Monthly Archives: May 2014

Ιστανμπούλ: Ταραχές μετά τη δολοφονία τριαντάχρονου από την αστυνομία

[youtube][/youtube]tourkia03a tourkia04tourkia01 tourkia02 tourkia03Young man named Uğur Kurt was critically wounded after being shot in the head with live ammo fired by police attacking the Okmeydanı weekly student protest for murdered Gezi protester Berkin Elvan. It has been stated that Kurt has now passed away.

Istanbul police have staged a crackdown on members of Dev-Genç youth organization of high school students who staged a march in the district of Okmeydanı today for Berkin Elvan who was murdered by police at the age of 15 during last year’s Gezi Park protests in Istanbul.

Uğur Kurt, was attending a funeral in nearby Djemevi (Alevi place of worship), when he was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a real bullet fired by police attacking the student protest. Kurt who has been rushed to Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital is reported to be in a life-threatening condition. The 30-year-old victim, Uğur Kurt, reportedly works for the Beyoğlu Municipality.

Clashes in the neighborhood grew after police critically wounded Uğur Kurt. Riot police forces are heavily attacking demonstrators firing tear gas and water cannon’s, while the people responding to the police attack with stones and molotov cocktails. People have started a sit-in on the Darülaceze Avenue as police forces have started to withdraw from the neighborhood upon the strong reaction displayed by local people against the police brutality.



Ταραχές στα Σκόπια της Μακεδονίας

Αναδημοσίευση από

Σοβαρά επεισόδια σημειώθηκαν στην περιοχή Γκιόρτσε Πέτροφ των Σκοπίων, μετά την δολοφονία ενός 18χρονου από άλλο νεαρό αλβανικής καταγωγής.

Σύμφωνα με όσα μεταδίδουν μέσα ενημέρωσης των Σκοπίων, το θύμα κυνηγούσε μαζί με τον πατέρα του τον δράστη, ο οποίος προηγουμένως είχε κλέψει το ποδήλατο του 18χρονου.

Όταν ο 18χρονος κατάφερε να τον εντοπίσει, εκείνος τον μαχαίρωσε στην καρδιά.

Η αστυνομία συνέλαβε τον δράστη και τον ανακρίνει.

Στο άκουσμα της είδησης για τη δολοφονία, εξοργισμένοι κάτοικοι της περιοχής του Γκιόρτσε Πέτροφ βγήκαν στους δρόμους και άρχισαν να καίνε και να σπάνε τα πάντα.

Οι διαδηλωτές κατέστρεψαν καταστήματα της περιοχής, έσπασαν αυτοκίνητα και έβαλαν φωτιές σε κάδους απορριμμάτων, ενώ η αστυνομία, τουλάχιστον τις πρώτες ώρες των επεισοδίων, φαινόταν ανήμπορη να τα εμποδίσει.

Κοντά στον δήμο του Γκιόρτσε Πέτροφ στα Σκόπια ζουν και Αλβανοί και αρκετές φορές στο παρελθόν έχουν σημειωθεί επεισόδια μεταξύ κατοίκων σλαβικής προέλευσης και Αλβανών.

Το δημοτικό συμβούλιο του Γκιόρτσε Πέτροβ, σε έκτακτη συνεδρίαση του, εξέφρασε τη λύπη του για το χαμό του 18χρονου και απηύθυνε έκκληση να ηρεμήσουν να πνεύματα, ενώ κάλεσε και την αστυνομία να λάβει τα απαραίτητα μέτρα για την ασφάλεια της ζωής και των περιουσιών των κατοίκων της περιοχής.



Brazilian anti-World Cup protests hit Sao Paulo and Rio

Αναδημοσίευση από το ΒΒC, το πρωτότυπο άρθρο εδώ, επιπλέον τι σημαίνει στη Βραζιλία φύλαξη των συνόρων με αφορμή το Μουντιάλ:

People take part in protests against the upcoming World Cup along the streets of Sao Paulo, on May 15, 2014.

Riot police in Brazil have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who marched against the cost of hosting the football World Cup.

Some demonstrators hurled stones while other burned tyres and blocked roads.

They say they are angry that billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s football tournament, rather than social projects and housing.

Protests also took place in many other cities, including the capital Brasilia.

Teachers and civil servants, among others, were also on strike across Brazil.

