Reproducibility, propagation of attack against power and some related points
“The media image of the ‘terrorist’ works together with the police to defend social peace. The citizen applauds or gets scared, but always remains a citizen, that is to say, a spectator. The ‘armed struggle’ presents itself as the superior form of social confrontation. The one who is militarily more representative – according to the spectacular effect of the actions – therefore constitutes the authentic armed party. The State from his side has every interest to reduce the revolutionary threat to some fighting organisations as to transform subversion into a pitched battle between two armies. What domination fears is generalised and anonymous revolt […]”
“One thing is that anarchists have weapons, a much different thing is to be an armed group. […]”
On the 11th of March 2009, a video with the title 19 seconds of social war was anonymously uploaded to the web. Three anonymous fighters with their faces covered show the easiness and efficiency with which it is possible to attack those who destroy your life. To attack a bank in a few seconds, two hammers, a spray can and determination are enough. Maybe at the moment, the most notable aspect of the video was the acceptance it got on youtube, it was enough to look to the comments to have an idea of this. But actually, the most notable in our opinion, was the wave of sabotage actions that happened in the Mexican capital (and certainly also in other regions) after the spreading of this video. The propagation of sabotage had nothing accidental about it, it was due to the simplicity with which this symbol of domination was attacked and the facility by which certain means could be acquired, this means: reproducibility.
For long time, the majority of sabotage actions which flooded anonymously and informally – or some with claims – Mexico City and other regions of the country shared a characteristic that went beyond any claim. This characteristic was that the attacks were realised with easily reproducible means that are therefore accessible for any comrade, or for anybody who feels the need to attack what is oppressing and exploiting us. Also today, many attacks are realised in this way, which is strengthening their propagation.
In an insurrectional and informal struggle project that intends to propagate itself on a, let’s say, social level, but also amongst comrades, an as necessary as indispensable element is reproducibility. Concretely, reproducibility means that acts of sabotage are realised with means (incendiary devices bombs, explosive weapons or other tools) that can be easily made and used, and that can be easily acquired by anyone. The intention beyond this is that sabotage might be in reach for anyone, that each person might get access to attacking what is oppressing him or her and that one doesn’t have to go looking for an already formalised (or sometimes spectacularised) group to learn how to do thing. Reproducibility is about the individual himself or herself finding the means to act, meeting up with comrades in affinity with who he or she shares knowledge, discussing things trough and stepping on to action.
When we speak about informality, we are not only speaking about it as an organisational method of the anarchist struggle, we are also speaking about it as a means by which the individual acquires absolute autonomy and therefore doesn’t have to submit to the ideology of a group – groups that are often of authoritarian colours, but go well camouflaged as “libertarian” or “autonomous” and insert themselves in this necessity to pass on to the attack, taking over anarchist projects or individuals to later on submerse them in a logic of submission to a central apparatus. But it is precisely through discussion, thinking and critiques that the individual meets the need to converge with other singular individuals, or with other collectives that themselves are consisting of individuals.
Reproducibility also encourages the radicalisation of the individual or collective acts of attack, extending to the maximum the autonomy amongst individuals and collectives, generating, when one desires, an informal coordination in which, outside of the logic of dependency or acceptance, one could also come to share the knowledge of each comrade concerning sabotage.
Some particular realities
Gasoline, glass bottles, burned oil and rags are easily acquired. Also other materials with which one can attack the system and its cops can be easily found. For us, all means that are in accordance with the ends are weapons that can be directed against power. Maybe some are more destructive than others, but no any means gets ideological overrating over another. For example, guns over molotovs, or dynamite over home made incendiary devices. Also, the reproducibility of the attack depends of the particular characteristics of each place. For example, in Bolivia, where black powder and dynamite can be found on any market, on almost any place, these materials are easily acquired and makes that their use during revolts in such places is very common.
In our context, dynamite was much used during the Magonist revolts in the north of the country, because the possibility to acquire it was very easy as the north is a mining region.
Although in current times, the acquiring of explosive materials is usually a bit complicated, we could mention that in the case of the Oaxaca insurrection, home made explosives were widely used in the form of “coyotas”, which are basically party firecrackers with nails attached to it as shrapnel. They were extremely harmful for the cops who were repressing the revolt on the barricades.
Nevertheless, this reality of daily war, of drugs and arms trafficking, this need of the State to keep the country in a permanent war zone, makes the acquiring of short and long guns, grenades or whatever you want possible. In addition, society is used to its use and familiar with its use: in many cases, you learn it from when you are a youngster, be it for defence or for other reasons. So the use of guns to hit power, or their use during a generalized revolt or a conscious insurrection, is very likely. And again, the example of Oaxaca (as well as other revolts that are less known) illustrates clearly what we are saying.
For the moment, we do not want to enter into the discussion on ethics and morals concerning the use of guns or the disarmament of society. We are no pacifists, but neither are we warmongers. Nevertheless, we can affirm that reality has shown us that the society in arms in this lasts years has only massacred itself, something that is obviously in the interest of the State. But as anarchists
we go in another direction: we go towards the need to attack power with all means that are in accordance with the ends. The use of guns is in accordance with anarchist ethics. Here we are speaking of revolutionary action, of conscious acts of sabotage and their easy and efficient propagation to destroy power.
