Alfredo M. Bonanno
No political position of compromise had to be accepted
This interview was carried out by a correspondent of Columna Negra after a gathering held in the city of Monza, Italy on the 24th-25th of November of the past year, a moment in which some discussions were carried out in respect to current repression world wide, the Mapuche situation amongst other topics. This first exchange of ideas with Alfredo Maria Bonanno turned into what you will read below.
CN: Considering the scenarios of crisis at the global scale, characterized by the massive de-legitimization of the traditional political models, the economic and social destabilization people are now living under in Greece and Spain, etc, how can we understand the emergence of insurrectionary practices that you laid out from the end of the 70′s to the middle of the 90′s, considering the differences between the current moment and the context in which these ideas were developed?
AMB: It is true that there are considerable difficulties for international capital in its attempt to restructure its own repressive and productive structure. This situation, which has been led up to for some years, comes from the so-called “crisis” but does not refer to crisis in the sense of radical contradiction which announces the passage of a situation which can evolve to become intolerable for the future of capitalist management. There is nothing in these periodic sicknesses of domination which can lead in a determinant manner to a possible irrecoverable–and therefore revolutionary–situation. For these events to begin to have some elements of a revolutionary sense (severe difficulties in recuperation and control by international capital) necessitates our active participation, and it is here where true and real insurrectionary intervention is essential. The experiences had during the 70′s, up until at the least the end of the 90′s, demonstrate that projects of an insurrectionary nature — such as attacks against those responsible for and structures of capital, sabotage of production, abstention from politics and production, expropriation, re-appropriation of one’s own time, etc — can contribute to fertile terrain in which we can advance toward the real and true insurrection, whether it be the materialization of a series of attacks of amplified dimension that can have as a result visible transformation (politically recuperated in the form of modified processes in the structure of domination), or less visible but stronger and more effective transformations, that is to say practical projects that contribute to formulations of what we have called “the insurrectional project.”
CN: According to various analyses, the current crisis appears to be an expression of generalized catastrophe which is made visible, amongst other things, in the open abandonment of many the democratic mask by many states as well as in the open militarization of repression. In light of this, in what manner can the practices of insurrectionary anarchism contribute to a resistance and generalization of the conditions of rupture which allow for the scenario of a budding manifestation of Social War on the part of the exploited?
AMB: Not any one general catastrophe, at least in my opinion. It is a matter of difficulties, capital is experimenting on a repressive and productive level, including a few speculative financial processes which have been established and which have been shown to be completely incapable of guaranteeing better security and better profits. The underlying structure of economic production remains relatively outside of the disasters provoked by speculation, and capital has taken cover, proceeding to reduce waste, reduce production costs, get rid of a few less promising productive social sectors and intends to do so successively. For this it has had to forcibly obtain a greater repressive policing capacity, greater and more efficient methods of control, and in a nutshell, to the extent of militarily preparing itself for a possible transition phase of Civil War. What the current repressive and productive project is trying to definitively achieve is simply a restructuring at all levels to guarantee profits based on large foreign investors and undisturbed exploitation, which has always been the goal of these projects. It is our task to intervene in the clash with the utmost determination, to seek to combat this process. The means we have at our disposal are the insurrectionary ones. Attack, the organizational autonomy of the minimal base structures, the informality of these organizational structures, the destruction of the enemy, and generalized self-organization.
CN: Another relevant factor that has emerged during the recent past is the empowerment of the citizen which has reinforced leftist positions which are mostly motivated by the increasing precarity of their lives, as a defense against large corporations helping to restrain the spread of antagonistic dynamics. In light of this, on one hand, what are the possibilities that can open up from anarchist practices to curb this civil impetus? And, on the other, how do you believe that we can from the antagonistic trench, break out of the corner we have been put in by citizen-ism, and manage to go beyond locating ourselves “to the left of the left”?
AMB: Any disguised form of change, as citizenism can be, sooner or later shows its true colors and is unmasked by the facts. It is due to indirect collaborations with power by those who fear the worst that is adapts to obtain a simple lengthening of the chain. Grand analyses are not needed to indicate what must be done against capital’s brown-nosers. In place of this we need to commit ourselves to the attack possible with our forces, without seeking possible compromises with political forces that do not belong to us and that today constitute capital’s last offensive line, the one that is perhaps the most effective in recuperation. The insurrectional project — identifiable in informal base organization and the destructive assault against every project of repression — undoubtedly needs some ideas, more detailed information and knowledge that differ in relation to the different geographical situations that present themselves, but it cannot move away from its directive principles: attack, autonomy, informality, self-management.
