IFA Communiqué – Mayday 2021

International Anarchist Statement on May Day

Sifuna Zonke, zabalaza.net

The ZACF is pleased to co-sign this statement along with anarchist groups around the world to commemorate May Day.

May 1st, 1886, a wide-ranging strike started in the United States demanding an eight-hour working day. The journey’s slogan was “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, propagandised since the mid-19th century and through which the labour movement struggled to seize power from Capital and dispute worker’s time for life, culture, and enjoyment.

The strike was prepared in advance. The American labour movement decided on it in 1884. To carry it out, hundreds of meetings and rallies were held, funds were collected, at times when union organising was illegal. Manifestos and newspapers were circulated encouraging workers to join the planned strike.

International Anarchist Statement on May Day

May 1st, 1886, a wide-ranging strike started in the United States demanding an eight-hour working day. The journey’s slogan was “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, propagandised since the mid-19th century and through which the labour movement struggled to seize power from Capital and dispute worker’s time for life, culture, and enjoyment.

The strike was prepared in advance. The American labour movement decided on it in 1884. To carry it out, hundreds of meetings and rallies were held, funds were collected, at times when union organising was illegal. Manifestos and newspapers were circulated encouraging workers to join the planned strike.

Yet the struggle for an eight-hour working day was not conceived as a mere reform. It was permeated with hope for a better tomorrow, a struggle which in turn made its way to another definite struggle for an egalitarian society, free of all oppression. Neither was it understood that this struggle should pass through congress, nor through the courts, but rather that it should succeed by means of direct-action lead by the popular masses.  The working class distrusted those deceitful institutions that meant for them a source of repression and hunger.

On May 1st, 1886, the strike proved to be massive, with demonstrations across the country, with its core at the populous industrial city of Chicago. There, police repression was strongly felt, as well as workers’ resistance; confrontations took place,  resulting in several dead and injured, including one worker who died in front of the McCormick industrial plant, where there were many scabs.

Challenged with fierce repression, workers called for a demonstration on May 4th at Haymarket Square. During the event, an unknown person threw an explosive device, in response to repression by the police. This instigated the police’s brutal response, launching a campaign of persecution, imprisonment and torture against workers, of which eight frontline militants and anarchist union leaders were crushed by the full burden of bourgeoise justice, after being convicted of conspiracy.

The court case was an anti-working class set up, just as only a few years later another two prominent anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, would be set up as well. Testimonies and evidence were fabricated, bringing down the bourgeoisie’s resentment on the working-class militancy. Even the prosecutor, Julius Grinnell, himself phrased it as follows: “Law is on trial. Anarchy is on trial… Gentlemen of the jury, convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and you save our institutions, our society”.

The following year, in November 1887, the bourgeoise law sentenced some of the accused anarchists to several years of imprisonment, and the others to death by hanging. Before the court, Adolph  Fischer declared:

“If I am to die on account of being an Anarchist, on account of my love for liberty, fraternity and equality, then I will not remonstrate. If death is the penalty for our love of the freedom of the human race, then I say openly I have forfeited my life; but a murderer I am not”.

Since then, May 1st (or May Day) is commemorated as the International Workers’ Day. First commemorated in 1890, May Day is commemorated as a day of workers’ strikes against Capital, as an occasion for tributes to the martyrs of the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago and to fight for the 8-hour workday. As a result of strikes and tenacious struggle, the 8-hour demand was slowly conquered by the working class in different countries, as it is the case of Uruguay and New Zealand before 1915, or in Spain with the Canadenca Strike in 1919.

What May Day means today

The 8-hour working day has already been conquered as a right in many countries, and May 1st is recognized as an international day of commemoration by the labour movement across the globe. However, today millions of oppressed people in the world still labour for long and exhausting working days in dire conditions, accidents still occur in factories and workshops, resulting in dreadful tragedies, as we have seen happening in Bangladesh numerous times. Transnational Capital has disproportionally spread production all over the planet, impoverishing the living and working conditions of entire populations in peripheral regions and countries, threatening, on top of it, the very existence of the planet.

Therefore, the demand for the 8-hour working day is still a current and valid one. And, above all, the society dreamed of and fought for by the Chicago Martyrs and generations of militants and workers is more valid than ever, for they carried in their hearts wishes for social justice for all humanity, knowing that the struggle against Capitalism and the State was decisive, as it is still today. They knew the oppressors and their institutions are on one side, and the oppressed classes on the other, those who bleed before machines, who starve, who are unemployed, whom the capitalist system despises, but who will build a fair new world.

