What did Zhlobitsky recall?
We live in a world where an endless stream of information and constant updates in news feeds force out even the most important events of the recent past.
However among the events there are those which can not be allowed to fade. One of them occured on October 31, 2018. Anarchist Mikhail Zhlobitsky committed an act of retaliation by activating an explosive device in the building of the FSB Directorate in Arkhangelsk. It was the act of self-sacrifice — Mikhail Zhlobitsky died.
He left a note stating that this brave step was motivated by the atrocities of the security forces against the anarchists they had arrested.
What is the ethical and vital meaning of the attack of Mikhail Zhlobitsky on the executioners? If every action is a statement, what did Michael say to us, consciously going to certain death? What did he remind us about?
First of all, about self-sacrifice and its meaning. You don’t really think about it when such things occur somewhere far away from you. But when the bomb is in the hands of your compatriot, your like-minded person, with whom you could even be acquainted, these thoughts catch up with you along with a storm of emotions. What is self-sacrifice and what for do we need it?
I. Do not be a slave
Self-sacrifice it is not only about death
You can sacrifice not only your life, but also many things in life: hobbies and habits, comfort and safety, the opportunity to see relatives and friends or the opportunity to visit their places of origin, etc.
None of us is a masochist. We are happy to minimize all sacrifices. But there are inexorable laws of human life. The simplest of them says that in order to achieve something, you almost always need to sacrifice something. At least, time and effort. Another law is much more serious...
A person who avoids suffering at all costs is doomed to be a slave. This idea is not new, but it rarely stays in our minds. In fact, everything is obvious here. The rulers and owners always offer people a certain amount of peace and security in exchange for submission and loyalty.
In the case of disobedience, the oppressors threaten persecution or violence. So those for whom comfort and personal integrity are always in the first place and can not be sacrificed are doomed to be submitted and kneeled. Today the process of submission is softened by etiquette of official communication and access to all kinds of entertainment but it is still a process of submission.
But those who are ready to deny these baits for the sake of dignity have a chance to win freedom. But there is no chance to sit in the “safe haven”, to avoid deprivation and threats and be free. That is not just a words and you realize it when explosions thunder in the FSB offices.
You understand that it is time either to run aside, having issued a squeak of submission to those who are in power or to fight and sacrfice. If you made a decision to fight you have to gain and maintain the ability to sacrifice both small sticky pleasures, and truly important, deep and dear to us personally things if it is neccesarry for struggle. Finally, overcoming the fear of torture, pain, prison — is the way that everyone has to go in order to get free.
II. Without self-sacrifice you cannot change the world
Self-sacrifice is about death as well
In the modern world of “human playing”, where everything is for fun, people rarely sacrifice their lives for the sake of ideals. After all, life today is understood as a ticket for the continuation of the banquet, the continuation of the holiday; chance for new fun and enjoyment. Therefore, life becomes “the most expensive” — becomes something that is guarded by all means.
Revolutionaries see life differently. We believe that life makes sense only if it embodies the highest values, which include freedom and equality. As for us, a person must live according to his conscience and in accordance with his true ideals and beliefs. Even if it brings suffering and can cost life.
It is obvious that an uncompromising struggle against the system will inevitably cause violence on its part. And you must realize that you could suffer and even die. This probability is not small at all. One may oppose this comparison: «The one thing is to fight and another thing is to commit a suicide». Yes, putting yourself in mortal danger and consciously sacrificing yourself are very different things. But they have a very important thing in common — the readiness to reject their personal life for the sake of values that give meaning to life.
Yes, thoughts about death are terrible. Moreover, anarchism is not historically religious, so most of us do not expect paradise after death. In addition, some of our contemporaries like to present anarchism as an exceptionally peaceful worldview. The task of anarchism is to achieve a free and fair life. However, this is often falsely mixed with the desire for a comfortable, “trouble-free” life in Utopia, on the way to which it is desirable to avoid any kind of suffering.
This is a fatal distortion. Being applied to anarchism, it completely deprives anarchism of its heroic, adversary spirit, which is an integral part of its essence.
Heroes are immortal
The partisan attack by Mikhail Zhlobitsky is a significant event. For years it will sound louder or quieter, like background theme, accompanying any anarchist activity in Russia. So, what kind of sound it will be, a sound of a curse or a sound of a blessing?
Mikhail’s action won’t be forgotten. The explosion in Arkhangelsk sounded as a bitter reproach and as a call to fight. This call will not let go and will not give peace to any honest revolutionary heart that has not been devoured by the rust of fear.
Liberty or death!
Long live the revolution!