CN: Understanding that the crux of the anarchist critique is the problem-atizing of the State, what do you believe are the points of questioning and work around an anti-state critique that favors the present deployment of anarchist practices?
AMB: Anarchists are obviously anti-state. The anarchist critique is directed at the annihilation of the State, although the practice is not limited to waiting for the State to be in difficulty to go out to the street and fight concretely to give it the final shove. Anarchists are almost always present in intermediate struggles, or perhaps focused on local problems that people have in geographically determined places. These struggles seek to reduce the repression that weighs against a small part of a place’s population, but it has great importance for all the exploited in general if considered correctly focused from the point of view of the insurrectional method and project.
CN: The proposals of informal action arise as a search for more direct forms of attack. Nevertheless, even during the 90′s with the “Marini Case” the State had carried out an identification of informal practices (whether through framing or infiltration), leading to the current trial against the FAI-FRI and the “Bombs Case” in Chile. In light of this, and according to your experience, what elements of the proposal and practices of informality should be revised?
AMB: The State has worked almost twenty years in a precise manner (up to a point) to focus on the informal base organizations and the insurrectional method. In fact, power does not have sufficient means to predict all the informal initiatives due to the enormous creative potential of the latter. When the attack is realized on the basis of informal organizational characteristics, or in a way that is dispersed around territory, free from any political contamination, directed to destroying small (and not therefore less significant) targets–in other words, when we avoid centralizing on a sole target, or a few well visible and qualified targets, [the action] cannot be easily stopped. Attention must be placed on choosing these targets, not letting ourselves be seduced by the extremely visible ones (the continued attacks which the compañeros in Greece are carrying out against the country’s Parliament come to mind) which are therefore more protected and in the end are of little importance. The study of targets corresponds to the knowledge of the territory and also the analysis of the relation that is occurring between local and international capital. Much of this knowledge is now easy to find (just think of what can be found on the Internet) but some others are more difficult and require truly profound study.
CN: In the context of National Liberation Struggles and in relation to anarchist movements, in particular with the Mapuche People in Chile, we have taken into account your analysis and proposals written in 1976 in “Anarchism and National Liberation.” In the Mapuche case, since the 90′s two principle antagonistic ways of thinking have confronted each other. The first which contains new generations of Mapuche with anti-capitalist political positions, of political-economic and cultural reconstruction–autonomous, that is–in no way posits integration into the Chilean state. Their political vision overcomes the borders of their territory recognizing other peoples of the Chilean territory, and of the world, to exploited sisters and brothers, learning and being in solidarity with their experiences of struggle. The second, Mapuche groups that propose political representation within the state, favor the forming of nationalist Mapuche parties and constitutional recognition, and marginalize the real struggles of autonomous Mapuche resistance as mere minority groups, due to their refusal to conform or identify with the Mapuche left much less with the Mapuche social democrats. Understanding this new context, of integrationist Mapuche partisans, a situation that has appeared in other national liberation movements around the world, but which in Chile is a recent phenomenon since the Pinochet dictatorship- is democracy. What can you tell or suggest to us from your knowledge of experiences of liberation in our day and age? What ideas could we pose in our proposal of anti-capitalist struggle, Mapuche and internationalist, in support and in defense of some sister Mapuche communities new way of thinking?
AMB: The struggle for National Liberation has always been seen from an anarchist perspective as a false intermediate, as an intermediate struggle. This, in my opinion, is also happening today with the struggle of the Mapuche People. No political position of compromise had to be accepted, beyond that of a radical and complete liberation from the Chilean State. It is a matter of a position that is theoretically very simple, but in practice presents many difficulties as soon as it is not accepted immediately, without objection, by many forces that buy into the illusion of collaborative power within certain limits with Chilean progressive leftist forces, which later distance themselves and lean more that way. It is matter of a pure quantitative illusion, that is, that they are thinking about bringing as many people as possible to their side in order to have an effective pressure against the Chilean State. Basically, this path does not have an exit, and the Irish case, and many African examples, are there to offer testimony. Today, the Mapuche People are in very definite conditions. They can understand that the only option remaining to them is that of a clear struggle against the Chilean State and against all States. Out of the creation of a non-state Mapuche entity in a near future, free from the Chilean hegemony, many possibilities of liberation can arise, but perhaps also some possibilities of a new, smaller, but also repressive, state form. Not to fear, the Fearless destiny, the destiny of the national liberation struggles often is this. One will have to return to begin the struggle at the same point it left off, without fear and without political contradictions. In any case for the moment it is not so much a question of what will happen after the “liberation,” but one of what must be done today, before the “liberation.” And what must be done today corresponds precisely to the insurrectional anarchist struggle against the Chilean State.