Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’


Over half of our e-books will be on sale starting today, and will be available at all of the usual e-book vendors (Kobo, Apple, Amazon, etc.). Most are priced at $.99, and none of the sale titles are above $2.99. Here are the temporarily reduced e-books:

Science Fiction

  • Sleep State Interrupt, by T.C. Weber
  • The Wrath of Leviathan, by T.C. Weber
  • Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia, by Zeke Teflon
  • The Watcher, by Nicholas T. Oakley

Classic Fiction

  • The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition, by Upton Sinclair

Anarchism/Politics

  • Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle, by Rafael Uzcátegui
  • Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolfo Montes de Oca
  • The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations, Chaz Bufe, ed.
  • The Best of Social Anarchism, Howard Ehrlich and a.h.s. boy, eds.

Science

  • Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology, and Politics in Science, by John Grant

Humor

  • The American Heretic’s Dictionary, by Chaz Bufe
  • Bible Tales for Ages 18 and Up, by G. Richard Bozarth

Atheism

  • Disbelief 101: A Young Person’s Guide to Atheism, by S.C. Hitchcock
  • Spiritual Snake Oil: Fads & Fallacies in Pop Culture, by Chris Edwards

Performing Arts

  • Stage Fright: 40 Stars Tell You How They Beat America’s #1 Fear, by Mick Berry and Michael Edelstein
  • An Understandable Guide to Music Theory: The Most Useful Aspects of Theory for Rock, Jazz, and Blues Musicians

Salom Mesa Espinoza

“I come from the social subsoil, and my ideas embrace political struggle. . . . to procure a revolutionary order, to leave behind justice for my equals; but the results of the political struggle in which I’ve been an actor haven’t served these ends, but on the contrary it’s served to turn me into an animal, to debase me, to corrupt and degrade the sons of the people. And as an honest man — which I’ve always wanted people to see me as — I had to break with that which life itself showed to be evil. In may case, conventional [electoral] politics.

“The legal [political] parties in which I participated were generous with me. The first, Acción Democrática, made me councilor for the Federal District and later a deputy to the Congress, and for it I spilled my blood. The second Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo, made me a deputy for the Federal District three consecutive times, and the final time nominated me and secured my election while I was imprisoned. It conducted a vigorous and and valiant campaign for my freedom, and its president doctor Luís B. Prieto harshly criticized the government and vehemently demanded my release. I’m profoundly grateful to the MEP and Doctor Prieto, and I won’t forget that.

“But for me social struggle makes sense [only] if it tends in the direction of human emancipation; and forty-four years of party militancy, surrounded in the vast majority by good people, has convinced me that we’ll never reach emancipation through political action, that the sons of the people, like me, should have nothing to do with [electoral] politics nor with government. Our mission is that of destroying the ruling political and social order so as to later construct a just order.”

–Salom Mesa Espinoza, La vida me lo dijo, elogio a la anarquía (rough translation: Life told me this, elegy to anarchy)

(quoted by Rodolfo Montes de Oca in Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, which will go to press later this month)

* * *

Venezuelan Anarchism front cover

 


(Note: I’m doing this translation on the fly — just sitting here reading and typing away. Don’t expect a great translation: I’m wiped and am posting this without revising it. For those interested and who can read Spanish, the original is included at the end of this translation.)

* * *

by Rafael Uzcategui

The rhetoric of Chavismo [refers to the personality cult of Hugo Chávez and his followers, especially now-dictator Nicolás Maduro], replete with the standard pet phrases of the Latin American left, created for many years expectations among those who searched for a more humane and just alternative [to the capitalist hell of U.S. subservience and exploitation].

Despite the degradation of the army to the Chavista state, and the obvious evidence of the general impoverishment of the population and the regimentation of daily life of Venezuelans, the phantasm [of “Bolivarian” revolution] hasn’t yet totally evaporated.

The unsuspecting, innocents, and political operatives of all stripes, but without the drive they had in the days of the Supreme Commander, continue to defend the regime of Nicolás Maduro repeating the empty phrases “economic war” and citing the Constituent Assembly [the illegal body created by Maduro to supplant the elected congress].

Every time we have to explain the Venezuelan situation outside of our borders, we need to overcome the echos of authoritarian propaganda [sanctifying Chávez and Maduro]. To neutralize the views of those who live in other lands, but who consider themselves better informed than those of us living here, I’ll cite personal histories, personal histories of those of us living here in Venezuela.

I’ll begin with the story of Juan Pedro Lares.

Juan Pedro is a young man of 23, who on the 30th of June, the date of the election for Maduro’s [illegal] constituent assembly, was arrested in his home in the municipality of Campo Elías in the state of Mérida by SEBIN [Servicio Boliviariano de Inteligencia Nacional — the state intelligence service]. They were looking for his father, Omar Lares, the town’s mayor. Most of the family fled through the rear, but uniformed cops arrested Juan Pedro.

There was no arrest warrant for him and he was committing no crime — the two reasons under the law that would permit arrest. But they arrested him anyway.

Meanwhile, his father fled to Colombia to avoid being arrested in the wave of repression directed against [opposition] mayors. And his mother Ramona went to Caracas to try to find out what happened to Juan Pablo.

Despite going several times to the Helicoide prison, the authorities denied repeatedly that he was there. He was.

Both Juan Pedro and his mother Ramona are Colombian citizens, and thanks to the Colombian embassy she was able to visit him in Helicoide, the headquarter of SEBIN, four times over the coming months.

The illegal detention, the violation of due process, and the negation of the rights due any prisoner — visits by family and access to attorneys — weren’t the only violations of Juan Pedro’s rights. He was never brought before a judge during the first 48 hours to be informed of the charges brought against him. He was never brought before a judge during the first six months of his captivity.

We repeat: No state attorney has accused the young man of committing a crime. Therefore, his detention consists of, nothing more and nothing less, a kidnapping by the state. In this manner, the Maduro government, with the complicity of the human rights figures [within it, apparently — I don’t know enough about the matter to extrapolate from the context]  Tarek William Saab and Alfredo Ruiz to blackmail Juan Pedro’s father to return from exile and be imprisoned.

What do you call the type of government that would do such a thing?

The case of Juan Pedro discredits ever more the international mouthpieces of Chavismo [presently, Madurismo]. If the governments of Macri (Argentina) or Piñera (Chile) had violated due process and incarcerated someone for political purposes, there would be a regional campaign against this on social networks. But no.

The case of Juan Pedro Lares is not unique.

We’ll continue, while we still have a voice, to continue to paint such portraits of infamy.

* * *

El discurso del chavismo, repleto de lugares comunes y las muletillas de la izquierda latinoamericana, generó durante mucho tiempo expectativas entre quienes buscaban una alternativa, más humana y justa, para la humanidad. A pesar de la degradación del ejercicio de poder bolivariano y todas las evidencias sobre el empobrecimiento general de la población y la estatización de la vida cotidiana de los venezolanos, dicho espejismo no se ha evaporado del todo. Incautos, ingenios y operadores políticos de todo pelaje, con menos empuje que en los días en vida del Comandante Supremo, siguen defendiendo la gestión de Nicolás Maduro, repitiendo los desiertos de la “guerra económica” y la Constituyente.

Cada vez que hemos tenido que explicar la situación venezolana fuera de sus fronteras, tenemos que vencer los ecos de la propaganda del autoritarismo. Para neutralizar auditorios que a pesar de no vivir en el país creen estar mejor informados que tú, he recurrido a la estrategia de contar historias que, dramáticamente, hablen por sí solas. Cuando he querido neutralizar las intervenciones de quienes desean refutar que entre nosotros existe una dictadura, empiezo mi intervención relatando la historia de Juan Pedro Lares.

Juan Pedro es un adolescente de 23 años que el pasado 30 de julio, fecha de las elecciones a la Asamblea Constituyente madurista, fue detenido en su domicilio ubicado en el Municipio Campo Elías del estado Mérida. Un comando del SEBIN y la policía fueron a buscar a su padre, Omar Lares, que en ese momento ejercía el cargo de Alcalde de Ejido. La familia huye por el patio trasero, pero Juan Pedro queda atrás y es capturado por los uniformados. No había ninguna orden de aprehensión en su contra y no estaba cometiendo en ese momento delito alguno, los dos causales, que según la ley, permiten la privación de libertad. Inmediatamente fue trasladado a Caracas. Mientras su padre huía a Colombia, para evitar ser parte de los alcaldes detenidos ilegalmente, su madre Ramona comienza la peregrinación en la capital para conocer el paradero de su hijo. A pesar de haber ido varias veces a El Helicoide, las autoridades negaban que se encontrara ahí. Tanto Ramona como Juan Pedro tienen nacionalidad colombiana, por lo que fue por intermediación de la Cancillería que, semanas después, corroboraron que se encontraba en la sede del Sebin y le permitieron una primera visita, que hasta el día de hoy sólo suman 4. La detención ilegal y la negación de los derechos de cualquier preso (ser visitado por abogados y familiares de manera periódica) no son la única violación del debido proceso. La más escandalosa es que durante los 6 meses que Juan Pedro ha estado recluido en El Helicoide en ningún momento, ni en las 48 horas que dice la ley ni después, ha sido trasladado a tribunales para que un juez sea formalmente informado de los delitos que se le imputan. Repetimos: Ningún fiscal ha acusado al joven de haber cometido acto fuera de la ley, por lo que su detención constituye, nada más y nada menos, que un secuestro por parte del Estado. De esta manera el gobierno madurista, con la complicidad de los próceres de los DDHH Tarek William Saab y Alfredo Ruiz, intenta obligar a Omar Lares a entregarse. ¿Cómo se llama un gobierno que actúa de esta manera?

El relato sobre el caso Juan Pedro Lares enmudece a los, cada vez menos, altavoces internacionales del chavismo. Si el gobierno de Macri o de Piñera, por decir dos nombres, violara el debido proceso de una sola persona encarcelada por razones políticas, tendríamos a la progresía regional haciendo movilizaciones y campañas por redes sociales. Pero el caso Lares no es el único. Debemos continuar, mientras tengamos voz, relatando sus historias para continuar dibujando el rostro de la ignominia. @fanzinero (Publicado en Tal Cual)


(We received this from our Venezuelan comrades connected with El Libertario. It begins with a note from our compañeros/as announcing a series of pieces on the current rebellion and repression — arrests, beatings, and torture — of anarchist and other protesters by the “revolutionary” Maduro regime, and expressing thanks to those who spread this information.)

Beginning on April 4, 2017, a popular rebellion has been developing against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. We’ll shortly be sending out a series of interviews with compañeros/as who have been detained and tortured for protesting. We appreciate the translation and dissemination of these interviews in other languages.

Anarchist Detained and Beaten in Cagua in the state of Aragua


In April, one of our comrades in Cagia was arrested in Cagua for participating in community defense against the attacks from the Bolivarian National Guard and the Araguan Police (PoliAragua). In order to safeguard his physical well-being, we’ll use the name Libertarian Fighter here.

We spoke with him after he came out of detention. At present he’s well physically and in good spirits. In this interview he talks about his month-long detention and what position anarchists should take on the popular rebellion.

