jueves, 19 de julio de 2007

Anarchist Collective and Self-Educuation

This weekend, La Casa del Cultura (an anarchist social centre in Bogota) celebrated it´s first anniversary. The centre has a variety of resources available such as clothing, artwork, campaign literature and a book exchange. A rehearsal room caters almost exclusively for punk / hardcore bands. The link between punk counterculture and anarchism is very strong in Colombia. The space also boasts an impressive library with large sections on anarchism/philosophy and latin american thinking. Among the collectives activities are film showings, reading groups, talks, material exchanges and meetings. Stencil and t.shirt making are just some of the workshops available.

Central to the ethic of the organisation is auto-education (self education). Within the narrow spectrum of privately owned Colombian corporate media this age old practice of the left takes on a special importance. I was impressed by the awareness that even the young Colombians had there. I got chatting to one 17 year old about a poster on the wall that ´No TLC´. The poster refers to the controversial new free trade treaty between Colombia and the US that, if ratified by the US Congress, will decimate many domestic industries and further facilitate the wealth extraction between north and south. "It´s a terrible situation" he told me "the majority of people dont even know about the treaty. Even most of the college lecturers are right wing and dont speak the truth about what is happenning in Colombia".

Speaking out against the state is not easy in Colombian universities. There is currently a drive to privatize them and like all waves of privatization in this country resistance has been met with threats, closures and murders. Accademics who speak out against the system can be singled out as guerilla sympathizers and targeted by paramilitary death squads.

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