Monday, June 29, 2009

The following announcement has been making its rounds of the 'anarchonet' in the last few days. It's the announcement of the upcoming (August 15) Providence, Rhode Island anarchist bookfair. No doubt I wish them the best of luck and hope that the event goes well, but still...there are some things that just have to be said. When I was bitching and complaining to one fellow at the end of my day's tabling at our recent bookfair here in Winnipeg about the poor attendance this fellow(an IWW member who had previously been involved with a, platformist organization) replied to my comparison of our event to Montreal and Edmonton (who, I swear begin planning for next year as soon as they get over their hangovers) with the obvious, "but they are organized anarchists".
What is the problem here ? The idea of anarchist bookfairs continues to grow, and they are a great tactic, but far too often all the planning is being done at the last possible moment. A year is the proper timeline for such an event- not a month and a half. The Providence people have started to send out their calls now, and they still don't have their website up and running (they had one for last year). Can we say "cart before the horse" ?
Plainly, if you want the maximum possible effect you have to plan such things long before they happen. You also have to have an idea of what should be done first, second and third, etc..I say all this with the maximum possible sympathy to all anarchist bookfairs, but with the hope that they will think about being as effective as possible. Here's the announcement from the comrades down in Rhode Island.
August 15th 1pm to 1am on
Empire Street, Providence, Rhode Island
The annual Providence Anarchist Bookfaire is back again this year and we want you to come on by and enjoy the events, get some books and participate.

The bookfair is set up during a street festival *Foo Fest* put on by a local art and community center called AS220. This years festival has changed with a 5 dollar cover and a family friendly focus in the afternoon. Bring the kids!

In the evening local bands will be playing as the festival takes a street party atmosphere, come enjoy the music, the books and comradeship.

In the past there have been workshops and interactive presentations on radical and revolutionary topics , please feel free to submit workshop proposals or hit us up to get a table.

We are excited to be putting on the bookfair and hope you are excited to come.

Be on the lookout for more information and fliers to help us promote for more info , questions or suggestions please email Juice at
Thanks and see ya soon !
* Please forward widely*

The film 'The Take' , by the Canadian team of Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis, has become something of an 'alternative classic'. It tells the story of how an auto plant in Buenos Aires, Argentina was threatened with closure by its owners and was taken over by the workers involved and reopened as a producers' cooperative. This is the sort of action that Molly has long advocated here, and it was actually done, in a situation such as an auto plant that Molly thinks is doubtful (see my comments on the recent workers' occupation of the auto plant in South Korea). But it did happen in at least one place.
This film is now available for download and viewing at another Winnipeg site, the Insurrectionary People's Picture Show Theater. Check it out over there, and see all the other treats they have available.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Over the weekend, perhaps obscured by the endless Michael Jackson news(as if he didn't really rise again on the third day), an important event took place in Central America ie the first military coup in that area for many years as the military took over the country of Honduras to prevent the holding of, bizarrely enough, a referendum on whether there would be a referendum in the fall on a new consitution for the country and a Constituent Assembly for same (yes it is complicated, as some of the articles below make plain). There have bben all sorts of opinions expressed about these events, and Molly attempts to present some of them below. The first article is from the School of the Americas Watch, and it is a call for protest against the coup. There are a number of other articles that have been appended as well.
Military Coup in Honduras:
A military coup has taken place in Honduras this morning (Sunday, June 28), led by SOA graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.

A national vote had been scheduled to take place today in Honduras to consult the electorate on a proposal of holding a Constitutional Assembly in November. General Vasquez had refused to comply with this vote and was deposed by the president, only to later be reinstated by the Congress and Supreme Court.

The Honduran state television was taken off the air. The electricity supply to the capital Tegucigalpa, as well telephone and cellphone lines were cut. Government institutions were taken over by the military. While the traditional political parties, Catholic church and military have not issued any statements, the people of Honduras are going into the streets, in spite of the fact that the streets are militarized. From Costa Rica, President Zelaya has called for a non-violent response from the people of Honduras, and for international solidarity for the Honduran democracy.

While the European Union and several Latin American governments just came out in support of President Zelaya and spoke out against the coup, a statement that was just issued by Barack Obama fell short of calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya as the legitimate president.
Call the State Department and the White House
Demand that they call for the immediate reinstatement of Honduran President Zelaya.
State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Here is another article from the SOAW about the cuop in Honduras, giving a bit more background.
Coup in Honduras:
Posted by Kristin Bricker - June 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm
School of the Americas-Trained Military Detains and Expels Democratically-Elected President Zelaya
Early this morning approximately 200 Honduran soldiers arrived at President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya's residence, reportedly fired four shots, and detained the President. Zelaya told TeleSUR that the soldiers took him to an air force base and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

Zelaya told TeleSUR from San Jose, Costa Rica, "They threatened to shoot me." Honduras' ambassador to the Organization of American States, Carlos Sosa Coello, reports that the president has been beaten up.

Zelaya told TeleSUR that he doesn't believe it was regular soldiers who kidnapped him. "I have been the victim of a kidnapping carried out by a group of Honduran soldiers. I don't think the Army is supporting this sort of action. I think this is a vicious plot planned by elites. Elite who only want to keep the country isolated and in extreme poverty."