Like those who took part in the Chicago strikes, we the oppressed know today that justice cannot be achieved within the system, that the current social order brings us, who depend on our everyday labour to live, nothing good. Capitalism only brings misery, hunger, violence and death. This is what the system has brought us for centuries, yet in the past thirty years it has advanced technologically in a grotesque manner.  Capitalism has started wars to control resources, generating chaos in countries and turning them into “failed states”, destructing their entire productive systems, and displacing populations, turning them into refugees or economic migrants desperately looking for jobs and welfare. The list of catastrophes generated by Capital’s uncontrolled ambition in its imperialist arrangement is a long, complicated, one.

It is the oppressed classes across the world who suffer the consequences of the reproduction of the capitalist system and its need to exploit nature and human labour, it is us who must hold high the banners of struggle of the Chicago Martyrs and their dreams of justice and freedom.

What Organised Anarchism must do

Anarchism, the ideology professed by the Chicago Martyrs, has not died, nor has it disappeared, as many belonging to the various ideological and political currents have claimed. On the contrary, Anarchism today has the power to prove its proposal is valid and useful for humanity, that its social approach is valid for present struggles and not a “relic of the past”. The Anarchist commitment, which aims at building a society where power, property, and the means of self-subsistence are socialized, and where collective freedom is an essential component of social order, is current and valid today.

This proposal cannot take place overnight, it takes patience, tenacity, and determination to build a different society to promote people’s organisation and support people’s struggles. We must improve this proposal day by day. This is possible through social insertion in the heart of society, in the popular and working classes.

It is of special interest for Organised Anarchism to have an influence on the segments of society where the oppressed struggle, particularly on workers, strengthening and developing union organisation, and the fight for better wages and working conditions. Also, it is of interest of Organised Anarchism to weave these struggles with those of other oppressed peoples and construct a strategy around the realization of a Front of the Oppressed, advancing in the creation of greater spaces for self-management and class independence, regarding what we call the construction of popular power (or power from below).

All rights and benefits belonging to the people have been fought for and won through struggle. The ruling classes do not give anything away for free; only through solidarity and the militant struggle of people’s organisation in unity have we guaranteed victories for the oppressed. In that struggle Organised Anarchism has a place, with our strategy, our proposals, and our methodology, which emphasizes the creation of popular power and not that of a political party, as vanguardists often do.

The yearnings for justice and freedom of the Chicago Martyrs will roam the streets again this coming May Day, together along the oppressed of the world, in their struggle for a better future. Their dreams live on in the struggle of all people, all across the globe, for bread and dignity, but also for a fully egalitarian and fair society.

LONG LIVE THE CHICAGO MARTYRS!
LONG LIVE THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY!
Long Live Anarchism, Long Live Revolution
LET’S STRENGTHEN ORGANISED ANARCHISM!
FOR SOCIALISM AND FREEDOM!
Long live those who fight!

☆ Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU
 (Uruguay)
☆ Federación Anarquista de Rosario – FAR (Argentina)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Tucumán – OAT (Argentina)
☆ Embat – Organització Llibertària de Catalunya (Catalonia)
☆ Devrimci Anarşist Federasyon – DAF (Turkey)
☆ Αναρχική Ομοσπονδία – Anarchist Federation (Greece)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina)
☆ Die Plattform – Anarchakommunistische Organisation (Germany)
☆ Federación Anarquista Santiago – FAS (Chile)
☆ Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement – AWSM (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
☆ Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – CAB (Brazil)
☆ Libertäre Aktion (Switzerland)
☆ Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF (South Africa)
☆ Alternativa Libertaria – AL/fdca (Italy)
☆ Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia)
☆ Workers Solidarity Movement – WSM (Irland)
☆ Anarchist Communist Group – ACG (Great Britain)
☆ Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group – MACG (Australia)
☆ Organisation Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland)
☆ Union Communiste Libertaire (France)

“Only the people can save the people”- O.C.S.S.

Voices in movement

This is a communiqué from the Southern Sierra Peasant Organization (Organización Campesina de la Sierra del Sur (O.C.S.S.) released on February 24, 2021, from Tepetixtla, Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero, Mexico. Translation by Shantal Monserrat Lopez Victoria from Pozol.org.

“The new Mexican government is an effort to revitalize capitalism,” O.C.S.S. Guerrero, Mexico

O.C.S.S. TO THE CIPOG-EZ, CIN-CIG AND THE CRAC-PC-PF.

