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(en) afed.cz: How I fought the Trotskyists

Date Tue, 7 Jul 2020 07:41:00 +0300


Looking back at the anarchist's struggle with the authoritarian left with a lesson at the end ---- When the Czechoslovak Anarchist Association (CAS), the first modern anarchist organization, initially found a background at the Left Alternative, a group following the left wing of Czech dissent, I had other worries - what to paint on a T-shirt beer in pubs where I knew they wouldn't want a citizen. One movement, anarchist, was born and the other, the post-dissident left, sought a new place, but in vain. I don't know if there were any ideological frictions between these twins, but since Jakub Polák was adding to the boiler of the running train of CAS, it is clear to me that there was no idyll in the matter of practice and personal relations.
I read A-kontra magazine from the first issues because it corresponded to my subcultural nature. In one of the first issues (1991), I read about the defeat of the Kronstadt Uprising by the Red Army led by Leo Trotsky and the liquidation of the Makhnovist anarchists in Ukraine; a ridiculous report from the camp of the Trotskyist international, but also about the autonomous movement in Germany, to which there were certain ties, which, however, was largely under the influence of various branches of Marxism. I did not understand the demonstrations there, where flags with a sickle and a hammer or with portraits of communist ideologues and dictators appeared next to black-and-red flags. So I would not suffer from this, and I agreed on that with the vast majority of Czech anarchists at the time.

The A-counter 6/1992 published several responses to text editors issued by a group of revolutionary solidarity (RS), which zcestnými arguments denounced anarchism of Bakunin (anarchism criticism she fossilized remains unchanged even after many years - see a similar reaction in the A-kontra3/2005). Andrej Funk clarified that the RS is a small group of supporters of the original Marxism, mostly foreign students and young intellectuals, and said that he could personally cooperate with it following the example of the German autonomous movement. Another editor admitted to collaborating on marginal topics. The serpent wrote only: "We should finally say what we think of our comrades from various Trotskyist and similar organizations: We do not want the Red Fascists here anymore!" And Jakub Polák added to him with an addendum: Knowledge prefers to adopt "proven" articles of the true faith. The phrases, refined by long-term tumbling, combined into a seemingly logical system, offer a simple and clear solution. "Even so, it was possible to find texts dedicated to the pages of the magazine.Program of Social Self-Government , Left Alternative, Egon Bondy, RAF, etc., which even led to the attack of the A-kontra editorial by people around the magazine Autonomie arguing that A-kontra , especially Polák, is trying to abuse anarchists in the election campaign in favor of the Left Bloc , which also included the Communists.

However, similar debates about the influence of the radical left on the anarchist movement and the ensuing strife have often given the impression that they are more of a surrogate issue to show who is who in the movement and who deserves the spurs of a true anarchist. And it should also be noted that this was a problem that, in practical terms, mainly concerned Prague, anarchists from the "countryside" often had no choice but to theorize, issue communiqués or wiggle their eyes incomprehensibly.

Personally, I began to perceive a stronger interest of the Trotskyists (a collective term for all those groups of "real" Marxists / Leninists) around 1997. They could be encountered before and appeared in the early 1990s with some of their propaganda at a few of our events, but without success. The 9th issue of the CSAF Svobodná mysl magazine published a reaction to the successor to the RS, Socialist Solidarity (SocSol), which again came to the conclusion that all directions on the left (including anarchism) had failed historically and that only their Marxism "defended the interests of workers and showed the way forward. ". Although in fact the opposite was true, it was their understanding of Marxism that brought the workers' revolutions under party rule and led to Stalin-type dictatorships. And they were always the first to get rid of anarchists who rejected their authoritarian character.

Trotskyists at that time began to be relatively active. They were at the birth of several different initiatives, such as the Youth Rights Charter or the Anti-Racism Initiative. However, they never lasted long, they served the Trotskyists mainly as recruitment platforms, which eventually repelled potential candidates for some cooperation, so they soon ceased to fulfill their intended purpose. Probably the biggest enemy of this kind was the Socialist Workers' Organization (SOP), which was established in the summer of 1998 during the division of not even twenty-member SocSol. This group began spewing proclamations about the deviations of other left-wing groups (blackmailing anarchist groups sent out in English to 250 foreign organizations) and publishing a magazine with the repulsive title Socialist Avant-Gardeand no less repulsive content. Its numbers did not exceed a dozen members and were usually in the middle of this figure. They did not hesitate to unite with the Communist Youth Union in order to hunt among KSCM supporters. A united front of Trotskyists and Stalinists would probably be power over Trotsky himself.

