Huerta Grande is a seminal text of South American Especifismo. I’ve been meaning to translate it for a while, but never finished it. So now I’ll be translating and posting part of it once a week until completion (it will propably be 3 or 4 parts).
Huerta Grande was written in 1972 as an internal discussion document of the Federacción Anarquista Uruguaya, right before the brutal military coup was installed in 1973.
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya, commonly known as FAU or Uruguayan Anarchist Federation, is an Uruguayan anarchist organization founded in 1956. The FAU was created by anarchist militants to be a specifically anarchist organization. The FAU was the first organization to promote the organizational concept of Especifismo. The FAU has aided in the creation of several similar anarchist organizations including the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (FAG).
Federacción Anarquista Uruguaya
Material for internal distribution about the theme of theory of 1972
To understand what is happening (the juncture), it is necessary to be able to think correctly. To think correctly is to be able to organize and treat accordingly the facts that are gathered in bulk from reality.
Without a theory one runs the risk of examining every problem individually, in isolation, starting from points of views that can be different in each case or examine them based on subjectivity, guesses or presentation, etc..
The party was able to avoid serious mistakes because we have been able to think based on concepts that have a important level of coherence. It has also made serious mistakes due to insufficient development of our theoretical thinking as an organization.
To propose a program we must know the economic, political and ideological reality of our country. The same is necessary in order to create a political line that is sufficiently clear and concrete. If we know badly or little, we will not have a program but only a very general line, very difficult to be made concrete in the different places we work at. If there is no clear line there is no efficient political practice. The political will of the party then runs the risk of getting diluted, “Voluntarism” in action ends up becoming just doing whatever comes up out of sheer good will. But we become incapable of acting in a pre-determined way on occurring events, based on an approximated prognosis. We are determined by the events and act on them spontaneously, without a plan.
Without a line for the theoretical work, an organization, no matter how big it is, will be bewildered by circumstances that it cannot condition nor comprehend. The political line presumes a program, which means goals to be achieve at each step. The program indicates which forces are favorable, which ones are the enemy and which ones are only temporary allies. But in order to know that we must know profoundly the reality of our country. Therefore to acquire that knowledge now is a task of the highest priority. And in order to know we need a theory.
The party needs a clear scheme in order to be able to think coherently about the country and the region and the struggles of the international proletariat throughout its history. We must have a efficient framework to organize and prioritize the growing mass of data regarding our economic, political and ideological reality. We must have a method to analyze these data, to see which ones are more important, which ones must come first and which ones only later, in order to corretly administrate our forces in this front of our work. A conceptual scheme that allows us to connect one thing to another in a systematic and coherent order and to do what we want with the militancy of our party. A scheme that bring close to us examples of how to work with these concepts to others that work in other realities.
But this work of knowing our country we must do it ourselves, because nobody is going to do it for us.
We are not proposing inventing theoretical schemes from scratch. We are not going to create a new theory and all its ramifications. The reason for that is the general backwardness of the movement and its specialized institutions, and our lack of availability to take on this task.
Therefore we must take an already made theory and start elaborating on it, analyzing it critically. We cannot just accept any theory with blind eyes, without criticism, as if it was a dogma.
We want to realize a complete transformation in our country and will not adopt as a way of thinking the theories created by the bourgeoisie. With bourgeois conceptions, we will think as the bourgeoisie wants us to think.
We want to study and think about Uruguay and the region as revolutionaries. Therefore, amongst the elements that are part of the different socialist currents, we will adopt always those elements that aid us in doing exactly that: to think and analyze as revolutionaries the country, the region and other regions and experiences.
We will not adopt a theory just because it is fashionable. To live repeating “quotes” that others said in other places, in another time, in relationship to other situations and problems. The theory is not for that. Only charlatans use it for that.
Theory is an instrument, a tool, it’s used to serve a purpose. It exists to produce the knowledge that we need to produce. The first thing that we care about is to know our country. If it does not serves the purpose of producing new useful knowledge for our political practice, theory is absolutely useless, it is only a theme for idle babble, for sterile ideological polemics.
Someone that buys a big modern mechanized tool and instead of working it, spends all day talking about the tool, is acts badly, is a charlatan. Just like the one that, being able to have the tool, it rather do it by hand, because “that’s how it was done before…”
NEXT WEEK: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEORY AND IDEOLOGY