For the destruction of the myth of specialization and professionalism: neither spectators nor actors.
With all the rubbish that the system spreads through television, cinema, theatre and fiction books, an image has been created of the saboteur as a professional of violence. An image of a professional saboteur that, maybe unwillingly, is complemented by the visual propaganda of some guerilla armies or radical urban guerilla groups (leftist, marxist-leninist or also anarchist) in which their members appear with machine guns and other heavy weaponry in an attempt to have an impact in the eyes of the State and of society; or, with their own words, to propagandistic ends. But we can also add to this the image of the “reckless hero” that some comrades create around the figure of comrades who in the past (and the present) took action.
Taking out of the debate the fact that in certain moments anarchists – and any person who is rebelling – need to learn the use of guns (something that in Mexico, as we said in the previous paragraph, is more common than learning how to read) and learn fighting strategies on the countryside or in an urban setting, this type of armed visual propaganda is nothing more than a hindrance to the propagation of attack and sabotage on wide levels, in the social context, outside of our circles and before all, autonomously, for the following two reasons:
- Firstly, because the image of the professional of violence leaves aside all those who want to attack, but are not finding the so-called adequate means to attack the system (whatever the case might be, because the majority of it has to do with spectacularity), and this makes that these individuals desiring to attack stay immobile and spectators.
- Secondly, because the visual propaganda of the professional saboteur generates an abyss between the individual, the organisation and the organisations. The individual feels the need to attack, but believes that in order to do so, he needs to belong to a professional urban guerilla group, to a systematic organism, or that he has to create an organisation that specialises itself in this and leaves aside other aspects of life where intervention is also necessary. When he doesn’t find the organisation to back him up, or when he finds himself in the impossibility to use certain means, again there is immobility and spectators, because the individual stay immobile facing the im-potence of not being “on the level” of attacking the State. It is clear that everybody is capable of looking for the means he or she wants, there is no doubt about that, but my comment, apart from being based on experience and of knowledge about other experiences, projects itself specifically in when this type of visual propaganda leaves on the side not only the comrades who in one way or another have access to manuals and other things that older comrades have left them; I am speaking concretely about a comrade that is isolated (whatever that might mean) from the movement, or about a person who is an “ordinary” citizen” but has decided to stop being it and attack, who then find themselves many times in an impossible situation.
But the myth of the specialist or the professional of violence has other bad breaths
Many times, together with the propagation of this type of visual propaganda (more concretely by comrades, leaving aside the image that the State creates of terrorists), you have also the fact that one believes that the more specialisation the attack requires, and the more the means of attack are specialised, more damage is done to the infrastructures of power (meaning by this persons and things). The practice itself showed that this is not true and that this is many times a projection.
The comrades who in 2011 attacked the Wal-Mart of Buenavista in the central zone of the Federal District, give during an interview for the book “Que se ilumine la noche” a clear account on how just some easily acquirable elements and determination were needed to cause mayor damage to the infrastructures of power. A glass bottle, gasoline, condoms as a time delay and pills of ammonia sulphate were enough to cause the total destruction of the Wal-Mart. Another example could be mentioned of the comrades who in Tijuana burned 31 new patrol cars of the municipal police. Some short guns to cover the retreat, a car, some litres of gasoline and
determination where enough. We are just mentioning these two examples because of their supposed “spectacularity” and huge damage, leaving aside the hundreds of sabotage actions that are being realised with molotovs or home made devices consisting of plastic bottles, matches, cigarillos and gasoline.
Also, the myth of the professional of violence or of specialization is often supported by another factor: to be or to want to be always at the height of the system.
By always wanting to be at the height of the system and to wage competition with its armies, besides falling in the trap of measuring ourselves with the same stick as the system is measuring us, the attacking group ends up being a mirror image of the armies of the system, even ending up considering the armed act or the guerilla group an end in itself and not a means to attack – giving often more valour to guns and its iconography than to other means of intervention.
When sometimes it has been said that groups end up begin a deformed mirror image of the State itself, one is also speaking about the vainglory and the overestimation given to guns, to rifles, to explosives. These elements, that should just be tools of the revolutionary, end up becoming his identity, loosing his particularity as an individual, delegating his own identity to a false identity supported by a commercial instrument-icon of the system like weapons – instruments that one uses out of necessity, far away from all fetishism towards them. Weapons are a commodity and the best we can do with them is to render them… usefully useless. As anarchists, I believe this strongly, we are against the fetishism of arms and against any organisation (or acronym) that converts itself into something identitarian and that ends up with denying the individual or the individuals. Our only identity is our own individuality, our only iden- tity are we ourselves and this can be seen reflected in mour words, thoughts and acts, that flow together as one.
So then, what do we want and what are we proposing?
Concerning the attack against the structures of the State and Capitalism, but above all against Power, we desire a propagation of attack, of sabotage and of the insurrectional perspective. What we are looking for, is the intensification of the social war day after day. That every person who feels the need to attack the State, Capitalism and Power does so, getting, above everything else, out of the idle position of spectator or of the immobility due to a lack of means.
