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(en) Serbia, Belgrad, "Terror"&"human rights" as bourgoise concepts in Athenaeum of anarcho-syndicalists

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:59:36 +0200 (CEST)

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(a summary of discussion in Belgrade Monday 25th of July 2004 3 - 5 PM)
This was also one of the discussions organised in
Athenaeum of anarcho-syndicalists, parallel but not as
part of the PGA conference. I publish this in conference
website and PGA process list as well, because most of
the people who participated came there for the PGA at the
first place, and those who missed the event might be
curious what was the discussion about.
Topic of this discussion was also proposed in Alter-EE mailing list,
and the original idea of the concept was the following:

"Especially western-european leftists but also some
anarchists are getting often fascinated by all kinds of
national liberation movements, armed guerrillas, etc.
Probably they see them as projection of their own blurry
masturbation with visions of "more real"struggle, which
they are not able to live in their reality, so they are frustrated
by their own unabilities. On other hand every ambitious
coward can hide (and call it "solidarity") him/herself behind
images of (mostly) men with the guns from somewhere else.

Nationalist IRA or ETA, islamistic/anti semitic Hamas,
Stalinist warriors somewhere in Latin America. Their goals,
structures, tactics are not much questioned, as they are seen
as "armed fist of oppressed". Also for many is somehow
easier to "support" all these oppressed somewhere else
(Tibet, Chechnya) than confront oppresion right here,
coming from "own" state or people against any of
"minorities". On other hand plain racism and eurocentrism
doesn't allow to see clearly other realities, which often
created circumstances for such and not other political
choices and allow to easily say what or not is legitime. What
is our, as class/war anarchists political position? how and if
can look solidarity, how we see those described as
terrorists, what are the so-called "human rights" etc. Each
barricade has only 2 sides,but they are different barricades
all over."

However there was little discussion about national liberation
movements and armed guerilla. Although a few more
examples of strange forms of solidarity in TV society were
mentioned (Turkish anarchists organising solidarity for
Chiapas during ethnic cleansing of Kurdish, a solidarity
concert for resistance in Argentina in much more poor
Serbia), most of the time topic of the discussion was the
concept of human rights as such.

In reality, many very different concepts are united under
banner of the human rights, often in an inconsistent
manner. For example in Germany, human rights for
immigrants mean something completely different than
human rights for natives. Why free speech is a human right,
but a right to land is not? Concepts such as human rights
and terrorism are ever present in political discussion, but
their content is blurred at least.

There was a disagreement wether human rights may be
considered as an anarchist concept in the first place.
Concept of human rights is for sure core idea of
enlightment of the 18th century, and it was argued that
anarchism was "enlightement taken to its logical extreme",
whereas marxist materialism in its rejection of humanism
was a departure from enlightement which opened a way to
leninist totalitarism. In this sense, anarchism would be an
ideology bourgeois in heritage, although anti-bourgeois in
practice. But this point of view was opposed - it was argued,
that anarchism is fundamentally materialist, and that for
anarchists (just as for marxists) class division of the
mankind is a more fundamental concept than human rights.
Anarchist revolution would be a step forward from a
bourgeois one.

However, person arguing against human rights as a
concept, did not saw a moral problem in using them as an
argument in practice, for example when defending rights of
workers against illegal sacking. There were both good and
bad experience about liberal human rightists and
consistency of their practice in regards to rights of anarchists
- for example ACLU of USA has always standed by
anarchists when their civil rights have been violated,
whereas in contrary Amnesty International does not support
anybody who has for example been defending himself (such
as anti-fascist Tomek WIlkoszevski doing 15 years in
Poland), and very seldom those who have been framed for
committing criminal offences (such as anarchist Aleksei
Cherepanov in Russia).

Self defence should not be less of a right than free speech,
everybody should have a right to kill a violent nazi.
Self-defence should not be a privilege of statists. In another
hand, mob justice is far too often glorified by anarchists,
image of a lynch mob may hardly suit promoting direct
action among such groups as black people.

Plenty of participators had first-hand experience of terrorist
hysteria, for example recently an anti-terrorist case was
opened against Bulgarian anarchist for distribution of
leaflets only. Bosnian anarchists told which kind of
advertisement NATO and SFOR are paying in the local
press - corpses in bodybags under header "terrorist, this is
your destiny"... although during 9 years of defacto colonial
occupation there has not been a single terrorist attack
against NATO or SFOR troops in Bosnia! Which of course
does not mean that suspected people are not sent to
Guantamo... 200 years ago concept of terror was reserved
for states only, nowadays it is even used in the context of
property destruction.

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