THE BOMB CASE
The Uncelebratory Task
By Luis Guerra
“Certainly, as Slavoj Zizek was saying this morning, political struggle and insurrection, revolution, and so on, are not structural effects – in the classical conception too: they are moments, and we have to grasp the moment, name the circumstances, and so on. But finally, the moment, the political struggle expresses, concentrates, the social contradictions. And it is why an insurrection can be purely singular and universal: purely singular because it’s a moment, the pure moment, and universal because finally this moment expresses the generality of fundamental contradictions.”
Alain Badiou, POLITICS: A NON-EXPRESSIVE DIALECTICS, Saturday 26 November 2005, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, London.Transcribed by Robin Mackay.
“Reserved document by experts on antisystemic groups: The document says anarchist authors of bombings are invisible”, El Mercurio (Chilean right-wing newspaper), January 29th, 2009.
CHILE is a country which has been known internationally for two bodies bonded by history: Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet. Allende as the effective Subject of the Revolution and Body of the Event, and Pinochet as the portrait of the Conservative Slave and the executive body of the Capitalist Uprising. More than 30 years have passed since that 9/11 of 1973 when both confronted and signed history with their actions. Today Chile continues living its “recuperated democratic tradition”, meaning the elites have regained its “right” of becoming elected for governance. During the period allegedly called “transition”, four democratic governments led by a “left-centrist” alliance of political parties, known as -“Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia”- acted as administrator of the “State” and its economical advances, by and through the deepening of the neoliberal system bequeathed from The Dictatorship (1973-1989). The “people”, that unsubstancious electoral "body", which elected this political alliance were betrayed through the democratic game, as they were betrayed in Eastern Europe, Africa and some Asian countries during the processes of neoliberal re-democratization through the 90’s.
Michelle Bachelet was the last Concertacion president. After her government, a right-wing politician was elected. How could it be that a nation's populace, after electing four left-center governments ended up electing a right-wing President? The think-tanks of the institutional “left” are still mourning, thinking the people betrayed them! But the fact is that after 20 years in power, the executive performance of the traditional left had left Chile with a good face for the international scene (OECD, IMF, UN, etc) but a very complex internal social scenario indeed. This complexity relates to the conditions today where every Chilean lives in a defacto polito/cultural apartheid developed and produced by the economic regime. Even though during the Concertacion’s years the level of hard poverty diminished, the arch of distribution was and continues to heighten as the distances and barriers between rich and poor has skyrocket ominously .
It was 2009 when during a march remembering the 9/11 of ’73 that, passing before the Government Palace, known as La Moneda (that, as you know, was aerially bombarded on that 9/11 by the Chilean Army), someone from inside the march threw a Molotov. The image of the Palace’s window burning again, as if it were 1973, was a brutal shock for the entire Chilean society and was absolutely condemned by all the political elite, but it was also an effective and undeniable sign of a nonconformity among a youth who had not participated in the “democratic struggles” of the 80’s, nor the political processes of “reconciliation” during the Concertancion’s governance. Contemporaneous to this were protests against Bachelet for urgent changes in the Public Education System and against a new and very disastrous public transportation system in Santiago (the system cost the State millions while creating a "public" debt so large that Bachelet's last Minister of Transportation had to go to a Private Bank to be able to continue implementating the misbegotten a plan). The State responded with a political persecution against anarchist groups by implicating them in the Molotov event1.
The Government began a delusional persecution against anarchists, Okupa spaces (squats), and any form of “dissidence” like popular associations, libraries, autonomous schools, and street art practices like graffitti or muralism. The State had found a target easy to portray and expose through its mainstream media apparatus. The State had found the perfect target for the execution of its power.
The Bomb Case
The political process that begun in 2006 coallesced in 2010. A series of bombings continued since 2006 in different parts of Santiago. The State and the Mainstream Media blamed these bombings on anarchist organizations, and some were in fact claimed by anarchist groups. The mainstream media repeated the story of a young anarchist who died trying to install a bomb outside a police building2. These facts began a politico-juridical and police procedures against and around the anarchist movement as a whole.
