Belarusian Anarchists Predict More Mass Protests

  • Posted on: 27 September 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="">Vice</a> - By Brian Whelan

Poor old Belarus &ndash; things just don&rsquo;t seem to get any better in Europe&rsquo;s last dictatorship.&nbsp;Right now it&rsquo;s being dwarfed by the media by controversies in Russia, but it remains stifled in a regime under which thousands of dissidents have been incarcerated. While Pussy Riot captured the world&rsquo;s hearts, Belarus&rsquo; political punks have gone mostly unnoticed. Last March, almost 100 people were arrested for simply attending a punk gig and no one heard about it.</p>
We&rsquo;ve told you about protests in Belarus several times now, but all you really need to know is that it&rsquo;s a dangerous activity. This week sees Belarus enter their fourth election under President Alexander Lukashenko, faced with a ballot paper sometimes literally providing them with one option alone. So we thought we&rsquo;d catch up with the punks who dare to stand against the regime.</p></td><td><img title="get you off my mind" src=""></td></tr><...
<p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src=" width="640"></iframe></p>
Somewhere in the silence, a group of frustrated Belarusian youths are fighting back. Taking inspiration from Greece&rsquo;s &quot;cells of fire&quot;, they launched high-stakes attacks against reviled state symbols, focused primarily on Lukashenko, who we&rsquo;ve run a couple of stories on <a href=" target="_blank">before</a>. In power since 1994; Lukashenko was banned from attending the 2012 Olympics for his atrocious human rights record. Nice guy. More recently, he labelled opposition in the Belarusian election &ldquo;cowards&rdquo; for boycotting what is <a href=" target="_blank">widely believed to be a fixed vote</a>. Belarus needs a break, and in a country where street demonstrations are brutally suppressed, perhaps the surprise attacks of an anarchist group will help to provide an ignored and oppressed people with the platform they need.</p>
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="640"></iframe></p>
I spoke to an anarchist inside the regime, who explained that the motivation for the attacks was born from a frustration at there being &ldquo;no legal way of getting people&#39;s attention or making a public event for more than 10 minutes. This, alongside the popularity of the Greek protests, led to new methods of struggle&rdquo;. They have little choice &ndash; after all, most legitimate forms of opposition are banned.</p>
&ldquo;It is almost impossible to register a party or a political movement in Belarus&rdquo;, says my contact, &ldquo;and there is a law that bans activity on behalf of an unregistered organisation. Every action has to be approved. Illegal actions are punished by short arrests&quot;. If you fail to comply with the government &ldquo;You can be expelled from university, or fired, if the special forces ask for it. Sometimes they don&#39;t have to ask &ndash; managers do it to prevent unnecessary attention from the KGB. Simple leaflet distribution can be viewed as an illegal mass media production.&rdquo;</p>
The current nascent anarchist movement has its roots in the punk and hardcore scene, with squats and other counter-cultural projects increasingly emerging in Belarus over the last decade. Actually, despite a history of being crushed by various dictators, Belarus has a history of anarchism, with &quot;<a href="" target="_blank">Propaganda of the Deed</a>&quot;&nbsp;going as far back as 1905. If anarchy is in its blood, there are a bunch of reasons for it to bubble up right now, stemming from what our source describes as &ldquo;a growth of disappointment in 2008-2009, at the methods and ideas of the opposition&rdquo;. The sudden rise in their numbers, he explained, was particularly evident &ldquo;during the annual Chernobyl march, organised by the opposition but supported by anarchists who were against a new power plant being built in Belarus&rdquo;. Apparently the anarchist bloc &ldquo;outnumbered any other opposition movement&rdquo; that day.</p>
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="640"></iframe></p>
Arson attacks started in 2009, when underground anarchists launched a clandestine campaign, attacking the army&rsquo;s General Staff headquarters with a smoke grenade. They went on to fire flares at Russian-owned casinos, set fire to a police station and firebomb the Russian Embassy and a state-owned bank. After films of the attacks were posted online in a bid to inspire others and the KGB inevitably set about arresting people, further solidarity firebomb attacks on detention centres and the KGB headquarters were carried out.</p>
Today, five anarchists accused of the attacks are currently in penal colonies, serving sentences ranging from three to eight years. These prisoners, among thousands of others, face nightmare conditions in post-Soviet prisons that enforce brutal structures of hierarchy within the inmates. The bizarre caste system ranges from the Blatnye (professional criminals), down to the Opuschennye (outcasts), who are regular targets for sexual violence.&nbsp;</p>
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="640"></iframe></p>
In 2010, Lukashenko&#39;s landslide election win provoked mass protests, and the regime remains on edge about the prospect of repeated unrest in the fallout from the coming result. One autocrat recently assured citizens that &quot;We don&#39;t need revolutions and shake-ups&rdquo;. Actually, that&rsquo;s probably the only thing they really do need, but the government are going in as hard as possible to prevent any disquiet. Last week, plainclothes security officers beat an Associated Press photographer and detained seven other journalists, simply for covering a protest attended by just four opposition activists.</p>
Of the 109 winning candidates announced yesterday morning, all were from the pro-Lukashenko parties. In response, the anarchists are certain that it&rsquo;s only a matter of time before the mass protests return, noting an increasing number of young people, disillusioned with the impotence of the opposition, joining their ranks. &ldquo;Parliamentary elections are never popular; we have less than three average candidates for a position. Most of the opposition boycotts them and big protests usually happen afterwards.&quot; However, counting on support can be tricky, as he explains; &ldquo;The thing is that our country is autocratic, not dictatory, which means if you don&#39;t fuss with the politics and don&#39;t care about some human rights violations, then you&rsquo;re OK. When the people have nothing to lose, then there will be a majority in the street. But while the regime is supported by credit from Russia, it will survive all smaller protests.&rdquo;<br />
<em>Follow Brian on Twitter: <a href="!/brianwhelanhack" target="_blank">@brianwhelanhack</a></em></p>


