The Spanish Socialist Movement (MS) and Organized Anarchism

Translation by thefreeonline on January 7, 2023 / By @BlackSpartak 5 Jan 2023 Spanish original: alasbarricadas.org

We have spent two or three years watching the construction of what has been called the Socialist Movement (MS), a plural process with different aspects and realities depending on the territory. For those who do not know it, it is the process of renewal of state communism, beginning in its most dynamic part: Euskal Herria.

Looking back, after the 2008 crisis, the Basque National Liberation Movement (MLNV) entered into crisis. There was a renewal at the base and in its leadership a sector of the middle class and working aristocracy took control, which has been the one that has reached our days.

The youth of the Izquierda Abertzale (IA) used to be in the gaztetxes (occupued social centres) or in the student and youth movement. It was precisely in this sector that the rupture that gave rise to the Socialist Movement (MS) occurred. But we have to take into account other factors that were occurring in those years:

The end of ETA, which contributed to relaxing the police and political persecution against the Basque National Liberation Movement (MLNV). Despite some police and media stunts, the repression visibly decreased, loosening the traditional “closing of ranks” that characterized the Abertzale Left.
The radicalization of ELA and its consolidation as the largest union of the transforming left, not only in Euskal Herria but in the entire State. This radicalization even caused it to overtake LAB on the left, the latter being subject to the dynamics of AI.
The rise of the struggles in other territories. To start 15M, but to characterize the period, we will refer to the Catalan Sovereign Process.

Regarding this point, that of Catalonia, in sectors of the AI they saw with envy how a mass movement in favor of independence had been created. They noticed that this movement was cross-class and brought together very different interests that only coincided in the need for independence.

However, the Independentist Process was defeated in 2017, and at that time all the contradictions appeared at once. It was possible to see the destructive work of the Catalan politicians who boycotted the process from within, while facing the outside they proclaimed themselves very independentistas.

Clashes between pro-independence parties were a constant and the society that supported them became disenchanted with them.

Returning to Euskal Herria, at the II Ernai Congress in 2017, a paper was presented with the title Kantauri, which sought to restore the class independence of Basque youth, subject to the interests of the middle class.

Miles de personas se manifiestan en Pamplona en apoyo al ‘Gaztetxe Maravillas …

As can be seen, the malaise and the lack of clear referents, was forged in the gaztetxes and gazte asanbladak of the whole of Euskal Herria.

The Basque National Liberation Movement (MLNV) had certainly always been a movement with good training schools for cadres. It was also a movement that was surrounded by magazines, collectives or even public organizations of a Marxist-Leninist nature. In other words, communism was normalized at an aesthetic and political level within the MLNV. When the new generations who felt out of place in AI became aware, they subscribed to that ideological framework.

Basque anarchism had no opportunity to occupy that space. First, because it had been in trouble with the AI communists themselves in the previous decade.

Then because this scene was very focused on anti-development or environmental campaigns and little managed to transcend outside of that area.

Finally, due to the subcultural nature of Basque anarchism in many places, it made it a world apart from its neighbors.

At a general level, anarchism in the Spanish state had a crisis in 2015-16 that saw many groups disappear. Its crisis coincided with the one experienced by the social movements in the state.

We could hardly have connected (or even taken into account) with the people coming from the Marxist camp who were looking for new referents right in those years.

This could only be achieved with direct, constant, honest and long-term contact, demonstrating a solidity and open-mindedness from our field that we have almost never had as a result of our political culture, focused on our own movement and the creation of free forms of life without taking into account the capitalist context.

By not making the gestation of a revolutionary and socialist project from anarchism a priority, it was difficult for people trained or socialized in other socialisms to approach us.

The political culture transmitted to the Abertzale youth gave it a certain political solidity that forged into a new organization, the Socialist Movement (MS) around 2018. From there it began to develop a clearly communist strategy and program. Ikasle Abertzaleak, the student wing of the AI, soon fell under its influence and a new socialist feminist organization, Itaia, developed.

