Syndicalism in Norway

The following interview with Lonsslaven (Wage Slave) co-editor Harald Beyer-Arnesen was conducted October 17th. Lonnslaven is an independent anarcho-syndicalist journal published in Oslo, Norway. It has been extensively edited.

LLR: Could you describe the situation in Norway?

For many years, since the second world war, we have had a social democratic party in the government called the Labor Party – not all of the time, but most of the time. And you can say in one way that you have one big union in Norway, which is not completely true because you’ve got another one that’s pretty big. But most workers are in the union, and the great majority among them are organized in what is called L.O., the country organization, which has very strong ties to the labor party. This is a long tradition, from way back, because the labor party started before the L.O.

But we have a social democratic government at the moment, and have had for a long time, and the policies of this government are pretty right wing. Which is not surprising because of course they’re a government in a capitalistic system, and a capitalistic system that has grown more and more international. So they can’t in reality do so very much different that a conservative governments, because they’re of course pro-capitalism, though they want to have an icing.

What used to be a social security that people took for granted is slowly being taken away from people. Their life is much less secure, you have high unemployment, people can’t pay the rent for their apartments and are losing their apartments. Since the second world war that’s a new situation for Norway, and the same thing is happening in Denmark and Sweden. Since the war we had had this sort of deal between the government and the unions that there should be some sort of social security, and then we’ll be quiet. I’m not using this as a technical term, you still have social security benefits, but they’re cutting and cutting.

As more and more people lose their jobs they don’t feel very secure. And the social democratic party says that the methods they used before in the 40s and the 50s can’t be used now; they talk more and more in terms of markets, which have of course always been there. There’s more privatization, more talk that everything has to be profitable – also social services and things like that – and in general that people should work harder and crave less, while the employing class in reality is getting richer and richer. Which the social democratic government again says of course they must because they must have much more capital if they’re going to compete on a world basis.

Many old-time social democrats don’t recognize this language. Because even though the social democratic party has long been pro-capitalistic, if you don’t go way back in history, their language has always been different from the conservative party, but now they even begin to sound like the conservative party. So you have growing opposition among members of the labor party and sympathizers with the party who might have been members almost their whole life, because they feel that the leaders of the party have become leaders more for the rich than for the working class.

Much of this opposition is inside the unions. Within this opposition are also different left-wing groups. So this opposition is a very mixed group. It could even be people working for the conservative party, but the majority would be people that we could call left social-democrats…

LLR: What prospects do you see for syndicalism?

I think the prospects are greater than they have been for many, many years, for many reasons. One is that people aren’t as satisfied as they seemed to be before, which of course doesn’t make them anarcho-syndicalists but it can make them ask questions that they didn’t ask before and be more open to alternative ideas. At the same time that the system in Eastern Europe has crumbled, the old regimes — you can call them state capitalist, whatever term you choose, they certainly weren’t very pleasant — people are seeing that the capitalist system doesn’t function very well either.

They see what’s happening in Norway, they see what’s happening in Sweden, they see what’s happening all over the world. And they certainly see that the free market in Eastern Europe doesn’t function at all. Which gives anarcho-syndicalist thoughts an opportunity to spread. In general, I feel that people are more open to them now than they were before. Because of course we don’t have this Stalinist tradition, we didn’t slaughter all the people, we can say that we have always been for democracy — what we want is more democracy. The only one of these capitalistic rights we want to get rid of is the right of property. Freedom of speech we’re for, and always have been; it’s not just something we say now when it’s crumbling over there in Eastern Europe.

I think there is a potentiality if people who have these ideas – and they’re not so many, not many people in Norway call themselves anarcho-syndicalists – but if those people who do exist manage to work together, which doesn’t mean they have to agree with everything, but at least not waste their energy fighting between each other, I think you would have a slow growth. I don’t think anything will happen overnight. The people who will be interested in these ideas in the beginning will be “impure”; they won’t accept at once all our dogmas, all our proofs, because understanding both this society and the future and the history takes time.

Anarcho-syndicalist groups for a long time will be a small minority in Norway, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to spread ideas and practices that tend to point in our direction. And in reality it’s not the most important thing what people call themselves, but what they do. So if you can get more people to use direct action methods that point to a better society when they can see that what they do is not just to some extent points to a future and gives them at least for a short time they obtain something. I think those things are important. The spreading of ideas is more a long process, but spreading ideas is important for doing these concrete things, they sort of work together.

LLR: Your paper is called the Wage Slave. Could you explain how it began?

