This text is intended as a contribution to the development and to the deepening of the informal anarchist struggle by taking into account the technological advances always more specialized in the control and the surveillance, of the population in general and especially towards those and those who venture to to rebel against the established order. It also stems from the need to deliver harsher and continuous blows to power, creating breaches that can continue to open.
The rapid increase in surveillance through security cameras and multiple maps that we have to use for just about everything and the nascent but rapidly increasing use of remote surveillance drones come as no surprise to anyone. If we add to this the control by mobile phones, the panorama is even more complicated. Through its interconnection, this technological gear is beginning to take almost absolute control of the city, our battlefield. The crossing of images, times and the use of this or that means, transport or other, makes it possible to detect and record the movements of any individual. The whole city is under a magnifying glass, this world is practically a high security open-air prison, it is no exaggeration to say it.
However, if every individual in society can be traced through this interconnection of surveillance, for those who declare themselves enemies of this society and act accordingly, control increases dramatically, and the situation becomes even more tense if we let us think of people already known to the repressive apparatuses of having been in prison, of being linked to spaces which bet on confrontation or for other various reasons. The transgressive leeway narrows, turning the decision to attack into a tightrope from which one is always on the verge of falling. What to do to thwart repressive blows? Or even, what to do to hinder the work of capturing police devices?
Options and decisions
One of the aspects of the criticism leveled by the informal tendency of anarchism against left-wing politico-military groups is their strong attachment to an apparatus which leads them, among other things, to go underground as a strategy of struggle. This underground situation would imply a marked division of functions which would be closely linked to the militarization of these groups. Understood in this way, clandestinity would be fundamental in the gearing of an organization which divides its activists into legal and illegal persons, the latter constituting the secret wing which would take charge of carrying out the blows, the first being the public face. intended to create support networks, logistics and propaganda, among other tasks. Life in hiding is said to be characterized by being extremely limited to operational aspects; a dynamic of permanent combat which, according to the critics, would leave aside aspects as essential and enriching as the necessary exchange of experiences, the sharing of visions concerning the fight, as well as the qualitative development in fields which, whatever not focusing on armed combat, are essential to the struggle for total liberation. The broad conversations where various topics are debated which certainly widen the horizon, are very difficult if not impossible to carry out in clandestinity, it gives an idea of the moments or the determining experiences which are lost because of this situation. Trying to get rid of or move away from the logics of consumption (I am not referring to the illusion of “bubbles of freedom”) is also complicated to achieve in a clandestine manner, since this requires following paths. citizens if we pretend to go unnoticed. These are some of the restrictions, among many others, involved in this life, of which loneliness is one of the main elements. That said, I want to make it clear that I am referring to an underground in and for the war, and not to one which, as valid and legitimate as it is, seeks to flee the enemy to lead a quiet life without going into the offensive. I am talking about the choice of going underground – although some are forced to this situation – as a strategy of struggle, as a strategy to deliver strong and constant blows to power since this requires following citizen paths if we pretend to go unnoticed. These are some of the restrictions, among many others, involved in this life, of which loneliness is one of the main elements. That said, I want to make it clear that I am referring to an underground in and for the war, and not to one which, as valid and legitimate as it is, seeks to flee the enemy to lead a quiet life without going into the offensive. I am talking about the choice of going underground – although some are forced to this situation – as a strategy of struggle, as a strategy to deliver strong and constant blows to power since this requires following citizen paths if we pretend to go unnoticed. These are some of the restrictions, among many others, involved in this life, of which loneliness is one of the main elements. That said, I want to make it clear that I am referring to an underground in and for the war, and not to one which, however valid and legitimate it is, endeavors to flee the enemy to lead a quiet life without going into the offensive. I am talking about the choice of going underground – although some are forced to this situation – as a strategy of struggle, as a strategy to deliver strong and constant blows to power I want to make it clear that I am referring to an underground in and for the war, and not to that which, as valid and legitimate as it is, seeks to flee the enemy to lead a quiet life without going on the offensive . I am talking about the choice of going underground – although some are forced to this situation – as a strategy of struggle, as a strategy to deliver strong and constant blows to power I want to make it clear that I am referring to an underground in and for the war, and not to that which, as valid and legitimate as it is, seeks to flee the enemy to lead a quiet life without going on the offensive . I am talking about the choice of going underground – although some are forced to this situation – as a strategy of struggle, as a strategy to deliver strong and constant blows to power
Another criticism commonly made of groups and organizations that opt for this path is that they end up devoting all their political activities to preserving the “underground structure” which needs a lot of resources of all kinds to stay afloat. In this way, indispensable tasks such as propaganda or the creation of support networks to ensure the subsistence of the illegals are left aside, which obviously ends up being counterproductive and reinforcing militarism.
Examples to consider
The political-military organizations of the left are not the only ones to have gone underground in order to confront power. Anarchist and autonomous groups have also resorted to this strategy, it is necessary to consider these experiences when one has this choice in mind.