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional)
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Indigenous Council of Government
To the people of Mexico and the world

We men and women of the rural towns of the Costa Grande of the state of Guerrero, were raised and taught the history of dignity by Generals Morelos, Guerrero, Zapata and our unforgettable compas and teachers Lucio Cabañas Barrientos and Professor Genaro Vázquez.

Twenty-six years after

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TOP TEN BRISTOL RIOTS: THE OFFICIAL LIST

The Bristolian

THE LIST THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO READ!!!

To celebrate last night’s small riot, here’s one list the local media will not print. Lovingly compiled by our Violent Disorder Correspondent, we give you Bristol’s Top Ten RiotsRiot - skater
Now, next time you hear some poncey local liberal politician pronouncing on a local riot and claiming that “This isn’t Bristol” or “We don’t don’t do this” you can tell ’em, “Oh yes this is us. This is exactly what we do. The problem is that you are not us”.

10. 1090 Slave Riots

More

Red and Black Telly roundup.




Clashes on the Occasion of International Women’s Day in Mexico and Colombia

AWM english

Mexico

In Mexico, clashes took place in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla and Cuernavaca (Morelos). In the capital, at least 20,000 demonstrators protested against femicides (endemic phenomenon in the country) and against the insecurity experienced by women in the public space. 1700 police officers had been deployed to contain them.

Some protesters managed to knock down the metal fences protecting the national palace. The anti-riot police then used their shields to prevent protesters from entering the palace. Militant feminists set fire to police shields guarding the National Palace.

In Cuernavaca, capital of the state of Morelos, groups of hooded militants attacked public buildings. The headquarters of the judiciary was attacked with Molotov cocktail, while the windows of the government’s palace were broken. A church has also been attacked. Clashes have also been reported in the city of Xalapa located in the state of Veracruz. The anti-riot police attempted to split the procession but did not reach it.

In the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, the feminists attacked a church, as well as a building of the Ministry of Health. Finally clashes have been reported in the city of Puebla, capital of the state of Puebla.

Colombia

On the afternoon of March 8, a group of feminists set fire to the church of San Francisco de Asís during protests organized for Women’s Day (8M) in Bogotá (Colombia). The main door of the temple was set in flames.

The local newspaper Noticias Caracol, two Transmilenio buses, the Las Nieves and San Diego stations, a SITP bus and the Palace of Justice were also vandalized during the demonstration.

“We did what we had to do”-Subcomandante Moisés reflects on the EZLN uprising

Voices in Movement

On the 27th anniversary of the EZLN’s rebellion, Subcomandante Moisés stated: “We did what we had to do”. This is a conversation with the current Zapatista spokesperson who held the rank of major back on January 1st, 1994. We talk about the orgins of the uprising by the indigenous rebels.

Written & photo by Diego Enrique Osorno in Milenio. Translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria

-To understand 94, we have to go back, could you tell us about the years prior to the uprising?

-Yes, 1983 was the year when some of our members arrived to the mountains of the Mexican southeast and began to recruit comrades which is why the membership of the organization grew. Then from ‘83 to ‘93 was the period of recruitment in the villages, the ‘underground period’.

The comrades began to look for people one by one but then we changed our recruitment methods because the people, the indigenous communities, have a certain way of meeting people in groups, collectively. And this is how we recruited those with moral authority. And yes, from that point on we continued to organize ourselves with towns and other areas. A region can be made up of lots small towns and communities. Some regions are made up of 20 communities or 30 communities, which is what we call a region.

As our political influence grew in these towns and regions, we made military preparations. We organized the compañeros and compañeras, until the day came when it was decided: It is time for us to head out.

-How did the arrival of members from the city affect the organization in the towns during that time?

-Small communities began to see things differently because they (members from the city) organized in a different way. What I want to say is that with the arrival of the EZLN, women began to have an important role, where before they weren’t even considered. Although there were some organizations (with women), they weren’t really taken seriously. That’s what changed during that time, there was more organization and respect for women.

-On January 1st, 1994, you were a major, not yet a Subcomandante. What was it like to experience the preparations for that day?

– ​We all arrived, insurgents and troops, we all got ready. Before I became a major I was Insurgent Moisés. We had trained in the mountains and helped our fellow comrades prepare; It was there that the troops had to take exams to become a commander. Starting from second lieutenant, lieutenant, then second captain, first captain, then major and so on. So, yes, the rank I had when we left on January 1st, 1994 was major, as is publicly known. We received training and on top of that, other special trainings courses, because we also had to go out into the city. The mountains are very different than the city. I had to be with my commander, Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, who was teaching, preparing and training me.