In Rio, aerial images showed hundreds of people marching in rush-hour traffic on a main thoroughfare. The city will host the final match of the World Cup on 13 July.

Protesters there and in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, clashed with police before beginning to disperse.

‘More frequent’

The number of people on the streets was much lower than during similar protests last year.

Some of those taking part, however, promised the demonstrations would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closer.

Last June, more than a million people took to the street over poor public services, corruption and the high cost of hosting the World Cup.

The tournament is due to kick off on 12 June.

The BBC’s Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says that the scale of the protests will be watched closely by the government as an indication of the security challenges they may face during the tournament.

He adds that, with both the World Cup and a presidential election this year, many groups have spotted an opportunity to exert maximum pressure on the government.

The demonstrations began earlier in the day in Sao Paulo, with one of the biggest protests in the city’s Itaquera district near the Arena Corinthians stadium, which will host the tournament’s opening match.

Protesters there demanded housing, and not stadiums, be built in accordance with Fifa standards, in reference to world football’s governing body.

‘No panic’

“Our goal is symbolic,” said Guilherme Boulos, the head of Homeless Workers Movement.

“We don’t want to destroy or damage the stadium. What we want is more rights for workers to have access to housing and to show the effects the Cup has brought to the poor.”

Demonstrators in Sao Paulo burned tyres and blocked roads, and police responded with tear gas
The protest in Rio was mostly peaceful, but there were some clashes with police
One protest in Sao Paulo was held near the stadium which will host the tournament’s opening match

The government has tried to downplay the scale of Thursday’s unrest, arguing it was not related to the World Cup.

“From what I’ve seen, these are specific claims by workers. I’ve seen nothing that is related to the (World) Cup,” Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said.

“There’s no reason to panic ahead of receiving three million Brazilian tourists and 600,000 foreign tourists (for the tournament).”

The planned protests coincide with a range of strikes, including one by the police force in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco.

The army was deployed there to provide additional support after some robberies and looting, before the strike ended on its third day.

Local media reported that, in the last 24 hours alone, 234 people were arrested. Recife, the state capital, is due to host five matches during the World Cup.

Anti-China riots spread in Vietnam

Αναδημοσίευση από το πρακτορείο Reuters, το πρωτότυπο άρθρο εδώ:

Workers wave Vietnamese national flags during a protest at an industrial zone in Binh Duong province May 14, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer

(Reuters) – Up to 21 people were killed in Vietnam, a doctor said on Thursday, and a huge foreign steel project was set ablaze as anti-China riots spread to the centre of the country a day after arson and looting in the south.

The doctor at a hospital in central Ha Tinh province said five Vietnamese workers and 16 other people described as Chinese were killed on Wednesday night in rioting, one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbors fought a brief border war in 1979.

“There were about a hundred people sent to the hospital last night. Many were Chinese. More are being sent to the hospital this morning,” the doctor at Ha Tinh General Hospital told Reuters by phone.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh confirmed one death in the clashes, and described media reports and accounts on social networking sites of higher casualties as “groundless”.

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that at least two Chinese nationals had died and more than 100 were hospitalized.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on police and state and local authorities to restore order and ensure the safety of people and property in the affected areas.

“Appropriate measures should be taken immediately to help businesses stabilize quickly and return to normal production activities,” he said in a statement, without elaborating.

The Planning and Investment Ministry blamed the clashes on “extremists” and warned that they could seriously affect the investment environment in Vietnam.

Formosa Plastics Group, Taiwan’s biggest investor in Vietnam, said its upcoming steel plant in Ha Tinh was set on fire after fighting between its Vietnamese and Chinese workers. One Chinese worker was killed and 90 others injured, it said in a statement in Taipei.

It was not immediately clear if the casualties were among those admitted to the Ha Tinh hospital.

The plant is expected to be Southeast Asia’s largest steel making facility when it is completed in 2017. No details of fire damage or financial losses were immediately available, the company said.

The Ha Tinh industrial park, estimated to cost more than $20 billion, is more than half complete. When finished in 2020, it will have a port, a 2,100-MW power plant and six furnaces, Vietnamese media say.


Such industrial zones are the backbone of Vietnam’s $138 billion economy. The country has 190 registered industrial parks employing about 2.1 million people. They manufactured products worth $38 billion in exports last year, or 30 percent of Vietnam’s total export revenue.