A couple of us had worked with the Norwegian Syndicalist Federation making a couple of papers together with them. Then came a discussion of what the next issue should contain and we found out that we wanted different things. So instead of quarrelling about that, it was better to part as friends and they make their thing and we make our magazine.

Broadly, we want to create in Norway a space, a social space for libertarian views and ways of looking at things – propaganda, but propaganda that doesn’t just repeat old truths. So although we call it an anarcho-syndicalist paper, it’s open to different kinds of anti-state socialism. The magazine’s subtitle is “For the abolition of wage slavery and anarcho-syndicalist ideas and action,” which is not an exact translation from Norwegian because the word we use for action has a slightly different meaning, it means more practice.

We try to do half and half theoretical stuff and more concrete struggles. But the perfect article for us is one that takes a concrete struggle and from that derives the theory — you don’t separate the two things. We have written very little about strikes in Norway, but there’s a reason for that. To say that there was a strike, which most people know from before, we don’t find very interesting. If something special happens which means that this isn’t just one of those ordinary strikes – almost like a ceremony, you know what will happen before it begins and no one could really care that much because they know they will get this 50 or something and it’s all organized from above. But, we’re always looking for strikes or struggles that go a little further than this. Like the strike in Melbourne in January 1990, I think, where the people working at the trams said, “Well from today the trams run free.” And they took over the whole tram system. That sort of gives a direction that says much more than all those little strikes that go on. So we are looking for strikes and struggles with qualities that point in the direction we want to go. And then its much easier to pin the theoretical thing to it — it’s much easier to communicate that way.

We think its important that, if you want to change the society, you must understand it too. Which means that we also print stuff that some anarchists might think a little bit far out. For example, we would include thoughts from the Situationists, because we feel some of the stuff, not all of it, shows how many left-wing groups sort of become a part of the establishment – become one more commodity that doesn’t really threaten the society. Especially the so-called punk groups — I use punk in a very wide way — which tend to think that if there are a few people out there in the streets fighting with the police, which is of course making a lot of pictures for television, that they’re really changing things by doing that, besides maybe getting us more police. They tend to believe that if you’re seen you change things — if things are spectacular you change things — but they seem to become just like another movie. It can be very amusing…

In the longer run we would also like to, together with NSF or anyone else that stand for the basic fundamental things that we stand for, do some practical work too. It could be in support of strikes and things like that, to have more concrete influence on the working-class struggles in Norway in a small way — basically trying to use direct action methods which would be some kind of propaganda by the deed, but not in the sense of bombs. What I mean is direct action, where there’s a direct connection between what you do and what you attain. You don’t go calling to the government, saying “can’t you please change this.” You try to change it directly. I think that also would help people better understand what we write.

LLR: Could you give us a sense of what the NSF is doing?

I’m not a member, and they should really talk for themselves. The NSF prints information about anarcho-syndicalist tendencies in the workers movement earlier in Norwegian labor history – anarcho- syndicalist ideas had some influence in the early labor movement in Norway, though they never grew as strong as they did in Sweden, but very few people knew this. If you look back at the 20s the ideas that were put forth were much more radical than you would find today. So they give a historical approach, and then put forth how they believe that you can build a more democratic union; not that they believe that they can make the L.O. an anarcho-syndicalist organization, but they hope to at least move the rank and file movement in that direction, and more power down to the shop floor.

Many people are getting tired of the union bosses up very high, who don’t think to give them anything. And not only by so- called left wing people, but in a situation where you’re getting much more unemployment in Norway, you’re getting less social benefits and so on, people tend to expect more of the union, that they should do something, which the union bureaucracy of course doesn’t do.

So within this movement the NSF tries to spread anarcho- syndicalist but also more democratic ideas. Although much of this opposition, as far as it’s organized, is organized by union officers at the local level, shop stewards and leaders of the local union and so on. So the organized part of it is not really a rank and file movement, although they have sympathy. They try to bring more democracy into the unions, but also to distribute anarcho- syndicalist ideas….

LLR: What role do you see for international solidarity?

I take it as obvious that capitalism can only be fought globally. For example, Norway has always been a big shipping nation, and since shipping is international by nature Norwegian ships recruited sailors from all parts of the world. Ten years ago, Norwegian shipowners decided that Norwegian sailors were too expensive, so they began flagging out to evade their agreements with the sailors’ union. Now only the captain and top officers are Norwegian – the rest are from India, the Philippines, etc. There is an apartheid system on these boats. The union fought for laws, but didn’t succeed. Now it’s almost impossible for Norwegians to get jobs on Norwegian boats. The reason is because the sailors never fought an international fight — they accepted that the wages of foreign sailors should be lower. If you really have an international trade, than the only answer is to organize internationally.

