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(en) alas barricadas: The real Barcelona on fire by Ruymán Rodríguez (FAGC) (ca) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 8 Nov 2019 09:01:10 +0200

They have written, thought and told so many lies about the riots in Barcelona, that if they materialized they could be seen from space much more easily than the Great Wall of China. ---- I can easily assume that many of those who reproduce these lies or have not set foot in Catalonia since Monday 14 October , made public the judgment of procés and began the demonstrations or, if they have trod, have not heard anything. But I am convinced that the self-proclaimed "information professionals", that they have stepped on it, that they have learned everything and that they still deliberately intoxicate, do so in response to the direct mandates of power and a well-defined propaganda strategy. The unfortunate thing is to discover that a large part of the politicized left, with its opinion columns, communiqués, collectives, headquarters and assemblies, seem to be analyzing reality through such media propaganda.

The reality of this latest reissue of La Rosa de Foc It has very little to do with what we have been told or shown. On the one hand, one would expect to arrive in Barcelona to find a collapsed city, with the "people of order" stuck in their home and urban life completely paralyzed. The reality, on the contrary, is that the great majority of inhabitants continue with their routines and normal street habits. This does not necessarily mean that they are not interested in what is happening in their city, nor that they are outside the conflict. On the contrary, it is the subject of constant conversation and it is impossible to know if the neighbor who rushes a vermouth on a terrace is not making time to join a mobilization that afternoon. In fact, it is rare to see someone alarmed by hearing a rubber ball in the distance or seeing protesters running through the streets.

But the big lie about the flames of Barcelona goes much further, or at least more to the viscera. Well-organized and well-financed international commands behind the riots? An exclusively nationalist movement motivated by supremacist aspirations? The reality of the barricades and the street has nothing to do with it.

First, the average age of those who are starring in the protests is strikingly low. They are young people who often do not exceed 18 years. In the streets of Barcelona it is not uncommon to find girls and boys of 15 or 16 years leading the initiative in demonstrations and clashes with the police. The vast majority was born in the 21st century, and they have nothing to do with "professional revolutionaries", "anti-systems of European origin" and other myths that the media have circulated these days. In fact, I wish there were more organized groups involved in the conflict. Because today almost all the weight of the fight, also at the repressive level, is falling on young people who may seem "experts" facing the outside, but who really have no more weapons than will, enthusiasm, rehearsal / error, day-to-day training, improvisation, word of mouth information and a lot of accumulated anger. Internet tutorials, learning on the ground and maybe a brief advice from an isolated veteran are doing more to keep them safe and safe than any of those phantasmagoric well-funded groups (no one has yet answered how much the container is paid in llamas) with whom no one has yet met. Spontaneity is marking much of the struggle and also many of the concrete actions, with all the positive, but also dangerous, that this has. They are doing more to keep them safe and safe than any of those phantasmagoric well-funded groups (no one has yet answered how much the burning container is paid) with which no one has yet found. Spontaneity is marking much of the struggle and also many of the concrete actions, with all the positive, but also dangerous, that this has. They are doing more to keep them safe and safe than any of those phantasmagoric well-funded groups (no one has yet answered how much the burning container is paid) with which no one has yet found. Spontaneity is marking much of the struggle and also many of the concrete actions, with all the positive, but also dangerous, that this has.

On the other hand, what moves this youth to take to the streets? It would be excessively simplistic and caricaturing to reduce everything to Catalan nationalism. Yes, certainly that factor is very present and is noticeable, from the flags to the slogans. However, only a fat brush analysis could argue that patriotism is what keeps 100% of protesters on a war footing. The reality is much more complex and has a lot to do with the fissures in the narrative of the State.

For decades, several generations (those born between 1978 and the first decade of 2000) have been told, and sometimes convinced, that any idea , including independence, could be defended in democracy , provided it was peaceful . This was the battlehorse against the Abertzale left in the toughest years of ETA. The mantra has continued repeating itself to this day. Censorship and arbitrary detentions for crimes of opinion could be cracking the story, but almost everywhere and environments it has remained unquestionable. On October 1, 2017, an important crack opened up with the brutal police repression suffered by Catalonia on the day of the famous referendum. But it was last Monday October 14 when the music stopped playing, the curtain fell and the mask broke. Members of the upper bourgeoisie, public offices, parties and associations, people with thousands of voters and followers behind them, people who have always been firefighters in the face of street processes they cannot control, pacifists ad nauseam, were sentenced by the Supreme Court to prison terms of between 13 and 9 years for defending independence. This sentence provoked two very clear conclusions: first, the soniquete that "everything goes in democracy as long as violence is not used" had shattered to the ground and it was deduced that if you could fall several years in jail for not do nothing, you better fall for "do something"; Second, if the Spanish State could do that with the "heroes" of Catalanism, what could it not do with the rest? There are times when the feeling of threat, of a terror that pounces on us, leads us to confine ourselves; others, to show teeth. It is in the latter that Catalan youth is.