Zelaya fears for the safety of his family, who remain in Honduras. He pleaded with TeleSUR viewers to seek a way to "have a dialogue with these soldiers so that they don't harm my family, so that they don't shoot anybody. We can settle our differences through dialogue."

The anti-Zelaya President of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, has declared himself interim president of Honduras. On the Friday before the coup, Zelaya called Micheletti "a pathetic, second-class congressman who got that job because of me, because I gave you space within my political current."

Zelaya informed TeleSUR that he has not requested asylum in Costa Rica, and that he will return to Honduras as its president to complete his term, which expires in 2010.

Honduran Media Shut Down
Radio Es Lo De Menos, an independent radio station reporting from Honduras, issued a press release before its power was cut. The press release states that several cabinet members have been detained, and there are arrest warrants out for other cabinet members as well as leaders of social organizations. It calls on the international community to hold protests outside Honduran embassies and consulates.

TeleSUR reports that the soldiers have also arrested the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan ambassadors to Honduras(this is particularily arrogarnt-Molly), as well as Chancellor Patricia Rodas. The Venezuelan ambassador told TeleSUR that the soldiers beat him during the kidnapping. La Prena reports that soldiers have detained at least one pro-Zelaya mayor, San Pedro Sula's Rodolfo Padilla Sunseri.

Cell phones are reportedly no longer working in Honduras(No doubt one of the first things that any repressive regime will pay attention to in the future-Molly). The power has been cut in at least some parts of the country, disabling independent media and state television stations for the time being. Before the state televisions went off the air, Channel 8 managed to communicate to its viewers, "It appears as though the soldiers are coming here." Seconds before it went off the air, Channel 8 told citizens to gather in the Plaza de la Libertad. Channel 8 appears to have been taken over by the military, but it is still not transmitting.

Honduras' privately owned Channel 12 and Channel 11 are showing classic soccer clips.
Soldiers Block Opinion Poll
Soldiers have also moved to block the opinion poll that sparked the coup. Today Hondurans were supposed to register their opinion in a non-binding poll that asked them, "Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?" The poll would have had no legal weight.

In the town of Trujillo, soldiers have taken the streets and are not allowing citizens to vote in the opinion poll.

In Santa Rosa, soldiers reportedly under the orders of the Federal Prosecutors Office have seized ballot boxes from schools and public places.

Soldiers seized ballot boxes in Dulce Nombre Copan as well, but citizens have gone to the military base to take them back again. In Santa Barbara, La Prensa reports that the opinion poll is going on as planned, with no interference thus far from the military.

Soldiers are also carrying out operations on the country's major highways, according to La Prensa. The situation could get ugly on the highways, as La Prensa reports that peasants from the Guadalupe Carney community have taken over some highways.
School of the Americas Connection
The crisis in Honduras began when the military refused to distribute ballot boxes for the opinion poll in a new Constitution. President Zelaya fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez, who refused to step down. The heads of all branches of the Honduran armed forces quit in solidarity with Vasquez. Vasquez, however, refused to step down, bolstered by support in Congress and a Supreme Court ruling that reinstated him. Vasquez remains in control of the armed forces.

Vasquez, along with other military leaders, graduated from the United States' infamous School of the Americas (SOA). According to a School of the Americas Watch database compiled from information obtained from the US government, Vasquez studied in the SOA at least twice: once in 1976 and again in 1984.

The head of the Air Force, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Air Force has been a central protagonist in the Honduran crisis. When the military refused to distribute the ballot boxes for the opinion poll, the ballot boxes were stored on an Air Force base until citizens accompanied by Zelaya rescued them. Zelaya reports that after soldiers kidnapped him, they took him to an Air Force base, where he was put on a plane and sent to Costa Rica.

Congressman Joseph Kennedy has stated, "The U.S. Army School of the a school that has run more dictators than any other school in the history of the world."

The School of the Americas has a long, tortured history in Honduras. According to School of the Americas Watch, "In 1975, SOA Graduate General Juan Melgar Castro became the military dictator of Honduras. From 1980-1982 the dictatorial Honduran regime was headed by yet another SOA graduate, Policarpo Paz Garcia, who intensified repression and murder by Battalion 3-16, one of the most feared death squads in all of Latin America (founded by Honduran SOA graduates with the help of Argentine SOA graduates)."

Honduran Gen. Humberto Regalado Hernandez was inducted into the SOA's Hall of Fame. School of the Americas Watch notes that he was a four-time graduate. As head of the armed forces, he refused to take action against soldiers invovled in the Battalion 3-16 death squad.

School of the Americas Watch points out that this is not the first time the SOA has been involved in Latin American coups. "In April 2002, the democratically elected Chavez government of Venezuela was briefly overthrown, and the School of the Americas-trained [soldiers] Efrain Vasquez Velasco, ex-army commander, and Gen. Ramirez Poveda, were key players in the coup attempt."

According to School of the Americas Watch, "Over its 58 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency techniques, sniper skills, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Colombia, with over 10,000 troops trained at the school, is the SOA's largest customer. Colombia currently has the worst human rights record in Latin America."
The Honduran people are not taking this coup lieing down. here is yet another report from the SOAW about the resistance to the coup.
Resistance and Repression in Honduras:
Written by Kristin Bricker
Sunday, 28 June 2009
An unknown number of Hondurans have taken to the streets today in an effort to stop the coup that the military, in league with Congress and the Supreme Court, has carried out against democratically elected President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya.

