21 Juillet 2014
Here is a letter from a friend anarchist (located in Kiev). This is supposed to be a response to the article published in March Crimethinc about the Ukrainian revolution and those who proclaim eagerly that the Ukrainian revolution is only a matter of extreme right. Note 325.nostate.net]
I write from the Ukraine. I was very much involved in the riots Maidan and various anarchist initiatives during this period. I would like to make several points that I think are important for better able to enjoy the events. In general, I agree with your hypothesis, but I want to highlight a few details that show that the situation is less black.
For starters, nationalists and fascists have only taken the lead in fighting the media image of Maidan. They have no real control over the activities of the rebels, but they were able to control the scene Maidan and attract media fascination.
The fascists of the "Sector Law" (Pravyï sektor) and other organizations controlled only their own members. And it is worth noting that their organizational structures were not very hierarchical: groups among them were decentralized.
Some of their members had only a vague knowledge of the values of the extreme right and their supporters only because they were the "most radical" strength. Dmytro Jarosh, leader of the "Sector Law" was more a media figure, a spokesman, that their true Führer. Now, the "right area" has practically disappeared from public discourse. When the authorities murdered Oleksanr Muzychko, a commander of the "right area" in the western region of Ukraine, and after several other provocations, they disintegrated and became a fictitious "monstrous fascism" of the Russian propaganda.
The real danger for anarchists was the neo-Nazi group "C14" - young activists Svoboda party. This group hardly exercised political hegemony over other rebels who did not support (the Svoboda party had really lost a lot of support because of their political opportunist during the uprising), but they know the antifascists and anarchists Kiev and they know their faces, because it clashed with them a lot before Maidan. This group is not very large (100 to 200), but is well organized and better equipped than us. We have not been able to form an anarchist "Centuria" because of their pressure. And for the defense of the occupation of the Ministry of Education, they were by far the biggest threat to us.
I spoke with dozens of other rebellious and often they are very interested in talking about anarchism. Most of them did not believe in political parties and fighting, as they usually say, "against the police, against the authorities and against corruption. "
Personally, I consider self-organization and solidarity among the rebels beautiful, as an expression of "popular anarchism" practice, even if it was misunderstood.
Because the consequences of Maidan and considering the claims of the rebels, the political impact of the uprising is not nationalist, but liberal. The dominant part of the rebels spoke of a "better state (social state) without corrupt bureaucracy, with a font that supports our security and with an army that protects us against invasions, etc.. ". In his last speech, the new president promised to decentralize all authorities and granting more rights and resources to local communities. And I'm afraid that this deceitful "soft policy" stifle the mood of revolt for another decade. At the same time, political elites do not seem to understand. They pursue corruption and vote brutal neoliberal reforms.
The majority of people have decided to give credit to the new authorities. The degree of radicalism fell. People believe they can compromise with them now and practice in general tactics of sit-ins and other legal forms of protest. The effectiveness of these tactics is not very big, so I hope this will push people to become more radical.
And I believe that nationalist rhetoric about Maidan was artificial. Ukrainian flag and the slogan "Slava Ukraini" (The Honor of Ukraine) in a sense lost their state symbolism. During this period, they were symbols of revolt. But then after the beginning of the war, a strong reaction shook society. It was a shock, people did not know what to do about the invasion of the Russian army in the Crimea and therefore placed their trust in the army and the new authorities (parliament consists mainly of parties center-right and neo-liberals). Today, patriotism and nationalism currents expressed by russophobie and support for the war of the Ukrainian army, but not in support of the authorities and a strong state. There was a time before the election of the new president when people believed that perhaps Poroshenko could restore stability. Thus the majority who voted for him warranted. But it seems to me that the official institutions and their representatives are losing support every day.
Then, there was in fact no "centuries of fighting with a strict hierarchy and command." Self-defense forces consisted of about 40 centuries in Maidan. And only a dozen of these centuries were nationalist or fascist.
