The economic crisis of Western capitalism and East-West detente have made more obvious -- on both sides -- the internal contradictions which all systems of authoritarian rationality lead to. By offering new and irrefutable proof of the inevitable and significant convergence of the two apparently opposed systems, they have contributed, in the domains of revolutionary theory and praxis, to lend credit once more to the anti-authoritarian utopias.
The daily materialization of events doesn't always reflect the rigorous development of the historical weft of domination and revolt. The events that shape the future arise, pass and disappear, often in an apparently haphazard way. No doubt this is due to their dispersal in the everyday muddle of humanity and to the fact that they are intentionally distorted by the "mass media" and the demagogy of the parties. Language lends itself to all kinds of uses and intentions, serving without distinction and with equal efficiency both the cause of revolt and that of the manipulation and exploitation of the masses.
At the very moment that humanity discovers the scope of its destructive power, it understands that its survival is not an inevitability, and that progress may be the cause of its ruin and that this evolutionary model, which was formerly the memory and inevitable future of humanity, is no longer decisive, and that at the present level of irrationality, it seems to be more dislocated and unpredictable than ever, for knowledge has created more uncertainty, reason more anguish, abundance more shortages, and growth more fragility.
Our epoch is characterized by the apparent lack of direction of historical progress and the paradoxical indecisiveness and discontinuity of events in their antinomical repercussion on the consciousness of peoples.
Despite the reiteration of revolutionary statements in the setting of an increasingly subtle class struggle, and although there has been undeniable progress in political and social demands in many domains, it is still the case that as far as the essentials are concerned, that is, the struggle against the exploitation of man by man, history, in its pure movement, doesn't give us any hope or any values. In a world composed of immense masses of individuals who are solitary and without any power over their destinies, dehumanized specialists and leaders who are only preoccupied with staying in power, without wondering what the objective of their actions is, it is not surprising that the fundamental problem of alienation is easily evaded by all those who have an interest in maintaining the status quo of the established Order.
From the beginning of history, rebels have declared the reign of equality and man's reconciliation with his dream of freedom. Thus, revolt constitutes the underside of official history, the anti-history of domination. For these reasons, and because marginal activity is also marked by uncertainty and general discontinuity, what is written here concerning Spanish and international anarchist and revolutionary activism is not exempt from the apparent incoherence that characterized the evolution of the political and social events of this decade. Moreover, besides subjectivity, which constitutes the remarkable nature of the historical discourse, we have kept to a certain imprecision, for obvious reasons.
"OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS" ...
Returning to the concrete history of Spain at the close of this year of 1975, the fact is that despite the passing years and contrary to the declarations of those who, today, have put all their hopes in the "inevitable" spread of the "Portuguese spring" to get out of the impasse, Francoism doesn't seem likely to give up. We are obliged to note -- once again -- the candid opportunism of an "opposition" which has (consciously) sabotaged all of the attempts at open struggle and direct action against the Francoist regime, and which has made revolutionary renunciation and opening to the progressive sectors of the Church and the army the key position of its oppositional strategy. Well, this strategy condemns the Spanish people to tolerating the Dictatorship, and mortgages the future of the rightful formal Democracy to the decision of the army -- transformed, as a result, into the true arbiters of the situation.
If the entire opposition persists in its current attitude, which deliberately excludes (apart from the ETA and a few other marginal groups) any form of active opposition and popular mobilization, there won't even be a Greek-style "democratization" in Spain. For, even supposing the aperturistas (advocates of an opening up of the political spectrum) prevail, it would be catastrophic to complain afterwards, like the leaders of the Greek left are doing today, about the freedom we weren't able to win: We did not win it; it was granted to us, and that is the worst of all. Unfortunately, apart from the activist groups, all the political forces which are vegetating today on the fringes of national public life have resigned themselves to this "opening up of the political spectrum".
Obviously, the communists and the socialists can console themselves with the fact that, thanks to the moral and material support that international communism and socialism will continue to provide them with, anticipating future electoral possibilities, they will continue to quantitatively broaden their respective followings. On the other hand, as regards the libertarians, who cannot count on any outside support, and who for many years defended the thesis of resorting to "other roads", not even this consolation is left, for the longer they take to leave their present organizational passivity and actively oppose the Dictatorship, the more difficult it will be for them to rebuild their movement in the new post-Francoist context -- particularly as far as the union sector is concerned.
THE "HISTORICAL DIALECTIC", THE "CERTAINTIES" AND THE "UTOPIAS" ...
The crisis of Western capitalism permitted certain people to discover and praise the premonitory dogmas of the historical dialectic, but in both the East and the West, the defenders of this view of things are searching obstinately and at any price for the historical compromise that will permit them to "take part in governmental responsibilities", by integrating more and more indissolubly with the bourgeois representative system and the order established by the bourgeoisie.