Due to intermitant power outages and heavy rain, independent media within Honduras has had extreme difficulty transmitting news. This means that while there's been plenty of news in the mainstream media about the actions people with a lot of political power have been taking--from Chavez and the ALBA nations to the Organization of American States to the United States--there's been very little reported about what rank-and-file Hondurans have been doing to reverse the coup.

However, it is clear that Hondurans are resisting. People are taking the streets in Honduras despite incredibly hostile conditions created by the military. Radio Es Lo De Menos reports that their colleagues on the ground have been fired at by snipers who are positioned in rooftops around the city. They stress that the gunfire at this point has only been in the form of "warning shots" and no one has been reported injured from gunfire.

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) wrote in a communique,"We tell everyone that the Honduran people are carrying out large demonstrations, actions in their communities, in the municipalities; there are occupations of bridges, and a protest in front of the presidential residence, among others. From the lands of Lempira, Morazán and Visitación Padilla, we call on the Honduran people in general to demonstrate in defense of their rights and of real and direct democracy for the people, to the fascists we say that they will NOT silence us, that this cowardly act will turn back on them, with great force."

Radio Es Lo De Menos reported that the military has set up roadblocks all over the country in an attempt to prevent Zelaya supporters from reaching the capital. The soldiers are also reportedly attempting to shut down public transportation.
The Honduran coup has provoked reaction worldwide, especially from other countries in Latin America and from Europe. the American response has been "muted". Here is an anarchist response from José Antonio Gutiérrez D. The following is a "Molly trans". The original in Spanish is available at the Anarckismo website. This response puts the whole matter of the international "opposition" to the coup in another perspective.
Coup in Honduras: the return of the gorillas or the tactics of attrition?:
The flashing sabers have once again shown their edge in Latin America: the coups d'etat and destabilization processes orchestrated from Washington have succeeded in countries where governments are implementing reform that may be uncomfortable for the digestion of the hemispheric elite-Venezuela 2002; Haiti 2004, Bolivia 2008. This time Honduras' turn has come, a country whose president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by the military and exiled to Costa Rica. While Zelaya was kidnapped by soldiers in Congress a letter written by Zelaya was read (which turned out to be false) in which he renounced his position as president. At the same time, and while several MPs complained that the conduct of the president put at risk the "rule of law" and accused him of multiple violations of the Constitution real and imaginary, he was removed from office, which was assumed by the Congress president , Roberto Micheletti (who is also from Zelaya's Liberal Party).

The coup happened on the same day that a non-binding public consultation, called by Zelaya would have taken place regarding the need to change the Constitution, drafted in 1982, when the country was just emerging from an extremely brutal military dictatorship supported by U.S. who wielded power from 1972 to 1981. If the results were favorable to constitutional change a Constituent Assembly would be convened in November.

This proposal met fierce opposition from the most reactionary sectors of the Honduran oligarchy who control the legislature, the Supreme Court and the Army, and are gathered under the undisputed leadership of the ultra-conservative National Party of Honduras. These sectors are opposed to reforms that could produce minor questioning of their dominanation of Honduras. The judiciary, in coordination with its allies in the Legislature, were quick to declare the referndum unconstitutional on Thursday June 25, bringing about the scene for the coup . The tanks took to the streets Sunday, July 28, to the residence of Zelaya, and by this canceled the referendum and ended (or believed settled ), by force, the push and pull between the state powers [1].
What is the strategy behind the coup?:
Honduras is a country that, as mentioned, is no stranger to our shared continental history of military dictatorships, which occupied the entire period from the 60s to 70s. In the 80s this kind of history of violence and State terrorism continued under the form of a "democratic" regime under which proliferated under the paramilitaries, who killed thousands of peasants and workers from Honduras, and provided a platform for the Contra terrorism that devastated Nicaragua. These operations were directed by John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador in Honduras. The U.S. presence is still exists in the physical form of a U.S. military base with at least 500 U.S. troops on Honduran soil. Under this social and political dynamic there has been nurtured a strong network of domination that incorporates an absolute oligarchy and colonial army imbued with the doctrine of national security.

Zelaya is far from being a revolutionary. He is a member of the Liberal Party, in the past part of a reformist trend, a little more to the left than the bulk of his party, raising some social reforms (including the new constitution) . What most worries the Honduran oligarchy is the entry of Honduras into ALBA, an initiative of Latin American integration spearheaded by Venezuela. However, as we have mentioned on other occasions, the "radicalism" of a movement or a political leader cannot be measured in absolute terms, but must be understood in context: in this case, the "radicalism" of Zelaya does not emanate from its own policies, but from the absolute opposition to any compromise or change of any kind that is presented by the oligarchy. Not that Zelaya is seen as a "radical" because he is socialist, but rather because of the completely neaderthal character of the Honduran oligarchy. This paradox is what has made the fight for lukewarm reforms in Latin America often assume the forms of revolutionary struggle.

