news from the x (fwd)

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Mon, 11 Nov 1996 01:12:54 +0000 (GMT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 10 Nov 1996 00:00:00 +0000
From: Ralf Landmesser <ralf@anarch.free.de>
To: tao@presence.lglobal.com
Subject: news from the x

## Nachricht vom 10.11.96 weitergeleitet
## Ursprung : ralf@aladen.free.de
## Ersteller: cube@glas.apc.org

NEWS AND VIEWS #5
OCT.1996
Laure Akai
cube@glas.apc.org

The following is part one of News and Views, the "news" part
(even though there's probably just as many views). Please
distribute freely.

NEWS AND VIEWS
FROM THE EDITOR It's that time again to get news from the
former Soviet Union. My comrades in America it seems are
stuck with the same ol' president, and it seems, so are we,
so now that we know the status quo, it's time to go. I'm
glad to report that following our pre-election doldrums,
actually there has been a considerable amount of activity.
In September I ventured to the dread ADA conference to have
a look at my fellow anarchists. For those of you who aren't
up on our Russian groups and federations, ADA is the
Association of the Anarchist Movement, a federation whose
history is rather odd. Let's just say that one could find
there such wonders as anarcho-monarchists, capitalists and,
the ever-popular and once numerous anarcho-democrats.
Whereas last year there was just a handful of wierdos, this
year there were quite a number of people from different
cities present, so I lucked out. Of course I did get rather
odd literture - like leaflets on constitutional anarchism -
but it was rather interesting to hear about whats going on
around the X and it was a good sign to see that there were
people interested in making contacts and doing something.
What did I find out during this conference? First, that in
many cities there is nothing much happening. The anarchists
there are quite isolated as you can imagine. Well, what we
need to do is buy (or get) a bus, make an anarchy bus, and
tour the country spreading goodwill and mischief. Really, we
are quite lucky in Moscow that we have some people around us
to do things with and we have more access to information
than in places like Kustanai. (That's a city in Kazakhstan,
where comrade Vasily is from. Of course he's taken refuge in
the squat here in Moscow and maybe he'll never go back.) So,
what I'd like for my dear comrades to keep in mind is that
wed like it if they occasionally had contact with these
poor lonely souls because what winds up happening is that we
get all the info here in Moscow and although we have no real
problems passing it along, Moscow has always been seen as
the center of everything in Soviet life and it's time to
think regionally and decentralize. There are some really
good people out there and there are good opportunities for
them to organize something.

It was interesting to find out that in Alma-Ata there are
three anarchist groups, but they don't have much to do with
each other. In fact, they didn't seem to have a lot to do
except sabotage ski slopes. The same could be said of a
number of groups - they don't quite know what to do or are
rather small. The places that seemed the most active were
Moscow, Petersburg and Donetsk. More about what we're doing
later. Another place where there was quite a lot of activity
was Kaliningrad. This is exclusively ecological activity and
I wanted to say a few words on this topic.

Perhaps the main type of activity that people seem to be
involved in now is the ecological protest movement. I must
say that some of the recent actions that have been organized
have been quite well done. Our ecological comrades, that is
Rainbow Keepers and the Social Ecology Unionm as well as a
few others, are quite energetic and are constantly doing
something. A lot of young people are attracted to their
actions. There are two publications, "Trety Put" and
"Rainbow Keepers" (the last issue of which is about the
nicest looking zine I've ever seen in Russia). To be honest,
I don't know much about the other groups outside Moscow,
Nizhny and Kaliningrad, but what I do know is that there are
lots of these ecological groups throughout Russia. To a
large extent, many of these groups exist because they get
grants from the US government to carry out their activity. I
saw a list once of these grant-receiving groups, (in a USAID
publication) and I was amazed. Well, our friends would be
fools to turn down the opportunity to finance themselves,
especially when self-financing is so difficult given the
general poverty here. That hardly bothers me. What does
bother me is that too many of our people pay too much
attention to these problems, to the exclusion of all else.
And I'm sure that's what USAID people want and had in mind
when they gave out these grants.

Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against this sort of
activism. I hate industrial consumer society. I was at
Seabrook, was an animal liberationist, am a vegetarian for
more than 20 years, have never smoked, protested the fur
expo on Red Square, lobbied for the bottle bill, praticed
recycling before the city of NY took care of it, collected
signatures for clean water, don't drive, ride a bike, have
done some direct actions... This is all great. (Although I'd
rather that they stop smoking at the meetings and try to
start a recycling movement in Moscow than hugging trees, but
OK.) But ecological issues are only part of the problem. As
a matter of fact, one can argue that much of the ecological
problems in the world, particularly here, are part of larger
problems, like poverty. It's a shame that someone can
concentrate all their political efforts on shutting down
nuclear reactors and spiking trees when there is civil war,
when people are starving... I understand why, because, as
Max (our RK guy) said, people have to feel like there's
something that they can win. And we're not exactly in a good
position to organize say, a general strike.

So you will read a lot about these ecological actions this
time. Also, I'll tell you about what the Donetsk group is up
to, about our fabulous international brigade, what one of
our old comrades is up to in Karelia, about the KRAS
conference and the return of the Wobblies. In addition, an
article about corruption in the government and the problems
of the workers' movement.

Finally some annoucements. First of all, I'd like to
congratulate Petr Ryabov with the completion of his
dissertation on "The Problem of the Individual in Anarchist
Philosophy". It's a giant two-volume work, hopefully which
will sometime see the light of day, by my fellow
graphomaniac and comrade. I'd also like to congratulate him
for making it out of Belarus in one piece after serving a
stint in a lovely barren cell this October. We'd like to
thank all the comrades who bombarded the Belarussian
government with telegrams and phone calls. It worked.
Second, we are planning some interesting things for the
summer and invite foreign guests. Actually, since we invite
you, we feel obliged that these things be interesting, so,
unfortunately, we haven't made any definite decisions yet as
to whether to drag people to a collective farm, or Bakunin's
house or to a nuclear reactor, but if you want to visit
Russia, we can guarantee you neon green wheatgrass drink and
lots of drunken songs in languages that you don't
understand. And last, but not least, please copy and
distribute this bulletin as you see fit. Absolutely no
copyright. As a matter of fact, I should mention that all
opinions in this bulletin are the opinions of Com. Akai,
unless otherwise stated and that, in the spirit of the ANC
(absolutely no copyright) I have comandeered the publication
of this rag from Com. Tsovma, who may ultimately protest
that I've stolen his idea for the name, but he's stolen lots
of ideas from me, so no matter.

News and Views comes out sporadically, and if you would like
to receive the next issue, please make an effort to bribe or
impress the editor. Apologies to those who have requested it
and havent gotten a reply from me - life is chaotic. Send
comments to L.Akai at cube@glas.apc.org or P.O. Box 500,
Moscow 107061. Please note that delivery time is up to one
month - each way.-

DOWN WITH LUKASHENKO!
Why we hate him and risked life and limb to go to Minsk.
Don't make me to all the work! All you have to do is read
the paper to understand why we hate Luka.

Lukashenko is a return of the cult of personality, of lies,
censorship, the party, political hegemony, the absence of
opposition. To watch Luka on TV during his Congress (and it
was impossible to do otherwise as the Russian channels were
cut), was like stepping back into the Soviet Union of the
Brezhnev era. The man wants to be dictator for life, and to
achieve this aim, he's decided to play good Luka and play up
his public image while harassing and arrested opposition,
banning journalists, ignoring the parliament, etc. The CIA
wants to overthrow the guy, but their plot was discovered
and people fled the country. Luka got paranoid about this
and of course understood that the world was watching when
they brutally beat demonstrators last spring, so he needed
to do something, and, as hes pretty smart, decided that he
likes this referendum idea, because he can falsify it but
look like a democrat at the same time. He got into a bit of
a standoff with the parliament, and we got wind of coup
rumours so we decided to help out our comrades in Belarus
and go to Minsk so that they wouldn't have to be stuck with
the BNF (Belarussian National Front). We went in the middle
of October.

