the 21st Century. The New Man has suffered a resounding metamorphosis and has become a Capitalist Homo-species, ready to devastate and destroy the Earth. That old Cuban joke of the late seventies makes sense: “the worms have returned transformed into butterflies.”
17) For those futile coincidences of life the letter of the remix has been suggestively hosted at: https://www.marxists.org/subject/art/music/lyrics/es/el-pueblo.htm
20) Chile has nine of the ten most polluted cities in Latin America (Padre las Casas, Osorno, Coyhaique, Valdivia, Temuco, Santiago, Linares, Rancagua and Puerto Montt). https://radio.uchile.cl/2019/03/06/ciudades-chilenas-son-las-mas-contaminadas-de-sudamerica/