To Begin with, what led to your detention?

They arrested me on Monday April 24 around 8:00 pm. We were ambushed by the Araguan police. The demonstration began with complete calm. It was a sit-in, in which the people had been blocking an intersection since 6:00 am. The GNB and PoliAragua had been there since quite early watching to see if we were making a disturbance. They moved on us around 6:00 pm after we moved from the intersection to the entrance of Cagua. Suddenly a GNB truck arrived and anti-riot police spewed out of it. That was when they started to threaten us and fire tear gas shells at us. We didn’t back down, and confronted them.

You couldn’t see the street because of all the tear gas they had fired. Then things became more violent. They began not only launching tear gas at us, but brought in motorcycle cops. We saw them drag off, on the other side of a bridge over a canal, a woman by the hair.

I crossed the canal and found myself facing a wall of police. There was no way out, and instead of surrendering I launched myself against them, arms crossed in front of me [presumably to ward off blows to the head], and took off running.

I was escaping when they found me, grabbed me, and began beating me as I tried to defend myself. They threw me down, and when I rose, I struck them as I could until I could no longer fight.

One of them then said, “We’re going to throw you from the bridge, asshole.”

They took my i.d. and cell phone and forced me to sit on the sidewalk until a policewoman arrived. She spoke by radio and then told them to handcuff me and take me where she directed.

They let the other detained demonstrators go then. I was the only one they hauled off.

Then more detained demonstrators arrived, two of them badly beaten, one so badly that he couldn’t eat for three days after because of facial injuries.

They then took us to the command post without notifying our relatives, but someone saw them do it .

They gave us a few more blows, and then hauled us off.

We arrived at the central command post, where they led us through a passageway where other cops insulted us and struck us. They took us to an office where they didn’t even give us water, and advised us that we couldn’t have anything before throwing us in a cell three meters long by one-and-a-half meters wide (7 feet X 3.5 feet). There were sixteen people in all in that jail.

They let some of us go that night. Some were public officials’ relatives, others were minors. In the end, 12 were left. The following day they took me and several others to the palace of justice and from there to the other command base where sentence was pronounced.

We remained there another day, and after that took us to the CICPC where they wrote us up. There I heard the charges against us: terrorism, aggravated assault, carrying firearms, resisting arrest, and public disturbance. They produced planted evidence of six liters of gasolune, each liter in a molotov cocktail, rocks, and teargas bombs. They claimed that we had used these to attack a police patrol and to wound several policemen.

But a CICPC investigator I overheard, among those who were going to charging us, said that they knew we weren’t criminals and that maybe we didn’t deserve this and they could let us go without charge. Instead they too us to the new central police command, and then the following day to the palace of justice, but the judge, and they postponed the hearing to the following day. At that point the prosecutor couldn’t provide proof and I asked that we be released on bond. The judge refused and instead and ordered us held for 45 days while the police investigated. I asked where they were going to send us.

This is the third time I’ve had problems with the police. The jails are hell. I talked with the other guys being detained and they said it would be best if we were held at the site where we were originally taken, but they took us to another. When we arrived there, we were greeted by the same cop who had kicked in the face of one of the kids I was arrested with. The cop said, “Look who we have here, the same damn negro who we’re gonna put against a wall today.”

But the commander arrived and said they couldn’t keep u there, and they took us to another police station. When we arrived there they told us they would put us in with others being held on political charges. It was a small cell and barely held the 22 of us. I hadn’t slept since being detained, and I managed a few seconds sleep on my feet, as during all the days I’d been held I hadn’t slept at all. I was super tired.

The following day they opened the cell door and took out the elderly people being held, and so we were finally able to get a little sleep. Finally in the afternoon they opened the cell door and told us that if they found enough locks they might be able to transfer us to another jail where we could get some sleep.

They made a call asking for more locks, and in the evening they took us to a different [larger] cell, and I was finally able to lie down to sleep, until it started to rain in the early morning hours and I awoke to find water all over everything. But I was so tired I went back to sleep sopping wet while lying in a puddle.

Over time, prisoners were being released on bail, so the police had room to make sport with other prisoners. Forty-eight days had passed, when one night a cop arrived at 11:00 pm and said that they were calling Alayon, a prison in Maracay. We asked if they were going to transfer us. He said no, and made a cell phone call, telling us, “You’re lucky I’m here, you vermin from the street. Look at yourselves. I’m going to do you the favor of getting your release papers, because at this hour no clerks will deliver them.

He went and found them, and they allowed us to call our families so they could come and get us. That’s how things ended on a Friday near to midnight.

How was the time you spent behind bars?

Our familes brought us food in the morning, mid-day, and night. We only had problems with one of the guards; he was always “losing” the food, clothes, toilet paper or other things sent to us, or the sunshade for visits on Saturdays.

For bathing, they brought in tubs twice a week and opened up the taps. We didn’t have a bathroom as such. We had to piss in a channel that ran through the patio, and had to shit into bags, so there were mice and cockroaches all over us at night.

How do you see the protests in Aragua?

The protests in Maracay are true street battles, even though the people are suppressed at times through, I suppose, fear or fatigue. But they haven’t stopped. It’s just that some times are more incendiary than others. In Cagua, things were happening for a time, but they’re quiet now. I think we should take to the streets without asking the stage managers of the [right wing] “opposition.” The people don’t come out without asking one of them first. The day I was detained, I got involved in a discussion with one of them and I said that we were out in the streets for the people, not for some political opportunists. He frowned and then gave me a pat on the back. After letting him know what I thought, I got back out into the demonstration.

What do you think of the young people in the resistance and what they’re demonstrating?

The young people in the resistance, especially those on the front lines of the protests, aren’t with the political bands. They just want better living conditions, even thought they don’t seem to be able to articulate it. They want out from under the present government, but don’t seem to know what they want after that. Clearly, there are others who have political consciousness, but that’s yet to come to the rest, [and it’s necessary that it does] to avoid other authoritarians to come.

What brought you to participate in the popular rebellion?

I came out to protest because of the fact that everything, wherever you look, is being destroyed in this [Bolivarian] process.  Things we’ve already forgotten, like the water we bathe in should be clean, not mixed with polluted water. We get sick and there’s no medicine. Things are dangerous in the streets, day by day we’re threatened on all sides, by those who would kill us for our phones or for having nothing they could rob from us. Friends of mine have been killed by criminals; they shot one of my friends in the face. My family has left the country. People have to deal with this crap every single day as they go out to get food, or go to school, or buy medicine [if they can find it], or rent a place to live. But you can’t afford everything, not on normal wages. You always have to have a second income, and even if you can find work, much of it is very exploitative. Do you still want to know my reasons?

Well then, is it worth the trouble?

I think protesting is worthwhile. It’s necessary to show that we’re discontented, even though more people will die. I don’t want the government to remain in power and I’d give my life to see them fall, to provide a better future for my family, my friends, for the good people who remain and shouldn’t have to put up with all this.

What do you think of the silence of the anarchists?

I think that in this life, no matter if you know a lot about anarchism, if you don’t do something to change things, even a little, you shouldn’t call yourself an anarchist. If you only whine on the Internet about the “oppressive system” and don’t do anything, it’s better to just shut up.

How do you see the Constituent Assembly?

I believe that the constituent assembly is one of the craziest things they can do, even though there’s no limit to their craziness. The constituent assembly is very dangerous, because it will remove all limits on their [Maduro’s] power. We should try to stop it, because it could be the end of everything.

Finally, what can you say to anarchists and other politically minded people?

To all my comrades in struggle, I want to say thank you for coming out every day and risking everything. You’re very valiant. But they’re lacking the organization to ensure a good outcome. Organize, struggle, spread [ideas and projects]. Don’t let them destroy us. Do something to change this reality. An embrace for all of you who’ve come out to show your faces.  Take care of yourselves.

Those who have fear of confronting the state’s oppressors, at least help those who are. Everything is needed: water, food, medicine, protective gear, whatever you can give. Don’t let the flame go out. Keep the struggle going so that we can enjoy a new dawn. Make it happen.

 


(We received this a few days ago from our Venezuelan comrades connected with El Libertario. It begins with a note from our compañeros/as announcing a series of pieces on the current rebellion and repression — arrests, beatings, and torture — of anarchist and other protesters by the “leftist” Maduro regime, and expressing thanks to those who spread this information.

The images interspersed below showing the aftermath of the beatings are pretty large. Please scroll past them to continue reading the interview.)

Beginning on April 4, 2017, a popular rebellion has been developing against the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. We’ll shortly be sending out a series of interviews with compañeros/as who have been detained and tortured for protesting. We appreciate the translation and dissemination of these interviews in other languages.

Anonymous Rebel: “Organize in whatever way you want, with whomever you want, but don’t be complicit.”

In the first days of July, in the city of Maracaibo in the state of Zulia, an anarchist comrade was arrested by the Bolivarian [federal] National Police (PNB) with the complicity of officials attached to the public transportation system of that city. In order to protect him from physical retaliation, we’re using the pseudonym “Anonymous
Rebel” here.

We spoke with him after he was released from the detention site. He’s currently well, but he was beaten during both his arrest and imprisonment and is under an order to present himself to the police once a week. In good spirits, he spoke with us about how the popular rebellion is progressing.

Can you comment on how you were arrested and if you were tortured?

In the area where I live, the people have been protesting, and I’ve always been participating in these peaceful protests with everyday people such as medics, hairdressers, people distributing free food, everyone from kids to old people.

Everything was going fine until a group of about 30 people, some in the uniform of the Metro [public transit system], poured out of the Metro station to intimidate us. They shot at us and hurled rocks at us, and we went running, with them coming after us, accompanied by the Bolivarian National Police, throwing rocks at houses, apartment buildings, and vehicles.

My arrest was a set-up because [we had stopped] to tell a regional policeman that we weren’t shooting and that it was those who had come out of the metro with rocks in one hand and a pistol in the other.

The aftermath of a beating by Nicolás Maduro’s police

Then to our surprise, we were attacked from behind by the PNB, in what quickly took on the appearance of a battlefield, with tear gas all over the place. We ran, but the PNB on motorcycles tried to corner me two or three times, until they finally got me and arrested me for carrying a bag. They got me down on the ground and battered me with their shields. [Translator’s note: This appears to be a standard tactic with the PNB. They beat their victims to the ground and then slam down the bottoms of their heavy plastic shields on their bodies.] Then, giving us some kicks, they threw me and some other people into a paddywagon.

Later my compañera and another arrested woman arrived, and they took us to the command post of the Guardia at 7:00 pm, where they produced planted evidence to incriminate us: Molotov cocktails, a bag with sharp wire spikes protruding, and the helmets she and I had been wearing. They let my compañera go in the early morning hours, the other woman later in the morning, and they detained me [and other male protesters].

They never read us our rights, and it was until days later that they allowed me a call, which I didn’t make myself, but rather a guard  called my family telling them to bring me clothing while I was detained.

Were you in a cell with other detainees? How were the conditions?