The anti-China riots erupted in industrial zones in the south of the country on Tuesday after protests against Beijing placing an oil rig in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi.

The brunt of the violence has been borne by Taiwanese firms, mistaken by the rioters as being owned by mainland Chinese.

China expressed serious concern over the violence in Vietnam

and urged it to punish criminals and compensate victims. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying suggested Hanoi had turned a blind eye to the protesters.

“The looting and stealing that has taken place at Chinese businesses and to Chinese people has a direct relationship with Vietnam’s winking at and indulging law breakers there.”

Although the two Communist neighbors have close economic and political ties, Vietnamese resentment against China runs deep, rooted in feelings of national pride and the struggle for independence after decades of war and more than 1,000 years of Chinese colonial rule that ended in the 10th century.

The dispute in the South China Sea has sparked anger on both sides. Dozens of vessels from the two countries are around the oil rig, and both sides have accused the other of intentional collisions, increasing the risk of a confrontation.

Vietnamese are also angered by what they call exploitation of its raw materials and resources by Chinese firms, and say although bilateral trade is over $50 billion annually, Chinese investment in Vietnam is only around $2.3 billion.

China faces similar accusation in other emerging markets, especially in Africa. Some 85 percent of China’s exports from Africa are raw materials, such as oil and minerals, and Beijing has been accused of holding back the continent’s economic development by ignoring the creation of local jobs and markets.


Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and rampaged through industrial zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces near Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, officials said. Protests continued on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Chinese working in the zones have fled, most to neighboring Cambodia and others by air.

“Yesterday more than 600 Chinese people from Vietnam crossed at Bavet international checkpoint into Cambodia,” Cambodian National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith told Reuters.

Bavet is on a highway stretching from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial centre, to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

At Ho Chi Minh City airport, scores of Chinese were arriving in large groups, queuing to grab tickets or get on the first flights to Malaysia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Singapore and China.

“People don’t feel safe here, so we just want to get out of Vietnam,” said Xu Wen Hong, who works for an iron and steel company and bought a one-way ticket to China.

“Even to Thailand and Cambodia. If there are no more tickets to China, they think just leaving Vietnam is enough.

“We’re scared, of course. With all the factories burning, anyone would be scared in this situation.”

In Binh Duong province alone, police said 460 companies had reported some damage to their plants, local media reported.

“More than 40 policemen were injured while on duty, mainly by bricks and stones thrown by extremists,” the state-run Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.

About 600 people were arrested for looting and inciting the crowd, the newspaper quoted Vo Thanh Duc, the police chief of Binh Duong province, as saying.

The United States has called on both sides for restraint.

Such disputes “need to be resolved through dialogue, not through intimidation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular briefing. “We again urge dialogue in their resolution.”

The U.S. State Department said it was monitoring events in Vietnam closely, and urged restraint from all parties, while adding: “We support the right of individuals to assemble peacefully to protest.”

The crisis erupted soon after a week-long visit to Asia by President Barack Obama in late April in which he pledged that Washington would live up to its obligation to defend its allies in the region.

(Reporting by Nguyen Phuong Linh, Martin Petty, Phnom Penh Bureau, Rachel Armstrong in Singapore, Faith Hung in Taipei and Megha Rajagopalan in Beijing; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Βοσνιοποίηση της Ουκρανίας και ο ρόλος των ολιγαρχών

Δίνονται παρακάτω τα λινκ για τα δυο μέρη ενός μεγαλύτερου κειμένου (δυστυχώς στα ιταλικά, μπορεί όμως να σε γενικές γραμμές να διαβαστεί και μέσω του google translator) πάνω στα γεγονότα στην ανατολική ουκρανία. Τα κείμενα αυτά δημοσιεύτηκαν στο ιταλικό blog, όπου μπορεί να βρεθεί και κείμενο για το background της “Δημοκρατίας του Ντόνετσκ”.

Παρόλο που τα κείμενα έχουν γραφτεί ένα μήνα πριν, θυμίζουν σε αυτούς που (θέλουν να) ξεχνούν όχι μόνο ένα βασικό χρονολόγιο των γεγονότων, αλλά και μια συγκεκριμένη ερμηνεία τους σε σχέση με την προοπτική τόσο της ομοσπονδιοποίησης /βοσνιοποίησης της χώρας όσο και της ενίσχυσης του ημιφεουδαρχικού καθεστώτος των ολιγαρχών-μαφιόζων στις ανατολικές περιοχές και του νέου ρόλου που θα επιδιώξουν αυτοί για τους εαυτούς τους μετά τη δημοκρατική εξέγερση του Μαϊντάν.