The coup strategy, which encompasses the paradox of opposing the reforms in the Latin American context, that is, forms of "counter-insurgency" in the absence of a revolutionary movement, can be summarized as follows: the necessity of stopping any process of social change, even the most tepid. The big problem for the oligarchy that is the time when a military dictatorship could be accepted without complications has passed. We are not in the'70 and the U.S. is more interested in keeping up the appearance of democracy and comes out with other methods to impose its will rather than through the shortcut of coups d'etat. Therefore the strategy of a coup has the main disadvantage to thes oligarchy of not being sustainable in the long term in the context of Honduras [2].
The complex post-coup scene
The putschists forces, like those who oppose them, have their internal contradictions. It is likely that there are elements that now fantasize about a return to the pure "gorillaism" that hit Latin America hard during the past four decades. But other elements must be well aware that it is highly unlikely that this coup adventure can continue for long. They know that after the earthquake of the coup in the Honduran political arena, you must have a plan B when it comes to re-establish constitutional order. For them, the coup would only be a deterrent within a broader strategy to regain control over political initiative and wear down their adversaries through attrition.

The coup as a masterful deterrent was applied in Haiti during the first government of the reformist priest Jean Bertrand Aristide. After being overthrown in September 1991 in a coup financed and supported by the CIA, Aristide took refuge in the U.S., where he began s a long period of negotiations with the U.S. authorities (the same that were behind the coup), and after a series of concessions, he was reinstalled in power three years later, with the help of 20,000 U.S. Marines who occupied Haiti and ended the Cedras dictatorship of [3]. During this period, the U.S. achieved "moderation" enough to allow that Aristide, at least momentarily, did not represent a "threat" [4]: "He was basically reduced to a defensive position, trying always to appear to the eyes of the U.S. Government as a reasonable person and as harmless as possible. Thus, he was increasingly submerged in a swamp of concessions and surrenders, leaving his people to expect that the solution came from his meetings and not an offensive in the streets and the mountains "[5]. When Aristide was restored to power, it came with a structural adjustment package to the Haitian economy that deepened the neoliberal model and with it the growing impoverishment of Haitian society.

It is likely that the coup through its strategy Honduran looks for something like the Haitian example (albeit in a rather shorter time line): gain time, wear out the"moderate" Zelaya (who in any case is a "radical") and seek international mediation to achieve an "agreement" between the parties that will finally exorcise the specter of social reforms of any significance. Whether or not the CIA is behind the coup (if not directly-or what is likely, indirectly as all putschist generals are heirs of the School of the Americas [6])(see other articles here from the SOAW-Molly), the U.S. does not have today, the ability to play the solo role of "softening" Zelaya. Furthermore, the current Latin American context does not allow it. Such a role would be left mainly to the OAS, but also to the larger international community: the EU and the USA.

Quickly the "international community" (including the UN [7]) has spoken out against the coup and rejected it and reiterated its support for Zelaya [8]. There has been particularly adamant rejection of teh coup among Latin American countries and the ALBA. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez came out to say that his troops were on alert due to the aggression suffered by his ambassador to Honduras from putschists troops [9]. Obama held an ambiguous position, which may be understood as a way of exploring the field, asking "all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, rule of law and the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter" [10], without rejecting or supporting the coup against Zelaya. Only after accusations by Chavez and the president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel D'Escoto, about the likely U.S. involvement in the coup, did the U.S. eventually recognize via an anonymous State Department official (more to save the face than otherwise) that Zelaya is the only legitimate president of Honduras [11]. Surely they do not think well of the diatribe by D'Escoto: "Many are wondering whether this attempted coup is part of the new policy [of the U.S. towards Latin America] since it is known that the Honduran army has a history of total submissiveness to theUnited States. "[12]

Everything suggests that the oligarchs and the military can not maintain the coup and only see what they have achieved as a "political solution" that could in time take the form of a "compromise" on both sides, but leave standing its dominance in the medium term. That is the political role that the OAS can play, which, like most governments, have expressed their opposition to the coup not in concrete class terms, but from a defense of "rule of law. " Quitely, in this way, the lines are well marked for both sides: not accepting an "overflow" (going beyond ?-Molly) of the Constitution for either the right or left, or to be precise, an overflow is rejected by the right, precisely to avoid the spillover from the left. What is advocated is the "rule of law" that, ultimately, is what specifically capitalist social order is. This cross-bourgeois democracy can be led in a masterful way by the OEA, which, in the words of the director of Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, "has a key role to play [to] quickly find a multilateral solution to this breakdown of democracy in Honduras [13].

With this tactic, you are looking for a "multilateral" solution(with the coup), by which the Honduran oligarchy will attempt to open a political space in institutional channels, which takes advantage of reformism, while destroying the political agenda of any major reform or any prospect of radicalization of the political process.
Down with the Coup! ¡Strengthen Popular Mobilization!
The libertarians, along with all consistant revolutionaries position ourselves unequivocally on the side of the forces that oppose the coup. We can not allow the gorilla head to lift in any country in our region which has already suffered enough from dictatorships nor sit back and declare ourselves "neutral" even before the specter of a new one. But to put our position in a clear and categorical way.