Sometime in the summer of that year, an incident must have happened that I almost forgot. We played football at the Ladronka squat and the Trotskyists also had their team here. Good opportunity to give it to them, at least on the field. Personally, I preferred to stick to beer bottles and cheer. The Trotskyist standing nearby was also encouraging his horses: "In Kronstadt, in Kronstadt, an ac hangman is hanging on a wire!" I don't know how serious he was or he was joking and provoking. He fell silent in a matter of seconds. There is something wrong with the gas in your mouth. I stood a little helpless - beer in one hand, a pistol in the other (which was great fashion at the time, though usually useless) and a dumb Trotskyist against me with rolled-up bulbs. So at least I looked rough and told him I'd squeeze it next time.

On October 28, 1998, the SOP, together with the Stalinists, organized a completely pointless demonstration against racism, and subsequently tried to add to the confrontational demonstration of anti-authoritarian anti-fascists, who carried it with great resentment. Fortunately, the Trotskyists failed to impose an anti-fascist agenda on the KSCM and thus reduce media anti-fascist activities on the communist vs. fascists, which could bring the sympathies of shy anti-communists to the fascists. Previously, the organizers of the anarchist demonstration pasted posters of demonstrations organized by Trotskyists. And although workers and young people were encouraged on both posters to come and demonstrate, they obviously didn't care.

At that time, however, the anarchist movement was experiencing a rift, which set the tone for the Federation of Social Anarchists (FSA), which was formed by splitting from the CSAF in the fall of 1997. in fact, everyone outside the FSA. Their aggressive policy led one of the CSAF members to say something in an interview for an anarchopunk magazine that he would rather work with Trotskyists than with the FSA. He admitted that it was nonsense, but that did not save him from retaliation during a chance meeting with FSA members on the tram. Plesk, plesk! The attacker then added in the FSA periodical: "Dan... often and indiscriminately attacked me h if the stupid and really embarrassing attacks of some primitive are joined by an open call to collaborate with the enemies of anarchism,

In the same magazine, the CSAF was accused of collaborating with Trotskyists, and there appeared an "FSA Open Letter to Czech Trotskyists": . You will soon experience it for yourself... Mr. Šanda left Most alive and well only thanks to the presence of numerous police units. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for him, the police are not everywhere, there are many dark and empty streets where we will surely meet... with every dead Bolshevik one step closer to revolution and classless society! "

The FSA set the bar, and whoever wanted to be considered an anarchist now had to hate Trotskyists to death. In fact, it didn't cause us much trouble, and Orwellian's two minutes of hatred took place every time we (at least some of us) saw one. However, over time, despite my sincere anti-Bolshevism, I perceive it as a somewhat forced expression of loyalty to the idea of anarchism (some members of the CSAF already pointed this out aptly).

However, the FSA did not prevent its liquidator (a few Trotskyists really felt a hard fist) anti-Bolshevik stance with going to the Bolshevik May Day, which took place in 1998 on the Letna Plain, with its leaflets. I must point out that even the CSAF was not spotless in this respect, when it went to the lion's den in 1999 on the Day of the Left Press, which was in fact an event directed by comrades. Well, at least we took advantage of the local offer of a cheap burcák and we snorted at Jirina Švorcová when she recited something. An old comrade on a stick came to rebuke us: "I saw you very well as you made a noise during Mr. Grebenícek's speech." "Fuck you, Grandma," was my not exactly correct and sober answer.

