ContraInfo: Nearly two years ago now, we diffused a text in solidarity with antiauthoritarian comrade Diego Ríos, who has been underground since 2009 (because of the arrest warrant issued against him when his mother reported that he had stored material to manufacture explosives in a house she owned). At that time, we shared some reflections about the particularities of clandestinity for antiauthoritarian and anarchist comrades. A similar effort was made three years ago by comrades who wrote and edited the book Al Acecho (Lying in Wait); it was rooted in Diego Ríos’ case as well, and to us, it was the first text originating in Chile to address themes of clandestinity from an antiauthoritarian perspective based on a specific case. Other texts, such as the book Incógnito and the communiqués from comrade Gabriela Curilem also address anarchist/antiauthoritarian comrades’ experiences of clandestinity, a theme that seems to be infrequently discussed in these parts.
Thus, we have already shared the idea of greeting our fugitive comrades and saluting their decision to struggle and evade prison, one more action against the attempts of Power to capture those who combat it.
Today, we want to send special greetings to fugitive anarchist Felicity Ann Ryder, in accordance with the call from anonymous comrades for days of solidarity from February 21st to March 7th, 2013. We’d like to salute our comrade and let loose a few ideas about clandestinity, the fruits of individual and collective learning as we are sharpening our positions on the permanent stage of social war, with the hope of enriching our antiauthoritarian praxis.
May forgetfulness and silence never devour our comrades…
“What is certain is that too often comrades are alone, and suffer a series of blows to the face; too often these comrades don’t have enough to eat, they wander with nowhere to sleep and find themselves in complete solitude, with demons at their backs. Oftentimes our brothers and sisters don’t have anyone to talk to, clothes to change into, or anyone with whom to discuss their position; oftentimes they are defamed without the ability to defend themselves, and the silence that surrounds them is only broken by the echoes of slurs. And this occurs because instead of rolling up their sleeves, doing work, creating and uniting wills, some prefer to follow blindly or destroy themselves with fear. As long as one forgets the role each of us plays and the vital importance of concrete gestures, forgetfulness will continue to consume our comrades who have been kidnapped or wounded, who have fled or gone underground.”
(The Black Seed of Our Convictions. Words of comrade Gabriela Curilem from underground, August 2011)
“But this is not a complaint, nor is it a list of sorrows; it is an attempt to contribute to the discussion and the interchange of experiences, so that anyone may get a behind the scenes glimpse of a topic that seems rarely discussed. Vindication in my opinion doesn’t pass through clandestinity—which may end at any moment—but rather through the decision to fight, forever, until the end. Whatever happens, even if it takes the rest of our lives.”
(Unfolding the Wings. Reflections of comrade Gabriela Curilem from underground, November 2010)
Right now, in the territory that is called Chile, we have a few examples of comrades who have gone underground and written about it as a decision of struggle against the persecution of the powerful. These are the case of antiauthoritarian comrade Diego Ríos, comrade Hans Niemeyer, and comrade Gabriela Curilem (who came back above ground in 2012), the comrades Juan Aliste and Marcelo Villarroel (currently incarcerated and accused of robbing a bank and murdering a cop). As well as these, the repressive apparatuses of the powerful have not been able to find or incarcerate the anonymous comrade who accompanied Punky Mauri (killed in action in 2009), or the person who accompanied Tortuga (now on the streets but with restrictive measures) after the accident when the bomb he was placing at a bank exploded in 2011.
For our part, when we have reflected together with other comrades about the clandestinity of antiauthoritarian comrades, we have centered our analysis on the differences from traditional forms of clandestinity that exist within hierarchical and centralized revolutionary organizations, and the need for our own/autonomous methods in our multi-form struggle against Power.
Today, we want to add to the debate a few important necessities and challenges when addressing the clandestinity of comrades—whether we know them or not, whether we have direct contact with those who support them directly or indirectly, since all of these things are secondary when the link is a comradeship forged in the decision to struggle against authority…
One important need is to understand and salute a comrade’s clandestinity as a personal decision to struggle, but not to idealize it as a superior form of confrontation, especially when this decision derives from the persecution of specific comrades for whom the enemy has issued arrest warrants, search and capture orders, etc.
