Public letter of the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha
On Thursday afternoon (20/06/2013), preceding the already anticipated mass protest in the Gaucha capital, the forced entry invasion of the Ateneu Libertário A Batalha da Várzea took place, carried out by unidentified police agents. Owing to this, in the statement of Friday morning, June 21, we reported that the raid had been carried out by the Federal Police, after all this is how the agents of repression presented themselves.
Through the public conference convened by the Public Security of the Government of Rio de Grande do Sul (RS), on Friday afternoon, June 21, we received the information that said operation was in fact carried out by agents of the Civil Police, omitting the fact that the operation took place illegally, without the corresponding judicial warrant, as was established by the legal advisor that is currently helping us in solidarity.
This press conference therefore couldn't announce anything else if not a farce, in the search for a scapegoat to blame for the manifestations of violence occurring in a generalised way in the protests, charging that all the acts of depredation and "vandalism" were the responsibility of the anarchists present in the protests and specifically of this organisation, already called anarchist.
The terrifying ghost created in the newsrooms of RBS: the presence of anarchist flags, punk groups and individuals and the already folkloric reverie of the RBS anchor Lasier Martins of "masked anarchists" set the keynote of conspiracy on course. They showed "evidence", according to police in this illegal operation, of materials for preparing molotov cocktails and a map identifying security organs of the state, with which they seek to affirm that we had planned to unleash attacks.
In addition to such planted objects, the corporate media conference removed its mask and demonstrated the farce going on, the real objective of the operation. According to the very chief of the Civil Police, officer Ranolfo Vieira Jr., "It is important to say that vast literature was also seized at this site, I would say, about anarchist movements". Considering that the genius men of "intelligence" invaded a libertarian library it is natural that they would find books, misters Ranolfo and Tarso Genro. We didn't know that anarchist literature, both current and historic, constituted evidence of a crime. Since when are books prohibited in our state? Yes, this is true, they took lots of books and the users of the Ateneo's library card index, of which we demand a refund for our shelves.
Among the "dangerous" books seized is the work Os Anarquistas no Rio Grande do Sul (The Anarchists in Rio Grande do Sul), by João Batista Marçal. The book was published with the support of the Secretary of Culture of Porto Alegre in the year 1995, exactly at the time when Tarso Genro was mayor! Luiz Pilla Vares did the introduction and the presentation is by Olívio Dutra. That is to say, if publishing anarchist books is a crime or a suspicious act, the current governor has helped in this "dangerous" act.
Has Censorship returned to Brazil? Or only in Rio Grande do Sul? The Ateneo Libertário A Batalha da Várzea, located in Venezianos lane, is a public space – in fact a library, as has already been said – in which are organised various political and cultural activities, many of them including the participation of the local neighbourhood. We also use musical instruments, theatre, paints, brushes, sprays to express our critiques and our longings – in short, our ideology – through the arts. When will we be appropriated of words, which we use to express ideas, those most dangerous weapons! When will ideas dissonant of the status quo become criminal?
In addition to the "dangerous" books, the political repression of RS claims to have found flammable material. We know that any object besides a gas canister was planted in order to incriminate and isolate, by means of repression and psychological warfare, our libertarian and combative current from the current political scenario. It began with the factoids planted by the RBS, where we would appear as "sociopathic" elements who plan to unleash innumerable guerrilla operations in the city. Now, we need gas to heat water for mate [a type of tea popular in the region– translator’s note].
As for the map cited by the heads of the repressive apparatus of the state, under responsibility of the governor, we hereby vehemently affirm that we do not know what it is about. Considering this operation to be illegal, it is not difficult to suppose that something was "planted" in a clear attempt to criminalise us.
We do recognise another map very well, that of the city of Porto Alegre, its periphery and centre, because it is here that we live and struggle together with the various sectors of the oppressed classes, organised or not, socialists or not. In sum, the people organised against domination and for improvements in public services and against the taking away of rights won by popular struggle in progress, with its victories and defeats, for over a century. We have been here for 18 years, publicly, with a flag, address and both printed and virtual publications.
We participate in popular student, union, and community movements, in community radios, in the Bloc of Struggle for Public Transport (Bloco de Luta para Transporte Público), in short, in the social struggles that we are called to struggle in or be in solidarity with. We are already known by the police, by social movements and also by political parties, including various sectors of the PT and the others who make up the base of the current government in place in RS because, in fact, we exist and never shy away from struggle.
Shortly after the disclosure of the operation by the Civil Police governor Tarso Genro hastened to attack us in the most vile and cowardly manner possible. Eager to strike us, Tarso associated us with fascism, calling on left organisations to review their politics of alliance in order to isolate us. "All the parties and people, including the ultra-left, have to help to combat this. No one survives that. All succumb. The path is that which we already know and which caused the Second World War". So pronounced the historic PT leader and governor of the state, Tarso Genro. Moreover, so pronounced the ex-leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party (PRC), brother of one of the biggest Marxist theoreticians in Brazil (Adelmo Genro Filho) and he himself a former militant with dozens of conflicts against repression. But this was last century, is that not so governor?
Given the absurd accusation that we are fascists, we suggest to the palace advisors and to the agents of the intelligence services a quick search on the ideological and historical nonconformities that the governor claims because we have historically combatted fascism. There are libertarian currents that dedicate themselves exclusively to this, especially in Europe. To the honourable journalists, we further suggest to you a search on the resistance to fascism in Spain and France in the context of the ascension of Hitler and Mussolini over Europe as well as on the episode of 07 October 1934, in the Praça de Sé [ a public square in Sao Paulo – translator's note], in Sao Paulo, when the epic workers' column, formed mainly by anarchists combatted Plínio Salgado of the AIB's (Ação Integralista Brasileira) integralistas [Brazilian fascists – translator's note], in fact known as "the revolt of the green chickens". We were and will always be the first in line to combat whatever form of totalitarianism, be it Stalinist, fascist or of any other nature. To be an anarchist is not a crime.
