A Call for Solidarity with the Avtonom-journal, several issues of which are now banned in Russia!
On Thursday the 28th of November, the Lenin district court of the city of Tyumen upheld the request of the prosecutor of said district in recognizing five articles of the journal Avtonom as “extremist.” Of these, two are available in English: “Notes of a co-conspirator” is an obituary written by a friend in memory of Moscow anti-fascist and anarchist Ivan Khutorskoy, who was murdered in November of 2009. This text was published in issue 32 of the journal, and according to experts, it was “instigating hatred against the social group of right-wing radical skinheads.” Another of the banned texts which is available in English is “On anarchism and violence” by Antti Rautiainen, originally published under a pseudonym in the 33rd issue of the journal in the fall of 2011, and translated for this occasion.
The oldest of the banned texts is from 2007 , it is about Vladimir Spirin who threw a hand grenade at a police station in Yekaterinburg in 2005. It was banned, although editors stressed that they do not want to encourage anyone to such acts. The two remaining banned texts are from issue 32. and issue 33 , both on the court the case against Belarusian anarchists accused of arson attacks against various targets. This case has been covered extensively in the english section of the Avtonom website: http://avtonom.org/en/freebelarus
The “investigations” being carried out against the journal in Tyumen began more than 3 years ago, during the frame-up of Autonomous Action member, Andrey Kutuzov . Obviously, these articles do not include any condoning of “terrorism” (whatever it may mean), nor can one consider “right-wing radicals” as a group against which one could incite “social hatred.” That is to say, there is no it is no means these texts could be included in the scope of Federal law 114-FZ from July 25 2002 "On counteracting extremist activity."
The practice of “Listing extremist materials in the Russian Federation” is based on federal law 114-FZ from July 25, 2002 “On counteracting extremist activities”. This law includes 9 different kinds of activities considered “extremist,” four of which are related to security issues (including “terrorism”, which is not defined at all within the law), and five which are various kinds of “hate crimes.” According to the law, oneof the target categories for such “hate crimes” can be a “racial, national, religious or social” group. This fourth category is especially vague, and it has been used (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to prosecute authors who have criticized police or politicians.
A “list of extremist materials in the Russian Federation” is available in the webpage of the ministry of justice . The list currently consists of 2142 books, flyers, webpages, audio recordings, videos, slogans and paintings. I haven't found any up to date statistics on the distribution between various political ideologies, but I have the impression that Islamist materials make up the largest subgroup, followed by racist and fascist materials. Besides these, the list includes amongst others books of scientologists, as well as pamphlets by Jehovah's Witness and Falun Gong. The list also includes the letter written by “Voice of Beslan”, an NGO set up by the victims of the terrorist attack, to leaders of the USA and EU, and “The innocence of muslims”-movie and songs(is it plural) by Stalinist bard Alexandr Harchikov. Until now, anarchism has only been represented by some declarations from the https://blackblocg.info/- webpage.
“The distribution of extremist materials” is punished according to the “Administrative codex”, which is the rough equivalent of a misdemeanor. Section 20.29 of “Administrative codex” limits the maximum penalty for this offense to a fine of 3000 rubles (around 70 euros) and a short prison sentence of up to 15 days. However, even this limited sanction is enough to hamper the distribution of the journal, so issues 29, 32 and 33 are no longer being distributed by the editorial collective. After discussions with human rights activists with background on the issue, we (part of the editorial collective of the website) concluded that challenging this decision in court is not a viable option. Russian authorities have managed to create a system of uninterrupted and unchallengeable growth of(increase in) the list of “extremist materials,” and thus constantly employ thousands of bureaucrats. As Autonomous Action attempts to be an organisation which is as open as possible to everyone who wants to struggle for libertarian communism, we are now obliged to take some defensive measures.
As the court decision will be valid after 10 working days, that is, as of the 12th of December, we will take the following defensive measures after 9th of December.
Firstly, these five articles will be removed from our website, as we want to be as accessible as possible and do not want to be blacklisted by the Russian communications regulation authority RosKomNadzor. From now on, these texts will be accessible via the website http://bannedavtonom.noblogs.org/, which will not be linked from avtonom.org from the 9th of December onwards.
