A look at media coverage of the ending of the siege of the Japanese embassy in Lima in which the MRTA were executed. This article written at the time in 1997 also documents early attackes on radical news sites and archives on the internet.
Our account of past struggles is not simply a history lesson. Nor is it an attempt to mire the current struggle and movement in past controversies. Rather it is an attempt to contribute to a movement which must look to the future. To do so, we must understand the past in order to avoid repeating previous mistakes and dead-ends. To move forward we must reject those ideologies which failed in the past but which linger on like the undead in our midst.
Some will dismiss our leaflet by saying that it is "old news," that "lessons have been learned" and so on. This does not stop them praising the Bolshevik revolution and urging us to repeat it! Nor does it stop them justifying and rationalising Bolshevik actions, so creating the atmosphere in which such actions will be repeated. Nor does it stop them using the same slogans as before, such as "nationalisation under workers' control," a "workers' government" and so on.
Kropotkin argued that every "new economic phase demands a new political phase." This meant "if we want the social revolution, we must seek a form of political organisation that will correspond to the new method of economic organisation. . . . The future belongs to the free groupings of interests and not to governmental centralisation; it belongs to freedom and not to authority." 1
These are exciting but dangerous times. On the one hand, a vigorous new movement seems to be emerging which combines politics with a sense of imagination, one which is often explicitly anti-capitalist. On the other, the forces of reaction appear to be making in roads across Europe. Capitalism in its most naked form, neo-liberalism, is rampant [This was originally written in 2001, how times have changed!]
The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci once wrote that "to tell the truth is a communist and revolutionary act." If we apply this maxim to most of the left, we would draw the obvious conclusion that it is neither communist nor revolutionary.
The strength of this movement is that it has come from many places, that it is a network without a head or a central committee that has successfully united many issues in a combined opposition to what we have been told was unopposable. If the demonstrations of the last years have achieved anything it is that they seized the neo liberal slogan 'there is no alternative' by the throat and dashed it into the ground. From Seattle to Melbourne to Prague hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have stood up and proclaimed, 'here and now we are creating an alternative'.
A few years back Freedom let the primitivists of Wildfire have a page to discuss their ideas. These letters were written in response to their articles. Wildfire, as far as I am aware, is no more -- it's two members went their separate ways quite soon after they stopped writting for Freedom.
A PDF pamphlet which contains two articles looking at the struture of the Zapatistas and their strategy. The first from 1997 was based around interviews done in a Zapatista community and with international peace observers as well as an exhaustive study of material in English on the Zapatistas including all their communiques. The second written in 2005 updates the critique developed in the first in the light of the new direction announced in 2005.
In the late summer of 1996 I was one of the two Irish delegates to the 3,000 strong international meeting held in the rebel areas of Chiapas Mexico. The experience of getting to the meeting through miles of jungle and military checkpoints was an experience in itself but the meetings themselves were an extraordinary thing to find oneself at. For me it was a transformative experience both personally and politically, one of those points at which 'two roads diverge in a wood'.