In the face of the classic capitalist certainty, there arose the utopias. Then Marxism created the certainty -- purportedly scientific -- of authoritarian socialism (in its parliamentary-democratic and communist variants). But everywhere this "socialism" came to Power, party dictatorship was maintained and strengthened. Must one conclude that the (democratic or totalitarian) socialization of all productive forces inevitably leads to this kind of result? To tell the truth, independently of all ideological considerations, such is the certainty which may be drawn from all the experiences based until now on authoritarian socialism.
How can one not be surprised that, both in the East and the West, the masses are uninterested in the struggle to build socialism, and are resigned to waiting patiently for the manna promised by consumer society? Because that, essentially, is what socialist demands in the capitalist West and State promises in the socialist countries can be reduced to. In both a capitalist regime and an authoritarian socialist regime, exploitation in contemporary society increasingly takes the form of inequality within the hierarchy; to such an extent that, confirmed and valorized by the workers' own union organizations, respect for the value of hierarchy has become the last support of the system of domination. It is because of that, and because, at the present level of culture inequality in the hierarchy is considered offensive and a threat to the very future of humanity, that the old anti-authoritarian "utopias" are arising once again in the face of these certainties -- which have reduced both the manual labourer and the intellectual to mere units of production and consumption in the irrational universe of today's authoritarian society.
Everywhere the same cry goes up: "We must invent". But, as all the authoritarian possibilities (liberal and totalitarian) have been exhausted, the only possible historical innovation is the abolition of hierarchy, so that all men can take charge of their destinies in a responsible manner, which, in the final analysis, constitutes the libertarian utopia.
REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM ...
The anti-hierarchical demand -- which is potentially the most subversive and the most dangerous for the established order -- has become the ideological basis of youth contestation and its most consistent praxis, revolutionary activism. It appears with the greatest acuteness in the most developed industrialized countries, where contestation and revolutionary radicalism must face the most subtle forms of domination: parliamentary "democracy", advanced technological exploitation and consumerism. In addition, this phenomenon was and remains the revolutionary expression of a historical, conscious grasp of the contradiction which blocks the road to the Revolution, as it is the expression of an unshakeable will to go beyond this contradiction, theoretically and practically. That is why the practical affirmation of the fundamental postulate expressed by revolutionary youth in Latin America ("the Revolution must be the work of all revolutionaries") achieved, with the anti-hierarchical movement of May '68 and European anarchist revolutionary activism, a greater ideological and subversive radicalization, showing up the reformism of all the classical revolutionary organizations.
So it is clear that the "failure" of all these attempts to revive the revolutionary struggle is not just due to the material inferiority of the activist groups facing the vast repressive power of modern States, but also to the fact of their not having managed to establish a strategy and an organizational structure on an international scale (in the sense affirmed and sought by Che Guevara) and of not having known how to or been able to free themselves from the old ideological sectarianisms. Also, in an epoch when repressive techniques and techniques of manipulation of information have reached impressive levels of efficiency, revolutionary activism under-estimated the mass media's powers of distortion and intoxication. For these actions to not be distorted, caricatured and transformed into scarecrows to traumatize an already pre-conditioned public opinion, it is necessary for them to fulfil clear and coherent politico-moral (that is, revolutionary) objectives, and above all, that they fit into the precise context of struggles against the repressive excesses of domination and the collective aspirations for justice and freedom. For revolt that is not revolutionary at the same time is nothing.
THE NEW ANARCHIST STRATEGY
When anarchism had -- practically -- ceased to exist as an organized movement, paradoxically -- although it may be proof of a new and more authentic vitality -- anarchist theses served as the foundation of a profound cultural revolution which seems to be growing everywhere, though it is still diffuse today. Thus, the critique of the principal authoritarian institutions (the family, school, business and the State) and the most disastrous consequences of authoritarianism (paternalism, bureaucracy, nationalism, militarism, etc.) is formulated on a daily basis by considerable sectors, groups and individuals from the world of culture and labour.
To the right and the left of the revolutionary movement, ideological dogmas considered sacred up to now have been called into question; Marxists have begun to doubt the infallibility of historical materialism, rediscovering humanism and freedom. Libertarians, reconsidering the role of the economy, are placing people more objectively in the socio-political context of productive forces, and are seeking more realistic solutions to the antinomies individual/society and freedom/authority. And that is so because, for both the Marxists and the anarchists, the same inability to solve these fundamental questions in a satisfactory way and get the revolutionary prophecies going has been proven.
Recent history shows that it is neither the political game nor the "pressure" of the demands of the classical left that have made society advance in the direction of greater freedom and equality for all, but the interaction of collective consciousness and events provoked by "marginal", revolutionary forces. Capitalism's ability to endure by transforming itself and the inability of classical socialist regimes and organizations to fight bureaucratic degeneration and the blocking of the revolutionary process force us, on one hand, to reconsider the old revolutionary schemas, and on the other hand, to overcome the sectarianisms that have prevented, until now, a solution to the central problem of revolutionary unity, if we want to make the total transformation of authoritarian society possible. For the anarchists, the essential thing is not to conquer a place among the union organizations or political movements, but to strengthen and radicalize all the forms of anti-hierarchical contestation, while at the same time sustaining revolutionary solidarity in the socio-cultural contexts in which they evolve.