Χειρισμοί μεγάλης κλίμακας στην Ανατολική Ουκρανία: Μέρος 1 – Το χρονικό των γεγονότων και ο ρόλος των ολιγαρχών

Χειρισμοί μεγάλης κλίμακας στην Ανατολική Ουκρανία: Μέρος 2 – Ο εσωτερικός και εξωτερικός ανταγωνισμός, η ομοσπονδιοποίηση

Against the regime in Kyiv and the junta in the East!

Αναδημοσιεύουμε παρακάτω το τελευταίο κείμενο της ACT για τα γεγονότα στις ανατολικές επαρχίες της Ουκρανίας. Το αρχικό κείμενο μπορεί να βρεθεί εδώ, ενώ η ελληνική του μετάφραση εδώ.

Against the regime in Kyiv and the junta in the East! AWU-Kyiv statement on the conflict in the Eastern regions (EN, GR)


There is a continuing confrontation on Ukraine’s territory between the groups of local and Russian ruling class which play off the working people one against another and stir up enmity, bringing the country closer to the state of civil war. The events in Mariupol’ are the embodiment of this confrontation. Many people, the combatants and civilians, contract military staff and conscripts, as well as volunteers, have suffered on both sides of the conflict  as a result of the “anti-terrorist operation”

This is a critical situation for working people. The government treats all protesting Anti-Maidan people alike: soldiers don’t understand who they shoot at, and the ones who are being shot at don’t understand what they die for. Both sides of the condlict manipulate their “foot soldiers” with a particular cynicism, and because of this the working people fight for the ideas that do not have anything in common with their material, class interests. Ukrainian military units and other armed groups fight for the senseless ideals of national-patriotism and “unity of a nation”, while separatists fight for the creation of a new state and/or joining Russia. In all cases the aim is the borgeois national state with its bureaucrats, police, judges, prisons, capitalists and paupers.

Even now there are already dozens of victims and deaths as the consequence of struggle between those two reactionary movements. Army incompetence, on the one side, and the combatants’ depravity, on another side, increase the losses significantly.

The highest ranks of Anti-Maidan movement are generally made up of military retirees, as well as senior police officials, which are loyal to the previous regime. Therefore, the leadership of the “people’s republics” in the Eastern regions of Ukraine may indeed be styled as the junta – the dictatorship of the law enforcement and armed forces.

Fascist groups and criminals present in this movement make the overall character of junta deeply reactionary and radically contrary to the class interests of the working people in the Eastern regions.

Pro-Russian propaganda portrays separatist combatants as fighters of anti-fascist resistance. According to this propaganda, “anti-terrorist operation” started by Ukrainian government is nothing else but the attack of Ukrainian fascists from “Right Sector”, whose role in these and many other events is disturbingly blown way out of proportion.

“Right Sector” is a poorly coordinated coalition of several far-right organizations. Its social structure consists of far-right youth and criminal groups. The social structure of “people’s republics” combatants is mainly similar: teenagers, gangsters and declassed elements. The popular appeal of “Right Sector” in the present moment is very low (even lower than that of the totally discredited Communist Party of Ukraine); moreover, “Right Sector” is in the state of an undercover war with Ukrainian government.

Owing to the constant PR from the pseudo-antifascist international community, “Right Sector” acquires the dreadful image of a powerful organization which almost rules the Ukrainian state, which is obviously not true. But we are not trying to minimize the problem of fascist movements in Ukraine. AWU repeatedly emphasized the escalation of far-right violence, aimed particularly at leftists, as early as 2012, during Yanukovych’s regime. AWU activists were also attacked. One of our comrades was almost killed by the neo-nazis who had attacked him with knives. Also, the location of this year’s May Day march had to be moved due to the threat of clashes with far-right.

Resisting the fascist movements has been one of the primary tasks of anarchist movement in Ukraine for a long time. Unlike many post-Stalinist “antifascists” in Western countries we know this problem firsthand and not from the Internet. And yet, we and our comrades managed to organize May Day anarchist marches with social, anticapitalist and antinational agenda in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Zhytomyr.

