One battle follows another … scenes from the class wars


Amaya Egaña walked out upon her window sill at 9:20, on Friday, November 9th and with a step, continued … as four employees of the fourth tribunal of Barakaldo, Euskadi, arrived to execute an eviction order.  The second suicide in as many weeks … to escape, to protest, to rebel?

Albert Camus, writing in 1942, could state that there is but one truly serious philosophical problem, namely, suicide.  “To judge whether life deserves to be lived or not, is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy”.  (Camus, Le mythe de Sisyphe)  And yet nothing seems more obscene than that this judgement should be made over a bank mortgage.

Camus also asked, “What is a man who rebels?”, to which he answered, “A man who says no”. (Camus, L’homme revolté)  Amaya Egaña’s suicide, as that of José Miguel Domingo before her, is an act of rebellion, an act of refusal of reality, a refusal to be trapped, humiliated, abused; it is an act of dignity.  The obscenity lies in capitalisms reduction of the human to the status of utilitarian resource; in the suicidal act of Amaya Egaña is the refusal to submit to such logic.

“¿Qué es el capitalismo? No es una definición pero apunta donde debe apuntarse: el crimen -que no suicidio- de Barakaldo”. (Salvador López Arnal, Rebelion)  In the first semester of 2012, there are 317 evictions daily, adding up to 100.000; since the beginning of the “crisis”, some 400.000.

“Who is responsible for this new crime, of the other crimes, this quagmire of infamy and injustice?  Certainly, this civilization, this political-economic culture takes as natural corruption, the misappropriation of funds, social inequalities, the exploitation of people, the social marginalization of millions of workers, the search for maximum profits as the central goal of businesses, of the entities created by their heroes – the “entrepreneurs” – the basic atoms of their social criminal ontology”. (Salvador López Arnal, Rebelion)

And then there is each one of us, compromised, seduced, fearful … Basta!?

“Without fear to say it, so that they hear us: to live honestly is to live against Capital and to construct another world, which is already present in this one, outside this world”. (Salvador López Arnal, Rebelion)

(News: Elpais, Máspúblico)

The response to Amaya Egaña’s suicide Barakaldo was immediate: thousands in the streets to protest, sabotage of banks …

Kaosenlared, Kaosenlared (2), Kaosenlared (3)

The response from the politicians is predictable: a promise to review the laws of eviction and repossession, a promise of a two year moratorium of evictions of persons in “extreme” situations.  From Rajoy: “These days we have seen terrible things, inhuman situations, a person has committed suicide when they went to evict her.  It is a difficult issue and it has to be taken with all seriousness and humanity.  … [We have to speak with the PSOE] of the thresholds exclusion, to better apply the conduct of good practices, so that the debt can be renegotiated and people can remain in their houses”. (Elpais, 10/11/2012)  An economic-political issue is addressed as a moral one: the banks have been perhaps overzealous, and they must be called on their behaviour, to allow people the time to pay their debts … this after at least four years of sustaining the banks with public money, brutal budget cuts to public services, salary and pension cuts, tax increases, unemployment, and of course a constant stream of home evictions.  Conclusion: spain is now the country of the EU with the greatest economic inequality. (LibreRed)

Statement from the PAH (11/11/2012) …

Nothing is to be expected from the political system.  What is necessary is resistance, through preventing evictions (PAH), occupations/okupations (Kaosenlared), appropriation of properties and goods, such as food (Kaosenlared), self-organisation … a general strike, in the old sense of an indefinite halt to work, but also more broadly, a halt to all that contributes to the perpetuation of the State-Capital.

For the anarchist, the response/answer as an open possibility that must be experimented lies in the expansion of forms of self-management into as many spheres of human life as possible … against which State-Capital can only offer ever greater barbarism.

 

What follows is a reflection on self-management that appeared in Noticias y Anarquía, first in english translation and then in the original spanish …

 

Autogestión: La propuesta anarquista

por Corriente Revolución Anarquista

Domingo, 11 de Noviembre de 2012

 

Many times, the concept of self-management is usually associated with the self-financing of different organizations through cultural or recreational activities.  When people sell different articles or goods to sustain themselves or simply to gain money, this too is called self-management.  This concept is also used to refer to a broad range of processes of artisanal production that make up the labour activity of some people.  These everyday uses of the term self-management obviously strip it completely of its revolutionary potential, reducing it exclusively to the obtaining of monetary resources.

