Is the "Federation of Anarchism Era in Iran and Afghanistan" legitimate?

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sherbu-kteer's picture
sherbu-kteer
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Jul 27 2021 13:50
Is the "Federation of Anarchism Era in Iran and Afghanistan" legitimate?

I have seen this group before but it seems to be getting more and more attention, without any kind of hard verification of what kind of existence the group has, whether it actually has people on the ground, whether it's predominantly online, etc. A while back they put out a strange unilaterial call to found a new anarchist international, and some Kurdish anarchists responded with this, which seems to cast doubt on them:

http://libcom.org/forums/anarchist-federation/clarification-group-kurdis...

I understand clandestinely is necessary in conditions like that in Iran, and that providing hard "proof" is not practically possible, but I feel cautious about re-sharing their content when no verification of their existence seems to exist. In this tweet they seem to claim that they, or some other anarchists, successfully destroyed a tank in Ahwaz, which is sort of absurd.

Does anyone know more?

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jul 27 2021 18:35

If it helps, there's a pretty lengthy interview with them here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2021/07/11/federation-of-ana...

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jul 27 2021 18:36

As for the tank, I'd guess that it's fairly unlikely that they destroyed it on their own, but not implausible that anarchists were taking part in a larger uprising that managed to do such a thing?

Mair Waring
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Jul 27 2021 20:31

I do not know the answer to this question.

I guess the thing worth asking, is why would they make a group if they weren't actually real? I also think one of their members/writers is in the SAC and so probably exists (like an easy thing which the SAC could respond by saying isn't true).

Given I presume your more mean, how large are they, then the answer is I don't know again. I think either way it is important for well-meaning anarchists from other countries, not to presume an anarchist group represents the anarchist movement (nevermind people in general) of another country. So, even if Meo Mun (hope I spell that right) have like tonnes of members, whereas KRAS don't, it doesn't mean they are necessarily more representative of their countries anarchist movement, or more importantly correct. I would try and share stuff which is more theoretical based on how sound someone's argument is, though of course for more practical stuff - a sense of what the group is like matters.

One thing, I do know is that they didn't blow up a tank. It was just a meme smile
https://twitter.com/kanacceleration/status/1417846787902251012

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Jul 28 2021 08:04

Looked into the tank thing a bit more, it seems like it was an old Iraqi tank that stands as a war memorial:
https://twitter.com/KianSharifi/status/1417593617284276230
Looking at the video again I think it does look like it might be up on concrete blocks?
I think the sequence of events seems to be that asranarshism posted the original video, then an Australian anarchist made the "Western anarchists/Iranian anarchists" joke, which they picked up and ran with, fwiw.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
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Jul 29 2021 17:56

I've spoken with an Afghan supporter who lives in Canada quite a few times, and got translations and updates on the protests over the shooting down of flight 752 from them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E90FkyTwkQ) and the group has managed to broadcast appeals and letters of Anarchist prisoners in Iran and source footage and news from remote parts of Afghanistan, so there does exist a group, and it must have some connections to those two nations.

I think this is more a case of difficulties in communicating internationally with a region with few or zero historical links and framework to work off of. I remember several years ago, the only information about anarchist groups or autonomous unions in South east asia were threads titled "Whatever happened to X?" and "Are ___ still active, its been years since their site updated?" Thankfully that's started changing, hopefully we'll have more reliable frameworks for discussion and collaboration in that region too.

I'm guessing most of the online members live in diaspora, a lot of their material talks about difficulties staying in contact with members and supporters in Iran and Afghanistan. I just saw yesterday that they're trying to look for alternatives to internet communication in Iran because of state repression puts people in danger in that country.

Also re the tank tweet: When someone asks if they burnt it they reply that it's a joke.