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(en) Russia, Articles and issues of anarchist journal avtonom are banned in Russia
Sat, 07 Dec 2013 09:08:43 +0200
My article “On anarchism and violence” is now banned in Russia ----- 28th of November
Lenin district court of the city of Tyumen uphold a request of the prosecutor of the Lenin
district on recognition a text I wrote two years ago as “extremist”. ----- My article “on
anarchism and violence” was published in issue 33 of Avtonom in autumn of 2011,
https://avtonom.org/en/pages/avtonom-33-english-summary-autumn-2011, and also in 5th issue
of Finnish anarchist journal Väärinajattelija http://vaaris.org/5/. I published both of
these texts with a pseudonyme, as I did not want Russian authorities to pay unsoliticed
attention to my person. Now I have translated this text to English, as I would like as
many people as possible to make conclusion on justification of the decision of the Lenin
district court of Tyumen.
“Ural regional center of juridical examination”, which prepared
expertise of my article, did not followed framework set up In this law.
According to them, my text “has signs of justification of violent
activities, which might be directed towards any person, and not
necessarily against any concrete group”. Thus they found in my article
instigating hatred against “racial, national, religious or social
group”which was not against any racial, national, religious or social group!
My texts handles issue of violence in such an abstract level, that
obviously “experts” have completely missed what it was all about. If
these “experts” want to oppose any kind of violence whatsoever, why they
do not want to ban police, army or governments? Obviously, it might be
these “experts” understood point of my text excellently, and they just
want to make activities of anarchists and other dissidents as difficult
as possible, and to employ thousands of buraucrats for whom maintenance
and governing of “list of extremist materials” provides means of living.
Here is the text, Russian version of which is now banned in Russia:
On anarchism and violence
Some claim, that anarchism opposes violence, as for anarchists means and
ends meet. But only second statement is correct, wherease first is not.
This because in anarchism violence is not only means, but in a certain
sense a goal in itself.
With this, I do not mean childish boasting about hanging last bourgeois
to guts of last priest or anything like that. Destruction of class
enemies as individuals is not a revolutionary goal. As Kropotkin wrote,
one may hardly avoid some excesses from side of most angered people, but
obviously it is goal of anarchists to minimise them.
In the present society, people are first of all victims of their own
roles. However, this does not mean that there is no individual
In the foundation of any values is the idea, that one must pay for evil
deeds. Obviously, this is not an anarchist invention, but an universal
principle which is shared by all humanity. There are huge differences of
opinions on what dieeds are right and what is wrong and how evil should
be punished, but the basic principle is agreed by anyone.
Forgiveness is noble, but only if it is voluntary. The last thing one
has right to do is to forgive for someone else! If someone got defamed,
beaten up, betrayed or raped, it is his own business should he forgive
or demand punishments, no-one elses. I am sure that even Jesus would
agree on this.
There are million practical arguments one may present against revenge.
Sometimes revenge may lead to an endless cycle of violence, sometimes
revenge may hinder wrongdoer to understand his mistakes and to correct
his behavior, sometimes revenge may lead to problems, not only for actor
but also for people close to him and even comrades, which are completely
out of proportion. Sometimes these arguments are a reason enough to
avoid revenge. But still, revenge is base of all justice. This because
revenge may exist without forgiving, but forgiving may not exist without
revenge. If you do not have the option of revenge, your forgiveness is
worth of nothing.
Government and norms it creates forbid revenge, and thus deny us the
right to be moral subjects. For compensation, system has donated us
action movies and endless amount of other entertainement, where issue is
revenge has always the central place. We are given the right of revenge
only in our fantasies. Only in our dreams we are allowed to be human
Revenge is the basis of all justice on earth. If this is something
society may not comprehend, fuck that society.
Let us take the murder of US president William McKinley as an example,
committed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in year 1901. Assasination was
followed by a huge wage of repression against anarchists and any
socialists. Legislation which was formed those years, among other things
banned anarchists from entering United States, and is still in force
(luckily this legislation is nowadays seldom executed).
Most of the contemporary anarchists (for example Johann Most) denounced
Czolgosz, and even those few who defended him (such as Emma Goldman)
rather spoke out for a comrade than for his act. Czolgosz had no close
associates inside anarchist movement. He was obviously a looser, perhaps
deranged as well. Many researchers believe he never had a girlfriend.
His act did not lead to any positive transformations in the society, he
was not even allowed to explain his motivations. He was sentenced
hastily, and executed a mere month after the assasination.
But besides everything said afore, president McKinley deserved to die.
In 1989 USS Maine exploded in front of the city of Havanna, for reasons
still unclear. Back then, Cuba was still Spanish colony, which had often
revolted for independence. After explosion of USS Maine, USA declared a
war on Spain. As a consequence of the war, Cuba got its independence and
Puerto Rico and Philippines became colonies of the United States.
However, inhabitants of Philippines did not appreciate their new masters
any more than previous ones, and they launched an all-out rebellion for
President McKinley crushed the rebellion with the same brutality, with
which rebellions are crushed always and everywhere. Tens of thousands
were executed, raped and robbed, hundreds of thousands died as a result
of hunger and illnesses that followed military action and establishment
of concentration camps. Nobody knows the exact death toll, but during
these years overall population of the islands declined with
approximately one million.
Murder of McKinley did not halted the war, it went on for one more year
after the assasination. It is possible, that war and atrocities
committed by US army in Philippines were not even the main reason for
Czolgosz to murder the president.
But who would not rejoice for the fact, that at least one scumbag got
what he deserved?
For anarchist, an opportunity of revenge always exists
Government is the monopoly of violence, which takes over all moral
issues. Ideal citizen does not intervene to business of the juridicial
system, but trusts it to experts. As we give up our right to revenge,
state relieves us from the necessity of violence in exchange, and
promises to take care about it for us. I must admit, that often state
fulfills its promise accordingly. Richer the country, more likely that
juridicial system punishes those who have done you wrong more
effectively, than you would be able to do yourself.
However, in anarchism every individual is an integral part of the
governance, all three branches of it – legislative, executive and
judicial. Obviously, this intermingling increases risk of lynching and
mob stupidity, but even primitive societes and such medieval anarchistic
societies as Iceland took steps to create separation of powers at least
to some extent. One possible solution is to require everyone to take up
responsability in each of the branches for a limited period, so that
no-one is delegated to more than one branch simultaneously. Actually,
anarchistic Iceland had a rather complicated legal system. I do not
believe that in conditions of a modern society, anarchist legal system
would be more simple.
Many confuse violence, power and authority, but all of these are
different things and anarchists only oppose the third. Authority is a
privilege that is institutionalised, formal, traditional or charismatic.
Anarchist does not deny power of experts, as long as it has reasonable
limits. Any powers that are based on expert positions should be
continuously re-evaluated, and an attempt to fully abolish them should
be made with time. That is, anarchism does not attempt to abolish right
to use violence, but to distribute this right equally to everyone.
In this respect, it makes no fundamental difference if anarchism has
more or less crime than our current society. Anarchistic Iceland was a
culture of violent machos, in which any insults were responded with
swords. But Icelandic scenario is not the only possibility for
anarchism. It is just as possible, that in anarchism people will live
like in pictures of Watchtower-journal, in which lions lie in Savannah
amongst people and eat fruits. But even if no-one was killed in
anarchist society (indeed there have been primitive societies in which
murder is an unknown concept), in anarchy everyone has a potential
possibility to give a sentence and to punish. And that, by definition,
is violence. Thus anarchism is for violence.
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