The following statement was produced at the online delegate meeting of the Relations Commitee of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) on 24-25 October 2020, and subsequently translated. Scroll down for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese translations or visit the websites of the respective federations.
BELARUS: AGAINST CAPITALISM AND DICTATORSHIP, FOR INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY
The Commission of Relations of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) expresses its support and internationalist solidarity with the struggles of people in Belarus against Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, a mass movement that is participated in by our anarchist comrades there. The situation in Belarus concerns the autocratic dictatorship that has lasted for 26 years, the current economic, health and public services crises. A wave of protests have filled the squares of the country to request the dictator’s withdrawal.
As anarchists, we are not empassioned by the debate on whether the last presidential elections were fair or not. It is simply clear that the people in Belarus are saying ‘enough is enough’: they do no longer want a government which is starving, beating and oppressing them.
We stand in solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and demand their immediate release. We also demand the reinstatement of all workers who have lost their jobs for participating in strikes or protests, and urge an immediate end to the repression. We denounce the violence and abuses of the political policies that are in place, and the regime’s military or paramilitary forces, who are arbitrarily detaining, beating and torturing its political opponents. We demand the fall of an authoritarian power which is a sad remainder of the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union, one which still serves as a weapon for the military strategy of Putin’s Russia which which uses its neighbouring country as a military foothold.
However, in the same way as we oppose Russian militarism in Belarus, we also oppose the militarism of Atlantic (NATO) forces in the Baltic Republics, together with all the armies and all the wars that are made by states against the people. Likewise, we do not buy the current rhetoric of Western ‘freedom’, nor of a possible mediation role of the European Union. The only role that the EU has is to manage the interests of European capitalism and therefore, as internationalists, we are opposed to this institution.
Instead, we call for international solidary between all workers and oppressed people and for all social movements which are committed, in the East and in the West, to syndicalism and workers rights, to the right of housing, to feminist and LGBTQ mobilisations, to the defence of land and environments against speculators, to people’s solidarity and mutual aid, to the occupation of spaces, to the production of alternative cultures, and to the defence of civil society all freedoms against exploitation and authoritarianism – to quote only some of our preferred axes of social intervention.
Only the direct participation of people in struggles from below can make a difference and produce a movement that go beyond the substitution of an old government with a new one, more or less corrupt, more or less authoritarian. Among all other challenges that humanity is facing, the current pandemic has confirmed that state and capitalism do not work when it comes to the need for solidarity. It is the entire society that must change towards equality and freedom, and anarchism is more than ever the option that we put forward to achieve this.■
The Commission of Relations of the INTERNATIONAL OF ANARCHIST FEDERATIONS (IAF/IFA) – 25 October 2020
Originally hosted with Italian / Spanish / Portuguese translations here.
The Italian version is also available to listen to on YouTube:
The end of last month saw the 11th Congress of the International of Anarchist Federations, which co-ordinates social anarchist organisations across 13 different national and language regions in three continents — we reproduce (via Freedom) reports from the gathering below.
Background to the IFA Congress The following is adapted from an article which first appeared in Italian anarchist newspaper Umanita Nova. Prior to the 2019 Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia the last major gathering of the IFA was in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016. That gathering supported the creation of the Central American and Caribbean Anarchist Federation (FACC), as well as offering solidarity for a renewed will being shown to coordinate anarchist organisations in Latin America, the revolutionary process underway in Rojava, the founding of Greece’s Anarchist Political Organisation (APO), and many social mobilisations from French upheavals to the TAV struggle.
Since that congress the IFA has maintained strong relations between the many anarchist realities that compose it, supporting the struggles and experimentations that member federations live daily, from Brazil to France. It has promoted campaigns such as that denouncing the murder of Santiago Maldonado in Argentina and in support of the Mapuche population’s struggle, against the oppressive regime of Maduro in Venezuela and in support of the anarchist components that are an important part of the ongoing revolutionary process in Rojava.
The Ljubljana event was an opportunity to move the Frankfurt discussions forward and examine what has been done since 2016, to support the creation of renewed federative processes such as those undertaken in Brazil and to give sister organisations like APO the opportunity to join the IFA. But it was also an opportunity to meet and discuss, to discuss the socio-economic processes that groups and federations are living on their territories, working through strategies to deconstruct the neo-liberal imagination that still pervades the actions of billions of people around the world and crushes and influences masses of exploited and exploited.
