Internationalist Statements from Peru on the Bagua Massacre

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Proletarian voices have been raised against the massacre in Bagua[1]. The comrades of the Proletarian Nucleus of Peru have sent us a position denouncing the brutal massacre of the indigenous population carried out by the Peruvian state in a conflict over their ancient Amazonian communal lands in the name of "bringing progress", which means imposing a high level of exploitation of the region's natural resources

At the same time, we have received, in the form of a comment on our website, a leaflet signed by a group from Lima that defines itself as anarchist - "Young Proletarians" -  which also defends very important positions.

These two leaflets were not only a statement of position; they were also distributed on demonstrations that took place in Lima in June after the repression.

We warmly welcome these two initiatives. We greatly appreciate the proletarian courage and engagement that this expresses. As the comrades of the Nucleus put it: "Faced with events such as the massacre in Bagua it is important to give voice to a clearly proletarian perspective in opposition to all the nationalist visions, whether in defence of state capitalism or inter-classism; whether in the name of   the ‘citizen' or the ‘struggle for democracy' defended by Ollanta[2] , the unions and the worshipers of ‘Socialism of the 21st Century', that great fraud perpetrated by Chavez and his followers".

We are also publishing a new internationalist position by another group of comrades from Peru, the Circle for Scientific Social Analysis, which defends the same internationalist vision as the other two.

The common point of these three documents is that they address these events from the point of view of the proletariat:

  • How to develop the struggle? How to show solidarity towards the victims of the massacre?
  • How to maintain the proletariat's class autonomy?
  • How to denounce not only the government's barbaric repression but also the traps and false perspectives of the opposition parties?

The three documents share a common defence of proletarian internationalist positions, along with a denunciation of nationalist, state capitalist, inter-classist positions that try to divide, dislocate and finally defeat the proletariat and thus in the end the whole of humanity.

This common framework is very important and is what unites all internationalists.

That said, there is a question that is posed in the three texts and which, we think, needs to be the object of a very interesting discussion.

This theme we can sum up as: what attitude must the proletariat adopt faced with the struggles of other non-exploiting strata that are not proletarian?

 

This problem was clearly posed in Russia in 1917 when scarcely more than 3-4 million proletarians were immersed in a heterogeneous mass of a 100 million peasants. The proletariat had to win this gigantic social layer to its struggle. We think that it was able to do this from its own class base: the struggle to end the imperialist war, the world revolution, the struggle that gave all power to the Soviets or Workers' Councils. Faced with the peasants' demands, a widespread discussion took place amongst the Bolsheviks as well as the international revolutionary movement, which highlighted the position taken by Rosa Luxemburg that criticised the Bolsheviks' policy towards the peasants.

We believe that it will be very interesting to take up this discussion again in order to orientate ourselves in the present situation. However, it is not the same as then. For example, the agricultural sector in the major countries has been brutally reduced over the last 40 years, notably in Latin America where since the beginning of the 60's the peasant population has fallen from 50% of the total population, to being hardly more than 20% today.

The peasants have been forced back into their old communities in the mountains and forests due to the voracity of capitalist expansion. This has seen the introduction of commodity production, principally through the state. This has meant the introduction of a brutal tax burden and the development of cooperative movement[3], forcing people to abandon the agrarian life, which was marked by backwardness, isolation and poverty, but which did offer the advantage of a certain economic and communal stability.

And what perspective are these people offered? Either emigration to Europe or North America or falling into desperation in the great cities that have seen the growth of poverty-stricken areas where millions of people are crowded together in deplorable conditions.

We have to take up this problem in the discussion through addressing questions such as;

  • Is it possible to stop the process of depopulation of the agrarian area, which is being worsened by the deepening capitalist crisis?
  • Can there be demands that guarantee a minimum stability in these communities?
  • On what terrain and what basis can the proletariat express its solidarity?

ICC 23/7/9


Statement by the Proletarian Nucleus

Bagua is an expression of the putrifaction of capital!

Capitalism  is facing the worst moments of its existence and the events in Bagua are a tragic expression of this.  What capitalism shows with bloodbaths like the one in Bagua is the fact that it has reached the worst historic phase of its decadence. This decomposition of society is a very important  and salient characteristic of decadent capitalism.

Bagua demonstrates why capitalism is caught up in a process of collapse and the scenes of massacres and barbarity are a permanent consequence of this. War is a constant threat, and massacres such as Bagua today are only an expression of the capitalist barbarity that that is drawing closure and putting the whole of humanity in danger.

