UKRAINE: A Harsh Antifascist Confrontation Awaits Us

translation Tahrir ICN

Why the leftist forces in Ukraine do not show their presence on the Maidan.

- People say that in this tent anarchists stay. They’ve been sitting there for several days, do not go out, they are afraid .

- What? Don’t they go out at all?

- Well, no. They go out but very rarely. People say, they were allowed to stand their tent after they built a barricade – activists on the Kiev streets share local gossips.

” Probably they have been beaten five times”

It is talk about one of dozens of military tents on Chreszczatyk. The tent doesn’t distinguish itself with anything. But the neighboring one is decorated with posters with portraits of Nestor Makhno and slogans “Freedom or death! “, ” Mother Anarchy ” and ” Life is a struggle”. The fact that the author of these posters, an artist Andrej Jermolenko from Kiev, as seen from his other work rather not have anarchist ideas – in particular, taking into account his work of 2012, ” The crisis of multiculturalism ” depicting Anders Breivik in a knight’s armor. Makhno, from a hero of the revolution, is gradually transformed into a national hero. A documentary about “Daddy” was shown on a huge screen next to the stage on the Maidan at night on January 26.

“Still in November and December, when the Euromaidan has a prefix “euro” for genuine reasons, not from the force of inertia, a part of our leftists came out here with socialist, feminist and LGBT slogans. The other part of these leftists warned: do not go, you’ll be beaten. They were. Probably five times – says a anarchist and antifascist from Kiev who wish to remain anonymous. She mentions, in particular, an attack on a tent of leftist activists in Chreszczatyk in early December.

” The activists were attacked by more than thirty of the Nazis, who rushed at them with crying “slatterns!” Alexander Levin got a broken nose, Denis Levin was treated with gas, Anatoly got broken ribs. A tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine was cut with knives. The Nazis smashed a sound equipment, and stole generators” – Sergey Kiriczuk, an activist of a Marxist organization “Borot’ba” (“Struggle”), described then the attack on his comrades. He noted that the conflict was watched by a deputy from the nationalist party Svoboda, Igor Miroshnichenko. Later Denis Levin confirmed that they were invaded by “elements close to Svoboda”.

Around that time, also feminists from the Feminist Offensive were treated with gas. In the words of an activist of the Left Opposition (LO), Nina Potarskaya, the feminists came out a few times on the Maidan along with LO. “The people of Svoboda came to us, sprayed gas and stole some posters. The posters were related to maternity leave.” – says Potarskaya. After some time, during the second action, feminists got with gas again.

A volunteer in one of Kiev hospitals, Viktoriya Teologova, says that the first response of the Ukrainian leftists to Maidan was rather negative because of the abundance of nationalist rhetoric and the participation of the extreme right. The situation changed, however, by obvious arbitrarily actions of the Police and the law adopted on January 16 – activists joined in volunteering, supporting the Maidan as a resistance against the impending dictatorship. Viktoriya does not identified herself with any movement, stating that she prefers to deal with a antiauthoritarian leftists.

In addition, in the activists’ environment of Kiev, there is a rumor about a tactical truce between right-wing and left-wing radicals, set during the active confrontation with the police – in street battles with the Berkut, in one row with extreme right-wing football supporters, the ultras of Arsenal, known for their anti-fascist views, participated. “Regarding the truce with the Right Sector – we did not made it, but there is a rumor that the football supporters made it for the time of the existence of the common enemy. Sadly, the same day that right-wingers beat Lewin brothers.” – stated Kiev anarchist Alexander Ganner , one of the founders of the initiative Black Maidan.

“They prefer to not push themselves to the right-wingers. There is no truce as such, however, due to the considerable amount of libertarian-minded people involved in the filtration of public rhetoric, no conflicts arise ” – ads Theologova.

“Currently, when day bad day the dogs (i.e. cops) really go mad, it doesn’t come to anyone’s mind to settle feuds between them – because, without penetrating the matter, they are regarded as provocateurs and separated, and also because the enemy now is one. Due the legislation, we can not fart quietly, and for standing on the street they shoot at us, not looking at who is behind the red-black horizontal [flag ] of UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and who behind the red-black diagonal one of the anarchists” – adds a anonymous interlocutor of Kiev anarchist environment.

In the main hall of the conquered building of the Kiev City Hall, a huge portrait of Bandera and Svoboda’s flags hang. In the corner we can see one another flag – the Celtic cross. On the wall of one of the corridors, the words ” Russians with you! ” And again the Celtic cross. Surprisingly, among stickers of Svoboda, the European anarchist one “Fuck the Police” appears. Then it turns that they themselves stick it, already in December. Many Kiev anarchists are currently on duty in hospitals – in addition to the normal duties of medical volunteers they also care about the safety of the injured in street clashes. Theologova says that the police may detain an activist, even when he is given first aid. This is a pervasive practice – she is indignant.

“Anarchists are on some barricades and in stores of hundreds (brigades of one hundred) of Samoobrona (The Self-Defence), autonomous anarchists appear on the first line, but so far everything looks pretty chaotic – most of them in small groups and does not coordinate their activities with others in any way, not marking their presence, unless the by graffiti” – says Ganner .

In the center of town, anarchists controlled at least one barricade- near the metro station “Khreschatyk “. In the words of Ganner, a group of eco-anarchists worked there under the name “Free Earth”. “The people were handing out leaflets, sticking stickers, doing graffiti, but their activities, with the time, disappeared totally”- clarifies the activist.

“Moderate anarchists and libertarian leftists are trying to join the movement, to exert somehow an effect on it, but in the same time not distinguishing themselves specially. To not go beyond the general framework of discourse, to apply hints gently . They do not want to talk about a national revolution , but restrain themselves of any other.” – concludes Ganner.