While the left-center governments ruled, these incidents were not defined as terrorism. They were specifically labeled as non-terrorist so as not to put the National Security Committee into action.
Once the right wing took power the incident was redefined legally as a Illicit Terrorist Association. The re-definition, widely covered by the mainstream media, had great impact. It named in advance as enemies of the State any form of dissident behavior, particularly those which the state could define as antisystemic. The State approach to prosecution had become militarized. They began accusing the Okupa’s houses and other anarchist cultural spaces as being used as “centers of power” for the machinery of subversive action (The “centers of power” argument used by the Prosecutor Alejandro Pena was created initially for drug trafficking cases)3. The whole movement had been condemned without any facts.
It was the new right-wing Minister of Interior Rodrigo Hinzpeter pushed to name Alejandro Pena as the new State Prosecutor. In March 2010 they had developed the thesis of the Bomb Case and started a systematic persecution against Okupa’s spaces, social libertarian libraries, autonomous cultural spaces, and the family homes of those detained. It created perfect momentum for the New Government and its policy of “the new way of Governing!”.
The whole of the “anarchist movement”, the people particularly implicated in the case, their families and friends have been pointing out since the beginning that this case has been a political montage4, a theatrical performance, a delusional and phantasmagorical construction of characters and situations, amplified by the machinery of the Mainstream Media. This image-discourse built by the State as a substitute of reality, has been sold constantly through the mainstream media to demonstrate the capacity of executive power to maintain control and order. We were confronted with the machinery of power displayed without barriers.
As Zizek points out, extending Lacan, the unconscious is open. It is at the surface and it enacts without mercy or remorse. The system presented itself in its basic form, in its political active-dynamic (a conservative discourse of control disguised as aims for peace and private property protection), as imaginary (producing a escenario characterized by the Guardians of the Supreme Order as being the enemies of society as a whole) and by a siege (becoming effective through politically creating a legal state of exception). We see then socialization of the State-Government for the state government, (and here we immediately expose the extinction of the State with the activity of the Executive power. Thus we witness the urgent necessity of new concepts to understand the conditions of the Shrinking the State as the representative apparatus of people’s sovereignty), in it finally capacity towards power over all. What has been socialized is the existence of a capacity for banning and crushing any dissidence, and of course the possibility to create scenarios of exception that only the restoring of power of the State, by the action of the Government, can end.
Now, the gaseous enemy had been codified. The State changed the “identity” of the movement for its own purposes, transforming it into an insurrectionary cell led primarily by ex-subversives from two leftist political movements: the Lautaro and the MIR5. The State was now seen naked through its creation of a thesis where its only plausible enemy would be its democratic enemy covered in the mantle of an the insurrectional left. The State created an “antagonist”, a recognizable enemy for him and for its projective discourse.
11 of the 15 detainees are on a hunger strike. Photo by Frank Garcia
Body of bodies
The State's provided reasoning for understanding "the movement" is untrue. The movement has been primarily and fundamentally an educational one. Its opening of cultural center and popular libraries, particularly in socialy and economically marginal urban zones, has been its regime of visibility. The State lacks a policy for building public libraries in Chile. Cultural policies are strongly dependent on municipalities and therefore dependent of the populist politics of the mayors. This has created an opening for independent and autonomous libraries, constituting spaces for developing critical studies and creation of divergence, dissident thinking and disobedient praxis, like oral history, non hierarchical schools and popular press. The “distribution of the sensible” which has been coopted by Corporation Creativity has been here “returned” to the “multitude”. The utopian gesture here is concrete and “at hand” in the sense that produces effect. It functions as a space where it is possible to engage in teaching, sharing, researching, reading, discussion, debating, construction, and eventually creation. A form of creativity produced outside and far from the regimes and margins of State Education. It is not merely a social war of confrontation, on the contrary it is an opening of an anomie space, in the sense of normlessness, from where it can produce State-repelling thought6.