Concerning anarchist organisation, we propose an informal organisational method, that is therefore in constant development and self-criticism, a method based on affinity and not on delegation or systematic agreement. An organisational method built starting from the needs that we experience in our immediate surroundings. An informal method that doesn’t place any organisation or acronym above the individual, but where the organisation stays subjected and submitted to constant practice and constant thinking, just as action is. An organisation based on the informal method of struggle that can be capable to propagate itself and be reproduced in qualitative terms.
Concerning the use of guns and explosives (easily acquired in this territory), a struggle consistent with the acratic principles and with informality. An acting that cuts in a slash with the vainglory of guns, that breaks with the fetishism created around the armed sabotage; a consistent struggle that by attacking power destroys the discourse that places the armed act above other acts of sabotage, and a critique on the fetishism of illegality. Through acting, break with the commercial discourse on guns, mirrored by the big vanguards and militant armed organisations who are placing their militants in a game of power, mirrored in every aspect of their organisation. This is what we want to say by seeing oneself through the deforming mirror of power. We are not proposing a structured armedist struggle, but a direct struggle against power in its totality, a struggle that is capable to propagate and to reproduce itself. And if guns are easily acquired, may their use then be consequent and always as means, never as a goal.
The social war is a constant reality, the individual or collective attack is also so, better when this reality propagates even more, disperses, spreads out through the whole territory. And to contribute to this, the means of attack easily reproducible and easily acquired should be the perspective of concrete attack that accompanies our struggles for anarchy.
For an informal, anonymous and autonomous practice of attack against power
Negación #8 Septimbre 2016. -Transalte by Avalanche anarchist magazine #8, Europe
Gentrification and the mega-projects of Mexico City: a project of domination and social control
Presently in the vanguard city, Mexico City, the Federal District or however social democracy cares to designate this grey and stifling monster, the government is rapidly promoting gentrification projects, as well as mega urban projects with the “supposed” motive of social wellbeing, which includes the desire to make of this city a vanguard city. Miguel Mancera, current mayor of Mexico City, is bringing into fruition the projects of urbanization and gentrification which were previously headed by the former chief of government, Marcelo Ebrard, who himself continued the project of urbanization which began ages ago. The vanguard city, the name which the PRI party member Marcelo [Ebrard] gave Mexico City, has undergone with these two administrations very quick urbanization transformations serving certain ends: business interests, beautification of the city, raising the quality of life and the immanent onset of social control. Along with these drastic consequences is included: the destruction of the natural habitat (including both flora and fauna); the displacement of indigenous people from working-class neighborhoods out towards the periphery; a rise in rent prices; exploitation of the land and of the badly-named “natural resources.” All of which could be described as urbanization and gentrification.
Yesteryear in Mexico City
Anáhuac 1 finds its roots within three thousand years of human activity, and although the Aztecs were not the first to inhabit this basin, they did develop grand interventions on the natural environment. Since the 14th century water has been transported by way of an aqueduct from Chapultepec. Later, with the construction of a dam by Nezahualcóyotl, the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan and Texcoco were able to keep the brackish water at the bottom of Lake of Texcoco and thus were able to agriculturally develop on the islet of Tenochtitlan. With the goal of controlling the Aztec territory, the colonial project starting in 1521 absorbed the political structure established by the royal line of Moctezuma. In this way the towns that existed in the region before the Spanish arrival remained centers of their municipalities during the colonial period and many continue to be so to this day. This is important since urbanization did not happen haphazardly but rather progressed (and progresses) from following ancient settlement sites. In 1607 the Tajo de Nochistongo2 overflowed, which was intended to avoid flooding from the Marquesa [National Park] would not reach Zumpango3, redirecting any floodwater towards the basin of the Tula River. This was the first water divergence realized in Mexico City, which brought about disastrous consequences: the deaths of thousands of workers during its construction; destruction of the natural environment; and to top it off twenty years later the city was struck with the worst flood in its history. Ultimately it was with the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz that there was a shift from a logic of containment, to a logic of expulsion by way of the Grand Canal, which filtered the Lake of Texcoco towards the Moctezuma River. And along the same lines, in the 60s the Túnel Emisor 4 was constructed to expel sewage towards the north.
Now in the 21st century, where there was once a great lake now there is to be found the greatest misery of the world’s cities, comprised of the colonias5 of Nezahualcóyotl City, Iztapalapa, Chimalhuacán and Chalco.
Since the 80s, Mexico City (understanding that this name designates not only the Federal District but also the whole urbanized part of the Valley of Mexico which surrounds it) is seen in the collective imaginary as the most populated and the most chaotic city. The processes of restructuring of Mexico City since those years can be characterized as a pro-business mode of urban management. These processes have led to gentrification following certain forms of occupation and real estate promotion with distinctive intensities. All this restructuring has been supported by urban business management, which has helped facilitate the realization of real estate mega-projects (we need only mention that between 1999 and 2011 there has been constructed 560,000 gallineros, or cheaply-build high-density homes here) the rehabilitation of the working-class neighborhoods, the fragmentation of the social fabric, the displacement of residents and of certain traditional cultural activities specific to those neighborhoods.
But what is gentrification & what is its end?
