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iberia / workplace struggles / entrevista Thursday May 10, 2018 15:02 byTodo Por Hacer

Desde hace un año, la CNT gijonesa mantiene una conflicto sindical contra la pastelería La Suiza por los abusos sufridos por una afiliada de este sindicato. Nos cuentan la lucha llevada contra este establecimiento y cómo la empresa, de la mano de la Policía, ha hecho todo lo posible por reprimir al sindicato y a las personas que han mostrado su solidaridad con la trabajadora.

¿Por qué se inicia el conflicto sindical con la pastelería La Suiza?

Todo comienza cuando la compañera que trabajaba en la pastelería acude al sindicato ante la indefensión en la que se encuentra: de baja por maternidad y en unas condiciones psicológicas extremas debido a lo que soportó durante el tiempo que trabajó en ese obrador y agravadas ante la perspectiva de una próxima reincorporación para volver a sufrir los abusos laborales, vejaciones y humillaciones a los que era sometida por parte del ilustre pastelero y su mediático vástago, un niño de papá bien situado en Nuevas Generaciones y en el PP, que saltó a la “fama” gracias a “El intermedio”.

Tras seguir el protocolo que se suele utilizar ante cualquier caso que llega al sindicato,el conflicto se inicia el 25 de abril de 2017 debido a la actitud hostil de la empresa – se negó a responder a nuestros burofax, se comportó de manera prepotente contra dos comisiones –. Realizamos un piquete ante el negocio el 1 de mayo y logramos forzar una reunión con el empresario para el 5 de mayo que no consiguió avance alguno en nuestras reclamaciones (reunión en la que el hijo del empresario, siguiendo la lógica de su partido, enervado ante nuestra actitud poco demócrata nos dijo literalmente: “sois ETA”) por lo que el día 8 volvimos a las movilizaciones.

Aquel día, la empresa había interpuesto una denuncia contra las representantes del sindicato por obstrucción a la justicia y durante el piquete, se gestaron las detenciones del día siguiente. El día 9 de mayo de 2017, 2 compañeras de este sindicato eran detenidas acusadas de obstrucción a la justicia. Esta situación provocó una escalada en las movilizaciones ya que se convocaron concentraciones en comisaría y piquetes de más de 100 personas delante del establecimiento durante varios días.

Desde que se inician las movilizaciones, ¿qué acciones se han llevado a cabo?

Aparte de la visibilización del conflicto mediante carteles, redes sociales,etc…a partir de la detención ilegal de nuestras compañeras, gestada por la brigada de información y de la que ni siquiera hay constancia legal, aumentó la presencia de gente en los piquetes y dio una dimensión mediática al conflicto que ayudó a socializarlo. También se llevaron a cabo pasacalles por el barrio, repartos de propaganda… Por otra parte, en el plano judicial se interpusieron las pertinentes denuncias por lo estrictamente laboral y otra más por acoso sexual.

¿Cómo han respondido los/as clientes/as y vecinos/as? ¿Habéis recibido solidaridad de otros sindicatos y movimientos sociales?

Desde el primer momento se unieron a los piquetes vecina/os del barrio, compañera/os de CSI, CGT, Bloque Críticu Estudiantil, diversos grupos feministas y de prácticamente todo el espectro político “alternativo” asturiano, cosa que fue in crescendo hasta que el ilustre pastelero tuvo que cerrar el negocio, ya que el vecindario del barrio de El Llano dejó de consumir en ese establecimiento. Una de las consignas que más se coreó en los piquetes fue la de “Xixón obreru: boicot al pasteleru”; se podría decir que el Xixón obreru respondió como debía al llamamiento.

¿Qué medidas de denuncia policial/judicial llevó a cabo el propietario del negocio?

Aparte de las que van saliendo nuevas y del acoso policial al que nos somete la brigada de información a los militantes del sindicato y simpatizantes, las denuncias por parte del propietario y su estado actual son:

  • Denuncia por obstrucción a la justicia contra compañeras del sindicato que ha sido sobreseída.

  • Denuncia por injurias y calumnias (por acusar al dueño de esclavista y acosador sexual): en fase de instrucción, 26 imputaciones más el sindicato.

  • 5 denuncias por amenazas y coacciones: absolución en 4 de ellas. Una quinta denuncia condena a un compañero a 180€ por llamarlo “pincelín”.

  • Supuestas denuncias (todavía no tenemos conocimiento oficial de las mismas pero viendo la situación, seguramente estén interpuestas): denuncia falsa por el tema del acoso sexual y querella o querellas varias contra miembros del sindicato por manifestar su disconformidad con el archivo de la denuncia por acoso.

    Se os llegó incluso a prohibir manifestar que “la pastelería La Suiza explota” y a cerrar una web en la que informábais del caso.

    Hasta que se dilucide la querella por injurias, el juzgado ha puesto una medida cautelar por la que tenemos prohibido utilizar los términos “acoso sexual”, “explotación laboral” y “esclavismo laboral”, por lo que se nos obligó a retirar propaganda en redes sociales e internet y son términos que no podemos utilizar en las movilizaciones, aunque no hay medidas cautelares que oculten algo que ya es de conocimiento general en toda la ciudad, y mucho menos que tapen lo que día a día vivimos la clase trabajadora en nuestros puestos de trabajo, cuando los tenemos…

    La última noticia que hemos leído es que el dueño de la pastelería, junto a otros empresarios, ha denunciado al sindicato por coacciones y por organización criminal. ¿Qué os parece? ¿Quiénes son los denunciantes?

    En el sindicato estamos orgullosos de nuestra práctica y de que lo peor de la ya de por sí nefasta clase empresarial gijonesa nos considere un grupo criminal de extorsionadores, eso significa que algo estamos haciendo bien y que son conscientes de que se les acabó el usar y tirar a sus empleada/os, someterlos a jornadas interminables y perpetrar toda clase de abusos por el bien de su economía. Tienen miedo de tener enfrente a trabajadores organizada/os entre ella/os misma/os y dispuesta/os a defenderse y no dejarse pisar más. Aparte del afamado pastelero y de su hijo tirando de contactos en comisaría, están detrás apoyando cinco empresarios con los que tuvimos conflictos, de mayor o menor intensidad en la calle, por sus prácticas con sus trabajadores y su actitud ante el sindicato. Alguno de ellos, como el de la cafetería La Santina, que llegó a adeudar hasta 8.000 euros a dos repartidores o el café Lautrec, están regentados por caciques que no dudaron el emplear la violencia física (a través de matones de poca monta) en los piquetes, llegando incluso a clavar un destornillador en un brazo a un compañero entre otros episodios gloriosos.

    Desde luego todos los denunciantes llevan a cabo unas prácticas por las que se les debería caer la cara de vergüenza (aunque en el mundo de la rentabilidad los sentimientos, ya sea la vergüenza o cualquier otro, no existen) y esas prácticas están admitidas por ellos mismos en actos de conciliación, acuerdos extrajudiciales con abogados, etc.

    Aunque lo que tenemos claro desde hace mucho tiempo es que quien coordina todo esto es la brigada de información de la Policía Nacional, que quiere a toda costa quitarnos de en medio. La coacción, la extorsión y lo criminal son términos que se amoldan más a la práctica empresarial, aunque si defendernos de los abusos es ser criminales, criminales somos y orgullosa/os de ello.

    La mayoría de los denunciantes pertenecen a la hostelería, un sector que en la actualidad tiene poca afiliación sindical y que la rotación de plantilla es muy fuerte. ¿Qué tipo de luchas se pueden llevar a cabo cuándo la precariedad aprieta tanto?