This politico-cultural procedure belongs to the daily precariousness where creativity outside of its criticality towards the state produces forms of Life that can’t be “represented” by State-Market machinery. This is from the bottom, extremely generative and sustainable. It is menaced constantly from “outside”. But it is particulars are invisible to State-Knowledge, because it doesn’t create forms intelligible or legible for the Empire. Its invisible condition, its happening besides the conditions produced by the Economic Model, its subtractive strategy for existence, and therefore its capacity for creative dissidence, generates a haunting of the State.
Here then appears a thankless task, what is at stake here is not endlessly pleading promises to those in Power for recognition and distribution, but instead, the development of a Subject produced by the evental activity of a Body. This Body is the self autonomous organization of a Subjectivity that happens within the margins of the State but is dissident only to its own conditions. A Body executes the capacity for producing a dissident form of life, without perpetrating a disturbance to the “State-order” or status quo beyond the fact of opening spaces of disobedience to the politico-cultural norm and figure of the State. A Body that produces normless territory can generate an Unruly Subject.
Here inverted, the event is something that it's happening micro-politically, without the sounds of trumpets, but through the silence activity of daily-work bodies resisting, whitout shadows the advances of State Nomenclature. As James C. Scott has pointed out, the strategies for other existences and for resistance are always invisible to those in Power (they must be for their own sake!). And those strategies belong to practices of nomadicity, plasticity, subrepticity and interstitial immanence, where creative spaces of discourse and speech, which can’t be understood or visible to the “Master” or its “Slaves”, growth.
We are here then in front of mechanisms of difference, of distance, and strategies of subjectivity, of resistance, but not revolution. "What is Revolution?" it’s something that must be answered by each body, multitude or solitude.
What we have before us are methods of resistance toward the conditions of production in Western Society. But the point here is that perhaps we have to name again what has been built, and not to leave the existence of evidence being betrayed by notions that are recuperating them to the State language for its subsequent annulment. What is at the core here is the necessity of creative platforms that can overwhelm the understanding that function as a siege against the existence of these spaces of anomie.
Image from a march in solidarity with the imprisoned by the Bomb Case. Santiago of Chile, March 11, 2011.
The Unruly Subjectivity
“In the contemporary world, the future of our freedom lies in the daunting task of taming Leviathan, not evading it”.
James C. Scott , The Art of Not Being Governed, an Anarchist History of upland Southeast Asia, Chapter 9, page 324.
The Event evidences the structures, opens it up, exposes to open air the body, the surface, the skin, the entire structure, and not its possible deconstruction, but the structure at such, within its own mountains and valleys, not as a flat map but as a friction map. The lastest economic crisis has exposed the fragility of the financial factory and the energy system. The financial industry has become THE biopolitic apparatus, an apparatus of social engineering producing a narrow spot where the spotlight indicates the real of an image. We are still co-opted, our eyes convulsively hostages by the diaphragm, we just look at what it's being shown to us. And the discourse of the academia, the infamous system of the University corrupted by the economic system, is blocked and amputated of any capacity for developing new trails of critical analysis or creative knowledge. But alongside the repetitive and generative associations to Capital that produce the same bodies, the non-death, people find ways not only to resist the conditions of life to which they are condemned since birth. And here we are not just talking about the resistance of the body, as is usually issued by any policy of social aids, but also the spirit. We here are talking about effective organization, political one, that has been working openly without fear. The processes, methodologies, platforms and strategies have been the same: the educational free space, the library, the use of a space as a zone for encounter and production, production of creativity, of autonomy. In this, they are always prepared to be threatened or attacked by the State. This is partially a crucial element of the movement that has been rising, its plasticity and nomadicity, its capacity of working open but invisible and subtractive till the moment when the voracious Leviathan appears and the invisible multitude needs to operate its disappearance, leaving behind places because it is not attached to any one, the only terrain is the body of everyone in the invisible multitude. This is not the defiant attitude of a multitude on the march, too easily captured by the reasoning of the State and its shell of resonance that is the mainstream media. Instead it is an invisible multitude battling at the zone of habitus, a social-creative work produced subtractively in the place of the routine, in the time of being, an everyday onto-political war.
