(via libcom,org) Article by Chilean anarchists which details the history of the anarchist and workers’ movements over the previous 130 years.

We begin in 1872, when the Chilean Section of the International Working Men’s Association was established in Valparaiso, a major coastal city. Tragically, this was also the year of the anarchists’ expulsion from the International, and the section was not destined to last for long. However, it planted the seeds among the workers, for the growth of a strong and developing movement, spreading libertarian ideas throughout syndicates and work-places. Libertarian ideas were becoming particularly strong amongst the Nitrate miners in the North of the country.

But this process was interrupted by the outbreak in 1879 of the Pacific war. Chile had occupied Antofagasta in the North (then Bolivian territory, and rich in Nitrate deposits) and declared war on both Bolivia and Peru. However English Capital also held major stakes in the conflict – having bought up huge amounts of mining land cheap during the war. The eventual victory of the Chilean State brought prosperity to the English enslavers, Chilean bosses, and the State (via Nitrate taxes) but spelt misery and death to the people. As ever – it was the exploited who paid the price; and the rich, who enjoyed the benefits of the spoils of war. Unfortunately for them, the war wasn’t enough to stop the social struggle or to tame the people.

In 1887 the Union Republicana del Pueblo (People’s Republican Union) was formed, with a clear anarchist platform.. There followed, shortly afterwards, a series of largescale strikes by railworkers, miners and others, culminating finally in the first national general strike in 1890. The strike was joined by workers stretching the whole of the country and was the first of its sort in Latin America. The strike was brutally put down with the violence we have come to expect from all governments.

In 1891 another conflict took its toll on the working class: President Balmaceda, who was rapidly losing control of Congress, nevertheless continued to assert his presidential authority – attempting to press through reforms against the wishes of both Congress, and – more significantly – the interests of English Capital in Chile. This lead to a civil war of quite unexpected dimensions that finally deposed Balmaceda from government. History, or rather, official history, tries to hide from us the actual genesis of the conflict, citing violations to the constitution, but we’re not stupid and we won’t be deceived by these lying so-called ‘intellectuals’ who fill the schoolbooks with crap and crummy arguments. Constitution is not a strong argument: after all constitutions are brandished and used by all governments for their own purposes.

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(libcom.org) This book covers a wide range of topics, including anarchistic elements in traditional African societies, African communalism, Africa’s economic and political development, the lingering social, political and economic effects of colonialism, the development of “African socialism” and its failure, and a possible means of resolving Africa’s ongoing crises.

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(upsidedownworld.org) Following recent events in Chiapas, the Network for Solidarity and against Repression has urged “adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, and every organization, collective, and honest person in Mexico and the world who, from your own places, extend your embrace to the dignified rage of the Zapatistas,”  to participate in the Week of National and International Solidarity, “If they touch the Zapatistas, they touch all of us”, to be held from February 16 to 23, to “denounce the counterinsurgency war” and express that “the Zapatista communities are not alone.”

This call results from great concerns about recent events, denounced by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center as: “the Chiapas government’s failure to prevent attacks on the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) from the 10 de Abril community,” leading to “an imminent possibility of new attacks and an intensification of the violence, which would be a risk to life and personal integrity, in addition to the violations of the right to territory and autonomy of the Zapatista peoples.”

These events came to light on January 31, when the Zapatista Good Government Junta, Heart of the Rainbow of Hope, from Caracol IV, and Whirlwind of our Words (based in Morelia, Chiapas) denounced new aggressions suffered by Zapatista support bases (BAZ). The attacks were made on the iconic Zapatista community of 10 de Abril in the autonomous rebel municipality 17 de Noviembre, by groups of government supporters belonging to the group Independent Center of Agricultural and Campesino Workers (CIOAC) Democratic, from the nearby Tojolabal community of 20 de Noviembre. Six BAZ members were injured, three of them seriously, and one is in danger of losing his sight. Furthermore, a shocking attack also took place on staff from the San Carlos Hospital in Altimirano who came to give assistance, but were attacked and prevented from attending to the injured.

Read more: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4700-zapatista-support-bases-under-attack-call-for-a-week-of-national-and-international-solidarity

(revolution-news.com) Amid calm euphoria, increased state repression, and mass-media lies, people in Bosnia and Herzegovina move from street protests to plenums, or public assemblies. Plenums are about taking back the power: political parties are banned from participating.

Read more: http://revolution-news.com/bosnia-and-herzegovina-teach-eu-a-lesson-in-democracy-people-know-what-they-want/

(struggle.ws) Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women’s liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational. Their example shows how the struggle against women’s oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.