Today all industry is like ships that sail the oceans with an international crew, and the only way to fight is to make the fight global. That’s why you got unions in the first place — to keep workers from being pitted against each other. First they were local, then national. Now unions must be global.

In the past century, the social contact of activists around the world was much greater than it is today. Even though information is exchanged, the personal aspect is neglected. Its much easier to understand solidarity when its real people, rather than just some number or name. Workers should be encouraged to visit unions around the world to build personal ties, perhaps as part of their vacations. Rank and file workers, not union leaders. It could be fun, too.

LLR: Today many socialists, and some anarchists, say we have to rethink our approach to markets; that some form of market or voucher system may be necessary to avoid the bureaucracy of centralized planning…

Market socialism is nonsense — no sense, it does not make sense. Labor vouchers are a primitive form of money, to call it by another name doesn’t change the reality. Vouchers raise a basic question: Who is going to control? The only reason for vouchers is that we don’t trust people, that somebody has to make sure that each gets his fair share and decide what that is.

Money also means that somebody has to give the products a price, which means for example that you count labor hours. But that doesn’t really say anything because one person can create a thing in four hours, another eight, it depends on the machinery you use which means that you always are dependent upon thousands of other people even to produce the most simple things.

These labor vouchers are a very primitive form of money and they’re not very practical. If you want a pair of shoes, you have a voucher for a pair of shoes, and then you want something else you need another piece of paper. People would very quickly find out that you have to have something that can be exchanged for everything; if not you really get a bureaucracy, it would be much worse than you had in the Soviet Union. If somebody is going to sit somewhere and write out notes for all the possible things that people can buy, and how are they going to count all the things that do exist?

The use of money also implies that you don’t see things as a whole. If you’re going to make a house you need nails, you need a hammer, you need a lot of tools. They’re a lot of people involved in this. If you are going to have nails you have to get iron from somewhere. Someone made the hammer, what did he make the hammer from? What equipment did he need to make the hammer? Who made the equipment that made the equipment that made the hammer? Then you have to eat of course, and who grew the food. From the beginning you have a lot of people involved. If you were to do all these things yourself, even if you worked 24 hours for the rest of your life you probably wouldn’t ever build the house.

And anyway, if a socialist or anarchist society, whatever you call it, is a society where people control their own lives, that means that they also have to control what they produce and what they produce must be directly related to their needs. Which means that you don’t begin with the production, you begin with the needs. People have to define their needs, and then find out how they will satisy these needs. While money implies that you go the other way around.

Money is based on social and geographical isolation between people, and isolation between their needs — it’s based on isolation and it also perpetuates it. It’s difficult to use money in any human sense. If you visited a friend and had to pay for a cup of coffee it would be a different relationship at once. The extent and ease of travel today makes money even more ridiculous. Neighbors always helped one another out without pay. Through communication people talk with each other and make agreements, not by counting but in meeting each other’s needs.

The work and creativity of others to a large extent is our freedom — it gives us more possibilities than if we do everything alone. Freedom means possibilities if it has any meaning at all. If people can’t see that their needs are interconnected it’s not possible to build a socialist society. A socialist society is not just a technical organization – it’s based on human beings, and on human beings controlling their own lives. Without that it’s not socialism.

Editorial: The Scourge of Nationalism

from LLR 14

Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others. The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner…

— Emma Goldman, Patriotism

As we go to press, Croatians, Serbians and Bosnians are engaged in full-scale war. Russia is threatening action against Estonia unless it stops discriminating against ethnic Russians. Border disputes are flaring throughout the former Soviet empire as nationalists try to carve out their own, ethnically-pure nation states.

Thus, we see the “national independence” movements move from the Third World to eastern Europe. Nationalism is not, of course, a new phenomena. But today “civilized” warfare has advanced to the point where entire cities can be levelled in a matter of hours, and tens of thousands slaughtered in mere minutes.

War is tragic enough even when necessitated (as, for example, during the Spanish Revolution) by workers’ self-defense. But its devastation is all the more tragic resulting from the empty chimera of nationalism. There is, at root, no such thing as a nation — nationalism is an empty construct that serves both to conceal internal oppression and to define the vast majority of the world’s population as outside the realm of human solidarity.