Gentrification begins as a process with little or no public investment, investment rather comes from private capital attached to a degradation of public services: there comes a stigmatization of condition of the areas, always mentioning marginalization and criminalization. Then comes real estate speculation on the land, since due to these conditions the cost of the land in working-class municipalities and neighborhoods is cheap. Subsequently after the construction of residential zones with their respective services, the price in the area begins to rise making it almost impossible to live in the area because of the rise in rent. The last option for the original population is to leave, or to move to the periphery (or to cheaper places) then onto occupying the few remaining natural areas left or the hillsides which still remain, expanding the urban environment to places typically meant for retirement. One way to accelerate gentrification is to halt people from joining NGO groups like “Neighborhood Assembly” (Asamblea de Barrios) who then symbolically occupy vacated spaces, hanging signs out their windows, which they then take on as their own property; while on other occasions when others occupy a building, it is the very same group who will violently evict them with the help of anti-riot soldiers. These evictions are already very common in Mexico City and they are not just directed against those squatting buildings, but those who “stopped paying rent.”
We would classify gentrification with the following axes:
Symbolic gentrification: tied along with private investment for the conservation of historic centers and neighborhoods meant for entertainment and cultural consumption; the relocation of informal markets that occupy the streets and public squares (and which according to Marcel Ebrard, make the city look ugly); policies against violence and “insecurity” and the promotion of tourism. In this regard, we could briefly mention the working-class neighborhood of Xochimilco where during the previous year (2015) the municipal government removed the informal market (which does not make much revenue for the government) from the city center which surrounds the municipal market, as well as prohibiting smalls busses from entering the city center; actions which lead to brief clashes with soldiers, occupation of police stations and blockades by transport workers. Currently there are talks of constructing a Wal-Mart in this same neighborhood, a project which has already found some “inconformities.” Lastly, it is important to point out that the current municipal government, playing its role well, is setting neighbors and market workers against each other, and has recuperated any protest by way of mediating any outbreak of major conflict.
The gentrification of industrial zones and their conversion headed by the real estate market in center-urban areas or on those on the periphery: The accelerated urban transformations by the management of Mexico City (now dubbed as CDMX), as well as the creation of new city centers to aid in the valorization of urban spaces; the possibility of the appropriation of potential higher rents; the securing of industrial chains and with this the attachment of corporate capital in Mexico City as a place of power and consumption.
Gentrification is, as people popularly say is a plan con maña 6, since the more mobile people are (which includes those on the periphery), the more they have need for a rapid and fast transit to get to their jobs, their schools, to the house of their partners or to go to the city center for entertainment which the capital has itself established. It is at this point that more investment is pumped into the creation of more private transit like commuter & underground trains, mexibus, metrobus and others. This obviously creates significant consequences such as worker exploitation, destruction of the natural environment, more displacements, etc.
Real estate developments in Mexico City are located in the upper circuit of the capital because they respond to the interests of transnational capital, which look for the highest returns in the most lucrative of locales to extract value, including those on the periphery of the system. This generates an increase in rents and local groups could see themselves benefit from this, but these persons already pay the highest rents per capita. The increase of differential rents with new investments, causes the reproduction of deep social contrasts and polarization, along with forms of fragmentation of the social fabric in the cities of Latin America; cities in which we find residential segregation on the basis of class and ethnicity and where we also find bourgeoning urban social movements.
In the current restructuring context of Mexico City (which includes the whole of the Valley of Mexico), gentrification is a part of the restructuring of the city for the urban pro-commuter cycling process which includes the interests of real estate investors in collusion with the government, to invest in old neighborhoods in order to transform them into model and exclusive neighborhoods. These projects inject themselves into pro-business urbanism whose urban, public and public-private management favors the interests of the market, as they do across the world. Gentrification unifies and complements itself with mega-projects, bringing about not just the destruction of the natural environment, as well as foreclosing meetings points which even in this concrete jungle can help generate relations hostile to the system. Privatizing so-called “pubic spaces” is how they hope to paralyze this hostility which poisons the commercial centers with protests, riots, occupations and juvenile delinquency.
Specifically there exists three processes of gentrification in Mexico City
The rehabilitation of a good portion of the Historic Center is associated with the intense participation of the State of Mexico and of big private investors in a practically indissoluble fusion, ideologically making the best of the symbolic valorization found in this place in Mexican society, thus making a type of symbolic gentrification.
Revitalization of the historical neighborhoods of Roma, Condesa and Hipódromo Condesa as a process of commercial reactivation. A gentrification led by the real estate market to foster consumption. To this point we could also add the ZODES 7, which we will speak more on later.
And finally there is classical gentrification derived from substantial investment, violent social displacement, and the interest in capitalist modernization, which corresponds with the corporate center Santa Fe, and the indirect displacement which could be found in the neighborhood Slim and other developers of “Nuevo Polanco” with their grand projects of industrial, commercial and residential services for the global city.
An innumerable amount of urban mega-projects complement gentrification, which can also be taken as instruments of social control and domination: suppression of freedom, control of life, destruction of the natural environment, overcrowding in the periphery neighborhoods as a method to protect the centers of Capital and the expansion of the city to areas still untouched by urbanization.