Anarchists do not intend to give ground to the nazis and to the right-liberal government. It was AWU that organized the radical left protest campaign against the “Bat’kivshyna” ruling party.

We are ready to continue the fight against the state, capital and the far-right who protect them. But this fight is a hundred times more difficult when the state, the church, police structures and fascist movements are united into one force. Such is the situation in Donbass, where the “army of Donetsk people’s republic” is headed by Igor Strelkov, the Russian undercover man and a great fan of the historical Tsarist White Guard movement; where the organizer of the referendum, the founder of “Orthodox Donbass” movement, consults with the leader of the oldest post-Soviet neo-Nazi movement, legendary Aleksandr Barkashov; where activists of Anti-Maidan manifest their solidarity and respects to another icon of European fascists – Aleksandr Dugin; where co-chairman of the “Donetsk people’s republic government” Denis Pushilin openly regrets the revolution of 1917 that put end to tsarism and calls it a “bloody disaster”.

Social slogans did not fit into the manifests and official documents of separatists, while there are many phrases about the class peace and the interests of the “small business”. Criminal and fascist junta on the East at present organizes the tortures and abductions of trade union activists.

Nationalism is the deadly enemy of the working people. This is proved by the current events in Ukraine, when fascists on both sides help the ruling class to physically fight down the working people. The question is – how many victims and destructions are needed before Ukrainian proletariat realizes it.

We demand from the Kyiv government to remove the troops from the cities immediately, and from the Eastern junta to stop terrorizing peaceful working people. Our own goal is to keep up the resistance at all fronts and to build revolutionary labour movement against all the odds.

We call on our fellow Ukrainian workers to line up behind our common class interests, among which are peace and solidarity, but not the senseless fight for keeping the territories or their separation. Class struggle does not have anything to do with the fight for redistribution of power. Whoever wins in the confrontation between the government and separatists, – we will lose, that is why its boycott is our priority. Ignoring the government’s decisions, renouncing the militarism, striking and building the revolutionary labour movement – such are our weapons against the war imposed upon us. We can count only on ourselves and the international solidarity from other left-radical organizations. If we don’t start to rise now we will face the most difficult times.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!

Workers of the world, unite!

Anarchism in the context of civil war

Αναδημοσιεύουμε παρακάτω ένα ακόμα κείμενο για την Ουκρανία, αυτή τη φορά για τη στάση που κράτησαν οι εκεί αναρχικοί. Τα σχόλια του συγγραφέα του κειμένου, το οποίο  πρωτοδημοσιεύτηκε εδώ, και σε ελληνική μετάφραση εδώ, σε κάθε περίπτωση έχουν γενικότερο ενδιαφέρον και αφορούν την ίδια τη δυνατότητα να κρατήσει κανείς μια αντιπολεμική στάση, και όχι μόνο, λίγο πριν τον εμφύλιο.

On Friday, the 2nd of May, the House of Trade Unions in Odessa caught on fire. Altogether at least 42 people lost their lives during the clashes in the city, most of them in the fire and the others in streetfights. This is an account of the tragedy.


Events began to unfold when armed pro-Russian AntiMaidan fighters attacked a demonstration organised by football hooligans with nationalist sympathies. This attack resulted in lethalities, but soon the pro-Russians were overpowered. They escaped back to their protest camp in the Kulikovo field, but pro-Kiev demonstrators followed and lit the protest camp on fire. The pro-Russians then escaped to the House of the Trade Unions, which soon caught on fire. The fire spreading, is visible in this video. At the 2 minute mark, you can see a flame behind a closed window, making it plausible that some of the fires were started from the inside. For example, due to accidents with Molotov cocktails which were used by both sides during the fight. However, you can also see pro-Ukrainian nationalists throwing Molotov cocktails, making them at least partially responsible for the fire.


There are doubts as to whether the core group of pro-Russians who attacked the demonstration with firearms were outside provocateurs. But certainly, there were people in the House of Trade Unions, who had nothing to do with the attack. In a number of photographs, you can see police protecting the core group of attackers. Otherwise, police were very passive during the fire, and did not interfere in the events. Even if the police were not part of a conspiracy, at the least, they acted completely unprofessionally.


During the weekend, troops of the central government and local “federalists” had been waging war in the city of Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine. This means, that what is happening in the Ukraine can already be considered a civil war. In the upcoming weeks, it will become clear how widely the warfare will spread and if Russia will interfere.


