I wanted to write this text for many months. It’s been almost a year since Belarusian regime captured and tortured anarchist activists Evgeny Rubashko. We know each other many years, and I feel that it is somehow my responsibility to tell at least some parts of his story, so the world know what an amazing person he is. He is not the only close comrade siting in prison in Belarus right now, and I hope in coming weeks I will find time and energy to write more about the anarchists of Belarus who dared to stand up against the dictatorship despite all the risks.
Today a group of prominent authors and cultural personalities published an open letter to still German chancellor Olaf Scholz, calling him to stop any further delivery of weapons to Ukraine as this can provoke the third world war. This position is not new. In fact, there are a lot of politicians who still believe that their actions can provoke Putin and “force” him into starting the war with NATO countries.
За два года одного из крупнейших социальных кризисов анархисты и левые не смогли выработать никакой стратегии, как с ним бороться. Скромные попытки разработать эти стратегии довольно часто игнорировались большинством активистов или людей, близких к политическим кругам. Многие, хотя и жаловались на социальную изоляцию, наслаждались своим длительным отпуском от активизма. В Германии так называемый “пленарный” активизм, когда люди проводят большую часть своего нерабочего времени, сидя на собраниях, трансформировался в активизм онлайн-собраний. Люди тратили часы на разговоры о том, что нужно сделать, и довольно часто бездействовали: из-за высокой загруженности онлайн-встреч не оставалось времени на реальные действия.
In zwei Jahren einer der größten sozialen Krisen haben Anarchisten und Linke keine Strategie entwickelt, wie sie damit umgehen können. Die wenigen Versuche, solche Strategien zu entwickeln, wurden von den meisten Aktivisten oder Menschen, die den politischen Kreisen nahestehen, oft ignoriert. Viele beklagten sich zwar über die soziale Isolation, genossen aber ihren verlängerten Urlaub vom politischen Aktivismus. In Deutschland wandelte sich der so genannte “Plena”-Aktivismus, bei dem die Menschen den größten Teil ihrer Freizeit in Meetings verbringen, in Online-Meeting-Aktivismus. Die Menschen verbringen täglich viele Stunden damit, darüber zu reden, was getan werden sollte, und scheitern nicht selten daran, etwas zu tun: Wegen der hohen Auslastung der Online-Meetings bleibt keine Zeit, um tatsächlich zu aktiv werden.
In two years of one of the biggest social crisis, anarchists and leftists have failed to have any strategy on how to deal with it. Humble attempts to develop those strategies quite often were ignored by majority of activists or people close to political circles. Many, though complaining about social isolation, enjoyed their prolonged vacation from political activism. In Germany, so-called “plena” activism, where people spend most of their out of work time sitting in meetings, transformed in online meeting activism. People would spend hours and hours per day talking about what should be done and quite frequently fail to act: because of high load of online meetings, there is no time left to actually act.
A couple of days ago, former antifascist prisoner from Belarus Dmitriy Zvanko with a mob attacked anarchist squat Sirena in the center of Warsaw. The gang used bottles, peper spray, bricks and other things to throw out residents of the occupied building.
In recent elections to Duma (Russian parliament) communist party (CPRF) gained 5% and is resting now at 18.93%. It is still far away from Putin’s United Russia, but for a lot of enthusiasts, this can sound like good news. Some might think that ideas of communism are gaining once again and sooner or later Russia will be liberated from capitalism. The story is way more complicated. And shortly – no, Russia is not becoming more communist from electing members of the Communist Party.
Although for most of the German anarchists the anti-germans are not something to talk about, the agenda that was presented by the pro-Israelian movement took roots in anarchist and leftist circles deep. It goes as far as attempts to pass agreements within the anarchist syndicate FAU to put an equal sign between antizionism and antisemitism. And although the push within FAU so far has failed, the anarchist movement is still getting more and more pressure from the pro-Israelian and clearly statist left to distance itself from work with the Palestinian Diaspora. With that happening inside the country, the complicated issue with the topic of Israel is also pouring outside of it. There were troubles within the international syndicalist groups because of member’s support of the BDS movement which is seen by many german leftists as antisemitic.
You might have heard already about “refugee crisis” happening in Lithuania: in last months several thousands of people through forests and swamps crossed belarusian lithuanian border to request asylum in one of the European countries. In fact, the goal of most of the refugees from the Middle East is to move further into the EU as Lithuania with it’s new conservative government is not a friendly place to be for an immigrant (even though a lot of Lithuanians after the country joined the European Union migrated to western countries for economic reasons).
This is a transcript of speech given on 8 May rally in Dresden, Germany.