Construyendo pueblo fuerte: Spreading anarchist organisation

Initiatives to bring together libertarian activists, or those sympathetic with it, multiply in spain (Federación Estudiantil Libertaria, Espacio Libertario de Madrid, and so on). On the 19th of February, in Madrid, a collective calling itself Construyendo pueblo fuerte (Constructing a strong people) presented itself publically with the objective of serving as a space of confluence for groups and individuals who in the face of political projects centred on elections are committed to mobilising from below. As with similar efforts (e.g. Procés Embate), the context is spain and the enormous impetuous given to social movements by 15M, and its generally anti-representational politics. But as 15M has resonated and diffused itself throughout society, the slogan “they don’t represent us” has had different consequences and has given rise to very different kinds of political struggles, with some having embraced electoral politics. Construyendo pueblo fuerte is an effort to bring together those who do not see themselves or social movements in the moulds of political parties.

This initiative emerged roughly a year ago and brings together a great diversity of activists from different backgrounds, some also involved in Procés Embate, and other anarchist groups/organisations. (Periodico Diagonal 19/02/2015)  We have already had occasion earlier to critically evaluate both Carlos Taibo’s defence of an iberian wide anarchist organisation, (click here) as well as the proposals of Procés Embate (click here). But our criticisms were intended as occasions for questions, and not as a rejection of the idea. And the questions remain, but the multiplication of initiatives and the issues that they are endeavouring to respond to hold the promise of a more active anarchist presence in the country’s social movements, something that obviously can only be encouraged and supported.

Below follows an english language translation from spanish of the Construyendo pueblo fuerte manifesto. The manifesto is also available in catalan and portuguese …

Manifesto: Constructing a strong people to make possible another world

Many people will remember that in the “Transition”, the society believed it possible to bring to an end a regime that was crumbling and so create new radical models. These were struggles which in the end failed: the social movements were assimilated; the organisations dismantled; and the struggles were broken up.

Today the system has buried the politics of “consensus” and the “social contract” of the Regime of 78 and the so called culture of the Transition. A form of organisation put in place by the very system to respond to the demands of social transformation of a powerful and strongly organised working class. To negotiate the changes so that nothing would change. Once we were dispossessed of our ideological and organisational references and the loss of faith in ourselves was attained, the regime, supported by the excuse of the crisis, took for finished the strategy of social reconciliation and threw itself head first into the imposition by decree of neoliberalism with the excuse of the economic crisis.

Despite the inculcated abandonment and defencelessness as a class during the last decades, the levels of discredit and rejection that the system reached pushed us to search for and find ourselves anew in the streets and the squares to confront with illusion the defence of our freedoms and our common goods before an elite that endeavoured to appropriate them without cost.

We, signatories of this manifesto, also share this illusion of reconstructing society as free and sovereign, claiming ourselves as protagonists of our own lives and assuring the elites of the old regime that “they do not represent us”. And as with other comrades, we also have felt that in this cycle of social mobilisations that “something” was missing to be able to constitute ourselves as an alternative sufficient and capable of imposing ourselves on the elite, the cast, the 1%, or however the social class that dominates our lives may be called.

We respect the comrades, who in the face of the same diagnostic, have opted for the path of institutional participation through electoral initiatives, but we appeal to the collective memory to emphasise that rights, conquests and great social transformations were never given to us by the institutions. They were fought for and won in the streets, in the places of work, in neighbourhoods. Our memory reaches back far to recall that only a strong and combative people impose itself on the elites that govern us. For this reason, we believe that a great SOCIAL INITIATIVE is necessary that helps us to organise and recognise ourselves, and to make us visible with all of the potential that we harbour.

The moment has arrived to propel popular independence with respect to other structures to be able to take a step forward and to raise ourselves as people to triumph. To go beyond the mere defence of what has already been attained and pass to the offensive. To promote self-organisation and self-government, to recuperate faith in our capacity to reach a free and egalitarian society.

To conquer together a true democracy:

• ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY, with a mode of production that substitutes capitalism with an economy of collective property, managed by producers and consumers in a cooperative way.
• POLITICAL DEMOCRACY, with a regime that substitutes the State with confederal decision making, in which all the people who inhabit each territory participate as equals.
• A REAL DEMOCRACY OF DIRECT PARTICIPATION, with representatives who comply with those represented and who are revocable at any moment.
• AN INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY OF ALL AND FOR ALL, that listens, that empathises and understands that the world is many worlds, that assumes and integrates all the struggles that seek change towards a more egalitarian society.
• A LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRACY OF PEOPLE AND NOT OF THE MARKETS.

For this, we propose as necessary the initiatives that understand that they must act within organisations of workers, of neighbourhoods, in cooperatives, in feminist and student organisations; fomenting their qualitative and quantitative improvement, their internal democracy and their effectiveness; acting to promote their autonomy in relation to administrations and parties or electoral candidates, and to respect their internal plurality.

Initiatives that are capable of elaborating analyses and discourses to identify the necessities of each moment and increase our preparation as activists; that are capable of elaborating strategies for the construction of democracy and which permit us to gain strength as we walk in that direction; acting with humility and with the awareness of the existing plurality, because it is the people, and not projects or concrete insignias by themselves, that can secure advances.

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