The ZODES, City of the Future, an exemplar of gentrification
Examples of gentrification can be found with the municipality of Juárez and the Merced Market; but we can also include the rest of the ZODES that seek to plant themselves in Chapultepec under the name of the Cultural-Creative Corridor; the so-called Administrative City in the doctors municipality (a police city); and in the Cuahtémoc district there is the Green City and the City of Health in Pedregales.
The ZODES, the zones for economic and social development, are presented under the title of the City of the Future. The real estate project will be headed by the parastatal company of Mexico City, “Quality of Life, Progress and Development for the City of Mexico,” now known as ProCdMX and the “Promotion Agency of Investments and Development of the City of Mexico,” a private company which the city government favors and whose general director is the businessman Simón Levy-Dabbah. The ZODES, City of the Future, is composed of 528 hectares that go from the Estadio Azteca, all the way to the City University (from east to west), and from the Asphalt Plant up to Huayamilpas Park (from south to north. In this zone the urban project plans to transform the Asphalt Plant into a housing development, 37 stories in height. Another change includes the use of the ground floor for mixed commercial use. Lastly, the construction of the CETRAM8 are also planned . They will be enormous commercial squares which will also serve as stops for different transport routes. There are to be found at the University and Huipulco stations – similar to the stop found at the Rosario metro station. Meanwhile the few parks, like the one at Huayamilpas, which has an ancient history, will be converted into urban parks, asphalt zones with modern and attractive designs, with the capacity to be buildings as well. In the particular case of the park at Huayamilpas there is planned a construction of a building of three levels.
On the opposition to gentrification plans & some urban mega-projects
Unfortunately the experiences of struggles up until now against these gentrification plans and other types of urban projects have remained a very citizen-orientated response, one which has already in many cases been recuperated by the system and others which will probably be recuperated soon. Within these citizen protests, it is also clear there are “limits” imposed by the system and by the very organizations involved. Blockades of avenues including barricades, a few clashes with the police, agitation against these projects of the powerful are a few of the tactics used against the projects of the city government and the businesses in collusion. But in many cases, even when these clashes of protest and rebellion are radical in their form, in their content they persist with citizen-orientated demands, with no intention of overcoming or going beyond them. Looking at the [Mexican] anti-prison struggles or the rebellious clashes of the prisoners (revolts, riots, killing of C.O.’s, escapes), these clashes of inconformity, by not having a more or less clear and deeper perspective, they are then easy to recuperate by the system; through lasting agreements and mediations, the struggle is stifled along with the possible propagation of radical acts of protest.
Few are the struggles against the projects of the powerful, on the [Mexican] national territory, that keep outside or on the margin of any intermediation, dialogue, mediation direct or indirect with the institutions of the State. Most struggles do not advance in their practical-theoretical sense since their sole task is piecemeal, and not total. And the means they take can be recuperated by the system, since often the sole response (resistance) possible is attached the legality, to what they perceive as “legitimate” struggle and civil disobedience. But even whey they use radical methods, the matter is still a problem of depth and perspective: they ask for more work, seek to maintain the cities intact, bring up security issues and the matter of political differences between political parties.
Leaving by the wayside economic questions, the critique and struggle is against power
We think that to exercise a critique and plan of action that attacks these (and other) projects of the powerful, the same which stifle our existence, our lives and which destroy what’s around us, we must embark from a place beyond discourse and the (recuperated and recuperable) action of citizenism, which is the fall of some social and Leftist movements; further, we must embark from a place that is critical of citizenism, from a place radically contrary to the recuperative logic of citizenism: petitions, gathering of signatures, letters directed towards members of government, legal assistance, etc.
The critique and struggle of us as anarchists against any project of the powerful must distance itself from any economic and citizen-orientated argument. To bring up the nature of our reality around us does not bind us to a citizenism, which many activists cling to, since our struggle is not to maintain the cities and working-class neighborhoods intact, but to attack Capital by way of attacking their mega-projects. Our struggle is one of subversion of our social roles, subversion of this reality and its relations, subversion by attacking issues which affect many of us, to find points in common from which we can propagate insurrection for anarchy, for the destruction of power. These points in common can arise out of specific struggles (insurrectionary projects) where we practice the principles of self-organization, permanent conflictuality, self-management and the attack. Or they could also derive from direct and immediate expressions of revolt which can give way to a generalized subversion under an anti-authoritarian perspective.
This subversion which we speak of could not come to pass without practicing sabotage in its fullest capacity, for example, attacking construction machinery with means easily elaborated and propagated, or attacking businesses that make these mega-projects possible; as well as making use of self-organization and conflict.
Besides destroying the place where we live, gentrification is yet another method the system makes use of to exert social control and domination, and as such, should be critiqued and attacked, for present and future of freedom.