As Jose Marti noted, “To change the master is not to be free.” Throughout the Third World, nationalism has served as the vehicle for a new set of masters to take control — but there is no evidence that the majority of the population has benefitted thereby. Nor have the nationalist revolutions in the Soviet Bloc benefitted most workers (as evidenced most recently in Lithuania where voters have ousted the nationalists and returned the former communists to power — not that there is any reason to believe their oppressive yoke will be any lighter).

The nation-state is not a natural community. Rather, nationalism is the political theology of the state — a doctrine evolved to justify all manner of outrages against external and internal threats to the state’s (or the aspiring state’s) interests. Self-determination has nothing to do with it.

Thus, Serbian nationalists relocate Croatian and Moslem populations to concentration camps (when they don’t execute them outright) in order to create ethnically homogenous territories in which to construct their new nation-state.

Indonesian generals massacre residents of East Timor who wish to set up their own nation-state, in the name of preserving the unity of the Indonesian nation (itself a colonial construct devised to simplify administration of far-flung islands).

In the name of nationalism, the U.S. and its allies felt no compunction about massacring Iraqis. In turn, Iraq’s leaders appeal to nationalism to mobilize support for their attacks against the Kurds (whose nationalist “leaders” in turn use their armed forces to suppress efforts by workers to take control of their workplaces).

The anarchist alternative to nationalism, as Sam Dolgoff notes in “Third World Nationalism and the State” (available from LLR), is a libertarian, stateless federation of various peoples with all other peoples of the world. We reject the artificial national boundaries imposed by capitalism and the state to segregate and divide the workers into hostile camps.

Our freedom, our ability to realize our capacities and pursue our desires, can only be realized when we reject nationalist efforts to paint our fellow workers in different parts of the world as “other” — as people whose aspirations and needs are less important or less legitimate than our own. It is time to more beyond international solidarity, with its implicit notion that national boundaries retain some meaning or legitimacy, towards a global solidarity of people struggling to realize our common humanity, and the freedom that we can truly enjoy only when it is extended to all.

Editorial: The Business Unions Can Not Be Reformed

from LLR 22

Shortly before we went to press Teamsters president Ron Carey stepped down amidst a growing scandal about his administration’s embezzlement of union funds to finance his re-election campaign. Carey was elected atop a reform slate heavily backed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union, which waged a long struggle to rid the Teamsters of mob control and undemocratic rule by a handful of bureaucrats who lived lavishly off the Teamsters treasuries. The Carey-TDU slate took charge of the union with the backing and under the aegis of U.S. government-appointed trustees; today the government has withdrawn its sponsorship and a government-appointed former FBI agent once again has full control over union finances. (We discussed at some length Carey’s at-best mixed record as a labor reformer in LLR #20, and critiqued TDU’s strategy and limitations in #15.)

No worker should feel the slightest sympathy for Ron Carey and his cronies. Carey is a life-long union bureaucrat who has not hesitated to use his bureaucratic power to stifle dissidents and to centralize power into his own hands. Where mobster-run locals backed Carey’s administration, he proved more than willing to turn a blind eye to their assaults upon not only the rights but also the bodies of their members. And when he found himself falling behind in his re-election campaign against the Jr. Hoffa forces (Hoffa was lavishly funded by the corrupt local piecards hiding behind his name, and much of his money was almost certainly stolen from union coffers as well), he did not hesitate to raid the Teamsters treasury of what authorities report was at least $735,000 – laundered through a variety of labor and “progressive” organizations en route to Carey’s re-election campaign (though much of the money appears to have been skimmed off in the process).

The scandal continues to spread. Citizens Action has had to close its national office, and the head of the “progressive” telemarketer Share has stepped aside and may yet be moving to a federal jail cell. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is so far rejecting pressure to dismiss AFL Secretary-Treasurer Rich Trumka (the darling of the labor reform set); $150,000 of Teamsters members’ dues reportedly passed through Trumka’s hands as part of the scheme.

Carey has been barred from running for re-election, and forced to step down from his post. He may yet be expelled from Teamsters membership by a government-controlled review board and/or prosecuted for embezzlement of union funds. The Teamsters “reform” forces are in disarray, desperately searching for some other union bureaucrat who might stand a chance against Jr. Hoffa in next year’s election (though reformers are asking the government to ban Hoffa from standing for office as well). Indeed, the “reformers” don’t seem to recognize what has hit them. Shortly after the scandal broke, but before Carey was disqualified, TDU cochair Mike Ruscigno told Labor Notes, “This is our chance to drive a stake through the heart of the old guard.” And the bankruptcy of the “labor reformer’s” strategy of trying to revitalize and reform the unions by capturing the top offices, relying on the government to lend a hand, is ever more clear.