And yes, there were a lot of the things he taught and explained to us before 1994 that I had to learn. He prepared me for times just like today with you, where we have to explain who we are, and talk to the people of Mexico; the teachers, the students, the workers and others.

-What other advice did Subcomandante Pedro give you during that training period?

-He would also say that we have to be prepared, because we do not know who will die, and he was right. We used to be underground but today we have organized ourselves with our comrades, for example with the National Indigenous Congress. We’re now openly working with the people. What happened in the past, is the past, as he would say. When we left at dawn in 1994, I had to do my part. He told me no matter happened I had to continue and take responsibility for my actions. Of course, I understood what he told me from the beginning: that whatever happens we have to continue fighting and here we are, still fighting.

-What was January 1st, 1994 like for you?

-Well, it was my duty to take over the Town Hall of Ocosingo along with Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro. He was in front of the town hall and I was off to the side, where the police were set up. Then we got separated, but we had said that we would be in communication when we were ready to head into the town hall.

I was waiting for his order, but it never came so I sent him a message to find out what was going on. I waited for a long time, but then I received a message that Sub Pedro had fallen in combat. So from then on, I had to take command and decide what we were going to do. The first thing we did was to check on our comrade Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, so I took him outside, lifted his head, talked to him to see if he was still alive, but nothing. We got him out of there and took his body to a Zapatista community.

So then, we had to continue, we had to move forward. And that’s what I was organizing, because we had to go to another city, which was Comitán, and that’s what I was getting ready for. But then we received the order from Subcomandante Marcos that we had to retreat, and we had to retreat because that was the order. And that was that.

Informal organisation: Alfredo M. Bonanno 1985

the anarchist library in various formats

From Anarchismo, n. 47, 1985

Informal organisation

Alfredo M. Bonanno

First let us distinguish the informal anarchist organisation from the anarchist organisation of synthesis. Considerable clarification will emerge from this distinction.

What is an anarchist organisation of synthesis? It is an organisation based on groups or individuals that are more or less in constant relation with each other, that culminates in periodical congresses. During these open meetings basic theoretical analyses are discussed, a program is prepared and tasks are shared out covering a whole range of interventions in the social field. The organisation thus sets itself up as a point of reference, like an entity that is capable of synthesizing the struggles that are going on in reality of the class clash. The various commissions of this organisational model intervene in different struggles (as single comrades or groups) and, by intervening, give their contribution in first person without however losing site of the theoretical and practical orientation of the organisation as a whole, as decided at the most recent congress.

When this kind of organisation develops itself fully (as happened in Spain in ’36) it begins to dangerously resemble a party. Synthesis becomes control. Of course, in moments of slack, this involution is less visible and might even seem an insult, but at other times it turns out to be more evident.

In substance, in the organisation of synthesis (always specific and anarchist), a nucleus of specialists works out proposals at both the theoretical and ideological level, adapting them as far as possible to the program that is roughly decided upon at the periodic congresses. The shift away from this program can also be considerable (after all, anarchists would never admit to too slavish an adherence to anything), but when this occurs care is taken to return within the shortest possible time to the line previously decided upon.

This organisation’s project is therefore that of being present in various situations: antimilitarism, nuclear power, unions, prisons, ecology, interventions in living areas, unemployment, schools, etc. This presence is either by direct intervention or through participaton in interventions managed by other comrades or organisations (anarchist or not).

It becomes clear that participation aimed at bringing the struggle to within the project of synthesis cannot be autonomous. It cannot really adapt to the conditions of the struggle or collaborate effectively in a clear plan with the other revolutionary forces. Everything must either go through the ideological filter of synthesis or comply with the conditions approved earlier during the congress.This situation, which is not always as rigid as it might seem here, carries the ineliminable tendency of organisations of synthesis to drag struggles to the level of the base, proposing caution and using contrivances aimed at redimensioning any flight forward, any objective that is too open or means that might be dangerous.

