The End of Antifa?

Monson with Saint George's ribbon

Despite the bleakness of the situation in Ukraine, at least I was amused
by the fact that Nazis were fighting on both sides of the front, killing
each other.

But then I found out that some "anti-fascists" have been doing the same
1) 2) 3).

For working links, check original at https://avtonom.org/node/28543

I am sure that in terms of the entire former Soviet Union only a
minority of the Antifas is willing to die for Poroshenko or Putin.
However, the scale of this problem is significant, and any attempts to
react to it 4) also have their shortcomings 5).

Imagine, for example that BORN6) or NSO-North7) were to capture St.
Petersburg and declare it a "National republic." Or some Caucasus
Emirate8) were to grab Stavropol and established a government there. In
this case, would we demand that Putin "immediately stop military actions
and resolve the conflict in a peaceful way, in an open and equal
negotiation, without the threat of violence," as was formulated in the
statement made by "representatives of music bands, antifascist groups
and DIY initiatives?" I doubt it.

Of course, fighting on Putin's against either of the above wouldn't be
an option either, as anarchists should not engage in any war except
class war.

These shortcomings in the position adopted by the subcultural milieu are
a minor issue. The bigger issue is that of people from the anti-fascist
movement supporting either the position of the government in Kiev, or
the pro-Russian "Crimea is ours" one.

Antifa in the ex-USSR has always formed a common front for the different
movements, from the anarchists, social democrats and Stalinists to
liberals and even national-patriots, and it was deliberately created to
be so. Under the circumstances in the '00s this approach was a necessary
one, with many benefits for anarchists. Since anarchist tactics and
positions have always been more clearly defined than those of the rest,
anarchists managed to involve many patriots and other undecided, in
actions such as: May Day, January 19 9), anarchist blocs during the
protest wave against election fraud 2011-2012, etc. Antifa was one of
the very few successful projects of anarchists in the ex-USSR in the
past 15 years, but this success was accompanied by big losses, murdered
comrades.

Many of the "undecided" drifted towards the anarchist movement, but not
all of them. There was always a considerable segment that only wanted to
have fun at gigs without the threat of Nazis, or stood in support of
"veterans," simply being antifascist, without seeing any other
alternative to power. And not all of them have been "undecided," as a
neutral attitude towards power and capital can also be a well argued and
thought out choice. I do not believe in some universal individual
progress in search for truth, I believe that the formation of the
individual opinion is largely the result of random processes and depends
little on one's intelligence. And currently, with the growing wave of
patriotism, in Russia as well as in the Ukraine, of course, most of the
"undecided" are drifting towards supporting their respective governments.

The fact that the most patriotic elements of Antifa have ended up on
opposite sides of the front in Ukraine shows that the Antifa era is
over. As a matter of fact, in Russia this era had already ended by
2011-2012 with Nazis, perhaps only temporarily, reducing the degree of
violence and, for the first time since the period of the RNE10),
focusing on building a mass protest movement. The shaky unity among
Antifa was only possible when fighting off a common threat, but with the
defeat of BORN and NSO-North, and the tactical reorientation of Russian
fascists towards mass movement politics, this unity quickly dissolved
and with it, many aspects of Antifa as well.

The "left unity," built up during the protests of 2011-2012, is now
buried together with the anti-fascism of the previous era. With the
general rise of patriotism, Sergei Udaltsov11) and other "leftists" took
a pro-Kremlin stance in regards to the Ukraine. These people are the
core of the Russian "left," and the majority of "leftists" everywhere
are Imperialists, who in difficult times always take the side of the
authorities. The National-Bolshevik Party has, after almost a decade of
liberal politics, also returned to its 1993 position, which can be
briefly summarized using their old slogan "Stalin, Beriya, Gulag!"

Now we are in the awkward situation where our comrades are imprisoned
together with these "leftists" for the "Bolotnaya square case." There is
nothing we can do about this - political prisoners are always a legacy
from the past. The struggles for which they are serving time are always
struggles of the past. This is not to imply that past struggles were
mistakes or absurd. In 2002, 2005, and even 2009 the anti-fascist
struggle was a central issue. It was an important struggle, no one
should regret having participated in it, even if some of our allies from
that period are now allies of the state, and thus our enemies. It was as
important as going to the "Bolotnaya square" in 2012, no matter the
consequences.