Ironically, much of the labor “left” is supporting Carey. The once-Trotskyist Workers World Party had practically elevated Carey to the status of a class war prisoner, claiming that his removal is in retaliation for the Teamster’s “victory” in the United Parcel Service strike. (For a critique of the UPS settlement see the October 1997 Industrial Worker, their December issue had a detailed account of the Carey scandal and its causes.) The Association for Union Democracy, which long supported rank-and-file Teamsters in their battle against precisely this sort of abuse of power and looting of union funds, labelled Carey’s election “probably the most democratic in the recorded history of the labor movement.” (The IWW holds more democratic elections every year.) Even those who criticize the Carey campaign’s theft of union funds typically portray it as an aberration — a tragic and ironic episode in Carey’s quest to reform the Teamsters union ignoring the fact that this looting was possible only because rank-and-file Teamsters have little more control over “their” union than they did when it was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mafia.

Building a fighting labor movement can not be accomplished by capturing positions in the union bureaucracy. While it is much easier to gain union office than to build genuine working-class organizations, boring from within the business unions makes sense only if one assumes that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them – that with a change of officers or a little tinkering with their bylaws, they could be transformed into effective working-class organizations.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Business unions are organized not to prosecute the class war, but rather to smooth over disputes. They are dues-collecting machines whose continuity and stability rely upon a passive membership. Anarcho-syndicalists recognize that no lasting gains can be wages within this framework – instead, what is needed is a fundamentally different unionism based upon the workers ourselves, organized at the point of production. Electing better bureaucrats accomplishes very little. We need to build rank-and-file organizations on the shop floor, relying on direct action and self-organization to improve our conditions, and to lay the groundwork for a fundamental transformation of our unions and our society.

Anarchism in Ukraine, 1980s and 1990s (A Glossary)

This glossary of activists, organizations and publications was compiled to supplement the history of Ukrainian anarchism published in ASR 67:

Anarchiya. Newspaper, central organ of the Revolution Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS). Published in Donetsk from 1993 to the present. First editor was Sergei Shevchenko. Numbering of issues was re-started several times; altogether about 100 issues have been published. Circulation: 1,000 – 5,000 copies.

Anarcho-Communist Revolutionary Union (AKRS). An anarchist organization of the perestroika period. Formed in 1988–1989. In contrast to most of the anarchists of the USSR during those years, AKRS adhered to the leftist (communist) ideals of traditional anarchism and oriented itself towards realizing them by violent, revolutionary means. Its organs were the newspapers Chernoye znamya [Black banner] (Leningrad, 1989–1990) and Solidarnost’ [Solidarity] (Moscow, 1989–1991). It broke up in early 1991 when the majority of activists shifted to Trotskyism (Leningrad) or “anarcho-capitalism” (Moscow), although small, isolated cells of AKRS persisted somewhat longer. Its successor twas the Federation of Revolutionary Anarchists (FRAN).

Anarcho-Syndikalist. Central informational and theoretical organ of RKAS. Published in 1994–2003 in Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. Editor Sergei Shevchenko, then Anatoliy Dubovik. Published 34 issues. Circulation 200–300 copies.

Anisimov, Yuriy (1962–2002).  Journalist, poet, writer from Zhitomir. Took part in the dissident movement, was persecuted by the KGB. Organizer of the Zhitomir anarchist union, a member of KAS, KAU, IWA-AIT, editor of the newspapers Cherniy Internatsional [The Black International] (1989) and Predtecha [Harbinger] (1990), director of the news agency Nestor and the bulletin of the same name (1991–1993). Remained an anarchist until the end of his life.

Association of Anarchist Movements (ADA). Federation of anarchist organizations of the USSR and countries of the former USSR. Created in the summer of 1990 as an alternative to KAS. Composed mostly of adherents of anarcho-individualism. Main published organs – the newspapers Noviy cvet [The New light] (Leningrad–Petersburg, 1989–2006), Gazyeta saratovskikh anarkhistov [Newspaper of the Saratov anarchists] (Saratov, 1990–1992), Byulleten’ An-Press [An-Press Bulletin] (Leningrad–Petersburg, 1990–1993), Vintovka [Rifle] (Petersburg, Yaroslavl’, 2003–2006), and others. In the 1990s was the most important anarchist formation in the ex-USSR. Affiliated for a time with the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA). Formally still exists.

