CHILE TODAY PART 1- THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT:
BY LARRY GAMBONE
Larry Gambone, long time anarchist writer and the person behind Red Lion Press, has recently returned from a trip to the country of Chile. At his Porkupine Blog he has begun to write his impressions of his trip to that country. The following, reproduced by permission of the author, is the first installment of same. Stay tuned to the Porkupine Blog for further impressions.
Chile Today Part 1 - The Anarchist Movement
This is the fifth time I have visited Chile in the last 17 years and never before I have I seen as much evidence of social action. Graffiti and murals advocating popular struggles and radical organizations are everywhere, and most especially in the working class neighborhoods. Much of this is anarchist. Support for the Mapuche to regain their stolen lands is a big issue right now. The three cities I visited, Santiago, Concepcion and Chillan all have anarchist activists. Santiago has the Espacio Comunitario Emma Goldman (See www.traidores.org/emma/ ) which I visited and the Centro Socio Okupado y Bibliotecha Sacco y Vanzetti, ( CSO y Biblioteca Sacco y Vanzetti ) which I did not get a chance to visit.
The Espacio Comunitario is located in the basement of a neighborhood bar and contains a book shop and library. It is also a space for meetings, work shops and get-togethers. According to the companero who was minding the premises when I dropped in, they have had many visitors from foreign countries this summer, anarchists from the US, Mexico and Argentina. He told me that I was right in thinking there was more anarchist activity than before and that the upsurge was in large measure due to the influx of youth in the last two years. ( I suspect this is related to the huge student strike that occurred in 2006) Most of these are really young, 15, 16 years old, and the companero who was all of 21, said that he was one of the older members of the movement. In Santiago, the anarchist movement has a good deal of influence on one poblacion (workers neighborhood) and will be involved in organizing Women's Day on March 8. Most anarchists are working class, with a few middle class and no upper class members at all. Although the Chilean state is oppressive, few anarchists have been arrested, but the police do videotape rallies. Later using the videos they are able to identify the younger members and then go to their parents. If needed, they bully the parents into stopping their child from being involved in the movement. ( Ah, freedom of speech and assembly, aren't they wonderful?)
The group also holds a gathering at a park every Sunday to bring together anarchists and other youth. There are a number of different tendencies in Chilean anarchism, of which anarchist communism is the most evident, yet there is dialogue and unified action among the tendencies. The most important publication is Hombre y Socidad, now in its twenty-third issue, but there are others like Accion Direct and Agitacion which, if you are interested, are available from the Espacio Comunitario. There is an on-line publication which gives news about anarchism and social struggles in Chile at www.labatalladelostrabajadores.blogspot.com Santiago anarchists have made March Anarchist Month and are sponsoring a host of work shops and events throughout the month. See www.traidores.org/marzoanarquista