Core topics identified ahead of the gathering as they are seen to affect anarchism today included:
scene of permanent war and the forms that modern totalitarianism is
taking in different parts of the world, starting from the ambiguous
concepts of sovereignism and nationalism now rooted everywhere, to
arrive at the economic processes of global expropriation and
insecurity, social fragmentation and precariousness in modern life
that pushes many to blame unsatisfied lives on migrants — a
pretext for the construction of walls and reduction of social rights
The worsening of
living conditions for millions of people both in Europe and in Latin
America or Africa
reduction of free space and the growing repression that States
continue to exert on anarchists and social movements — but also
forms of solidarity between workers and workers, with migrants,
between exploited and exploited that everywhere are being born,
either spontaneously or in an organised way
sensibilities and our need to free it from the processes of
capitalist reproduction and the generation of new markets such as
the green economy, or the myth of sustainable
experiences of struggle on gender issues, which arise, however, from
an individual and collective awareness, on which to continue to
work, to reject the patriarchy and the relations of domination in
social and interpersonal relations,
Increasingly conflicting and spontaneous
forms of resistance in the world of work and trade unionism, of the
rejection of militarism and war and of violence as an instrument of
coercion and hegemony.
It is an important moment for organised anarchism to strongly reaffirm libertarian and class internationalism, and commit to cooperation and solidarity between the exploited — to strengthen struggles and experiences that can break down borders, walls, homelands and encourage the construction of a free and equal world.
Diary of an International
Venezuelan media group El
Libertario was present as an observer to the IFA Congress and
produced a daily diary of events, which we reproduce an edited
translation of below.
July 24th This first day was mainly designated for the traditional reception and presentation of the different participating federations, as well as to presentations by invited guests of the international. Federations present were:
In the evening hours, the Argentine comrades
offered an excellent video forum (open to the general public) on
gender struggles in Argentina, including the struggle to legalise
abortion and improve women’s rights already showing an attendant
process of protest and struggles for the rights of transgender people
… The questions were swift, showing the great interest and
curiosity aroused by gender issues on our side of the world.
July 25th On the second day of the congress we had the opportunity to attend a debate on Migration and Borders, a discussion that began with delegates from across the Iberian Anarchist Federation recounting the general conditions of the migration process in southern Spain and between countries in Europe. Delegations from the Italian Anarchist Federation also talked on what is happening under their hard right government, and its positions on this issue.
Brazil’s Comrades were also given the opportunity to present on problems arising with the far-right Bolsonaro government, where the State is stimulating indifference and sharpening the repression of internal migratory movements in Brazil. Argentine comrades meanwhile spoke on how Latin American internal immigration is changing the social landscape and generating tensions between immigrants (Bolivians, Paraguayans, Venezuelans) and resources-starved populations in Argentina.
During our own talk, we explained the migratory flight process that is happening in Venezuela, following our local problems, pointing to how humanitarian geopolitics are also being modified in neighbouring countries.
During the second part of the day, we were able to participate in a forum debate about the importance of communication and media to our work. The discussion was compered by FAIt comrades responsible for the publication of Umanitá Nova (now nearing its centenary), continuing with the participation of sections of Britain’s Anarchist Federation, who presented strategies to improve communication processes within the IFA. The creation of a broadcast list was also discussed based on an idea from the FAIb comrades, in order to expedite the process of publishing materials, both for future publication on paper as well as online. At this point a fellow from the Sicilian Anarchist Federation joined the congress, who, among other things, showed us their collaboration with people in Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea area, as well as the appearance of a new segment in their newspaper Sicilia Libertarian dedicated to the anarchist movements of the world, beginning in July with the first section dedicated to Latin America.
In the third part of the day and at night, we were invited together with comrades from Brazil and the Japanese partner to participate as opening speakers in a public event, “Populism and Authoritarianism” in the Tabor Square of Ljubljana. At this forum we were able to expose in more detail how the shameless authoritarianism of the Chavo-Madurist regime has been consolidated, as well as providing information regarding the violation of human rights and the increase of executions by groups such as FAES (Venezuelan National Police), as well as expressing our intentions for combating the current propaganda of mainstream medias at the service of the left or right authoritarian-Statists.