. The meetings became more and more massive, leading to the creation of the Gazte Koordinadora Sozialista, GKS, in 2019, which came to gather the gazte asanbladak under communist influence. Their meetings drew attention, such as the Gazte Topagune Sozialista de Altsasu in 2021, in which there were some 2,500 young people from all over the Basque Country.

This process began to attract attention in other territories of the state. In the ‘Catalan Countries’ (Catalonia plus parts of Aragon, Valencia, Baleares and France), after the 2017 fiasco, the independence movement suffered a political crisis. In its anti-capitalist sector, the Esquerra Independentista, a dissension arose that called for a return to the Marxist theses, momentarily leaving aside the demand for national liberation.

Therefore, there has been an abandonment of the traditional thesis of the Esquerra Independentista, the Popular Unity.

The rupture has not occurred in a very peaceful way, perhaps like most ruptures, but it has generated a new movement carried through the Horitzó Socialista magazine. Various assemblies from Arran, the youth organization, the SEPC, the student organization, and some people from Endavant, began to swell this trend, which still does not have a very solid structure.

Another of the processes is the Encounter for the Socialist Process (EPS) of Castilla, which has carried out presentations in Madrid, Burgos and Valladolid. The EPS takes the work done in Euskal Herria by the GKS as a reference.

Although with its own characteristics. Some militants who come from anarchism see this process as a reconstruction of the political space of the Autonomy of the 90s, which could unite Marxists and anarchists in the same movement.

Manifestación por las calles de Bilbao para pedir la amnistía de los …elmundo.es

In Aragon, Purna took this line a long time ago, as a renewal process in the face of the crisis suffered by left-wing Aragoneseism when Podemos emerged in 2014.

In Galicia, a process similar to the Spanish one is taking its first steps, taking the GKS as a reference. In this case, militants who have been in other Marxist organizations of Galician national liberation pivot towards this process.

As characteristic points, all these processes that will soon begin to form part of the same political space, as soon as they are coordinated. They demand the political independence of the working class, that is, that the leadership arise from the labor movement itself and not from the universities or wealthy environments, as we have seen in many left-wing parties in recent decades.

On this anarchism could not agree more. Another of the MS’s workhorses is its criticism of social democracy and its disastrous influence on today’s society and on revolutionary movements. What are they going to tell us? We have been writing about it in the libertarian press since 1874.

The Basque Socialist Movement (MS) is creating Socialist Councils, as organizations for the political and strategic leadership of the proletariat. In other words, they come to be like the embryo of the communist party that they intend to build. These agencies also claim to control the economic process.

They say that the future communist party should not be just another party in the parliamentary struggle but rather an “embryo state” that will develop its own forces to expropriate capital. It is not specified if they will do it through cooperatives or if they are talking about building their own economy outside of capitalism until they have enough strength to expropriate the companies.

These movements are an effort to delimit the ideology and the political line (communism through the socialist revolution) to avoid that different tactics take place within them. They put a lot of emphasis, especially the Basque MS, on organizational centralization.

Given this, we have to say that former militants of the libertarian movement have joined these initiatives. Orphans of organization, they go where they see possibilities. In certain cases they continue to believe that these processes are under construction and that they will be able to contribute their grain of sand so that they do not become Leninist parties to use.

However, it must be said that the symbolic weight that Leninism has among the cadres of the MS will make it extremely difficult for any of these organizations to drift towards autonomy or councilism.

After all, much of their militancy comes from traditional communist culture, even if it was filtered through national liberation movements. Its project is to renew the international scene of communist parties, and build the socialist state. As clear as day.

Another aspect that stands out is its large size it in Euskal Herria. That makes it a unique movement in Western Europe.

As a qualification we could say that, although it is true that in Euskal Herria the Socialist Movement (MS) reaches very important quantitative levels, it must also be recognized that it is a split of what was already a mass movement. The people who join the MS today no doubt would have joined the Basque National Liberation Movement (MLNV) ten years earlier.

We will have to see if they reach new sectors of Basque society or if there is stagnation in the coming years.