Other centuries were based on regional affiliation (eg, the century of Lviv) Community (centurie the veterans of Afghanistan). There was, moreover, not only "militant" centuries who appropriated the name "Centuria". There was for example the "Centurie Arts", which made decisions by consensus (it was heavily influenced by anarchists). I think the real strength who fought against the police during clashes in the street Grushevskogo Instytutska and consisted of thousands of autonomous groups. 3 to 10 buddies used to fight against the police, without any form of organizational membership. I personally participated in clashes with just a group of friends who were not anarchists! (At this time, I did not participate in a peer group, and all my fellow anarchists were absent). In addition, the centuries were not made up of 100 people. Before fighting the Instytutska street, most of the "centuries" involved 20 to 40 people. People simply leave their centuries when they were bored. There was a funny moment during the occupation of the Ministry of Education (the defense of the occupation was mainly by anarchists). Two guys joined us in saying that "they had left their centurie because they had nothing to do, and it seemed to them that the defense of this place was more eventful. "The combination of active rebels was very dynamic, and not uniform or unified.
Third, after clashes Instytutska the street, Maidan has finally spread to all areas of Kiev, and most cities and even villages of Ukraine. People are self-organized local self-defense forces to fight against the police, others have formed "titushkas" (pro-government militants). We (anarchists) have understood the need to decentralize and distribute protests in all parts of the city and the country, but due to a lack of experience of direct action, we have not been able to give impetus to this tactic. People came intuitively that after the government blocked the subway, paralyzing transport in Kiev. The unprecedented violence of the street Instytutska was so terrible that encouraged high school students, armed with sticks of wood or metal, the villages of central Ukraine to load to stop busloads of "titushkas."
These local self-defense forces are more or less active today. They fight against such developers. I think the tactic to bring the battle in the quiet neighborhoods and block transport and other infrastructure in cities could be successful in the uprisings to come.
To summarize, I think the right-wing organizations are likely to capitalize on the uprising that is fertile ground for anarchism, but they must evolve and adapt to this new scenario. They will have to make serious efforts in order to remain present. They can not completely absorb the revolt from below. So I think that the situation is not so bad for anarchists. I encourage anarchist groups to participate in the heart of the uprisings, not only by offering more radical forms of direct action, but also outlining a truly radical political perspective. The best place to agitation, are the barricades. We must also cause drastic changes. We need to open new spaces beyond what is allowed. The first molotov cocktails in the history of independent Ukraine have changed a lot. For example, the fact that the cops and politicians are no longer invulnerable in Ukraine. What next? We must break the prohibition to touch private property. We must not wait for the creation of a "great movement of workers" as my fellow trade unionists do, or seek media attention or approval of liberal friends (as many of us did), we must fight the state and reactionary now.
The attention of the Ukrainian company now focuses on the war in the east. The battalions of volunteers are the most remarkable phenomenon. The best known is called "Donbas". His commanders defined as "a network of patriots." Several videos, they showed a more or less critical position, but liberal. There is also the battalion "Azov", composed of neo-Nazis (though the media did not mention anything at all in relation to their ideology). Other battalions have no political specificity. I can not tell you much about the state of affairs in the East, because I do not go there. My information comes from open and official media. If you have any questions in relation to the pro-Russian camp in the conflict, its leaders are extreme right, there is no doubt. Often, their rhetoric is packed with imperialism and Russian chauvinism, racism, homophobia and religious fundamentalism. Their fascism is wrong. It is simply a product of the Soviet mythology of the Second World War. Yes, there certainly are people who believe they are fighting for their freedom against the true fascism and not for Putin, but they are not represented in the political discourse.
Many anarchists have joined the battalions of volunteers. I do not think it was the best decision, but I can understand. The lack of activities and perspectives visible in Kiev, combined with a real hope of resistance, push to go to war. I do not think they will become nationalistic or something like that, I'm sure they will strive constantly to unrest among the soldiers to explain what anarchism.
New experiences are likely to be very useful for companions who are not gone.
It is difficult to predict the end of the story. But there is no reason to despair. The new authorities are losing their legitimacy. And there are also a lot of unrest in the army. The poor living conditions in the camps of soldiers and killing stupid administration create an atmosphere of desertion within it. Rising prices, budget cuts and the recession can cause a major crisis in Ukraine. I think for the anarchists, the only acceptable perspective, this is a second wave of revolution. There is no other way that the revolution in our region. Ukrainian anarchists should inspire Russian and Belarusian companions to revolt. It is only together that we will destroy capitalism in our region and in the world.