They didn’t put us in a cell, because the jail in that command post was full. There were 40 other people there on various charges besides the protesters, so they put us on the patio and handcuffed us. At 5:00 am they woke us so we could shower. I should mention that I didn’t sleep the entire night, because of the anxiety and helplessness I felt. Five minutes to shower on a patio where there was only a hole in the ground in which to piss and shit.

At this time, an anti-mutiny squad arrived, and four of them, while we were showering, began striking us on our legs, butts, and backs, saying, “These damn anti-Chavistas, we should leave them in a ditch. I don’t know why they brought them here.”

There were two kids of 14 and another aged 17, who they also beat, one of whom, one of the 14-year-olds, when he was arrested they threw to the ground, along with other protestors, and threw the powder or crystals from their tear gas bombs directly on them and then threw water so that the chemicals would penetrate, causing allergic reactions and skin damage.

During the five days I was detained, which I passed under the sun on the patio, they only allowed us to use the toilet facilities [the hole in the ground] twice a day no matter when we ate. Our families could bring us food, but I learned after I was released that the guards had stolen one lunch and dinner my family brought for me.

Here I should thank the Centro de Atención Manos Solidarias along with the everyday people who donated to the imprisoned protesters. I had enough food, but the detainees whose families didn’t supply any benefited greatly from the aid of this social center. We were very grateful for the aid.

How did your detention affect your family and other loved ones?

My mother is 65 years old and disabled, and is in delicate health, but she was strong and was there every day. I thought a lot about her health, but my compañera is the best, and took good care of her. It’s in these moments when one realizes who your true friends and comrades are. Many of the neighborhood people supported us, some monetarily, and some with food and transport. We’re very grateful for their solidarity!

How is life in Maracaibo?

Maracaibo is a difficult city [in which to live], perhaps because the heat makes us so irritable. There’s a very noticeable discontent. The quality of life grows worse with every passing day, as everyone notices. The stereotype of the Maracaiboan is of someone paunchy, but there are [now] many skinny people who are going without necessities.

People have been protesting here since 2015. There is no apathy [in the political sense].

Why do you protest? What impels you to participate in this militant form of popular mobilization?

I’ve been protesting for several years, always anonymously. I don’t like being out front, and I don’t want any praise for doing it; I do it because I’m fed up with the situation, tired of dealing with screwed-up situation after screwed-up situation just to make enough money to buy food day after day. I’m tired of living in a militarist country where we pay taxes to feed those who treat us so badly.

I have my point of view about the protests I go to. We can’t talk about anarchism there and the people aren’t interested in it, the true rebels who put their bodies behind a placard. The majority that I’ve seen only want to get rid of this government, and it doesn’t matter to them what comes after. They only want to get rid of this band of the inept and corrupt. There’s a lot of solidarity in the protests; we’re all equal, brothers and sisters in the struggle.

Is it worth the trouble.

It’s always worth the trouble to fight for your rights, as it always should be; our discontent should be open and should be clear  — we can’t remain paralyzed with fear; it’s necessary to overcome it.

Do you think that after 100 days we’re experiencing a popular rebellion?

Today, July 10, 2017, I think that each day we’re coming closer to a popular rebellion, in that every day the people become less attached to MUD [the opposition coalition] and any political party. They’re fed up with MUD. Today I can say that thanks to this government there’s a rebellious youth, with experience in the street and that, whatever government we’re saddled with, they’re prepared and ready to defend our rights and liberties.

What do you think of the cliche that we shouldn’t support the protests because they benefit the right?

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen and heard. I don’t got out to play games with the MUD, who go out to protests and ask the people who resist which party they belong to. Every day people become less and less tied to the political parties.

How do you see the silence of many overseas anarchists about what’s happening in Venezuela?

In the end, I’ve felt with respect to the great majority of such “anarchists” who whine on social networks and say that they won’t come out [and say anything] because there are groups like the National Rebirth [Renacer Nacional] that are fascist, that are political manipulators. But that’s no reason to remain silent.

It’s necessary to fight for our ideals. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. We need to organize however you want, with whomever you want. But don’t be complicit! Don’t be critical of everything! Don’t be “anarcho” window dressing. Enough with indifference. When you see your brothers and sisters falling, it’s time to fight.

What should be the posture of anarchists in regard to the future?

It’s time that anarchists get in tune with history, get out on the streets to struggle against militarism, against hunger, against corruption, against the injustices they rail against in fanzines, songs, and the poetic fusillades of intellectuals. It’s time that Venezuelan anarchists take to the streets with a clear message and unite with the resistance.

Released political protesters/prisoners in Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela

I also hope for the creation of a serious bloc of anarchists that could become the Anarchist Network, that in truth would not consist of fanzines or music of one band or another. NO. One can’t believe in true anarchist fronts or movements advancing the struggle. It’s necessary to become involved in the barrios, the community councils, in one’s community. It’s necessary for all to say that in this moment, in this totally divided country, that’s broken into two pieces, if not many more, that we ought to take advantage of this space to say who we are and for what we struggle.


(Yesterday we published the Spanish-language version of this piece detailing the beating of Venezuelan anarchist Gianni Humberto Scovino by would-be Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s militarized national police. Here’s the translation.

As you can see from the attached video, the beating was deliberate and entirely unprovoked. Our Venezuelan comrades promise another piece on the arrest and torture of Venezuelan anarchists by the “revolutionary” Maduro regime; we’ll publish it as soon as we receive it, first in Spanish and then in English after we translate it.)

Gianni Humberto Scovino being beaten by Venezuelan police

Gianni Scovino is a young man of 33 with Asperger’s syndrome and a member of the Turtle Foundation (Fundación La Tortuga [http://www.fundacionlatortuga.org/]), a participant in the punk scene, and an anarchist media activist using materials from El Libertario [Venezuela’s primary anarchist periodical] on his Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos), where he puts up videos in both Spanish and English.

On July 13, he was savagely assaulted by members of the Bolivarian National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana [PNB]) and the Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana [GNB]) in the parking lot of the Grand Central Commercial Dairy Plaza (Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías) in the state of Anzoátegui while he was on a recycling run for the Turtle Foundation. A video of the attack is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues

[Translator’s note: The Chávez regime and now its successor, the Maduro regime, refer to themselves as “Bolivarian,” in an attempt to paint themselves as the successors of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the 19th-century uprising against Spanish colonialism.]

Gianni Humberto Scovino in hospital after being beaten by Venezuelan police

After being brutally beaten by the PNB and GNB with nightsticks and with  shields used as battering rams, he was held for 36 hours at Detachment 521 of the Command of Zone 521 of the GNB, before being transferred to a medical facility for treatment. At present he’s recovering in the Hospital of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Insurance.

Those responsible for the attack on Gianni are GNB first sergeants Osmel Zambrano Márquez and Joel José Díaz Carreño, and second sergeants Julio César Gómez Mata and José Gregorio Trébol Pinto, as well as the PNB attaché Luis Ramón Cova León and PNB officials Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua and José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.

The violent assault suffered by Gianni is symptomatic of the constant violence in Venezuela for the last 100 days, in which, since April 1, more than 3,500 people have been detained, an incalculable number have been injured, and there have been police raids on civil and residential sites. Thus far 303 Venezuelan civilians have gone before military tribunals. And more than 100 people have been killed.

We’re making an international call to our overseas anarchist comrades for solidarity in the face of the attacks on the people of Venezuela during this uprising of the people. Silence is complicity with a dictatorship that oppresses, tortures, and jails anarchists.

Let indignation become rage against the oppressor!

With Gianni and all of the Venezuelans rising against the regime, we remain the anarchists in the popular uprising.

 

Some of the Youtube videos from Gianni Scovino:


(Our Venezuelan compañeros just sent me the following e-mail detailing the beating of Venezuelan anarchist Gianni Humberto Scovino by Maduro’s Bolivarian National Police. As you can see from the attached video, the beating was deliberate and entirely unprovoked. For now, this post is in Spanish. I’ll translate it to English and put that up tonight or tomorrow.)

Gianni Humberto Scovino being beaten by Venezuelan police

Gianni Scovino (33 años) es un joven asperger, colaborador de la Fundación La Tortuga (http://www.fundacionlatortuga.org/), participe de la escena punk y difusor de artículos sobre el anarquismo publicados en El Libertario a través de su canal S3 7 (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos) donde suele postear videos en inglés y español.

El pasado 13 de julio de 2017 fue salvajemente agredido por funcionarios de la  Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB) y Guardia Nacional Bolivariana (GNB) mientras reciclaba desechos para la Fundación Tortuga en las inmediaciones del estacionamiento del Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías en el estado Anzoátegui. La golpiza que recibió quedo registrado en el siguiente video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues

Gianni Humberto Scovino in hospital after being beaten by Venezuelan police

Después de ser  golpeado por la PNB y GNB con el escudo, patada y golpes fue retenido por 36 horas en el Destacamento 521 del Comando de Zona Número 51 de la GNB antes de ser trasladado a un centro asistencial; actualmente su estado de salud está mejorando y se encuentra en el Hospital del Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales “Doctor Domingo Guzmán Lander” de Barcelona.

Los responsables de las agresiones sufridas por el compañero Gianni Scovino son los sargentos primeros de la GNB, Osmel Zambrano Márquez y Joel José Díaz Carreño, y los sargentos segundos Julio César Gómez Mata y José Gregorio Trébol Pinto. Así como el oficial agregado de la PNB,  Luis Ramón Cova León y los oficiales del mismo cuerpo de seguridad, Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua y José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.

La violencia que sufrió Gianni Scovino es una constante desde hace 100 días en  Venezuela, la cual desde el 01 de abril van más de 3500 personas detenidas, un número incalculable de heridos, allanamientos a sectores populares y residenciales; 303 venezolanos juzgados en tribunales militares y más de 100 víctimas fatales.

Desde Venezuela, hacemos un llamado internacional a los compañeros y compañeras anarquistas a no ser indiferentes ante las agresiones que está sufriendo la población venezolana en esta Rebelión Popular, el silencio es complicidad con una dictadura que oprime, tortura y detiene a libertarios.

Que la indignación se transforme en rabia contra el opresor

¡Con Gianni y todas las venezolanos alzados!

–Anarquistas en la rebelión popular.

 

Algunos de los videos de youtube de Gianni Scovino:


See Sharp Press will publish two titles during the Fall season:

Cutlure Wars (revised & expanded) coverCulture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom (revised & expanded), by Marie Alena Castle, graphically describe religious intrusions into the most intimate aspect of our lives — our rights to contraception, abortion, the right to marry, end-of-life decisions — and how preferential treatment of religion harms all of us financially.

The new edition with provide additional information on the rise of the religious right, its recent anti-women’s rights, anti-reproductive rights, and anti-LGBT campaigns, the Mormon Church’s misogynistic and homophobic attitudes and practices, the harm religious-right policies inflict on us when put into practice, with a particular focus on the havoc wrought in Mike Pence’s Indiana and Sam Brownback’s Kansas, and what we can do to combat the religious right’s assaults on our freedom.

Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a MovementVenezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolfo Montes de Oca, is the newest title in our “History of a Movement” series. (The two previous titles are Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement and African Anarchism: The History of a Movement.) In it, Venezuelan author, attorney, and human rights activist Rodolfo Montes de Oca traces the rise of the Venezuelan anarchist movement from colonial times to the present day.

