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(en) Anarkismo.net: Russia, Interview with an anarchist from the city of Perm about the movement of Â Absolutely free markets Â
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 13:41:28 +0300
The iron lady of neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, declared there was no alternative in
matter of economy. Yet, experiences putting in practice alternative and egalitarian
economic forms since propagate themselves with a great vivacity to answer to growing needs
of impoverishment. Activists subvert the exchange and consumption through the Free of cost
and self-organization. Through the interview that follows, on questions of the blogue du
Collectif Emma Goldman (UCL), a Russian anarchist comrade from the city of Perm, will
describe the phenomenon in expansion of the âabsolutely free marketsâ, and will explain
few dynamics of her local anarchist milieu. Whole questions and answers.
Interview with an anarchist from the city of Perm about the movement of Â Absolutely free
Perm is a great industrial center of Russia, of near 1 billion inhabitants, just below
Ural Mountains, which are traditionally considered a natural boundary between Europe and
Asia. Can you first draw us up a brief portrait of the local anarchist and
antiauthoritarian milieu of Perm and around what (groups, places or subcultures) it is
- Perm is considered to be more liberal and libertarian than other provincial russian
cities, because there are many active human rights activists and active non-profit
organizations, local authorities are more ready to changes and cooperation, more "calm"
police. Active antiauthoritarian community in Perm is not really big; it's about 10-15
people in a core, and about 30 people around. But it's quite difficult to tell whether we
are real anarchists, because most of people who take part in these activities won't say
they are (some of us are communists, apoliticals, antifascists, hippieâ), but they are
active and do lots of considered-anarchist things.
A movement of âFrimarketsâ (ÑÑÐÐÐÑÐÐÑ) actually seems to be growing in a number of cities
of Russia. Solnechnogorsk, Kirov, Magnitogorsk, Perm, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny
Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, etc. Temporary markets where people bring unnecessary items
and food for sharing freely in a common place and âtake on the pileâ to take an expression
from Kropotkine. It is based on a Gift Economy that does present a lot of similitude with
Food not bombs initiatives. From which âseedâ does this movement evolve as much â is it
more or less connected with other anarchist organizing?
- In most cities freemarket movement was really started by anarchist groups. In other
places it was caught by young hipster or cultural communities as popular and funny
initiative without any sense of anarchism. We strongly feel that real success this story
has in the places where freemarkets are not promoted and positioned as "true anarchist
initiative" but as local activity that helps common people to get what they need and build
community. It teaches people practically how anarchism can work. For example, in cities
like Kirov where it's positioned as anarchist activity, only subcultural young people
visit their freemarkets and it looks like just funny party for strange people. We try to
make it as usable and easy to understand to people as possible, so we even call it here in
russian language as "Absolutely free market" (ÐÐÑÐÐÑÑÐÐ ÐÐÑÐÐÐÑÐÐÑ ÑÑÐÐÑÐÐ) instead of
english word freemarket.
The Free of charge appears in a certain manner as a subversion of the capitalist economic
processes, particularly apparent when people are taken of astonishment to not pay at the
distribution points. Society inculcates from early age: âwork, consume, and shut up!â to
its future workers. Do you believe that âAbsolutely free marketsâ got an emancipatory
potential for individuals and communities?
- It surely makes people believe that things can be done without any charge. We feel that
today someone gets something he or she needs at freemarket, and tomorrow he or she will be
more capable to do kind things for free. Lots of people didn't believe we do that without
any benefit, but after they see everything themselves they change their opinion.
Unfortunately, we still have some people who try to make benefit of free, so they spend
all their time at freemarket trying to get as many "good" things as possible, not taking
part in any other activities around them. That's our unsolved problem yet. We try to talk
to them, but still have same problem. We try to persuade people to make freemarkets by
themselves in their districts, houses, offices, communities (or just make free book shelf
or freebox), and sometimes get some response.
Threats and provocations from the radical and fascist rightwing and from the police
arbitrariness are realities that a lot of activists face in Russia and abroad. What
challenge does it represent to freemarkets of different cities?
- Fascists and police are problems, but not for freemarkets. As it's positioned like
something for people and they see that is, that's why I guess everything is okay. Just
because if they closed such peaceful and charitable activities, that would cause high
resonance and attention.
What are local impacts of the "antiextremist" repression felt by antifascist activists and
radical dissent against United Russia?
- In our region we don't have any problems with antiextremist repressions, but in
neighboring region, Tyumen, our friend Andrey Kutuzov, has got serious problems because of
his views. I think it's also because of more liberal environment in a here.
In domestic work (household work and child care), a certain gift economy is often lived by
women under very unequal gender roles and task distribution, thus exploiting their work
force without any remuneration. How do you evaluate the awareness in relation to gender
and patriarchy in frimarkets?
- Visitors of freemarkets are women in the majority, because they are more interested in
clothes, different home-used stuff, that are the most often exchanged things at
freemarkets. In a younger generation of about my age (17-25) parts of men and women are equal.
And finally, how do you evaluate the impact, and then the fast diffusion of radical
dissident art groups like ÐÐÐÐÐ (Voina) and Pussy Riot?
- I think they are cool and have a strong impact. They are for all of us to fell that we
can make really strange and strong things right now and simple. They are for people to
wake up. I'm really upset by the girls being jailed.
Related Link: http://ucl-saguenay.blogspot.ca/
by Blogue du Collectif Emma Goldman - UCL In Russia
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