I felt to sum up what do I mean with “leftist liberal”, “left libertarian, or “conservative anarchist”. This also with the hope to avoid confusions or wrong identifications with self entitled liberals in fact at the core of the cemented conservative right. Or with self indulged leftists serving in fact as right-wingers. There are three sections in this theme. i) A text on theoretical premises of left-liberatarianism and its correspondence with classical anarchist ideology (soon in this page). ii) A brief itinerary on my participation in earlier militant political events and related. iii) A text referring to my own stand on political issues in Sweden.
The picture above was taken today (20/9 2007) by my daughter Caroline while I was writing this text. The place, a coffee joint (furnished with Chippendale!) in central Uppsala looks in fact rather conspiratorial.
Background in brief
I came to Sweden as a political refugee – helped out by Amnesty International – after I have participated 1973 in the uprising against Pinochet’s military takeover and held in captivity as “prisoner of war” at the Camp of Quiriquina Island in Concepción, and also at the Stadium. See details here. After been ousted from the country by decision of General Agustín Toro (commander of the Army Division of Concepción), and directly taken to the airport by the military, I managed to get to Rome where I was a main witness at the Bertrand Russell Tribunal 1974 on the atrocities of the Chilean fascist regime. I became thereafter member of the scientific committee of that Tribunal together with Lelio Basso, Linda Bimbi, the jurist Dedijer and writer Gabriel García Márquez. At the time of the military coup I was professor at the University of Concepción. During my first years in exile in Sweden I headed the Counter intelligence activities of MIR in Northern Europe implemented to neutralize the liquidation by Pinochet agents of oposition members abroad. Later in 1998 I initiated in Norway the legal process for the extradition, detention, and trial of General Augusto Pinochet (see here my article in Brännpunkt, Svenska dagbladet).I am also a co-founder of the Chilean revolutionary movement MIR, and co-author – with Miguel Enríquez and his brother Marco Antonio – of the first “Tesis politico-militar” approved in the foundation of MIR in 1965. Other facts of my political life in the revolutionary years, in Political Biography 1943 – 1973).
To avoid misinterpretations it would be of the case to remind that MIR was under siege both from the Right (including the Christian Democratic Party) but also from the so-called traditional left, particularly the Communist Party. Ultimately, MIR advocated ideologically democratic and humanistic socialism and took for instance the side of the rebels in both the uprisings of Checoslovaquia and Poland against Soviet intervention and political hegemony (see for instance my article of the time “La Rebelión de los Estudiantes Polacos”, in Polémica Universitaria). MIR leadership and founders had unequivocally an intellectual tradition in both classical anarchism and libertarian traditions, progressive liberalism, and also from left formations that actively opposed the hegemonic, undemocratic rule of the Comintern (formerly, communist parties main international bureau). Main ideological actors among these groups were the Trotskyists, which although relatively ideologically strong were of a poor organic influence. MIR was also very sympathetic with the 26 de Julio Movement which originally led the Cuban Revolution, and particularly towards the ideological phalanges of Commander Che Guevara (“socialismo humanista”) which also has been ideologically fought by traditional Communist parties in Latin America, such as in Bolivia, where he ultimately died.
Where do I stand on the issues in Sweden?
In the first place, I have always been on the side of the poor and the oppressed. In fact, I have got 2005, rather close to the eve of my academic livelihood, an international academic award based in the verity that my research has permanently taken up the whereabouts of the less privileged in society, elsewhere in the world.Taking side for the “deprived” is precisely what makes me be against of any policy that – even if not intended – neutralizes basic human capacities of individuals in fighting for a creative role in society. I think that for the most the Swedish Left, and also the nationalistic Miljöpartitet has been deceived in these aspects by a hyper rightist ideology from within. Burn-out (In Sweden called “utbrändhet” or “utmattningsdepression”) is a fashionable diagnose, reported mainly by well situated or upper-class individuals, non medical verifiable and with no proven scientific ground. See here my analysis on the socio-economic and education factor in the reporting of job related stress, based in our research at the Karolinska Institute, and which shows a clear overrepresentation of the privileged in society. Read this Mona Sahlin, Lars Öhlin, Peter Eriksson, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, Sture Nordh!The purported epidemiology of burn-out (utbrändhet, utmattningsdepression) is clearly exaggerated in Sweden with help of administrative prevalence (number of sick leaves which in the main are based in the individuals’ own wishes or report to doctors). Authentic epidemiological prevalence of burn-out (utbrändhet, utmattningsdepression) which can be related the factual amount of individuals truly clinically affected, does not exist in Sweden.
