Letter from Chile: The Fourth Generation War and the Anti-Subversive Strategy of the Chilean State

January 17, 2010

We publish here a commuique from Chile that can offer understandings about the common practices of many different States against the social movements around the world and can make the international solidarity stronger. We have to understand the great need for powerfull bonds between the anatagonistic movements of this world, we have to make the network stronger. This communique is a serious and important analysis that offers questions which will find answers through the work of all different groups, in many different strategies and through many different methodologies of social, political and cultural action. // Void Network

An account of the structuration of an autonomous and libertarian subversion and the opening of a new cycle of confrontation against state and capital.
Introduction:The configuration generated since the end of 2009 threatens to raise the temperature and bring in a hot summer. This situation has been marked by recent events of broad repercussion such as the assault and raids on the squatted social centers carried out by the repressive forces under the orders of the “anti-bombs district attorney” Francisco Jacir, caving to the pressure from the Interior Ministry, specifically the bravado of subsecretary Patricio Rosende. This action, with a clear mediatic and political purpose, since it was carried out at election time, was recognized by the Interior Minister, Edmundo Pérez Yoma, when he declared that these raids against the young squatters “came at a very good moment.” Despite this, everything seems to indicate that the kangaroo court failed, principally for lack of real concrete evidence to back up serious accusations, which would confirm the lack of results in the investigation of the explosive attacks against institutions of State and Capital, and thus the success of the strategy of diffuse blows of autonomous, libertarian subversion based in groups without central direction, but coordinated along a common horizon. Proof of this is that the attacks have not only continued, they have expanded with growing force to other regions of the country, especially the city of Concepción where the existence of one or more operative cells has alarmed the political and police authorities.
Appending to these events was the recent expulsion from Argentina of Freddy Fuentevilla and Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda, combatants detained in Neuquén (Argentine Patagonia) for carrying weapons of war after crossing the Andes on foot, fleeing a mediatic police search that endangered their lives, then being blamed by the press for an assault on Banco Security and the subsequent armed clash in which a member of the repressive forces was killed, Sergeant Moyano.[trans: Freddy and Marcelo are two of the best known Chilean anarchist prisoners, and the campaign against their extradition back to Chile has spread internationally]
Naturally, the bourgeois press and loyal supporter of state violence catalogued as “cold-blooded murder” this clash between armed men in which the repressive forces came out on the losing end. When the police shoot a Mapuche, a student, a worker, or a villager in the back, the press, prostituted to capital and the state, prefers to speak in the cynical terms of a “case of confusion” or even “legitimate defense.” Of course, one cannot expect more from journalist-cops, but the level to which they can sink in endorsing the psychopathic violence of the police and the state against unarmed people, including children and elderly with no ability to defend themselves, is surprising and repugnant. This behavior by the official media goes against the grain even of what is suggested in reports coming from international organizations and a few Chilean organizations that have understood that human rights is something more than begging for a pension from the state. However, this same press, abject and unctuous, screams hysterically: “terrorism!” when the Mapuche defend themselves or when some autonomous group intends to return fire at a miniscule level and alter the impunity in which these criminals in uniform live, in their despicable work consistently preserving the privileges of a minority by beating, caging, and killing those who dare rise up.
Moreover, in the last days the recent government spokeswoman, Pilar Armanet, has admitted that government attorneys are investigating arms traffic from the metropolitan regions to the so-called “Mapuche conflict zone,” and also the detention of the Basque citizen supposedly involved in the string of bomb attacks in Santiago and the surrounding areas, in which furthermore they are seeking the contacts of Asel Luzuriaga [the detained Basque], with houses visited in the metropolitan region.[More can be found, in Spanish and Euskadi, on http://aselaskatu.org/ and in English on http://thisisourjob.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/basque-compa-framed-for-temuco-bombings-remains-in-preventative-detention/ ]
Nonetheless, at this point of evolution and escalation of the conflictivity by a part of the social movement in $hile, added to an uncertain election in which two factions of capital are disputing for control of the government, it can be asked whether the $hilean state is confronting the defiance of the State, as constituted by the struggle of the Mapuche in their war for liberation and the new urban autonomous libertarian subversion, with the same strategy of yesteryear. The following lines attempt to put in perspective some aspects of this problem, framed by the hypothesis that there is a new subversive defiance to the $hilean state that is currently in full evolution and development and that this can be the seed in a new cycle of confrontation with State and Capital that joins the other attempts that have existed in the history of $hile since the 20th century, which is to say we would be faced with the formation of a new attempt of proletarian attack.