As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930’s feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for ‘equality of women within an existing system of privileges’. They argued “We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It’s necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don’t we’ll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves”.

They said: “We are aware of the precedents set by both feminist organisations and by the political parties… We could not follow either of these paths. We could not separate the women’s problem from the social problem. Nor could we deny the significance of the first by converting women into a simple instrument for any organisation, even.. our own libertarian organisation.

The intention that underlay our activities was much broader: to serve a doctrine, not a party, to empower women to make of them individuals capable of contributing to the structuring of the future society, individuals who have learned to be self- determining, not to follow blindly the dictates of any organisation”.

Read more: http://struggle.ws/ws98/ws54_mujeres_libres.html

(libcom.org) Protests and demonstrations broke out in Tuzla on Wednesday night and have spread to the towns of Zenica, Mostar, Bihac and Sarayevo. In the northern industrial city of Tuzla, thousands of workers have been made redundant with many of them losing their pensions and health benefits.

Reuters reports that many workers have taken to the streets and have been joined by students. Government buildings and the police have been attacked and confrontations continue. Unemployment is officially 27.5% in Bosnia (officially) and the ruling cliques here are widely seen as gangsters. It’s early and we should be careful but this looks to be different from events in Ukraine which is subsumed in nationalism and inter-imperialist rivalries.

Source: http://libcom.org/news/protests-bosnia-07022014

(theanarchistlibrary.org)

Alternate Tendencies of Anarchism

Uri Gordon (2008). Anarchy Alive!
Michael Schmidt & Lucien van der Walt (2009). Black Flame.

It has been stated by various theorists that there are two main trends in modern anarchism. How they are conceptualized varies with the writer. I will state how I see the two broad tendencies in the anarchist movement, using the above two books to illustrate the two trends (this is particularly not a review of Black Flame). I will describe them as differing on the issues of revolution or reformism, of democracy, of what “prefigurative politics” mean, and of attitudes toward the working class.

Near the beginning of a recent book on anarchism by Uri Gordon (2008), an Israeli anarchist, the author discusses the “most prominent division” among anarchists. He starts with the way this was framed by David Graeber (2002) of the U.S. as between “a minority tendency of ‘sectarian’ or ‘capital-A anarchist groups,’” which have developed, dogmatic, political programs, and “a majority tendency of ‘small-a anarchists’…who ‘are the real locus of historical dynamism right now’” and who are much looser programmatically (Gordon 2008; p.23–24; for my views on Graeber’s anarchism, see Price 2007). The only group Graeber referred to as sectarian, dogmatic, big-A, anarchist, was the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist-Communists (I am a member of NEFAC, but not an official spokesperson).

Gordon thinks there is “something” to Graeber’s distinction, but that it should be more “subtly” interpreted. First of all, “capital-A groups are hardly a minority tendency …[having] many thousands of members” (p. 24). This is especially true if we include the memberships of the anarchist-syndicalist unions in Europe and elsewhere. Contrary to charges of “sectarianism” and “dogmatism,” Gordon notes that most “platformists” do not regard Makhno’s Organizational Platform of 1926 as a sacred text but treat it as a beginning for discussion. (Often, calling someone “dogmatic” is a writer’s way of saying that someone disagrees with the writer and is stubbornly refusing to accept the writer’s opinion.)

Instead, Gordon sees the distinction between the two tendencies as over “political culture” (this is a non-ideological way of discussing differences). One trend (the capital-A anarchists) identifies with “the traditional political culture of the anarchist movement established before the Second World War” (p.25). He says that they have formal structures with elected officials, and that decisions are often made through votes. They emphasize workplace organizing, anti-war actions, and publishing their ideas. The other (small-a) trend does not care much about anarchist traditions, has only informal groups, makes decisions by consensus, and, he writes, focuses on ecology, identity politics, experimental community, and Eastern spirituality.

“The difference between the two anarchisms is generational — an ‘Old School’ and a ‘New School’” (same). Without wanting to denounce the Old School anarchists, Gordon (like Graeber) is plainly on the side of the New School of anarchism. (He is not always so nonsectarian; later in his book, he angrily denounces my views on Israel/ Palestine — which is not directly related to my topic here; see pp. 149 — 151; responded to in Price 2009).

While I think that Gordon has accurately distinguished the two main trends in current anarchism, I do not think that Old versus New is a useful way to understand the division. Many of the so-called New School views he cites can be found way back in anarchist history, starting with Proudhon and Stirner and others. Gordon specifically cites Gustav Landauer’s concepts from 1911, to illustrate his own views. Many of these ideas were raised by Paul Goodman and Colin Ward, among other anarchists, in the 60s and 70s. Few of the New School’s ideas are all that new.

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