    Desde luego no existe una fórmula infalible para luchar contra la precariedad, pero como decíamos arriba, estamos orgullosa/os de nuestra manera de llevar los conflictos laborales, ya que la/os trabajadores solo contamos con la solidaridad como arma frente a un sistema hecho a medida del explotador, y desde luego la lucha da sus frutos. Cuando el empresario hostelero se ve con un piquete delante de su negocio por primera vez, suele tomárselo con chulería, pero cuando empieza a notarse en la caja es cuando realmente se dan cuenta de lo que tienen enfrente. En ciudades como ésta, donde la hostelería cada vez emplea a más gente, socializar el conflicto es fundamental, ya que cualquier persona trabajadora ha trabajado o tiene a un hermano, prima, colega…que trabaja en la hostelería y sabe que lo que las situaciones que se denuncian son habituales, con lo que siente más de cerca el conflicto y genera una solidaridad, a distintos niveles,casi automática. Este tipo de prácticas ante la explotación, además de que normalmente llevan a que se consiga lo reclamado por el/la trabajador/a, lo que consiguen realmente, de momento a muy pequeña escala, es que nos demos cuenta de la fuerza que tenemos como clase y de que juntándonos solidariamente y luchando por nosotras/os misma/os, sin mediaciones de ningún tipo podemos conseguir lo que es nuestro.

    Nos han tocado vivir una época en la que todo lo que había estructurado alrededor del movimiento obrero ha desaparecido, y la misión que tenemos toda/os los que nos calificamos de “revolucionarios”, “anarquistas”, “anarcosindicalistas” o como queramos llamarnos es la de construir nuevas estructuras con las que enfrentarnos al Estado, al Capital y al Patriarcado. Hay que ser conscientes de que estamos empezando, y se empieza por conseguir cobrar un par de sueldos no pagados y se acaba creando fuerza para enfrentarnos cara a cara con quien nos expropia la vida.

    La represión al sindicalismo en Gijón no se limita al caso que estamos tratando. En los últimos meses hemos visto la detención de sindicalistas por la huelga feminista del 8-M y nos ha llegado información del conflicto de CSI con Alsa. ¿Nos contáis que conflictos sindicales hay abiertos en vuestra ciudad?

    En la huelga del 8m, durante un piquete de compuesto por compañeras de CNT, Bloque Críticu y otras, al entrar a informar a una tienda Mango, una integrante del piquete fue agredida por el encargado, por lo que se formó algo de tumulto que no llegó a nada. Una semana después, una compañera de CNT era detenida en su casa y dos más llamadas a declarar por Lesiones leves y atentado contra los derechos de los trabajadores. Están pendientes de declarar en junio.(2)

    El tema de CSI de los ALSA es bastante surrealista también. Durante el conflicto se llevaron a cabo cortes de vías, y en uno de ellos un conductor estresado intentó atropellar a un sindicalista de CSI. Después de esto, el conductor denunció al compañero, que fue condenado a pagar 800€.

    Este año está siendo más tranquilo comparado con el anterior en cuanto a conflictos laborales. Los hay pero se están solventando rápidamente, aunque el ambiente social está tenso y parece que con la primavera llega el calor y con el llegarán los conflictos. Ahora mismo acaba de comenzar una lucha de los trabajadores de Burguer King, que hace tres años llevaron a cabo una huelga con la que consiguieron hacer hincar la rodilla al empresario, y estos días sabemos que comenzarán nuevas movilizaciones, organizados en una asamblea propia al igual que en esa huelga.

    Poco a poco, la clase trabajadora asturiana, desorientada por la reconversión de la industria a la hostelería, con todo lo que conlleva, va viendo la necesidad de organizarse y las consecuencias que trae luchar por contra unas condiciones de trabajo humillantes. Esto no ha hecho más que empezar.

    Recientemente, hemos leído sobre las propuestas de derribar la Sindical, y vuestra oposición junto a CGT y CSI a ello. ¿Nos podéis contar qué es este edificio y cuál es su futuro?

    Este edificio está construido en el solar y sobre las ruinas de lo que un día fue la Casa del Pueblo que construyeron los/as militantes de diferentes sociedades obreras que en 1915, adquirieron el solar. En 1917 estas sociedades se unieron y formalizaron en la CNT y allí establecieron su sede. En 1937 la Junta de Defensa Nacional incauta la Casa del Pueblo y se lo venden a la Delegación Nacional de Sindicatos. En el año 62 fue derruida y se levanta el edificio actual.

    En torno a 1980/1981 la CNT ocupa algunos espacios del edificio reivindicando el patrimonio sindical acumulado y su patrimonio histórico, su propietario, el Ministerio de Empleo, reconoce el patrimonio sindical acumulado por lo que varios sindicatos estamos en el edificio con una cesión legal, después de indemnizaciones insuficientes por lo que seguimos reclamando el patrimonio histórico y hay recursos de por medio.

    El futuro del edificio lo desconocemos pero tenemos claro que es objetivo, por su ubicación , de un intento de pelotazo urbanístico, y por la actividad que en él se lleva a cabo, de un intento de desmovilización de la clase obrera que encuentra allí a tres sindicatos donde organizarse y defenderse, sea lo que sea lo que pretenden, vamos a defender nuestro espacio, porque estamos de acuerdo en que necesita mejoras, sobre todo por la situación de abandono en la que el Ministerio lo tiene, pero somos los sindicatos los que lo mantienen al día y por eso está muy lejos de ser ese “edificio que se viene abajo” como tratan de hacer ver.

  • international / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday May 10, 2018 05:52 byLeroy Maisiri & Lucien van der Walt

    The remarkable “recovered factories” (fábricas recuperadas) movement saw hundreds of closed factories reopened by the workers, run democratically, creating jobs and helping working class and poor communities. It showed that there is only so much protesting can accomplish – at some point you have to create something new. But it also shows it is essential that such alternative sites of production form alliances with, and become embedded, in other movements of the working class, poor and peasantry, including unions and unemployed movements. This assists them in building larger struggles, and provides them with some protection from the capitalist market and the state. It is meanwhile important for unions and social movements to start to systematically develop alternatives to capitalist- and state- run social services and media. However, it is simply impossible to escape capitalism by creating cooperatives, social centres or alternative spaces –almost all means of production remain in ruling class hands, secured by force and backed by huge bureaucracies. It is essential to build a mass revolutionary front of unions and other movements, embracing popularly-run social services, media and production, and aiming at complete socialisation of the economy and of decision-making through a revolutionary rupture.


    Documentaries like “The Take” – a movie that has been widely seen in South African labour and left circles – have drawn global attention to a remarkable challenge to neo-liberalism. In Argentina, in South America, economic crisis saw a collapse in working class conditions. High unemployment, low wages, attacks on social services: we are familiar with such things in South Africa. But something happened, which is very different. In Argentina, from the 1990s, something new started.

    RESIST-OCCUPY-PRODUCE

    The “recovered factories” (fábricas recuperadas) movement saw hundreds of closed factories and facilities reopened by the workers, run democratically, creating jobs and helping working class and poor communities. For example, the former Zanon tile factory was reopened under workers’ control (it is now called FaSinPat). It was able to create jobs, restore dignity and helped build a community clinic; it also makes donations to hospitals and feeding schemes. Many of these worker-run sites are still running. They have been linked together through two networks: the Movimiento Nacional de Empresas Recuperadas and the Movimiento Nacional de Fabricas Recuperadas.