Traslate by: http://www.luchanofeik.club
1 native name for the current location of Mexico City ↩
2 a system of rivers, canals and arroyos which existed on what was the former Lake of Texcoco constructed by the Spanish to stem flooding of the city ↩
3 a municipality located to northeastern part of the state of Mexico ↩
4 a large drainage pipeline ↩
5 Mexican municipalities ↩
6 a plan which one performs astutely but without trying trying to give off that you desire its object ↩
7 Zone for Economic and Social Development ↩
8 Multimodal Transfer Centers ↩
Recuperators of the existent
In the second issue of this publication [Negación] was already a text about the role that the integrators in the system, like NGOs or different left and reformist groups, play to pacify uprisings and conflicts, assimilating various struggles and stripping them of the essential characteristics they had by moments acquired. We had explained how also the system integrates into its ranks, through its programmes of citizens’ well-being, various groups that in the future might represent a danger for the social peace or the stability of the country. Together with these institutions, various collectives of the left area play this recuperating role, being it consciously or unconsciously.
All this has been called “recuperation”: when a struggle tends to radicalize, it gets integrated in the system by left groups and NGOs; or when it is the State itself who is doing this job by its own means, recuperating the struggles by bringing them under its control, surveillance and handling. But also when different leftist groups try to participate in conflicting struggles by proposing reforms and mediations with the State, rendering these struggles vulnerable for control by the system.
It is evident but necessary to emphasize that the shock groups of the State play an important role in this process of recuperation and/or assimilation during uprisings or revolts.
To extend this question a bit more, I will give some examples.
In Mexico, during the insurrectional troubles of the 1st of December of 2012, when thousands of people went out on the streets to protest against the ascent to power of Enrique Peña Nieto, the groups of the democratic left, left political parties, anti-system groups (including the FAM, Mexican Anarchist Federation) and groups of known out-and-out “integrators” and reformists like a big part of the movement “Yo Soy #132” (1) also went out to protest, but always with the guidelines – some in an indirect way – to put out any insurrectional outbreak, to manage the revolt themselves and bring water to their own mill.
To their misfortune, the troubles took the form of revolt. The attack against the symbols of power and the self-organisation started to spread, and also the anarchists without flags, acronyms or formalised organisation stood on the side of the rest of the exploited, self-organising the revolt. This self-organisation of which I am speaking went beyond the guidelines who were calling for “calm” coming from various leftist groups which saw clearly that control was slipping out of their hands.
Also some anarchist collectives felt the same when they saw that in the insurrectional moment their synthesis organisation was nor leading, nor representing in anyway as was the case in 1936 or 1910, that chaos generalised and that the autonomy of the exploited, the excluded and the self-excluded overcame their old guidelines, their old schematics and their eminent and repeated calls to waité for the “due organisation”. This was con firmed later on when the leaders of the Revolutionary Anarchist Alliance, who adhere to the FAM, denied the participation of the acrates in the troubles.
On the first of December of 2012 revolt broke out. During the riots in which various headquarters of capital where sabotaged and heavy fighting took place with the cops, hundreds of people were arrested, the majority of them coming from the left and anarchist area. There were the usual violations of the so-called human rights and “excessive punishments” for the detained. The majority of the arrested were accused of attacks against the public peace, a felony of the old law which can lead up to 36 years of prison.
At that moment, the issue – especially for the move-ment #132 – was the derogation of the felony of attack against the public peace as being an anti-constitutional felony without juridical foundations. This mobilised hundreds of persons, left groups and anti-system collectives, including some anarchist sectors. Some weeks lat-er, on the 28th of December, the legislative Assembly of the Federal District modified the felony of attack against the public peace, considering it as a non-serious felony and with possibility of bailout. In this way, all detained got released, but with a process pending.
Much has been said about this reform. The #132 boasted about it, calling this “change” an “achievement” and a triumph of the people and the social movement. Nevertheless, even when these mobilisations which called for the derogation of the law on attack against the social peace put little pressure, we can see clearly that the strategy of the government was a quite different one.
Converging with this whole scenario of riots, molotovs, mobilisations, detentions and torture of demonstrators, came the change of government of the Federal District. Marcelo Ebrad left power and his successor – a part from being an ex-attorney of Justice in the capital of the country – the police academy doctor Miguel Mancera, took hold of the tasks of Chief of Government of the Capital. Neither Ebrad nor Mancera, being left persons and eager liberal social-democrats, could leave or enter the power office stained with blood, discredit, torture and arbitrary detentions; but neither with riots and balaclavas, weapons that their political adversaries would use to make “bad publicity” for them.
And so the law on attack against the public peace was reformed. In our opinion, this was a political step to answer to the crisis of the moment.
Together with the decision to reform the law as a political strategy to stay in a certain way good and clean in the eyes of the population of the capital city, we can mention the fact that with this concession, the government of the city betted to calm the burning hearts of the protesters who had another claim now: liberate the political prisoners. But not only this, also inside such speech one can find back the seeds of recuperation.
Directly or indirectly, as part of a strategy or by coincidence, the government of the capital city went out of office having gained for the moment that the progressive left, the reformists and especially groups like Yo soy #132 celebrated this concession as an “achievement” and considering it as an advance of “democracy in these lands”. Maybe without wanting to see that this was nothing more than another link on the chains which the proletarians are carrying.
The government won, because as this was considered an achievement, it meant mediation, agreement and pacification.
The Yo Soy #132, together with the so-called “social movement”, went into silence, delegation, dialogue and compromise. The objective to chasing Peña Nieto from power – although very discussable from the point of view of anarchist perspective – was for the moment the only thing that was able to unify the discontent of the proletarians and which culminated in heavy clashes which opened up space beyond the “objective”, remained reduced to a heap of petitions and the celebration of yet another day on the revolutionary calender.
