Mexico: 50 anarchist groups “at war” with State and capital

This translated article by investigative magazine Contralinea, originally submitted to US anarchist site It’s Going Down, looks at the rise of insurrectionist anarchism in Mexico over the last few years. All footnotes by the translator.

In Mexico there is an ongoing anarchist insurrection with 50 groups and cells at war with the State and capital. The seriousness of the “black threat” has caused the National Risk Agenda [1] to give it priority attention, ahead of the red guerrillas[2], with only drug trafficking and social uprisings given a higher priority.

Let the night illuminate and rock the city; let the roar awaken the powerful in their bondage. May the sound of bullets stir the repressive arms; and shake their civil and financial temples. The Revolution is today and will not wait for the masses to organise. It is the contagious fever of the insurrectionist clandestine anarchist. It spreads, celebrates, between readings, debates, concerts; and conspires night after night.

In the first four years of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term, this anarchist insurrection has continued to materialise with at least 40 “violent direct actions” against government offices, banks, malls, major projects, and interests of big business: armed clashes, attacks, explosions, fires, sabotage, destruction, and boycotts. And due to the “politics of national security,” these insurrectionary acts are not usually divulged to the media. Of the 50 groups, only those which have publicly claimed acts are known.

The effervescence of the clandestine insurrectionist anarchist movement has not gone unnoticed by the intelligence and security organisations of the Mexican State. Today, the anarchist threat occupies a high degree of attention in the intelligence community, only coming in behind the drug trade and social movements, according to the National Risk Agenda of 2015, documented by a “confidential” actor who works at the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN).

In the last eight years, almost 50 anarchist groups of the insurrectionist tendency have done more than 220 direct actions against the interests of capital and the state. The count is contained in the case file Acciones de grupos autodenominados anarquistas, insurreccionalistas, eco extremistas y/o eco terroristas, created by the civil intelligence organisation of the Mexican state, CISEN.

The 2013, 2014, and 2015 versions of the National Risk Agenda, to which Contralínea had access, also took note of the emerging anarchist threat preoccupying the intelligence community, whose job it is to feed products for consumption to the Armed Forces and the civil organisations of national security. According to these confidential documents it is recognised by the intelligence community that authorities do not currently have a “consistent inter-institutional scheme to address the subject.”

According to the report, produced by CISEN from internal information and intelligence from other governmental agencies which make up the National Security Council, the actions of insurrectionist anarchists “are becoming increasingly violent.” In the “General Diagnostic” of the chapter dedicated to anarchism, it also notes a “radicalisation of actions from anarchist direct action cells.” According to the document, in the face of the anarchist insurrection, the biggest known vulnerability of the Mexican State is “due to the lack of physical protection at strategic facilities.” The risk grade assigned to this “vulnerability” is “high.”

The insurgents

Although the document identifies “306 actions” committed by 74 organisations between the March 26th 2008 and the July 22nd 2015, they are not all the work of anarchists. Around 220 have been carried out by anarchists and their insurrectionist stripe, 40 so far during the six-year term of Enrique Peña Nieto. Another 82 actions committed by 26 groups are actually the work of eco-terrorists or eco-extremists. In addition, four have been claimed by two fascist groups.

The document does not establish whether or not all the groups or actions, as can be inferred, are committed by cells of larger organisations that in other attacks have used different names.

In the past eight years the most active insurrectionist anarchist groups have been, according to the document prepared by CISEN: the Earth Liberation Front, with 52 direct actions, The Animal Liberation Front, with 44; The Autonomous Cells of Immediate Revolution Práxedis G Guerrero (CARI-PGG), with 32; the Informal Anarchist Federation with 30; and among others the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, with 12.

As a group, the CARI-PGG were disbanded in November 2013. However they remained active for almost five years. As stated in a 2016 communiqué, those who joined them stopped acting as CARI-PGG but individually and as other groups, continuing the insurrectionist anarchist attacks and direct actions.

Some of the actions in this anarchist tendency have been carried out in coordinated attacks by two or more groups. Mexico City has experienced the highest number of attacks: 91. Other states with more than 10 direct actions committed by insurrectionist anarchists from 2008 to date are The State of Mexico [3], and Jalisco, with 16. Between one and nine direct actions have occurred in Oaxaca, Baja California, Guanajuato, Veracruz, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Quintana Roo, Chihuahua, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Tlaxcala y Puebla.

Attacks against universities and research centres

In a response to Contralínea, CISEN emphasised that “the term anarchist is not specified in current Mexican legislation. It also says that the agency “does not attribute the claim of attacks to any individual or group identified by their ideology.”

The institute for protecting national security persecutes “violent groups.” “It is the objective of any authority to contain violent acts, a situation unrelated to ideologies.” This is what they highlighted in the response to the request for public information. But, in the National Risk Agenda anarchism is denounced in general, even those anarchists who don’t claim to be of the insurrectionist tendency. In the section about the “vulnerabilities” of the Mexican state, they highlight “the lack of a legal framework to limit the organising of anarchist groups.” This consideration denotes a “medium” level of risk. Anarchist organising of any type is now under the magnifying glass of national security.

In addition, the document considers groups as anarchists that aren’t anarchist — and are even opposed to anarchism, such as Individualists Tending towards the Wild (ITS) [4]. This organisation has claimed the assassination of administrative workers, scientists and attacks against the university and centers of study.

However, the Agenda points out that: “anarchist cells slowly increase their levels of radicalism, particularly that of ITS, which has threatened attacks against human objectives.”