According to anarchist theory, the concept of self-management is much more than this.  It specifically refers to the satisfaction of individual and social necessities, on the very part of those affected, without the interference in this of the logic of the market and power, specific to capitalist societies.

Self-management involves the organization and mobilization of the exploited and the oppressed, in regard to their interests.  It constitutes from this perspective the anarchist proposal of social organization.

Self-management is the form in which the oppressed organize themselves for the construction of a society that allows them the opportunity to fully develop.

Self-management signifies thereby that the members of a society overthrow the dominate class and satisfy all of their necessities, resolve all of their problems and develop their interests in an organised form.  In other words, society continues to function, but in a different way: free and horizontally.

 To truly understand the meaning of self-management, it is of interest to define in simple terms the concepts “function” and “institution”.  In speaking of function, reference is made to the actions that a society should or desires to develop daily for the satisfaction of its necessities and interests.  While institution is the organism that in each society fulfills specific functions.

The idea of self-management consists in generating different autonomous and horizontal social organizations that take on necessary social functions without the intervention of capitalist institutions and their logic of domination.

In capitalist society, numerous function develop that obviously only benefit the dominant class, in which case it would be meaningless to self-manage them (for example, protecting the dominant class clearly becomes absurd in an anarchist society).  Nevertheless, if we follow the example, the proposal would be to generate educational processes, clear the rubbish and produce sustenance according to the real needs of the social group.

The group of organized people, that is those affected, are those who should decide which functions are and are not necessary in each society.  This is an openly political definition and is of vital importance, which should be debated and assumed by the very social fabric, and not only by cupolas or the illuminated.

Self-management is nothing more than the action of giving oneself the collective forms that operate from below to the top that permit the satisfaction of the requirements that social life demands.  Self-management is the response of the organized people to make work the complex social and economic relations of modern society.

However, one should not confuse the anarchist proposal of self-management with the construction of “parallel worlds” or “islands of freedom” in the interior of capitalism.  If the oppressed begin to self-manage their necessities, they will enter into contradiction with the dominant logic, both symbolically and materially.

Symbolically, the successful management of a social necessity delegitimizes the prevailing order and its discourse that there are no other possible realities.  It demonstrates through example a path for the remainder of the oppressed to follow.  It questions the commoditisation of life, hierarchies, capitalist subjectivity; it involves an important cultural change of calibrating and rendering potential.  Nevertheless in material terms, it means disputing and taking private property from the State and from the bourgeoisie, socializing the means of production and the existing capital in society.

To exemplify this, think of the following two different situations:

The first is the case of self-managing the education in a neighbourhood; the second, self-managing agricultural production of a farm.  In the first case, it is a matter of generating social organizations capable of successfully developing educational processes with children and adolescents of the area.  These young people will acquire learning in facts, social skills, values, organization, etc.  Very quickly they should overcome school mediocrity and abandon the formal system.  According to the imagined setting, they could be certified through some type of “free exams” or simply call upon the social legitimacy of their new knowledge.  Materially, they will empty the schools, avoiding their disciplinary impact and so modify the characteristics of all those who participate.

In the second example, the socialization of the means of production is much more obvious, for it has to do with arable lands, agricultural machinery, etc.  In this sense, the self-management of agricultural production passes necessarily through the strong organization of the workers of this area in particular, who not only organize horizontally and assume control, but also expropriate the private property of the land owner.

Evidently, this process is much more confrontational than the former and therefore requires a far greater degree of organization, not only in the area, but also in the broader society.

With these examples, what is desired is that two central elements of anarchist self-management be manifest.  On the one hand it is to be understood that the capacity of self-managing necessities or social functions is directly proportional to the degree of organization of the exploited and the oppressed.  If there exist low levels of organization, that is, few people organized and weak organizations, only some necessities can be self-managed without entering into direct and explicit confrontation with power.  By contrast, when the levels of organization improve, the conflict becomes itself obvious and progressive.

The second element to emphasize is that self-management fulfills a double role in the revolutionary process.  Presently it is raised as a form of resistance to capitalism, satisfying some of the minimal necessities to survive.  On the other hand, the experiences of self-management, however small, constitute concrete projections of the society that is desired to be built.  Self-management in capitalism is a “gymnasia” that prepares the oppressed class and throws it into the revolutionary process.