Another thing that we must consider is that the enemy usually publishes the images of our underground comrades in the mass media so that the citizenry will collaborate with their capture, and as such it’s our responsibility—and an act of solidarity—to remove any photography of comrades who have gone underground from any anarchist information pages or other pieces of propaganda. In this we can provide an obstacle, if only a small one, to the enemy’s hunt. We reiterate this especially because when the comrade Hans Niemeyer went underground a few months ago, some blogs in the antiauthoritarian milieu and other solidarians continued to insert his picture in news posts about the comrade or in propaganda material in solidarity with his situation.
Another important need is to be sure every day that goes by without the capture of our underground brothers and sisters is a day spent laughing in the face of the enemy, and an act of antiauthoritarian propaganda against their repressive machinery. But it’s also true that on each of these days our compas may have thousands of needs, like the necessity not to feel alone after having separated from their loved ones and the people/animals close to them, or from certain projects and comrades. Thus, it is tremendously important that each of us use or create our own means to maintain ties of communication with our clandestine comrades, and make them present in the international interchange of experiences on the global stage of social war. With salutations in propaganda and actions, or responses to their communiqués from underground, we can contribute enormously to make sure that the spirit of our brothers and sisters never fails, despite the obstacles in their way. We can contribute by generating channels of communication and feedback among comrades, rather than negating them or cutting them off, isolating our underground comrades even more.
Felicity Ryder, may the wind erase your tracks and protect you from the hunters.
“In these difficult moments it means a lot to have people standing in solidarity from near or from far, even without ever having met me. (…) Long live Anarchy!”
(Letter of comrade Felicity Ryder from somewhere outside the cages, July 2012)
Felicity decided to go underground after the detention of comrade Mario López, who was arrested in June of 2012 after being wounded while transporting an incendiary device that ignited at a time he was carrying Felicity’s identification documents. Comrade Mario assumed responsibility for the action, indicating that she (his comrade) was only there at the moment when the device exploded, and that he considered having taken her documents with him to be an error. In the first days, the police and the Press lied that Felicity was detained, but a few weeks later she debunked their version and verified her transition underground, faced with the repressive persecution that was initiated against her.
Power’s mass media also spread the news that Felicity had been in Chile, which helped feed the delusions of the Mexican authorities about a supposed/fictitious anarcho-insurrectionalist organization formed around the blog Liberación Total, with alleged bases in Chile and Mexico. Nothing but deliriums.
Felicity’s experience has similarities with cases of compas who were carrying out an action alongside other comrades who ended up dead, injured, and/or arrested, like the case of Mauricio Morales’ anonymous companion; or Tortuga’s comrade, who is also anonymous; and like the case of comrade Mike, in France, who was gravely injured while he was working on an explosive device with his slain comrade Zoé. There has been quite a lot of silence about this case from those close to them, but comrade Mike has recently issued a letter explaining his situation and appealing for solidarity. Strength and solidarity to Mike!
For her part, Felicity has written two communiqués, the latest of which served as a greeting to Mario López after his release from prison in December of 2012. Thus, we arrive at the week of solidarity with her, between February 21st and March 7th. We have wanted to make ourselves part of this call, deepening some ideas about the clandestinity of antiauthoritarian comrades, and inviting all comrades to discuss the theme and reflect on what to do in these situations, and to learn about and share experiences that can be spread. And in this debate, dear comrade Felicity, you also have much to contribute.
We hope that you are well; and don’t stop writing to those of us who consider ourselves your comrades in the struggle against all authority.
We salute the comrades of Isla Tortuga squat (in Santiago, Chile) who organized an anti-prison dinner as part of the days of solidarity with Felicity Ryder; we send them our appreciation for keeping the flame of solidarity alive, and we hope that these initiatives multiply.
With the living memory of our Greek anarchist comrade Lambros Foundas, killed in action in March of 2010.
With Punky Mauri present in every word and action of the antiauthoritarian offensive.
In the days before March 29th, Day of Combatant Youth.
Social War, anarchy and rebellion against all authority!
Sin Banderas Ni Fronteras (With neither flags nor borders)
Antiauthoritarian cell for agitation and written propaganda