The Invasion of Ukraine: Anarchist Media Call from Kharkov

War in Ukraine

Many people on this portal probably already know about the Ukrainian anarchist online magazine Assembly. This is an English translation of their interview with some updates. For financial support please go here.

Submitted by Thunderbird on March 7, 2022

If someone is not in the know, we write about social conflicts in Kharkov, urban and environmental problems, self-organized efforts to overcome it from below, local anarchist history. The goal is to influence public opinion by promoting the agenda in the spirit of the revolutionary anarchism.

On the second question [what Ukrainian anarchists are doing now], let's start with ourselves. We are all in Kha, with the exception of one member with a small son, who safely left for Poland with her relatives. Now we are clarifying the situation here to foreign journalists and activists, who have been bombarding us with different questions and just letters of solidarity since the first war hours. Secondly, we participate in the distribution of essential goods to the most needy neighbors. And one of our guys also coordinates mutual aid in solving various issues through territorial Telegram chats.

There are some hunting and edged weapons, material for Molotovs is also not far away, but in general, even cannonade is not particularly audible in our houses. Compared to other half the city, we're just lucky. In the northern and eastern districts of Kha, there are really total shellings of residential areas from heavy weapons - just today, February 28, at least 11 civilians were killed and 37 injured, including a family of two adults and three children who burned alive in a car...

We see no point in covering the military situation. All mass media and public pages write the same things, and there is no desire to try to increase your views by spreading unsubstantiated rumors. Our materials deal with social and humanitarian issues covered by other journalists rather on a leftover basis.

What do we think about all this? A few words about the public statement of our comrades from the Russian regional section of the International Workers Association. In general, while sharing the condemnation of both ruling cliques, we must still note that they have not fully understood the global causes of this hell. If the war is caused by competition for gas markets, then why has the West not yet imposed an embargo on the supply of Russian hydrocarbons? And who would divert attention from the “sanitary dictatorship” with measures that are 100 times less popular among the population and 100 times more unprofitable for the economy than any covid restrictions? Well, okay, now is not the time to dig so deep... According to their speaker, they are now "fighting back against the mad patriotic bastards with might and main," but the proclamation does not contain any specific recommendations, except for the most abstract appeals for any time - and here we come to the next. Rather controversial position was shown by our other close allies from the Black Flag group mostly based in Lviv and Kiev. Of course, if in the capital district Obolon even Kalash riffles were handed out for territorial defense to just everyone, without at least asking the docs, it’s a sin not to take advantage of this (in Kharkov it is possible only according to documents and with relevant experience). The question is: is it now possible to conduct anarchist agitation in the armed units, or they will be just meat there? However, the main thing is that the political statement of the guys as a whole also places the responsibility for this slaughter on both bourgeois sides, and this certainly warms our hearts.

Be that as it may, the general internationalist line is now seen as follows: let the Putler white guard thugs choke on their blood here, but we should not help “our” state come out of this meat grinder stronger. What to do specifically - let each comrade act according to local circumstances. We do what we can best and want to speak only for our group. Our appeal to Russian and Belarusian comrades has been published here.

And where without historical analogies. The Black Flag at the end of their declaration appeals to the experience of Makhno, who fought both against Denikin's imperials and Ukrainian nationalists, but the objective reality is that our forces are now not comparable even with the anarchist movement of the Russian Empire in the most dull reaction after the defeat of the 1905-1907 revolution. Based on the influence and resources we have, the most relevant now seems to take an example from Chernyshevsky and his supporters. Who first of all rejoiced at the epic fail of the crowned gendarme Nicholas I in the Crimean War, while not supporting the British, French and Ottoman empires, even as a “lesser evil”.

A little note about crowdfunding. The mentioned campaign to donate Assembly was started several weeks ago, before the war. Of course, now we cannot work on this project, but after the end of hostilities it will be in demand many times more than earlier. From other hand, we have some own humanitarian supplies, and don't plan to buy anything for this purpose at this moment.

You also are welcome to see the biggest and the brightest our report from today. You will be interested even without translation!

Long live Anarchy! Peace to the huts! War on the palaces!