Against the state-induced citizens´ passivity
I do believe in the separation between the individual and the state. Not in the sense of “against” the state but in the sense of “independent” from the state as much as possible. “Together we are strong” still applies, even if we mature away from the notion of maternal State (bidrag-stat) and leave to the state the caring of the nation, not of the individuals. I am against the state-induced civil passivity. The state university, the public service, the guaranty of objective judgment, that is one thing – and which I warmly support. The manipulation in the name of public interest to serve others interests through the detrimental of individual integrity is another thing.I am for Swedish neutrality but I support the cuttings in defence, and at the same time I am for military conscription (värnplikt)
I am for Swedish neutrality and non-alignment (like the socialists and the left proclaim) However, unlike the socialists, I am against a growing Swedish military industry aimed to sell weapons such as now used in mass-killing of people in the Middle East and South Asia. I am against Sweden’s approach to NATO and also against any involvement of so-called Swedish intervention task-forces in Afghanistan – such as both rightist and socialists warmly support and implement.
On Sweden’s defence
On Sweden’s defence, I am for military conscription (värnplikt) and I support the idea that every citizen of all gender and adult age has to learn how to manage weapons in case a military imperialist aggression is perpetrated in the nations’ soil. I also believe that the most effective strategy in defending Sweden against eventual occupations forces is not the one based in JAS-Gripen or super sophisticated and expensive weaponry, but in a political and military resistance in which a partisans’ war of attrition, or guerrilla warfare – consolidated by a high moral of brotherhood among native and immigrant Swedes – should be the main input. The yearly training programs should take this into principal account. Armies should not be exclusively “professional” on the sense of surrogates of people. In fact, only “people in arms” would secure the national commitment. The institution of military conscription (värnplikt) should be instead enhanced – with the main training strategy as described above – to significant increased contingents of men and also women. Every adult group-age should be part of that strategy.
EU, EMU, and the abolition of frontiers
In contrast with the Swedish Vänster, the “far” left, and the almost permanent confused Environment Party (Miljöpartiet), which in alliance with “nationalists” of all kind have opposed every step to a further European integration, I am for EU, and for EMU, and for everything which may entail the diminishing of frontiers, checkpoints, and administrative barriers among the people, the human beings of nations who wish to coexist in creative peace and healthy competition with each other. I warm welcome Turkey to EU, and provided the treatment to minorities would meet at least the standards of democracy as defined by EU. No fundamentalist government should be allowed in the EU and this should be valid even for Denmark in case the supremacist party makes it to power.
Not only a secular atheist
I am not only a secular atheist, but militant against the influence of church and religion in education and science. See my essay Theses on the cultural premises of pseudoscience here. I am for freedom of the press, but against the vulgar, unmannerly initiatives of – misusing that freedom – aimed to insult others faith symbols, like in the Mohamed caricatures issue. See here Making compatibles Freedom of Speech and banning of uttered offences.
I distaste the chauvinist attitudes and apartheid policy of the rulers in Israel, and I am in general a supporter of the Palestinians’ cause. But I am for accepting the existence of a (non belligerent) Israel state, because they are also a nation – as well as the Palestinians are – and I support the civilized formula of the State of Palestine coexisting in peace with the State of Israel. See my writing The one & only reason for recognizing Israel.