Us Moscow adventurists were pleased to find that others had
also organized themselves to help out - namely the
Ukrainians had also formed a brigade, ironically, with the
same name. We met anarchists from Gomel and Grodno, who
similarly understood the need to go to Minsk and,
unfortunately, some nazis from Brest, who don't know the
difference between Hitler and Makhno. (I have a theory that
the Soviets were secretly testing chemical weapons near the
Polish borders and that these morons are an unfortunate side
effect.) Well, as you've figured out, there was no coup,
and, try as we did, we didn't manage to overthrow the
government, so instead we sang revolutionary songs and
planned further action. I must say our brothers from Minsk
and Kiev have great voices and I'd especially like to urge
our Minsk comrades to give up politics and become singers so
that they can support us financially and be of better use.
There was sort of a story here, about the trip. See, Luka is
smooth and he had the cops carry out arrests before and
after this big demo, but not during. So, while miners were
going to Minsk, he had them arrested. Some people got busted
on their way into the city. Others, like our comrades, got
busted afterwards, near the house where we were going to
meet. (There was to be a meeting of the FAB - Belarussian
Anarchist Federation (which has a hymn and everything), at
that place because the place it was originally supposed to
be at was raided the day before.) I saw a number of people
get busted, but it's not clear how many because it was done
in such a way that nobody saw the arrests and nobody heard
about them. In April they also arrested people in such a
way, but it was a massive sweep and the word got out. In any
case, they tried to make it difficult for us - they wouldn't
tell us were they were being held, where the trial would be,
etc., but our comrades were great and the General Attorney
was bombarded with phone calls from journalists, the
parliament got telegrams, and in the end our friends got off
easy. Still, we're far from happy. We know that the
political activists out there are getting harrassed, and if
Luka has his way, their days are numbered. So we're
continuing our campaign against the creep and are waiting to
see what develops.

WEEK OF ANTI-NUKE PROTESTS: Chernobyl week in the Ukraine
Last year, on April 12, 1995, the Ukrainian government
secretly adopted decree # 267 on the development of nuclear
energy. At the same time, all unofficial commerations of the
Chernobyl disaster were oulawed. This year even the
publication of anti-nuke literature was forbidden. Lots of
troops were called in. Rainbow Keepers held an action on
April 23, 1996. About 40 people from Russia, Ukraine and
Belorussia, as well as a couple of people from other
countries took part in it.

The participants in the action, as well as a few people from
the streets, marched onto the Cabinet of Ministers. They
demanded that Chernobyl and other nuclear power stations be
shut down and that alternative forms of energy be developed.
The OMON (riot police) started to beat the demonstrators and
arrested 19 people.

Ukrainian Greenpeace refused to get involved with the whole
affair. Too radical for them. As the 26th drew near, people
were getting ready for some action. On the 25th the police
arrested some activists right in the metro. And on the 26th,
it was all too surreal as the city held a party for its
citizens. Wagner blasted through the loudspeakers and then
pop stars gave concerts. And in the meanwhile, a fire burned
for the fourth striaght day in a row in the zone. A third
leak was found at Chernobyl and the level of readioactivity
increased significantly.

How's that for learning a lesson from the past?

WHERE THE HELL IS VOLGODONSK? That's where the action was!

The Rainbow Keepers held yet another summer camp-protest
action, this time at the Rostov Nuclear Power Plant. The
center of their protest was at Volgodonsk, a city of 200,000
inhabitants, situated 13 kilometers from the plant. The
plant was built very poorly and the inhabitants of the city,
especially those who live in cheap Soviet hi-rises, are
being steadily contaminated. In 1990 there was a large local
movement to shut down the reactor and the local authorities
voted to close it, only to be turned down by the central
authorities in Moscow. Then this year, the regional
government got a letter from the Ministry of Atomic Energy
saying that the reactor would be put into use. Ironically
this letter was written on April 26, 1996, the tenth
anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster!

