[Marxism] UKRAINE: Anarchism in the context of civil war | Tahrir-ICN

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 8 16:44:15 MDT 2014

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.


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