One of the most notable experiences in this direction has been that of the MIL (Iberian Liberation Movement) which fought from underground against the Franco dictatorship in the early 1970s in Catalonia. Obviously, the asphyxiating boot of Franco was decisive in the fact that this group made this choice, nevertheless its members, without being identified by the repressive apparatuses, systematically went underground once the group formed or by entering it. . The particularity of the MIL was undoubtedly its ample theoretical production which they were able to complete well with the armed struggle. The constant development of texts and reflections, including by creating the “Mayo del 37” editions, demonstrates that propaganda and the development of political reflections were one of the main concerns of MIL,
The Autonomous Groups that operated mainly in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, alongside and after the MIL during the democratic transition in the Kingdom of Spain followed a similar path. When deciding to form one of these groups, individuals already had to rely on weapons, contact with a hideout and false documents to take action. According to different accounts, this situation of clandestinity ended up transforming their political practice, reducing it basically to expropriation of banks to finance the underground, which, among other aspects, prevented the expansion of support networks. It should also be noted that the repressive apparatuses of the Spanish State – The Politico-Social Brigade – remained in place during the democratic transition,
The experience of the Fire Cell Conspiracy (CCF) in Greece is also necessary to take into account insofar as it is an informal anarchist group of action in recent years which has chosen to go underground. . I am not sure that this decision was determined by the prior identification of its members, or some of them, by the repressive apparatuses. But it is a fact that their attacks have been constant, amounting to several dozen in a year, perhaps reflecting an advantage of going underground.
Another anarchist group that led the armed struggle in the same territory was “Revolutionary Struggle”, which, driven by police pursuits, went into hiding and in this situation dealt strong and blunt blows to power. The case of “Revolutionary Struggle” is a clear example of clandestinity at war, where their large-scale actions have defeated the system as a whole, according to one of the court decisions against them. All the groups mentioned have had the particularity of not having formed themselves as rigid structures with a marked division of roles, as presented by the political-military organizations of the left. Their choice of clandestine struggle was a freely accepted decision taking into account the costs that it involved. Their political practice has been dedicated to armed struggle; some carrying out sporadic large-scale actions and others incessant attacks that never left power in the air. However, neither the reflection nor the dissemination of it has been neglected, contributing to the qualitative development of anarchist struggles and demonstrating in fact a consistency between what is posed and what is put into practice.
On the need to hit hard
The attack on the entire established order is fully justified when the state and capitalism exist, and this is in my opinion shared within the informal anarchist tendency. However, the need for these actions to take on more scope is something that has been affirmed on various occasions, but which has seen little materialization. Attacks that make the powerful tremble, that let the entrepreneur who dries up a river to irrigate his avocado plantation know that his act will have consequences, are essential from a combat anarchist perspective.
Actions that denote strength and determination and can be reproduced by any individual with freedom as a horizon. Whether it is to accompany, extend and deepen a context of revolt, to try to create breaches and cracks in what is imposed on us in a situation of “normality”, or as an act of revenge, it becomes necessary to do a qualitative leap in the informal anarchist struggle that opens up possibilities that we do not yet know. In addition, if we want our actions to have more impact, they must be relatively frequent, because the memory always becomes more fragile and short-term, so if our strokes are too sporadic, they run the risk of turning into “Isolated facts” or testimonials. As someone said;
So, is it possible to carry out complex and large-scale attacks with considerable frequency while living in a situation of legality where the enemy follows your steps and knows where to find you? Would going underground make it easier to undertake such actions?
“An action against power occurs and somehow puts normality on alert, the police immediately start working and manage to get clues or a strong presumption of who would be the responsible, but they do not knows neither where these people are, nor the places they frequent, nor with whom they are in contact ”
This example represents one of the advantages of choosing to go underground. Complicate the work of the police with regard to hunting and capture. At this point, it is necessary to return to the subject of technological advances in control and surveillance; almost the entire city being crisscrossed by these technologies and this tracking being improved every day, any error in carrying out the action comes at a high price and if the perpetrators are known to the police, their capture becomes imminent. This is for example what happened with the companions Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai when they shot the nuclear contractor Adinolfi. The underground would, in a way, that the technology for surveillance is partly losing its effectiveness since by the time those responsible are found, they would already be in the dark, conspiring for the next attack. The permanent police surveillance exerted on the known enemies of power would cease to be effective, which undoubtedly constitutes another advantage of clandestinity allowing a much better mobility. The fact that many eyes are watching us, greatly restricts the ability to act, already for sporadic hits, and even more if they become recurrent. Clandestinity would therefore make it easier to carry out a practice of systematic attack, as well as the creation of complicity, insofar as political activities would be almost totally dedicated to conspiracy and action.
But is this kind of life really what we are looking for and what we want? Could we lead this dynamic without falling into militarist and apparatus behavior? Undoubtedly, many essential aspects of anarchist practice would be put aside when it came time to go underground. The permanent questioning, at the individual and collective level, to get rid of authoritarian and / or citizen behavior would be hampered if we take into account the dynamics of clandestinity which, as mentioned before, requires adopting behaviors that we do not often not share in order to go unnoticed. The discussion and the ample and fruitful debate with companions who help us so much in our individual development would also be compromised,
Related to this, going underground also runs the risk of establishing hierarchies and vertical relationships, transforming us into what we criticize and attack and generating an abysmal distance between means and ends. As soon as this happens, we are lost, we have started to use methods that are remote and contrary to what we claim, and in this case it would be appropriate to reject the option of going underground.
Therefore, how to combine a practice of systematic and large-scale attack with the necessary individual development in the most diverse fields?
Only the qualitative advance in the informal anarchist struggle and the paths it can open will give us answers.