I support the free establishment of enterprise and non-state owned cooperatives, and actually I wrote 1979 an essay at the Dept of Philosophy in Stockholm in which I humbly believe I proved Marx was wrong in his contention around Morgan on that private property of means of production did born after society divided in classes. But I am staunchly against monopolies and cartels. And I do not see any difference between the monopoly exercised by the state (Vattenfall, etc) which are supported even by the socialists, and those in private dominion attacked by them (I also think that Marx on the other hand may have still right on various other items in his analyses of both philosophy and the society of his time). As also Bertrand Russell had. Some of those items would be the concept of superstructure and the role of religion. My favourite philosopher is however the Greek Diogenes.)I am for the right of young people and poor students to freely download files from Internet. In fact, I am against the principle of private property of intellectual work. And I am for the fight towards securing the private life of individuals and at the same time enhancing the open society (Item in the Piratpartiet’s manifest of 2006).
And guess what, I am for “invandrare måste lära sig Svenska” (immigrants should/have to learn Swedish) which is according to the Left one of the most reputed “rightist” proclaims in the war of cultural terror against immigrants. This is another brilliant illustration of the Swedish Left paradox. The Left accuses the rightist Folkpartiet of agitating an anti-immigrant parole, and in opposing them, the Left defend the “right” of immigrants of remain ignorant and deprived of the fundamental tool for integration in Society!
Only with arguments of facts.
I favour a political debate only with arguments of facts. I despise personal attacks. If for instance the Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt announces cuttings in the defence budget, my breakfast coffee tastes as a yesterday’s croissant when reading that the oppositional socialists expressed that Reinfeldt “obviously is totally disinterested in a defence strategy for Sweden”. That he or his Finance Minister Anders Borg are not interested in the first place helping the profits of the Swedish Military Industry – which many socialists in fact support – does not make them deprived of interest in a Swedish defence. They just happen to have another strategy on that. Can we not say instead, “I disagree with Reinfelt proposition because of this and that fact, and this is why we have another proposition which is this or that?
On the current criticism of a recently approved Swedish law (due to start enforcement 2009. It will empower a national Defence-Intelligence agency, FRA, with the possibility to access and analyze all electronic-communication traffic, including that of private citizens, for apparent reasons of national security. The legal initiative is said to to infringe the Europe Convention and the UN Bill of Human Rights). Of course I fully support the arguments put forward by some political organizations and several networks in the Swedish blog-sphere (blogs on FRA) in defence of individual integrity, such as the youth organizations of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), Left Party (Vänster), The Pirate Party, Centre Party, the network Liberals against FRA, Black Monday Network (Nätverket Svart Måndag), Stop FRA-law now (here), and FRA-pedia (here).
A leftist-liberal’s personal itinerary
Aged 14, arrested for the first time in a political demonstration
Being a liberal at the age of 14 years, I was at that time arrested by the police in the demonstration against the hard economy package imposed by the right-wing-conservative President Arturo Alessandri against the impoverished working class in Chile. This in benefit of profits by the foreign owning companies of the Chilean copper mining industry “sold” to them by Alessandri. I was taken to the 4th Police Station (Cuarta Comisaría).
I founded the political nucleus “Spartacus”
The cell at the Socialist Party Youth that the year after would receive among others my friends and former school-mates Miguel Enríquez and Bautista Van Schouwen, both heroes of the Resistance against Pinochet.
MIR earliest organizational step. With Miguel Enríquez and BAutista Van Schouwen we found the fraction MSR (Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario). We are in fact only five guys in Concepción and two more in Santiago
We are in fact only five guys aged 18 years each, all early university students in Concepción and two more in Santiago. In Concepción: Miguel Enríquez, Marco Antonio Enríquez (Miguel’s 5 years elder brother), Marcello Ferrada-Noli, Jorge Gutiérrez Correa, and Bautista Van Schowen. In Santiago: Edgardo Enríquez (Miguel’s 2 years elder brother) and Andrés Pascal (nephew of Salvador Allende).Bautista Van Schouwen, Marcello Ferrada-Noli, and Miguel Enríquez. February 1961. At Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, Santiago de Chile.