The leftist groups got comfortable again, all took their part from this uprising and many things got calm again. All happy with their miserable reform. All happy with another day on the calender to celebrate, yearning that the year to come would be the same.
Also the other recuperators did their work – including the politicians from the FAM and other groups who follow the same line calling for the junction – and tried to include at any cost the dissident groups inside of their organi- sations, calling for calm and waiting, including different sectors implicated in the games of the system, in social programs, in political parties. Crossing out the insurgents as mere vandals, especially the anarchist and anti-system individualities which participated in those days in the popular uprising. A job well done for the integration – and in a certain way for the canalisation of rebellions and new upsurges of violence – that bared fruit in later mobilizations which were less big and less uncontrolled.
But why this recuperation job?
Simply because these revolts that for the moment yelled out against the rise to power of a PRI dinosaur, went not only beyond the claims and programs of those groups, but also went beyond their own initial call. The 1st of December was not a revolt against Peña or against the PRI. Although it kicked off as such, it took later on the form of a revolt which went, in that moment of spontaneous chaos, beyond the classical phase of claims, the claim phase which is exhausted and which is easily recuperated by political “opposition” reformists and parties and which always comes down to the killing of the passions for living a life of quality. The revolt of December was the united rage of all exploited against their exploitation, that is to say, against this world and those who rule it.
For a while, some of us put into question the attitude of many anarchists which were eagerly repeating during the riots the anti-PRI and reformist claims as it seemed that their participation went together with a lack of perspective and of a clear project, an insurrectional project. Not a project of an exactly anarchist insurrection, be- cause the ongoing revolt was not this, but an insurrectional project which would tend to influence with clarity the revolt, as to make it not only generalize concerning the revolutionary violence, but also generalizing the critique of the conditions of exploitation and death to a more wide critique and therefore global critique. A generalisation of the critique and the attack that doesn’t follow a previously established program, nor quite apocalyptic views, but that manifests itself in the spontaneous process of self-organisations of all exploited. To influence is not the same as to impose.
To participate in a popular revolt doesn’t mean to blindly repeat the words of the “people” or the programs of the established social movements. Such delegations of our individuality do not interest us. To participate in a popular revolt is first of all a point of meeting between individuals, it means to propose a perspective of a new world, a world freed of all authority; it means to create an own perspective together with the rest of the exploited, without following programs nor leaders. To participate in a popular revolt doesn’t mean to sacrifice oneself for the “cause of the people”, it means to self-organise with the others, to discuss, to dialogue to come to common points. To participate in a popular revolt means to be participants in the first person, not as lambs following outside schemas. But above all, it means to influence to radicalise the motives of revolt and the revolt itself.
The year 2013 was a time of tensions in the capital of this stinky country, with the rising of the price of the metro tickets, the self-organisation of the exploited and the oppressed came back to the surface proving that not everything is vilely assimilated or recuperated by the State.
Massive demonstrations in the streets, blockades of the main entrances of the metro, sabotage actions of the ticket machines, some clashes with the forces of order, a climate which smelled like tension and powder. In this limate of tension, an action against the SCT (Secretary of Communications and Transport) tried to propagate the reproducibility and re-appropriation of easy acts of sabotage, an action that – like many others – tried to give its contribution for the conflict to generalize. During that weeks of rising tension, we saw again the self-organized, but also spontaneous rage of the proletarians. An example, simple but clear, were the hundreds of sabotage actions against the torniquete machines of the metro and the “boletazo” [blocking or sabotaging the gates to the metro so that people can pass without paying]. It made clear that sabotage, direct action, self-organization and self-management of the struggle are no exclusivity of some group of specialists and neither of some professional politicians and leaders. It are above all weapons which are within reach of all.
It was again a concession which put an end to that weeks of rebellion: the government of the Federal District gave a special rate for vulnerable persons: housewives, students, unemployed etc. With that agreement, pacification of the expressions of revolt was achieved.
To conclude, I would say that on the other hand we have been responsible for what happened. We and our halfheartedness facing the fact of criticizing with perceptiveness and objectivity, but also strongly and without mediation, this type of recuperating and leftist organizations who seem to play “revolution”; independently of the fact if they work with the State or if they are independents or anarchists. This lack of critique is partly what allowed the advance of the recuperators and integrators, which, as we know well, will not back off with just a critique of their job, but that might influence the perspective that the comrades and other persons have towards them, that might even invert the
climate of existing “acceptance” around these recuperating organizations of the existent.
Of the year 2014, what to say(2). All protests, actions and riots for the disappearance of the 43 of Iguala, but also for the destruction of the State-Capital, for freedom, made clear that the rage is still alive and kicking, that social pacification has not reached its desired levels, that in this year, moods didn’t got down and that every day, the conditions are on the table.
Anyway, in this climate of tension that keeps existing in the capital city of the country, the recuperators of whatever color are doing everything they can to put out the fire. But, in contrast with the paragraphs above, I ask myself… but have they done their job well? Maybe yes, but only for the moment, in the future, we will see.
