As a child, I was fascinated by the people of the High Plains; the horse herders, the Native Americans who once inhabited the area where I grew up. This meant, specifically, the Comanches. It was in studying about the Comanches that I first encountered Anarchist principles, as many of the writers frequently commented on the anarchistic aspects of Comanche social structures.
Once part of the Vast Shoshone nation, the Comanches split from the main body of their people to take up a more nomadic life on the high plains. At first, this was to escape persecution from more hostile people, but later they stayed and extended their range due to their incredibly huge herds of horses.
They had once been a small band, and as such, they were very accepting of one another’s differences. Rather than shun those who were different, they were given special roles and privileges within the tribes.
As they prospered in the High Plains region, there were times when it was necessary to split up, small bands going their separate ways in search of food, water or a place to spend the winter. Usually, a reunion was planned at a certain time in the future, like the Spring or Fall equinox. Sometimes, there were conflicts within the community, which would lead to someone leaving. Depending on the situation, their family would accompany them. If not, then their closest friends would go along rather than let their friends wander about alone. During difficult times, like a continuing conflict with a neighboring tribe, such splits were dangerous for the survival of the whole tribe. Rather than risk everyone’s lives, every effort would be made to reach some sort of resolution so that everyone could stay together.
When external conflicts arose and decisive action was needed, there would be a council, wherein all the members of the tribe would meet with others of the same station (women with children, young women, young men, elders of either sex, and the acknowledged leaders of the bands). After discussion within the various groups, there would be a gathering of everyone (except for children, who would be left to themselves, the older children looking after the younger ones), where the more able speakers of the different sub-groups would state their views, then there would be discussion by the “leaders” of the tribe. They would eventually come up with some sort of resolution and – if necessary – elect or appoint certain people to see to it that the task at hand was carried out.
Any elected or appointed “leader” had the disposal of all the groups resources and the expected co-operation of all its members. His authority was limited only to the task he was assigned, and when it was completed, he no longer held any sort of authority, though a successful outcome usually meant he was given greater respect by the entire tribe.
It was in reading about the social structures of the Comanche indians that I learned about anarchist ideas and how an anarchist society could function in the real world. This is still my inspiration for agitating for revolution – to create the space that will enable societies like this to once again flourish in this world.
The previous was the attempted re-creation of a brief essay that appeared in IMMINENT STRIKE #4 (1992)
In September 1936, after the liberation of Aragon from Franco’s forces, Durruti was interviewed by Pierre van Paasen of the Toronto Star. In this interview he gives his views on Fascism, government and social revolution despite the fact that his remarks have only been reported in English-and were never actually written down by him in his native Spanish-they are worth repeating here.
“For us”, said Durruti, “it is a matter of crushing Fascism once and for all. Yes; and in spite of the Government”.
“No government in the world fights Fascism to the death. When the bourgeoisie sees power slipping from its grasp, it has recourse to Fascism to maintain itself. The Liberal Government of Spain could have rendered the Fascist elements powerless long ago. Instead it compromised and dallied. Even now at this moment, there are men in this Government who want to go easy on the rebels.”
And here Durruti laughed. “You can never tell, you know, the present Government might yet need these rebellious forces to crush the workers’ movement . . .”
“We know what we want. To us it means nothing that there is a Soviet Union somewhere in the world, for the sake of whose peace and tranquillity the workers of Germany and China were sacrificed to Fascist barbarians by Stalin. We want revolution here in Spain, right now, not maybe after the next European war. We are giving Hitler and Mussolini far more worry with our revolution than the whole Red Army of Russia. We are setting an example to the German and Italian working class on how to deal with Fascism.”
“I do not expect any help for a libertarian revolution from any Government in the world. . . . We expect no help, not even from our own Government, in the last analysis.”
“But”, interjected van Paasen, “You will be sitting on a pile of ruins.”
Durruti answered: “We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall. We will know how to accommodate ourselves for a time. For, you must not forget, we can also build. It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.”
– reposted in its entirety, from Durruti’s interview with Pierre van Paasen
my bio from Igniting a Revolution
Rob los Ricos, was born in the Texas Panhandle on the eve of the 1960’s. By the righteous (r)age of twelve, Rob began to work with various revolutionary organizations. He eventually left Pampa for the streets of Dallas, Texas, where he joined CISPES (the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), worked with ACT UP, and KNON-FM, a people’s radio station where he served as program director. In the early 90s, as Rob Thaxton began to fade into a memory, Rob los Ricos relocated to Austin, Texas, to engage in anarcho-specific activity such as Food not Bombs and Earth First!. In the late 90s, he lived in Portland, Oregon where he worked with an anarchist info shop.
On June 16, 1999, Rob Los Ricos traveled to Eugene, Oregon to attend an anarchist conference and a Reclaim the Streets festival. Arrested by police during a June 18 Reclaim the Streets demonstration-turned-police riot, Rob was accused of throwing a rock at a cop, and was subsequently beaten by police. He was ultimately charged with rioting, first degree assault, and second degree assault. Used as a Latino, out-of-towner, anarchist scapegoat example of what can happen to those who dare to rebel, Rob was given a nearly 8 year prison sentence.