The participation of the Brazilian comrades focused on highlighting the racist character of the Bolsonaro regime as well as the presence, in the popular sectors of Brazil, of militia movements and squadrons of extermination. The intervention of the Japanese comrade was focused on the authoritarian and nationalist character of the Japanese regime, which is relying on events such as the next Olympics to exacerbate nationalism in the population, while implementing ever more sophisticated methods of population control and supervision through mass surveillance and behavior analysis.
July 26th Friday was marked by two debates of general interest to our organisations.
One was on modern totalitarianism, moderated by the Slovenian delegation, which gave an excellent opportunity to discuss this facet in our societies. The second debate was about the class struggle today, proposed by the Francophone Anarchist Federation. As a third morning event, there was also a workshop on internet security, proposed by the companions of the German-speaking Anarchist Federation.
After lunch we participated in the methodology workshop for the creation of strategies led by the German-speaking Anarchist Federation, where we learned to design a plan to identify the best way to obtain the desired results depending on the initially proposed objectives.
At the end of the afternoon session, the Argentine comrades presented to a public talk on their experience at a Free School which they manage (the Escuela Libre de Constitución), generating an interesting exchange of information with the people present.
To conclude the day of the comrades of the Francophone Anarchist Federation, they began an interesting debate about ecological struggles, which was followed by the participation of other compasses as well as the public present in this open section.
July 27th–28th The penultimate day of the event was intended for general discussions about the future of the IFA, as well as meetings between the participating federations.
The new secretariat will be left to the comrades of the Italian Anarchist Federation. For the organisation of the next congress no agreement was reached as to where it will be, and therefore who would organise it, but the discussion has been started.
The rest of the morning was dedicated to exchanges between the different federations, as well as interviews. It is worth highlighting the interview conducted by the Belarusian comrades, where there is a knowledge of the links of the rulers of both countries and with other dictatorships of similar type. We also spoke for a long time with the comrades of Umanitá Nova as well as with the rest of the Italian group.
For the afternoon session different communiqués from each of the workshops that were held were discussed, giving them final form in which they will be published (these will appear on the IFA website over the next while). One of the most interesting and discussed was on migration processes, as well as the communications workshop.
The day ended with a public debate about the work of the IFA as well as the practices of the different federations, offering information to people outside the congress.
To conclude this week of discussions, the music did not wait and our comrades from Brazil made a public exhibition on the punk movement there, followed by a show where a comrade from Brazil performed, followed by comrades from Slovenia with their libertarian rap group “Strategia Tensie”
Sunday 28th was dedicated to internal discussions between federations formally affiliated to the IFA, in which we can not participate, but we will continue discussions with the representations of Brazil and Argentina, to publish a statement from South American groups following an application by the Italian comrades.
We want to leave here our deep gratitude to the French Federation that served as an intermediary for this invitation; to all comrades of the different federations for their deep interest in the Venezuelan problem and our position on it. And finally, we thank the organisers of the event for the impeccable implementation of this congress, on behalf of our collective, thank you very much for this invitation.
There is not a state or kingdom whose history has not been stained with the brutality of war. The armed conflicts, conducted by the economic forces, have never brought anything but misery and deaths among countries, while the ones in power will never die on the battlefield. It has always been this way, sending pawns to defend a country and interests that only rich will benefit from. Here we leave these classic and wise words in order to focus on the current subject:
Today we keep witnessing the cruel barbarity, with more military and armament technology. Once again, instead of using science for making our lives easier, it is being used to defend the interests of the states and its high classes. In this way, being helped by the huge technology advances, the war has become one of the biggest businesses of the world’s leaders. With this, in this semi globalised world and big armies, we encounter the largest exodus and genocide in the history of humanity.
We scandalize when we watch the rising tide of refugees on TV, the battlefields, and so on; but we soon forget that everything starts here: in our governments and their corporations. The war begins in our cities’ and towns’ factories, because it is clear that without the sale of weapons wars would not be possible to carry out. Where some of us see sadness and death, others see business; and disgracefully, while the business exists, this is situation going to exist.
The Spanish state is the fourth country/company exporting weapons to all over the world, a small space in the globe that supplies a huge amount of warships, drones, mortar shells, cannons, etc. to anyone who takes out the wallet. The TV is entertaining us with series of narcos, murders and dealers, trying to brutalize the society; and we do not realize that inside the political class and the Spanish companies’ offices one can find the best material to create the most brutal TV show.
