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World Social Forum

Hello. This is my first post. This is Bhav, by the way, using Freya's account, because I was somehow unable to create an account.
Soon before coming here for the World Social Forum, we heard about another forum taking place at the same time in Caracas called the Alternative Social Forum, which is a more radical, largely anarchist forum, challenging the government and the Forum it was putting on. Unfortunately I haven't been able to attend any Alternative Social Forum events yet, and I'm not so sure that I will, seeing that they are all in Spanish and the chances of there being English translation are slim. But anyway, I find opposition to Chavez very interesting. I'm not talking about opposition from the wealthy minority - there's nothing much to say about them other than they obviously oppose a government that is seemingly uninterested in protecting and increasing their wealth. I'm talking about opposition stemming from mistrust of Chavez in being truley and practically devoted to anticapitalism and anti-imperialism, and being truley able to liberate and help the people of Venezuela. This mistrust is understandable, given the history of corruption in Latin American governments. As Freya said in her post, we learned at the teach-in on Ecuadorean government toppling that in the history of Ecuador as well as in Latin America as a whole, there has been an unfortunately familiar pattern of leftist governments getting elected into office, and then after some time becoming completely right wing.

On the second day of being here, we ran into two anarchists who talked to us about the Alternative Social Forum. Here's a small paragraph from a personal journal that I've been keeping:
Yesterday we met 2 anarchists on the street, tabling for the Alternative Social Forum (Alba and Daniel). They were friendly and talked to us a lot and gave us lots of info, regarding the ASF and told us about a punk show happening this week, which I hope we go to. We picked up a pamphlet regarding the forum (El Libiertad). We notices that in the text, a's and o's were often replaced with @ signs, as a way of de-gendering Spanish words. Pretty fucking cool.
I think the name of the pamphlet is actually El Libertario, and apparently it has been a weekly anarchist publication since the early 1900's, which is pretty incredible. It has a website:
That punk show that Alba told us about is happening tonight, at 4pm, and we'll probably go. I'm really looking forward to it. It's in Casa de las Nuevas Tendencias (House of New Tendencies), which is an anarchist organizing space. I'd really like to talk to some radicals and better understand their criticisms of Chavez.
On Monday we met three young anarchists near a WSF march. I asked them some things about the anarchist scene and how they felt about Chavez. Luis spoke the most English and also seemed to know the most about the scene and told us a lot. He said that under Chavez, things were definitely going in the right direction. They were very impressed with Chavez's accomplishments involving health care and improvement of housing in barrios. But the anarchists, Luis said, did not trust the state. He also said that many anarchists identified that way for purely fashion reasons, enjoying the label and the clothing fashion that goes along with it.
A few days later we talked to some radicals we met at a pasta shop, and they said that the anarchist scene was largely divided among those who were pro-chavez and those who opposed him. It's all pretty vague. Hopefully I can find translations of some articles in El Libertario and have some good conversations at the space tonight and learn a lot more.
I find the presence of a radical/anarchist scene intruiging and and extremely important in Venezuela. It's great that people have hope and something to look forward to with a leftist leader like Chavez, but placing too much trust in the hands of any state seems extremely dangerous, especially given Latin America's history of its governments buddying up with American imperialists and falling to the right. I have to say though, that the situation is very exciting, and seems hopeful. With so much attention on Iraq, it seems that the US has been unable to maintain its grip on Latin America, and things are beginning to head in a better direction.
Ok, well that{s all for now. We're off to a workshop: Overcoming Psychological and Cultural Obstacles to Post Capitalism. Much love.

posted by Freya Powell on Saturday, January 28, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said: See www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/seccioningles.htm for english translations