For example, if a group belonging to this kind of organisation (of synthesis, but always anarchist and specific) were to adhere to a structure that is struggling, let us say, against repression, it would be forced to consider the actions proposed by this structure in the light of the analyses that had roughly been approved at the congress. The structure would either have to accept these analyses, or the group belonging to the organisation of synthesis would stop its collaboration (if it is in a minority) or impose the expulsion (in fact, even if not with a precise motion) of those proposing different methods of struggle. Some people might not like it, but that is exactly how things work. One might ask oneself why on earth the proposal of the group belonging to the organisation of synthesis must by definition always be more backward, i.e. in the rearguard, or more cautious than others concerning possible actions of attack against the structures of repression and social consensus. Why is that? The answer is simple. The specific anarchist organisation of synthesis, which, as we have seen, culminates in periodic congresses has growth in numbers as its basic aim. It needs an operative force that must grow. Not to infinity exactly, but almost. In the case of the contrary it would not have the capacity to intervene in the various struggles, nor even be able to carry out its own principle task: proceding to synthesis in one single point of reference. Now, an organisation that has growth in members as its main aim must use instruments that guarantee proselytism and pluralism. It cannot take a clear position concerning any specific problem, but must always find a middle way, a political road that upsets the smallest number and turns out to be acceptable to most.

The correct position concerning some problems, particularly repression and prisons, is often the most dangerous, and no group can put the organisation they belong to at risk without first agreeing with the other member groups. But that can only happen in congress, or at least at an extraordinary meeting, and we all know that on such occasions it is always the most moderate opinion that prevails, certainly not the most advanced.

So, ineluctably, the presence of the organisation of synthesis in actual struggles, struggles that reach the essence of the class struggle, turns into a brake and control (often involuntarily, but it is still a question of control).

The informal organisation does not present such problems. Affinity groups and comrades that see themselves in an informal kind of projectuality come together in action, certainly not by adhering to a program that has been fixed at a congress. They realise the project themselves, in their analyses and actions. It can occasionally have a point of reference in a paper or a series of meetings, but only in order to facilitate things, whereas it has nothing to do with congresses and such like.The comrades who recognise themselves in an informal organisation are automatically a part of it. They keep in contact with the other comrades through a paper or by other means, but, more important, they do so by participating in the various actions, demonstrations, encounters, etc., that take place from time to time. The main verification and analysis therefore comes about during moments of struggle. To begin with these might simply be moments of theoretical verification, turning into something more later on.

In an informal organisation there is no question of synthesis. There is no desire to be present in all the different situations and even less to formulate a project that takes the struggles into the depths of a programme that has been approved in advance.

The only constant points of reference are insurrectional methods: in other words self-organisation of struggles, permanent conflictuality and attack.

Solidarity with the Colston Four!

Alternative Bristol

Almost exactly 6 months after the statue of the racist slave-trader & murderer Edward Colston was torn down by anti-racist & Black Lives Matter protesters on the 7th June, (as we warned on Sunday in this article) 4 people hunted down by A&SPolice have now been charged, this afternoon, with ‘criminal damage’. This is a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after the Police sent their files to them in mid-September.

This is both a political charge, and frankly a confusing one. Six people out of the thousands present on the day have already been offered ‘a conditional caution for the offence of causing criminal damage to property valued under £5,000.it was reported here. Yet these 4 face court for an apparently identical charge (we have not of course seen either the court papers, nor the police’s evidence). This makes the case a political one, by picking on just these 4 people, it is clear that the ‘powers that be’ – primarily the Tory Govt in London – want an example made, even if anyone found guilty is unlikely to face much more than a major fine (we hope), and they may well of course be found not guilty. They are innocent until the court case is over.

What happens now? The Colston 4 will no doubt be consulting with their solicitors, considering their options, and planning their defence, with the back-up from their legal support team. The first date set for their court hearing is 25 January. If just 10% of the 10,000 plus who were at the demo on 7th June turn up outside court to show their solidarity, it will send a clear message to the prosecutors & politicians. As we said back on 8th June – Solidarity with anyone persecuted for the removal of Colston. We all did it!

The case will also be a political trial because it will keep in the spotlight both the Society of Merchant Venturers, those cheerleaders for Colston and great beneficiaries of the slave-trade (see this article) – who continue to be protected by their power, wealth & networks; and of course Bristol’s Mayor Rees, who collaborated in the police investigation when Bristol Council gave the Police the necessary statement regards damage to the statue. Rees, who failed for 4 years to do anything about the hated statue (see part 3 here), but took down a sculpture of south Bristol’s Jen Reid in under 24 hours, has shown himself to be both unprincipled and corrupted by his own pursuit of power. He’ll be looking forwards to next May’s Mayoral election with trepidation.

It is now up to all of us committed to eradicating institutional racism and seeking justice in relation to the horrors & legacy of the slave-trade, to stand with the Colston 4. Until all are free!

