Saturday, March 08, 2008

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 ) 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 premisis 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 Santiago anarchists have made March Anarchist Month and are sponsoring a host of work shops and events throughout the month. See

(The photo on the bottom is graffiti from Concepcion and RASH stands for "Red/Anarchist Skin Heads"


Blogger Graeme said...

awesome! I have yet to hit South America, but it is one of my goals. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

I am meeting up with Renegade eye on March 15th for an anti-war rally in Minneapolis.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I'm very happy Graeme will be vising in Minneapolis.

All of the rightist bloggers, were predicting war between Venezuela and Colombia. Beakerkin wanted to send a contra force, against Chavez.

Did you visit Pinochet's grave? A good place for spitting contests.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

Hi Larry,

Thanks for keeping everyone informed about progress in the southern hemisphere. Considering what they have had to endure Chileans deserve to see a better world at least as much as any of us.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Ren, the Beak would want to send in Contras, as per his violent fantasies. As for spitting on Pinochos tumba, I would prefer pissing on it. In fact a fantasy of mine would be to lead a tour of people to the grave sites of various monsters like J Edgar Hoover, Franco, Pinocho etc and engage in a mass (and videoed) piss in. Of course we would have to drink a lot of beer beforehand to generate the sufficient quantity of liquid, but that would be no hardship.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Rob Ray said...

Hey you mind if I filch this post for the Blog Bites section of Freedom anarchist newspaper?

6:44 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Go right ahead, Rob! Thanks for the interest.

8:23 AM  
Blogger mollymew said...

Welcome back Larry.
Also more plagiarism here. Do you mind a repost at Molly's blog as well ?

4:28 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

No problem, Molly. Go for it!

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Rob Ray said...

Cheer Larry, appreciate it :)

8:24 AM  
Blogger Daniel Owen said...

Ah, RASH. Apparently oi! is very popular down in South America. Strange, really, seeing how quintessentially English it is...

4:22 PM  
Blogger blackstone said...

WOW, that is pretty spectacular. I never knew it was that big there

6:35 AM  

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