G.A.R.I.: Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria Internacionalista

The Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria Internacionalista/Internationalist Revolutionary Action Groups (GARI) were a series of autonomous anti-capitalist groups, largely of anarchist inspiration, which coordinated to carry out armed agitation and propaganda actions after the self-dissolution of the Iberian Liberation Movement (MIL), in Toulouse, because of the detention of its members and the death sentence of one of them, Salvador Puig Antich. After the execution of Puig Antich, the GARI will take actions to avoid a possible death penalty for other members of the MIL such as Oriol Solé Sugranyes and Josep Lluis Pons Llobet, in those moments imprisoned and pending trial. Its acronyms appear for the first time the day after the kidnapping of the director of the Paris branch of the Bank of Bilbao, on May 3, 1974.

The GARI were formed by some ex-MIL militants, the First of May group and various other autonomous groups of spanish and french militants.

Its activities were tied to direct political goals in what was understood as a broader opposition to Franco’s dictatorship and to Capitalism and its world. In their communiqués, they demanded the release of the members of the MIL imprisoned in Spain because they feared they were to suffer the same fate as Puig Antich. They carried out acts of sabotage on the rail lines between France and Spain, blasting bridges between Spain and France, placed explosive devices in official bodies and Spanish institutions in France, Holland and Belgium, kidnapped the director of Banco de Bilbao in Paris, set fire of Catholic pilgrim buses at the sanctuary of Lourdes, and the like.

The GARI may have focused their attention on spain, but they were very much a part of a larger armed opposition to the State and Capital which emerged in the wake of the “long May of 1968” in europe (e.g. the Angry Brigade (AB) of Britain, which focused exclusively on sabotage; Direct Action (AD) of France, members of which later took a “Maoist” Marxist turn; the Movement 2 June (M2J) of Germany, several of whose members later joined the Red Army Faction (RAF). An important pole of revolt in Europe in this period was a trio of guerrilla organisations that arose from the Spanish exile MLE’s Interior Defence (DI) organisation established in 1961 to assassinate Franco: the First of May Group (GPM) founded in 1965, and the already mentioned Iberian Liberation Movement—Autonomous Combat Groups (MIL-GAC) founded in 1971, and the Groups of International Revolutionary Action (GARI) founded in 1974, which ended its actions only several months before Franco died in 1975).

If we remember the group today, it is not for reasons of nostalgia, but to try to understand in what way their actions can reveal characteristics about our own world, about the many kinds of oppression that mark our reality and the kinds of struggles, of strategies and tactics, that can be assumed.

The question of “violence” emerges immediately in this context, and without wishing to dismiss the debate, what the story of the GARI shows is that “violence” was never assumed as a privileged means in itself, that it arose in a specific context, and as part of a wider struggle against the State and Capital, and that the GARI were never intended as any kind of “vanguard”.

In this matter, all moralising is self-defeating.

To pursue this reflection (and as a compliment to our last post, The Great Anarchist Conspiracy) we share the documentary film by Nicolas Réglat entitled simply, G.A.R.I. (2013).

(The film is in part based on the graphic novel-fanzine Rapto en Paris.)

We close with a partial translation of a statement from the 1973 congress of the MIL, in which the organisation assumes the decision to dissolve itself as a military-political organisation:

Today’s society has its laws, its Justice, its Guardians, its Judges, its Courts, its Prisons, its Crimes, its “Normality.” Against this, a series of political bodies (parties and unions, reformism and leftism, appear). ..) who pretend to counteract this situation, when in reality they do nothing but consolidate the current society. Justice on the street is nothing more than to denounce and attack all of the mystifications of the current society (parties, unions, reformism, leftism, laws, justice, guardians, judges, courts, prisons, crimes, that is, their “normality”).

The rejection of this conformism in practical action leads in fact to the constitution of associations of revolutionaries, individually or collectively.

An association of revolutionaries is the one that brings to its ultimate consequences a unitary critique of the world. By unitary criticism we understand the global criticism against all geographical areas where different forms of socio-economic separation of power are installed, and also pronounced against all aspects of life.

It does not strive towards the simple self-management of the current world by the masses, but towards its uninterrupted transformation, the total decolonization of daily life, the radical critique of political economy, the destruction and overcoming of commodities and wage labour. Such an association rejects any reproduction in itself of the hierarchical conditions of the dominant world. Criticism of revolutionary ideologies is nothing more than the unmasking of the new specialists of the revolution, of the theories that stand above the proletariat.

“Leftism” is nothing more than the extreme left of the program of Capital. Its revolutionary morals, its voluntarism, its militantism, they are all nothing but the products of this situation. They are aimed at controlling and directing the struggle of the working class. Thus, any action that does not carry a perspective of criticism and total rejection of capitalism, remains within it and is recovered by it.

Today, to talk about workerism and militantism, and to put it into practice, is to want to avoid the passage to Communism.Talking about armed action and the preparation of the insurrection is the same: today it is not valid to speak of a political-military organization; such organisations are part of the political racket. Therefore, the MIL disbands itself as a political-military organization and its members are prepared to assume the deepening of the communist social movement.

(Full text, in spanish, here)

This entry was posted in Commentary, Film and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.