The gorillas should be extirpated at its roots and we believe that this can not happen from above, from the bureaucratic point of the "international community", as claimed by sections of the bourgeoisie and reformism. The only one who can remove the root of the gorillas putschist are the people mobilized in the streets, in the fields, in workplaces, schools and universities to stop this military adventure. Within the post-coup scenario is the possibility that the people can become a player that definitely alters the balance of forces in Honduran society to achieve substantive changes. This people, overcoming fear, has begun to mobilize, from one hundred demonstrators outside the government palace in the morning to several thousand at this moment, and it starts to move en masse across the capital Tegucigalpa and other places inthe country.

Even when the protesters to call for little more than the defense of Zelaya, and with it, the defense of a rather lukewarm proposed reform it is in mobilizing that people learn to fight and learn to make their own project. Any mobilization contains the potential radicalization of the masses, especially when you consider that this protest was a spontaneous act of defiance to an oligarchy so stubborn and backward as to be criminal. On this mobilization depends the thwarting of the oligarchy's plan to deter "soften" the political project of Zelaya: on whether it will radicalize the masses and thus driving the process towards the left. This is the factor with which the oligarchy(nor reformism) does not count on . And this is the factor that weighs more in the balance.

On how this conflict is resolved will depend on the future of social change in Honduras. If the crisis is solved at the top, primarily via institutional channels [14], the result will be, undoubtedly, the commitment and cooperation of the parties with the consequent return to the status quo. If, however, the crisis, however, is solved from the bottom, and the coup is slowed primarily by mobilizing the people in the streets there is the possibility that the people will move towards a more radical end and achieve the crushing of the resistance of the oligarchy to change. Even when the outcome is far from the social revolution there will be a foundation for the people who undertake such a long path and leave a people that has gained in experience and confidence in their abilities. And that possibility will shake the oligarchy.
José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
June 28, 2009
[1] On the controversial referendum to revise the following article

[2] The only country in America where this strategy has proven to be sustainable for a considerable period of time is Haiti. But Haiti is an absolutely unique event in the Latin American context, a country highly dependent, impoverished, and delayed the oligarchy certainly more cave throughout the hemisphere. But even in Haiti, the imperialists have had a democratic facade to sustain the coup (a subsidiary of the UN force, MINUSTAH, and the role of a president elected "democratically," Preval). For more details on this review process

[3] For more details on this process reviewed, from a social perspective, the book by Alex Dupuy "Haiti in the New World Order, Westview Press, 1997, pp.140-166. You can also review, from a revolutionary perspective, "The Unmaking of a President" Kim Ives, "The Haiti-Files" (ed. James Ridgeway), Essential Books, 1994, pp.87-103.
[4] At least momentarily, because then again in 2004, Bush again Arisitde considered persona non grata and was overthrown in another coup d'etat.
[5] Kim Ives, op. cit., p.95
[6] In any case, the U.S. government has admitted being in contact very recently with the army of Honduras in connection with the "crisis" 54/n-latam-ee-....html
[9] Also, the ambassadors of Cuba and Nicaragua were attacked.
[13] By the way, the role of containment is being sought in the OAS, is the same as the UNASUR played as in the Bolivian crisis of late 2008, when it condemned the slaughter of Pando, but stressed that the decision was from the perspective of "defending the rule of law," looking at the same time to disband the people.
[14] I say "primarily" because there is no one single factor to resolve the crisis: institutional action (the international community, for example), nor action popular with the factors (those that are popular on the street). Neither tactic can be excluded, all are necessary, but the reformist strategy prioritizes the institutional factor (on the ground which gives the advantage to the oligarchy), while the revolutionary strategy must factor favoring the popular (but not excluding pressure on the institutional ).
Finally, here is a call for solidarity from the international peasant coordination group, the Via Campesina.
Honduras: Urgent Call:
Monday, 29 June 2009
Solidarity with the Honduran Members of La Vía Campesina and with the People of Honduras
Media Contacts below
For the past few months the grassroots organizations of Honduras, together with president Manuel Zelaya Rosales, have been promoting and preparing for a national consultation of public opinion on possible constitutional reforms, to be carried out on June 28, 2009.
At 5 am this morning the armed forces of Honduras executed a surprise Coup d'Etat against President Zelaya, thus abruptly interrupting the democratic aspirations of the Honduran people, who were preparing to carry out the popular consultation/opinion poll.

Upon hearing the news, the grassroots organizations of Honduras, including those belonging to La Vía Campesina, have taken to the streets to repudiate the Coup and to demand the return of the democratically-elected President to his office and to all the powers that the law invests him with.
The government of President Zelaya has defended the rights of working people and peasant farmers, has joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), and in general has implemented policies that have been positive for Honduran peasant and family farmers.

The events of the past hours are the desperate acts of the wealthy oligarchy and the retrograde Right-wing to preserve their interests and those of international and national capital, and in particular they serve the interests of giant transnational corporations. To these ends they are making use of the armed forces and other public institutions, including the parliament, state ministries, the Neoliberal news media, and others.

Faced with these reprehensible acts, La Via Campesina International demands:
1. The immediate reestablishment of Constitutional order, without bloodshed.
2. We call on the armed forces to refrain from repressing the people of Honduras, who are demanding a return to democracy.
3. That the physical integrity of social leaders be respected, including that of Rafael Alegria, leader of La Via Campesina International.
4. We demand the immediate return of President Zelaya to his functions as President.
5. That the authorities guarantee the right of the population to the full exercise of democracy through the popular consultation, and through any other form of free expression.