    What this remarkable experience shows is that there is only so much protesting can accomplish – at some point you have to discuss alternatives. You have to move beyond saying what you do not want, and beyond making limited demands, to creating something new. The workers in Argentina have helped to show an alternative from below. They have rewritten the textbook of economics. The experience – and similar ones before it, and alongside it, such as in the Spanish Revolution in the past and the Rojava Revolution today – show the immense role and creativity of the productive classes. It shows that it is possible produce for need rather than profit. It shows something totally different to the two false choices we are given today: top-down exploitative wage labour under private companies (and privatisation) and rule by state companies (and nationalisation).

    SELF-ACTIVITY NOT ELECTIONS

    It represents a profound challenge to the system that leaves factories closed, while people need the good and jobs and services they can produce, that closes brickyards while people are homeless, and hotels while people are homeless. It shows how democratic discussion and assemblies, choices based on meeting needs rather than making profits, can work – and work better than the mess we have under current system. In the current system, we have massive waste, corruption and exclusion for the majority. Arms deals and blood diamonds while people starve on the streets.

    BEING EMBEDDED

    But what the “recovered factory movement,” and the “The Take,” also shows is that it is essential that such alternative sites of production form alliances with movements of the working class, poor and peasantry, including unions, community movements, unemployed movements (in Argentina, called “piqueteros”), and in popular struggles. They must be embedded in the movements of the popular classes, as a means of being protected from eviction by the state, and as a means of building struggles. Zanon, for example, has been protected from the police by massive protests, by strikes by unions, and has also participated in a range of struggles. Zanon workers are part of the union in the ceramics sector, the Sindicato de Obreros y Empleados Ceramistas de Neuquén. In 2003, community-based protests plus a mass strike by the Central de Trabajadores Argentinos (CTA) union federation prevented Zanon being evicted. In 2007, the Zanon workers joined mass protests after police killed a teacher, Carlos Fuentealba, at a demonstration.

    Being embedded in this way, alternative sites of production can also be protected to an extent from the logics of capitalism, which, through both competition and monopolies, forces wages down, and imposes authoritarian management systems as the price of survival. It is important to remember here that the “recovered factories” still exist within capitalism. They face ongoing pressures: for example, the government refuses to provide contracts, and bans block loans; cheaper tiles can be sourced from other plants. Unless they have support from movements, and pressure to operate differently to capitalist state firms, and some space to do so, they can easily degenerate into worker-run capitalist firms.

    Unless they have support from movements, they can easily be captured by states, which will impose upon them business plans and other schemes, which will force them to operate as capitalist firms.

    SOLIDARITY PRICING

    Such embeddedness enables a situation where customers – especially larger organisations, like unions – can pay solidarity prices. This provides essential protection from the capitalist market and the state regulations that impose upon workplaces the pressure to cut wages, fire workers and impose authoritarian management.

    Locating the alternative production models within mass movements, helps avoid the situation, seen in some European countries, where valuable alternative spaces –like social centres, squats and radical bookshops –achieve a great deal but can become contained within isolated radical scenes and youth subcultures separate from the masses of working class and poor people. They also avoid the other situation, where their survival rests upon support from wealthy strata, who can afford to pay higher prices and do so as a matter of conscience – while the masses, who cannot pay such premiums, rather choose much cheaper products made in capitalist sweatshops. In such a situation, alternative production becomes dependent upon class inequalities to survive – on ethical “middle class” consumerism – rather than on class struggle.

    AFRICAN EXAMPLES

    We have wonderful examples of such solidarity in the 1980s in South Africa, although it is not often found today. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) set up cooperatives among retrenched workers, while the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) did the same among workers who were fired in the course of a major strike at BTR-Sarmcol rubber factory. These cooperatives were then given contracts from NUM (and NUMSA) to supply union t-shirts and similar goods. The Food and Canning Workers Union (FCWU) ran its own medical aid in the 1980s, using this to set up a Ray Alexander Workers Clinic in Paarl. Union aid kept them afloat and allowed workers to also see an alternative.

    Today, sadly, unions tend to simply use the cheapest capitalist company, and the cheapest shirts, including from union-bashing, worker-repressing sweatshops; and to sell members, for a commission, contracts with private sector medical aids that are invested in capitalist firms.

    It is possible to develop alternatives – as a means of showing something different is possible, and as a means of reducing dependence on the corporations and the states. Union investment monies, for example, should prioritise spending on worker-run clinics, worker cooperatives, a working class media, popular education on a large scale, and mass organising – including of the unemployed – rather than invest in profit-making – a recipe for a prfpfound corruption of unions and a loss of vision.

    The best example of this worst-case scenario is the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) Investment Company, HCI, which has shares in casinos, capitalist TV stations (e.tv) and bus companies – and helped a certain former SACTWU leader become a billionaire. Once a radical union in the "workerist" tradition, in 2017 SACTWU's HCI refused to close its bus services -- in theory controlled by the union and its workers -- in solidarity with a general strike organised by SACTWU and its federation, the Souh African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU).

    PREFIGURE EVERYWHERE

    But what is essential is to prefigure a better future everywhere, not just in “recovered factories,” social services, centres and media, but in mass formations, like unions, and local protest movements, like those in communities, as well. This means radically democratic organising, solidarity and mass education against the ideas and attitudes and behaviours of the existing order.

    IT IS NOT ENOUGH

    It is important to be clear here that it is not possible to escape capitalism by creating a few sites of alternative production, by creating cooperatives, social centres or even “recovered factories,” or by “buying worker.” It is not possible to build a “solidarity economy” that can defeat the existing system. The bulk of means of production remains in the hands of private corporations and states, controlled by the ruling class; the ruling class is backed by armies, police and massive bureaucracies.

    To think we can exit from capitalism, or that capitalism will crumble, if we build an increasing number of local alternatives is wrong. These will always be on the margins, and the ruling class will crush – peacefully and violently – any significant threat. The notion that we can “crack capitalism” (John Holloway) by exiting the system, ignoring the state, refusing wage labour and building alternative systems is not realistic.

    Capitalism and the state will never be suffocated by a proliferation of alternatives: as seen in the Spanish Revolution, it is not enough to have even a massive amount of collectives and land occupations; while the capital and the state have the commanding heights of finance, coercion and administration, the system will recover and crush the alternatives. After the disaster in Spain, the notion that the system will quietly die, "asphyxiate," when faced with large-scale economic disruption and collectivisation – as if its power resides solely in local workplaces – must be rejected.

    THE NEED FOR RUPTURE

    The aim is not to choose between capitalists: “Buy South Africa,” “Buy Black,” or "people’s capitalism" (volkskapitalisme as it was once called by a certain strand of unions here).

    It is to link alternatives to capitalism together, coordinate them, and embed them in a larger mass revolutionary front of unions, social movements, and bottom-up social services, and people's media and people's education, which is based on struggle and that aims at the complete socialisation of the economy and of administration, a new system based on federations of community and workers councils, based on assemblies, and a serious, co-ordinated defence of the new.

    Without this change – a radical rupture, final showdown, the abolition of the state and capitalism – the ongoing pressures of the state and capitalism – and the ruling classes they represent will corrupt or kill off alternatives that do not follow its rules; without this change, the repressive forces of the state will always remained poised to crush what is different, better, democratic.