The Fourth Generation War and the Anti-Subversive Strategy of the $hilean State
[trans: the term “fourth generation war” or “conflict” arose in the ‘80s within the strategic publications of the US Marine Corps, in a way presaging the related post-Cold War concept of “asymmetrical warfare” developed, again in the US, a decade later. The idea is that there were three previous generations of warfare, measured by distinct phases in increasing firepower as a replacement for the tactically inefficient increasing manpower (cannon fodder), combined with an increasing mobility for the employment of that firepower. Fourth generation warfare is the arrival at a point when the conflict has become so diffuse and unconventional that the target is not conquest of territory or annihilation of a military force, but the implosion of society or prevention of the same. What this means from our perspective is that after the Cold War, the Washington Consensus and NATO powers consider themselves owners of the entire world, with no external borders in principle, and they must finally recognize that their enemy is society itself, which they must constantly police, and defend against attacks from any sector within it, using innovative and unexpected means, since after all we don’t have recourse to armies or traditional military hardware. In other words, Global Civil War. The military acknowledges that communications media, from news corporations to the internet, play a major and often uncontrollable role in fourth generation conflicts, which are sometimes won or lost without a shot being fired.]
Curiously the first one to associate the groups of masked ones and anarchists with the onset of a fourth generation conflict was the general general José Alejandro Bernales, a known repressor and torturer when he was in charge of police intelligence with the carabineros and today a rehabilitated official saint of democracy, according to an interview given the evening journal La Segunda.
Though fourth generation warfare is a confused concept for political storytellers and military strategists, in general terms one could say it refers to conflicts that arose after the end of the Cold War and the East-West confrontation between the Soviet empire and the US empire. This would give rise to conflicts characterized by the existence of a diffuse enemy of such a form that the theater of military operations is indecipherable. At the same time, it is suggested that the hierarchies at play are not the conventional ones, but rather that they fade into sub-units that are part of a very diffuse organizational fabric. Do we see some similarity here to $hile and the claims by Minister Pérez Yoma excusing the police and the district attorneys for not finding the authors of the bomb attacks, since after all they were dealing with groups that arm themselves for just one attack and then dissolve?
Of course all of this is framed within the so-called asymmetrical conflicts, which is to say, conflicts between a strong actor and a weak one which suggests a type of confrontation in which the weak one eludes the military power of the strong one (the State). For this reason, the social war, subversion and insurrections for example, are characterized by the military strategists of the enemy as internal asymmetrical conflicts. Other characteristics of fourth generation conflicts are as follows:
Information is the principal element in the conflict. According to Colonel Thomas X. Hammes in an article published in the magazine Military Review of the US army, fourth generation conflicts (4GW) have produced a strategic change in warfare, mutating from military campaigns supported by information campaigns into communication campaigns supported by subversive or guerrilla operations. This comes to pass, furthermore, in the context of the passage from mechanical societies to information/electronic societies that could maximize the power of the insurgency. All of this tells us of the enormous importance that the enemy gives to communications, the use of information, and the creation of “public opinion” via the corporate press that back the strategy of the State-Capital complex. Seeing as the preceding is expounded by a high official of the imperial military, I propose taking it seriously.