(photo: personal collection)
I had the great honour of meeting Commander Ernesto Che Guevara in Havana
The meeting took place in the Television Network Building during and after the direct sending of an interview with Fidel Castro on occasion of the new treaties on the sugar export in February 1964. Che Guevara was then Minister of Commerce and present in that interview. Around 14 members of youth organizations from different parts of Latin America at that time spending time in Cuba were taken to both attending the direct transmission and the round-table meeting thereafter, in the same building, headed by Commander Guevara. I am 20 years old. Unforgettable!
We founded MIR (Movement of the Revolutionary Left) at the locals of the Anarchists Association in Santiago
Co-author together with Miguel Enríquez and his brother Marco Antonio of MIR’s first “Tesis Político-Militar” approved at the 1965 Foundation Congress (here).
MIR is from the very beginning fierce opposed by the Communist Party. On the 24th of December 1966, at night (Christmas Eve), I am attacked by a group of militants of the Communist Party from the Poblacion Aguita de la Perdiz while I am walking from my parents’ residence to a publicly announced meeting with homeless students at the university campus. The attack is a set up taking place behind the portals of Av. Aguirre Cerda near the University Campus.
The struggle goes on. Again held at the 4th Police Station (la Cuarta Comisaría de Concepción)
During the massive protests and barricades held during the long strike of the Hospital and Health workers trade unions which addressed to the university students for solidarity actions (Paris 1968 reversed) I lead the “La Vega uprising” and detained after defeat by the Grup Movil, the Special Units created at the Carabineers. Again held at the cells of the 4th police station. No fatal casualties occurred, fortunately, and the process was ultimately upheld under public protest. However, not forgotten by the police (here).1
My first article in Punto Final on the role of the church and the Christian Democratic Party
The student revolt taking the streets of the Western World.
In the leadership of the student union which fought and obtained the University Reform 1968 [together with Luciano Cruz (here)].
Here below my words at the inauguration ceremony of the new elected University Assembly and Council of the “new university”, presided by the rightist conservative Rector David Stichkin. Excerpts of my speech was published by Concepcion’s main newspaper “El Sur” the 6th of August 1968
“The persecutions and harassment, the expulsions without trial, the noise of the beatings, the tears of the bombs, the clashes in the street, the violence of sticks and imprisonment. All fading apparently away. Yet it still shall live deep in the trenches of our memory. It is the price the students had to pay in order to obtain the reform of these structures that begins today”
As leading the alternative left organizations (among them sectors of leftist-liberal scholars and students) which gained control of the happenings around 1968, MIR continued being attacked by both the Rightist and Christian Democratic parties on one hand, and by the Communist Party on the other hand.
The pro-fascist right-wing parties and the Christian Democratic government takes revenge. MIR is declared outlaw. First exile in Europe 1969-1970The only way of retaking control of the universities would be to liquidate the student organizations. MIR is declared outlaw and we had to undergo clandestinely. At that time I have recently been appointed Associate Professor at the University of Concepcion. I am in the list of “The most wanted” which is hanged in all public places. Captured and imprisoned in August 1969. Tortured almost to death in the headquarters of the political police under the direct orders of the Christian Democratic government. I spent time in three detention centres, consecutively, first the 4th Commissary, then the headquarters of the Policía de Investigaciones (secction Policía Política), and lastly at the County Prison (La Cárcel Pública de Concepción). In the photo below I am taken to the 4th Police Station. I went to exile for the first time, this time going back to Rome but also staying in London and Oslo, and briefly in Stockholm (July 1970).