Secondly, from the 9th of December onwards we will cease to distribute issues 29, 32 and 33 of our journal. This means that it would be very helpful for us if you ordered and bought them now, until the 9th of December! Note that Russian law only sanctions the storage of “extremistmaterials” with the goal of distribution, production, but storage without the goal of distribution is not sanctioned! This means, that you may order a single issue of the journal, and it would remain legal even inside Russia.
Thirdly, you may join events via VK http://vk.com/event62292899 and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/706622442681993/ to support this action.
Issues 32 and 33 cost 2.50 euros, and issue 29 costs 80 eurocents. Add an additional 4.50 €/6.50$ground mail for one issue, if you want air mail several issues, contact the distribution for price: avtonom (at) avtonom.org or avtonomjournal (at) gmail.com for price . As we have little time, Paypal is the only feasible option of payment from abroad. Pay via Paypal account of Moscow ABC, abc-msk (at) riseup.net, and confirm your payment to editorial collective e-mail addresses above!
Original (with useful hyperlinks) at
My article “On anarchism and violence” is now banned in Russia
28th of November Lenin district court of the city of Tyumen uphold a
request of the prosecutor of the Lenin district on recognition a text I
wrote two years ago as “extremist”.
My article “on anarchism and violence” was published in issue 33 of
Avtonom in autumn of 2011,
also in 5th issue of Finnish anarchist journal Väärinajattelija
http://vaaris.org/5/. I published both of these texts with a pseudonyme,
as I did not want Russian authorities to pay unsoliticed attention to my
person. Now I have translated this text to English, as I would like as
many people as possible to make conclusion on justification of the
decision of the Lenin district court of Tyumen.
“Ural regional center of juridical examination”, which prepared
expertise of my article, did not followed framework set up In this law.
According to them, my text “has signs of justification of violent
activities, which might be directed towards any person, and not
necessarily against any concrete group”. Thus they found in my article
instigating hatred against “racial, national, religious or social
group”which was not against any racial, national, religious or social group!
My texts handles issue of violence in such an abstract level, that
obviously “experts” have completely missed what it was all about. If
these “experts” want to oppose any kind of violence whatsoever, why they
do not want to ban police, army or governments? Obviously, it might be
these “experts” understood point of my text excellently, and they just
want to make activities of anarchists and other dissidents as difficult
as possible, and to employ thousands of buraucrats for whom maintenance
and governing of “list of extremist materials” provides means of living.
Here is the text, Russian version of which is now banned in Russia:
On anarchism and violence
Some claim, that anarchism opposes violence, as for anarchists means and ends meet. But only second statement is correct, wherease first is not. This because in anarchism violence is not only means, but in a certain sense a goal in itself.
With this, I do not mean childish boasting about hanging last bourgeois to guts of last priest or anything like that. Destruction of class enemies as individuals is not a revolutionary goal. As Kropotkin wrote, one may hardly avoid some excesses from side of most angered people, but obviously it is goal of anarchists to minimise them.
In the present society, people are first of all victims of their own roles. However, this does not mean that there is no individual responsability.
In the foundation of any values is the idea, that one must pay for evil deeds. Obviously, this is not an anarchist invention, but an universal principle which is shared by all humanity. There are huge differences of opinions on what dieeds are right and what is wrong and how evil should be punished, but the basic principle is agreed by anyone.
Forgiveness is noble, but only if it is voluntary. The last thing one has right to do is to forgive for someone else! If someone got defamed, beaten up, betrayed or raped, it is his own business should he forgive or demand punishments, no-one elses. I am sure that even Jesus would agree on this.
There are million practical arguments one may present against revenge. Sometimes revenge may lead to an endless cycle of violence, sometimes revenge may hinder wrongdoer to understand his mistakes and to correcthis behavior, sometimes revenge may lead to problems, not only for actor but also for people close to him and even comrades, which are completely out of proportion. Sometimes these arguments are a reason enough to avoid revenge. But still, revenge is base of all justice. This because revenge may exist without forgiving, but forgiving may not exist without revenge. If you do not have the option of revenge, your forgiveness is worth of nothing.