Many of these young people accompanied their parents to vote the famous 1-O, and saw them bleed, with their hands up, while the police beat them with impunity. The pacifist account of his elders had dissolved and there was no way to recompose it. The steps taken by the Spanish State and its police-judicial apparatus have had much to do, therefore, with this reversal of the current. Dynamics that the Generalitat and the independence parties do not escape either, from right to left. The phenomenon of "deferred independence", the paripés and symbolic proclamations that evidenced more fear of a Catalan people without reins than the Spanish State itself, have made the current protester, even the independentist,

However, even this does not cover all the motivations. In the demonstrations there are also many young people with no future, no job, migrants, pissed off by an increasingly uninhabitable Barcelona, designed to be consumed and not lived. Young people who before the sentence were fed up with the mossos registering and stopping them because of their skin color. Young people with precarious jobs who lamented having to leave a demonstration or a road cut because they had to go to work in a feina de merda . The more these young people join the conflict, the more they will influence and deepen their social aspects.

The actions of the police, both national and Mossos , are deliberately forcing the radicalization of the situation. Beyond what has been seen in social networks (rubber balls directly to the body, protests run over, beatings to the elderly, stepping on detainees on the ground, blows on the back of the neck, arbitrary detentions, indiscriminate charges, persecutions while throwing laughter of psychopath by the megaphone of a patrol car, 4 people one-eyed by the aforementioned FOAM balls), I have been able to personally verify the systematic provocation used as a police tactic: I have seen mossos making me a comb directly while passing by; I have heard them send people "to take their ass with their fucking republic", in perfect Castilian, tried to mark the syllables, as much as possible, to try to make a language become, in itself, an insult; I have seen them open a police barrier, with 100 meters of no man's land behind them, in prime time television, to allow a "provocative agent" to launch to the concentrated mass shouts of "up Spain!", in a crude attempt to promote a collective aggression that justified the burden of riot. All this, of course, is not accidental and should respond to a well thought out strategy. However, it is impossible to maintain the tension tactic permanently. It is true that sometimes the rope yields, but it is also true that sometimes it breaks with a violent jolt. The consequences, then, cannot be anticipated.

The conflict, in short, has some aspects that from the subversive point of view (sorry, but I have no other) marks a before and after: the emotional breakdown of the great majority of protesters with the Spanish State is practically absolute; Although the divorce with the Catalan institutions and parties, and with their social platforms, is not yet complete, among the young people the discontent grows and the first symptoms of separation occur; the myth of nostra police, reinforced especially after the attacks of the Ramblas of August 17 (2017) and 1-O, the first week of protests is broken after all the reports; the red line marked by pacifism begins to fade and censorship of actions hypocritically considered "violent" is considered out of context in ever wider circles (it is difficult to consider violent burning container 1 when each day of mobilization throws one or two mutilated protesters).

Although these disturbances are a point and apart (it is still too early to assess their magnitude in our contemporary history, but we can already confirm that it has broken certain barriers that for example never touched the 15-M Movement), it would be absurd to fall into idealizations . On the one hand it would be an exaggeration to affirm that behind all protesters there is a political or vindictive drive. There is also a playful, leisure factor, which, without being a majority, is not unreal. Sometimes this factor is not at odds with solidarity and commitment in street fighting and, although it seems paradoxical, these elements can come together quite naturally. However, the image of young people with glasses of alcohol in their hands, taking a selfie With your partners and friends in front of a barricade in flames, reducing the riots to a moment more than a night of partying, it's not just propaganda. But this is a phenomenon that is more related to our social model than with this specific conflict, in fact, in a city as touristy as Barcelona, I have come to see families of Asian tourists taking pictures in front of dump containers.

Another disconcerting element is the apparent lack of a specific objective or plan. There must be, but hardly anyone seems to know him. A common question, in roadblocks, demonstrations and riots themselves was: "What now?" Many events end up becoming a wandering aimlessly, in the absence of a definite purpose. In fact sometimes I thought, surely naively, that the first subject or group that exposed a strategic program with acceptable points would take the cat to the water. This dynamic made me turn to two questions: first, the need, already mentioned, of a road map outside the institutions and organizations that they manage; second, ask me where "mine" were, anarchist organizations and groups.