    NO EXIT: RIDE THROUGH

    The solution is not to “exit” through refusal, but to confront, through building a massive, unified counter-power based on radically democratic structures and direct action, resting on a revolutionary counter-culture, based on the widespread acceptance of a revolutionary worldview – and alternative sites of production and social services and media and education can play an important role, in this struggle.

    As part of a larger movement, such alternatives are shielded, assume enormous symbolic power, and can help inspire a fundamental change. But there is no possibility that the current system will slowly and quietly disintegrate because of a few cooperatives, “recovered factories” and worker-clinics. An alternative must mean something new: it is no change if we keep relying on the leaders of the system, its institutions like elections, its stress on what divides us like colour and language and country, and the aims of the system: power and profit for a few. And it must mean something new, from the roots to the branches, a new society that replaces the old.

    As the anarchist luminary Mikhail Bakunin argued long ago:

    “The various forms of co-operation are incontestably one of the most equitable and rational ways of organizing the future system of production. But before it can realize its aim of emancipating the labouring masses so that they will receive the full product of their labour, the land and all forms of capital must he converted into collective property. As long as this is not accomplished, the co-operatives will be overwhelmed by the all-powerful competition of monopoly capital and vast landed property; ... and even in the unlikely event that a small group of co-operatives should somehow surmount the competition, their success would only beget a new class of prosperous co-operators in the midst of a poverty-stricken mass of proletarians” (in Sam Dolgoff, 2002 edition, Bakunin on Anarchism).



    MORE INFORMATION:
    “The History of Zanon,” http://endefensadezanon.com/en/historia-de-zanon/

    Oliver Nathan, 2011, "Worker Co-operatives, Markets and the South African State: An Analysis from an Anarchist Perspective," Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism, number 12, https://zabalaza.net/2011/07/12/worker-co-operatives-ma...tive/

    central america / caribbean / the left / non-anarchist press Thursday May 10, 2018 03:06 byTrevor Evans

    In 1979 a popular uprising led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the U.S.-backed Somoza-family dictatorship which had ruled Nicaragua since the 1930s, and in 1984 the Sandinistas and their presidential candidate, Daniel Ortega, decisively won the country’s first free elections in decades. The Sandinistas introduced a major programme of land redistribution and a significant expansion of public health care and education services. However, initial gains were undermined under the impact of an armed opposition (‘the contra’) organized and promoted by the U.S., a collapse of international raw material prices in the early 1980s, and Sandinista policy errors, including an over-ambitious programme of large-scale investments.

    In 1990, a war weary population voted for a broad coalition led by Violetta Chamorro, the widow of a distinguished journalist murdered on Somoza’s orders. Chamorro’s government pursued a policy of national reconciliation but, in order to obtain much needed finance, was required to adopt exceptionally austere economic policies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Following a resumption of economic growth in the mid-1990s, elections in 1996 were won by a right-wing populist, Arnoldo Aleman, who was subsequently convicted to 10 years’ jail for corruption, and Aleman was followed in 2001 by his former vice-President, Enrique Bolaños, a fiercely anti-Sandinista business leader.

    Following the Sandinista’s electoral defeat in 1990, many activists left the party as a result of dissatisfaction with Ortega’s leadership and the lack of internal party democracy. Some formed the small breakaway Movement for Sandinista Renovation (MRS), while others became involved in local development projects and in building an independent women’s movement. In 2006, however, the fractious liberal and conservative parties were unable to agree on a joint candidate for the presidential elections and this made it possible for Ortega, who had stood at every election since the 1980s, to win with a minority of the vote.

    Despite a constitutional prohibition on consecutive terms in office, the electoral commission allowed Ortega to stand for the presidency again in 2011, and he was elected for a further term. The Sandinista dominated National Assembly subsequently agreed a constitutional change to allow consecutive terms, and in 2016 Ortega stood for the presidency yet again, this time with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice-presidential candidate. Shortly before the election, the main opposition candidates were disenfranchised, leaving Ortega and Murillo with a sure victory.


    The Family-Party-State Nexus

    Since resuming the presidency in 2007, Ortega has governed through a close alliance with Nicaragua’s principal business groups. COSEP, the main private business organization, had a highly conflictual relation with the Sandinista government in the 1980s but has enjoyed very close relations with the current government. The American Chamber of Commerce, which includes the major U.S. companies in the country, has also worked closely with the government, although after a heavily contested election in early 2018 the head of Cargill’s Nicaraguan subsidiary became president after campaigning for a more independent path. The government has also been able to count on the support of the leaders of the main unions, which are affiliated to the FSLN.

    Ortega has tried to ensure that no political force emerges on the left and the breakaway MRS was unable to register for the elections in 2016. There are numerous right-wing parties, but they are small and in many cases little more than the personal fiefdoms of their leaders. Among the larger groups, the Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (PLC), which won the elections in 1996, has since the early 2000s provided political support for Ortega, initially under a ‘pact’ which allowed its leader, Aleman, to serve his jail sentence for corruption on his rural estate.

    The other main right-wing grouping, the Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI), was the leading force in an electoral front which could have provided the most serious opposition to Ortega at the elections in 2016. However, this was effectively undermined a few months before the election when the country’s supreme court, which is dominated by Sandinista appointees, handed control of the party to a minority group. The party’s original candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency were prevented from running and its 28 representatives in the national assembly had to relinquish their seats. The PLI’s long-time leader – a banker – has since retired and former members of the party have established two new political organizations: Cuidadanos por la Libertad (CxL), which obtained legal recognition in May 2017, took part in the municipal elections later in the year; the Frente Amplio por la Democracia (FAD), by contrast, argues that current elections are a farce and it is concentrating on building a new movement from the base up.

    At the general election in 2016, when the FSLN principal candidates, Daniel Ortega and Rosaria Murillo obtained 72% of the vote, the turnout was reportedly low as many people, including FSLN supporters, apparently considered the result to be a foregone conclusion. In the vote for the National Assembly, the FSLN obtained 70 out of 91 seats, with 14 seats going to Ortega’s tamed opposition, the PLC.

    Ortega himself makes relatively few public appearances and there are unofficial reports that he is in poor health. Murillo, who was already playing an important role in coordinating the work of different government ministries, has come to play an increasing role in managing the day to day government of the country. Virtually all ministerial announcements are now made by Murillo, usually during a regular mid-day radio broadcast, and the mayors of the FSLN controlled municipalities are required to attend regular meetings with her in Managua. She has also build a strong base of support in the Sandinista youth movement, which has an important presence in the universities.

    At the local elections in 2017, the FSLN won in 135 municipalities, while the PLC won in 11 and the new CxL in 6. However, as at the previous municipal elections in 2012, there were widespread allegations of irregularities and, in 2017, the extent of support for different parties was obscured because only figures for the share of the vote were published. In the most populated part of the country along the Pacific, the FSLN won strongly, but turnout was reportedly low; in central rural areas, where the contra had had a social base in the 1980s, the PLC and the CxL secured their best results; in the sparsely populated Caribbean area, there was also support for the local indigenous based party, but here the election was marred by violence between rival groups’ supporters.[1] Reportedly, there was also discontent among long-time members of the FSLN at Rosario Murilla’s introduction of a centralized procedure for selecting candidates which, it was alleged, favoured her younger supporters.[2]

    The OAS and the USA
    In response to the allegations of electoral irregularity, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, met with Ortega in February 2017. To the disappointment of Ortega’s critics, Almagro agreed to allow Ortega four years to rectify shortcomings in the country’s electoral system. Ortega is under strong international pressure to respond to the OAS but, having unexpectedly lost the elections in 1990, he appears intent on making the very minimum of concessions necessary to appease external critics so as to ensure that, at the elections due in 2021, either he or his designated successor will win.