Even attacks by insurrectionist anarchists are not distinguished from those attributed to other post-modern groups like ITS and other related groups that have claimed to be anti-civilisation, like Wild Reaction. [5]

There are also examples of fascist or neo-Nazi organizations, like Tenochtitlan Salvation Front and its Secret Organisation of Leaders of Tenochtitlan who say they are trying to restore the “sacred” “Aztec nation” and “put in power” those who would “guarantee the protection of the natural rights of the human species”.

Overall, for the military and the intelligence communities, all of these groups are “anarchists” and labelled as such. And in the General Diagnosis it is highlighted that “attacks against banks, institutions and individuals linked to research centers and direct actions against human targets with terrorist links are to be expected.”

It also states that “members of anarchist groups operate together as attack groups during social moblisations.” Among the “risk scenarios” envisioned by the National Risk Agenda they point out the “possibility of direct actions with high impact: bombings and explosions against human targets, and the expansion of anarchist groups due to the lack of a legal framework to coordinate against specific anarchistic threats.” This situation leads to another, equally considered “risk scenario”: the “negative impact on perception of the citizen security brought on by the reactivation of (anarchist) groups.”

A coming strike against the anarchists

In regards to the “capacities” of government entities to confront these insurrectionist anarchists, the National Risk Agenda highlights “inter-institutional intelligence work: Sedena, Semar, Segob, in the zones of (anarchist) attacks” (sic).

Among the “recommendations” of the National Security Council contained in the National Risk Agenda are: “strengthening the inter-institutional scheme to address (anarchism)”, as well as the “relaunching of operative groups within CISEN focused on specific objectives” (sic).

The operating groups are, in the words of the intelligence services, those who are in charge of specific special missions: for example, covert actions, follow-ups, infiltrations, for home invasion or that of an institution for surveillance. In some countries the operational groups are tasked with the elimination of those who make “attempts” against the “security” of the State.

Insurrection in the middle of the country

The National Risk Agenda recognises the presence of anarchist “direct action” cells in five regions of the republic: Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Oaxaca and Baja California. In the first three regions mentioned there are anarchist collectives. In Oaxaca anarchists are found in State capital and in the fringes of the Central Valley, Sierra Norte and Sierra Sur. In Baja California they are listed as being in the city of Mexicali. However among the list of direct actions by insurrectionist anarchists presented by CISEN, 17 of the 32 regions of the Republic are counted: Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Baja California, Guanajuanto, Veracruz, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Quintana Roo, Chihuahua, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Tlaxcala and Puebla.

National security: The rise of anarchism

Up until the 2013 version of the National Risk Agenda, anarchism has been considered one of the top 10 immediate issues for national security, and was then raised to fifth, ranking it as a form of guerrilla warfare. This places them in the company of armed movements such as the Zapatistas (EZLN), el Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (ERPI), el Ejército Popular Revolucionario (EPR) and, among others, the Tendencia Democrática Revolucionaria-Ejército del Pueblo (TDR-EP). All these appear together with insurrectionist anarchist cells in a single chapter of the confidential document at the hands of the Interior Secretary in charge of CISEN.

In 2014 anarchism was assigned an independent section and put into fourth place — the guerrilla movements remained in fifth. Then last year the National Risk Agenda, due to insurrectionists’ actions, bumped the anarchist threat level to third priority for civilian and military institutions in charge of defense and national security: Sedena, Semar, the CISEN, the Segob, the PGR, and among others, the Federal Police. The anarchist insurrection increased in focus, while the red guerrilla groups’ priority level fell dramatically.

From boycott to armed confrontation

According to the information collected by Contralínea – from libertarian distribution portals, among which Contrainfo stands out – insurrectionist anarchist groups and cells performed more than 20 direct actions against specific targets between May 2015 and September 2016. The actions ranged from boycotts to armed confrontations. The spectrum of acts include sabotage, attacks, placement of fake bombs, detonation of explosives and fires. These are only the direct actions that are documented. The real number is difficult to project because not all acts are claimed. Generally, the police don’t tell the media of possible insurrectionist anarchist attacks.

The most recent coordinated attacks were the work of Grupo Autónomo de Sabotaje Salvador Olmos García. On July 3rd, they setup and detonated an explosive-incendiary packages at the headquarters of three of the main Mexican business organisations.

Salvador Olmos García is the name of a young anarchist, organiser of indigenous neighborhoods, punk singer, lawyer and local journalist who was assassinated by police in Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, on June 28th. Olmos had been apprehended by police earlier that day, when he had responded to a call by the community radio Tuun Ñuu Savi to help defend the space from police eviction. Chava was arrested by a police patrol and beaten. This event caused activist groups all over the state, and even, several entities throughout the Republic to react and five days later came the attack on high-level agencies.

The Contrainfo website has reported attacks against the Ciudad de México del Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE), the Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana (Coparmex) and the Cámara Nacional de la Industria de la Transformación (Canacintra). In all:

There is no possible solution for the oppressed within the margins of their institutions, without the uncompromising struggle against capital and the State, that makes possible a scenario open to general insurrection [and] that establishes a dialect of spontaneity and organization, social peace in the Mexican region and throughout the globe.

Death to the State and Capital!

Freedom for all poltical prisoners!

For Anarchy!

“Grupo Autónomo de Sabotaje Salvador Olmos García”


[1] CISEN (Center for Research and National Security) is a Méxican intelligence agency. The Agenda is a part of CISEN that “identifies risks and threats to National Security” http://www.cisen.gob.mx/ingles/NatRiskAgenda.html & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_de_Investigación

[2] An incomplete list, but provides a general idea of who these “red guerrillas” are in contrast to the poorly chosen name https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_guerrilla_movements#Mexico

[3] The State of México is one of 32 Federal entities of the México https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Mexico

[4] ITS, https://anarchistnews.org/tags/its

[5] Wild Reaction, https://anarchistnews.org/tags/wild-reaction