What is then an Unruly Subjectivity but the creative-productive disobedient Body that repels the State-form-society and its hierarchical nomenclature of reading and narrativeness? The Unruly Subjectivity is a response to the conditions of life in actual conditions of production. Without a standardized or univocal form it can't be appropriated by any of the mechanisms of annulment maneuvered by the State. It can't be consumed or framed, it constantly escapes any inscription, it detours its nomination, undecidable par excellence, The Unruly Subjectivity it could be grasp as an "onto-political" conception which exceeds the hierarchical majesticity of citizenship and belongs to the mutability of bio-thingness, dwelling at an "inaccessible forest" where the "post-classical" reasoning, where the anglo-continental tradition, is contained into and by multitudinous "being".
Today, all those implicated by state discourse in the so called Bomb Case, publicly accused in the mainstream media, and held by the Judicial-Penitentiary System, have been, finally, released without charges. Nevertheless, none can leave the country. The okupa homes have been abandoned, the popular libraries have been voided, and the people have had to move forward reorganizing themselves in different places. The premises of an unruly subjectivity and state-repelling society have work here in the sense that the “movement” as a whole has had to increase its “friction-of-terrain-remoteness”. If denoted visible by the State and the mainstream media, the movement has had to distribute its sensibile to other territories.
What has been at the core of this work is the possibility of existence for a normlessness space for the emergence of an Ungoverenanable Subject. The anarchist movement has been openly developing strategies and politico-cultural instruments for exercising the capacity of self determination and autonomy, and through it, building disobedience to the State-order. These social tools have been the opening homes, of cultural spaces, libraries where anybody can attend. Without any hierarchical system, the movement has been orderly interconnected by the production of websites and newspaper that will embrace and share common sustainable forms of life, undoubtedly far from the modes and models of the actual neoliberal western society. Anti-capitalist anarchist movements have developed platforms to critically create dissidence to the State discourse.
What is next? Certainly what is already happening is that the organizing of "antisystemic groups" continues, not based on a reactionary conduct (as the State wants to show), but by building repelling-state “spaces” from where activate forms of unruly subjectivity, by effective action of subtractiveness.
We have no time here for unfolding all the coordinates about the history of the contemporary anarchist movement in Chile. But The Bomb Case, inaugurated by the State in its necessity to explain to their slave-inhabitants the inexplicable situation of a series of bombings, of incidents that exposes its incapacity to control everything. It has also exposed the existence of a Body, the existence of a normlessness culture that paradoxically has not been hidden, but on the contrary has been openly develpoing, wothout publicity. This bodies aims at autonomy, unruliness, and disobedience. The farce has failed . Without any convincing proof the case is actually sleeping in tribunals. The State Prosecutor Alejandro Pena has resigned his position and, ominously, has been hired by the Minister of Interior, producing another scandal about how the Government has used the mechanisms of the judiciary system for its own purposes. At the end, the Bomb Case is still open without any person prosecuted.
Francisco Solar, being released from the High Security Prison where he was imprisoned for 9 months. Outside of the prison he was waited for his family and friends. May 5, 2011. Santiago of Chile
This is the first conclussion... written almost two months ago...
Today some of the places which were communities are abandoned. The libraries have disappeared. Everything looks like a waste land. As the last form of repression Conservative newspapers have published large reports with images of the buildings abandoned, exhibiting to the public the supposed “destruction” left behind by "the anarchists”. It is impossible to say where everybody is, it is absolutely unnecessary, but certain that the creative energy produced by the possibility of an emergence outside of the State's regimes of visibility permits us to think that the libraries will be return sometime. The “Body” doesn’t live in a certain or specific matter, but by the extremities of its own capacity for adaptability, its nomadism, through its mastery for not being Governed.