    Perhaps predictably the United States government and its ambassador in Nicaragua have been at the forefront of criticisms of Nicaragua’s onetime leftist president and his regime. The U.S. authorities have drawn attention to what they describe as ‘significant irregularities’ at the national and local elections in Nicaragua since 2011 and, in the aftermath of the national elections in 2016, members of the U.S. Congress from both main parties initiated the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act, which would require U.S. representatives at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to vote against approving any loans for Nicaragua. This was passed by the House of Representatives in October 2017 and requires Senate approval to become law. Meanwhile, the U.S. Agency for International Aid, which had been providing some $10-million a year in development assistance, included a mere $200,000 for Nicaragua in its budget for 2017/18, and nothing at all for subsequent years.[3]

    In a more pointed move, in December 2017 the U.S. deployed the Global Magnitsky Act to impose a ban on Robert Rivas, the president of Nicaragua’s electoral commission, from using banking services in the USA. Until then, the Act had only been used against Russian and Venezuelan government officials. Rivas had, inexplicably, accumulated numerous luxury properties in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Paris. He has been a close ally of Ortega and, although his functions have since been officially transferred to his deputy, he has been allowed to retain his title as head of the electoral commission.

    Nicaragua’s police and army were re-founded after the Revolution in 1979 and for long enjoyed an unusually high reputation for their probity. However, over the last ten years the number of complaints, particularly about the police, has been rising.[4] Perhaps more seriously, there are also fears that the independence of the two institutions is being eroded. The police and the army both had established procedures whereby the top official would serve one term in office and then pass to retirement. In both institutions, however, the rules regarding retirement have been overridden, and subsequently changed by the National Assembly, and the current office-holders are serving their third consecutive terms. This, it is feared, has reduced their independence and gives at least an impression that they are beholden to Ortega.

    The most important media in Nicaragua are television and radio, and these are largely in the hands of two groups which, between them, control 10 television channels. One group is owned by a Mexican businessman, Angel Gonzalez, whose channels are dominated by popular entertainment and avoid political controversy; the other group is controlled by the Ortega family, and transmits what has been described as a mixture of official propaganda, yellow journalism and mass entertainment. The one exception is channel 12, which is host to Nicaragua’s one critically informative current affairs programme.

    Strong Economic Growth but Rising Inequality
    Nicaragua, with a population of 6.2 million in 2017, has the second lowest per capita income in the Americas. Its economy has grown strongly in recent years, although output fell in 2009 as a result of the deep recession in the U.S. and other major markets. Between 2010 and 2017 economic growth averaged just under 5 per cent a year, the third highest in Latin America after Panama and the Dominican Republic.[5]

    The economy remains dependent on primary commodity exports, the most important of which are coffee, beef, gold and sugar. In addition, there has been a significant growth of production in export processing zones since the 1990s, primarily involving textile products and, more recently, the assembly of electrical harnesses for cars produced in Mexico. There is, however, still a large sector of subsistence farmers particularly in the more mountainous areas in the north of the country, and in the towns there is a very large commercial sector, much of it based on informal labour.

    Nicaragua’s export revenues increased strongly up to 2014, although since then growth has slowed due to weaker world prices. In 2017 exports of goods amounted to $4.1-billion but imports at $6.6-billion were considerably larger. The deficit has been covered in part by family remittances which have increased considerably in recent years. Because of the employment situation in Nicaragua many families have at least one member who has gone abroad to work, principally to the United States or neighbouring Costa Rica, and in 2017 remittances amounted to $1.4-billion.

    Nicaragua has also received substantial foreign direct investment in recent years, attracted by low wage levels and the relative security compared with neighbouring Honduras and El Salvador. Net direct investment amounted to $816-million in 2017, with the inflows directed principally to manufacturing industry, telecommunications, commerce and energy. The largest source in 2016 was Panama (22%), followed by the United States (13%) and Mexico (12%).

    Until recently, Nicaragua benefitted from oil provided on very favourable terms by Venezuela. This was organized through a company called Alba de Nicaragua SA, or Albanisa, which is 51% owned by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, and 49% by Nicaragua’s state-owned petrol company, Petronic. Under the terms of the deal agreed with Venezuela, Nicaragua was supposed to pay half the cost of the imported oil; the other half was effectively a long-term low-interest credit which provided Albanisa and a web of subsidiaries with funds to invest in a wide range of projects in Nicaragua.[6] Between 2008 and 2014 Nicaragua is estimated to have benefited from some $3.5-billion in this way but, controversially, although a public debt, this major source of external finance was not registered in the government’s official figures.

    As the economic situation in Venezuela deteriorated, the supply of oil declined and none was received in 2017. There were plans for Venezuela to build a major new refinery in the country but these have been abandoned. Nicaragua has since had to purchase oil on the international market and social expenditures financed with revenues from the Venezuelan oil have had to be reduced. At the same time, Nicaragua – strongly pressed by the International Monetary Fund – has begun to include the amounts owed to Venezuelan in the country’s official debt figures.

    In 2013, Nicaragua’s parliament granted a Chinese investor, Wang Jing, a 100-year concession to build and run an inter-oceanic canal through Nicaragua, a mega project that would be able to accommodate even larger ships than the Panama Canal, and which was viewed as a means of fast-tracking the country’s economic development. The $50-billion project was strongly opposed by environmentalists and also gave rise to a significant opposition movement among peasants whose land would have been compulsorily purchased and whose demonstrations were harshly restricted by the police. Work on the canal has been delayed amidst reports that Wang made large losses when the Chinese stock market crashed in 2015-16. From being a centre-piece of the government’s development plans, the canal was not even mentioned by Ortega in his address at the start of the new presidential term in 2017, and it seems unlikely that it will ever be built.

    In recent years there has been considerable investment in communications and infrastructure. This is particularly notable in the condition of many roads. The main routes are being widened and resurfaced while the network of all-weather roads in rural areas is being steadily expanded. There has also been a notable expansion in access to electricity, especially in rural areas. According to official figures, coverage increased from around 70% of households in 2010 to 94% in 2017. The state-owned distribution company was privatized in 2000, but sold again in 2014 to a company which is registered in Spain, but which is widely believed to be linked to the government.

    The supply of water has remained in the public sector and here too there has been investment in expanding its reach. But while some 90 per cent of households now have access to drinking water in urban areas, the figure is little more than 30 per cent in rural areas. There is a programme for building low income housing, but housing construction has been declining since 2015. According to the Association of Housebuilders, around half of the new homes built in 2017 were for low income households, but this amounted to a mere 2,500 units. There has, however, been investment in public spaces in many towns, providing play grounds together with seating and widely-used free access to the internet.

    Sustained economic growth has led to a rise in the number of people in work. The official figure for the rate of unemployment fell to a low of 3.5% for men and 3.8% for women in 2017, but this presents a rather misleading picture, since workers without a formal job have little option but to seek an income from some type of informal employment. Even according to official figures, informal employment accounted for 42 per cent of the workforce in 2017.

    The number of people who are formally employed and enrolled in the social security system has increased, from 534,881 in 2010 to 914,196 in 2017. This provides workers with a pension on retirement, but membership growth has slowed, and coverage is very uneven. While some 75 per cent of workers employed in the supply of electricity and water are insured, the figure is only around 45 per cent for workers in manufacturing industry and under 10 per cent in agriculture. The social security system is, in any case, seriously under-funded and, as the IMF has repeatedly warned, it will face a crunch which will place a further financial demand on the central government in 2019.