It is possible that this is not too clear to begin with: many say that capitalism is still a powerful and dynamic system capable of overcome the crisis. This is not the case. Since the First World War capitalism has been in its period of decadence and it entered this new phase of capitalist decadence, the phase of decomposition, at the end of the 80's[4]

What was the reason for the struggle of the indigenous communities in Bagua?

The indigenous population's main reason for struggling was the defence of their small property (indigenous, peasant), which is an understandable demand for these exploited sectors, condemned to misery and marginalisation. But this also makes it clear that there was no proletarian character to this struggle. At the same time the proletariat has to do all it can to win over these sectors, especially seeing that many indigenous peoples and peasants are condemned to the process of proletarianisation. We are in agreement with the necessity for the proletariat to show solidarity with the struggles of the indigenous communities in Bagua and elsewhere.

These social sectors need to be won over by the proletariat in its final struggle with capital. We must not mix this up with the idea that these sectors can be protagonists of a similar struggle to that of the proletariat or that they are a mass equal to the proletariat. The unique struggle of the proletariat[5] with its class demands, with its class methods, the perspectives that it contains, can offer a future to the other exploited social sectors and humanity as a whole, and this is why the proletariat must create a platform in which the indigenous communities can integrate their problems and demands.

On the other hand, if we put things the other way round, starting from the idea of a struggle of the proletariat that does not differentiate itself from that of the other social strata, we run the risk that the proletariat will not be able to develop its strength and the same will apply to the other social sectors, that is, they will both be weakened and will be defeated and crushed.

The antagonism between large and small property is thrown into relief here, as the big landowners attempt to extract natural resources from lands seized from the forest dwellers and peasants. For the proletariat it is not a question of the defence of property, but of abolishing it in order to put all the resources of nature at the disposal of humanity.

The struggle for the repeal of laws concerning budgets for schools, roads, water, electricity, for the development of the area, ignore the root of the problem: capitalism. But more specifically it creates illusions, the idea that capitalism through the state is still able to be an agent of progress (and here it is not a question of the dichotomy Modernity vs Backwardness as president Alan Garcia[6] says) . No. What we are presented with in the events in Bagua is the desperation of capitalism that is leading on the one hand to the destruction of the environment and on the other hand towards massacres of populations whose future is not  wage labour, but the disappearance of the old communities through being pushed into the big cities, where they are crowded together in miserable conditions in the poverty-stricken shanty towns.

But the dominant ideology of capital is also expressed in "indigenism", the defence of ancestral culture, nationalism, which carries out the role of diverting movements from linking up with proletarian interests when the proletariat shows solidarity with the indigenous population's protests: we can see  this when these communities carry ‘tahuantinsuyo' flags and the two coloured scarf. It is also necessary to understand that what made the government massacre them was not "authoritarianism", "genocide" or "anti-democratism": it was precisely DEMOCRACY ITSELF THAT MASSACRED THEM.

Faced with events such as the massacre in Bagua it is important to give voice to a clearly proletarian perspective in opposition to all the nationalist visions, whether in defence of state capitalism or inter-classism; whether in the name of   the "citizen" or the "struggle for democracy" defended by Ollanta, the unions and the worshipers of "Socialism of the 21st Century", that great fraud perpetrated by Chavez and his followers. This means a deep rooted denunciation of the left and extreme left of capital.

Finally we must be clear that whilst capitalism is in the process of collapse there are going be more massacres, wars, and capitalist barbarities, typical of the phase of decomposition that capitalism is going through on a daily basis. The proletariat, which is today developing its own strength, is called upon to overcome all this by putting forward its perspective for the future of humanity.

Socialism or barbarism!

Proletarian Nucleus


ICC introduction to the Statement by Jovenes Proletarios:

With the aim of developing a discussion we want to make two observations about the leaflet by the comrades signing themselves Anarchist of Lima/Jovenes Proletarios.

The comrades say "However, the struggling proletariat in Bagua understands this very well, and has gone beyond the democratic games, they understand that the best form of defence is the offensive. Their struggle is our struggle and we are in solidarity with it, since it forms part of the community of the international struggle against the capitalist beast."

We agree with the necessity for the proletariat to show solidarity with the struggles of the indigenous communities in Bagua, the destiny for these populations is proletarianisation, condemnation to being crowded into the great cities in dreadful conditions. These social strata can and must be won over by the proletariat in its struggle for emancipation.

This should not be confused with the idea that these sectors are engaged in a struggle similar to that of the proletariat or that they form a mass that it not different from the proletariat.