I have been trying to end this document since June but the actual political situation in Chile has held me suspended or rather has suspended the aims of the text. The events lately generated by the Student Movement, by the Ecological Movement, by the Regional Movement has shaken not only the right-wing government but also the representational spectrum of the “democratic” political system. What we are witnessing here in Chile is an entire society repelling the form of its own political system. Many are arguing about the necessity of a constitutional change as the only way of re-describing the conditions of the Society and its new aims. As others have been saying, it has been an evident necessity to end all the political enclaves of Pinochet’s Dictatorship. Finally, what has been at stake is the shaking of an entire model that can’t continue to sustain itself as a-historical, or rather, as a-temporal. The ideological hegemony of Neoliberal Capitalism is evidently at its end and from the riots of Paris to Wisconsin, from Tahrir Square in Egypt to Puerta del Sol in Spain, from Sao Paulo to Santiago of Chile there is a subjectivity upraising, a subject that can’t be named by the endlessly insolvent nomenclature of capitalism, nor by its short traditional academic vocabulary. A subject claims for a new form of naming.
Last Sunday 7th (August) was the largest march ever since the return of democracy in Chile. More than 150,000 people joined, just in Santiago city, for a new free educational system including universal for all. It is also pushing for big reforms on the tax system and a definitive change of the constitution.
The history is still in process and it has been being written in the streets. The trace is evident, the body is visible, and the movement continues working beyond the boundaries of State norm-conceptualization, outside fictional scenarios, unreachable in the execution of its pure violence.
Dossier del Caso Bombas, Asociacion de Amigos y Familiares de Los Detenidos el 14 de Agosto de 2010, http://solidaridadporlxspresxs.blogspot.com/2011/08/2do-dossier-informativo-y-de-analisis.html
The Art of Not Being Governed, an Anarchist History of the Upland Southeast Asia, by James C. Scott, The Agrarian Studies Series, Yale University Press, 2009.
The State of the Exception, by Giorgio Agamben, translated by Kevin Attell, The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
Logics of Worlds, by Alain Badiou, translated by Alberto Toscano, Continuum, 2009.
3. CNN Chile
1. Friends and Family of the Detained on August 14th - Informative Dossier and analysis
2. Friends and Family of the Detained on August 14th - Information for Distribution
3. To Create Chains of Solidarity - On those arrested on August 14th
4. Hommodollars Counterinformation - April 7 text from the imprisoned after 45 days of hunger strike
5. Friends and Family of the Detained on August 14th - Drawings of the comrades in prison
1 After an intense police operation, the government identified a teenager who had thrown the Molotov, a vegan, and self-styled anarchist who was finally condemned to municipal social job.
2May 22nd Mauricio Morales died when an explosive blasted him, apparently when he was installing it outside a building of the School of Gendarmerie. Morales was an anarchist participating actively in okupas cultural spaces, social cultural centers and autoonomous libraries. His death produced a change in the case immediately those spaces and those which were working there were seen as suspicious of the development of attempts and bombs.
3During the Bachelet’s government the right-wing press was constantly accusing okupa's of beingl spaces where the anarchist movement was arming itself. One of the autonomous spaces attacked was the squatted Social Center OKupied and Libertarian Library Sacco & Vanzetti. The criminalization of Autonomous spaces reinforced by the fact that Diego Rios escaped from police custody. Diego continues as a fugitive. He was accused of the squatting of the Autonomous Social Center and Library Jonny Cariqueo, named by a TV channel as "a factory of bombs".
5Since the case of Diego Rios, the righ-wing newspaper El Mercurio constituted a thesis linking the anarchist movement with the Lautaro Movement, even though the "experts on anarchism" from police intelligent department continued arguing the non-hierarchical formula OF the movement. Some quotes published by the newspaper said: "anarchism is a radical politico-philosophical ideology that calls for the abollition of any hierarchy or form of control (...) They reject any political, economic, religious or cultural authority. They want comunitarian societies based on the libertarian autonomous commune, of voluntary association. In ending with any submission they believe in the legitime use of violence" El Mercurio newspaper, November 25th 2009.
6 What is a state-repelling society? James C. Scott in his book The Art of Not Being Governed, has been an essential help in the modeling of the actual work, 1. “A society that is physically mobile, widely dispersed, and likely to fission into new and smaller units”; 2. Subsistence routines, meaning the choice for autonomous and versatile forms of subsistence that permit state-repelling condition; 3. “highly egalitarian social structure”; and 4. Distance from state centers, or as Scott has pointed out: “friction-of-terrain remoteness”.