“At a time when the Right Sector, which from the beginning maintained its subjectivity, symbolism and ideology, managed to become a significant force and to attract to their site a lot of new people, the leftists who tried to not call themselves leftists simply vanished into the general mass”- believes an anarchist and art activist Aleksandr Wołodarskij, admitting that the leftist movement of Ukraine is in the fall.

“Unfortunately, there are many leftists who add scores for nationalism. Some fans of Arsenal allied with the autonomous nationalists, also some activists LO allied with them, and “Borot’ba” likes to remember activities, in 20s of XX c., of the so-called national communists, in a kind of Skrypnik conducting the policy of ukrainization” – complains Ganner.

“The current revolution as any violent social process is incompatible with personal security – it’s obvious. I am ready to sacrifice my health and my contractual freedom for the cause, but for sure not for some shit, and all above-mentioned, forgive me, indicate it. – comes to the conclusion the anarchist.

Peculiarities of the leftist euro-integration

In the leftist and trade union environment of Ukraine there is no single assessment of the occurring events and an action plan. In the words of activists “all variants of events are considered, including a civil war.”. Cooperating with each other, participating in street resistance, the leftists do it on their own initiatives rather. All they agree in one point – now you can not simply disperse to homes. After the adoption of the laws of January 16, the protests against the regime of Yanukovych were supported virtually by all left-wing forces.

The Socialist Left Opposition initially went out to the streets with slogans of a socialist European Union with strong trade unions, the blue color of the EU flag replaced the red one.
"Berkut cannot beat people, but the Nazis can?" pic. communist.ru

“Berkut cannot beat people, but the Nazis can?” pic. communist.ru

“Today we join grassroots initiatives, because we do not support standing on the barricades and participation in combat actions” – said the activist of LO, Nina Potarskaya, clarifying that no one forbid the members to protest privately in a way they deem appropriate.

“Currently, in general it is difficult to go out [on Maidan] for leftist or feminist organizations. We can participate without naming ourselves. All of our programmatic ideas about self-organization, a progressive tax meet now with a positive response among the masses. But we cannot call them leftist, or otherwise we meet with hostility and they would be no further talk. It comes to us to adapt to the overall situation, because it can be dangerous “ – is convinced Potarskaja.

A Marxist organization “Borot’ba”, conversely, is emphatically against the Euromaidan, believing that joining the EU will not bring Ukraine nothing but neo-liberal dogmatism in economics and strengthening the extreme right in politics. “In case of victory of Euromaidan, it will emerge in the country a more repressive and anti-democratic regime with the participation of pro-fascist forces that today are already demanding inclusion in the special services, catch and torture the people,” - said the”Borot’by” in its resolution. For its main task the organization considers now to prevent the civil war. But its activists also judged the law of 16 January, calling on “all the leftist, communist and workers’ organizations in the world to break off all cooperation with the so-called “Communist” Party of Ukraine and its sister organizations.” (Communist Party deputies supported the enactment of repressive laws).

Although ” Borot’ba ” boycotted Euromaidan, this did not prevent its individual activists to go on the street – for example, the already mentioned Denis Levin.

“The organization takes the Eurosceptic position, the position taken also by most left-wing organizations in the European Union. In Europe, there is the same process as in Ukraine – the liberalization of the economy. And in addition, in Europe, right-wing forces come to power.” – explains Lewin the “Borot’by”’ position. But, continues the activist, people go to the streets now not “for eurointegration”, but because they are tired of neoliberal reforms, can not see any prospects before themselves, and the economic situation in the country becomes increasingly worse and worse.

“Workers of Dunbas are ready to go out to prevent right-wing attacks on the headquarters of the regional authorities” – says Lewin. “In western Ukraine there are voices that there is a need to prohibit the symbolism of the Communist Party and the Party of Regions, but in reality, it is a limitation of democracy, regardless of the fact that both parties are actively involved in the development of neo-liberal reforms” – is convinced the activist and predicts Ukraine “turning the screws against nationalist asphyxiation.”

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, whose representative Mikhail Wołyniec was once a deputy of the Supreme Council of the Batkivshchyna party of Yulia Tymoshenko, actively supports Euromaidan. Confederation took care of the family of the dead and turned to Orthodox hierarchs for not admitting to the sacraments functionaries of force departments involved in “punitive operations” against demonstrators. Being a part of the Conferedation, the Trade Union of Miners, called the miners of Dunbass to not participate in “free trips”, organized by the administration, to Kiev, where workers could be used in confrontation with opposition demonstrators.

“I am a representative of the Confederation and therefore find myself on the Maidan on the first day – where the members of our union are” - says Volyniec . “We are a democratic union, we do not serve the power and do not obey its orders, we advocate in favor of the change of life and strive for better standards” – explained his position an union leader, adding at the end a little provocative comment – “The Confederation is not involved in politics.”

Kharkiv AST (Autonomous Union of Workers – anarcho-syndicalist union), in its resolution, stresses that is against both eurointegration and against joining the Customs Union and also against the status quo in Ukraine.

“Causes generating social cataclysms are systemic in nature and equally associated with all state formations and their associations” – is convinced AST. As a minimum program the syndicalists advocate the overthrow of the ruling coalition “regionalists” and the Communist Party of Ukraine, the transition to an open arrangement of the budget, the withdrawal of pension law and the introduction of free public transport.

“AST unites in its ranks anarchists and libertarian Marxists and has a federal structure, which is why organizations of Kyiv and of Kharkiv are fully autonomous and can operate in different ways, depending on the political situation,” – explained Ganner, belonging to the Kiev AST.

“We are anarchists, and do not chant “Fame for Ukraine”, Do not make tributes to images of Petlura or Bandera. Nevertheless, we urge you to go to the barricades. Since, as long as the Maidan stands, as long as the Hrushevskoho (barricade) stands, the government is forced to concentrate its forces there, and people have the freedom to work in other places.”

- says a resolution of Black Maidan. The AST support all points of its program, except the one about barricades. The syndicalists think that in flashpoints they cannot do anything.

