Jul 28, 2005

“¡Que se Vayan Todos”: Venezuela’s Anarchists and the Three-Way Fight

When Venezuela is mentioned in North America these days, it is almost always in reference to President Hugo Chavez, who is vilified by the mainstream press and adored by much of what passes for the left. Not surprisingly, the reality is much more complicated, as Michael Staudenmaier and Anne Carlson explain in their recent analysis of the situation on the ground, “Of Chavistas and Anarquistas: Brief Sketch of a Visit to Venezuela.” However useful the information presented by Staudenmaier and Carlson, however, their piece deliberately limits its criticisms of the various political tendencies they encountered. Nonetheless, the complexity of Venezuela’s social, political, and economic situation is precisely what makes the country a potential microcosm of the three-way fight.

The Venezuelan anarchists (especially those clustered around the Comisión de Relaciones Anarquistas or CRA) see themselves as participants in a tri-polar struggle of their own, and have long positioned themselves in opposition to both the Chavez regime and to the US-backed opposition, borrowing the phrase popularized in Argentina in recent years: “¡Que se vayan todos!,” which translates roughly as “Get rid of all of them!” But both Chavez and the opposition represent wings of global capital, as the Venezuelan anarchists are quick to point out to less critical leftists both inside and outside their country.

Nonetheless, Venezuela is one of the most rapidly changing countries in a rapidly changing continent, and the future of Venezuelan society is up for grabs. Scenarios abound that include elements of fascism and anti-fascism. For example, the Chavista movement is a rough synthesis of several formerly competing left tendencies, but it projects some strikingly conservative perspectives on social affairs, and it clearly includes a strong authoritarian streak. It’s not difficult to imagine a version of Venezuela, perhaps ten years from now, where these aspects of Chavismo have purged the humanistic and decentralized tendencies. A South American Night of the Long Knives is hardly impossible, and there’s not even a guarantee that Chavez himself would survive such a shake-up.

Another scenario is less top-down but no less frightening: when oil prices begin to fall, limits will be placed on the social welfare programs that have fueled the popularity of the Chavez regime. Over time, the realities of the cozy relationship between Chavez and global (especially European-based and resource-extraction focused) capital will become more stark. This could easily foment a major schism between the grassroots of the Chavista movement and the leadership, with the former committed to fundamental social and economic change and the latter more loyal to Chavez and the regime. Many of the Venezuelan anarchists actually encourage this sort of split, but there is no way to be certain that the grassroots would be responsive to anarchist politics. Instead, we could witness a popular revolutionary movement toward the far right, which retains the cultural conservatism and authoritarian machismo of the Chavista movement.

Amidst these potential futures, the anarchists around the CRA provide a potential rallying point for the struggle against fascism, capital and the state. Their propaganda is widely distributed across the county (largely in the form of their newspaper, “El Libertario”), but they have only the most marginal presence in many key sectors of social struggle: there is almost no visible anarchist presence in any workplace struggle, nor is there much organizing being done in fast-growing newly industrialized cities like Ciudad Guayana. Further, while some of the best anarchist organizers in Venezuela are women, there isn’t much specifically feminist work being done.

The anarchists around the CRA have not weighed in on the question of “especifismo” that has occupied the anarchists of the southern cone for the last decade. This reflects both the differences between the two regions of South America, and the less precise or dogmatic ideological approach of Venezuelans across the spectrum, be they Chavistas or anarchists. This can be both a blessing and a curse, and it will be important to watch for new developments in the politics of the Venezuelan anarchists.

Of course, stepped-up US intervention in Venezuela could change everything about these scenarios, but then again it might not change anything. We don’t need to look far to find anti-US sentiment taking on fascist forms in oil-rich regions of the developing world. And again, all this is speculation, but it raises an important question left unanswered by Staudenmaier and Carlson: how prepared are the Venezuelan anarchists for a new and different sort of three-way fight?

Jul 17, 2005


Three Way Fight is a new project. It is explicitly antifascist but within a specific context. It is a project concerned about where “Our” side is headed - our side being broadly, the libertarian, autonomous, and revolutionary anti-capitalist one. Check out the About Us for a fuller explanation.

