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(en) avtonom.org: What are the anarchists of Belarus? [machine translation]

Date Sun, 30 Dec 2018 11:03:34 +0200

The Pramen group surveyed a dozen active Minsk anarchists and figured out how they represent the society of the future, what they propose to do to achieve it, and who needs it at all. ---- What are the goals of anarchists? ---- Some anarchists and anarchists emphasize social transformations, saying that the goal of the movement is the abolition of the institutions of power and the replacement of them with self-governing structures. Others complement this idea, emphasizing the need to spread a new way of life and new values that correspond to the anarchist ideal of a free and responsible person who is actively involved in managing their own lives. The ideas of the new society and the "new man" for anarchists are closely related. To implement them, it is necessary to create horizontal relationships at all levels: from interpersonal interaction to decision-making methods affecting millions of people.

In the economic sphere, the implementation of the principle of horizontality means the creation of networks of production and consumer cooperatives. These structures will allow both small and large producers to negotiate directly with consumers about the supply of the right types and the right amount of products. According to anarchists, such an economic model will solve the problem of economic inequality and change attitudes towards the environment, since it will be aimed not at maximizing the profits of individual players, but at the sustainable development of the whole society. Some anarchists argue that such an economy does not exclude competition, but the latter will shift to the area of product quality and will not affect the economic well-being of the "losers" competition.

READ ALSO: Peter Kropotkin "What is anarchy?"

In the sphere of decision making, anarchists are in favor of organizing a stepped system of self-government, where all the basic powers will be in the hands of autonomous local assemblies of the inhabitants. If necessary, local assemblies will be able to send delegates for coordination at the district, city or whole region level. At the same time, some anarchists believe that at the grassroots level, in emergency cases, it is possible to create organs with limited powers, but they will have so little capacity and are so strongly controlled by local assemblies that they will not threaten the horizontal social structure.

In order for such a system to work, anarchists say, it is necessary to spread a new culture based on equality, mutual respect and pluralism. All divisions on racial, ethnic, gender and other grounds will not create hierarchies.

What methods involves anarchism to achieve their goals?
All anarchists agree that the ways of approaching the anarchist ideal can be very different and depend on the specific socio-political situation. Anarchism involves a wide range of practices: from educational activities, symbolic street actions or publishing to armed resistance to power.

Some anarchists believe that an important area of activity is the organization of alternative horizontal institutions that meet the needs of the participants: housing projects, production and consumer cooperatives, educational initiatives, etc. It is assumed that the numerical growth of an "alternative society" which will create a revolutionary situation.

Part of the anarchists among the ways of implementing social transformations is called the active inclusion in the existing social movements: working, female, environmental, anti-racist and others.

All these methods and practices are united by the principle of direct action, which means that the oppressed act independently for the realization of their rights, without resorting to the help of any representatives of the authorities and not creating a hierarchy in their movement. In other words, direct action is the consistency of ends and means.

What are some examples of the embodiment of anarchist ideas in practice?
There is not a single example of the realization of an anarchist ideal, which would be absolute, and at the same time massive and long-term. There are many reasons for this.

Some major attempts to create anarchist structures are forcibly suppressed by the state. So it was with agricultural communes and self-managed industrial production in Catalonia during the civil war in 1936-1939 and with the Makhnov experiment of 1918-1921 .

Some projects to create an alternative society degenerate, integrating with the time in the surrounding system. For example, the Israeli kibbutzim, the commune of Auroville in India and the Mondragon cooperative in Spain.

Nevertheless, today there are a number of examples of the implementation of anarchist or close to anarchism experiments. These are entire regions like the Mexican state of Chiapas and the autonomous cantons of Syrian Kurdistan , many production and consumer cooperatives around the world, occupied by workers in 2001 in Argentina factories (for example, Zanon factory).

In the political sphere, an example of a close to anarchist method of organization is the coordination of the world alter globalization movement, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Night Standing movement or the Yellow Vests .

In the interests of which social groups are the changes proposed by anarchists?
Primarily in the interests of those social groups that experience at least one of the types of structural oppression or do not have the opportunity to participate equally in making decisions that directly affect their living conditions. And such, by the way, the overwhelming majority of the population.

In the interests of employees who, finally, will be able to dispose of their work, time and skills. Women who will be just men, not the "second sex." Men of the lower and middle classes who will not die in wars for the interests of the elites. People with special physical needs, for whom resources and opportunities will be found to create an inclusive environment. People suffering from environmental pollution and the destruction of nature.

As a rule, anarchists mean that all these seemingly "narrow" and "separate" interests are internally interrelated and can be included in the general project of social transformations.

The only group whose any interests are infinitely far from the anarchists is the small economic and political elite, which has concentrated in its hands the privileges and levers of social control.

Large-scale anarchist transformation of society is a long and complex process. But what concrete changes do the anarchists propose to make now?

When it came to concrete and actual social transformations, it was already hard for many anarchists to formulate a concrete answer.

Nevertheless, some respondents formulated clear and reasonable steps:

To achieve freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of organization. This also includes the abolition of all laws related to "extremist activity." This will help to return some part of society to political life.

Empower local governments with more authority. This will make power more transparent and controlled by society. Where possible, these areas need to be transformed into local assemblies.

At least partially deprive the state of a monopoly on violence. That is to legalize at least a traumatic weapon, to soften or abolish articles about violence against security officials. This will make it possible to get closer to solving the problem of police violence, reduce the level of repression and, in the long term, return to the society the opportunity to take care of their own security independently.

What is the anarchist movement of Belarus?
Many anarchists say that there is no anarchist movement in Belarus, if by movement we mean some kind of mass force capable of influencing the socio-political situation. Instead, there are a number of activist groups, communities and individuals who share anarchist beliefs and lead the work of creating a full-fledged movement. Among them: the free distribution of food " Food instead of bombs ", the media team " Pramen ", the initiative to help prisoners " Anarchist Black Cross ", the libertarian library " Freestyle " and Minsk " Free Fair ".

The main difference between anarchists and other political forces in Belarus is the lack of desire to get into power. Some anarchists see dishonesty and lack of transparency in the fact that politicians use the dissatisfaction of some social groups or some social conflicts in order to "gain political points", which ultimately will help them to take a place in the "big cabinets" and enjoy such a standard of living that will be unavailable to most of those with whom they today, it seems, as well. Anarchists, on the contrary, directly and openly declare their interests, not differing from the interests of the majority of the population.

How to join the anarchists of Belarus?
In general, you need to get acquainted with someone from the anarchists and get involved in the work of one of the initiatives. For example, attending open events like "Food instead of bombs" or "Free Fair". Many anarchists say that it is quite difficult, because of the repression, it is necessary to comply with a number of security measures.

READ ALSO: " Home Activism "

In addition, you can create an autonomous initiative or group, and like-minded people will definitely get in touch.

Finally, the intention to join or help you can write any of the above initiatives. For example, to mail pramen@riseup.net

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