I consider myself an expert on the Russian context as I lived in Moscow for more than 12 years, but this does not mean that I am an expert on the Ukrainian one. I have only visited the country three times in the last years, and have hardly more than 20 friends there. Still, when getting myself acquainted with the Ukraine, I quickly understood that civil war could be a possible scenario there. All of my Ukrainian friends, however, were absolutely certain, that nothing like that would ever happen there. That even with all the differences between Eastern and Western Ukraine, no-one was prepared to kill in their name. They were convinced, that Ukraine could never become another Yugoslavia. All of them had acquaintances, friends and loved ones on both sides of the river Dnieper, both Ukrainian and Russian speakers. But if you only ever take into consideration your own friends, you will fall into the trap of scaling, obstructing those mechanisms which create hatred on a large scale.


War does not require personal hatred between people, geopolitical and economical reasons are good enough for that. And in the Ukraine, the geopolitical interests are far greater than in Yugoslavia. If you have an interest in flaring up ethnic hatred or war, a rather small ethnic rift is enough. A few abuses, murders, and kidnappings, and everyone will be ready for battle. This has succeeded now in Ukraine, just as it has succeeded in many other places.


At the moment, the Western “left” seems to be pretty much clueless in terms of the events taking place there. This is because the “left,” broadly speaking, is not a very useful concept in the former Soviet Union, as it can mean anything from social-democrats and anarchists, to stalinists supporting Putin. Personally, I prefer to always write the word in quotation marks. I identify with anarchists, not the “left,” since, for quite a while now anarchists have been the only political force in Russia which united the ethos of opposing racism, sexism and homophobia to the ethos of social equality. Until very recently, there had not been much of any Western “new left” in Russia, with the exception of a handful of Trotskyists.


A split within the “left” in Ukraine is completely predictable and even necessary. In Kharkiv the streetfighting, Stalinist organisation, “Borotba” (meaning Struggle) has been on the opposite side of the anarchists. In this region of the former Soviet Union, 99.9% of the “left” will always support imperialism for the sake of “being with the people.” It is about time that anarchists refuse the “left” label. We have nothing in common with these people.


But anarchists, too, can be easily manipulated with buzzwords such as “self-organisation” and “direct democracy.” For example, Boris Kagarlitsky, a Russian intellectual widely known amongst the Western “left” and a frequent guest of World Social Forums, has found favorable ground in the West by using these buzzwords.


Apparently, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchists could not foresee the developments which lead to the civil war. Maidan had only been discussed from the point of view that it could offer something better than the Yanukovich regime. It was not expected that Russia would react to a Maidan victory with a conscious escalation of the conflict, and which could eventually lead to civil war.


Whereas Russia is the major propaganda machine and arms provider in the conflict, Western countries are not doing much better, as they only acknowledge the interests of the new government in Kiev and present the movement in Eastern Ukraine as mere Russian puppets.The armed wing of the “federalists” are definitely Kremlin puppets, but if it were not for the widespread discontent and protests against the new regime in Kiev, this armed wing would not have emerged.


I do not believe that a civil war was the Kremlin’s aim. First of all, it wanted to destablizie Ukraine to the maximum in order to have Kiev give up any attempts to gain back control over Crimea. Now the situation is out of the Kremlin’s control, and it may have to send regular troops to Ukraine in order to fulfill the promise of support it has given to the “federalists.”


The government in Kiev has given so many “final ultimatums” which were quickly forgotten, and has announced so many unexisting “anti-terrorist operations,” that it is clear it has very few battle-ready troops. A few times, the central government troops have actually taken action and the results have been tragi-comic. Thus, the government understands that it’s still in question whether it would succeed in a full-scale civil war. However, it also understands, that war can help discipline society and stabilize the new order to the extent, that any promises given to Maidan would be forgotten. With time, both sides have come to understand that a full-scale war might be necessary for their interests, even if neither was initially planning for this.


Disagreements within the anarchist movement


Over the course of events, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchist movements have split into three different sides. A first group concentrated on producing internet-statements against both sides of the conflict. For them, keeping out of any social processes is a matter of principle, and they only want to monitor and assess. Participation in the social protest is not a goal for them, as they prefer to keep their hands clean. Since every process has input from either disgusting liberals, hated nationalists, awful stalinists, all three at the same time, or other undesirables, one can never fully participate in anything and the only alternative is to stay home and publish statements on the internet about how everything is going from bad to worse. However, most of the time these statements are just self-evident, banalities.