In the La Via Campesina we will be closely monitoring the safety of our member organizations and leaders in Honduras, and that of the people of Honduras, during these difficult moments. We call on all peasant and family farm organizations, and other social movements, to protest and to present public letters of repudiation against the Coup at the Embassies of Honduras in every country.
We stand in solidarity with our sister peasant organizations in Honduras.
Globalize the Struggle!!
Globalize Hope!!
International Coordination Committee of La Via Campesina
Mali, Africa, June 28, 2009
Media Contacts
Edgardo García - Coordinator ATC/Nicaragua + 50588872973 (mobile phone) - + 50522784575 (office)
Yolanda Areas - Member of the International Coordination Committee of Vía Campesina / Nicaragua: + 50586549300 (mobile phone)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If there is anything that clearly illustrates the "translator's dilemma" it is the article that follows. The English language article that follows comes from the A-Infos website. What it actually is is a melding of two previous articles, at least one of which has previously appeared in the original French at A-Infos. I don't know about the second, and apparently older item. Pour les francophones j'ai reproduit les originals ci-dessous. What is the problem here ? First, and foremost, the articles were presented without any introductory context. What I literally did at the beginning was go in search of a Spanish original from the much more well known Spanish CNT. No such luck. It took some searching to find out that this was from the AIT-affiliated French CNT, one of the two anarchosyndicalist organizations in France that claims this name. The other, and larger French CNT, the CNT Vignoles has, as far as I am able to determine released no statement on the events in Iran. It might be a good idea for any anarchist news site to provide at least a minimum of context. Yeah, I know that the "Paris" in the title should have given me a clue, but that was all it was-a clue. it was only when I read the full text in editing it that the idea that the country of origin was France became clear.

The fact that the original was in French, however, was a blessing because of the second matter. The English translation was obviously a 'machine-translation', and the resulting product was, to say the least, clumsy, and at points incomprehensible. I'm a little more comfortable in French than in Spanish, and thus the following item from A-Infos has been edited for English grammar, spelling and simple "sense" better than it would have been if the original had been in Spanish with which I am far less familiar. The second item was much more mangled by computer translation than the first.

I know the time constraints of translation. This particular item took up far more of my time than it may deserve, what with reference to the original and correcting the translation. Still...I think that it shouldn't become an ever present reflex amongst anarchists to rely on machine translations. Occasionally the time should be taken to do the work right. Computers are, after all, "stupid" in that they mindlessly follow instructions. At least to anarchists it should be obvious that sometimes a real human is necessary.

Be that as it may, here is an anarchist statement on the events in Iran.
CNT-AIT - Statement in solidarity with the iran's insurgents:


The dominant ideology, that is of Power, forcibly wants us to believe
that electoral democracy would be the highest expression of popular sovereignty, that elections give Power its legitimacy.
The Iranians, however, have just burst this lie. The Iranian elections, like all elections, are only a joke. Elections are acceptable for Power only when they go in its interests. People can express their voice as long as they say what Power desire them to say. When this it is no longer the case, Power uses all the means at its disposal, any frauds and subterfuges, to keep its dominant position. Elections are only an alibi for Power. In Iran, it is a proclaimed result opposed to reality. In Europe since 2005, Power has had reiterated ballots until the results of the referendum(for the new European constitution-Molly) were in conformity with Power’s expectations (and it even sometimes directly passes its projects without new electoral guarantees...).

The Iranian population, young and old young, let forth its anger in front of this flagrant lie of Power, which thus appears in its very raw truth. What occurs in Teheran goes beyond the question of the elections. Everyone knows that the election of one or another politician will change nothing fundamental. All the politicians - without exception – are a part of Power, even if they represent forms of it with different expressions. But regarding their basic principles, they all agree : for them privileges and easy life, for the people, hard work, unemployment, misery and police repression.

Power holds its legitimacy only with our passive submission to its dictatorship over the spirit. To say no, to release oneself from the dominant psychological influence, no longer being afraid and revolting against this submission, is the first step towards an emancipatory rupture, a first step toward revolution. In this direction, the insurgent Iranians who rose, and who expect nothing of the “oppositional” puppet ", show to us the way, that of the street.

In Europe, the electoral results of the last European elections show although Power is not more legitimate there than in Iran: with 60% of abstention, the political parties - all tendencies together – do not represent anything but themselves. Power has no more legitimacy here. These parasites steal our lives. Only a rupture with this system will enable us to find our freedom and our autonomy.

We can rely only on ourselves !
Let us have confidence in our own strength: We are all, we produce all, without our participation the system will collapse!
In solidarity with the Iranian insurrectionists, Freedom for all detainees!
To end once and for all to any dictatorship of murderous Power,
CNT-AIT (International Workers Association)
The crowd opens to the police officer's motor bike which engulfs itself in the live mass, the acrobat who drives the humming machine has become accustomed to brutality and so he hits many defenceless unwary people. It does not seem that today the crowd that he charges is the People, a whole People electrified by the word “freedom”.