Surely there must be many individualities scattered in each mobilization, but I missed the coordinated presence of libertarian groups. The anarchist colleagues I dealt with explained to me that this was very difficult given the atomized configuration of the anarchist movement of the city. Still, I was surprised that, in the face of such social and political events, a rudimentary minimum agreement did not arise. Hopefully the lies of the press, about the heavy weight of the anarchists in the protests, will come close to the truth.

If 15-M taught us anything, it is that political movements are always accountable to history. 15-M was not a revolutionary movement and was very far, like the current Catalan movement, from being perfect and free from contradictions (for that we will have to wait for the revolutionary Paradise). However, wherever the anarchists participated the well-defined libertarian ideas converged with the intuitive, the anarchist movement grew or strengthened (example is the FAGC in Gran Canaria) and could leave its mark on the events. Where anarchism was inhibited, if it did not in itself have too much prior autonomous life, it ended up being represented as a set of useless crooks only interested in screwing and putting sticks on the wheel of the movement. Project, not as a social struggle movement,

Those anarchists, and members of the so-called left in general, who today charge against Catalan youth are making the same mistake they already made with 15-M. All his life talking about taking the streets and squares, waking up and getting up, barricades and riots, and when this happens he catches them with his pants down because there has not been a minimum preparation, not even a minimum conviction, that he could move from speeches and abstract theories to practical reality. Caught by surprise, and without much interest in moving too much (neither at the level of ideological rethinking or immediate activity), they adopt the comfortable posture of questioning everything but doing nothing. With that attitude they are positioning themselves, both before and now, as the right wing of social movements, when I don't eat the left wing of reactionary movements. They are not understanding their youth, reducing their own "revolutionary" ideology to a senile, past, impractical artifact that does not drag even a hint of the utility it could have in the past.

The same happened to some of the "old guard" libertarian with the young people who starred in May 68. They were unable to analyze such a social explosion - which they had not directly organized, but the new militant generation - without taking off the Lenses of his classic approaches. They could understand that the black flags returned to the streets and recognized that interest in the libertarian was resurfacing, but they were unable to fully understand the process, to feel affinity for young people so different from their predecessors and for a completely new language. That is why they treated the protagonists of the struggles with a certain disdain and adultism, considering that their radicalism would heal with age 2. This, although it may be true in the long run, is never a good way to approach a process. The unfortunate and paradoxical thing is that many of those who participated in the May of 68 today judge Catalan youth with the same severity with which they were prosecuted then. In the end, the young people will tell them the same thing they said in their day to other censors: "[...]we prefer to work in agreement with hundreds of revolutionaries who, without carrying the label of anarchists, are much more for us than certain bureaucrats" 3 .

In short, we must flee from these attitudes as from the plague. Anarchism should take advantage of these situations to be practical and decisive, as a real unlocking option in the reflections and in the streets. Hopefully all the energies that are invested in Byzantine discussions on entelechies would be invested in developing a roadmap, a program, understandable and acceptable, that would come to propose such concrete things as that the riots will not cease until there is an amnesty that includes no only the prisoners of the process but to all the detainees these days (unattainable for the Spanish State, but at least set an objective) and they will begin to generate the necessary structures to maintain the tension for an indefinite time. If we are unable to generate something so "macro", perhaps it would be interesting to concentrate on designing a strategy of concrete objectives in the mobilizations. Taking a space, occupying an institution, collapsing a resource, as happened with the El Prat airport on the first day of mobilizations, is a clear objective, with a beginning and an end. The dynamics of "barricade-police load-running" and starting over can be very useful at the level of learning and generating revolutionary muscle, but it is very difficult to maintain it for prolonged periods of time. The young people who are in this for that playful aspect that I commented before, they will leave the streets when the thing stops being "fun". Young people with political commitment and those who move for social reasons will still be there when the "novelty" is over, but a movement cannot survive assuming such a high cost at repressive levels. With an average of 30 arrests per day (200 detainees in 6 days) there is a danger of being exhausted. That is why it is important to rethink tactics and strategy, what to influence and what to change.

