Venezuela in Insurrection…and the Anarchists?


Venezuela is experiencing a pre-insurrectional moment. Those who have not realized this have not been on the street and feel well served by information from the censorship-controlled media. After the process of degradation that has turned it into a dictatorship, people have lost their fear of government and repression. Unlike other moments of anti-Chávez protest, the popular sectors have now joined, both in Caracas and in other parts of the country. In the confrontation with the repression informal co-ordinations are established to repel the tear gas and rubber bullet attacks, as well as to help the wounded. There is a desire for change in the air, and there are as many proposals as there are mobilized people. Circumstantially, after having submitted docilely to the Recall Referendum that meant the rupture between the opposition leadership and its bases of support, a sector of politicians is regaining its representation, but after having been pressured by the masses to join the protests they have suffered the same effects of repression as the rest. However, and this must be stressed, the relationship between the people and political parties has changed, and there is no longer the security that existed before, under the blackmail of ‘anti-Chavista unity’. If there are no factors that can maintain and increase this tension until it explodes, the politicians will be able to recover their leading roles.

While the confrontation with the state reaches these levels, the situation of the ‘revolutionary’ leftists, including the anarchists is pathetic. The anarchists suffered the same process of weakening that befell the rest of the popular movements, divided by their support or rejection of the Bolivarian model of domination. Although they have never had a great influence, what little that had been built in previous years no longer exists. The newspaper El Libertario, the only regular publication that counted no longer exists. Blogs and virtual spaces are at their lowest expression. Regular meetings in real time no longer occur because many comrades are barely surviving the economic crisis. Even the pro-government ‘anarchism’ has disappeared, with some officials and other people having left the country. With everything going on in this situation, the ‘anarchists’ seem to be satisfied with giving lessons in revolutionary purity from their computers, while the real people – with all the contradictions and limitations that all people have – are actually facing the government and the repression.

Now we have no impact on events, but the only way to generate conditions for doing so in the future is to participate in the movements of people against oppression, strengthening the processes of self-organization and autonomy in the margins and against political parties. No, it is not the ‘revolution’ that we want in our theoretical heads, but the real agitations and processes of people of flesh and blood against the concrete factors of power. To stand aside is to condemn ourselves to being a ‘sect’ for enlightened people, a condition that is defended by some, but we reject those who don’t want to see our values and not our labels be experienced by the greatest number of people.

Objectively, the discrediting of Marxism as a result of the degradation of Chavism – “corruption to an extreme degree” to quote Noam Chomsky – “has generated objective conditions for anarchism to have the capacity to engage, as never before, with the future of this country.” But it must also be understood that many of the methods in which these values are materialized – cooperatives, urban agriculture etc – were also corrupted by Bolivarianism. Anarchists will need to make a concerted effort of theoretical and practical reinvention in order to have the ability to make an impact in the future.

We have to choose: Sit on the sidelines and bury ourselves with the rest of the left in the wake of Chavez, or try to be a viable and consistent alternative. You decide where we meet: On the street or in front of our computers.

(via Periodico El Libertario, translated by Insurrection News)