Biocosmism. A philosophical doctrine aspiring to the complete liberation of the individual, which sets as its tasks the achievement of personal immortality, free movement through space, and the resurrection of all the dead. Claims to be scientific, but has much in common with mystical-occult teachings. In 1918–1919 the poet Aleksandr Svyatogor began to promote the ideas of biocosmism, and in 1920–1922 headed the organization “Creator of Russian and Muscovite Anarcho-Biocosmists.” The Soviet authorities rendered unofficial support to the “Creator,” using Svyatogor and his disciples to discredit and liquidate the anarchist movement.

Borzykin, Mikhail Borisovich (1962–). Musician poet, leader of the rock group “Televisor” (c. 1984). During perestroika one of the main figures of the rock underground, author of socially acute revolutionary songs (“Your papa – the fascist,” “A Fish rots from the head,” “Out of control”), leader of a protest action against Soviet censorship. One of the few rock musicians of the former USSR to remain independent of show business and the state, a regular participant in anti-government demonstrations of the 1990s – 2010s.

Bunt – delo pravoye [Insurrection is a just action]. Newspaper, organ of the Cherkassy anarchist union. Successor of the newspaper Makhnovets. Editor: Nikolay Ozimov. Published one (?) issue in early 1991.

Cherkassy Anarchist Union of Youth. Anarchist group in the city of Cherkassy. Existed 1993–1994. Membership: around 10 – 15. Subjected to constant pressure from right-wing nationalist groups, which led to its dissolution.

Chornaya subbota [Black Saturday]. Newspaper, organ of the Confederation of Independent Trade Union of the Zaporozhye Region. Published in 1990 by members of the Zaporozhye branch of KAS. Editor: Artur Grigoryan. Four issues.

Chornaya znamya [Black Banner]. Newspaper, organ of AKRS. Published in Leningrad from August 1989 to August 1990. Editor: Dmitriy Zhvaniya. Twelve issues. Circulation: up to 3,000 copies. First issues played an important role in establishing the anarcho-communist movement in the USSR. In the summer of 1990, the leaders of the AKRS began a process of evolving towards Trotskyism which was reflected in the content of the newspaper. In the autumn of 1991 the remnants of AKRS attempted to revive Chornaya znamya under the editorship of Viktor Shchepotov, but were able to publish only one issue.

Chorniy Internatsional [Black International].  Newspaper, organ of Zhitomir anarcho-syndicalists. Published in Zhitomir in late 1989. Editor: Yuriy Anisimov. Three issues published with a circulation of 500.

Committee of Ukrainian Anarcho-Nationalists (KUAN). Group of Kievan anarchists. A breakaway from the extreme right-wing National-Democratic Party of Ukraine. In 1991 it consisted of two members (Yuriy Dokukin and Oleg Novikov). Concerned itself exclusively with hoaxing; both members had the reputation of being provocateurs. In the same year the group transformed into the “Front of the Anarcho-Revolutionary Avantgarde.”

Communist Union of Anarchists. Underground group of students of the history faculty of Dnepropetrovskiy National University. Membership of 10–12 people. Liquidated by the KGB in 1979. Practically all members gave a signed statement breaking with anarchism and the repression they were subject to was limited to expulsion from the university and the Komsomol. Strelkovskiy was sent for compulsory psychiatric treatment. Two or three former members of the Union took part in the anarchist movement during perestroika.

Confederation of Anarchists of Ukraine (KAU). Ukrainian anarchist organization of the perestroika period. Considered as the successor of the organization of the same name during the Russian Revolution of 1917–1921. Created in May 1990 as a regional organization of KAS. Printed organ: the newspaper Predtecha (Zhitomir, 1990). Maximum membership: 500. Dissolved around 1993. Attempts to resuscitate KAU occurred in 1994–1995.

Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (KAS). First legal organization of anarchists of the USSR, created during perestroika in 1988–1989. Main publications: magazine: Obshchina [Commune] (Moscow, 1987–1993); newspapers: Volya [Liberty] (Moscow, 1989–1991), Nabat [Tocsin] (Kharkov, 1989–1900), Golos truda [The Voice of labour] (Novosibirsk, 1990–1991), Rabochiy [The Worker] (Seversk, 1993–1995); bulletin: KAS–KOR, then KAS–Kontakt (Moscow, 1990–1993), etc. Up until the spring of 1990 included the vast majority of anarchists of the USSR. Maximum membership – in the 3,000–5,000 range. In 1992–1995 quickly lost influence and virtually disappeared. Today small groups of anarcho-syndicalists in Siberia operate under the name KAS.

Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Zaporozhye Region. Regional trade union organization of the reformist type common in Western democracies, i.e. not anarcho-syndicalist, but still independent of the official Soviet state system. Created in early 1990 on the initiative of members of the Zaporozhye branch of KAS. Leaders: Artur Grigoryan, Dmitriy Dundich, and others. Printed organ: the newspaper Chornaya subbota [Black Saturday] (Zaporozhye, 1990). Maximum membership: 5,000 – 6,000. Dissolved at the start of the 1990s.

Damier, Vadim Valer’yevich (1959–). Moscow historian. As a young man he was drawn to Maoism. During perestroika he became an anarcho-communist, joined KAS and AKRS, and later was a leader of the Initiatives of Revolutionary Anarchists and the Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists. Editor of many anarchist publications.

Delo Truda [The Cause of Labor]. Newspaper, “the organ of Dnepropetrovsk anarchists.” Published “without official permission” from the end of 1988 till May 1990. Editor: Oleg Dubrovskiy. Number of issues published: 13.

Dokukin, Yuriy (1973–). Political adventurer from Kiev. In 1991 declared himself an anarcho-communist, organizer of the mythical “Front of the Anarcho-Revolutionary Avant-garde.” In the mid-1990s moved to the Maoists, leading a series of organizations which superseded one another: “Left Association of Youth,” “Revolutionary Communist Youth,” “Coordinating Council of the Labor Movement.” Had a reputation as a provocateur and blackmailer in the socialist movement. Ceased political activity at the start of the 2000s.

Dubovik, Anna Vladimirovna (1968–2005). Anarchist from Dnepropetrovsk, member of KAS, KAU, RKAS.

Dubrovskiy, Oleg Borisovich (1954–). Metalworker from Dnepropetrovsk. His anarchist propaganda among the workers dated from the late 1970s. Editor of the newspaper Delo truda (1988–1990). Starting in 1989, joined KAS, AKRS, FRAN. Organizer of independent unions and a strike movement. In 1994 he declared himself a Trotskyist, joined the “Socialist Labor Union,” collaborated with the “International Committee of the Fourth International” and the “World Socialist Web Site.” Since the start of the 2000s, has occupied himself with journalistic work as an independent anti-authoritarian Marxist.

Federation of Anarchists of the Donbas (FAD). Organization of anarcho-syndicalists of the Donbas, the eastern part of Ukraine. Created in 1990 as a regional organization of KAS and KAU. Composed of worker and student groups in Donetsk and other cities. Leader: Sergey Shevchenko. Published the newspaper Anarchiya starting in 1993. In 1994 FAD was instrumental in forming the Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS); FAD remains to this day as the ideological-practical center of RKAS.

Federation of Revolutionary Anarchists (FRAN). International organization of anarchists based on post-Soviet territory, successor of AKRS. Founded in January 1992, bringing together adherents of revolutionary-communist anarchism from Russia, Ukraine, and Belorus. Dissolved in 1994–1995. The successors of FRAN were RKAS (Ukraine) and the Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists (KRAS: Russia, Belorus), which are still in existence today.

Federation of Socialist Social Clubs (FSOK). Interregional non-government organization in the USSR. Created in August 1987 as a federation of groups and clubs of various socialist tendencies opposing the hegemony of the KPSS. Played a noteworthy role in the political life of the USSR in 1987–1988. One of the ideological centers of FSOK was the Moscow group Obshchina and its journal of the same name. Dissolved in the summer–autumn of 1988, giving rise to the Union of Independent Socialists (soon becoming the Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists), the Socialist Party, and a number of other organizations.

Fidel’man, Vladimir Igorevich (1965– ). Journalist from Kharkov. During perestroika was one of the leaders of the anarchist movement in Ukraine, a member of KAS and KAU, editor of the newspaper Nabat (Kharkov, 1989–1990), organizer of the Fighting Anarcho-Revolutionary Union (BARS). After 1992 broke with anarchism. Today – a well-known fantasy writer (under the pseudonym Vladimir Sverzhin), vice-president of the Ukrainian College of Heraldry, and an instructor for the International Federation of Karate.

Fighting Anarcho-Revolutionary Union (BARS). Organization of Kharkov anarchists. Created in early 1990 to defend civil society and oppose possible Jewish pogroms. Composed of former military personnel (including veterans of the war in Afghanistan), workers, and students. Leader: Vladimir Fidel’man. Dissolved in 1991.