Only the struggle of the proletariat, through its class demands, with its class methods, with the perspective that it contains, can offer a future to non-exploiting social strata and a framework within which they can and must integrate their problems and protests.

On the other hand, if the starting point is a struggle where the proletariat is diluted amongst other social strata, we run the risk that both the proletariat and the other social strata will be weakened, exhausted and defeated.

There is another passage that we think it is necessary to address "Their struggle demonstrates one thing: the resurgence and spreading of the struggle within the class, which on the international level cannot be hidden and which sooner or later we will take part in the development of our self-liberation as an oppressed class"

For us it is vital that the comrades have inscribed themselves within the perspective of the international class struggle and we are in total agreement about developments at the international level. However, we are still only at a very embryonic stage, where expressions of solidarity, the autonomous initiatives of our class, are limited to a minority and have not advanced to a high level or generalisation. In order to have a positive influence in the workers struggles it is necessary to make realizable proposals, which advance consciousness, solidarity and a sense of common strength. To do this it is necessary to know where we are now and the length of the road that we still have to travel. We believe that this is the way to advance towards the self-liberation of the oppressed class, as the comrades say clearly themselves.

ICC 16/6/9


Statement by Jovenes Proletarios:

The universal face of capitalism has always been the sowing of death

"Death is not Anonymous, it has a name and direction"

B. Brecht

"The state calls its violence Law whilst that of the individual is a crime"

Max Stirner

Yesterday and today capital and its state repression are exposed to the light of day.

The arrogant and proud bourgeoisie and its armed forces have to go from country to country seeking markets, looking for land, natural and human resources, instilling terror and adding new bodies to the long list of  those murdered by bullets, hunger, work, exhaustion and fear.

On the 5th June Bagua was "a show ground" for this ferocity  and confirms what we have said. It was one of capital's many attempts to appropriate the resources of the rainforest  for its market  at the cost of the oppression of those living in it.

However, the struggling proletariat in Bagua understands this very well, and has gone beyond the democratic games; they understand that the best form of defence is the offensive. Their struggle is our struggle and we are in solidarity with it, since it forms part of the community of the international struggle against the capitalist beast. Their resistance to submission is ours and all of the oppressed of the world. Nevertheless, if the struggle does not contain the aim of the overthrow of the existing order, the merciless blows of the worsening international crisis of capitalism will rain down on us (as always) Can you doubt this?

Capitalism and humanity are antagonists, and the history of the struggle of our comrades against our class enemy is a clear and living examples of this.

We can longer be deceived by the opportunists who to come to the fore and take advantage of our dead in order to proclaim their support and tell us how they represent us, simply in order to put forward bourgeois interests (political parties, elections, money).

The comrades in Bagua for all their limitations have had the courage to carry out their struggle. Their struggle demonstrates one thing: the resurgence and spreading of the struggle within the class, which on the international level cannot be hidden and which sooner or later we will take part in the development of our self-liberation as an oppressed class

AGAINST THE STATE AND CAPITALISM!

THE EMANCIPATION OF THE OPPRESSED WILL BE THE WORK OF THE OPPRESSED THEMSELVES, OR IT WILL BE NOTHING!

FOR THE SELF-ORGANISATION AND AUTONOMY OF THE OPPRESSED IN STRUGGLE!

Anarchists of Lima

Jovenes Proletarios


Statement by the Circle for Scientific Social Analysis

Now or never!

Comrades:

The death of proletarians in Amazonia is a clear example of the destruction that the capitalist system is leading to. Each day millions of our class comrades die of hunger, cold and poverty throughout the world.

Comrades, we believe that all the socially created riches of society, which are appropriated by a few, exist due to the private appropriation of social production. And this is legitimised by the bourgeois state. We cannot continue to bear or tolerate this exploitation. We must rely only on ourselves, the exploited classes, the organised proletariat, to struggle for a new system. We must decide what to do with what we produce, we can no longer bear more exploitation, we can no longer follow bureaucratic leaders, we must organise ourselves as an international class. We can struggle against the bourgeoisie through strikes, stoppages, until we have the power to free ourselves.

We must join a demonstration not to passively follow the union banners but in order to discuss with workers how to develop a truly revolutionary struggle against capitalism. The stoppages, strikes, demonstrations and actions that we (the workers) carry out must help our struggle, because what we want is to show that this decrepit system cannot satisfy the needs of the great proletarian masses and can only exist through exploitation. We must seek to build an autonomous organisation outside of the union bureaucracies. General assemblies, struggles that spread to other workers, demonstrations open to the students, unemployed, workers from other branches, are the alternatives that we must follow.

