dinsdag, augustus 17, 2004

Anarchists perplexed by what to do about Chavez

I've often wondered what anarchists would do in a contemporary revolutionary situation should one materialise.

Now, while Venezuela is far from revolutionary, there does exist there a social-democratic/populist administration that has been under threat of military suppression for years now - coming close to such an event during the ultimately defeated coup two years ago. In such circumstances, one expects anarchists, whatever their criticisms of somebody like Chavez, to see the opposition for the proto-fascist reactionaries that they are and side unreservedly with the government. However, it seems the anarchists, as the Israelis say of the Palestinians, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Socialists categorise elections as the lowest form of political participation, but a form that nonetheless must be engaged with. In treating elections in this fashion, we actually limit the importance of the form. Ironically, anarchists, by their
rejection of electoral participation in all circumstances and making this the central point of their distinction from the rest of the left, do the opposite of what they intend and end up fetishising elections. The rejection of the election becomes a defining point of anarchism above all others.

When democracy - especially social democracy - is faced with authoritarian/imperialist
annihilation, this neutrality is no longer a mere ideological idiosyncrasy, but is thoroughly morally bankrupt.

And yet that is exactly the formulation anarchists proposed in relation to the recent referendum in Venezuela:

From A-Infos - the anarchist news wire:

"...deep down both Chavistas and the Coordinadora Democratica share a deep seated disdain for the people's ability to confront and solve their problems...Let it be clear: all the proposals being presented by those who wield or aspire to wield state power are deeply damaging to the Venezuelan people because - with different shades of demagogic pyrotechnics - they all seek to reinforce authority, to amputate any possibility of developing autonomous social movements and to impede the empowerment of people's rights. Whoever prevails, the processes currently at work, of militarisation, repression of dissent and enlargement of authoritarian socio-cultural controls will continue their dark escalation which we have been suffering.

Let's build the authentic social power of decision-making through
mutual aid and collective direct action!

"Self-management is the real participation!

There's no way out with the State nor with any authoritarian power!
I remember a very special episode of Family Ties when Jennifer Keaton, as played by a crimp-haired Tina Yothers, got fairly humpty about some family dispute or other - I think it was when her school banned Huckleberry Finn - and she quoted Dante: "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis maintain their neutrality." This to me seems apropos.