During the Spring 2018 season we plan to publish at least one, probably two, new science fiction titles and a new atheist title. We’ll announce them when it’s nearer to their release dates.


El Libertario

Our friends at El Libertario, the Venezuelan anarchist periodical, are celebrating 20 years of uninterrupted publication with a special issue: “20 Years of Self-Management.”

Those who speak Spanish can find the online edition on  this Youtube channel.

Here’s the table of contents with the URLs:


Fidel Castro

 

by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

It’s time to speak ill of the dead.  It’s been time for nearly a century. Since 1918, the left in both the U.S. and Europe has had a dictator-worship problem. First it was Lenin; then it was (yes) Stalin; then Mao; most recently the dictator of choice has been Fidel Castro.

To illustrate the depth and nature of this problem, let me recount an incident from Cuba in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a maoist friend told me about his experiences there as part of a Venceremos Brigade a decade earlier. (Venceremos Brigades were bands of American leftists who traveled to Cuba to work in the cane fields in support of “the revolution.”) At one point, Fidel himself showed up where they were working in the fields. My friend told me that the reaction of his fellow brigadistas was like that of 14-year-olds at a Beatles concert.

Anarcho-Syndicalist ReviewSince then, the American left in large part has continued to idolize Castro and his Stalin-admirer cohort, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, overlooking their  crimes. We’ll get to those crimes shortly, but let’s first speak of Castro’s, and his “revolution’s,” achievements. During his half-century reign, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party achieved the following:

  • The literacy rate in Cuba in Cuba went from approximately 70% (figures vary) in 1959 to an estimated 96% today, thanks to the Cuban government’s literacy campaigns and universal education for those aged 6 to 16.
  • Cuba has universal, free medical care. One example of its success is that infant mortality in Cuba fell from 37.3 per 1,000 live births in 1959 to 4.3 per thousand today. (In contrast, the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is 5.8 per 1,000 live births today.)
  • Higher education in Cuba is free for most Cubans.
  • There is remarkably little street crime in Cuba.
  • Every Cuban adult is guaranteed a low paying job, with pay averaging about $20 a month.
  • The Castro regime did show that a Latin American regime can defy the United States government (and the corporations it serves) and survive.

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, consider this:

  • Freedom of speech does not exist in Cuba, nor do the other freedoms listed in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Since its inception, the “revolutionary” Castro regime has jailed opponents for exercising their freedoms of speech and assembly. Human Rights Watch notes: “Many of the abusive tactics developed during his [Fidel Castro’s] time in power – including surveillance, beatings, arbitrary detention, and public acts of repudiation – are still used by the Cuban government.”
  • All media outlets (newspapers, magazines, book publishers, radio stations, television stations) are controlled by the Castro regime, and access to the Internet is tightly restricted.
  • Cuba is a one-party state.
  • In its first four-plus decades in power (ending in 2003), the Castro regime executed hundreds if not thousands of its political opponents. Amnesty International estimates that that regime executed 216 political opponents between 1959 and 1987. Other estimates run up well into the thousands.
  • The Cuban government maintains a surveillance network in every neighborhood in Cuba, the so-called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs — more accurately, Committees for the Defense of the Regime), which not only spy upon residents, but have considerable control over their lives. As an example, The CDRs can ban political dissidents from even applying to institutions of higher learning.
  • One of the first things the Castro regime did when it took power was to destroy independent unions, either jailing or driving into exile unionists who opposed its takeover. For over half a century, all unions in Cuba have been controlled by the government. (See Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Frank Fernández. Full disclosure: I translated and edited the book.)
  • There is no workers’ control, no workplace democracy in Cuba. All workplaces are tightly controlled by government apparatchiks.
  • The Cuban government denies its citizens the right to travel, the right to emigrate. Since 1959, over 1.5 million Cubans have fled the country (current population 11 to 12 million). At least hundreds of thousands fled on rickety boats and rafts, and at absolute minimum thousands of men, women, and children died in the crossing. The actual figure is likely well up into the tens of thousands. No one really knows.

Since Castro’s death last week, the American left has, by and large, continued to sing Fidel Castro’s praises. To cite but one example, a few days ago Amy Goodman, on her generally excellent “Democracy Now” broadcast, devoted a full hour (bar the first few minutes devoted to news) to Castro. There were a few seconds (considerably under a minute) near the start devoted  to generalized mention of the repressive nature of the regime, but there was no mention whatsoever in the rest of the hour of any of the crimes listed above. It was largely a love letter to Castro.

One might mention that many antiauthoritarian Latin American leftists and anarchists deeply resent the largely uncritical support given Castro (and until his death Hugo Chávez in Venezuela) by the American left. They see it as a betrayal of principles — and themselves — and consider it utterly hypocritical, especially when coming from those who loudly proclaim their allegiance to human freedom, human rights — in the United States, but not Cuba (or Venezuela). They believe that the typical leftist refrain, “Well, we wouldn’t want that repressive system here, but the Cuban people are better off for it,” is grossly patronizing to those who are the victims of repression and those who struggle against it.

They have a point. If you believe in human freedom, in civil liberties, you believe in them everywhere, and you support all those struggling against repression. You’re either for freedom of speech or against it. You don’t make excuses for repressive regimes because you know “what’s best” for the people in those countries, because you know better than the Cubans (or Venezuelans) struggling against repression. If you make excuses for authoritarian regimes, if you don’t stand against repression everywhere, please don’t pretend that you have principles, please don’t pretend that you’re anything but a political apologist, a political hack.

If you think a one-party state, suppression of civil liberties, government control of the media, suppression of independent unions, replacement of capitalist bosses by “Communist” bosses, secret police, prisons, executions, a network of neighborhood informers, militarism, and a personality cult are a good tradeoff for the Cuban people in exchange for free health care, free higher education, and a guaranteed low-paying job, by all means support the Cuban dictatorship, and continue to sing Fidel Castro’s praises.

 

 


SolTranslated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Edited by Rodolfo Montes de Oca (http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/)

Crónicas Negras are a series of interviews with different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.
In this edition we interview Sol Terán, our libertarian colleague who belongs to the group of Venezuelans that have had to immigrate to other countries. She is the editor of feminist magazine Döderline and member of the band BETOE.
 To start this conversation can you tell me a little more about your magazine Döderline and where this name comes from?
 The Döderlein Zine is an anarchist magazine elaborated manually that deals with several issues like feminism, sexual liberation, politics and punk. We gave the magazine this name because the bacillus bacteria in charge of protecting the vagina from infections and diseases is named after it. It is somewhat of a tribute towards these microorganisms hat support us in the protection against external agents that want to hurt us jejeje
How did you manage to run the magazine in Venezuela with the high cost of printing and paper shortage?
During the days when the first number was released we didn’t really notice the paper shortage, although copies were very expensive. What we did was only print when somebody solicited the magazine, along with always asking for collaborations in order to get photocopies.
Venezuela is renowned for its beautiful women. Do you think that this is a stereotype from those who control capital?
Of course! Publicity is completely exploited, in Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of becoming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe. From a young age they are educated into a certain lifestyle, specific ways of eating, how to dress and act. The only beneficiary of this upbringing is capitalism.
Is there any way of being an anarchist and feminist whilst maintaining the gentleness and sweetness of women?

I think that ideals don’t define your character and gentleness and sweetness aren’t conditioned by gender.

The presence of women inside initiatives and libertarian activities in Venezuela is scarce…What causes this “masculine” majority in Venezuelan anarchism?
 I think that libertarian ideals are stereotyped, I have known many libertarian and anarchist women in Venezuela that embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle off the grid, working with the community and doing things for themselves without the necessity of using any labels. On a conceptual level they don’t know that this lifestyle entails a label, for instance in the case of women that live in the countryside and indigenous women.
How was it living in a country where you must queue for hours to obtain menstrual pads or where obtaining contraceptive pills is a nightmare?
It was sad to see how conditioned Venezuelan women are thanks to the oil income, which has given the country industrialized products without providing the opportunity for any choice and in a certain way this is a favourable advantage. Through publicity capitalism creates the illusion of the necessity of a certain product and when this product is scarce, people start looking for other options. Menstrual pads, tampons and contraceptive pills are not a good choice, there are thousands of natural alternatives that are less harmful for organisms and the planet. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to start this magazine was to spread these natural resources for everyone.
In Venezuela maternity is seen as an obligation and not a choice…What are your thoughts on this? Are you in favor of abortion?
This happens due to the values indoctrinated into girls when they are little, as they are taught that their only goal in life, growing up, is having children and spending the rest of their lives being mothers and looking after the house and taking care of the family. This is like a form of control caused by our overwhelmingly sexist culture. In Venezuela there are still many families that think this way and don’t propose female empowerment. I am in favour of abortion because I think that as owners of our bodies we have the right and freedom to do whatever we want, and I also think that sex should stop being a taboo in the sexual education of children.
In Venezuela no crime statistics exist, do you think that this is due to the complicity of the state?
Silence is complicity. Venezuela has a criminal government, it doesn’t take any measures against the basic necessities of people, like human rights, in a criminal state. In Venezuela the majority of crimes receive impunity because the government allows criminal gangs to acquire power by giving them weapons and protection. 
In Venezuela the number of crimes committed against women has increased…are we the Ciudad Juárez of South America?
No, crimes against women haven’t necessarily increased, it’s just that now women have decided to report more because they now know that it’s a crime that is wrong. Abuse towards women has always existed, but there was always a lot of silence due to fear of retaliation.
You are from the Andesbut you have also lived in Puerto Ordaz and Caracas. How was it living in those places?
Caracas being the capital was full of people, lots of chaos in the street, lots of traffic, it was really hard for me to adapt to that city and I was very stressed. Afterwards I lived in Maturín, an eastern city of the country that was very hot, boring and quite sexist. Going out in the streets entailed listening to a variety of barbarities. Finally, I returned to San Cristóbal, which I think is the only city of Venezuela where you can live calmly, people are very shy and respectful, even though this has also changed throughout these last years.
Why did you emigrate? What pushes Venezuelan anarchists to leave their country and go to other places?
To learn new ways of living and doing things for my personal growth. In the tour that we did with our band B.E.T.O.E last winter we had the chance of sharing our experiences with many anarchists from many different places that did incredible things. This opened our eyes a little more in regards to different ways of living and doing things.
What recommendations and suggestions can you give to those who decide to stay?
Fighting for what you believe in is always comforting, it gives us all motive to keep moving forward.
To end…would you like to say something to your friends and comrades?

A big hug to everyone that fights every day to make this world a more just and egalitarian place! If you want copies of döderlein zine send an email to doderlein.diystro@gmail.com and we will send you copies. Thank you for the support and long live anarchism!


Chomsky & Chabez

Here you go. Noam Chomsky palling around with Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez. Chomsky. The “anarchist.” The supposed perpetual challenger to power.

Several years ago I sent Chomsky a book  which I translated (Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle, by Rafael Uzcategui), challenging Chomsky on his betrayal of anarchist principles, through his endorsement of the Venezuelan regime.