The parliamentary Communists, KPU, are now absolutely condemned by representatives of all left-wing forces in the country. In the words of activists, KPU is “worse even than the Communist Party of the Russian Federation”. It is a “fake political technology”.

“KPU – it is an endless theater of the absurd, which has no translation into the left, and there is only an effect of nostalgia of retirees” – characterizes the Communists Teologova.

“The party has nothing to do with the movement of the left-wing, acting as clerical and conservative force, openly collaborating with the ruling Party of Regions” – echoed her Ganner .

“Mordor on the dumps”

The wave of protest activity, which rose in Ukraine in November last year, spreads in a heterogeneous environment – the situation varies from region to region, and the local specificity to a large extent determines the role the local leftist groups manage to play on the political scene of their city or district.

“Retirees, screaming yesterday that the governor is a thief, stood up now in his defense. They decided to come to the Maidan and suggest the protesters that, as long as the country is in chaos, they should go to work and not be screwing things up” – says Evgeny Spirin, an anarchist from Luhansk. The activist points out that in the eastern districts of the country, so far a Soviet stereotype is strong, according to which “Donbass feeds all Ukraine” and the regime skillfully plays on such sentiments.

“The current power looted everything. They sold some for shopping centers, some simply abandoned. Currently, of the power of Donbas, just rusty skeletons of factories remained with written with spray “For Sale” on them” – says Spirin. In the words of the activist, the miners, not looking at it, believe the state propaganda propaganda and fear the arrival of “Banderists”.

“Neither the miners nor the workers, nor the poorest strata of the population in Eastern Ukraine did not support the idea of ​​Maidan. Maidan remained here a breath of liberalism for “cultured” team: artists, designers, lawyers, journalists. Our attempts to tell people that we are against the government, against the corruption and for humanity did not yield results. Residents of Luhansk, knocked to his forehead, giggling or just passed by with faces frozen of cold, sentencing “a disgrace, you sold the home to America” – sadly says Spirin.

“In the West [Ukraine], the headquarters of the administration were not conquered by anyone. There deputies resign themselves from attorneys before the people. And here? Nobody even came to mind to try to conquer the administrative headquarters of Luhansk. It would be like hanging a portrait of Roosevelt at the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung”- continues emotionally. In the words of Spirina, the situation in Luhansk extremely tightened on January 27, when Luhansk District Council decided to create people’s squads filled with Cossacks, and deputies spread the rumor that “fighters” from Lviv are going to the district center, and they want to conquer the city.

“After this the city just became hysterical. On social networking sites, furious schoolboys of apartment block estates began to organize meetings, during which they called for “beating the fascist reptile”. All drunkards from sleeping quarters went to the center “to bring the order”. Well, they arrived at the main square, and there are twenty Euromaidanists singingn. Do I need to say that no buses with “Lviv fighters” was not and could not have been?” – says Spirin.

“In the Eastern Ukraine, the words “leftists” or “libertarians”, or “anarchists” have become a kind of curses. The anarchist – is a whipster and Russian rock fan. Leftist – is primarily a communist, the worshiper of the USSR, the promoter of the Holodomor (The Big Hunger of 30s) and putting up monuments to Stalin. Well, a libertarian, you know – gay, Banderist and tolerasta*”- concludes the activist.

“An unusual situation arose in Kharkov – local anarchists turned out to be so serious force on the Maidan that they do not have to adapt to their environment. “They ( Kharkiv AST ) had an easier situation, because the fascists participated in the local Euromajdanie in a minimal amount” – believes Ganner .

As an activist told, the AST, the Kharkov anarchists are the only left-wing group in Ukraine co-organizing the protests. “Not being the largest political group, the Kharkiv anarchists organized well small groups agitating inside the Maidan, and a campaign to boycott the products of companies belonging to the ruling party” – said Igor. In addition, the anarchists from Kharkiv are responsible for protecting the local Euromaidanu. According to the activist, to play a central role in the protests was due to their high level of self-organizing, and “an authentic focus on the issue of overthrowing the government.”

“The nationalist revival, independently of the uprising, quickly turn into a total disappointment in the right-wing ideology. And then it will be our time. Besides, it is unlikely that hardened in the battles with the police, the extreme right will smoothly return to the quiet everyday life – their next targets will be leftists and anarchists. A harsh antifascist confrontation awaits us, comparable what was in Russia in the second half of the 2000s.” – predicts Volodarsky.

* Tolerasta is a derogatory term, often used in the East by the environment of the extreme right, a cluster of the words “tolerant” and “pederast”.

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Comments

Not good news. This makes what happened with anarchists in Occupy look like a real success. Between Ukraine and Venezuala, the right wing is striking back hard in autonomous social movements.

This puts paid to rhetoric about social rupture for its own sake, as well as fantasies about dissolving anarchist action into some imagined working class revolt that needs no ideological basis. It also underlines the importance of getting out there first, black flags flying, and going hard when there's a disturbance.

At the risk of attracting trolls, can somebody who is reading about cybernetics tell me how a critique of control itself, without any discussion of vertical or horizontal power relations, could be sufficient in these situations to chart a path? I'm sure the Nazis in these uprisings, too, present themselves as being against the apparatus of control--at least, they can do so until they're wielding it.

Nazis are for control. Although their struggle is revolutionary, it is about strengthening nationalist subjectivities and reestablishing sovereign power. Because of this, it is a rearguard struggle from another era. 19th century governmental strategies in a 21st century world. Nazis will find themselves in conflict with the noninstitutional forces of control in the bioinformatic, urbanist, and surveillance industries but will not be fully replaced by them. Cybernetic power does not abolish liberalism but it is based on more refined and evolved concepts of power. It is draped over the institutions of yesteryear.

The critique of horizontal control is not a new one, by the way. It is the critique that insurrectionists, autonomists, and ultra-leftists have been making since the post-68 era against workers self management etc.

