Sustaining the anarchist movement in a foreign country does not work

We wrote this text as a response to „The Kurdish people should get involved in and support campaigns on Local and National issues“ from Zaher Baher. We hope the experience of the migrants from our movement will prove useful for our comrades from other countries.

The history of the bulgarian anarchist movement knows two significant waves of oppression - the one that began in 1923, after the establishment of fascist-like regimes in Bulgaria; and the one beginning with the rule of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1945. Most of the anarchists, 50-60 people, ran towards France, where even before 1945 they have created a cooperative for sustenance and mutual aid. Apart from them, there were few dozens of other people in different countries around the world. The last anarchist emigrant from Bulgaria escaped towards Paris in 1973.
After 1945 the bulgarian anarchists abroad established Union of Bulgarian Anarchists in Exile, which included about 70-80 people mostly in France. The Union conducted regular meetings, published periodicals and books, mostly distributed among the Bulgarian-speaking migrants. Supported contacts with French, Italian and Spanish anarchist groups, mostly looking for support. Bulgarian anarchists participated in the international meetings and initiatives, but it was more of a formal participation, so we didn't seem to have helped the global movement very much.
Right after the emigration and the establishment in a new life, some comrades refused to participate in anarchist work. Others stopped being active and bit by bit dropped out of the movement, mostly because of domestic reasons. Some of them were exhausted by the struggle for existence. For others were revealed new opportunities for realization in the bourgeois society. There were also cleavages that weakened the organization. After all, only the people that did not betrayed their ideals, were stayed in it.
Although the strategic goal of the Union was to move Bulgaria towards liberation from the bolsheviks and a social revolution, its activities did not affect the processes in Bulgaria in any way. The basic mistake of the emigrants and the anarchists that stayed in Bulgaria was, that they never created, even an embryonic, illegal organization. The attepmts were sabotaged and countermined by part of the activists, because of opportunism and fear. They ran like a devil of incense when it came to more serious deeds of illegal nature, even sabotaged them, justifying themselves with the "good intentions" to "keep the strength for better times". This is why the bulgarian anarchists movement faced totally unprepared the decisive years around the fall of the Soviet bloc.
In emigration there are no conditions for prolonged revolutionary struggle and effective ideological existence. We were political migrants, many of us stayed anarchists to the end and still we were not able to support the movement. Not only our own experience, but also the experience of the russian, ukrainian and even spanish movement prove the same. So we do not expect present days "guest workers" from poor countries to actively participate in revolutionary activities. They often migrate for purely economical reasons and try to integrate in the Western society. If they manage to solve their domestic problems, there will be no foundation for expectations like this. Perhaps we need to address them in a different way, using class analysis instead of ethnic one.

Posted By
Dec 8 2017 10:40


  • I would have put,out side of the country any movement is is slowly ding, from many unnatural reasons, to succeed only in the country was born.

    Zlatko Zlatkoff

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