Chomsky’s reply? Personal insult, telling me that he “knows where this kind of publishing” comes from, implying that it was from personal malice or envy. This conveniently sidesteps Chomsky’s betrayal of the Venezuelan anarchists and anarchist principles.

This is all too reminiscent of the betrayal of the Cuban anarchists in the ’60s and ’70s by Dave Dellinger and the other pro-Castro “anarchists.”

Here, as there, you have white academics figuring that “We wouldn’t want it here, but it’s fine for those brown folks down there.”

And, yes I am imputing racism (or at least condescension) to both Dellinger and Chomsky.

Deal with it. And deal with your betrayal of anarchist principals. Deal with your endorsement of authoritarian regimes.

Chomsky should be ashamed of himself.

Don’t trust him. Don’t trust anyone implicitly. Including me.


Here’s the latest from our comrades at Crónicas Negras. Thanks very much to Pietro, the translator. I know all too well what fun/a pain in the ass translating is. He deserves special credit, because he’s translating from his native language to a second language, which is harder than hell, and he’s doing a good job of it.

 

“No fucking clue. Anarchism must stimulate social discontent, but not action from a mere reaction, as we have to promote discussions”.

Interview with Salvador Mendez

 

Interviewer Rodolfo Montes de Oca (http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/)

Translator Pietro Casati Kuyath (https://theorywithoutborders.wordpress.com/)

 

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted with different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles we face living in one of the few socialist regimes. [Blog note: It’s a stretch to call Venezuela “socialist.”] These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.

Interview with Salvador Mendez, a university teacher and anarchist economist who forms part of the collective editing team of El Libertario.

 

How are you surviving as a university teacher in a country with such a high cost of living?

Look, this is what I ask myself everyday…As a person I used survive having several jobs at the same time, giving lectures and private lessons so that the cost of living wasn’t too expensive. However there is a huge problem when you start doing this:

 

When you stop being a professor in the sense that most of your time is dedicated to your survival, by hunting food or filling up your workload and reducing your social life to enhance your role as a professor, you stop reinventing yourself as a public worker and start lacking the drive and motivation to conduct meaningful activities like investigating more, finding forms to innovate the teaching towards newer generations, spend more time in the Academia to criticise or defend it… You ultimately risk being a university teacher that only performs his job for the pay-check, instead of attempting to save the university. Additionally, if you have another job that pays better, your work at the university starts to become more of a hobby to obtain a status. In other words, as the university quickly deteriorates, nobody will worry about rebuilding it. Instead most teachers will find ways to obtain a better paid job, whilst the university collapses in front of them. You also have to take extreme care of yourself in these times because if you get ill or have an accident you will struggle to find any adequate services.

 

As a professional it is increasingly frustrating to watch the situation unfold, to see how young people lack education and the desire to become teachers. They prefer escaping from the country, whilst local students are forced to find a full-time job and work all the time in order to survive instead of just embracing their lives as university students by conducting academic activities like discussing philosophy, appreciating art and debating sociology.

 

You also feel like your knowledge isn’t valued as a teacher anymore, as there are no incentives to study and investigate or grow academically. Therefore the quantity of people that want to develop a critical thinking approach decreases because our state will lead you to believe that you “will die of hunger” if you do not dedicate yourself to something that is profitable in the country. Anyways, let’s leave it at that, well… this is how I survive and what I am witnessing.

 

-Does a general feeling of contempt exist towards anarchists within the academia? Is it necessary to return to the university as proposed by anarchist David Graeber?

Yes. The university as we know nowadays is an institution with extensive bureaucratic and authoritarian roots of a wide-range of political ideologies opposed by anarchists. Some of these include elements like obedience, the way in which knowledge is measured and qualified, the topics students study, the function of education for providing slaves for the system, the relations amongst the community, among many others…Most of the people within the university, whether they like it or not, end up consumed by the vices of the system, as they constantly teach and ingrain these values onto students because according to them it is the only way to succeed in the academia.

 

I am unaware of Graeber’s thoughts on university. I am not sure whether he refers to the fact the we must fight universities bureaucracy from the inside to get rid of the hierarchal power or to eradicate the culture that shares the idea of graduation as merely a mean to compete in the workforce; or to transform the relationship between teacher-student or create humble academics in the sense that students shouldn’t use their diplomas to humiliate intellectually other people. In any case, we should aim to build intellectual capacities for the construction of an alternative social system.

 

What people don’t realize is that the university as a foundation is a tool with the potential to transform the world, as we need different disciplines for the complex problems we have. We must revise the contemporary conception of what is and how a university functions, as nowadays Academia’s develop their culture and science based upon political and cultural values of our capitalist pyramid scheme. Thus, Academia’s are a reflection of our dominant culture. We must impose a new method for studying based around universal knowledge to break the dominant paradigms inside and outside the academia which have consolidated our unequal, violent and oppressive society. Instead, we should strive for one that allows the development of the university to build a new type of society that is free, self-sufficient, solidary and convivial, where the classrooms are a space where knowledge and solidarity are encouraged, along with respect for classmates and tolerance. Classrooms where students are not merely students to be evaluated. Classrooms to build a utopia. In any case, send me Graeber’s text to see what I can rescue…

 

How are universities autonomies progressing in the current situation?

The universities sense of autonomy is a complex topic because it can refer to several things. The most evident factor within this topic is in regards to the budget. The universities budgets are being rejected, which is a strategy started by the government in order to control all forms of secondary education and bring us to a state of desperation.

 

The budget this year has been the hardest due to factors like the lack of input, lack of updates on libraries… Every time there are more teachers renouncing their miserable conditions, ridiculous salaries and lack of any kind of functional future for their professional and financial lives.

 

Employers are also suffering pay delays, I’m unaware of the situation in the trade unions; however from overheard conversations in the halls and casual conversations you begin to realize the extent of the precariousness of the situation. Meanwhile students are suffering from the decreasing quality of teaching, leading many to abandon this helpless situation, whilst the university furthers its own decay.

 

Of course, we can’t blame all of this entirely on the government, in the sense of neglecting to place responsibility on our own universities, as on an internal level universities have not managed to articulate themselves to solve their problems or pressure the government. For instance, during the end of last year, studies were published which showed that the quality of our institution in regards to aspects like infrastructure, security and budgets were abysmal on an educational level.

 

Thus, classes are taught in an unstable environment full of apathy because it is evident that these are not conditions to continue teaching. Instead of organizing ourselves to find sufficient resources to change this problem, we decided to start lowering our political pressure and organization. It’s almost as if the energy in regards to this lack of political articulation is further delayed when you begin teaching a lesson, as you give the impression to the students that you are under no conditions to teach but start anyways, which creates discontent due to the lack of coherence and compromise. Careful though, I am not referring to the fact that we must organize strikes and abandon the university entirely, we should instead organize ourselves to solve the situation.

 

All the different trade unions lack organization and the universities don’t build a rapport with the local communities to legitimise and claim their battle. For instance, universities can offer answers to problems that local Venezuelan communities face and ultimately show them that we all face similar problems on different scales. We can then show them that to solve these problems it is necessary to solidarize and support ourselves mutually. That way we can create networks of action to pressure the political power and start to generate answers to these problems. The people on the streets will tell you that it is important that they give an adequate budget to universities, but from there on they will not bother defending and fighting for these proposed rights, as that person suffers from their own problems. Given how the university doesn’t practice solidarity with the community there will be no communication because we don’t try to build alliances with different people and communities across Venezuela.

 


-Has anybody stolen from you during these difficult times that Venezuela is facing? Could you elaborate on these experiences?

(Starts laughing) Yes, I am part of the robbery statistics that have been happening across universities. It was an absolute disgrace. I used to work in my spare time on a project review for each course with my personal computer. One day I left the computer in my office, as I didn’t want to carry too much weight inside my bag and didn’t want to get mugged in the streets due to the late hour I was leaving the university. When I returned the next day, I enter and after looking desperately for my computer, I realized that they must have stolen it without leaving a single trace of how they had opened my door.

 

-Do you queue to buy regulated products?

Yes, but I can only queue for a few hours due to my job. My parents have much more time and have to do it to survive. I try to help out with the little money I earn and I also sell off to our Colombian neighbours these products for some profit (bachaqueo). I don’t like the word bachaqueo because it is a term created by the government. This has been a true success for the power of Venezuela by declaring many terms to be of a pejorative nature when we use things like #legadodechavez. We use our own language, as the government restricts our language and therefore limits our own thoughts. Essentially, I queue to buy regulated products when I can, and I sometimes resell them for a profit.

 

-How is the rationing situation in regards to water and electricity where you live?

Water: here we have a good tank that allows us to have a stable source of water, even though in parts of my house there isn’t a connection and the tank has problems working in certain rooms. The water also comes out very weak and sometimes doesn’t even work. In regards to electricity, there are often several blackouts, and when these occur we have no access to water because the tank is turned off.

 

-Do you have access to internet? How is the connection?

Yes, but it is garbage.
-Give us a small diagnosis of why the crisis is happening. Being an economist anarchist, how would you get out of this crisis and reactivate the real economy?

For economist anarchists, where opinion widely differs in the firstly place, I think that we have to bet further away from the measures to stabilize a mechanism that we consider perverse to cohere economic relations. The mass-media and academia seem to be moving towards the notion that the debate is between A vs B, market vs state, and from anarchism we must break this dichotomy of “god vs devil”, as the state and the market are both oppressive tools and are based on false contradictions. Thus, the market and state know when to work together to maximise profits to impose their power. Additionally, in our modern state they have mutually fed of each other even if they represent the exact opposite. Therefore, we must search for a way to activate the economy under alternative means of production. We need to rethink the four basic principles of the economy as a scientific formula: what to produce, how to produce it, how much to produce and why to produce it.

 

We have to change the structure of our economy. This is obviously the most complex part of the utopia, however this is where we can begin to unlock the puzzle by breaking the taboo of attitudes like “work is sacred” or that we have to work in order to obtain money to survive. No! We can produce and distribute profits without the necessity of condoning to our society society our unstable work market, along with changing other attitudes like that if you don’t work you won’t be able to eat. In that sense, we should strive for technological alternatives that can generate a lifestyle devoted to enjoyment rather than work as a monotonous and stressful activity. This must require a technology featuring an eco-friendly relationship with natural resources for future generations. The environmental impact is inevitable, but we can create a balance to exit this destructive model by building a more sustainable civilization with less waste, where the contradiction between city vs countryside lifestyle ends.

 

We must push for this society by applying solidarity, mutual support and self-sufficiency in order to develop technologies that do not have an oppressive nature, which lack the goal of producing profits. We need technology for free men and women, in fact the last speech in “The Great dictator” by Charlie Chaplin describes beautifully an ideal for this alternative technological state. In that way we will be able to create leisure time that we can use to build personal wealth connected to collective wealth, cooperating rather than competing… I highly recommend a chapter in one of Greaber’s books, where he talks about the history of trade, for those who want to start an anarchist economy. This text is capable of breaking paradigms of the current dominating economy –it blew my mind- in order to build a utopian economy. Well, that’s my opinion…

 

-Can you explain from an economic perspective what we are going through? Which must be the answer for anarchists in regards to hyperinflation?
The solution is to not attack inflation, but attack the structure and create economic relations. The solution is to have an economy that doesn’t get sick from inflation, where money doesn’t go hand in hand with hardship brought by price increases for those who can’t pay because their time isn’t worth it. We can’t boycott inflation, in fact we suffer from doing so. We could as anarchists live without it but we wouldn’t be able to escape from it because inflation will always catch up, and currently in this country it is very difficult to win against it.