Anarchist Prisoner, Mónica Caballero, Launches Hunger Strike in the San Miguel Prison

La Zarzamora.

Amidst widespread mobilizations inside Chilean prisons for the restitution of dignified visits for prisoners, and 10 years since the massacre in the San Miguel Prison, Mónica Caballero, together with two other prisoners from the “Connotación Publica” module, have begun a hunger strike, uniting with the hunger strike already launched in the high-security prison.

Below we share the communique from Mónica, who provides a historical recollection of the different events of resistance and struggle that have marked this prison:

Ten Years Since the Massacre in the San Miguel Prison: Memory and History of Struggle

Without doubt, there are places which store thousands of histories. If the high walls of the prisons could speak of the experiences of those who were (and are) locked up behind them, perhaps they would tell us many histories. They would tell us histories where poor people would be the protagonists, or perhaps they would tell us of the immense yearning for freedom that fills the hearts of those who populate the dungeons and cells.

Unfortunately, the prison walls are silent witnesses to the experiences of the people locked up behind them. Telling what happens in these places is the responsibility of those of us who are kidnapped by power, and those of us who want to end the current system of terror.

The history of prisoners is our history and it cannot be lost. In the prisons, sadness reigns. It is the master and lord. It is present in the vast majority of the lives of those who pass through this grey place. The San Miguel Prison not only holds histories full of sorrow, but also many experiences of resistance and struggle.

In the early 1990’s, the San Miguel Prison locked up several political prisoners. Men of different organizations filled the cells of the towers until their transfer to C.A.S. in 1994—a transfer that the combatants resisted with weapons.

During the search of the cells after the confrontation, the guards found a Browning 7.65mm pistol with seven cartridges in the magazine; an Italian Trident 38 revolver; a Dachmaur pistol with 15 cartridges; a Llama 7.65mm; a brown purse with 13 bullets; another leather purse with 18 more bullets; a NEX brand cell phone and three homemade explosive devices (1).

In the confrontation, several jailers were injured as well as some inmates, including Mauricio Hernández Norambuena. The commander Ramiro relates the story in the following way: “I was wounded in the scuffle. I had never been shot before, and it was in prison where I was shot for the first time” (2).

The same event was told by Ricardo Palma Salamanca in an interview carried out in Paris on January 27th, 2019: “Amidst the confrontation, they shot two people. I was also armed, but was not hit by a bullet.”

The weapons used in the resistance against the transfer to C.A.S. were originally intended for an escape. Mauricio Hernández tells the story as follows: “We were able to get various weapons into the San Miguel Prison, and we designed a really interesting escape plan with help from the outside. People from Mapu-Lautaro and the MIR were involved. The idea was to escape in a large group. Outside there was support from around 15 or 20 combatants. There were sufficient weapons. But that plan failed.”

“The whole operation was organized. Those on the outside were to take a house that had a wall behind the prison, which they were going to explode. We had to go through a gate and exit there. A few days before we carried out the escape, we were transferred to C.A.S. At that point, the weapons we had gotten together for the escape were used to resist the transfer” (3).

This was not the only escape attempt at the San Miguel Prison. In 1997, a group of ex-members of the FPMR attempted to leave the prison through the roof, using a system of ropes and pulleys, in order to reach one of the streets that borders the prison. The failed escape attempt led to a riot, and the prisoners who participated were transferred to the prisons of Colina I and Colina II. Among them was Jorge Saldivia who was killed in 2012 during a bank robbery.

The walls don’t speak, but they hold marks which are sometimes difficult to erase. Many inmates say that in Tower 5 of the San Miguel Prison, where 81 prisoners were burned to death, the stains of the bodies were never completely erased…the inmates say that the marks seem to be of oil, and that no matter how much wax and paint they put on the floors and walls, they are always different from the other parts of the prison.

There are many anecdotes related to ghosts and spirits in Tower 5, beliefs, myths or realities…however the death of the 81 prisoners does not go unnoticed by the inmates of Tower 5, and should not go unnoticed by any prisoner.

Ten years since the massacre in the San Miguel Prison: Active and combative memory!

Until all cages are destroyed!

Mónica Caballero Sepúlveda

Anarchist prisoner

(1) Interviews with Ricardo Palma in the book “Retorno desde el punto de fuga” by Tomás García
(2) “Un paso al frente” Mauricio Hernández Norambuena
(3) “Un paso al frente” Mauricio Hernández Norambuena

Traducido a inglés por: Noticias Anticarcelarias