A second group, was made up of those who got excited about all the riot-porn and anti-police violence in Kiev, without considering who was carrying out this violence and in whose interests. Certain antifascists drifted as far as to defend the “national unity” in Maidan, and threatened particular Kiev anarchists due to their criticism of Maidan and refusal to participate. Most of the people in this camp are just fans of anti-police violence without any theoretical frame, but some want to give Maidan an imagined anti-authoritarian flavor, by equating the general meeting of Maidan (“Veche”) with the revolutionary councils established during 20th century revolutions. They base this claim on the social demands occasionally presented at Maidan, but these demands were always at the periphery of the Maidan agenda.


One of these peripheral demands was the proposal that oligarchs should pay a tenth of their income in taxes and was generally in tune with nationalistic populism. However, the demands of the Kiev Maidan were still far from returning the billions stolen by oligarchs back to society. In Vinnytsa and Zhitomir, there was an attempt to expropriate factories owned by German capital , but this was the only case going beyond the national-liberal context that I am familiar with.


In any case, the main problem at Maidan wasn’t the lack of a social agenda and direct democracy, but the fact that people did not even demand them. Iven if everyone kept repeating that they did not want another “orange revolution” like in 2004, nor for Yulia Timoshenko to return, at the end of the day chocolate industrialist Poroshenko and Vitaly Klitchko are leading the polls. This was the choice the people made as they grew weary of the revolutionary path as proposed by the radical nationalists of the Right sector. As of now, people want to return to “life as usual,” to life before Yanukovich, and are not prepared to make the sacrifices that further revolutionary developments would demand. Representative democracy is indeed like a hydra, if you cut one head, two will grow in its place.


However, none of the fears of “fascist takeover” have materialized. Fascists gained very little real power, and in Ukraine their historical role will now be that of stormtroopers for liberal reforms demanded by the IMF and the European Union — that is, pension cuts, an up to five times increase in consumer gas prices, and others. Fascism in Ukraine has a powerful tradition, but it has been incapable of proceeding with its own agenda in the revolutionary wave. It is highly likely, that the Svoboda-party will completely discredit itself in front of its voters.


But anyone attempting to intervene, anarchists included, could have encountered the same fate — that is, to be sidelined after all the effort. During the protests, anarchists and the “left” were looking towards the Right sector with envy, but in the end all the visibility and notoriety, for which they paid dearly, was not enough to help the Right sector gain any real influence.


If Kiev anarchists would have picked the position of “neutral observers” after Yanukovich had shot demonstrators, it would have completely discredited them. If after being shot, the working class, or more exactly “the people,” that is, the working class along with the lower strata of the bourgeoisie, would have failed to overthrow Yanukovich, Ukrainian society woul have fallen into a lethargic sleep such as the one Russian and Belarusian societies are experiencing. Obviously, after the massacre there was no choice left except to overthrow the power, no matter what would come in its place. Anarchists in Kiev were in no position to significantly influence the situation, but standing aside was no longer an option.


And thus, we come to the third, “centrist,” position taken by anarchists — between the brainless actionism and the “neutral” internet statements. The camp of realist anarchists understood, that even if the Maidan protests pretty much lacked a meaningful positive program, something had to be done or the future would be dire.


The limits of intervention


In Kiev, anarchists took part in a number of important initiatives during the revolutionary wave — first of all the occupation of the ministry of education, and the raid against the immigration bureau by the local No Border group, which was looking for proof of illegal cooperation with security services of foreign countries. But the most successful anarchist intervention was the one in Kharkiv, where Maidan was relatively weak but also freer of nationalistic influence.


Still, such centrism has its own problems. For one, you might unintentionally help the wrong forces gain power, also discrediting radical protest. A second problem would be that you might end up fighting a fight which is not your own. When AntiMaidan attacked the Maidan in the city of Kharkiv, its imagined enemy were not the anarchists, but NATO, EU or Western-Ukrainian fascists. Since anarchists had joined Maidan, it would have been cowardly to desert once the fight started. Thus anarchists ended up fighting side by side with liberals and fascists. I do not want to criticize the Kharkiv anarchists, after all they made, perhaps, the most serious attempt among Ukrainian anarchists to influence the course of events, but this was hardly the fight, and these were hardly the allies they wanted.


