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

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri May 9 02:17:19 MDT 2014

-----Original Message----- 
From: Greg McDonald

"Interesting how some people here are so contemptuous of blackbloc
meatheads,  but when they encounter the same phenomenon multiplied 100x
over in places like the ukraine their eyes glaze over.  Small wonder 
political genius from Finland rationalizes the massacre in Odessa."

Greg, I didn't think the writer did rationalise it. In fact he stressed 
that even if some of those inside had previously been violently 
attacking pro-Ukrainian demonstrators, there were no doubt that others 
were inside the building; and that even if those inside throwing 
molotovs may have contributed to the blaze, the pro-Ukraine mob outside 
were likewise throwing molotovs, even after the fire had began, and even 
if they weren't entirely responsible for it, "it was not for lack of 
trying." How is that rationalisation?

Sure, there were parts where I thought the writer could have been 
stronger and clearer, noone's perfect. But I thought his more general 
points were better encapsulated in sections such as:

"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 ... 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 

"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 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."

Beautiful lines, every one of them.

And moreover, lines that have further encourage my respect for 
anarchism, which has grown with the fact that so many anarchist writers, 
as well as the left groups coming from the "socialism from below" 
tradition, have been so consistently better than much of the 
Trotskyist-derived left on the question of the Syrian revolution. Of 
course, that is unfair, as some of the latter have also been excellent, 
but too many have tended to be more confused, often in the half-way 
house making unconscious concessions to the Stalinist and BS 
"anti-imperialist" viewpoints. Anarchists have made none of these 
ideological concessions.

To be sure, the problem is that anarchists then show their Achilles Heel 
regarding states and governments that are genuinely based on working 
people, as in Latin America. "All states are bad." Wrong. But at least 
that makes them right most of the time. Heresy to say all this, I know.

Which in my opinion has nothing to do with the elitist, vanguardist, 
substitutionist nature of Black Bloc "anarchism".

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