The deaths in Amazonia must make us take account of the fact the class struggle, between exploited and exploiting, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, is as alive as ever. The rich are never going to stop being rich, no matter what  Ollanta, Chavez, Evo Morales want us to believe. We do not want reforms, we want revolution, we do not want crumbs, we want everything that is ours. We will build a workers' revolution of the whole proletariat, as well as the students and the oppressed. The economic struggle is the means to holding back exploitation, but our aim must be its complete abolition.

We are all that we create. Do we  want to continue living on our knees, hoping that there will be a new president?  When will it be us who decide our future? Our mission is to destroy this system, to destroy exploitation of man by man, and not to allow our labour to make the bourgeoisie rich. Labour must be for our society and for ourselves. Comrades, we are marching towards a new society, we must take power. We must organise and manage proletarian power.

Down with the exploiting, oppressive, genocidal capitalist system!

Long live the struggle of the international proletariat!

Circle for Scientific Social Analysis

"Sociedad y Ciencia" [email protected]


The universal face of capitalism has always been the sowing of death

"Death is not Anonymous, it has a name and direction"

B. Brecht

"The state calls its violence Law whilst that of the individual is a crime"

Max Stirner

Yesterday and today capital and its state repression does not dazzle anyone, but shines far and wide.

The arrogant and proud bourgeoisie and its armed forces (which surprises no one) have to go from  land to land seeking markets looking for land, natural and human resources, installing terror and adding new bodies to the long list of  those murdered by bullets, hunger, work, exhaustion and fear.

On the 5th June Bagua was "a show ground" for this ferocity  and confirms what we have said. It was one of capital's many attempts to appropriate the resources of the rainforest  for its market  at the cost of the oppression of those living in it.

However, the struggling proletariat in Bagua understands this very well, and has gone beyond the democratic games, they understand that the best form of defence is the offensive. Their struggle is our struggle and we are in solidarity with it, since it forms part of the community of the international struggle against the capitalist beast. Their resistance to submission is ours and all of the oppressed of the world. Nevertheless, if the struggle does not contain the aim of the overthrow of the existing order, the merciless blows of the worsening international crisis of capitalism will rain down on us (as always) Can you doubt this?

Capitalism and humanity are antagonists, and the history of the struggle of our comrades against our class enemy is a clear and living examples of this.

We can longer be deceived by the opportunists who to come to the fore and take advantage of our dead in order to proclaim their support  and tell us how they represent us, simply in order to put forward bourgeois interests (political parties, elections, money).

The comrades in Bagua for all their limitations have had the courage to carry out their struggle. Their struggle demonstrates one thing: the resurgence and spreading of the struggle within the class, which on the international level cannot be hidden and which sooner or later we will take part in the development of our self-liberation as an oppressed class

AGAINST THE STATE AND CAPITALISM!

THE EMANCIPATION OF THE OPPRESSED WILL BE THE WORK OF THE OPPRESSED THEMSELVES, OR IT WILL BE NOTHING!

FOR THE SELF-ORGANISATION AND AUTONOMY OF THE OPPRESSED IN STRUGGLE!

Anarchists of Lima

Jovenes Proletarios



[1]    On the morning of 5th July, Peruvian police were let lose against the indigenous population of the Amazonia province (a community of about 600.000 people) who were blocking the a road in order to defend to defend their territory. Since April 15th the Indian communities of the Peruvian Amazon have been mobilising against the measures to exploit their land for the profit of the mining and oil companies in the North East of the country. From the middle of May they were considered to be in a "state of insurrection". The balance sheet of these events is very clear: a number of deaths, certainly more than 30, perhaps hundreds of wounded and forty arrests. Information is rather confused due to the police lock-down of the area.

[2]    Ollanta Moises Humala is a Peruvian  politician and military man (retired). He is the founding member and president of the Peruvian Nationalist Party.

[3]    These monstrous "development" projects, such as the one by the Peruvian state for Bagua, have been implemented in many other countries. For example, in Brazil and Argentina, the development of the "green" production" of "ecological" fuels means gigantic extensive farming whose only result is not only the emigration of the communities that live in these areas, but also terrible ecological destruction.

[4]    For a more detailed analysis see http://en.internationalism.org/ir/107_decomposition

[5]    We reject the reductionist and partial vision that only sees the proletariat as factory workers. The proletariat is a social class which encompasses large layers both in the town and in the country

[6]    Sixteen years previously, having finished his catastrophic first premiership (1985-1990), the boss of the APRA (social democratic party) Alan Garcia we re-installed as the president of Peru in 2006. He was opposed by the nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala.

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