The new political situation is in many aspects similar to that of
1999-2002, the time of the second Chechenyan conflict. On the one hand
it was difficult to take action back then because it was impossible to
find allies - there were just a small handful of anti-war "leftists,"
and the liberals were busy with pointless projects such as the electoral
campaign for Khakamada12). On the other hand, at that time it was
simpler knowing that we could only count on ourselves, as only
anarchists held positions which made sense.

I got used to these conditions, and adopted the classifications from
those times for life. Thus, the current situation is clear to me. But I
do understand why people who were used to such categories as "Antifa" or
"left" are confused confused. In the best case they write naive
statements, in the worst case they support the DNR13) or even join the
war against it. But times changes, and it is necessary to see these
changes and reach the appropriate conclusions.

Antti Rautiainen

This text is also available in Greek.

1) Interview with anti-fascists, including "Timur" who volunteered in
the Azov battalion of the Ukrainian government
http://theins.ru/obshestvo/1355/

2) Interview with Anton Fatullayev, former Russian anti-fascist prisoner
who went to fight on the pro-Russian rebel side and died soon after the
interview http://www.anarcho-news.com/2014/fatulaev/

3) Interview from a Russian TV-channel with Spanish "anti-fascists" who
went to fight for the pro-Russian rebels
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aNAYM77Zuc

4) Letter from "representatives of bands, antifascist groups and
DIY-initiatives from around the world" against the war.
https://www.facebook.com/moscowdeathbrigade/photos/a.379427594659.158624...
Full list of signatures is available here: https://vk.com/againstwar2014

5) These shortcomings, related to a vague pacifism, are explained in
detail in this (comradely) commentary of comrade Mrachnik on Nihilist.li
website, which is not available in English. The following paragraphs of
this column follow a line of argumentation similar to that of comrade
Mrachnik.
http://nihilist.li/2014/08/08/kritika-zayavleniya-predstavitelej-muzy-ka...

6) Fighting Organisation of Russian Nationalists, Nazi terror group.
Members of this organization were sentenced for the murder of
anti-fascists Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, and some are
currently in court facing charges for having participated in the murders
of anti-fascists Ivan Khutorskoy, Fyodor Filatov, and Ilya Dzhaparidzhe
among others.

7) National Socialist Organisation - North, Nazi terror group, members
of which were sentenced for the murder of anti-fascist Alexey Krylov and
26 other killings.

8) Clandestine Islamist government operating in the southern most part
of Russia, the northern slope of Caucasus mountains. Declared
established by former clandestine president of separatist Chechnya,
Dokku Umarov in October 2007.

9) Annually, a demonstration takes place on the 19th of January in
remembrance of the murders of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova
on that date in 2009. This is the biggest annual anti-fascist
demonstration in Moscow .

10) Russian National Unity, nationalist organisation which for a brief
period in the '90s managed to rally most of the far- right under its
flag. Subsequently they fell into oblivion as authorities excluded it
from parliamentary politics and its leader Aleksandr Barkashov became
more and more erratic.

11) Leader of the Left Front uniting a wide spectrum of Russian
leftists, those left of the parliamentarian Communist Party of the
Russian Federation. Imprisoned on the bogus charges of having organised
the Bolotnaya square riot on the 6th of May 2012. Unlike the Left Front,
has adopted pro-government position on the Ukrainian war.

12) Irina Khakamada, independent (neo)liberal, anti-war candidate in the
2004 presidential elections. Gained 3.9% of the vote.

13) Donetsk National Republic of pro-Russian separatists.

Posted By

S2W
Nov 27 2014 23:11

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Comments

akai
Nov 28 2014 08:28

If so-called antifa and anarchists were supposed to look like the messed-up movements in Russia, then fine if they go into the dustbin of history. Instead of fighting the patriotic elements that infected that movement, some people embraced them, then later are surprised at what they are doing.

klas batalo
Dec 8 2014 05:24

thanks for the article though, helpful from overseas