The Rainbow Keepers were thus invited by "Nuclear Free Don"
and "The Green Wave" to do an action in that city. The camp
started on August 10 and ended on the 28th. More than 40
people from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tadzhikistan
took part in the action.
On the 21st the camp was attacked by some guys with machine
guns and clubs. Luckily nobody was killed, although a number
of people were hurt. All the banners were burned and photo
and video cameras stolen. Three of the attackers were
recognized as guards at the plant. They threatened to shoot
everybody if they hadn't left by the morning. The press and
police later showed up and nothing happened. In general the
people of the city were very supportive of the action.
Little old ladies came by to feed the camp. And quite a lot
of contacts were made and a bit of activism sparked the
city. The Keepers are even considering going back next
year to keep up the struggle.

HUG A TREE and have a nice day!

In May RK went to the Akhunsky Forest (near Penza - if that
means anything to you) to spike some trees. Although its
forbidden to cut down trees in the area, a lot of it has
been going on. They repeated this type of action in June in
the Bolshoi Tkhatch mountains, near Krasnodar.

All this follows last years' actions to save some trees in
Moscow where they were cut down so that the city could waste
money on a Galina Vishveskaya opera school. (Like, we need
this. There's no money to pay workers, mind you. Besides,
Galina is a foul bitch and her husband is a daffy-ducklike,
dick-brained, semi-fascist, elitist moron.) Such
neighbourhood initiatives, as well as other anti-
construction demos are popping up in Moscow left and right.
(Of course, there is a great housing shortage, so not
everyone symapthizes with these actions. The city is a
monster.) Directions on how to sabotage lumberjacks were
printed in this issue of "Rainbow Keepers".

ANTI-ANTI FASCISM?

My "second-favourite" Trotskyist sect, the Militant, (only
outdone by the Sparts), is up to organizing youth again. The
unsinkable Robert Jones (probably a pseudonym), who is the
local rep of Youth Against Racism in Europe, organized an
anti-fascist month in Moscow. Well, I didn't go to anything,
so I can't say much about what happened, but I know that I
smell a two-headed (Moscow River) fish.
First of all, why are many
of

the favourite local participants of this group fascists? Or
if not outright fascists, then just lovers of
totalitarianism? Mr. Svetkov, for example, the national
bolshevik. Or Mr. Kostenko, who joined the RKRP, and well,
is just a major asshole provacateur. An avocator or
Stalinist terror and Kim il-Sun. And the artist Osmolosky,
whose exhibition "Anti-fascism and Anti-anti-fascism" was
the centerpiece of the conference. We already experienced
the "pluralism" of this sect and understand it all to be
just more entrism, but unfortunately, some of our stupider
comrades do not. A number of anarchists were invited to
Moscow, all expenses paid, to take part in this conference
but I didn't see them at the so-called anti-fascist rally.
It was rather sad - in all 6 or 7 people standing on Soviet
Sq. (well, actually it's not Soviet square anymore, but I
can never remember what they renamed it). They didn't say
anything, but there were at least 7 or 8 foreign journalists
there filming, presumably French and other Trots who want to
show their comrades what they organized to keep their
allowances coming. Well, militants, since we generally
gather three times as many people at our anti-fa shit, I'd
suggest you send us the money and send Robert packing.

RKAS ACTIVE IN
MINERS'STRIKE

The Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists were
very busy this summer as the miners in the Donbass region
went on strike and the government repressed Mikhail Krylov,
a trade union leader. The A-Ses published quite a number of
anarchist papers, put up posters, talked with workers and
participated in many meetings and actions.The Donetsk group
is actively continuing their work with the workers and
continue propogating anarchist ideas of self-organization,
self-management and so on.

