I was sad to hear of the passing of Eduardo Colombo, one of the more interesting anarchist writers from the post-World War II era. I included a short piece by Colombo on voting in Volume Three of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. I also posted on this blog his essay on the state as the paradigm of power, in which he drew on the work of Cornelius Castoriadis and Pierre Clastres. Here I reproduce a tribute to Colombo by the Spanish anarchist theorist, Tomás Ibáñez. It would be nice to see more of Colombo’s writings translated into English.
You might have noticed that apart from our own statements, we also published a lot of texts with different anarchist positions on the “Catalonia issue”. Here is another piece that contributes to the debate about Catalonia.
Tomás Ibáñez on #Catalonia: About Storms and Compasses. Statement from October 11.
Tomás Ibáñez on the general strike of October 3.
Sceptical views on the Catalonian independence movement of 2017 from Miguel Amorós and Tomás Ibañez, who basically maintain that anarchists who join in the nationalist movement, a movement based on mass psychosis and the “marketing” of illusory identity politics (“the Catalonian people is just as abstract a concept as the Spanish people”), thinking they are taking advantage of an opportunity to advance their cause, are being cynically used as the “popular backdrop for a bad play in which an ordinary redistribution of power is being publicly screened”, and later “will have to be punished for snatching their [the Catalonian ruling class’s] chestnuts out of the fire”.
Beginning by abandoning the old idea of revolution and reinventing it … Not as a new ideology but as a true praxis of an ethics of freedom to redefine the desirable and the undesirable and to create a new subjectivity that makes possible the impossible.
Octavio Alberola, Revolución o colapso
Perhaps the most radical legacy of 15M lies in the ways in which the expansion of self-managed forms of life have reshaped subjectivities, which in turn feed back into those forms. ¨With 15M”, writes Carolina León, “like a slap of turmoil and spring with its precariousness, I knew that their existed a politics in each one of us, and that was an experience of transcending solitude. … [T]he “revolution” has already triumphed, because it allowed a countless number of people to get out of themselves, to concern themselves with more than what belonged to them and pursue the discussion about living together.” (Carolina León, Trincheras permanentes, 11-2) But to so speak of “revolution” does presuppose that it be re-conceptualised (the dogmatism on this issue by some anarchists is precisely the reason why Tomás Ibáñez thought that it was a good thing that 15M was free of anarchist organisations); a re-conceptualisation that is called for even if within anarchism, the idea of revolution as a single, insurrectionary event was always accompanied by a notion of social change that imagined revolution as emerging from expanding initiatives of self-management.
Tomás Ibáñez is arguably one of the most important voices of spanish anarchism, and the resonance of his work extends beyond his country of origin.