Briefly about the revolutionary anarchists of Ukraine
Soviet propaganda has been very successful in instilling in people the myth that anarchists are drunks and hooligans whose ideas preach chaos. Proponents of anarchist ideas were exterminated in prisons. However, we can now see the anarchist movement begin to recover and develop.
Who are the anarchists?
Anarchists are a movement that fights for a society built on direct democracy.
We criticize the current political system as inefficient and harmful. The situation is constantly the same in elections — no matter which candidate wins, the socio-economic situation does not change. And this is because representative democracy is a complete failure in terms of people’s control over power, which allows officials to speculate on their powers to promote their own or sponsorship interests. The average citizen cannot influence the decision-making process, even those that directly affect him. Although we are constantly paying taxes, we cannot regulate which areas our money will be spent on. It is clear that such a political system cannot be considered fair.
Anarchists, in turn, offer it an alternative in the form of the institution of direct democracy. This is a very powerful tool that allows people to directly influence all decisions that concern them. Decisions are made using the delegation tool. That is, a delegate is chosen to solve a specific problem, and society gives him recommendations on how he would like to see the end result. The community also reserves the right to recall and replace him at any time. In this way it is possible to transfer full control of power into the hands of the people. And thanks to the development of information technology, most decisions can now be made directly through collective discussion. The Internet is already a powerful tool for coordinating the actions of thousands of people.
Anarchists pay great attention to solving economic problems. For them, freedom is not an abstract right to do what you want. It would be highly hypocritical to say that a person who dies of thirst in the desert has the right to drink water. Freedom is directly related to a person’s economic opportunities. That is why anarchists aim to create an economic system that gives everyone the opportunity to develop and get what they need. Ubiquitous poverty can easily be explained by the problems of the economic system. There are two key problems: the first is that all production is not focused on the real needs of society, but on purchasing power. For example, a large number of the poor need housing but cannot afford it, so it is more profitable for builders to build expensive housing for the rich who do not need it but can afford it. The second problem is that the meager population is involved in the production of goods. Instead, a large number of people are engaged in servicing the state apparatus (lawyers, officials, police, military…), or the market system (various sellers, marketers, security guards, customs officers, entrepreneurs…). That is, a huge number of people are involved in areas that do not produce any economic benefits, or are unemployed at all and can not find work. However, it must be taken into account that our economic system must constantly sell goods in order to function properly. Therefore, in our world there are such phenomena as planned obsolescence — intentional underestimation of the quality of goods in order to make it fail faster, forcing the consumer to buy another. Of course, this leads to innumerable expenditures of resources, while people are in dire need of them. To solve these problems, the anarchists propose to transfer control of production into the hands of the people (not the state, as was the case in the USSR). Thanks to the transition to a lower planned economy, the entire population can be involved in production, which would reduce the number of working hours spent on the production of all necessary goods and increase the welfare of all members of society. The planned economy is possible through the use of simple computer programs, and all disputes will be resolved through direct democracy.
Thus, anarchists are an international movement that strives to transfer control of power and production into the hands of society. You can read more about anarchist principles with examples of their implementation in the modern world and history in our series of articles “Anarchism in Action”.
What is the anarchist movement in Ukraine fighting for?
In recent years, the anarchist movement in Ukraine has become increasingly influential. It faced many problems, as it was completely destroyed and discredited during the Soviet era. Now the urgent goal for us is to increase our strength. We are trying to develop our movement step by step, expanding its contacts and infrastructure, influence and visibility in society. The stronger the anarchist movement, the better it will be able to spread its ideas and fight more effectively against the arbitrariness of officials and the repressive apparatus of the state. We see no other way to achieve justice than to radically change the political system, nor do we see the point of changing some people in parliament to others — the problem lies in the political system, not in individuals.
Also, in our work we rely primarily on efficiency and morality, not on “legality”. Laws are often meaningless and even criminal. They stand up for the interests of the ruling elites, so they can easily neglect the interests of society. We believe that it is absurd to rely on legislation in our struggle, which quite often legalizes and protects openly criminal acts that contradict the principles of justice. Law enforcement agencies, for their part, are enthusiastic about defending the interests of officials. In Ukraine, they have been used more than once to fight protests. The only rights they truly effectively protect are the rights of our rulers to continue to lead a luxurious life at our expense. That is why anarchists often resort to “illegal” methods of struggle and hide their faces at rallies.