El Movimiento Feminista de Vitoria ocupa un palacio para reivindicar su …

Social and organized anarchism in the state has historically been reduced to unions and small short-term sociopolitical entities. It is in the last decade when more solid attempts have emerged to create anarchist organizations such as Apoyo Mutuo, Embat, the FEL or some local and regional anarchist federations and various collectives throughout the state.

They have never enjoyed great numerical support since the usual profile of anarchist militancy has been very little prone to organization in recent decades. And when it is organized it is for very specific topics given the great difference in criteria that we have as a starting point.

It is curious, to say the least, that people who have not wanted to join our organizations because they did not consider them useful or good enough, now join communist organizations – just as a decade ago other people with anarchist ideas like them joined the CUP or Podemos.

Is it a generational thing? Maybe when you reach an age you consider that ours doesn’t work and you go to the neighbor’s instead of trying to improve ours? Is it so difficult to create a powerful anarchist movement?

In the Spanish state, the role of political organization within the anarchist camp has been occupied by anarcho-syndicalism. This has brought him certain problems by confusing unions with anarchist collectives, which has given rise to not a few internal conflicts.

Anarcho-syndicalism has been a rarity in the ecosystem of the anti-capitalist left. It is a political project that understood itself as self-sufficient. Therefore, the policy of alliances has tended to be non-existent in the periods of weakness of anarchism (80s and 90s).

Alliances are now being made with other unions for demands and defense, but not to build a hypothetical post-capitalist society or a social revolution, partly because no one else on the left thinks like anarcho-syndicalism (that is, that the unions are the backbone of post-revolutionary society and manage social, economic and political life).

If sociopolitical anarchism has any function today, it is precisely to connect these union structures that already exist with other movements not oriented towards anarchist ideas, such as feminism, environmentalism, the housing movement or movements against the crisis. that may arise.

It is essential to create our own political space so as not to depend on outside interests such as those of the Socialist Movement (MS) which, as soon as it develops, will promote contempt for our main ideas and our tactics.

And it is curious that what the new Revolutionary Socialism asks for, the political independence of the working class, is something that we take for granted in our union organizations: if nobody works for you, let nobody decide for you.

The advice is that we learn how they have built their political space. The truth is that it is to take off your hat in the Basque case. In other places everything is yet to be built, and surely we can learn many things.

However, our anarchist project requires combining militants who are in anarcho-syndicalism with others who are in the social and solidarity economy, with others who are in social movements or in other experiences of community and associative life.

We are facing a period of growing uncertainties because global capitalism is in crisis. Periods of crisis in the system have always benefited the appearance of contesting currents, which propose radical changes in social relations.

We have to build our movement thinking about gaining hegemony in our territory, and that begins with intervention in society. This implies a significant paradigm shift compared to recent years. Even if we don’t succeed, the fact of trying and basing our action on precisely that is already a huge qualitative leap.

Social and organized anarchism has a project, program and organization and is connected on an international scale. Although it has not been able to transmit it in a massive or attractive enough way, and that is its weak point.

For this reason, there are those who join social and solidarity economy, neighborhood, ecosocialist, communalist or democratic confederalist projects, based on anarchist principles but in movements that do not claim to be anarchists.

That is why we must strengthen our structures, because we will do important things when we have a significant size. Without a doubt, we will travel this path with these new movements, true companions of social anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism to build the egalitarian and libertarian society.

But in order not to get lost, we need those strategic organizations that analyze reality, read the situation, that start from the principles and anrchist historical memory, that are clear about the objective of anarchist communism, and that propose tactics to all popular movements and concrete strategies to advance towards our model of socialism, not always compatible with the one proposed by the Socialist Movement.

However, we can consider MS a breath of fresh air in the Marxist panorama, lately very leaning towards reactionary ideas, although we’ll see.

For our part, let us be clear that strength is in the organization. The organic process initiated by other sectors should have repercussions -for the better- also in anarchism.

(translators note: In Spanish the terms anarquista and libertaria are interchangeable. We translate libertaria as anarchist, not libertarian which may confuse with the US rightwing meaning.)

@BlackSpartak

read original in Spanish HERE

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