Looking back over a year of the Anti-Militarist Initiative’s activities


In September 2022, some anarchists from the Central European region launched the Antimilitarist Initiative [AMI]. The following is a summary of what has happened in the past year and in which direction the initiative has developed.

Submitted by Thunderbird on October 19, 2023

It all started with the publication of the text “Anarchist antimilitarism and myths about the war in Ukraine”. This text is an attempt to critically reflect on the current militaristic tendencies in the anarchist movement. At the same time, it presents antimilitarist perspectives as a way to deal with war not only in theory, but also to sabotage it in practice. The text, originally written in Czech, generated an unexpectedly large international response. It was successively published in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Greek versions. At the same time, there was a lot of feedback which showed that the text was part of debates in different parts of the world.

Shortly after the publication of this publication, a symbolic English took place when the Ukrainian embassy in Prague was sprayed with red paint. “It is understandable that Putin and his supporters are criticized for the crimes they are committing against the people of the Ukrainian region. However, the complicity that Zelensky and the Ukrainian government have in these massacres should not be forgotten. At a time when Putin’s army is bombing Ukrainian cities, Zelensky’s government is forbidding men to go across the border to safety. They keep them in shelled territory under threat of punishment and force some of them to risk their lives on the war front against their will. It needs to be made clear: Zelensky is as much a shit as Putin! Both have the blood of civilians on their hands.”

It is obvious from the context of this event that it has become a kind of rupture that disrupts the construction of the stereotypical view according to which the war in Ukraine should be a kind of bipolar story, where on the one hand there is only the aggressor and on the other hand only the victims who resist the external aggressor. This liberal-democratic conception has gradually become the core of war propaganda, which aims to gain more supporters and resources for the war policy of the Ukrainian state. This is often presented as popular resistance or a conflict between democracy and dictatorship. This is done to disguise the fact that it is an inter-imperialist conflict in which all the involved states use the proletarians as cannon fodder in battles for their own bourgeois aims.

The Anti-Militarist Initiative has gradually taken up the task of exposing this problem by publishing multilingual commentary and analysis. These advocate internationalist positions, antimilitarism and revolutionary defeatism as the only possible way in which the proletariat can effectively oppose the war and stand up for its class interests. AMI’s regular publications contribute to the internationalist tendency to try to turn the war between states into a class struggle against the states and all bourgeois factions.

AMI has never been a formal group or organization, but rather an informal network. The publishing activity can be seen as the first phase when this network grew with new contacts. In the Czech context, for example, other autonomous groups and projects shared AMI materials. We can name, for example, the Historical Association Zádruha, the Ostrava Anarchist Federation, the group Třídní válka (Class War), or the Facebook group Antimilitarista.

Networking soon outgrew the region of the so-called Czech Republic. Gradually, contacts were established with other anarchist and communist projects in different parts of the world. The contacts serve to exchange information, share resources and coordinate anti-war activities. The strongest links are established with internationalist projects in the regions of the so-called Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, France, Great Britain. However, certain links are also being established with people from Australia, Indonesia, Spain, Argentina and Greece. Thanks to all these contacts, the AMI blog is gradually becoming a multilingual media platform, with number of visits ranging from a few hundred to several thousand a month. Some of the allied projects then translate AMI material into their own languages. Some examples include “Appeal: Days of international solidarity with deserters”, which has been translated into eleven languages, or the anti-militarist poster, translated from its original Czech version into thirteen other language variations. In addition, several more comprehensive publications have been published.

A collection of articles on: Anarchism and War

Against all wars… except “just” wars? The devastation effects of the lesser evil and anti-imperialism in anarchist circles [text not available in English]

Pamphlet: Against capitalist wars, against capitalist peace

The revolutionary movement and the Second World War: interview with Marc Chirik, 1985

All AMI publications are available for download in PDF format on the blog. They have also been offered in print at bookfairs in Prague, Graz, Ljubljana, Vienna and Zagreb. Hundreds of publications have been distributed to and subsequent feedback has confirmed that the positions advocated by AMI are shared by many internationalist projects in different parts of the world. Although our opponents like to present AMI as a sectarian project of a few individuals, in reality the anti-militarist network has grown quite large across different countries, groups and organizations.

The first year of AMI was mostly in the spirit of publishing and networking, although there was also financial support for the anarchist group Assembly in Kharkov, Ukraine. Now it is gradually moving to the next phase. In this phase there is a greater emphasis on practical antimilitarist activities such as support for desertions or direct actions subverting the war effort, but also on material solidarity with those affected by the war.

For security reasons, this activity cannot be specified here, so that no one is subjected to repression or physical elimination. The bourgeois left may brag about how much money it sends to the front or how many charitable projects it has supported, but it is clear that this is precisely because their liberal policies focus on the same kind of legalistic activities as those of the states that benefit from the war situation. No one is going to prosecute them for that. By contrast, consistent anti-militarist activity, because of its subversive nature, is criminalized, repressed and stigmatized, and must therefore apply a certain security culture. So do not expect a transparent list of all AMI activities.

We are not concerned with counting merits or giving awards, but with how to organize proletarian struggles effectively with regard to defined goals. And because class struggles are often fought outside the rules laid down by the state, they can be less obvious at first sight. But this does not negate their existence and importance.