For anarchism the revolution is here and now, not in some distant future when certain conditions are fulfilled.  For this reason, quoting Malatesta, “fomenting all manner of popular organizations is the logical consequence of our basic ideas, and therefore should be an integral part of our program… anarchists do not wish to free the people; they want that the people should free themselves … we want that the new form of life emerges from the people and that it correspond to its state of development and that it advance as they advance”.  In this way social organizations should endeavour to win spaces occupied by capitalism until the State is no longer necessary.  Undoubtedly, this process will generate moments of social crisis or ruptures, as happened in Chile in 1973 … The challenge of this moment will be to bring down by all of the available means and definitively the bourgeois order.

Rebellion and self-Management!

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Muchas veces, el concepto autogestión suele asociarse al autofinanciamiento de distintas organizaciones a través de actividades culturales o recreativas. También se denomina autogestión, cuando algunas personas venden diversos artículos o bienes para sustentarse a sí mismas o simplemente conseguir dinero. También se utiliza este concepto para mencionar una amplia gama de procesos de producción artesanal, que constituyen la fuente laboral de algunas personas. Obviamente estos usos cotidianos del término autogestión lo despojan completamente de su potencial revolucionario, reduciéndolo exclusivamente a la obtención de recursos monetarios.

Desde la teoría anarquista, el concepto autogestión es mucho más que eso. Específicamente se refiere a la satisfacción de necesidades individuales y sociales, por parte de los propios afectados/as, sin que interfieran en esto, las lógicas del mercado o el poder, propias de la sociedad capitalista.

La autogestión conlleva la organización y movilización de explotados/as y oprimidas/os, en función de sus propios intereses. Constituye desde esta perspectiva, la propuesta de construcción social del anarquismo.

La autogestión es la forma en que las y los oprimidos/as se articulan para construir una sociedad que les dé la oportunidad de desarrollarse plenamente.

En buenas cuentas, la autogestión significa que los miembros de una sociedad, se despojan de la clase dominante y satisfacen todas sus necesidades, resuelven sus problemas y desarrollan sus intereses organizadamente. Es decir, la sociedad sigue funcionando, pero de otra forma: libre y horizontalmente.

Para comprender el verdadero sentido de la autogestión, resulta interesante definir en términos simples, los conceptos de “función” e “institución”. Al hablar de función, se hace referencia a las acciones que una sociedad debe o desea desarrollar cotidianamente para satisfacer sus necesidades e intereses. Mientras que institución es el organismo que en cada sociedad cumple determinadas funciones.

La idea de autogestión, consiste en generar diferentes organizaciones sociales autónomas y horizontales, que se hagan cargo de las funciones sociales necesarias, sin la intervención de las instituciones capitalistas y sus lógicas de dominación.

Obviamente, en la sociedad capitalista se desarrollan muchas funciones que sólo benefician a la clase dominante, por lo que no tendrá sentido autogestionarlas (en el ejemplo, claramente proteger a la clase dominante resulta absurdo en una sociedad anarquista). Sin embargo, si seguimos el ejemplo, la propuesta sería generar los procesos educativos, recoger la basura y producir alimentos de acuerdo a las necesidades reales del grupo social.

El conjunto del pueblo organizado, es decir las y los propios afectados/as, son quienes deben decidir que funciones son o no son necesarias en cada sociedad. Esta es una definición abiertamente política y de vital importancia, que debe ser debatida y asumida por el propio tejido social, no sólo por cúpulas o iluminados.

La autogestión no es más que la acción de dotarse de distintas instancias colectivas, que funcionen de abajo hacia arriba, que permitan cumplir los requerimientos que la vida en sociedad requiere. La autogestión es la respuesta del pueblo organizado para hacer funcionar las complejas relaciones sociales y económicas de la sociedad moderna.

Sin embargo, no se debe confundir la propuesta autogestionaria del anarquismo, con la construcción de “mundos paralelos” o “islas de libertad” al interior del sistema capitalista. Si las y los oprimidos/as comienzan a autogestionar sus necesidades, entraran en abierta contradicción con las lógicas dominantes, tanto en términos simbólicos como materiales.