Militants of the Communist Party gunned down MIR student Arnoldo Ríos
Salvador Allende is elected president September 1970. He immediately signed an amnesty decree regarding the MIR militants in the list mentioned above. I return to Chile. The Communist Party (CP) forms part of the government coalition, but not MIR. MIR organizes thou the personal escort of President Allende which in a first period is integrated by MIR cadres. The opposition to Allende increases and a failed military putsch MIR together with a series of political assassinations heightened MIR’s alert which begin to prepare for the military confrontation in case the coup will succeed next time. The parties in the Unidad Popular coalition (Allende’s) minimize MIR’s demands for strength in the popular reforms and preparation for the inevitable. The Communist Party instead tries through “opening for talks” to approach to the coalition the Christian Democratic Party. This party put forward several political demands that in fact disarm Allende’s supporters even more. The CP and others parties of Allende’s coalition give more and more positions in the hope it will please the opposition. In fact, as MIR later probed to Allende with its Intelligence organization (a “heritage” from MIR’s clandestine period) that the Christian Democratic Party was part of the generals’ plot and the promises to talks with the UP was just a cover to disarm the Left and gain time while the details of the coup were finished. MIR strongly criticizes the “pacific” and “hyper reformist” strategy of the CP. In Concepción, practically MIR’s city of birth, militants of the Communist Party alien to the University open fire against MIR students inside the university campus. Arnoldo Ríos is killed. I had become Full Professor at the university and being elected by my peers in the leadership of the Academic organization (the union). At the same time in clandestine work within MIR organization committee.
Leftist Liberal theses in manual form
While being invited professor at the University of Nuevo León in Mexico, I published there my book Teoría y Método de la Concientización.
President Salvador Allende is killed. See the commemoration of the 100 anniversary of Allende’s birthday in my genetic-historical city of Noli, in the Italian Liguria, here.
1973, September 11th See here: My personal testimony of the military coup on September 11th, 1973
1973-74 The aftermath
At Pinochet’s prisoner camp in Quiriquina Island
Click in photos below to enlarge
1975-77 In MIR activities in Sweden
Here with Julio Numhauser (nowadays Culture Attache at the Chilean Embassy in Sweden). I am depicted at the right
I leave MIR
Miguel Enríquez died in combat 1975. One and a half-year after the new leadership of MIR profiles a new political strategy to be discussed by its militants and organizations. In the main, MIR would favor an anti-junta coalition this time including the Communist Party and even the Christian Democratic Party from which the military junta had gradually taken distance from. The discussion was deep and intense. At the second day it was taken a vote of the proposition among the delegates to the Conference. The proposition above put forward by the new MIR leadership won by a vast majority. In fact with only one vote against: mine. I left the Conference and I left MIR, the organization I helped to create back in 1965 at the locals of the Anarchists Association in Santiago. I participated in given MIR its first “Tesis Político-Militar”, the name, and the flag.
I dedicate my doctoral thesis at the Karolinska Institute to friends Miguel Enríquez and Bautista Van Schuowen, and to all which died in combat or were assassinated in Pinochet’s prisons amid their heroic struggle for their noble cause.
La Vendetta see here
Academic distinction in Havana, Cuba
Prof. Dr. Jorge González Pérez is the Rector of the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana. He is equally world-known as the forensic expert which went to Bolivia and was able to identify the rests of Commander Ernesto Che Guevara, assassinated under captivity by orders of the CIA. He also took the rests of Commander Che Guevara back home. For his meritorious academic stand, but also because Dr. Jorge González Pérez is the revolucionario he is, I took great honour in receiving this distinction. The motivation read: “For his academic commitment on behalf of the poor people of the world”.
With regard to the mission of training doctors and medical professionals, the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana (ISCM) is the equivalent of the Karolinska Institute among the universities in Sweden. In other words, ISCM is the Medical University of Cuba. The Medical Faculty of the Institute has the name Dr. Miguel Enríquez, in honour of this hero of the Chilean Resistance against Pinochet, and the main architect in the foundation of MIR.