As designated by our name we feel that there are contending forces at play in our societies. The movements that would be classified as the revolutionary “Left” are not the only opponents of the current social construct. We don’t think that the “socialist alternative” is the only option that may emerge, there are others that are authoritarian, brutal, and designed to institute forced seperation and genocide (the Balkans and Rwanda as examples). One of the primary opposition movements that stands in contrast to the revolutionary project that we envision is it's antithesis - Fascism. For us Fascism is not a loose catch phrase describing what is bad, ultra bad, and really bad. We consider Fascism a living movement that seeks to win a mass of the people over and remake society, along lines that would have “Us” and millions of others separated out and against the wall. Three Way Fight as a project is aimed at keeping our mind’s on this fact. This project is also intended to inspire discussion so as to develop our capabilities in recognizing authoritarian and Fascist tendencies when they emerge politically, even if they come in the guise of “liberation” and “progressiveness”. Socialism has often concealed it’s own authoritarian fifth column.

The information that will be on the site ranges from opinion pieces to news articles. Some of the content we intend to cover will be:

•Evaluation of current North American Fascist movements
•Evaluation of current North American revolutionary movements: Libertarian and Revolutionary Left
•Critique of current anti-racist/anti-Fascist research and education projects
•Review and critical perspectives on current anti-Fascist movement
•Ruling class strategies
•Rise and potentials of Islamic Fundamentalist/Fascist movements
•Zionism and Judaic Fascism
•Palestinian struggle and debates on the One State or Two State solution
•Social Democracy: does Social Democracy provide an arena for advancement of revolutionary action; how does social democracy act as a barrier to revolutionary transformation
•War and Occupation
•Deepening social crisis: Does it exist? Can it happen? If so, what forces are best positioned to capitalize on this – Left, Right?
•Minuteman Project: Popular Right Wing nationalism and relation to Fascism
•Culture and politics: music, sports, film

The site is a “closed” blogging format meaning that only invited contributors can post. This may change as time goes on. If you find the information useful, engaging and/or provocative, and you would like to voice your thoughts, please send us an email: threewayfight@riseup.net

If you would like to contribute a piece or have comments on an article that you wish others to see publicly, please state this in your email. We will consider this request as we are always looking to raise the level of debate.

Three Way Fight is not an organization and is independent of any particular organizing project. It is a forum for information and ideas.

Jul 15, 2005

Is the National Alliance breaking apart, and if so who’s ready to collect the pieces?

“The National Alliance, for all practical purposes, died along with William Luther Pierce. A few months ago the shadow boxing came to a head and Gliebe bailed at the hands of Kevin Alfred Strom, Jamie Kelso, and the Dukester himself… say goodbye to the premier hate group and say hello to the "new" face of the racist right.”

“When it was decided by Strom that he was going to "resurrect" the National Alliance under the name of National Vanguard, it was also anticipated that many of those who were expatriated from the NA would be placed in positions of authority… It hasn't happened. And rather than look or sound anything like the Alliance, it has the Duke camp written all over it.”

“… it just may be that the fracture of the National Alliance is something that has been in the works for more than a year. And it also may be that Duke figures prominently in this split… When David Duke was released from prison last year, he immediately went to work attempting to rebuild that which he had left behind. A European-American Conference was scheduled in New Orleans and hyped all across the internet and it became evident that Duke and Don Black of Stormfront fame had achieved some sort of alliance… Black's Stormfront is currently over 50,000 strong. If Duke's Euro can absorb a good fraction of the Stormfront group as well as a fair number from the National Alliance, he will soon have the largest group of neo-Nazi's that we have seen to date.”

The above excerpts are taken from Nicole Nichols’ article, Gliebe Takes A Dive and the NA Falls To David's Dukes. Nichols is a contributor to the liberal anti-racist Citizens Against Hate (CAH) project. The article itself is a mixed bag.

It is helpful because it is one of the only current pieces to attempt to document some of the splits and new partnerships emerging within the North American fascist movement. Despite whatever differences I have with CAH I acknowledge their consistency in reporting on the far-right and fascists. At present, radical antifascists have done little to investigate and make known our findings or positions.