In the face of the wild henchman of the ayatollah, those – male and female - who draw aside constitute neither a trade-union nor a political group and even less stewards, like in our demos in Europe. A few minutes ago some of these persons did not know each other. And here they are assembled in the solidarity of this massive fight. Actually nobody flees, the retreat they started is a trap which is closed again on the mechanized tough. Men and women, without another weapon than their moral strength, drawn up against the dictatorship, they spontaneously reinvent the erudite tactics of Alexander the Great's phalanges against Darius ‘s scythe tanks.Like in an operation of the Roman legions surrounding Hannibal elephants, the “clubman” is caught by tens of arms and thrown on the ground.

With the Magnanimity and intelligence of revolting people : they saw under the bestial uniform that there was a young man and while his deadly engine of death starts to burn the furious fists become again helpful hands, drawing the defeated enemy aside from the fire and wipe his running blood . And these facts already speak to us more than long speeches.

That which occurs in Teheran and here in France the political commentators say to us that this heroic people would not have other ambition than to change the head of State. (This change of head being what our political economists call “democracy”, showing thereby how much they hold the People in contempt, since it would be only a change of dictator). The Iranian masses, however, daily in the street,and precisely without any leaders, demonstrate the Peoples’s ability to self-organize and to fight against a Power of murderers. This movement which started on the pretext of an electoral discussion put in motion something much deeper.

An element which does not mislead on the state of mind of Iranian people, it is the participation, by their word and by their acts, of the anonymous women who express their will to get rid of the choking headdress of the politicians and the clerics. I saw it on my screen this 14 June : she wears neither scarf nor veil, her hair is dyed blond and she wears a surgical mask to protect herself from the tear gas . She has decided and marches in the middle of her comrades. To be filmed does not matter to her. What really counts for her on this day, is to show the direction and to prompt men; "Down with the dictatorship, long life freedom! "Two days later another woman is a genuine lioness who attacks alone a band of police officers, kicking their legs while they are hitting another women at a bus stop. When the policemen men turned on this attacker, she finds refuge within the small group which reforms itself around her to protect her. All of them stay upright under the blows of the police

...... They and so many others! The young Neda shot down on the 21th of June by a murderer on the theocrats’orders. She paid of its life for the fear which seizes Power when women enter the fight. In large Pantheon of innumerable and obscure State and capitalism’s victims, Neda will remain forever in our memories, associated with Alexandre, this young Greek assassinated this winter by another murderous cop.

At that time our comrades in Athens wrote:

"Our lives do not belong to States and their assassins! The memory of the brothers and of the sisters, assassinated friends and comrades remain living through our fights! We do not forget our brothers and our sisters, we do not forgive their assassins "

So it must be said loudly : the Iranian people's fight is also our fight. What we can see in action, is nothing but this huge universal brotherhood that is gradually rising against the criminals who are ruling the world and who control us. This fight will unite us beyond borders . A fight shaped by what gives it body and which will will make it win : the Idea that one can live free, all together and with dignity, apart from the sordid plans imposed by the ideology of domination.
CNT-AIT : A Teheran comme à Paris : contre l'illégitimé du pouvoir, révolution sociale !:
L'idéologie dominante, celle du Pouvoir, nous assène que la démocratie électorale serait la plus haute expression de la souveraineté populaire,que les élections donnerait au Pouvoir sa légitimité. Pourtant, les Iraniens viennent de faire éclater ce mensonge. Ces élections, comme toutes les élections, ne sont qu'une farce. Les élections ne sont acceptables pour le Pouvoir que quand elles vont dans ses intérêts. Le peuple peut donner sa voix tant qu'il dit ce que le Pouvoir aenvie d'entendre. Quand ce n'est plus le cas, le Pouvoir utilise tous les moyens à sa disposition, toutes les fraudes et les subterfuges, pour garder sa position dominante. Les élections ne sont qu'un alibi pour le Pouvoir. En Iran, c'est un résultat proclamé à l'opposé de la réalité. En Europe depuis 2005, ce sont des élections réorganisées jusqu'à ce que les résultats aux référendum soient conformes aux attentes du Pouvoir (quant il ne fait pas passer directement ses projets sans caution électorale ...).

La population iranienne, jeunes et moins jeunes, a laissé éclaté sa colère devant ce mensonge flagrant du Pouvoir, qui apparaît ainsi dans sa vérité toute crue. Ce qui se passe à Téhéran dépasse la question des élections.Tout le monde sait que l'élection de tel ou tel politicien ne changera rien de fondamental. Car tous les hommes politiques - sans exception -font partie du Pouvoir, même s'ils en représentent des formes d'expression différente. Mais sur le fond, ils sont tous d'accord : pour eux les privilèges et la vie paisible, pour le peuple, le travail dur, le chômage, la misère et la répression policière.

Le Pouvoir ne tient sa légitimité que dans notre soumission passive à sa dictature sur les esprits. Dire non, se libérer de l'emprise psychologique du discours dominant, ne plus avoir peur et se révolter contre cette soumission, sont les premier pas vers une rupture émancipatrice, révolutionnaire. En ce sens, ceux des Iraniens qui se sont insurgés, et qui n'attendent rien non plus de la marionnette « d'opposition », nous montrent le chemin, celui de la rue.