    The employment situation has contributed to poor peasants in central regions of the country pressing toward the Caribbean in search of land to farm, a process exacerbated by the growth of large scale investments in capitalist agriculture, which have displaced many small farmers. This migration of ladino farmers has led to serious confrontations, some resulting in fatalities, with members of indigenous groups who, under the Nicaraguan constitution, are guaranteed exclusive rights to farm the land in Nicaragua’s autonomous Caribbean regions.

    The limited employment opportunities in Nicaragua explain why so many workers seek work in other countries. Many of these migrant workers are unskilled, but skilled workers, including university graduates, have also been obliged to look for work abroad, and it is estimated that some 20 per cent of the population lives abroad. The remittances which they have sent back to their families have played a decisive role in maintaining living standards in the country.

    On returning to office in 2007, the Ortega government launched an anti-poverty programme entitled Zero Hunger. This provided the poorest households with some basic agricultural support and, crucially, corrugated zinc sheets which enabled them to waterproof the roofs of their shacks. However, as the financial resources from Venezuela have declined, the Zero Hunger programme has been wound down, and subsidized electricity prices for low income households and for pensioners, which were also financed with Venezuelan resources, are to be phased out between 2018 and 2022. According to independent annual surveys carried out between 2009 and 2015, the proportion of the population living in poverty registered a limited decline, from 44.7 to 39.0 per cent, and those in extreme poverty from 9.7 to 7.6 per cent, with the most significant declines registered in rural areas.[7]

    After resuming the presidency in 2007, the Ortega government raised the official minimum wage significantly. However, for the great majority of workers, wage rises lagged behind inflation and it is only since 2010 that real wages have begun to register a rise. According to official figures, between 2010 and 2017 real wages for workers in formal employment increased by about 10 per cent when converted into dollars, or just over 1 per cent a year. By 2017, the average wage was equal to around $340 a month. In the financial sector and the mines, the figure was somewhat higher, at just over $500 a month, but in the manufacturing sector the average was equal to just $230, while the average for agricultural workers was a mere $130. For the government, low wage costs have clearly been an important part of their strategy for attracting foreign investment.

    Nicaragua also has a prosperous commercial middle class and a very wealthy upper class. According to CEPAL figures, the top 10 per cent receives some 33 per cent of national income and, together with the next 10 per cent, almost 50 per cent of national income.[8] This group includes traditional land-owning families, many of which have also branched out into commerce or industry; it also includes newly rich traders who have profited from the boom in commerce. According to the CEPAL report, while inequality declined slightly in the period from 2002 to 2008, as in virtually the whole of Latin America, Nicaragua was the only country where inequality increased between 2008 and 2014 (more recent figures are not available for Nicaragua). According to an Oxfam study published in 2015, there were 210 multi-millionaires in Nicaragua, each with net assets of over $30-million.[9] Nicaragua’s wealthiest businessman, Carlos Pellas, is estimated to have accumulated a fortune of $2.4-billion, one of the largest in Central America, but some Sandinista leaders have also acquired wealth more recently, albeit on a lesser scale.

    The Beginning of the End?
    The Nicaraguan government faced a difficult economic outlook for 2018, with the threat a U.S. initiated limit on its access to international financial institutions, together with the need to adjust to the end of financial support from Venezuela. In the face of these challenges, growth projections for 2018 and 2019 have been reduced by both the IMF and the Nicaraguan central bank. In April 2018, Ortega was then confronted with the most serious political challenge to his rule since returning to office in 2007.

    The government announced that, in order to address the Social Security System’s large deficit, pensions would be cut by 5 per cent and pension contributions would be increased for both workers and employers. A demonstration in Managua by pensioners against the reduction in their pensions was supported by students from the city’s public universities, but the student demonstrators were confronted by riot police and members of the Sandinista youth organization. Over the next three days the scale of the street confrontations increased, spreading to several other cities, and resulting in the death of over 40 people and many more injured.

    After four days, Daniel Ortega appeared on television, flanked by his wife and the chiefs of the police and army, and he decried what he described as the manipulation of innocent students by political opponents with ulterior motives. But his failure to condemn the deaths led to yet further criticism, and in a second broadcast on the same day he announced the pension reforms would be cancelled and that the government would enter a dialogue with the country’s business organization on how to reform the pension system. The business organizations, which until then had enjoyed close relations with the government, said they would not enter negotiations until police violence against demonstrators was ended, and supported calls for a major peaceful demonstration the following day. It also insisted that any negotiations should include all sectors of Nicaraguan society.

    On Monday, 23 April, tens of thousands joined a peaceful march in Managua and there were large demonstrations in many other cities. The authorities did not attempt to intervene and the demonstrations remained peaceful. The demands of the demonstrators had by now, however, gone beyond the issue of mere pension reform and broadened to include expressions of deep dissatisfaction with the Ortega family regime. In the absence of any serious political opposition, however, it was not clear what the alternative might be.

    Endnotes
    1. Elecciones municipales 2017. Nicaraguas, tres escenarios diferentes, Envio, December 2017.
    2. Observadores del eclipse institucional, Envio, September 2017.
    3. Preocupa deterioro de relación con EE.UU., La Prensa, 23 March 2018.
    4. See Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH), Informe Annual 2016, 2017.
    5. The source for figures, if not otherwise given, is Banco Central de Nicaragua, Anuario Estadístico 2017, April 2018, available from www.bcn.gov.ni.
    6. For details, see the series of articles on confidencial.com.ni by Iván Olivares, ‘La ‘alcancía’ de Albanisa’ (9 April 2016), ‘Una ‘pulpería’ de negocios’ (11 April 2016), and ‘La deuda: de Caruna a Albanisa’ (13 April 2016), and Enrique Saenz, ALBANISA, Confidential, 27 September 2017.
    7. Fideg, Encuesta de hogares para medir la pobreza en Nicaragua. Informe de resultados 2015.
    8. CEPAL, Panorama Social de América Latina, 2017.
    9. Oxfam, Desigualdad Extrema y Secuestro de la Democracia en América Latina y el Caribe, 2015.
    Διεθνή / Διάφορα / Νέα Wednesday May 09, 2018 21:53 byεκδ. Σκαντζόχοιρου


    Σε αυτόν τον δρόμο, αντιλαμβανόμαστε το Σκαντζόχοιρο σαν το δοχείο που αποτυπώνει μια περιπέτεια παραγωγής ιδεών, στον βηματισμό ενδιάμεσων —ποτέ τελικών— πορισμάτων μιας διαρκούς αναζήτησης, με στόχο την απελευθέρωση της ανθρώπινης πράξης και επιθυμίας. Γι’ αυτό και στην φωλιά του Σκαντζόχοιρου ψάχνουμε να ζεστάνουμε κείμενα, ποιήματα και δημιουργίες που πάνω τους θα φέρουν ακόμα τα αίματα και τις αγωνίες αυτών που τα έφτιαξαν• που πάνω τους θα αποτυπώνεται η αβέβαιη πάλη των δημιουργών τους με τις λέξεις, τις ιδέες, τα χρώματα, τις μορφές.

    Σκαντζόχοιρος #5 κυκλοφορούμε σε λίγες μέρες...