Also, there is not single apparatus of control. This is key. The apparatus is what attenuates the wandering of forms of life. Period. Nazis depend, for instance, on the racial apparatuses - where bodies are ordered according to certain phenotypic principles (making white supremacy the first gesture of biopower and to which cybernetics is deeply indebted)- and also to a number of ideological apparatuses which dull the interplay between forms of life inside of communities, preferring to subjectivate populations as "a nation."

Your questions are legitimate, but cybernetics is not some study that is similar to linguistic postmodernity or something. It is an evolving philosophical movement born in 1914 and has come to configure western society in foundational ways that are still not fully accounted for.

For what it's worth, it seems to be that most people I know who study cybernetics also seems to believe (but not always) that organizational forms and aesthetics are not able to tell us how something works but that special attention must be paid to "how" something works, to its ethics. In this sense, this current would not be among the "social rupture for the sake of it" crowd but would be more of the position like "social rupture for a specific reorganization of social life".

I still think anarchists from all of Ukraine should've been involved in Maiden from day 1, even if it meant forming massive blocs to assault the nazi groups. I also believe that US anarchists - who tend to be snooty and directionless - should have participated in Occupy and should participate in the social movements to come.

Completely agree with your last. Here's one snooty, directionless anarchist that was there for the duration of that occupy crap and spent half that time wondering where all my comrades were. (other half, I was working for the camp)

Thanks for taking my question seriously, and for your intelligent and thorough answer. I appreciate your time.

In our town, anarchists were already very active, and established a presence in Occupy immediately. Relative the rest of the region, that made all the difference. I agree with your diagnosis of the situation in Ukraine, insofar as my opinion is worth anything from this far away. In the future, in emerging crises, we may have to be ready to go hard at tremendous risk to life and limb, without ending up concluding that (as one comrade from Kharkiv said) the best thing to do before upheavals is practice sports.

In your analysis, are all "forms of life" essentially good until they are "attenuated" by apparatuses? Is the apparatus a phenomenon that can always be distinguished from the forms of life it acts upon and within? I think I understand and agree with some of the framework, but not all of it, and I'm trying to pin down the differences. Perhaps you are the person I began a conversation with a week and a half back on another thread about this same subject.

Hello again,

Yes, it is true we must be able to to tremendous risks. It is also true, however, that will alone can not carry us. We must have practice - which is a basic insurrectionist hypothesis - and we must have enough coordination to circulate tools, money, people quickly quickly quickly! Also, we must build all of this on an environment capable of outlasting temporary upheavals.

For the second half, no, not all forms-of-life are "good." They simply exist. They are ways of being in the world that occur prior to the subject and therefor are not really subject to moral analysis. The thing about the move to render apparatuses inoperative is that it allows for singularities (non-subjectivated people, people with no automatic, permanent, function or essentce) to inhabit forms-of-life and for those forms-of-life to cut across and evolve through them. Forms-of-life which are hostile to one another will find themselves in conflict with one another. Conflict between forms of life is good. This is what a free world is, in fact. That bodies would be animated by sincerity and passion but would not be closed off to a certain wandering attention either. Apparatuses which would normally turns forms of life into predicates or traits are always struggled against; because of this, people change as life takes them.

With these hypotheses - which, admittedly, have been laid out much more thoroughly in Tiqqun - there is no way to ignore ethics. One must make decisions that would affect the world they live in, would affect their own lives and those around them. Not all decisions are favorable to everyone and friends and communes must find the specific arrangement to make a life together. There is nothing around this difficulty.

Today I heard from comrades in the Autonomous Workers Union (this article calls them AST) that insurrectionists in Ukraine are whack. I've said some mean things about syndicalists before, so I took it with a grain of salt, but they said IAs have some bad politics. They work with fascists (the article calls them autonomous nationalists [think 'national anarchists']) that recognize themselves in self-organization and opposition to politics.

I only have connects with AWU comrades so I can't vouch for any of this. I am going to try and meet some active and informal antagonists but it might not happen due to a huge social and theory distance from my hosts.

Funny thing: Comrade told me all the IAs he knew that were active 5 years ago are just hipsters now. I think they wear counterfeit Nikes here, but I guess some things are pretty much the same. Sameness: syndicalists still don't like Crimethinc here. Elsewhere in Europe I was told I talk like a Crimethinc book, so that was pretty funny.

Tomorrow we visit some occupied ministry buildings and have a meeting of comrades. Major disagreements on what is to be done. This despite formal organization, go figure. So that should be interesting.

Now that snipers have quit raining death I'll visit maidan. I guess I almost regret not visiting it while it was what it was, but then I think of the snipers and feel scared shivers again and I feel confirmed in my decision to stay away.

As before, ask me anything. Sorry if I don't know all the answers to important questions but at least I won't bullshit you.

I will say this: biggest lesson I've learned so far is the dire need to molecularize, form communes, federate affinity groups, or whatever. With shit kicking off everywhere globally for like 6 years now we're gonna get our chance sooner or later and we don't want to be in the shape Ukrainian comrades are in. Many of my buddies back home got this idea already but it is a necessary one. I'm slow.

Appreciate your efforts! The view from the ground is always way more interesting than the horseshit from the "journalists"

I visited the maidan for the first time yesterday. Again today. It is a bad place; psychically assaulting. To act as myself would be to invite physical violence from any of the masked/armed/armored men that are everywhere so I adopt the passing role I perform most often. Their eyes search for deviance and their mouths bark orders I can't understand. I know them. Police, diffused.

To be there is to be confronted by something terrible. All nodes in the network of domination are present and cofunctioning more perfectly than I experience them in daily life. Daily life is just any block away from where the immense barricades create inside/outside.