And if we are not to reflect on any of this, it is important that we are at least on the streets, that our presence is noticed, not giving up propaganda for the fact. From the outside it may seem unimportant, but being there, and not giving up your own speech, is vital. And I have been able to verify it personally. From the smallest to the largest, at any time you can delve into a conflict, radicalize a situation, show efficacy or experience. Your behavior speaks more about your political and social proposal than any speech. When a group of protesters sit down and begin to sing again the " som gent de pau", It is important that a discordant presence remind them that sitting down they invite them to load and that they expose an area of the body as sensitive as the head. When the chauvinistic and chauvinistic chants break through, it is necessary to break this dynamic and introduce anti-capitalist or libertarian slogans that serve as a counterweight. When a group of young people run shirtless and face open running away from the sirens, it is difficult for them to forget the anarchist militant who gave them an on-site tutorial on how to completely cover their face and head with the shirts that hung from their waists. When the mood is inflamed after singing Els segadors, it does not hurt to remind those around you that the lyrics of that hymn were composed by an ancient anarchist named Emili Guayavents (1899) and that is what comes from: " com fem caure espigues d'or / q uam agree according to orders " 4 and enjoy how the kids and kids that have heard you start commenting on the data. When a fascist ambushes to burst a demonstration, it can mean a change of perspective among those present that it is an anarchist the first to detect the play and expel the "provocative agent." All this, although it hardly means a tiny drop more in the current, is important to feed the channel and push it out of the calm waters.

I repeat: we are not facing a revolution, nor are we facing a perfect fight. None is, none will be. The agoreros who in each revolt or social mobilization denounce that "it will not last", that "it will fail" or that "it is not an integral revolution", they are always and will be right. They have it now with regard to the riots in Catalonia, they had it recently in relation to 15-M, they had it a long time ago when they talked about May 68, but they would have had it if they had been alive on July 19, 1936 and had He was able to walk the streets of Barcelona. All revolutions and revolutions of revolutions that have occurred, throughout the history of mankind, or have failed or have been betrayed, and many of them have been partial enough for the term revolution they have, perhaps, too big. The doomsayers are not right because they are "clairvoyant geniuses", they do it because their analytical horizon has, in reality, the same complexity as that of reminding us that we are all going to die 5. The question is whether, knowing that obviousness, the high percentage of failure, demobilization and repression that awaits us, it is worth moving, stress the situation, gain weight, experience and number for the future, take events to their limits, fight without idealizations or vague hopes or, on the contrary, to remain crossed of arms, criticizing from the distance, and waiting for the death arrives to us. As Simone Weil said: "I don't like war, but in war I always thought that the most horrible thing was the situation of those who remained in the rear" 6 .

When I returned from Barcelona, a colleague from the Tenant Union asked me: "In the end, those in the streets, who are they? Are they independentists or are they anti-system? And I had to answer what I saw: they are people, simply people, a people who are beginning to lose their fear. That is the truth about the flames of Barcelona.


1 The tactic of criminalization has tried, as always, to drag people through the guts, and the media have not stopped spreading the figures of the City Council of Barcelona that estimates in one and a half million euros the expense for burned containers . The reaction of many people has been that of not explaining how a City Council can buy such simple containers at such a high price. Do you buy them from Swarovski?

2 To learn more about the ideological and generational conflict that May 68 represented within the libertarian movement, it is advisable to read the chapter ("1968. The anti-authoritarian revolt in Europe" pp. 219-246) that Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac dedicate to it to this event in his book Spanish anarchism and revolutionary action (1961-1974) (2004, Ed. Virus). This book also explains that the disagreement was staged ostensibly in the Anarchist Congress of Carrara (Italy) of 1968. For more information about the congress and its internal affairs I recommend the article by Luis Nuevo "Carrara International Anarchist Congress of 1968. The anarchism in front of the mirror "for the Newsroom of Alasbarricadas.org (http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/node/40594 ).

3 Written by the editors of Noir et Rouge read at the aforementioned Carrara Congress, ibid.

4 "How do we drop spikes of gold / when it is convenient let's get chains."

5 Actually, nobody knows the exact formula for a revolt to go further and threaten to truly transform things. In fact, it is almost impossible to predict. As Éric Hazan explains in the "Politicization" chapter (pp. 21-42) of his essay The dynamics of revolt (republished this October of 2019 by Virus Editorial), not even the level of politicization of the people is a key factor for this. There were historical moments in which the revolutions were caused more by hunger and despair than by the politicization of the masses (France 1789, Russia 1917), others in which politicization converged with economic and social factors (Spain 1936) and others where despite the high level of politicization nothing happened for revolutionary purposes (Italy in the 70s). The revolution is and always will be a field open to experimentation, where history serves as a clue but not a compass.

6 In HM Enzensberger, The Short Summer of Anarchy, 1998, p. 170, Ed. Anagram.

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