En Europe, les résultats électoraux des dernières élections européennes démontrent bien que le Pouvoir n'y est pas plus légitime qu'en Iran : avec 60% d'abstention, les partis politiques - toutes tendances confondues - ne représentent qu'eux même. Le Pouvoir n'a ici non plus aucune légitimité. Ces parasites nous volent nos vies. Seule une rupture avec ce système nous permettra de retrouver notre liberté et notre autonomie.

Ne comptons que sur nous même !
Ayons confiance dans nos propres forces :nous sommes tout, nous produisons tout, sans nous le système s'écroule !
En solidarité avec les insurgés Iraniens,Liberté pour toutes les personnes arrêtées !
Pour en en finir une fois pour toute avec la dictature du Pouvoir assassin,
CNT-AIT (Association Internationale des Travailleurs)
108 rue Damrémont
75018 PARIS

De l’Iran à la Grèce:
La foule s’ouvre sur la moto du policier qui s’engouffre dans la masse vivante, le voltigeur qui conduit l’engin vrombissant est tellement habitué à brutaliser et à frapper des gens sans défense quil ne se méfie pas. Il ne voit pas quaujourdhui la foule quil charge c’est le Peuple, tout un Peuple électrisé par le mot de liberté.

En face du sbire sauvage des ayatollah ceux et celles qui s’écartent ne constituent ni un groupe syndical ou politique et encore moins un "service d’ordre", il y a quelques minutes encore certaines de ces personnes ne se connaissaient pas et les voilà réunies dans la solidarité de cette lutte massive. En réalité personne ne fuit, le recul amorcé est un piège qui se referme sur la brute mécanisée, des hommes et des femmes, sans autre arme que leur force morale, dressés contre la dictature réinventent spontanément les savantes tactiques des phalanges d’Alexandre le Grand contre les chars à faux de Darius. Comme dans une manoeuvre des légions romaines happant les éléphants d’Hannibal, le matraqueur est saisi par des dizaines de bras et jeté a terre.

Magnanimité et intelligence du peuple révolté, sous l’uniforme bestial il y avait un jeune homme et pendant que son engin de mort commence à brûler les poings rageurs redeviennent des mains secourables, écartent l’ennemi vaincu du brasier et essuient son sang qui coule. Et ces faits nous parlent déjà plus que de longs discours.

Cela se passe à Téhéran et ici en France les commentateurs politiques nous disent que ce peuple héroique n’aurait d’autre ambition que de changer de chef. (Ce changement de chef étant que ce nos politologues nomment la démocratie, montrant par quel mépris ils en ont, puisque ce ne serait quun changement de dictateur). Pourtant les masses iraniennes font quotidiennement dans la rue, et précisément sans aucun chef, la démonstration des capacitées du Peuple à s’autoorganiser et à lutter contre un pouvoir d’assassins. Ce mouvement qui a démarré au prétexte d’une controverse électorale a mis en branle quelque chose de beaucoup plus profond.

Un élément qui ne trompe pas sur l’état d’esprit du peuple iranien, c’est la participation par la parole par les actes de femmes anonymes qui expriment leur volonté de se débarrasser de la chappe étouffante du pouvoir et des religieux. Je l’ai vue sur mon écran ce 14 juin elle n’a ni foulard ni voile elle a les cheveux teints en blond et un masque chirurgical pour se protéger des grenades lacrymogénes elle est décidée et marche au milieu de ses camarades. Qu’on la filme ne lui importe pas ce qui compte pour elle en ce jour c’est de de montrer la direction et d’entrainer les hommes : « À bas la dictature, vive la liberté ! » Deux jours plus tard cette autre femme est une véritable lionne qui attaque seule à coups de pieds une bande de policiers occupés à frapper d’autres femmes à un arrêt de bus, agressée à son tour par les soudards elle se réfugie au sein du petit groupe qui se reforme autour d’elle pour la protéger, toutes restent debout sous le coups ...Elles et tant d’autres ! La jeune Neda abattue le 21 juin par un assassin aux ordres des théocrates payera de sa vie pour la peur qui s’empare du Pouvoir lorsque les femmes rentrent dans la lutte. Dans ce Panthéon immense des victimes innombrables et obscures de l’Etat et du Capitalisme Neda restera dans nos mémoires unie à Alexandre ce jeune grec assassiné cet hiver par un autre flic meurtrier.

A ce moment nos camarades d’Athènes écrivaient :

« Nos vies n’appartiennent pas aux états et leurs assassins ! La mémoire des frères et des sœurs, des amis et des camarades assassinés restent vive à travers nos luttes ! Nous n’oublions pas nos frères et nos sœurs, nous ne pardonnons pas leurs assassins »

Et il faut le dire la lutte du peuple iranien rejoint celle de tous. Ce que nous voyons en marche n’est pas autre chose que cette immense fraternité universelle qui se léve peu a peu contre les criminels qui nous gouvernent. Elle nous réunira par delà les frontières autour de que ce qui lui donne corps et qui la fera vaincre. L’Idée que l’on peut vivre libres, ensemble et dignement, en dehors des sordides schémas imposés par l’idéologie de la domination.
Un militant de la CNT-AIT