Inside nearly all horizontality is gone. Gone is the mutal aid in service of revolution. Not that I'm upset at this except for missing the chance to make a sandwich as feminist action. Horizontality on its own is meaningless, or, maybe we are learning all the time at our work places w/o bosses, on the streets of Kiev, and from images of post-riot broom blocs organized from #Twitter that horizontality is actually hostile to us unless certain conditions are present that are consciously arranged. Left to spontaneity, horizontality may tend to reproduce domination this time in a horizontal mode.

It has been replaced by the beginnings of the differentiation of "the opposition " into distinct sects. With revolution won, and The Police nowhere (but the necessity of policing burning behind the eyes of every masked man), they are faced with the obligation to continue their civil war by political means. Huge banners are everywhere with faces of politicians and names of parties/cliques/crews. Masked men no longer fight The Police but instead are balanced precariously on makeshift ladders tying up more line from which to hang banners, every suitable surface already fully saturated. I think it doesn't take Clauswitz/Foucault for them to recognize their present maneuvers for war = politics = war. It only took the lived experience of preparing/fighting/winning war and a few cusory thoughts to what is to come.

The barricades are ominous. They would be beautiful if not for the cause of their creators, so, instead they are terrifying. Manned by armed/armored/masked men, still.

The volume of fascist graffiti is disturbing.

The graffiti is: Swastika and sloganeering. But also crew names - the fascists formed armed/armored crews during the revolution - heralding their presence.

But what really gets me are the circle-A's (sprayed, I'm told, by antisocial youths more often than by "real" anarchists...) that have been détourn as iron crosses. The first time I saw one I think that it is a circle-A over the iron cross. I am slightly amused and recognize myself - we've all censored racist or fascist graffiti before, no? But the second time I see this it is somehow totally plain to me that it is a fascist reappropriation of space.

I'm crushed. This realization is as jarring as the terrifying moment I'm roughly pulled by my arm into orderedness by a masked/armed/armored man after I didn't understand his orders in Ukrainian to walk where he says I should walk and not where I am walking. I only realize the issue is where I'm walking after I'm thinking I'm being attacked. Comrades are still hospitalized here from assaults by mobs of men like him. And for less than walking out of bounds.

The US State Dept. issued a travel advisory for Kiev before I arrived but I have still never felt scared of my American-ness despite people telling me I am brave for being here in the same breath as telling me Americans aren't safe here - I need to be careful. They reify threats by making warnings. Maybe on purpose. Here, I am seen by all for a part of who I am - a spoiled westerner.

Ukrainians, especially young and pretty women, are isolated from the west, bodily, by visa denials. Officially, you can apply for a tourist visa for USA or EU but because of "stereotypes of mail order brides and that all Ukrainian women are prostitutes in the west" they are all denied. This is told to me by a 20-something ex-anarchist ex-hardcore punk rocker ex-straight edge ex-vegan still-wild woman I had the pleasure to meet serendipitously.

Reality here: Dropping out of anarchy and into a state run subpar university education-in-progress is her ticket to student visa status in the west and a chance at self-actualization she could never have here no matter the subcultural identifiers or strugglismo under taken. She told me about her experiences in antifascist black bloc actions and how she is glad for those experiences and all those ex-subcultures because they opened her eyes to possibilities she could have never known otherwise. Possibilities being one of 50 anarchists (quantity has a quality all its own and this quality is a big reason why anarchists have been made marginal in maidan) stuck without theoretical tools (social war theory hasn't reached Ukraine and the academy is fucking us again here because comrades even tried to read Foucault but admitted to me they didn't understand just like I can't but at least I can read KKA or Murder of Crows or illustrated beginners guides - they don't have those here...) could never give her.

In summation: Don't believe any source trying to spin this as anything other than a nationalist/conservative, bourgeois capitalist revolution won by fascist youth. It is actualized nightmare. If I thought this revolution would change anything, as most everyone (non-comrade) I've spoken to thinks it will, I'd be scared for the people here. As it is, I think I know everything will continue as it was - the interesting questions: What will become of the disillusionment in the months to come? After elections? After EU integration?

I am deeply affected by what I've experienced and the people I have met - comrades, common joes and janes, and critical ex-comrades alike. This experience has called into question everything I've thought and done up until this point, anti-politically speaking. Most assumptions I've made and actions I've taken just don't hold up to what I've learned here. Some sadness or guilt or regret at this realization but mostly I feel the joy that comes with breaking through limits.

Something I have felt from the second I arrived but that I haven't written about here and that has contributed to this shaking-down and reassessment are my privileges here. Material conditions here are grim to say the least. Provocative feminist action is making sandwiches. In a new context I'm a new person with new thoughts on old, formerly decided, subjects. I leave with more questions than I came with but I leave with some answers, too.

Before I say this, I acknowledge I have been guilty of this thing I'm about to attempt to start a dialogue about and that in some ways I'm guilty of it RIGHT NOW having arrived here to participate in the situation and forge connections, but I need to say this. I strive to say this in a comradely way and in coming from a place of solidarity and recognition of myself.

Comrades have told me, with some amusement, of all the requests for interviews from counter-media projects back home. You know who you are and I won't name projects/people here for many good reasons chief among them that this is not a calling-out but a call for reflection and dialogue. Some of you know me as an acquaintance and teammate; we're not close but we have shared moments that felt to me like really living. I value all of your projects and feel richer for them. This isn't just about these great projects, but this is also about commenters here and otherwhere. And about attempts at analysis formulated by friends and crews around dinners and on walks. And about mediation by the media and how this affects us as it effects a false understanding of struggles and how our analysis suffers for it.

Some of the questions asked in these requests for interviews have struck me as naive, having experienced the things I have here. The questions are premised on points of departure from distortions created by the western media according to their role in the creation of reality and reaffirmation of control narratives. Questions of analysis are posed from these points of departure fabricated by the media and so the media has a direct, heavy (if invisible hand) in shaping our analysis.