 

-How do you see the process of nationalization during the Bolivian process? What are your thoughts on price controls?
Nationalization of what exactly? It seems that the state is involved even in our soaps (if your water works). Nationalization has failed on such a disastrous level that they have given the capitalist ideology tremendous strength and legitimacy, which it had lost during the 80s. For our own history I think that it was a change of leader that probably was for the worse because the levels of corruption have increased from the previous governments, as they have lowered worker’s rights, destroyed infrastructure and submerged us into a generational crisis.

 

-How do we escape from this situation? What is the next move for anarchists? Is there any formula we can use?

No fucking clue. Anarchism must stimulate social discontent, but not action from a mere reaction, as we have to promote discussions. Anarchist ideals have the power to liberate us, to create legitimacy in discontent, filled with reason and sense, proposals and alternatives, because if not we will lose another act in our continuous volatility. I don’t think that any magic potion exists, we can take the ideals of anarchism to build and reinvent an alternative to exit this system by changing its structure.

________________________

Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Bitácora personal: http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/

Twitter: @romontesdeoca

 

 


Our friends at Crónicas Negras have been running a series of interviews with their fellow Venezuelan anarchists. Here’s the latest.

_________________

 

“The Venezuelan state is approving the biggest eco-suicide known in our entire history and the Boliarvian government is complicit”

Interview with Juan Pablo Núñez from Maracaibo.

 

Interviewer Rodolfo Montes de Oca (http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/)

 

Translation by Pietro Casati Kuyath (https://theorywithoutborders.wordpress.com/)

 

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles the face living in one of the few socialist regimes. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.

In this edition we interview Juan Pablo Núñez, member of the band Doña Maldad, soloist in Cadáveres podrido, activist, colleague of El Libertario and anarcho-punk from the region of Zulia.

 

-How is it being a young anarchist in Venezuela? Is it challenging?

I have been fighting for this cause for more than 15 years. I am an adult, but I am still young at heart so I can answer the question: I don’t think that it is different from any other country. The matter which makes the situation complicated is the strong polarization that is dividing people. We must establish opinions that aren’t seen as crazy or even despised. Socialist Venezuela is a huge farce because it is merely the continuation of what the system supposedly criticizes to gain the same power, resources and people’s autonomy.

 

First Manuel Rosales, then Eveling Trejo to culminate with Francisco Arias Cardenas… haven’t the people from Zulia learnt their lesson?

Neither the people from Zulia or Venezuelans from other states have learnt that regardless of who rules it is only a tool for their own interests. Manuel Rosales was governor and Dimartino was the mayor. When this happened there was a strange competitiveness between both groups of power. Meanwhile Arías Cárdenas is the governor and Trejo is the mayor. In their continuous battle to sink their political adversaries they have left the city destroyed: full of garbage, black water… In essence, their businesses and personal interests rule over the interests of the people.

 

Arias is a very strategic militant, he wants to transform Zulia into a powerful state, just like his advertisements suggest. His mission is to expand the territory with neoliberal projects of development and other interests from Colombia which include infrastructure, coal mining, ports for exportation, militarization, etc. The consequences of his policies could leave Zulia without any water resources, along with contributing to a high level of deforestation and increase in Colombian contraband. Zulia has become another business for the military.

 

-How do you see the lack of criticism from NGO’s towards the role of Francisco Arias Cárdenas, knowing that he is destroying the Sierra de Perija?

Political matters are based on blackmail. Chavism knows a lot about this because I think that it has always been their main pressure tool. I am not surprised that many organizations and NGO’s obtain mutual support from people like Francisco Arias in exchange for turning a blind eye to certain problems. They have already destroyed our lake a long time ago and nothing was done to solve this from any NGO’s.

 

The death of Sabino Romero… What is your opinion on his death?

Sabino Romero was an important figure for his speeches and the actions he undertook to obtain land for ethnic groups like the Yukpas. He was a threat to the government because he was a firm believer in Chávez’s speech. He also altered the power relations between farmers, the military and the government. Sabino was also serving as an inspirational example for other indigenous communities in the country. This is why Sabino was killed by the farmers with the complicity of the government.

 

How do you see the issue of the Arco Minero del Orinoco and the current focus on extractivism by the Venezuelan state?

The Arco Minero issue is something very worrying and we have to take action right now. The majority of the Venezuelan terrain in situated in the river Orinoco. They have already installed an oil-bearing station in Faja and they are about to start mining in the south. The mere action of inviting 135 transnational businesses and accepting their partnership is something incredibly nefarious for our territory and our people. We are talking about a mining program that is occurring over important reserves of water, fauna, flora and indigenous communities. The Arco Minero marks the beginning of the end of all of our natural treasures. If this doesn’t stop then death, wars and sickness will soon come. Full destruction. The Venezuelan state is approving the biggest eco-suicide known in our entire history and the Bolivian government is complicit.

 

After so many defeats… How do you currently see the resistance of indigenous communities?

The example and reference that I have are the battles of Zulia. We are currently living the consequences of subsidized activism. Chavism gave and took away the same blackmail that we talked about. The Yukpas, after so much hardship, are now surviving because they have been abandoned to their own luck. The Wayuu of Socuy social movement have managed to start projects that keep indigenous communities optimistic. But I think that the autonomy would be the flag that should be risen and demonstrated through examples to prove that that they don’t need the state to solve their problems. Instead they must build strong alliances with the movements of the city to establish relations where people are involved and feel a sense of belonging.

 

You play in music bands like Doña maldad and now started the band Cadáveres podridos… Is it challenging to produce independent music in Venezuela?

No, I don’t think that it is that hard, especially now when you can record with anything.

 

Do you queue to buy regulated food or do you engage in bachaqueo?

I don’t queue, the feeling of impotence and rage that I feel don’t allow me to do so. I don’t engage in bachaqueo either because it is an extortionist practise. If you thought that only the population could save themselves from this mess take a look at this phenomena and the collective desperate desire for survival. I imagine that you must ask yourself if I buy any contraband. Our alimentation at home has been severely affected by the current situation. We eat lots of fruits and grains from a standard vegetarian diet but now we can’t even pay for grains, fruits or anything for that matter. Everything is too expensive. We should start planting seeds, everyone should do that.

 

Have you been a victim of the increasing crime rate? Have they lynched anybody where you live?

Yes, I have been mugged several times, even by pointing a gun at my face. I am aware of thieves being killed by the police on a regular basis.

 

How is electricity rationing where you live?

Two daily hours, sometimes this timetable is maintained and sometimes it’s not. In fact whilst I am writing this right now I know that the light will go off soon.

 

How have people reacted to the price increase of public transport?

There have already been protests across the universities. People seem visibly miserable. I tend to use my bicycle, it’s the best option.

 

Do you have any problems with your internet?

It is very slow. I don’t have any Internet connection at home because it broke and nobody has fixed it yet.

 

Do you think people are starting to get fed up not only with the government but also with the opposition? Where are we heading towards?

I hope that we are heading for a revolt.

 

Have you ever thought of running away, crossing the border? Or do you have to stay to build and fight?

Yes, I have thought about leaving on numerous occasions, but I want the current government to leave even more. All of them. In these moments we have to fight because the plans of the government are nefarious for all Venezuelans.

 

Did you know that we all have to be inscribed to obligatory military service? How do you see the militarization of society?

Yes… I knew, but I didn’t inscribe myself. The country has ended up like this because we are in the hands of the military. What we have lived and what will soon come isn’t going to be easy, especially with CAMIMPEG, a military-mining corporation.

 

What activities are you performing in Zulia? Do anarchist organizations exist?

There is a little bit of everything in Zulia, the movements I involve myself with are related to the defence of water, against the mining of coal… Here there are a lot of things for everybody, but we must expand our capacity in the city. Cyclers, musicians, poets, everyone in the world should establish objectives and plans of action to save this city from political unconsciousness.

 

What should be libertarian attitudes in these moments?

In this moment we must continue organizing lots of demonstrations to highlight the inefficiency of the state.

 

Would you like to add anything to end the interview? What would you recommend for fellow anarchists?

Assist popular markets, support fights, demonstrate your discontent and turn off your phones.

________________________

Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Bitácora personal: http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/

Twitter: @romontesdeoca


Aumentan precios, aumentan los impuestos, más ingresos para el fisco y así oxigenarse ellos mientras hacen tiempo para preservar el poder”

(“Prices rise, taxes rise, more income for the treasury so as to keep the government afloat and preserve its power”)

Interview with economist Salvador Méndez conducted by Rodolfo Montes de Oca, author of the upcoming Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, scheduled for Fall 2017.

Sorry I haven’t translated this, but it’d take a good two hours to do even a quick and dirty translation.

 

___________

Crónicas Negras es una serie de entrevistas realizadas a diferentes anarquistas que se encuentran en Venezuela, sorteando las vicisitudes de vivir en el socialismo del siglo XXI, como un relato de los tiempos que atravesamos. Hombres y mujeres que desde la cotidianidad tratan de resistir la bota y las precariedades a la cual nos han sometido.

 

En esta cuarta entrega contamos con la presencia  de Salvador Méndez, economista egresado de la UCV y profesor de esta casa de estudio, con una Maestría en Ciencias Políticas. Desde hace años forma parte del colectivo editor de El Libertario, así como del grupo escénico Direc(A)ctores. Aquí les dejo la entrevista:

 

¿Cómo subsiste un profesor universitario con la escasez y el alto costo de la vida?

Mira. Eso es lo que yo me pregunto…

Como persona subsiste bachaqueando y/ o haciendo cola, teniendo varios trabajos a la vez, dando cursos o clases privadas para que “vivir no te salga tan caro”. Entonces qué pasa: cuando tú dejas de ser profesor en el sentido de que la mayoría de tu tiempo la dedicas a subsistir ya sea cazando la comida o llenándote de trabajo y disminuyendo tu tiempo de ocio para profundizar en la tarea de ser profesor, entonces dejas de reinventarte como docente, de indagar e investigar más, de buscar formas de innovar en la enseñanza de las nuevas generaciones, de dedicarle tiempo a la Academia ya sea para defenderla como para criticarla, y empiezas entonces a ser un profesor universitario que va a solo a pasar tarjeta y se va sin involucrarse con la universalidad de la universidad. Si tienes otro trabajo que te paga mejor, tu trabajo en la universidad es más por hobbie, por status; ósea si la universidad se para o está deteriorándose cada vez más y más, no me preocupo por reconstruirla o renovarla, me preocupo es por conseguir otro trabajo “mejor” pagado, y la universidad va cayendo en la desidia.

 

También debes cuidarte más que El Niño de la Burbuja, porque cualquier cosita que te pase, te enfermas o tienes un accidente, pasarás (probablemente) a una vida de subsistencia alimentaria y mengua sanitaria.