Clandestine action not mass protests!

True... Proof? Quebec student strike. Incredibly huge mass protests for months, then... BANG! Democratic spectacle, elections, and a Nationalist party in power!

So much for anarchy.

fix the typo in the heading

Vice has made a conscious marketing decision to focus on cutting edge radical action and movements with the assumption that the coming financial and social apocalypse will cement revolutionary ideals within most if not all subcultures worldwide.

Or they just want more riot porn available.

Why not both? WIN WIN

If you read Vice are you a manarchist?

If Derrick Jenson reads Vice what happens?

Is Vice going to replace Profane Existence?

Does Vice have room for a crust punk documentary?

Does Vice know who Resist + Exist are?

What will the new music of anarchy be?

What will the new generation of punx do?

I'm told Vice was started by a crusty and they claim left and right wings are equally fucked.

?=? @'s?

You be the judge.

Author of the OP used to be an excellent anarchist troll (by which I mean someone who trolls anarchists, not a troll who's an anarchist, although tbh they're pretty much the same thing).

HUh... yeah but you forgot that they won't be selling any of their printed crap in the upcoming social/financial apocalypse.

They're already into porn... sex porn for liberals. I suppose this is where they get the big bucks for their high-profile publishing job. Where the fuck they take their money from, otherwise? Didja see their posh offices in Montreal? Maaan...

I do not support a bunch of belarusian capitalist juggalo "anarchists".

I stopped reading at "Europe's last dictatorship." Ok, so only socialist regimes are worthy of being called by that name...

So Berlusconi, and his NON-ELECT successor Monti, was not a dictatorship? And what about Greece's and Spain's military juntas, run by the Troika?

Alternative media my Royal Ass, chaps!

Actually compared to the USA's Police State, Bielorussia's regime looks like a bunch of poor amateurs.

This is how liberal democracy works. Pls get a critique of the normal functioning of politics and the economy.

Liberal democracy, yeah... with hordes of paramilitary cops and DHS giant armored trucks.

But oh... I fully know how it all works. I've studied it for about 12 years now. It works by and through the Spectacle. Spectacle of freedom, of democratic power, of happiness, of "everything still is going well under the sun, because everything's under control".

So violent fascist cops are defending liberal democrats lofts and condos from being occupied by street people, who are being sent into concrete blocks with processed food for only hanging nearby those places. So the hipsters can pretend doing the revolution in their safeguarded places, trolling on Anews and making Queer dance parties between four walls... that of course are paid with thick checks to fascist landlords.

This is liberal democracy.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Enter the code without spaces.