An anarchist look at the forest fires in south-central Chile
From Insurrection News
Received and translated on 22.02.17:
An anarchist look at the forest fires in south-central Chile
And on the attempts of the power to take advantage aiming at the Mapuche and anarchist subversion.
For a couple of weeks, the expansion of various firefighting areas in the forest industry business in the south-central part of the country has been reported in Chile. These fires were spread over various territories and have resulted in irreparable damage to various natural ecosystems and native forests, reaching homes and causing the deaths of people and a large number of animals in what is already a true ecocide that is still continuing.
These forest fires and their consequences have become the subject of the news agenda in recent weeks, with the political, business and media class (dis)informing and imposing a version of the origin of the fires that omits- or leaves last – any responsibility on the part of forestry companies. In turn, given the magnitude of the catastrophe, several groups and organizations seek to support the devastated territories and criticize from various positions the way the government has tackled the problem.
As anarchists, enemies of this and any society, but part of a context that we cannot elude with our silence, we want to propagate a few ideas to sharpen the practical criticism against the domination towards the earth and those who inhabit it.
I. About those who are truly responsible
Despite the media campaign deployed by the power, it is a fact that the responsibility for the eco-catastrophe produced by the fires lies mainly and without any doubt in the forest and its mono-culture pine and eucalyptus protected and promoted by the State for the business enrichment that devastates ecosystems and communities.
Some environmental organizations, with whom we agree only on some analysis and data, such as the Network for the Defense of Territories, rightly maintain that the main causes of the catastrophe facing the Chilean region are related to the (neo-liberal) forest model that underpins the Chilean state in favor of the multi-million dollar oligopoly, which has been maintained for more than 40 years. This is because the fires, for the most part, have had their origin in mono-culture plantations.
In an article, these organizations point out that “the effects of eucalyptus plantations on soil moisture reserves begin to appear at the age of 4 to 6 years, after which the water deficit during the year is similar to that observed in a mature forest (FAO, 1987). Transpiration rates differ between species of eucalyptus, fluctuating between approximately 20 and 40 liters / tree / day. Forest plantations require a large amount of water for their development, so their impact on the availability of water resources is especially important in the less rainy areas of Chile.”
The same network points out that “in Chile there are an estimated three million hectares of forest plantations in the southern center, of which some seven hundred and fifty thousand hectares (750,000 hectares) belong to the holding CMPC whose main company is Forestal Mininco, controlled by the Matte group. The remainder, concentrates more than one million two hundred thousand hectares (1,200,000) that corresponds to the holding Copec-Antar Chil whose main forestry business is Celco-Aruco de Angelini…From the Military Dictatorship to the civil governments, all have defended this business, calling the development to the opening of new outbreaks of extraction and services for the forest industry, forest plantations as forest and calling the rule of law to the imposition of business will through repression and state terrorism.”
For its part, the ‘summary’ information portal notes that “pine and eucalyptus plantations, cellulose plants and all the road and port infrastructure at its service, are elements that, at the same time, constitute the co-generation of a substantial and exclusive business that represents the exploitation of the territories they occupy and the impoverishment of their communities.”
Despite all this, despite their efforts to divert attention, it is clear who is truly and mainly responsible. But there is still more.
II. The power and its efforts to take advantage of the situation
In the midst of this context, along with the traditional calls for national unity and the social alignment of people and the State under one and the same interest, sectors linked to political and economic power have tried to propagate the thesis that the forest fires and their consequences have been caused by Mapuche groups or ‘terrorist’ anarchists, directing the focus away from forestry companies and targeting the not so new internal enemies of the Chilean state. The mass media, faithful to their roles as accomplices of power, amplify such theses. The government has publicly discounted the participation of such groups after investigating, but nevertheless reinforces the idea of the ‘ghost of terrorism’ as a way of explaining social problems and as a way of justifying repression towards Mapuche and anarchist subversion.
An example of this has been the recent arrest of a Mapuche comunero and a person from Santiago accused of being part of a ‘guerrilla school’. Press reports have also surfaced about links between Mapuche, anarchists and former members of leftist military political organizations in connection with investigations into explosive / incendiary attacks and assaults on money-carrying trucks in southern Chile.
Recently in the Chilean parliament proposals are being discussed for the modification of the Antiterrorist Law, seeking to expand its faculties to add amendments that incorporate the figure of the ‘individual terrorist’, thus avoiding the accusers having to discuss whether the accused person belongs to an organization classified as terrorist.
In this way, power seeks to take advantage of the situation while the eyes of the alienated masses are focused on the fires and applauding the actions of private fire-fighters and the bourgeois who make their hypocritical donations in the midst of socio-environmental ecocide.
III. For the need to propagate criticism and radical action against civilization and power.
For our part, as anarchists / anti-authoritarians, we are not interested in naively demanding the State to break with the business interests of groups such as Matte and Angelini, or to oversee, regulate or end the forestry business. What we are interested in is propagating radical criticism that explains how the problem has roots that are deeper than neo-liberalism, that are a consequence of the relation of power over nature and the land being understood as a commodity in the services of anthropocentric, civilized and capitalist human interests. A vision that over centuries and millennia has intervened, modified and destroyed native ecosystems and communities that are wild and alien to the commodification of nature under the name of ‘development’ or ‘progress’.
We are not interested in demanding change from an economic model to a less ‘invasive’, ‘low impact’ or ‘sustainable’ model as proposed by citizenship and legal reformism.
We are interested in destroying the state and all relationships of power, re-planting native forests and at the same time fostering independent practices of living that do not depend on the market or the state or anyone trying to profit from our lives. This is always in the hands of the practice of direct action in all its forms, including the direct attack against the structures of domination, exploitation and devastation, and their leaders and accomplices in society.
No platform for legalism or petitionism.
To delegitimize the speeches of power.
Responding to the call for war against the IIRSA project.
To strengthen the networks of autonomy and direct action.
Against civilization and all forms of authority and domination.
Original Spanish text: documento (PDF)