Nationalism is a good tool for influencing society in the hands of the state apparatus. It is very convenient, when there are many problems with poverty, social injustice and corruption, to divert people’s attention to the national agenda. It is very convenient to blame “all the troubles of the” external enemy “. Now all the state propaganda is working to impose on us the idea that we are a special hard-working people, and we would be fine if not for the “external enemies” who spoil our lives every day. All you have to do is be patient and focus on the enemy, and all those who dare to criticize the government and promote their rights must be foreign agents who destabilize the country and play into the hands of the enemy.
It is also impossible not to notice how far-right movements have grown up on this ground, openly promoting a racist agenda. They have already committed numerous attacks on journalists, social activists and foreign students. Ideas that promote far-right movements are unacceptable in a healthy society. That is why anarchists are advocating the fight against far-right views.
Anarchists cannot but criticize such “nationalism”, at the same time we stand for freedom of cultural self-determination and believe that man has the right to speak the language in which he considers it necessary and free to support the cultural traditions of any nation.
KGB or FSB?
Anarchists are often accused of working for foreign intelligence services. Our movement is truly international, it is represented in almost all countries of the world. The anarchists of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine coordinate and support each other. And accusations of working for the FSB or KGB are absurd, because in both Russia and Belarus, the anarchist movement is one of the main figures in the political arena against dictatorial regimes. Anarchists are actively promoting and protesting against Putin and Lukashenko. In Russia in particular, anarchists ransacked the United Russia office, organized unsanctioned rallies against the regime, and actively campaigned in dozens of cities, causing a barrage of FSB repression: anarchists were detained and tortured with electric shocks, forcing them to sign false accusations.
We do not work for any special services. For us, Putin is the same enemy of the people. And the “separatists” are only pawns in the Kremlin’s imperial policy.
So why are such accusations so often heard in our favor? It’s very simple: it is popular for us to accuse various protest movements of collaborating with the FSB. In most cases, such cases are clear examples of the legalization of censorship, repression and dictatorial bills under the guise of combating Russian aggression.
The myth of the “European dream” is very popular in Ukraine today. Officials strongly support this myth and call for tightening their belts for a bright European future. However, the Europeans themselves did not get their high standard of living by constantly enduring the curtailment of their rights. All the improvements they have have been won and taken away from the state through bloody hard struggle. There are human lives behind every benefit, and they remember it well, so they take to the streets every time the authorities try to restrict their rights. The anarchist movement, which has become a kind of vanguard of street confrontations, plays not the least role in this struggle. Due to the activity of communities, the state has to pay and be accountable to society. Officials encroach on our rights not because they are “bad” but because the very institution of the state makes people powerless in the face of the state. The authorities have the police and the law in their hands, they collect taxes from us, they create laws for us, but we have no control over them.
The only way to improve our lives is to take direct control of all state institutions. This requires an active position, because if we do not defend our rights, no one else will do it for us.
Anarchists are often accused of resorting to political violence, but it is the state apparatus that breeds violence. Officials are not ashamed to resort to violence against society, just as far-right activists are constantly attacking their opponents. For some reason, no one questions the state’s right to kill, confiscate, and arrest people. On the contrary, society often approves of such violence because it is “legal.” In such a world, we do not see anything wrong with anarchists having to resort to violence in order to defend themselves and defend their beliefs. After all, when there is a constant attack on our rights, we are obliged to fight back. The fact that people do not have the opportunity to defend their rights without resorting to forceful methods only confirms all the injustices of the current social order.
Yes, anarchists do attack far-right figures, but they do so only because the far-right movement poses a threat to society and is constantly attacking itself. Unfortunately, today there is no other effective way of self-defense than forceful resistance. There are no “subcultural fa-antifa wars”, as the right is trying to portray. We are dealing with the hegemony of the right and their violence in the streets, and for the full development of our ideas of freedom and justice, such violence must be stopped. The most effective way to achieve this is to repel far-right movements by force, because the rights of another language are not understood.
Forward to freedom!
We are well aware that the process of achieving the goals we set for ourselves is extremely difficult. However, achieving a just society and a normal standard of living is a must for everyone. Despite all the difficulties on our way, we are confident that we will be able to resist them.