Then there is the politicization that comes with this distance and mediation. A process of reduction that makes us only see what we want; we project what suits us onto these far off struggles. This behavior of ours doesn't serve us. Why do we do this? I don't have answers. I'm bleary eyed so I'll leave it here but I'd like to have dialogue on this happen. Here isn't the right place. Maybe the counter-media projects that all know each other and share many affinities can discuss this in an appropriate context and do better?

this is really interesting and intense, thanks. wish i could talk to you in person, whoever you are.

You're welcome. It's been good for me to write here.

>wish i could talk to you in person, whoever you are.

Maybe we'll get the chance. I'll retain my pseudonymity here, but I'd talk about my experiences in person with folks.

Thanks so much for posting this.

Do you know the situation in L'Viv or elsewhere in the West? Are the Nazis consolidating power all over or is this located mostly in Kiev

I don't know the situation elsewhere, sorry.

I think power isn't being consolidated by any one group. Nazis and other far right elements have street power and the power of myth here in Kiev for the moment while the revolutionary exception continues. It is unclear how this will extend to representative political power in elections as the differentiation continues. This street power will fade away from visibility soon enough even if it takes weeks.

But the power of myth will stick around and grow in some ways. Next time there is a situation the myth will create the street power fiercer than it did this time. Very bad news to have the culture of popular resistance a far right culture with a huge success.

Still no The Police on streets near maidan although I was shocked to see one (just one, alone) in a metro station recently. It is a shock to see how quickly normal social relations return. No one seemed to care to see an armed The Police right there when they murderd 100 people 4 days ago.

Remember after 9/11 the nationalist fervor that was in the air? That's here now. On the 80m deep metro escalators there is chanting of nationalist slogans. Call and refrain. Ribbons on the right bicep. All that.

Maybe they're talking about some persons who they assumed were insurreccionists and generalizing from that? Some anarchists classify all anarchists who attack as `insurreccionists'.

Insurrectionary and hipster are not mutually exclusive...

See United States.

Yeah, windows-smashing and spray-painting American Apparel trucks is so fucking insurrections, maaan.

haha uh compared to the pacifism and anarcho-liberalism that dominated the states before the insurectional critique help split anarchists from the left, that aint SO bad...

Petty vandalism with insurrectionary intent, seems better than the identity-obsessed bureaucracy and anti-conflict institution of activism

of course it all deserves critique

<>

Sascha, Andrei, and Mira are members of AntiFascist Union Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine. We sat down to talk about the influence of fascism in EuroMaidan, this is what they told me:

Sascha: There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.

Mira: The two biggest groups are Svoboda and Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). The defense forces aren’t 100% Pravy but a large percentage is.

S: Svoboda is more legal as a group, but they also have an illegal militant faction. Pravy Sektor is more illegal, but they want to usurp Svoboda.

M: There’s a lot of infighting between Pravy and Svoboda. They worked together during the violence but now everything is calm so there’s time to focus on each other. Pravy and Svoboda both take donations and they have lots of money. Recently Pravy has all these new uniforms, military fatigues.
One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!

S: A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.

M: Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.
Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.

S: After this Pravy will have more young guys. They have money to make propaganda, uniforms, they’re getting more attention and they look cool.

DSC_1728 copy

(r) A group of young men who recently joined the Defense Militia

M: The Ukraine is a patriarchal country so to be a strong man who’s fighting is a good aim.

Click Here to View A Recent Example of Pravy Sektor Propaganda

S: Nazi groups are also trying to mimic leftists, to try to ingratiate themselves. They use anarchist vocabulary, words like “autonomous.” One group of the ugliest Nazis is now doing this by calling themselves “Autonomous Resistance.” They’ve had lots of success with this tactic.
They attract some Anarchists who think they’re changing the Nazis, but really the Nazis are changing them.” They’re becoming more nationalistic, they have more more anti-feminist views, etc. Now is when Anarchists need to speak out and be louder.

stormfrontwolfsangel

Two symbols that could be found at EuroMaidan. The Celtic Cross (l) is a common symbol representing white supremacy. The Wolfsangel (r) was a symbol used by several divisions of the SS during World War II and now represents Neo-Nazism.

S: There’s a whole spectrum of Nationalists represented. They divide themselves into groups with their own symbols. They want support so they don’t use Nazi or fascist symbols so much. They use symbols that are recognizable to other fascistic people, but look innocuous to anyone else. For example there is a special eagle symbol. It’s drawn a certain way, it doesn’t look like anything unless you know the meaning.
No one has any idea how this could turn out, what form a new government could take. The fascist groups don’t have common aims, they know what they’re opposed to, and that they’re opposed to each other, but they don’t all want the same things. If Pravy has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.

M: People have these chants: “Glory Ukraine,” “Glory to Heroes,” “Death to Enemies.” But who are these heroes, who are these enemies? I don’t think they have any idea. “Ukraine Above All” is one, just like they used to chant in Germany.

Andrei: I’m from Germany, and from my perspective it’s like Ukraine has had this nationalism since the fall of the USSR. The nationalist sentiment on Maidan is there to divide people. The East of Ukraine favors Russia, the West is nationalist. People are quite divided, but if you look at the whole country everyone has the same social and economic problems. If people saw that and came together that would be the most dangerous for Svoboda, or Yanukovich, or any political party. Svoboda and Yanukovich favor the same neoliberal policies that make life worse for Ukrainians.

M: These nationalists are here not for rights but for nation and it’s practical for leaders to encourage this, because a focus on nationalism lets them do whatever they want. It’s mostly working class and poor people at EuroMaidan, and their attention needs to be diverted to real problems. Lots of people want to manipulate the people here.

Right now anyway, everything that could go wrong did go go wrong in the 20th century. I think that when you look back at the 'glory days' of anarchist tendencies what you see is that various current integrations were happening, you had anarchists that were mingling with the spikier intellectual spiritual and aesthetic currents of the time( V DeCleyre for eg began in the free thought movement). Forget about the noise on the streets, the noise has already been prefigured in quieter rooms, what anarchists need to do is re-constellize themselves and integrate themselves in currents that are congruent with their goals. STAY AWAY from ideological noise, DO NOT hit the streets for you will only be forced to shout their slogans, let this noise period of re-configuring power play itself out and do not embarrass yourself(s) in the process. Anarchists are embarrassing enough as is in their 1968 form and are a long way off from what was taking shape before during and after 1886.