 

Como profesional subsistes frustarrecho, al ver como las generaciones jóvenes se maleducan, como ninguno desea dedicarse a la docencia y prefiere huir del país, como los estudiantes tienen que trabajar y no se dedican a ser estudiantes en pleno, digamos, a ser universales -matemáticos leyendo filosofía, economistas apreciando la escuela de arte, biólogos y médicos debatiendo con la escuela de sociología-, es decir, dedicar tiempo para la necesaria y continua interrelación para la renovación universitaria.

También sientes que tu conocimiento no es valorado, pues no hay incentivos para dedicarse a estudiar e investigar, a crecer académicamente, entonces disminuye la cantidad de personas que quieran desarrollar una vida de investigación, pues te “morirás de hambre” si no te dedicas a lo que te incentiva el país, a montar un negocio para una economía de puertos. Y por muchas cosas más, pero dejémoslo hasta ahí…

Bueno… Así subsisto yo.

 

¿Por lo general existe un desprecio dentro de algunos anarquistas con relación a la academia?, ¿Es necesario volver a la universidad como lo plantea David Graeber?

 

Si. La universidad como la conocemos hoy, es una institución con las características burocráticas y autoritarias de cualquier institución política a la que los anarquistas se oponen, ya sea por sus relaciones verticales de obediencia, por la forma en que se mide y califica el conocimiento, por los temas que se estudian, por la educación para ser esclavos del trabajo, las relaciones entre los miembros de su comunidad, entre otras… Entonces claro uno trabaja en la academia y reproduce de cierta manera, lo quiera o no, los vicios del sistema, tanto porque así te lo enseñan, como que es así que te pide la academia que funciones, un engranaje más.

 

Desconozco el planteamiento de Graeber sobre volver a la universidad, no sé si se refiere a que “desde” y “dentro de” la universidad se combatan los vicios de la burocracia y del poder vertical, de la cultura que comparte la idea de graduarse para competir en el mercado laboral, de transformar la relación profesor-estudiante, de crear académicos humildes en el sentido de que no usen sus “títulos en la pared” solo para “humillar” intelectualmente a los estudiantes o a cualquiera. Orientemos las capacidades intelectuales en la construcción de una alternativa social.

 

Volver a la universidad una herramienta para transformar el mundo, pues necesitamos ciertamente las diversas disciplinas para los problemas complejos que tenemos, pero hasta estas mismas disciplinas tenemos que replantearlas y transformarlas. Es decir, revisar la concepción contemporánea sobre qué es y como concibe la universidad y el conocimiento que emana de la misma, pues hoy las academias desarrollan su cultura y su ciencia (a niveles teóricos y prácticos) en base a los valores políticos y culturales de la sociedad piramidal que tenemos. Las academias son reflejo de la cultura dominante.

Entonces reproducir un método de estudio, un conocimiento universal, para ir rompiendo con los paradigmas dominantes dentro y fuera de la academia que han consolidado una sociedad desigual, violenta, y opresiva; y nos permita el desarrollo de la universalidad para construir un nuevo tipo de sociedad, libre, autogestionada, solidaria, que eduque para convivir y no para ser esclavo del dinero y del trabajo, que transmita valores de solidaridad y convivencia, que las aulas sean el espacio para que se incentive el conocimiento y la solidaridad, el respeto por el compañero, la tolerancia. Salones de clase donde los estudiantes no son estudiantes para ir a un pupitre y ser evaluados. Salones para construir la utopía

 

Si eso es o se parece a “volver a la universidad”, considero que es necesario volver y/o no irse. Sino, mala mía, mándame el texto de Graeber para ver que puedo rescatar…

 

¿Cómo va el tema de la autonomía universitaria?, ¿La UCV cerrara sus puertas?

La autonomía es un tema complejo, porque puede referirse a muchas cosas. Pero lo que más resalta del tema, quizá por la similitud que tiene con la realidad del “venezolano común”, es lo que tiene que ver con el presupuesto. Desde la universidad hace tiempo se viene rechazando el ahogo presupuestario al que están sometiendo a las universidades, en lo que parece una búsqueda del gobierno por el control político interno y lograr o consolidar el control político de la educación superior, llevarnos al estado de desesperación, que no tengamos más que amar al gran hermano, desarrollando la ciencia del partido, el conocimiento del partido, las investigaciones que decida el partido, ser la PSUCV.

 

El último año a nivel presupuestario ha sido el más difícil, presupuestos pírricos para cada escuela que las tiene subsistiendo, falta de insumos, las bibliotecas no se actualizan, cada vez más profesores renuncian por las condiciones miserables y unos sueldos ridículos, la dedicación exclusiva y los concursos de oposición disminuyen ante la falta de futuro como profesor universitario, y se vuelve la docencia en la UCV una especie de pasantía. El fantasma de cierre técnico merodea por las distintas escuelas.

 

Los empleados también sufren retrasos de pagos, desconozco la gravedad de la situación de su gremio, pero entre comentarios de pasillo y conversaciones esporádicas te enteras de las penurias que pasan. Y los estudiantes, van sufriendo la disminución en la calidad de la enseñanza, y los conflictos que se crean hacen que muchos deserten pues ven interminable la situación… La universidad cada que va pasando el tiempo se nota más y más decaída, sucia, abandonada…

 

Por supuesto, no podemos culpar de todo esto al gobierno en el sentido de poner como las víctimas inocentes a la universidad, porque ciertamente el gobierno tiene una alta responsabilidad de la crisis en la educación superior, pero a nivel interno la universidad no ha logrado articularse para resolver sus problemas o presionar al gobierno. Por ejemplo, a finales del año pasado en mi Facultad se realizaron estudios donde se mostraron las condiciones en que se encontraba la misma a nivel educativo, infraestructura, seguridad, presupuesto, insumos, entre otros, y se observó que estamos más en condiciones de una educación pírrica que de una de calidad.

 

Empero, se sigue dando clase dentro del “como vaya viniendo vamos viendo”, porque es evidente que estas no son condiciones para continuar, y en vez de organizarnos para reivindicar los recursos necesarios, decidimos empezar y bajar los niveles de presión política y organización que se venían dando al conocer la situación. Es como que la energía que le puedes dar a la organización y la articulación política para la resolución de los problemas la frenas empezando clases, pues das el mensaje de que no estás en condiciones para empezar pero igual empiezas, y creas descontento por la falta de coherencia o compromiso. Ojo, no me refiero a que hay que hacer un paro y abandonar la universidad, es organizarnos para solventar la situación.

 

Los distintos gremios no se organizan, se electoralizan los conflictos, la universidad misma no crea afinidad con las comunidades para legitimarse y revindicar su lucha con la lucha de la sociedad civil. Ejemplo, la misma universidad puede ofrecer respuestas a las problemáticas de las comunidades a las que pertenecen sus miembros, y ahí mostrarles que nosotros pasamos por problemas similares a distintas escalas, y para resolverlos es necesario solidarizarnos y apoyarnos. De esta forma fomentas la creación de nodos y redes de acción para presionar al poder político y empiezas a generar respuestas para las problemáticas. Es necesario un nivel de organización y articulación civil-universitaria para lograr las reivindicaciones. La gente en la calle te podrá decir, – sí, es importante que le den un presupuesto adecuado a las universidades-, pero de ahí a salir a defender las universidades y luchar por los derechos de estas hay un tramo muy extenso, pues esa misma persona sufre de distintas calamidades y la universidad no está siendo “solidaria con ella”; no se da una articulación porque no nos involucramos con la problemática de los otros, y viceversa.

 

No sé si cierre sus puertas, pero lo que parece es que se ira desarmando más y más hasta el punto que ya no haya puertas que cerrar…

 

¿Te han robados, has sido parte de las estadísticas con relación al hampa? ¿Podrías comentarnos un poco sobre esas experiencias?

Jajaja (risa de coñoelamadre), sí, soy una “estadística” más del hampa dentro de la universidad. Fue una real porquería con M mayúscula. Acostumbro a pasar un documental sobre la obsolescencia programada durante cada curso, y para ello utilizaba mi computadora personal. Un día la deje guardada en la oficina, pues no quería cargar con ese peso y no quería que me asaltaran en la calle por lo tarde que salía de la universidad. Cuando vuelvo al día siguiente, entro y después de buscar desesperadamente la computadora, me percaté la habían extraído de sin dejar rastro de cómo abrieron la puerta.

 

Ya efectivamente eres solo eso, una simple estadística más de robo, un desamparado más del montón…

 

¿Haces cola para comprar productos regulados?

Si, hago pocas por el trabajo, mis padres tienen algo más de tiempo y pueden deben (ir a hacer colas. Yo colaboro con lo poco que gano y/o “bachaqueo” cuando tenga la oportunidad y los reales, cosa que no se combina muy seguido. No me gusta hablar de bachaquear, ese es el lenguaje que nos impone el poder, la neolengua. Ese ha sido verdadero éxito del Poder en Venezuela, un neolenguaje lumpen que todos usamos; #legadodechavez. Pensamos como el sistema, pues si dominan tu lenguaje restringen tu pensamiento.

 

En fin, cuando puedo hago cola, cuando puedo compro revendido…

 

¿Cómo está el tema de racionamiento de agua y luz dónde vives?

Agua: aquí tenemos un buen tanque y nos permite un suministro de agua “estable”, aunque en una parte de mi casa que creo no tiene conexión al tanque, o tiene problemas para conectarse con éste, el agua sale débil o a veces ni eso, por lo que hay que tener un tobo con agua.

 

Respecto a la luz, de vez en cuando hay sus apagones, y cuando se va se nos corta el agua porque se apaga el hidroneumático.

 

¿Tienes Internet, que tal la conexión?

Si. Es una porquería, aumenta el consumo de Internet pero la capacidad instalada está estancada.

 

¿Cómo ves el paquete económico que está implementando el gobierno, como lo ve un economista anarquista?

Como un coñazo que te viene directo a la cara. Están clavándole a la gente el pago de la crisis. Aumentan precios aumentan los impuestos, más ingresos para el fisco y así oxigenarse ellos mientras hacen tiempo para preservar el poder. Continúan la política monetaria expansionista de una economía basada en hacer circular un papel moneda para comprar bienes en un país sin aparato productivo, con un papel moneda depreciada. En una economía globalizada si tu moneda no vale nada y tu único producto de exportación está en crisis, estas bien jodido sin un aparato productivo interno diverso, pues no vales nada para el capitalismo global si no puedes pagarles, si no tienes nada que les interese, no tienen incentivos para invertir, e internamente no tienes como producir porque las industrias quebraron, o la mayoría de sus insumos son importados, por lo que necesitas urgentemente los escasos petrodólares que despilfarraron bolichicos, boliburgueses, empresarios de maletín, etc.

 

Además, el paquete viene acompañado de un nivel de represión, pues las colas han llevado por un lado la creación de mafias para la adquisición de alimentos, reproduciendo la actitud de un gobierno cómplice, la militarización del país para controlar protestas sociales, el castigo a quienes hacen cola, etc… Pagamos la crisis y pagamos la culpa, mientras ellos se pagan y se dan el vuelto.

