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Federación Anarquista Uruguaya

(est. 1956 to present)

The FAU was founded in 1956 as a means of joining Uruguay's disparate anarchist organizations into one confederation. Prior to the founding conference, anarchists were present in various labor unions (specifically among bakers and meat packers) ad well as student organizations. Upon founding the FAU, Uruguayan anarchism took a very different direction than other global anarchist movements of the same epoch, which is apparent in the group's main theoretical and strategical contribution, especifismo. The especifista strategy seeks to coalesce anarchist militants into an anarchist-specific organization, where participants will develop a common analysis and common strategy, and then participate on its implementation over a variety of mass fronts. Especifismo was developed as a means to continue a class-based strategy after the era of anarcho-syndicalism had come to the end in the 1930s. The strategy required working within popular organizations, where militants offered an anti-statist and anti-capitalist analysis of existing struggles and demonstrated solidarity with everyday people willing to take on roles as protagonists in confronting oppression. The FAU saw struggle as part of a long process of individual and collective revolutionary transformation, in which anarchist militants shared the responsibility of offering support.

In the late 1960s, especifismo culminated in a strategy of "las dos patas," in which militants operated on two different fronts: an anti-legal armed organization, called the OPR-33, and a mass front organization embedded in labor and student struggles, called the ROE. Both served the role of aiding existing struggles through offering material support, propaganda efforts, and direct action campaigns. The OPR-33 was developed as a way to re-imagine an armed strategy rooted in aiding popular struggle (i.e. kidnapping employers at sites of labor conflict, offering armed security for striking workers, physically confronting strike breakers, etc) in the face of the continent-wide popularity of foco theory, which was modeled on the successful Cuban revolution. The ROE was developed as a means to broaden struggles of workers who were involved in workplace-specific struggles. Through the ROE, students and workers collaborated to offer support for causes that otherwise remained disparate, thus elevating workplace conflict to social conflict.

Federación Anarquista Uruguaya, "Rojo y Negro," Tomo 1-2, Montevideo (Uruguay), 1968

This pamphlet was released shortly after the censorship of the coalition left journal, Epoca (1964-67), in which the FAU participated alongside five other radical left organizations under the editorial lead of Eduardo Galeano. Both editions offer an analysis of broader trends of revolutionary movements throughout Latin America, and attempt to situated the Uruguayan reality within them. These documents also present readers within an understanding of the FAU's (in)famous position of "apoyo critico" for the Cuban revolution. The FAU saw promise in the Cuban revolution as the product of popular upheaval more than just the result of a foco (armed strategy) itself. They support the process of revolutionary transformation that the Cuban people have accepted to undergo, not the Cuban state or the universality of foco strategy. Through exploring the discourse on the Cuban revolution and other anti-imperialist struggles throughout the continent, readers gain an insight into where the FAU situated itself within the Latin American New Left milieu.

Federación Anarquista Uruguaya, "Tiempo de lucha? Tiempo de elecciones?," Montevideo (Uruguay), 1971

National elections in 1971 saw the first participation of a coalition Left party under the Frente Amplio. The coalition, which primarily revolved around the Uruguayan Communist Party and Uruguayan Socialist Party, also saw the inclusion of the MLN-Tupamaros, who agreed to a ceasefire with the state in return for permission to legally participate in the elections. In this document, the FAU offers a critique of abandoning armed struggle in exchange for a legal, electoral route to power. The electoral route eventually resulted in the Frente Amplio gaining less than 10% of the vote and the MLN-Tupamaro leadership being imprisoned, exiled, or disappeared upon laying down their weapons.


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