It's true, please don't hit the streets. I mean you specifically. I intend to.

Don't expect to be part of any TAZs, I do have to say kudos to taking apart Lenin's statue.

Kudos to the neonazis?

Fuck you, douchebag. You should thanks some anarchist for allowing you to parasite the freedom of posting on this website, but you haven't got anything to do with anarchy or anarchism.

"for allowing you to parasite the freedom of posting on this website"

wow

I actually didn't know it was KneeNaz(secular satanists) who pulled down the statue, but the statue being pulled is good in any event, why hadn't anarchs done this already?

Because they care more about pulling down social order. Actually statues can make nice stands/toilets for birds, so I'd keep them up, once cutting their heads off.

You say it's some obscure "secular satanists" who've pulled that statue... The reality is that those people in the image that I saw of it, had Pravy Sektor, Svoboda and several celtic cross flags. So I don't care if they consider themselves as Christians of satanist. It's the same batshit.

The TAZ... Defense of pederasty... Dubious anarcho-liberal rationale that makes you into support fascists thugs... All the elements are there.

How the hell am I a liberal given the depth of my rejection of most things 1789?

True. You got actually better chances of being a crypto-fascist. All that guru attitude and defense of child abuse would be acceptable culprits.

hakim bey is not a defender of child abuse, at least no more so than defenders of the current norm -- platonic child-adult relations of domination and dependency -- are. when has he ever defended "child abuse"? unless you're equating any age-disparate romantic/sexual relationship with "abuse," regardless of the desires of the parties involved.

I happen to be a fan of Bey's writings but the notion that a young child has attained a level of neurocognitive development in which they are capable of clearly articulating their "desires" is obviously false. Granted, they may be capable of responding positively or negatively to certain experiences *as they are happening* but they most certainly are *not* capable of providing prior consent to sexual activity with any understanding of it's future implications. Having said that, I think it's entirely possible to separate the man from his work and people shouldn't avoid reading Bey just because of his obviously sketchy affiliation with NAMBLA.

But young people articulate their wants and not-wants all the time. To cite "neurocognitive development" as a way to deprive younger people of the autonomy to act sexually -- regardless of widely varying "future implications," which don't seem like something we can categorically describe for someone of 8 years of biological age any more than someone of 20 -- isn't anything short of authoritarian. (After all, neither of them are supposed to have fully-developed frontal lobes.... Also, see Rind, et al., regarding those "implications": http://www.mhamic.org/rind/.)

It doesn't take a lot of research to see that people of typically pre-adolescent and adolescent ages are sexual with one another and with people of post-adolescent ages all over the world and throughout history. Only in our contemporary era, in which developmental psychology has taken the place of outright religious moralism, does it even seem possible for people opposed to social domination -- i.e., anarchists old enough not to be directly affected -- to refer to scientific abstraction as a basis on which to limit another's autonomy.

interesting thing though, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that being sexual during a pre-adolescent phase is extremely damaging to people. why? because autonomous consent cannot be established for acts which are not understood. just because "childhood" as a protected category and period of time is modern development does not make it a bad thing. woman are no longer chattel property either.

8 and 20 are really different cognitively and it is absurd to pretend otherwise. anyone with kids this age will not agree with you. keeping children safe from overly sexualized experiences isn't an unfair limit on "another's autonomy"- its being a good parent. (and yes that is a moral category but since when are anarchist pretending we don't have values?)

trying to make sure your kids feel safe and can establish bonds of trust is kind of like providing housing, and food- essential to healthy development. i don't mean development like 'you will turn out like me' i mean like- 'you will be able to minimally function and perceive reality" there are a lot of examples of what people end up like when they are sexualized at a young age--- its a hard road, i wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

I responded to this "evidence" earlier (see the Rind report, and the follow-up by Heather Ulrich, which undermine the claim that "being sexual during a pre-adolescent phase is [inherently] extremely damaging"). There's also a lot of evidence that people get denied access to sexual experiences they want to have because of their age. You don't have to talk to too many young people to know many are policed out of sexual contact and sexual spaces (bars, etc.) against their will. What about the damaging effects of that repression?

And what is there that's fundamentally not understood about something feeling good? I'm not saying that people can't be manipulated. But if there's someone who's putting sexuality -- "overly sexualized experience" -- on some kind of pedestal removed from all other experience, it's you, not a 10 year old who wants contact with another 10 year old (or an 8, 18, or 28 year old) because it sounds physically pleasurable, and maybe because it sounds emotionally connected.

I don't understand your point about chattel property, as if that were something with the kind of cross-cultural and -historical currency of sexuality before 18, or whatever the state-determined age of consent is where you live. There are probably 10-12 year olds playing with each other "sexually" within a mile of you right now. Are their parents bad? Will they walk a hard road?

It seems significantly more relevant to point out that "women" are no longer a biologically determined category, to be dominated by patriarchal science. People are no longer trapped in their bodies by gender -- why must they be by age? What about all the angry 16 year olds who want access to "adult" spaces, who want the freedom to fuck, but are controlled by the standards of "good parenting" -- both on behalf of their actual guardians and the child-protecting state? To turn around and call domination "good parenting" is doublespeak. So much for what the parents say -- what about the people who are being "kept safe" from themselves? Why doesn't it even occur to these anarchist parents to prioritize what is desired by the people they have power over?

All of your examples with the exception of the 10 year old involve older teens not preadolescents. Experimenting with peers is not inherently damaging but you can't just decontextualize modern society ad how it sexualizes young young girls by a cursory nod to the fallacy of the gender binary. Adult-child relationship involve manipulation and uneven power. A 10 yea old cannot consent to a noncoersive sexual exchange with an adult. Haven't read your study, known lots of friends who have been molested.