The references to information and communications also tells us of the worries generated in our enemy by the potentialities of counter-information that circulates outside of the networks controlled by the powers. In this form, the enemy, which is to say the State-Capital complex and its military apparatus, is perfectly conscious that although communication networks and the transformations in the technological apparatus serve to develop the capitalist economy and energize the circulation of merchandise, they are also a tool for subversion of the dominant order and an accessible means for the social war of liberation. The most palpable proof of this situation is the hysterical screaming of [newspaper] El Mercurio against the anticapitalist blogs and web pages that, they claim, coordinate the anti-system groups.
A third characteristic of fourth generation wars is the organizational transformation of the weak enemy (that is, ourselves). Still following the argumentation of Colonel Hammes, the latest insurgencies demonstrate that one isn’t dealing with traditional organizations but rather voluntary coalitions connected by networks. These fourth generation insurgencies, just like their historical antecedents, maintain the common denominator of evading the military strong point of their opponent. It’s difficult at this point not to refer to the words of the ineffable Patricio Rosende [subsecretary of the Interior], who declared himself “fed up” after the last attack against a forestry truck on Mapuche lands and said the culprits “are cowards who act under the cloak of night.” But what did this coarse little servant of power expect? That the Mapuche would attack a police station in the center of Temuco in the full light of day with faces uncovered? These are the terms of bravery and cowardice in which they should wage their war of liberation? What wouldn’t surprise any military, that an insurgency seeks the element of surprise, chooses the appropriate terrain, takes the initiative, generating all the conditions that allow it to apply itself with the maximum of its powers against the weakest part of the enemy formation, evidently surprises and indignifies Señor Rosende. Such stupidity is hilarious.
Last but not least is the aspect related to capitalist globalization, which is that an interconnected world is highly vulnerable to interruptions in the transport chain of raw materials. Thus, commercial matters quickly transform themselves into problems of national security. In this aspect $hile, as a provider of raw materials par excellence, is a paradigmatic example: for example copper and cellulose production have already been affected by strikes by Codelco subcontractors or by attacks coming from the Mapuche insurgency. The potentialities but also the challenges this presents should be considered with the utmost seriousness by the new subversion within the framework of the opening of a new cycle of confrontation with the State.
But the central question is what forms will be taken by the anti-subversive reaction in the near future? We already outlined this in a recent article titled “Prepararse para lo que viene…” [Preparing for what comes], touching on an escalation in the repressive strategy of the State. But this escalation would seem to have mediatic objectives in demonstrating efficiency and responsiveness. It will get complicated once the State commits itself to a comprehensive offensive and the structuration of a strategy that adequately complements its operative intelligence and contextual analysis, which is to say a socio-political analysis. All this against a subversion that is going through a period of growth, evolution, and consolidation that, up to this moment, has been characterized by:
-Being diffuse, not setting up frontlines nor moving in accordance with the principles of militaries or vanguards of the Castro-Guevarist tendency.
-Functioning in a network or with a common horizon, discarding the classical form of a large pyramidal and hierarchical organization.
-Carrying out a confrontation, or at least a subversive defiance, with very low costs. Beyond self-producing its explosives with materials that can be gotten anywhere, not depending on any State or government to support it, nor on any central supply chain.
-Generally, being successful in striking without being struck.
-Having the effect of reproducing and multiplying potentialities, that have yet to be fully deployed, especially in peak moments of social and political conflictivity.
-Extending itself to the provinces and not occurring only in Santiago.
-Potentially being complementary to the liberation war of the Mapuche and to the boom in social protests that are not guided by reformist political parties, which is to say being complementary to social explosiveness.
-Finally, not being a local phenomenon but having a growing international dimension.
Needless to say, the manner in which the near future is confronted will determine the real possibilities of the new subversion to endanger the current order of domination.
[Translated by Porlos from an article in Spanish found on http://www.klinamen.org/
Much more information on the situation in Chile can be found, in Spanish, on
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