Government and norms it creates forbid revenge, and thus deny us the right to be moral subjects. For compensation, system has donated us action movies and endless amount of other entertainement, where issue is revenge has always the central place. We are given the right of revenge only in our fantasies. Only in our dreams we are allowed to be human beings.
Revenge is the basis of all justice on earth. If this is something society may not comprehend, fuck that society.
Let us take the murder of US president William McKinley as an example, committed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in year 1901. Assasination was followed by a huge wage of repression against anarchists and any socialists. Legislation which was formed those years, among other things banned anarchists from entering United States, and is still in force (luckily this legislation is nowadays seldom executed).
Most of the contemporary anarchists (for example Johann Most) denounced Czolgosz, and even those few who defended him (such as Emma Goldman) rather spoke out for a comrade than for his act. Czolgosz had no close associates inside anarchist movement. He was obviously a looser, perhaps deranged as well. Many researchers believe he never had a girlfriend. His act did not lead to any positive transformations in the society, he was not even allowed to explain his motivations. He was sentenced hastily, and executed a mere month after the assasination.
But besides everything said afore, president McKinley deserved to die.
In 1989 USS Maine exploded in front of the city of Havanna, for reasons still unclear. Back then, Cuba was still Spanish colony, which had often revolted for independence. After explosion of USS Maine, USA declared a war on Spain. As a consequence of the war, Cuba got its independence and Puerto Rico and Philippines became colonies of the United States. However, inhabitants of Philippines did not appreciate their new masters any more than previous ones, and they launched an all-out rebellion for full independence.
President McKinley crushed the rebellion with the same brutality, with which rebellions are crushed always and everywhere. Tens of thousands were executed, raped and robbed, hundreds of thousands died as a result of hunger and illnesses that followed military action and establishment of concentration camps. Nobody knows the exact death toll, but during these years overall population of the islands declined with approximately one million.
Murder of McKinley did not halted the war, it went on for one more year after the assasination. It is possible, that war and atrocities committed by US army in Philippines were not even the main reason for Czolgosz to murder the president.
But who would not rejoice for the fact, that at least one scumbag got what he deserved?
For anarchist, an opportunity of revenge always exists
Government is the monopoly of violence, which takes over all moral issues. Ideal citizen does not intervene to business of the juridicial system, but trusts it to experts. As we give up our right to revenge, state relieves us from the necessity of violence in exchange, and promises to take care about it for us. I must admit, that often state fulfills its promise accordingly. Richer the country, more likely that juridicial system punishes those who have done you wrong more effectively, than you would be able to do yourself.
However, in anarchism every individual is an integral part of the governance, all three branches of it – legislative, executive and judicial. Obviously, this intermingling increases risk of lynching andmob stupidity, but even primitive societes and such medieval anarchistic societies as Iceland took steps to create separation of powers at least to some extent. One possible solution is to require everyone to take up responsability in each of the branches for a limited period, so that no-one is delegated to more than one branch simultaneously. Actually, anarchistic Iceland had a rather complicated legal system. I do not believe that in conditions of a modern society, anarchist legal system would be more simple.
Many confuse violence, power and authority, but all of these are different things and anarchists only oppose the third. Authority is a privilege that is institutionalised, formal, traditional or charismatic. Anarchist does not deny power of experts, as long as it has reasonable limits. Any powers that are based on expert positions should be continuously re-evaluated, and an attempt to fully abolish them should be made with time. That is, anarchism does not attempt to abolish right to use violence, but to distribute this right equally to everyone.
In this respect, it makes no fundamental difference if anarchism has more or less crime than our current society. Anarchistic Iceland was a culture of violent machos, in which any insults were responded with swords. But Icelandic scenario is not the only possibility for anarchism. It is just as possible, that in anarchism people will live like in pictures of Watchtower-journal, in which lions lie in Savannah amongst people and eat fruits. But even if no-one was killed in anarchist society (indeed there have been primitive societies in which murder is an unknown concept), in anarchy everyone has a potential possibility to give a sentence and to punish. And that, by definition, is violence. Thus anarchism is for violence.