I mentioned a 16 year old once, people ages 8-12 repeatedly.

"Adult-child relationship involve [...] uneven power." Like, in gender-diverse relationships? In racially-diverse relationships? In any relationship? In no other realm of relationships do people -- presumed anarchists, no less -- have a totalizing analysis that precludes other people's ability to confront and challenge these power dynamics from within romantic relationships. In no other context do anarchists actually reinforce these power dynamics by denying that they have power when they do (i.e. when parenting) and by refusing others the ability to experience the relationships they want.

In what way are anarchist parents, when they don't even acknowledge that their own "adult-child relationships" involve domination and restrictions on younger people's autonomy to engage in the relationships they desire, actually undermining hierarchy rather than reproducing it?

You don't have to read the Rind meta-study so much as give it a cursory glance to know that plenty of people have positive age-disparate experiences during childhood/youth. I feel empathy for your friends who had traumatic sexual experiences. I also have empathy for friends -- and my past self -- who are and have been policed out of things they desire by people like you. To deny others the opportunity to have experiences they want based on the fact people you know have had experiences they didn't want is authoritarian.

As support for the other commenter, it's also proven statistics that the vast majority of child abuse happens within relationships authority, or abuse of authority by weak males who shoudn't be in such positions.

Namely:

- nuclear families,
- small schools,
- churches
- children sports leagues
- secret societies and other elitist clubs
- fashion modelling
- NGOs & other community orgs
- even mainstream media & publicity (as in the infamous Saville/BBC paedo ring)

Abuse culture is mass-produced by this system, which it serves in return. All the queer liberals fail to understand this.

And you are Hakim Bey, aren't ya?

You mean this? https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhJf9IzCQAAZ3Mv.jpg

Oh... that graffiti is just incidental, no worries!

Fuck you closet fascist scum.

like I said earlier anon I didn't know who did at least that statue is in ruins. I didn't who it was who took it down, but the more shattered marxist statues the better.

I wish it were anarchists that did it.

No it was the Neonazis, with Svoboda and celtic cross flags all over. And where are your reports of the taking down of the statue of that Ukrainian Nazi collaborator? Didn't happen. But I did see WW2 commemoration statues painted with the national colors though... so anarchist!

But now that we have Priva Sektor fascist thugs sitting in the Kiev parliament with machine guns, who cares about statues?

NPRs CIA propaganda treatment of the Ukraine situation, with discussion of nazi involvement, and how that is largely a fiction.....hmmm
http://www.npr.org/2014/02/21/280759125/what-it-means-when-the-wolf-crie...

Hey, this is a Yale professor, and a Snyder too, so shut the fuck up plebeian and go GET A JOB! (lol)

Does anyone else ever bake brownies just so they can eat the corner pieces?

Cup farts anybody?

I made it all the way to this paragraph ...

“Currently, when day bad day the dogs (i.e. cops) really go mad, it doesn’t come to anyone’s mind to settle feuds between them – because, without penetrating the matter, they are regarded as provocateurs and separated, and also because the enemy now is one. Due the legislation, we can not fart quietly, and for standing on the street they shoot at us, ...”
– adds a anonymous interlocutor of Kiev anarchist environment.

Lets break that down a bit. OK, so "dogs" = "cops". The first sentence now becomes "When day bad day the cops really go mad". Yeah?? Never mind, read on.

"it doesn't come to anyone's" (really??) "mind to settle feuds between them" Between who, the cops?

"without penetrating the matter" ewwwww "they are regarded as provocateurs and separated" again, who are we talking about?

"and also because the enemy now is one." one what??

The next one is my favorite.

"Due the legislation" Should probably be "due to", but ok "we can not fart quietly." According to that sentence, there is a law in place demanding loud farts.

"and for standing on the street they shoot at us" Maybe you didn't fart loud enough??

It's fine that you use Google translate, but could you at least read it before you publish.

Maiden defense squads and national defense crews are guarding government buildings and patrolling streets to prevent looting and destruction.

I saw that too!

Euromaidan: From fighting cops to becoming cops.

Muthafuckin fascist recuperators.

Ukrainian rebellion funded by George Soros

the neighboring [tent] is decorated with posters with portraits of Nestor Makhno and slogans “Freedom or death! “, ” Mother Anarchy ” and ” Life is a struggle”. The fact that the author of these posters, an artist Andrej Jermolenko from Kiev, as seen from his other work rather not have anarchist ideas – in particular, taking into account his work of 2012, ” The crisis of multiculturalism ” depicting Anders Breivik in a knight’s armor. Makhno, from a hero of the revolution, is gradually transformed into a national hero

I was wondering if there were any people in Ukraine - anarchists or whatever - who have tried to give an historically accurate understanding of Makhno and the Makhonovites. I know that, well before Euromaidan, he was transformed into a nationalist hero, including some TV show, and including his face appearing on some of the money. As far as I understand it, the Makhnovites were presented as somehow compatible with the White army forces. But this was some time before the current movement and it seems like this falsification of history should have been confronted when it became part of mainstream discourse. Maybe it was, but clearly insufficiently. I mean, is this a legacy of the success of Leninist/Trotskyist falsification, who presented Makhno as an ally of Petura....? Have the fascists decided that this "communist" re-writing of history was true, and therefore Makhno can be presented as a right-wing hero? Any clarification...?

Been wondering this too. But since most of the Left in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet bloc is actually neonazi, with Svoboda as the biggest labor union and the National Self-Defense being the main militia, seems like it'll take another big socio-political mash-up for Ukrainians to remember that other aspect of their ancestor's memory.

Found this FB page of people reporting on fascist violence in Kiev...

https://www.facebook.com/STOPFARRIGHTVIOLENCE?hc_location=timeline

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