Since mister Tarso has demonstrated such concern with the advance of fascism, we ask you: is organising a public library with a focus on anarchist literature and diverse works a crime? If our books are being presented as evidence of a crime according to the declarations of the public security conference, what do mister Tarso and other state authorities intend with this? Will they do like the fascists and burn our books in the public square? Prohibit the printing and sale of titles related to anarchism? Perform raids on homes in search of these titles, of such literature given the character "flammable" ?
Reconsider your words mister Tarso, for it is these police operations, under your direction, which ultimately show themselves to be linked to a practice of persecution of libertarian ideas. You therefore end up supporting practices that smell of fascism. We also recall that there are indeed nazi groups in Porto Alegre, who were armed with knives at the last protest on 20 June, freely circulating without the corresponding repression that you devote to us, looking for the anarchists of the FAG. What do you think they wanted? It surely wasn't to discuss the situation, was it? What does that make of those responsible for public security. Books are not a crime!
We know that the goal of the state government is political. The objective of all this psychological warfare is to sow panic, to isolate us from the scenario and thus to pave the way for repressive fury against our organisation and its militants.
Finally, we reaffirm that we will not be bent by this attack. Since the beginning of the year we have been targeted for repression, although until now it had not hit us with such intensity. At the beginning of April, shortly after a massive act against the criminal increase in bus fares, which brought more than 10 thousand people together in the streets of Porto Alegre, we had our website taken down. In fact, the domain www.vermelhoenegro.org simply vanished, like their domain mirrors. This censorship remains in effect, causing us to find alternative spaces to publicise our opinions.
A similar situation also occurred in November 2009, when our former headquarters were invaded by the same Civil Police, at the command of the then governor Yeda Crusius (PSDB) because of a poster where we held the governor and the officer in command of the Military Brigade (BM) field operations politically responsible for the murder of the land invader Elton Brum da Silva, on 21/08/2009. The landless militant was killed in cold blood and shot at point blank range by a 12 gauge while protecting the children in a land eviction in the San Gabriel campaign. On that occasion, for making the denouncement and giving our solidarity we also had our site censored and still today 6 comrades from our organisation are undergoing legal proceedings, in which we continue reaffirming that Yeda and the command of the BM were directly responsible for the murder of Elton Brum!
Just as we did not bend to the vile repression of governor Yeda, nor will we bend to the repression of governor Tarso, who seeks to isolate the militant left in order to attack it with greater forcefulness to the applause and laughter of the most reactionary sectors of our state and country. Tarso, ex-communist, former revolutionary leader, switched sides and is now a caricature idiot of the militant he claimed to be in the '70s of the last century. Today he behaves slavishly before the RBS. To "defend" the symbolic role of the leading company in social communication, he directs the Military Brigade to attack protestors as they pass across the other side of Arroy Dilúvio, on a six-lane boulevard! It wasn't the anarchists who lead the front line of the march last Thursday towards ZH. It rained tear gas canisters and rubber bullets over heads with faces painted green and yellow flowers in hand. The images of the protests last week in Porto Alegre are marked by the BM bombs launched against the people in orderly march towards Zero Hora.
Anyway, this is the path by which, invariably, the politics of social pact tread. History has already shown us clearly; just look at German social democracy and its hunt for the workers councils under the influence of the then spartacists, revolutionary delegates and also of many anarchists. This hunt that led to overt persecution of courageous German working class militants like Rosa Luxembourg, Karl Liebknecht and Gustav Landauer, this last militant of our anarchist current. All of them arrested and killed with rifle butts by the repressive forces of social democracy. All of these militants served as scapegoats for the politics of class conciliation, which, together with decisional inertia, led to chaos and to nazi-fascism. Governor, as was said, if we were on the brink of World War 2, we would be Spanish militia, French resistance or Italian partisans. Sir, which side would you be on? Which side are you on now?
The FAG, with 18 years of history and public life and permanent work in various social struggles in our state and country, is part of a historical legacy of a current that has for nearly two centuries taken the fight against reaction, the dominant classes and their lackey state to its ultimate consequences. Yes, we have international relations and these appear in 1864, in the 1st International Workers Association, IWA. All currents of socialism have relations with related groupings in different countries. All strands of socialism are internationalist, or would the former leader of the PRC also consider this a crime? If in the country today the workers have guaranteed certain rights, these are fruits of 40 years of union struggles before 1932. This struggle was mobilised by free trade unions, detached from political parties, and the organisers were anarchist militants. Anarchism is part of the popular struggle in Brazil and in Rio Grande do Sul, and will remain so. Our organisation helps organise the struggle for the right to urban mobility, for free fares and reduced tariffs. We have been an integral part of the Bloc of Struggle for Public Transport since its foundation, as well as us militating and participating in various fronts of social struggle, like the Landless People's Movement (MST), community radios, trade unions, student movements, the struggle for housing, community movements, we are on the front line in the struggle for diversity and since the beginning in the World Cop Popular Committees.
Our history, "distinguished authorities", is written with the blood and sweat of the barricades of the oppressed and so it will always be. Your repressive fury will never be able to shut us up. We are not afraid of the hyenas nor the RBS factory of lies! The truth speaks louder among the militants of the people. We are militants of the non-parliamentarian left, popular militants and not terrorists! Terrorists are those throw bombs at tens of thousands of people walking unarmed. Tarso Genro, RBS and the Gaucha oligarchy, your smear campaign has short legs and the lie will not be upheld.