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Message to the Founding Congress of the Brazilian Anarchist Co-ordination (CAB)
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana | anarchist movement | press release Monday June 04, 2012 13:51 by Federação Anarquista Gaúcha - FAG
In the days of June, in Rio de Janeiro, organised anarchism in Brazil will experience its greatest contemporary historical event. The Anarchist Congress, that will bring together groups from about 10 states across the country in debates, agreements and resolutions to act with common principles and tactics on the Brazilian reality, has a very special significance. Our conviction, in a more than 10 year process, says that militant anarchism holds indispensable contributions to the struggles for anti-capitalist social change. The meeting of militant forces that embody the same concept of work in co-ordination is a fundamental step in the journey of building political organisation that doesn’t just start now.
Message to the Founding Congress of the Brazilian Anarchist Co-ordination (Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira - CAB)
Our ideology is historically linked to the struggle of the people and of the oppressed classes, to their experiences, sacrifices and projects of emancipation from the capitalist system. Against the relations of domination in all spheres of social practice was made radical, implacable critique; against the power structures that produce and reproduce class society was made a proposal for revolutionary change; against the violence and control of the state, the exploitation of the bosses, the oppressive ideas that circulate in the social body, was made intransigent militant action.
We are part of an effort of generations of the socialist workers movement that doesn’t begin nor end with us. Successors of those ideas and values, of their prevailing guidelines in order not to fall into the capture of the system, of the anarchist comrades that gave their lives in the dramas and battles of social antagonism since the beginning of the working class. We are also part of a people and of a land, of socio-cultural formation, of a singular history where the resistance of native people, of slaves, of the proletariat, the poor and those oppressed by the dominant power left trails of rebellious blood in their deeds.
Capitalism, the state and the whole ideological structure articulated to the state have always been harsh persecutors of anarchism, as all its radical opponents. In Brazil it couldn’t have been different. During the First Republic they faced junctures of strong juridical and repressive actions that destroyed organisations, media outlets, popular activities. We had the painful exile, imprisonment and liquidation of the lives of militants who are priceless to our cause.
Dependent Brazilian capitalism varied its operating models to preserve the core of its systemic elements. The libertarian project fought with great difficulties from the 1930s to act politically in a historical social context of change to the mentality of the masses, disputing the opportunism of the Bolshies and labour peleguismo  among the proletariat. It was on the scene of industrial economic growth articulated to a juridicial-political structure assimilative of certain labour conflicts, that repressively controlled the rebels, castrating the freedom of action of the class struggle vector of the unions. New technologies of power driven by a model of bourgeois-authoritarian domination that lined the dominant classes and a significant popular-worker sector.
Our field of activities was reduced, repressed, set back by factors that, summarily, we have sought to indicate over the decades. To do justice, it must be said that in the course of this long night for anarchism we had comrades that, in a tireless effort, struggled to keep alive their ideas in projects of organisation, periodicals, research and social culture centres, activity in sectors of the workers movements, including students, etc.. thankless tasks that ploughed the ground for posterity. For the left, the “real socialism” in Eastern Europe, the Asian revolutions, the successful example on our continent of the Cuban Revolution, gave a great power of attraction to Marxist ideas. The whole universe of values, discourses and references from the Cold War traversed the class struggle with bipolarity and crushed alternative positions.
Between the eventful years of the transition from civil-military dictatorship to the bourgeois representative regime, the end of the 70s revived anarchism in social struggles with new means of propaganda and action. A new generation mixes with the experience of older militants, who were already few. Reorganisation of the cultural centres returns the tasks of the diffusion of social critique and libertarian proposals to the agenda. In certain parts of the country there are militants operating in the student movement, union struggles, with some responsibility for popular activities. The conceptions of political work, of priorities and goals to envisage in common, of federative mechanisms to ensure smooth operating are, at this time, very confused. There is a general “synthesis” spirit, detailed by the hope of uniting the little that there is, to recuperate forces for the anarchist identity, joining all who identify with it.
The theme of organisation and of more structured mechanisms for action reappears in a historical context in which the public struggle of the masses is spilled over by the bourgeois transition to the new democratic legality, and causes the emergence on the national scene of social movements, the working class and the landless. The new unionism that organises from the grassroots and the union opposition against scabs and old corporatist structures is an advanced social force in the political struggle for social reforms beyond the gradual democratic model controlled by the dominant classes. The strategy of revolutionary syndicalism in the early twentieth century and the historical foundation of the Brazilian Workers Confederation (Confederação Operária Brasileira - COB) are the greatest references of social action for anarchism at this time. The concepts of orientation for work in the 1980s are supported, for an important group of militants, by this syndicalist experience, by their memories, their values and social conquests.
