Anarchism in Belarus

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Anarchism in Belarus refers to anarchist movements in the Republic of Belarus and its historically associated territories within the Russian Empire.

Anarchism in the Russian Empire[edit]

The first anarchist group in the Russian Empire appeared in Bialystok, Grodno Province, in the spring of 1903. Many of the first anarchists in Belarus were dissatisfied with the moderate positions and "neutrality" of existing socialist parties, such as the Jewish Labour Bund, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), and the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Anarchists demanded the destruction of the state, which included the monarchy and the parliamentary republic. These were both deemed tools of class oppression by anarchists. Anarchists did not view democracy as a viable alternative, as the word meant "kratiya", or power, specifically of the bourgeoisie.

Expropriation and the provocation of individual terror created a halo of the "defenders of the working class" around anarchists, and were used as some of their most decisive tactics. Though workers from Bialystok joined the anarchist federation on a massive scale, the anarchists never achieved anything more than local economic victories.[1]

The October Revolution[edit]

In 1917, the leaders of the anarchist movement in Saint Petersburg and Kronstadt, were either inspired by Belarus, or participated in the anarchist movement there. These leaders included Joseph Blakhman-Solntsev, Konstantin Akashev, Efim Yarchuk, and others. Anarchists, along with the Bolsheviks and the Left Essers, became the leading force of the October Revolution. Soon, Vladimir Lenin's party would even adopt the name "communist" from Kropotkinites to gain popularity. However, Lenin later renamed the party "Communist Bolsheviks" to distinguish it from anarchist-communists and Esser-communists.

The united front of all of these underground Soviet parties was preserved until early 1919. Around that time, anarchist Communism saw competition from the Communist Party, and the Bolsheviks managed to limit the influence of the anarchist movement. However, legal and semi-legal anarchist circles continued to operate in Belarus until the early 1920s. Eventually, however, the Councils of People's Self-Government, which was the dream of Peter Kropotkin's supporters, was converted by the party’s bureaucracy into its auxiliary bodies.[clarification needed] Many anarchists became exiles and political isolators.[2]

Anarchism in the Republic of Belarus[edit]

The revival of anarchism was already underway during the years of perestroika. In the spring of 1991, Gomel anarchists took part in a citywide strike, and encouraged workers of the "Polespechat" factory to join in. In the summer of 1992, at the initiative of Oleg Novikov, activists from Minsk, Gomel, and Svietlahorsk joined the Federation of Anarchists of Belarus (FAB).

On October 6th, 1992, on International Unemployment Day, anarchists in Gomel held an unsanctioned rally, which ended in arrests and clashes with police.[citation needed] The same year, the "Union of the Unemployed" was created with the participation of Gomel anarchists. Agitation campaigns were also organized at businesses in the city. The Anarchy newspaper, the first anarchist newspaper in Belarus, was first published in Gomel in 1993.

In 1995, the anti-party group "Chyrvony Zhond" was formed in Minsk. It would go on to play a significant role in the development of anarchist movements in Belarus.

The anarchist newspaper Navinki, which had been circulated illegally since its creation in 1998, was officially registered in 1999 as a result of the "Legalize It" campaign. At the same time, Chyrvonyi Zhond, which initially issued Navinki, was banned in Belarus.

The environmental campaign "Viasiolka" was launched in 1998 with the participation of Belarusian anarchists. The campaign was directed against plans for the construction of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant. FAB activists helped form the independent environmental initiative "Ecasupraciou", which accepted responsibility for the organization of the entire campaign. The initiative drew support from employees of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, as well as members of the Russian environmental movement Rainbow Keepers. Viasiolka began publishing its own newspaper, covering topics that dealt with nuclear energy and radioecology. From 1998-1999, several seminars on the expediency of the construction of the power plant were organized by scientists. In the summer of 1998, activists from Ekasupravu organized a "March for Nuclear Free Belarus" on the site in Mogilev Region, where the power plant was to be constructed.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Глушаков, Юрий (2019). "Анархисты в Беларуси". Политринг (in Russian).
  2. ^ Глушаков, Юрий (2015). Революция умерла! Да здравствует революция!. Москва: ШSS.
  3. ^ Коновальчик, Павлюк (2003). Anarchy in By - Анархизм в Беларуси. Minsk: Samizdat.