KRAS CONFERENCE GOES OVER POLITELY

The Confederation of Radical Anarcho-Syndicalists, not to be
confused with the renegade Radical Confederation of Anarcho-
Syndicalist (furthermore not to be confused with the more
modest Group of Radical Anarcho-Syndicalist, or the living
dead, not-so-radical, Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists)
held its conference at the end of August in Gomel, Belarus.
A whole bunch of resolutions were adopted, nobody was
killed. The group wants to represent the CIS in the IWA but
some other anarcho-syndicalists, namely the Radicals, are
not in favour of such representation. The KRAS ministry of
information was set in Moscow. (What did you expect?)

WHAT INTERNATIONAL TO JOIN? THE WOBBLIES RISE UP FROM THE
DEAD.

For those who don't want to join the International, there's
always the IWW. Organizing efforts are under way here to
start a wobbly group, but the project isn't on its feet yet.
However, as the situation here is quite unsteady, we're
hoping that some people will stop hobbling about, rocking
forth between different authoritarian groups and take their
first baby steps on the road to the great general strike and
self-organization.

WHAT TO DO IN KARELIA

Well, if you've tried all the flavours at the Petrozavodsk
Ben and Jerry's, you might as well try to force a
referendum. The story of how a small group made big news in
Karelia is downright inspirational for all who want to start
up grassroots movements.

It all started on Feb. 15 when two women went to a
consultant to get advice on alternative service for their
loved ones. Who wants to send a son or husband off to
Chechnya? To fight a war that even Lebed didn't want to
fight? They decided that they wanted to do something to end
the war in Chechnya, so they figured that Karelia should
hold a referendum. Not that my anarchistic soul cares much
for voting, but such things are preferable to the rule of
the Kremlin, especially considering that the people, by and
large, are not only against the war, but definitely against
compulsory military service. On Feb. 20 they formed a small
group of 5 people and on the 27th they already went to the
government with the idea and started phoning people en
masse. By March 5 a big media campaign was started and they
had started collecting signatures but there were some
problems because the group wasn't registered, and without
the almighty registration in Russia, nothing works. On the
12 of March, the government said that it couldn't consider a
referendum because this was a matter of national defense,
but the group argued, successfully, that it couldn't be a
matter of defense because first of all, Russia hadn't been
invaded, and secondly, Russia doesn't recognize the
independence of Ichkeria, so it's a matter of internal
politics, a matter of the governing of the Russian
Federation. On the 14th they refused to register the group,
but the Mayor of Petrozavodsk (who definitely has tried all
the B&J flavours), intervined and they were registered by
the 23rd. They then needed to just collect 25,000 signatures
to force the referendum and set up info stands in the city.
Unfortunately the bureaucrats sabotaged the group, saying
that they were incorrectly registeres, so they had to go
back to GO. Still, our friends there are still working hard
and we hope that the experience they're getting in
organizing will do them some good.

MORE ECO-NEWS

What - more eco-news? O.K., I'll spare you. Just be aware
that they were protesting aginst this and that, here and
there. People were arrested, nobody was killed.

WE HELD A CONFERENCE AND NO ONE CAME

Yeah, we held a Stirner Conference, but the guy whose idea
it was backed out at the last minute so it was poorly
organized and no one came but Ryabov and I did some kick-ass
lectures and we dont care that nobody came, because we like
talking to ourselves anyway. So there.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Any workers group that feels unrepresented in
the Russian Federation, please send us an essay, 50 words or
less about why your group is better than our groups, along
with a cheque for 25,000USD to The Radical Confederation of
Radical Anarcho-Cynicalists, Moscow Group, P.O. Box 34,
Moscow 117485 or to the Friends of the IWW, IWA and IWOK
International, c/o Friends of Friends, P.O. Box 500, Moscow
107061. Or vice-versa.

That's all for now. Please forgive me for any gross
omissions. More to follow.