It is worth saying that these are concepts blended with the contemporary, with what is experienced at this time, also with the examples that most attracted the international libertarian struggle and the voice of its official bodies. The constitution, in the middle of the decade, of a support group for the IWA formed a predominant part of class struggle militancy around the concept of anarcho-syndicalism. The nuclei’s project for the reconstruction of the COB had their years of frank work, their dignified struggles, periodicals, national instances, various organisational efforts. But they did not achieve their objectives and over time had been disintegrating from the weakness of a formulation that, we think, was dislocated from the time and place in which they worked. The pro-CAB version of anarcho-syndicalism threw our few forces into the counter-current and away from a broad-based grassroots union movement that united the class and had to be involved with our tactics and principles.
In the 1990s, capitalism applies the neoliberal model in our country with a heavier hand through government shifts and the recipes from its international organisations. Brazil sells itself to globalisation, to the fierce capitalist action of the markets, the economic as dominant idea in the social structure, the policies of fiscal adjustment, privatisation, the sinister dependence on the financial powers. Precarious living, unemployment, poverty, the whole structure of social inequality invested heavily in our social order. The popular camp holds its advance and defends its hard won rights, the goods and public services that address the social question. In general we live in a conservative tipping in ideas and social practices. The reformist left formed in the new republic, under the leadership of the Partido Trabalhador (PT - Workers’ Party), is gradually integrated into the structures of power, in the institutional controls and their game of reproducing the system.
During this period the most restless sector of anarchism seeks to reorganise itself and to have proposals for the Brazilian reality, the historical context, its conditions and concrete possibilities. A phase of critical renewal opens, of gestation of an organised will that seeks solutions with an open mind to act with history, with current problems, without repetition of schemes. The FAU inspired and supported its formation. It is a Latin American anarchist experience that had the political capacity to struggle in distinct historical contexts and not to allow the libertarian project to miss a place among the oppressed and their concrete social contexts. The Processo de Construção Anarquista Brasileiro (PCAB - Brazilian Anarchist Construction Process), born in the mid-90s, showed the first elements of the especfista definition that today brings us together for an anarchist congress. It had ambitions that were not matched, blamed limits and precipitated acts that lacked enough accumulation to be taken. It created the Organização Socialismo Libertário (OSL - Libertarian Socialist Organisation), an organisation of short duration. In every way, a part of our generation – of the political experience that we have been building from the 90s until now – owes its ripening to this intent. To this pursuit by militant anarchism for its specific organisation and the construction of social force within the life and the guidelines of those “at the bottom”.
The process that we have today is different. It learns from the stumbling blocks that crossed the road, in order not to stumble over the same limits. It takes the concepts of orientation that prevailed over time: popular union action combined with the work of an anarchist political organisation. A finalist libertarian project that brings together the capabilities and proposals in order to be inserted in the present, to think with an open discourse on our social context and to act with ideological certainties that do not compromise with the values of the system.
The FAO starts almost at the same period that marks the arrival of the PT to national government, with Lula as president. Ten years are traversed in a time that has its singularity. The reformism that directed the social-political struggles of the 80s is accredited to administrate the bourgeois institutions with a politics reconciled with the great powers of the global structure of domination. The popular and union organisations affiliated to this strategy are arranged bureaucratically in the apparatus of the state. The government refreshes the dominant model, updates controls with ambiguities, with mixed areas of class collaboration. It combines the politics of continuity of the neoliberal recipes with a social pact of developmentalist hue that brings compensations for the poor. It is a model of high gains for the oligarchs and big capital, of political coalition with old sectors of the Right, of relative integration of popular sectors. That which doesn’t structurally change the controls of wealth and power. It coexists with a fragmentary stage of class struggle, of little combative accumulation, of reorganisation of a world of work and poverty that is dispersed and hegemonically linked to the dominant ideas.
Capitalist development is not an alternative to the emancipation of the oppressed, it never was. The system and its internal elements have a brutal and perverse logic that does not favour projects of real change. The economic growth that Brazil is experiencing is the growth of capital and the dominant powers, the exploitation of precarious labour, the profits of banking, agribusiness exports, the plundering of the territory and environment of the people. All social compensation is marginal and controlled within these structures of domination. The world today is walled by a scandalous assault by the banks and vulture funds, by the whole class of private property, which made the financial shit burst the account of the capitalist spree on the poor.
This criminal system punishes millions of workers with unemployment, produces precarious living conditions, imperialist wars, growing oppressions and misery. The general situation restores the urgent and necessary action of projects that accumulate antagonistic forces, incorporating radical elements of change in the collective imagination, making way for a socialist alternative. Our libertarian current has historically been an ideological factor in favour of new social relations, where socialism and freedom form an irrevocable horizon. The Congress brings together the forces of organised anarchism that tread on this terrain.
The Brazilian Anarchist Coordination must organise the elements to construct a strategic-tactical definition that has a strong insertion in the historical context that moves us to live and struggle. It has to be a militant environment that makes you feel like a collective and combative force of solidarity, more able to act. With strategies to defend a programme of actions that from this moment, from its specific and general conflicts, walks together with the workers and the people. Always with those that struggle!
But above all that carries in the course of its experience mechanisms of accumulating strength, of rupture, of people’s power.
To the Congress!
Wed 22 May, 15:49
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