Many companies of our country have a direct contact with the production of armament and others are exclusively dedicated to it. That is how it works, first they create the conflicts and then they sell the weapons. On the one hand, these corporations are made up of unscrupulous businessmen ready to profit from death, and on the other hand, of workers willing to produce wealth for the leaders and death for the unlucky countries. This workers’ behaviour is not something unpredictable, since they have only lived on the work culture and have learned to fill their refrigerators without considering the damage they are generating to other families. Toys like Action man are going to be bought by them with no bad conscience.
Behind it all there are always banks like BBVA, Santander, BBK; companies like Nantia, Sener, Espal; or even Education, if we consider that on Engineering Schools students learn how to design weapons, and the people in charge do not care to which companies are these students sent to do an internship. We are governed by real psychopaths, while they talk about peace and democracy from their high-backed chairs. They are the most dreadful criminals.
For instance, in the case of the Basque Country, the leaders of its autonomous government (PNV) invest in an indirect and concealed way huge amounts of money in the military business. Then, at a personal level, they become managers and shareholders of these companies. This obscure business was one of the reasons why the big ships left Bilbao’s harbour every week headed for Saudi Arabia. After many protests and different actions, it was possible to stop the armament departure from the Basque coast. However, they started to use Santander’s harbour, so the fight on the Cantabrian harbours continues.
In the same way that media bombard us with the message that the people living in a war-torn areas are terrorist beings without feelings and heart, these people are being bombed by our planes and real ammunition produced by our all-heart and extremely soulful neighbours. But make no mistake, in this world we all have feelings, we all thrill, we cry, we fall in love, we fight… We are all human and none should die because of the economic interests.
This cannot be allowed! Let’s no let weapons be produced! We all know that only the working class society is able to produce them and that it is the one with the power to stop it. The leaders do not produce anything, they only keep the benefits and leave thousands of dead bodies behind. It seems impossible, but as everything, the solution lies in our hands.
We want to make clear that we are not just pro-refugees, we are anti-war and therefore, anti-capitalists. The origin of the problems must be found in order to fight it and find a solution. Capitalism is always the main problem, this savage-advanced capitalism, devastator of all trace of life. Capitalism and nationalism are two inventions created many years ago in order to end with solidarity among peoples and to incite hatred and violence in the society, as well as to send people to war in order to benefit rich peoples’ interests.
The system is going to keep working in this way unless we work to help out our comrades. For this purpose, solidarity and consciousness are going to be necessary. Let’s organize and stop being war and its murders complicit! Today they are being killed in any other place, but tomorrow this could be our situation. They are killing us with a smile on their faces! Let’s fight! ■
LA INDUSTRIA ARMAMENTÍSTICA
Y EL GRAN NEGOCIO DE LA GUERRA
No hay estado o reino que durante su trayectoria no haya manchado su historia con la brutalidad de la guerra. Los conflictos bélicos, llevados a cabo entre potencias por intereses económicos, no han traído nunca nada más que miseria y muerte entre pueblos, mientras que lxs grandes poderosxs jamás mueren ni morirán en el campo de batalla. Siempre ha funcionado de esa manera, mandar a lxs peones a defender una patria y unos intereses que nunca beneficiarán a nadie más que a lxs ricxs. Aquí dejamos estas clásicas y sabias palabras para centrarnos en el tema actual:
Hoy seguimos viendo la barbarie, de una manera mucho más compleja que nunca, con más tecnología militar y armamentística. Otra vez más, la ciencia en vez de facilitar la vida a la población, se está utilizando para defender intereses de los estados y sus clases altas. De esta manera, la guerra, ayudada de los grandes avances tecnológicos se ha convertido en uno de los mayores negocios de lxs dirigentes. Así, el día de hoy en un mundo semi globalizado y de grandes ejércitos nos encontramos con los mayores éxodos y genocidios de la historia.
Nos escandalizamos al ver por la televisión las mareas de refugiadxs, las imágenes del campo de batalla, etc. pero olvidamos que todo eso empieza aquí, en nuestros gobiernos y sus empresas. No sólo son lxs soldadxs lxs que toman parte en el conflicto armado y obligan a la población a abandonar sus casas por el fuego de los morteros, la guerra empieza en las fábricas de nuestras ciudades y pueblos, porque está claro que sin la venta de armamento no se podrían llevar a cabo las guerras .
Donde algunxs vemos tristeza y muerte otrxs ven negocio, y desgraciadamente mientras haya mercado ahí fuera esto no parará. El armamento se lleva de aquí a los países compradores.