    Πέρασε ήδη αρκετός καιρός από τότε που ο Σκαντζόχοιρος ξεκίνησε το ταξίδι του, και αισθανόμαστε την ανάγκη να απαντήσουμε σε ένα ερώτημα που κρέμεται στα χείλη πολλών φίλων του: τι είναι —τελικά— ο Σκαντζόχοιρος;

    Στο πρώτο τεύχος γράψαμε πως "είναι η επείγουσα ανάγκη μας να ψηλαφίσουμε κατανοήσεις εκτός και ενάντια της κυρίαρχης ιδεολογίας, να δημιουργήσουμε ένα βήμα ελεύθερου στοχασμού και διανοητικής ανταλλαγής, να κάνουμε κριτική στη σύγχρονη επιστήμη και στους μηχανισμούς της". Σήμερα, θέλουμε να προσθέσουμε σε αυτά μερικές ακόμη γραμμές.

    Στο Σκαντζόχοιρο επιδιώκουμε συνεχώς να διευρύνουμε την κριτική μας οπτική σε όλο και περισσότερες όψεις του πραγματικού. Αυτή η θέση δεν επισημαίνει μόνο την επιδίωξη μιας θεματολογικής ευρύτητας, την πρισματική περικύκλωση της κυριαρχίας, αλλά έχει συνάμα και μια υλική διάσταση. Θέλουμε η έντυπη συντροφιά μας να ανοίγει διάλογο συνεχώς με νέους συνεργάτες και αναγνώστες, δυο ρόλους που εμείς όχι μόνο δεν βλέπουμε ως διαχωρισμένους αλλά και επιδιώκουμε να γεφυρώσουμε την ισχύουσα μεταξύ τους αντίθεση. Παρότι γνωρίζουμε τους τεχνικούς περιορισμούς ενός εντύπου, επιδιώκουμε το παρόν εγχείρημα να αποτελέσει ένα όχημα μέσω του οποίου θα διανοιχθούν κοιλότητες συζήτησης, διαλόγου, προσανατολισμού και αλληλεπίδρασης. Βλέπουμε τους εαυτούς μας, και κατ’ επέκταση το δοχείο λόγου που μας φιλοξενεί, όχι ως αποκομμένους σχολιαστές της πραγματικότητας αλλά ως ενεργά μέρη ενός ελευθεριακού κινήματος ιδεών και πράξης, ως μια ενεστώσα ελευθεριακή μορφή-της-ζωής.

    Η κριτική δεν είναι για εμάς μόνο μια θεωρητική θέση αλλά ταυτόχρονα μια πολιτική και υπαρξιακή στάση• μια ηθική και αισθητική κατεύθυνση• ο αμφισβητίας εαυτός που προκρίνει εκείνη τη θεωρία η οποία αντιτίθεται στο παγιωμένο δόγμα της ιδεολογίας και των κλειστών τεχνοεπιστημονικών προγραμμάτων. Για αυτό και η δική μας στάση αρνείται πεισματικά να χρησιμοποιήσει εργαλεία ξένα προς τους σκοπούς της, τεχνικές αλλότριες στις ηθικές της δεσμεύσεις, όσο δελεαστικές ή αποτελεσματικές κι αν φαντάζουν. Η υπόθεσή μας δεν διεκδικεί τις ακαδημαϊκές αρετές μιας επίπλαστης ουδετερότητας και του μεροληπτικά αμερόληπτου διαφωτισμού της• είναι αντίθετα, αξιακά δεσμευμένη στον κοινωνικό μετασχηματισμό. Με φάρο μια ελεύθερη και δίκαιη κοινωνία — που, κατ’ ανάγκη, σημαίνει: απροκατάληπτα εξισωτική και συνειδητά αυτοδιαχειριζόμενη, μια κοινωνία έλλογα παθιασμένη.
    Δεν πιστεύουμε βέβαια πως οποιαδήποτε θεωρία μπορεί να αλλάξει, από μόνη της, την κοινωνία. Αλλά μια θεωρία εννοημένη ως κριτική στάση, εφόσον εδράζεται στην καθολική αμφισβήτηση της κυριαρχίας και εφόσον γειώνεται στα πράγματα, δεν είναι ένα απλό θεωρητικό παίγνιο• είναι ήδη —υπό προϋποθέσεις— και πράξη• μια διαλεκτική, όμως, διάχυτη πράξη, η οποία δεν μπορεί να αναχθεί ούτε στο πεδίο της απλής πρακτικής και του πρακτικισμού αλλά ούτε και σε στεγνές θεωρητικές κατασκευές ή θεωρησιακούς διανοουμενισμούς, καθώς μια τέτοια πράξη-στάση απαιτεί ταυτόχρονα εγγύτητα και απόσταση από την πραγματικότητα, από τα διαδρώντα υποκείμενα / αντικείμενα, τις αγωνίες και τις εμπειρίες τους.

    Η θεωρητική ενασχόληση για εμάς δεν στοχεύει στην αναζήτηση μιας νέας κλειστής θεωρίας, στην γέννηση μιας ιδεολογίας, σε μια νέα μεγάλη κατάφαση. Η θεωρία για εμάς είναι μια αγωνιώδης κριτική του άμεσα αντιμέτωπου. Μια κριτική, όμως, υπό το βλέμμα μιας αντεστραμμένης προοπτικής, που δεν στοχεύει μόνο στο ξήλωμα του σκοτεινού μανδύα του παρόντος αλλά και σε μια, αξιακά προσανατολισμένη, γωνία θέασης του ήδη-παρόντος-μέλλοντος και του ανολοκλήρωτου παρελθόντος. Μια κριτική που μετεωρίζεται και πασχίζει να εντοπίσει νοήματα που ούτε θα προσαρμόζονται ρεαλιστικά ούτε θα αντιστέκονται ιδεαλιστικά στα πράγματα, αλλά μάλλον θα συν-αρμόζονται με τα πράγματα, αρνούμενα και καταφάσκοντα συν-χρόνως.

    Μια τέτοια στάση στις μέρες μας προϋποθέτει τη συνειδητοποίηση της αντίφασης: του να παραμένει κανείς υποκείμενο που οραματίζεται ακόμα την ανασύσταση μιας κοινότητας χωρίς να υποστρέφει στη δήθεν συγκολλητική ουσία των επίπλαστων αφαιρέσεων του έθνους, της θρησκείας, της ανάπτυξης ή του «κράτους δικαίου». Γιατί η ανειρήνευτη αντίθεση που σοβεί στα σπλάχνα της κοινωνίας, μεταξύ του κόσμου των δημιουργών και του κόσμου της νεκρής εργασίας —ή με άλλους, πιο πολιτισμικούς όρους, μεταξύ πνεύματος και μη-πνεύματος— δεν μπορεί να υπερβαθεί χωρίς τη ριζική κριτική όλων των θεσμικών και οικονομικών σχέσεων που υποδουλώνουν τον παρόντα κόσμο. Μια τέτοια υπέρβαση όμως δεν θα διαφαίνεται καν στον ορίζοντα όσο το υπαρξιακό, πάσχον δυναμικό της εξέγερσης παραμένει εγκλωβισμένο και ευνουχισμένο, όσο ο υποκειμενικός μετασχηματισμός αναβάλλεται μεσσιανικά.