However, that said, this is where the usefulness of the article ends. I would say the article has a certain questionable character to it due in part to its periodic reading like an anti-racist National Enquirer. It tends to play up the more non-political and seedy aspects of the intra-fascist feuds rather than developing the political ramifications of the NA’s possible breakup. Granted, digging up the dirt on the opposition can be important. The fascists uphold themselves as quality stuff, knowing the dirty dealings and lifestyle habits that run counter to Movement morality can be prime ammo at times. But ultimately gossip and innuendo is the weakest form of critique; it is no substitute for sound political analysis. Personal failings abound everywhere; they do not necessarily spell doom for an individual, organization or movement.

Add to this, Nichols and CAH do not promote a critique of the State that would in any way suggest that they either reject or are in opposition to it. CAH is by no stretch of the imagination pro our side. Liberal politically, and judging from their “anti-hate” rhetoric, I would suppose that they view all radical political struggle as a negative and a detractor from democratic society.

Nonetheless, the article is full of information that we can sort through and use for the development of a radical antifascist perspective.

I have also posted a founding statement issued by the new National Vanguard. As mentioned in the Nichols article, the NV is a breakaway faction of the National Alliance.


A founding statement from the National Vanguard

A new forward-looking organization is founded: National Vanguard will use proven principles to uncompromisingly stand for White people.

RECENT EVENTS within the National Alliance have rapidly come to a head, and this letter is meant to fill you in on what the latest developments are.

A Declaration, which scores of leading activists signed nation-wide demanding fundamental change at the top of the National Alliance, was rejected out of hand by Erich Gliebe and Shaun Walker.

Gliebe and Walker refused to accept the Declaration, address any of the serious issues raised, or engage in dialogue with the reformers. Instead, they immediately labeled the dissent a "coup," launched a vile personal smear campaign, and expelled all of the Alliance's activist cadre. Ironically, Erich Gliebe has since resigned his Chairmanship in favor of Shaun Walker. (This changes nothing, by the way: Gliebe and Walker still jointly control the Board, with no oversight or checks and balances.)

Given the unreasonable nature of the Gliebe-Walker cabal's "response," the membership of the National Alliance is left with no option other than to reconstitute the organization under a new name -- National Vanguard -- with accountable organizational norms and a leadership in tune with the membership and willing and able to facilitate their hard work.

This bold, exciting initiative will allow the members to build an organization that provides stability, coherence and relevance in keeping with the new demands of a new century.
Our new organization, National Vanguard, is being formed now. A number of key activists nation-wide will form a Board of Directors and in the coming weeks issue new bylaws taking into account the concerns of members. The new BOD will also institute a leadership structure that is flexible, accountable, and effective. In the meantime, American Dissident Voices will continue to appear on NationalVanguard.org, and that site will continue to function as a source for news and updates on the new organization.

Individual units will continue to function as before. Unit Coordinators (UCs) should hold an information meeting for members as soon as possible to explain the recent changes. A leadership brief has been prepared and will be sent to all UCs containing vital information to present to members. UCs should also have membership applications on hand at their meeting. UCs are urged to contact Regional Coordinators (East, Rich Lindstrom; Midwest, Aaron Collins; West, Roger Williams) with any questions about this vital task.

All members of the National Alliance in sympathy with the Declaration are asked to send in applications for National Vanguard membership

National Vanguard, Post Office Box 5145, Charlottesville VA 22905

National Vanguard is a forward-looking organization, and as such is not interested in gratuitous gossip or mudslinging against the National Alliance. Those few people who choose to remain with the rump of the organization are likely to join National Vanguard when the dust settles, and all members are asked to keep that in mind: kindness and magnanimity should be our watchwords. Similarly, National Vanguard is not an "anti-Shaun Walker club" open to anyone simply opposed to the old NA leadership. National Vanguard is a new organization and has no desire to engage in "turf wars" or carry the baggage of past conflicts.

These are exciting times, and with hard work and determination National Vanguard will succeed in its mission.