El estado español es el cuarto país/empresa que más armas exporta a todo el mundo, un pequeño espacio del globo donde se suministra una gran cantidad de buques de guerra, drones, granadas de mortero, cañones etc. a cualquiera que enseñe sus billetes. Mientras que la televisión nos entretiene con series de narcos, asesinatos y traficantes para intentar brutalizarnos, no nos damos cuenta de que en los despachos de las grandes empresas españolas y en la clase política tenemos el mejor material para una serie que os aseguramos que sería muy difícil de ver.
Muchísimas empresas de nuestro país tienen contacto directo con la producción de armamento bélico y otras se dedican exclusivamente a ello. AsÍ funciona, se crean los conflictos y luego se les vende el armamento. Estas corporaciones se componen como siempre, de empresarixs sin escrúpulos dispuestxs a beneficiarse de la muerte y por otro lado, de trabajadorxs dispuestxs a producir riqueza para lxs jefxs o accionistas y muerte para otrxs habitantes de “países desafortunados“. Nada extraño en el comportamiento de lxs trabajadorxs ya que desde niñxs han conocido la cultura del trabajo y han aprendido a llenar su nevera sin mirar al/la de al lado y los problemas que pueda generarle. Sin ningún tipo de remordimiento seguirán comprando “action mans” a sus hijxs y llevando la desgracia a hijxs de otros.
Detrás de todo esto están como siempre bancos como el BBVA, Santander, BBK, empresas como Nantia, Sener, Espal e incluso educación, que por ejemplo en las escuelas de ingeniería también se aprende a diseñar armas y a la hora de mandar de prácticas a lxs estudiantes de formación profesional no les importa a que se dedica dicha empresa donde los mandan. Nos gobiernan verdaderxs psicópatas, mientras que nos hablan de paz y democracia desde sus poltronas, son lxs mayores criminales.
Por ejemplo, en el caso del PaÍs Vasco, lxs dirigentes de su gobierno autonómico, el PNV (Partido Nacionalista Vasco) invierte de manera indirecta y disimulada grandes sumas de dinero en el negocio militar, después, a nivel personal, convirtiéndose en gerentes y accionistas de dichas empresas. Este oscuro negocio fue una de las razones por la que los grandes barcos cargados de armamento, abandonaban todas las semanas el puerto de Bilbao con dirección a Arabia Saudí. Tras muchas protestas y acciones consiguieron paralizar la salida de armamento de las costas vascas, pero poco después empezaron a hacer lo mismo en el puerto de Santander, la lucha en el puerto cántabro continua. También se han llevado a cabo acciones en contra de factorías.
De la misma manera que a nosotrxs los medios de comunicación nos bombardean con el constante mensaje de que esas lejanas personas que viven en guerra son seres sin sentimientos, terroristas y carecen de corazón, a ellxs, nuestros aviones les bombardean con munición real creada por nuestrxs vecinxs llenos de sentimientos y corazón. Pero no nos equivoquemos, en este mundo todxs sentimos, nos ilusionamos, lloramos, nos enamoramos, luchamos… Todxs somos iguales y nadie debe morir por los intereses del capital.
¡No lo podemos permitir! ¡No dejemos que se produzcan armas! Todxs sabemos que sólo el pueblo trabajador es capaz de llevar a cabo la producción y solo ellxs lo pueden parar, porque lxs jefxs no producen nada y en este caso aparte de quedarse con los beneficios dejan miles de cadáveres a sus espaldas. Parece imposible, pero como todo, está en nuestras manos.
Queremos dejar claro que no entendemos ser simplemente pro refugiadxs, somos antiguerras es decir anticapitalistas. Hay que buscar el origen de los problemas para atacarlo y lograr la solución. El problema es el capitalismo como siempre, este avanzado capitalismo a nivel salvaje, devastador de todo medio, acompañado del nacionalismo, un invento creado muchos años atrás para acabar con la solidaridad entre pueblos y incitar a la población al odio y ir a la guerra por intereses de los que se enriquecen.
Así seguirá funcionando el sistema mientras que no trabajemos para ayudar a nuestrxs compañerxs y hoy como siempre es necesaria la solidaridad y la concienciación. ¡Organicémonos y dejemos de ser cómplices de las guerras y sus asesinatos! Hoy mueren en otro sitio, mañana podemos ser nosotrxs. Nos están matando con una sonrisa. ¡Luchemos! ■