And so, comes the point when desertion becomes imperative, and that is when civil war begins. As of now, it’s still too early to make any final assessment of the anarchist attempts to influence Maidan, but after the beginning of a civil war, Maidan will no longer play a role. From now on, assembly will gradually turn to the army, and assault rifles will replace Molotov cocktails. Military discipline will replace spontaneous organisation.


Some supporters of the Ukrainian organisation, Borotba (meaning Struggle) and the Russian Left Front claim that they are attempting to do the same things as the anarchists did at Maidan, that is, direct protest towards social demands. But AntiMaidan has no structures of direct democracy, not even distorted ones. It quickly adopted the model of hierarchical, militaristic organisations. The AntiMaidan leadership consists of former police and reserve officers. It does not attempt to exert influence through the masses, but with military power and weapons. This makes perfect sense, considering that according to a recent opinion poll, even in the most pro-”federalist” area of Lugansk, a mere 24% of the population is in favor of armed takeovers of government structures. That is, AntiMaidan cannot count on a victory through mass demonstrations.


Whereas at its essence Maidan was a middle-class liberal and nationalistic protest, supported by part of the bourgeoisie, AntiMaidan is purely counter-revolutionary in tendency. Of course, AntiMaidan has its own grassroots level. One could attempt to intervene, but an intervention by joining would mean supporting a Soviet, imperialist approach. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Borotba, the Russian Left Front and Boris Kagarlitsky have all joined this Soviet chauvinist camp. Intervening in Maidan made sense only as long as the enemy were Berkut police forces and paid thugs. When the opponents are mislead AntiMaidan participants, it no longer makes sense to fight in the streets.


When looking at either side of the conflict one can see a dangerous tendency, which every anarchist and anti-authoritarian will face in the future: the recuperation of anti-authoritarian rhetoric and terminology for the purposes of hierarchical ideologies. On the one side, “autonomous nationalists” who have found sympathy amongst many anarchists, and on the other, intellectuals such as Boris Kagarlitsky. Both characterising warring factions with attributes such as “direct democracy” and “self organisation.” In reality, these characteristics are either present in a distorted form or not at all. When two different flavors of nationalism are “self-organising” in order to maim and murder each other, there is nothing to celebrate. Subsequent to the events in Ukraine, it is clear that anarchists must explain the essential difference between “self-organisation” and self-organisation to the world.


According to the opinion poll referenced above, in Eastern Ukraine as a whole, only 12% of the population supports the “federalists’“ armed actions, whereas the Kiev government is supported by some 30%. The remaining 58% supports neither, and in conditions of civil war, this is the majority on which we should count. We should encourage desertion and conflict avoidance. Under any other conditions, and if anarchists had more influence, we could form independent units against both warring factions.


Unarmed civilians have stopped bloodbaths in several places by moving in between the troops as human shields. If not for this kind of civil disobedience, a full-scale war would have been launched much earlier. We should support this movement, and attempt to direct it against both “federalist” and government troops simultaneously.


In case Russia reacts either by occupying parts of Eastern Ukraine or the country as a whole, we could take the example of anarchist partisans in World War II era France and Italy. Under such conditions, the main enemy is the occupying army, as it will antagonise the whole population very quickly. But it is also necessary to keep the maximum distance from the nationalistic elements of the resistance, as any alliance with them would hinder anarchists from realising their own program in the framework of the resistance.


The events in Odessa are a tragedy, and it is possible, that among those who died in the House of the Trade Unions were also people who played no part in flaring up the violence. People who threw molotov cocktails at the House should have understood the consequences. Even if the fire igniting was not solely due to them, it is not for lack of trying.


In case civil war spreads, these deaths are just the beginning. No doubt that on both sides the majority only wants a better life for their close ones and their motherland, and many hate governments and oligarchs to an equal extent. The more sincerely naïve people die, the greater the pressure to support one of the factions in the war, and we must struggle against this pressure.


Whereas it may occasionally be worth it to swallow tear gas or to feel the police baton for a bourgeois revolution, it makes no sense at all to die in a civil war between two equally bourgeois and nationalist sides. It would not be another Maidan but something completely different. No blood, anarchist or otherwise, should spill due to this stupidity.


Antti Rautiainen