Apoyo Mutuo: Organising anarchy

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May 12 2015 18:34
Apoyo Mutuo: Organising anarchy
Three weeks before Spanish municipal elections, Apoyo Mutuo (Mutual Aid) appears as a tool that transforms into a political actor all of those persons who do not see themselves represented in the institutional path of politics. On the 9th of May, in the Teatro Lagrada of Madrid, was celebrated the presentation of the organisation Apoyo Mutuo. With nation wide aspirations, the organisation, according to its own spokespersons, pretends to “convert into political actors all of those persons who have lost their bearings in the social struggle after this phase of ‘institutional assault'”.

The organisation has assumed the challenge declared in the manifesto of Construyendo Pueblo Fuerte that was presented to the public on the 19th of February. (For an english translation, click here). The manifesto calls for popular self-organisation as a method for the construction of a direct democracy of free and equal persons.

While critical of initiatives such as Podemos, the organisers insist that they will not criticise them without offering distinct proposals of direct action. The aim of the organisation is seek “the multiplication of spaces of political action of a non-institutional character.”

The spokespersons have insisted on the necessity of coordinating a strategy that has as its goal social transformation rooted in direct democracy, both in the economy and in politics.

Apoyo Mutuo defends the necessity of outlining and popularising “a model of production that replaces capitalism with an economy of collective property”, as well as methods of “political participation that replace the state by equal, confederal decision making.”

The organisation is working on a common program that should emerge from a broad debate that should transcend the limits of the organisation itself. (Kaosenlared 09/05/2015)

Similar efforts have recently appeared elsewhere in the country, most notably with the catalan based Procés Embate. And though we have expressed doubts about that project (click here), doubts that we could reproduce here, they are by no means intended to dismiss such attempts at organisation. On the contrary, they were and are meant to invite a critical reflection on/practice with such endeavours, wherever they may emerge.

We translate below a reflection by Carlos Taibo on Apoyo Mutuo …

With Apoyo Mutuo

On Saturday the 9th was presented in Madrid a new organisation called Apoyo Mutuo. Even though no one is an a position to guess what its future will be, I believe that as of today, what can be affirmed – and I state nothing but personal opinions – is that it is an open book in which we can write what we desire. It is not however a closed project: if in its ambit no limiting norms are evident – everything, or almost everything, can be debated -, still less can one speak of organised groups or of persons determined to assume the role of protagonists. In what I can observe, Apoyo Mutuo will have to be judged tomorrow for its relevance as regards the practice of self-management and with it, that of democracy and direct action. Whatever be the direction of the new organisation, in sum, I believe that there are various reasons that justify, today, its appearance.

1. The urgency of recalling that there are many people who continue to believe in self-management, horizontalism, direct democracy, the rejection of leadership and personalities, and, of course, mutual aid. And not only this: who practice daily these principles and who demonstrate that there are ways of being and acting distinct from those that the system imposes upon us. To favour, through a militant action, the gathering of these people in all areas seems an honourable endeavour.

2. The intention to bring forward a crystalline anti-capitalist project, and not merely anti-neoliberal. Our project cannot consist of, as the left that believes in institutions and lives with them, demanding without much ado a return to 2007, before the beginning of the financial crisis. It must rather contest the logic of wage labour and of commodification, at the same time as it responds to what alienation, exploitation and the reigning repression assumes.

3. The necessity of escaping a superstition: that which affirms that the State is an institution that protects us. In regards to it, one must remember as much its repressive, police, military and carceral dimensions, as much as undoing the optical illusions that accompanies any formidable fiction, namely that of the welfare State, inevitably tied to capitalism and visibly hostile to practices of self-management; collusive with, contrary to appearances, the exploitation of so many women and ecologically aggressive and devoid of any solidarity with the majority of the peoples of the south.

4. In parallel with the above, it is imperative to emphasise the endless miseries of liberal democracy and its elections, and to signal, in particular, the central role t at these last play in the absorption of apparently oppositional initiatives, in the gestation of bureaucratic castes, in demobilisation and the strengthening, in the end, of the logic of the whole system.

5. The purpose of facing up to a radical transformation of our societies that begins from the awareness that capitalism has entered a terminal phase of corrosion that takes us, by forced marches, to collapse. On this terrain, to flee from the myth of growth is inevitable and the dismantling of urbanisation, technology, patriarchy and complexity of the world that has been given to us imposes itself upon us.

6. The objective of permitting the grounding and the expansion of self-managed and decommodified spaces of autonomy that have continued to appear – for example, integral cooperatives -, to facilitate their federation and to add to their dimension of confrontation with capital and the State.

7. The understanding that we are an indelible part of the system that we wish to bring down – that we are, better said, the system -, in such a way that its principles and values influence, often very powerfully, our daily behaviour, by means of, for example, the constant perpetuation of the miseries of patriarchal society. If we are not conscious of this, only with difficulty will we progress towards liberation.

8. The healthy intention to collaborate with the consolidation of that which in the world of work and in the social domain stands out in territories of contestation and of emancipation. There should be no reason to conclude that labour unions, affinity groups, cultural and social centres, or integral cooperatives, will experience any lessening or weakening in light of the new project; the contrary would seem to be the case.

9. The effort to attract many people – and also to let themselves be attracted – who nevertheless, without any ideological connotation or traditional militancy, practice self-management and who are conscious of the challenge of the terminal state of capitalism in its multiple manifestations.

10. The awareness of the challenges that derive from a repression that visibly gains ground, and which falls ever more evidently on those who prefer to continue to contest the logic of the State, as well as that of capital. This scenario as outlined by what is called the ley mordaza – what we suffer today – is sufficiently worrying in itself.

Even though it is reasonable to fear that the initiative arouse but symbolic elements and fundamentally emotional demonstrations, I believe that we are many who think that it is important to make clear that we are here and that we have no intention to retreat before the daily misery generated by capitalism, the ecological catastrophe that announces itself, the military-imperial atavisms that maintain themselves, the spell that is provoked in the minds of so may by elections and leaders, or the repression that binds us everywhere.