 

Y siguen imprimiendo dinero, lo que estila aumente la inflación ante la poca oferta de productos. Asimismo, no hay un aumento del poder adquisitivo en términos reales, pues en términos nominales el dinero aumentó en cantidad y nominalmente aumentó la cantidad de plata que tienes en el bolsillo, pero este dinero disminuyó su valor, es decir su capacidad de adquirir bienes y servicios, el conocido valor de cambio.

 

El Estado está imprimiendo dinero que no está respaldado en las Reservas. Además aumenta la circulación del papel moneda cuando aumenta los salarios, pero la economía real no se desarrolla.

 

Qué es la economía real, es la producción, el aparato productivo, leche, carne, arroz, zapatos, etc… Sin una economía real, por más papel que imprimas no vas a conseguir “comida o zapatos”. El aparato productivo está destruido, las importaciones fueron la salida del asistencialismo adeco-chavomadurista que no son lo mismo, pero “se parecen igualito”: ambas se quedaron sin un aparato productivo interno fuerte y autosuficiente luego de que el petróleo intentara las dos veces comprar el desarrollo; y ambos lanzaron a los hombros de la gente el peso de la crisis que ellos causaron en gran medida.

A nivel de conflicto social si hay una gran diferencia entre los adecos y los chavomaduristas, basta con observar los niveles de violencia hoy; y a su vez la infraestructura bajo este gobierno fue mucho más faraónica que la de la 4ta república, y también el deterioro de la infraestructura en la quinta fue peor.

 

Este es un pequeño diagnóstico del por qué de la crisis, pero aquí entra el “cómo economista anarquista” que pedias. El cómo salir de la crisis. Necesitas activar la economía real, cómo lo logras.

 

Para los economistas anarquistas, que como buenos anarquistas no estarán de acuerdos en lo mismo, jajaja, creo que aquí hay que apostar más allá de las medidas para estabilizar un mecanismo que consideramos perverso para cohesionar las relaciones económicas, el mercado con un estado interventor a distintas escalas, pues la mass-media y la academia parecen moverse (para no perder el hilo de profesor) en que el debate está en A vs B, en mercado vs estado, y desde el anarquismo se debe romper esa dicotomía “Dios vs Diablo”, pues tanto el Estado como el mercado como formas de cohesión, son opresivas, aparte de que se basan en una falsa contradicción, pues el mercado y el estado saben cuando aliarse y  maximizar las ganancias para imponer su poder, o viceversa, en el Estado-Nación trasnacional moderno, se han retroalimentado uno del otro aunque se las den de contrarios.

 

Entonces es buscar la forma de activar la economía real bajo relaciones alternativas de producción. Necesitamos replantearlos cuatro principios básicos de la economía como ciencia: el qué producir, el cómo producir, el cuánto producir, y el para qué producir.

Hay que cambiar la estructura de nuestra dinámica económica. Claro esto es lo complejo de la utopía, pero así vamos armando el rompecabezas. Romper el tabú de por ejemplo “el trabajo es sagrado”, que debemos vivir para trabajar, para conseguir dinero y sobrevivir. ¡No!, podemos producir y distribuir la riqueza sin necesidad de condenar a la sociedad a los altibajos del mercado de trabajo, a que dependa del dinero y la deuda, pues si no trabajas no comes.  En este sentido, alternativa tecnológica que técnicamente podemos tener generar una vida de goce y no de trabajo como actividad monótona y estresante. Ello requiere una tecnología que ha de ser amigable con un mantenimiento de los llamados “recursos” naturales para las generaciones futuras, el hombre es hombre porque transforma la naturaleza, el impacto ambiental es inevitable, pero podemos crear un equilibrio para salir de este modelo destructivo construyendo una civilidad más ecológica y de menos desperdicio, donde la contradicción ciudad-campo se acabe.

 

 

Impulsar una sociedad aplicando la solidaridad, el apoyo mutuo y la autogestión, para así ir desarrollando tecnologías que no sean de naturaleza opresiva, tecnología no para ganar dinero, tecnología para hombres y mujeres libres, el Discurso final de “El Gran Dictador de Chaplin” describe hermosamente un ideal para la alternativa tecnológica. Así podamos crear un tiempo de ocio que podamos usar para construir riqueza personal ligada a la riqueza colectiva, cooperando en vez de compitiendo… Recomiendo ampliamente un capítulo del libro de Graeber “En Deuda”, uno que habla sobre la historia del trueque, para quienes deseen plantear una economía anarquista. Ese texto es capaz de romper paradigmas de la economía dominante en la actualidad – a mí me voló los tapones -, y así construir una economía de la utopía.

 

Bueno, así lo veo yo…

 

¿Cuál es tu opinión de la política energética del gobierno de Nicolás Maduro?, ¿Cómo ves esa política extractivista a través del Arco Minero del Orinoco?

Es terrible, han logrado que el país entre en una crisis de servicios públicos impresionante, la crisis eléctrica del 2009 permitió el robo a las arcas de la nación de los Bolichicos de Derwicks – por ejemplo -, quienes vendieron un “paquete chimbo” a nivel termoeléctrico. Y hoy, los gobernantes culpan al fenómeno El Niño por la crisis, cuando despilfarraron millones y millones en un “blindaje eléctrico” que nunca llegó, solo llegaron ganancias a los bolsillos de los negociantes (bolichicos), a las fuerzas armadas y a todo aquel que recibió su tajada. Hoy nos culpan de la crisis eléctrica y nos piden sacrificarnos por su pecado eléctrico.

 

Y en cuanto al petróleo, que debería incluirse en el Escudo Nacional (jaja), continuó el modelo de rentismo heredado desde el Gomezcismo. El libro de “La Revolución como Espectáculo” de Rafael Uzcátegui hace un buen análisis sobre el tema desde el anarquismo. Básicamente fue el modelo monoproductor de petróleo el que “levantó” al país de las penurias que teníamos antes del primer tercio del siglo XX, pero sin duda ha creado otro tipo de penurias iguales o peores a las que vivíamos en la era pre-petrolera. El chavismo como buen hijo de sus padres vivió la era de las vacas gordas con ingresos petroleros exorbitantes y ahora intenta sobrevivir a la era de las vacas flacas, al igual que lo hizo el matrimonio presidencial entre AD y COPEI a finales del siglo pasado.

Veremos cuanto termina de durar esta “nueva” hegemonía.

 

Repetimos los vicios del pasado pero bajo una nueva narrativa, y ahora el Poder, ante la crisis petrolera, se refugia en lo que llaman “diversificación del modelo” potenciando un “Motor Minero”. ¡La redondez del círculo!, pasar de depender de oro líquido a oro mineral es continuar el modelo rentista centro-periférico que permitió el petróleo y nos llevó a la crisis actual.

 

Pero ahora bajo el modelo de las empresas mixtas, algo que ni El Gocho del Ochenta y Ocho le dio al capitalismo mundial, la propiedad del subsuelo a las trasnacionales. El documental Nuestro Petróleo y Otros Cuentos es un claro ejemplo del continuismo entre la cuarta y la quinta.

 

En este sentido el AMO es solo ese “cambio de oro”, la activación de un modelo destructivo de economía real, desplazando comunidades indígenas, destruyendo ecosistemas, militarizando un 12,2% más el territorio, crear las Zonas Económicas Especiales – palo pal que se queje-, es la economía del “con el mazo dando”. Todo para que nuevas corporaciones, violadores de derechos humanos y ambientales, vengan a multiplicar su capital. Mientras los poderosos con y sin uniforme verde-oliva, se llenen los bolsillos ya no solo de petrodólares, sino también de AMOdólares, y así seguirán alimentando el clientelismo personalista y caudillista para dar al resto de la sociedad las migajas de la gran torta, la eterna dependencia del centro. El extractivismo de la quinta es la evolución del de la cuarta, con el toque de las empresas mixtas y la incorporación ahora del motor minero.

 

¿Podrías explicar desde una perspectiva económica que estamos atravesando?, ¿Cuál debe ser la respuesta de los anarquistas ante la inflación?

Creo que te lo respondí arriba. No es atacar la inflación, es atacar toda la estructura y crear unas relaciones económicas. Es tener una economía que no se enferme de inflación, donde un papel moneda no tenga en su mano las penurias que conllevan los aumentos de precio para quienes no pueden pagarlo porque su tiempo no vale lo “necesario”.

 

No podemos boicotear la inflación, de hecho la sufrimos, podríamos como anarquistas autogestionarnos pero igual no nos escaparíamos de ella, podríamos andar en bicicleta, caminar o lo que sea para atenuarla, pero la inflación te va a alcanzar, y hoy por hoy, en este país, es muy difícil ganarle a la inflación.

 

¿Cómo ves el tema de la estatización iniciada durante el proceso bolivariano?, ¿Cómo ves eso del control de precios?

Estatización de qué, pues aquí pareciera que tienes al estado hasta en la sopa (si es que no se te va el agua). El aparato productivo estatizado fracasó, a un nivel en que le han dado a la ideología de los mercados y el empresariado eficiente una fuerza y legitimidad que había perdido en los 80-90, ¡Revivieron a AD! Para nuestra historia creo que fue un cambio de amo pero para peor, porque los niveles de corrupción han superado a los de la cuarta; acabaron con el aparato productivo y han menoscabado los derechos de los trabajadores, destruido la infraestructura, y nos han sumergido en una crisis que para muchos es generacional.

 

El control de precios se mantenía ayudado por el subsidio de la oferta gracias a los petrodólares, pero la destrucción del aparato productivo y la falta de petrodólares han vuelto el control de precios insostenible. La escasez de oferta hizo que los precios de los productos se elevaran, y con la sobre-emisión de masa monetaria creas un mecanismo vicioso que dispara los precios al cielo. A menor oferta mayor es el precio, el bien es escaso, cuesta y pagas más por adquirirlo. Ah, y sin contar los niveles de corrupción que contribuyen a inflarlos más.

 

El control de precios contribuyó a destruir el aparato productivo, pensaron que los petrodólares serían eternos y podrían producir y subsidiar eternamente las perdidas, alimentando a la economía de productos importados, quebrando así al aparato productivo nacional.

 

¿Cómo salir de esta coyuntura?, ¿Cuál debe ser el proceder de los anarquistas?, ¿existe una formula anarquista que podamos emplear?

NPI. El anarquismo debe estimular el descontento social, pero no acción por mera reacción, pues hay que fomentar la discusión, el debate, como las ideas del anarquismo tienen un poder para liberarnos, para crear una legitimidad en dicho descontento, dotarlo de razón y de sentido, de propuestas y alternativas, porque si no se perderá en otro acto más de nuestra continua volatilidad visceral. Creo que no existen fórmulas mágicas, podemos es tomar los aportes del anarquismo para emplearlos en construir y reinventar continuamente una alternativa para salir de la coyuntura cambiando la estructura.

 

Para finalizar… ¿te gustaría agregar algo más?

Gracias por el espacio para la expresión. Excelente iniciativa hermano, esto es parte del proceder de los anarquistas.

 

________________________

Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Bitácora personal: http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/

Twitter: @romontesdeoca