An insurgent without regrets
March 2015 – Mexico
1. The movement Yo Soy #132 was a political-student movement of clear reformist signature. The first generation of the movement was born in the IBERO private university when a group of students demonstrated against the meeting of Enrique Peña Nieto on this university as a part of his presidential campaign of the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party, more or less the main political force of Mexico]. The movement #132 had a clear PRD-stamp [Party for the Democratic Revolution, a main political formation on the left of the PRI], but with time passing there were various splits which chose another more militant leftism. Some people compare this movement to the one led by the Chilean student Camila Vallejo. There exists a book about #132, which for us means nothing more than a mystification of this movement.
2. At this point, I recommend to read the text “Conflicto, la disgregacion y la guerra social”.
On anarchist internationalism
As other comrades put it well: we anarchists are internationalists until we have destroyed the nations. Even if the first step is to not recognise nor accept them, their destruction is part of the project of destruction of the State.
Anarchy has always stood on an internationalist position. We are well aware that we should take our local context into account, but internationalism is an inseparable characteristic of the thought which tries to annihilate any sort of State and authority, opposes all form of progress and forges a life attitude in revolt against the whole existent.
The exchange of ideas and thoughts between comrades on different latitudes on the planet has been fundamental for the building of an internationalist anarchist perspective which rejects the limitations of borders and ethnicities, for example through spreading the fights comrades are waging in other contexts. Direct action and sabotage have also allowed, starting from practice itself, to forge international links between anarchists from one place or another. That goes as well for the punctual and personal support between comrades of different places, a support which manifests itself in the struggle and the common projects which are being built day after day. Translations of communiques, dialogues between comrades, solidarity actions, pamphlets to spread the stories of comrades, support to different projects, journals for exchange of ideas, thoughts and critiques, sabotage, support to comrades who are on the run, weaving fraternal relations between comrades are some examples of the way in which the movement has put into practice the internationalism that characterizes it.
From the movement in solidarity with Sacco and Vanzetti when sabotage were realized, amongst others, by the anarchist circles close to the journal Culmine to the sabotage actions in solidarity with the hunger strikes of the Greek comrades, from the coordination and support between comrades of the United States and Mexico to organize and propagate the insurrectional upheavals of 1910 – including the support to comrades on the run or in prison – to pamphlets in solidarity with the comrades of the 5E-M in Mexico, anarchism has showed clearly that there exist no borders for solidarity and coordination, that is to say, for the struggle itself. From comrades in Norway or Finland, countries where social pacification is strongly spread to comrades in Turkey, Syria or the Arab countries which are since years finding them-selves in a logic of all out war, we anarchists are not going to create social or ethnic categorizations, neither are we going to reproduce those categorizations that the capitalist system has created to divide. We are not going to treat comrades as little bourgeois due to the fact that by they are born in a place different then ours, just as we are not going to discriminate (“positively” moreover!) others who are born in much more catastrophic and rotten places than where we are living.
It is clear that each place has its own characteristics that in a certain way define the conditions of the struggle and that the insurrectional project has to be adapted to this characteristics, but even as such the anarchist struggle does not only correspond to local outlines of struggle. On the contrary: the struggle tries to be global reality of attack against State and Capital. As such, anarchy is far away from leftist realism, that left realism which incites passivity, waiting, reformism and kills all dreams and desires for a life of quality through the speech of what is possible and what can be done based on “the reality we are living”.
Finally, we think that we should formulate our theses starting from what we are living locally – that’s why we, the group of comrades who are participating in one way or another, from the moment we started publishing this journal, tackled themes starting from what we have in front of our eyes (and this tears down the big lie that says that there is a sort of Europeanization or European exportation existing in Mexico). But at the same time, we refuse to exchange our dreams for political realism and we believe that also contributions from comrades from other latitudes, as well as the international solidarity, may never be neglected, because they are before everything else one of the bases of anarchy which is trying to destroy all kinds of limitations. We are individualists as we believe in ourselves and act in consequence, but we also share perspectives and project with many other comrades. We learn from our past and our own experiences, but also from experiences and perspectives from other latitudes which nourish us. We refuse anyway to fall into idealizations.
If comrades in Mexico have taken over on certain moments the acronyms of CCF or FAI to claim their sabotage actions, we do not think now that this has been due to a – total – lack of own analysis neither to photocopy a speech. Although we have a critique on revendication acronyms and what is commonly called “neo-nihilism”, we can not deny that they and other comrades have put forward, in acts, a manifestation of living anarchist internationalism, to take part in the attack against power according to their own premises and perspectives.
In the same way, nowadays there exist editorial projects in affinity with the insurrectional project that doesn’t rejoice about acronyms. Those projects try to be a link between anarchists from all over the world; but there is also the practice, inseparable from theory, to express clearly that anarchy can never be reduced to an alternative without perspectives of attack against power, and neither to a regionalist speech justified by unfounded arguments that are therefore sterile of any potentiality of real, and not fictitious, confrontation.
If we are individualists, we do not idealise anything of “our own or of abroad” and we represent nothing but ourselves. The social ware is latent and our life is the authentic battlefield.
March 2015 – Mexico