Simbólicamente, la autogestión exitosa de una necesidad social, deslegitima al orden imperante y su discurso de que no hay otras realidades posibles. Muestra con el ejemplo, un camino a seguir por el resto de oprimidos/as. Cuestiona la mercantilización de la vida, las jerarquías, la subjetividad capitalista, conlleva un cambio cultural importante de dimensionar y potenciar. Sin embargo en términos materiales, significa disputar y arrebatar la propiedad privada al Estado y a la burguesía, socializando los medios de producción y el capital existente en una sociedad.

Para ejemplificar esto, se sugiere pensar en dos situaciones diferentes:

La primera en el caso de lograr autogestionar la educación en un barrio; la segunda, autogestionar la producción agrícola de un fundo. En el primer caso, se trata de generar organizaciones sociales capaces de desarrollar exitosamente procesos educativos con niñas, niños y jóvenes del sector. Estos/as jóvenes lograran aprendizajes de contenidos, de habilidades sociales, valóricos, organizacionales, etc. Muy pronto debieran superar la mediocridad escolar y desertar del sistema formal. De acuerdo al contexto imaginado, podrán apostar a las certificaciones del tipo “exámenes libres” o simplemente apelar a la legitimidad social de sus nuevos saberes. En términos materiales se están vaciando las escuelas, evitando su impacto disciplinador y modificando las características de cada uno/a de las y los participantes.

En el segundo ejemplo, la socialización de los medios de producción es mucho más evidente, pues se trata de tierras cultivables, maquinarias agrícolas, etc. En este sentido, la autogestión de la producción agrícola, pasa necesariamente por la organización férrea de las y los trabajadores/as de ese campo en particular, quienes no sólo se articulan horizontalmente y asumen el control, sino que expropian al patrón la propiedad privada.

Obviamente, este proceso es mucho más confrontacional que el anterior, por lo que requiere mayores grados de organización, no sólo en ese fundo específico, sino en el resto de la sociedad.

Con estos ejemplos se quiere colocar de manifiesto dos elementos centrales de la propuesta autogestionaria del anarquismo: Por una parte se debe entender que la capacidad de autogestionar necesidades o funciones sociales, es directamente proporcional al grado de organización de las y los explotados/as y oprimidos/as. Si existen bajos niveles de organización, es decir, pocas personas organizadas u organizaciones débiles, sólo se podrán autogestionar algunas necesidades, sin entrar en confrontación explícita y directa contra el poder. Por el contrario, cuando los niveles de organización mejoran, el conflicto se hace evidente y progresivo.

El segundo elemento a destacar, es que la autogestión cumple un doble rol en el proceso revolucionario. Actualmente se levanta como forma de resistencia al capitalismo, satisfaciendo algunas necesidades mínimas para subsistir. Pero por otra parte, las experiencias de autogestión, por pequeñas que sean, constituyen proyecciones concretas de la sociedad que se desea construir. La autogestión en el capitalismo es una “gimnasia” que prepara a la clase oprimida y la inserta en el proceso revolucionario.

Para el anarquismo la revolución es aquí y ahora, no en un futuro lejano cuando se cumplan determinadas condiciones. Por esto, citando a Malatesta, “fomentar toda clase de organizaciones populares es la consecuencia lógica de nuestras ideas básicas, y por lo tanto debería ser una parte integral de nuestro programa… los anarquistas no quieren emancipar al pueblo; quieren que el pueblo se emancipe a sí mismo… queremos que la nueva forma de vida surja del pueblo y corresponda a su estado de desarrollo y que avance al paso que ellos avanzan” Así las organizaciones sociales deberán ir copando los espacios ocupados por el capitalismo hasta que el Estado sea innecesario. Sin embargo, este proceso generará momentos de crisis social o quiebres, tal como ocurrió en Chile en 1973, cuando el movimiento obrero que se articuló a partir de los cordones industriales entró en abierto conflicto con los sectores patronales y gubernamentales. Por lo que el desafío de ese momento, será derrocar, con todos lo medios disponibles y de manera definitiva el orden burgués.

¡¡Rebeldía y Autogestión!!

Corriente Revolución Anarquista

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See also a very good article, Autodestrucción sistémica global, insurgencias y utopías, by Jorge Beinstein, posted on Kaosenlared on Saturday, 10th of November, 2012.

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… from the greek general strike on the 6th and 7th of November, a film chronicle by Ross Domoney …

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… as the 14N general strike dawns … the strike of all against the State-Capital …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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