The Ax of War was temporarily buried in a very shallow grave before protests against the IMF and World Bank meeting in Prague in September 2000, when we co-founded the Initiative Against Economic Globalization (INPEG). The SOP has traditionally sought to mobilize the KSCM, while SocSol affiliated with the international around the British Socialist Workers' Party has joined the INPEG. There were few local activists and every hand was good. The experience was instructive, though not surprising. The Trotskyists did not take responsibility for any part of the protests, but their aim was to cram in front of the main protest, and their logos were visible everywhere. But it would be a mistake to see the problem only in the Trotskyists, on the side of the anarchists, the FSA, which did not participate in the preparations, took the lead in the blue procession, on the contrary, pointed out all the others and its separate campaign had no effect. The FSA used the presence of Trotskyists in INPEG to argue why not to participate in the organization of the joint protest and at the same time why to cram at the head of the blue march during the INPEG demonstration on September 26 and disrespect the organizers' decision to keep the protest nonviolent. Other parts of the demonstration were nonviolent, albeit confrontational - often imaginative.

After the protests, it was the CSAF that sharply put itself in the dubious role of the Trotskyists within INPEG and clearly said "either them or us" - after a long argumentative struggle, this platform became just a catching-up coordination platform with no external outputs.

To prove to the Trotskyists that their vision of history is misleading (naive assumption, I admit), we held a discussion in the Utopia Café about the Kronstadt Uprising (preceded by a memorial demonstration). However, we received a message from the FSA that if a Trotskyist appeared there, he would intervene by force. The discussion therefore took place in anticipation of an "anarchist strike," but in the end the represented Trotskyists confirmed the rest of those present in the unacceptability of their attitudes and dogmas, which was probably the most beneficial result.

Shortly afterwards, their party marched on an anarchist demonstration on May 1, 2001, even though they were asked in writing not to attend our events. They proudly held a banner, red scarves around their necks. Right on the outermost, which had a scarf decorated with August and a hammer, I threw myself and started to tear it off. I couldn't do it very well and after a while the Trotskyist started to look kind of suffocated. But it fulfilled the educational effect, the comrades in the weapon packed their fiddles this time, and I carried home a total of three Bolshevik trophies.

Never again with the Trotskyists, so we organized protests against the NATO summit two years later on a smaller scale and only with other anti-authoritarians, especially from Eastern Europe. When we did not allow SocSol to distribute leaflets at the demonstration against NATO, there were new voices about inadmissible intolerance, which sparked a new debate on the A-contra website . It has been repeated that we do not want any Bolshevik propaganda (and the promotion of political parties) at anarchist events, but as individuals, no one will expel Trotskyists, and as far as broader coalitions are concerned, it is up to them to decide. An ORA-S member reminded the editor of A-kontra, who justified this, on the one hand forbid, from the position of organizer and member of the hegemonic current of the anti-capitalist movement, handing out leaflets to Trotskyists for a demonstration organized by anarchists, but on the other hand, when expelled by the organizers from a trade union demonstration a few days later against his leaflets and expelling the anarchists without the will of the whole demonstration. The editor replies that the decision not to leave Trotskyist propaganda at events organized by anarchists is the result of several years of discussion (unlike the absence of a previous debate among trade unions).

At the Balkan bookfair in Ljubljana in 2003, I proudly reported to the plenary that in Czechoslovakia we managed to keep our events without the influence of the authoritarian left. I added mischievously that it was in the past at the cost of physical confrontation, and enjoyed the acknowledged views of those foreign anarchists who did not succeed. But what I was not so proud of was the fact that our main problem in building the movement was not Trotskyists, but authoritarians in our own ranks who determined who was the "right anarchist" and with whom he could (not) cooperate.

I have to laugh at something in retrospect, I still stand for something, yet I have learned many lessons from my "struggle with the Trotskyists": 1) . 2) What the appearance of our events will depend only on us. If we don't want anyone to parasitize on them, let's not let them. 3) That the line of when I can become a political parasite myself is often unclear. 4) The fact that someone has some ideas does not mean that he cannot reconsider his attitudes (for better or worse). 5) The fact that intimidation by an external enemy is often just a way to assert one's own position and attitudes within the movement. 6) That the fear of abuse or accusations of "collaboration" can paralyze any debate with others. 7) That, that with far greater zeal, little substantial problems are solved instead of real ones.[Da capo al fine.]

Published in Existence No. 2/2015 on the topic of the Radical Left.
(Picture from comic Liquidator in Ukraine )

Related link:
Radical left

https://www.afed.cz/text/7200/jak-jsem-valcil-s-trockisty
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