Responses to a Questionnaire Submitted by Txema García Crespo on behalf of El Diario
Txema García Crespo: What are your recollections of those months in 1976 and 1977, especially the events of March 3 in Vitoria? (In Vitoria, where I am writing this, the memory of those days is very much alive, above all because the perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice; now, with the assertion of claims for justice in Argentina, it is hoped that this can still be remedied, if possible.)
Miguel Amorós: The atmosphere of those years inspired revolutionary euphoria: many people thought that the social revolution was just around the corner. The proletariat reappeared with force and manifested itself as a class not just all over Spain, but also throughout Europe. We saw the pact to introduce bourgeois democracy that was proposed by the opposition led by the communist party as the ideal way for the ruling classes to exorcise the threat of revolution. The proof for this was the fact that the first steps were already being taken, that is, pacification, with the liquidation of the strike movement, mainly by the Workers Commissions. Vitoria was a stronghold of the autonomous workers movement, and the bloody events of the third of March were attempts to dismantle it.
Txema García Crespo: What impact did the “Manuscript Found in Vitoria” have in Vitoria and other cities?
Miguel Amorós: We were trying to warn “the Internationalists of the Spanish Region” about the counterattack of the unified forces of order against the independent and self-organized proletariat. A handful of people, not more than a dozen, with hardly any outside contacts, distributed two thousand copies of the pamphlet by hand and to bookstores. It had to be done quickly. Even in Vitoria. It did not have any immediate repercussions, due to the tremendous chaos that prevailed at the time with regard to theoretical and strategic questions. But it must have attracted some attention, since it has been periodically reprinted in one form or another.
Txema García Crespo: At this time, there are certain attempts to critically revise what was, and still is, called the “transition”, which make the “Manuscript…” relevant today. What was it like then, was it like it is today?
Miguel Amorós: It is obvious that the situation is not the same, since the autonomous proletariat was defeated and dispersed, and the majority of the population has since become resigned to the combination of parliamentarism and Francoism that resulted from the pact made by the opposition and the dictatorship. This resignation was further consolidated by the Tejero coup attempt, the industrial “restructuring”, and incorporation into the European Community. Anyone who questions the legitimacy of the ruling political regime today must take a look at the shameful past from which this regime emerged; the “Manuscript…” is a good place to start.
Txema García Crespo: In 1976–77, in Spain, the struggle was focused on the factories, but now that the worker has disappeared as a historical, if not a revolutionary, subject, at least for now (in my humble opinion), and it seems that nihilism has permanently taken hold, are there any reasons to carry on the fight, any reasons for hope?
Miguel Amorós: The revolutionary subject, that is, the social collective that must radically transform the current political-economic regime, cannot be the same one as then, since there are hardly any factories left and white-collar employees, civil servants and workers in the service sector now represent a preponderant force in the working class. Today’s wage workers do not have a past to which they can lay claim, nor any combative experience of which they can be proud, because they are the products of the victory of Capital and the State. Capitalism has penetrated every aspect of life, colonizing all its moments and generalizing an individualist, depoliticized, consumerist mentality that is disdainful of solidarity. The progress of alienation, however, has not abolished all contradictions, which have merely been relocated (in the territory, in the public services and the neighborhoods, for example). The subject of change is born from the consciousness of these contradictions and the latter have not only not disappeared, but have actually multiplied.
Txema García Crespo: Can we establish a relation (similarities/differences) between the M15 or PAH movements (or other similar movements, such as the anti-High Speed Train movement) and the autonomous movements of 1976–77 and the following years?
Miguel Amorós: The social movement of the seventies was basically a working class movement, and the social question was above all posed in the factories as the emancipation of the working class. The movements that have taken place since the end of the nineties reflect, in an incomplete and contradictory manner, the social question as it is now presented, not as total human liberation, but as the partial and confused consciousness of the threats posed to liberation by the new global capitalism, [i.e.,] the particratic system, the national security state, out-of-control finance capital and the green, “sustainable” ideology of the ruling class.
Txema García Crespo: Where are the “incontrolados” today?
Miguel Amorós: Fighting against fracking, against the construction of high voltage power lines, against oil exploration, against industrial bio-fuel projects, against the High Speed Train, against violence against women, against prisons, against unnecessary parking garages, against evictions, against cuts in public spending on health and sanitation, against price hikes for public transportation…. In the committees, assemblies, demonstrations and rallies that such a struggle requires, and also in the “Time Banks” [labor barter systems—Note of the American Translator], occupations of houses and land, illegal farming, urban gardens, collective workshops, consumers’ groups and, generally, in all the forms of constructive cooperation that demand an egalitarian and free social alternative.