    Σε αυτόν τον δρόμο, αντιλαμβανόμαστε το Σκαντζόχοιρο σαν το δοχείο που αποτυπώνει μια περιπέτεια παραγωγής ιδεών, στον βηματισμό ενδιάμεσων —ποτέ τελικών— πορισμάτων μιας διαρκούς αναζήτησης, με στόχο την απελευθέρωση της ανθρώπινης πράξης και επιθυμίας. Γι’ αυτό και στην φωλιά του Σκαντζόχοιρου ψάχνουμε να ζεστάνουμε κείμενα, ποιήματα και δημιουργίες που πάνω τους θα φέρουν ακόμα τα αίματα και τις αγωνίες αυτών που τα έφτιαξαν• που πάνω τους θα αποτυπώνεται η αβέβαιη πάλη των δημιουργών τους με τις λέξεις, τις ιδέες, τα χρώματα, τις μορφές. Θέλουμε κείμενα ευαίσθητους ανταποκριτές από τα χαρακώματα της καθημερινότητας. Γι’ αυτό και αποφεύγουμε —χωρίς να τις υποτιμούμε— τις ακαδημαϊκές πραγματείες, τα ατσαλάκωτα πορίσματα της αξιολογικής ουδετερότητας. Αυτά άλλωστε έχουν τους χώρους και την προβολή τους.

    Ásia oriental / história do anarquismo / opinião / análise Wednesday May 09, 2018 04:33 byBa Jin

    Traduzido o livro Problemas del anarquismo y la revolución en China.

    Hoje em dia vemos a China converter-se numa sociedade em escuridão. Sob o peso desta obscuridade, alguns jovens conscientes propõem que a única maneira de salvar a China desta situação miserável é promover o "patriotismo", tomar o patriotismo como o único caminho para a felicidade dos chineses. Pelo mesmo motivo, a palavra "patriotismo" é ouvida em todo o país. Este é um fenômeno terrível. Creio que o "patriotismo" é um obstáculo a evolução humana. Como membro da humanidade minha consciência me move a rechaçar semelhante falácia e a oferecer minha própria sugestão a respeito do "caminho para a felicidade dos chineses". As palavras que digo surgem de minha consciência. Creio que num país tão grande como é a China, deverá haver mesmo que sejam alguns poucos com a consciência para apoiar minhas ideias.

    "O que é o patriotismo"? Tolstói nos diz corretamente que o patriotismo é "como uma máquina de moto. O que pratica é a arte do homicídio, o que discute é de que maneira assassinar. Não tem nada a ver com a vida real das massas".

    Por surpreendente que soe, esta citação captura perfeitamente o espírito do "patriotismo". Com exceção de alguns caudilhos cruéis e dos políticos, os seres humanos se opõe e condenam as guerras, e a origem das guerras, de fato, é o "patriotismo". Se os seres humanos se amaram e trabalharam juntos em paz, por que haveria guerras? O "patriotismo" nasceu na "Época do instinto animal", quando o Estado nasceu. O Estado se caracteriza pelo egoísmo e a hipocrisia. A fim de satisfazer sua paixão animal, o Estado força a sua população a invadir outras terras e morrer. A vitória bélica traz prazer aos caudilhos e aos políticos, e o fracasso bélico arranca a carne e o sangue do povo que paga seu preço. A guerra beneficia de alguma maneira as pessoas comuns? Desafortunadamente, o povo se encontra em total desconhecimento de que o chamado "patriotismo" é uma arma com a qual se assassina a seus entes queridos. O "patriotismo" é uma monstruosidade que assassina. Por exemplo, no final do século XIX o governo alemão promoveu o sentimento patriótico e implementou o alistamento militar. Todos os adultos, incluído os intelectuais e sacerdotes, deviam prestar serviço militar e assim assassinar segundo as ordens dos militares e políticos. Ordenavam-lhes assassinar trabalhadores em greve, inclusive se eram seus pais e irmão. Que desgraça! Poderia haver algo mais cruel e selvagem que isso?

    Creio que a promoção do patriotismo jamais poderá significar a felicidade dos chineses; ao contrário, trará misérias. O único caminho para que os chineses busquem a felicidade é a abolição das seguintes instituições:

    I. GOVERNO: O governo é a instituição do poder autoritário. Protege as leis, nos assassina, nos priva dos meios de vida, nos insulta e ajuda o capitalismo a assassinar os pobres. Nós, os seres humanos, nascemos para ser livres por natureza, mas o governo criou muitas leis com as quais nos amarram; amamos a paz, mas o governo nos impulsiona a guerra; supostamente deveríamos praticar o apoio mútuo com nossos compatriotas do mundo, mas o governo nos força a competir. Tudo o que o governo faz, contradiz a vontade da vasta maioria do povo. Por sobre tudo, o governo é a base do patriotismo. Se quisermos buscar a felicidade, nossa prioridade deve ser derrotar o governo.

    II. PROPRIEDADE PRIVADA: A propriedade privada é fruto do saqueio. A propriedade originalmente pertencia a todos os seres humanos, mas um número reduzido de pessoas, por meio de seu poder e de seus conhecimentos, se apropriou da propriedade comum. Isto levou aos mais débeis se virem sem teto, e a que os mais poderosos puderam comprar a força de trabalho alheia. Eles desfrutam do que produzem os trabalhadores, enquanto a estes não lhes resta nada. A propriedade privada é a injustiça número um do mundo. Além disso, a propriedade privada levou a rivalidade, ao roubo, ao latrocínio e a degeneração moral. É a propriedade privada que tem mantido o governo por tanto tempo. Consequentemente, a abolição da propriedade privada fará mais fácil a abolição do governo.

    III. RELIGIÃO: A religião acorrenta o pensamento humano e obstaculiza a evolução humana. Enquanto queremos a busca da verdade, ela nos entrega superstições; enquanto queremos o progresso, ela nos pede para sermos conservadores. Alguns sacerdotes dizem: "Deus é onipotente. Deus é a verdade, justiça, gentileza, beleza, poder e vitalidade, enquanto que o Homem é a falsidade, a injustiça, a maldade, a fealdade, a impotência e a morte; Deus é o senhor, o Homem um escravo. O Homem, por si só, não é capaz de alcançar a justiça, a verdade, a vida eterna, e deve seguir as revelações de Deus. Deus criou o mundo, e os monarcas com seus oficiais representam a Deus e merecem ser servidos pelo povo" (Isto é o que Carlos I da Inglaterra chamou de "direito divino dos monarcas"). Esta é a essência da cristandade e podem apreciar-se muitas similitudes com algumas das religiões menos importantes. O comentário de Bakunin: "Se deus realmente existisse, seria necessário aboli-lo" é grandioso. Há que torná-lo realidade.

    As instituições discutidas são todas nossas inimigas. Antes de tomar o rumo pelo caminho da felicidade, é preciso aboli-las. Então, distribuiremos a propriedade, iniciaremos nossas associações livres, praticaremos os princípios do apoio mútuo, de cada qual segundo sua capacidade, a cada qual segundo suas necessidades, todos para um e um para todos. Não é essa uma vida feliz? No entanto, temos de pagar um preço para obter essa felicidade. Qual é esse preço? É o sangue quente de muita gente. Bakunin disse: "Nada deste mundo é mais excitante e prazeroso que a empreitada revolucionária! Que preferirias? Que tua vida se passara em tua submissão ao poder despótico ou arriscar valorosamente tua vida numa luta sem tréguas contra a tirania?" Que entusiasta valoroso! Espero que vocês, amigos, se unam a nós e contribuam com seu sangue quente a mais excitante e prazerosa das empreitadas revolucionárias! Marchemos juntos pelo caminho da felicidade!

    El despertar del pueblo, n01, 1 de setembro, 1921.

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    Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

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