Front of the Anarcho-Revolutionary Vanguard (FARA). Group of Kiev anarchists. Existed during 1991–1992, with two members: Yuriy Dokukin and Oleg Novikov. Occupied exclusively with mystification, both members of the group were known as provocateurs.

GKChP [State Committee on the State of Emergency]. Self-proclaimed highest organ of state power in the USSR, formed on August 18, 1991, with the aim of putting an end to “extremist forces that have embarked on the course toward liquidating the Soviet Union, ruining the state and seizing power at any cost.” Committee chair was Vice-President of the USSR Gennady Yanayev. Unable to control the situation, the Committee was liquidated on August 21–22 by supporters of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR led by Boris Yeltsin. Members of the GKChP were arrested and charged with attempting a coup d’état, but were amnestied in 1994.

Golos truda [The Voice of Labor]. Newspaper, “independent bulletin of the Agency of anarcho-syndicalists.” Published by RKAS in Donetsk in 1995–1996. Editors: Tatyana Nosach, Sergei Shevchenko. Around 20 issues published with a circulation of 500–1000 copies.

Grigoryan, Artur (1966–). One of the leaders of the Zaporozhye organization of KAS-KAU during perestroika. Organizer of the Confederation of independent trade unions of the Zaporozhye region and editor of its newspaper Chornaya subbota (1990). In the early 1990s he went into business and virtually dropped out of the anarchist movement.

Gulyai-Polye. Journal, organ of the Donetsk branch of KAS. Its only issue was published in October–November 1989, and was printed by hand on a duplicator. Editor: Sergei Shevchenko. Circulation: several dozen copies.

Il’erkin, Leonid Sergeyevich (1973–). Sociologist, journalist. Joined the organizations of KAS-KAU and AKRS in Dnepropetrovsk starting in 1989. Left the anarchist movement in 1991, worked as a public relations director, marketing expert, translator. In 2010 returned to political activism, belonged to RKAS for a while. Today a member of the Kiev Trotskyist group Borba [Struggle].

Initiative of Revolutionary Anarchists of Ukraine (IREANU). Anarcho-communist group from Kiev. Create in 1993 as a local branch of “Initiatives of Revolutionary Anarchists” in countries of the former USSR. Leader – Vladimir Zadiraka. Membership – not more than 20 people. Dissolved in the second half of the 1990s.

International Workers’ Association (IWA-AIT). Anarcho-syndicalist International, founded in 1922.

Internatsional’naya rabochaya assotsiatsiya (IRA) [International Labour Association]. Anarcho-syndicalist organization founded in early 1991. Originally composed of small syndicates, mostly representing journalists and other workers in the field of communications. Leaders: Vladislav Strelovskiy, Yuriy Anisimov. From 1994 active exclusively in Dnepropetrovsk, included two self-managed collectives of hairdressers. Dissolved in 1999 as a result of pressure from the authorities.

Inter-Regional Deputies’ Group (IRDG).  Fraction of deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in 1989–1991, the first legal Soviet parliamentary opposition. Advocated reform of the Soviet system, especially the introduction of multiple parties and private property. Leaders of the IRDG were veteran dissident Andrei Sakharov and former Communist Party official Boris Yeltsin. In 1990 the IRDG became the basis of the “Democratic Russia” bloc, which received a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections; in 1991 Yeltsin became president of Russia. After the dissolution of the USSR, the IRDG and “Democratic Russia” broke into several parties.

Izvestiya RKAS [RKAS Report]. Information bulletin published by RKAS around the turn of the century (1990s–2000s).

Khadzhiev, Georgiy (1910–1990). Bulgarian anarcho-communist.

Kharkov organization of KAS-KAU. The most important anarchist organization of Ukraine during perestroika. Created in 1989. Leaders: Vladimir Radchenko, Igor Rassokha, Evgeniy Solov’yev, Vladimir Fidel’man. Published organ: the newspaper Nabat (1989–1990). Maximum membership: 100 – 150. At the beginning of the 1990s most of the leaders started to make careers in organs of government and broke with anarchism, after which the organization fell apart. Attempts to revive it were undertaken in 1993–1994.

Khmara, Stepan Il’ich (1937– ). Ukrainian nationalist. Participant in the dissident movement from the end of the 1960s. Persecuted by the KGB, served seven years in camps. During perestroika became one of the leaders of the extreme right-wing Ukrainian Republican Party. In 1990 elected a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. Today a member of the Ukrainian People’s Party.

Kinchev, Konstantin Evgen’yevich (1958–). Musician, poet, leader of the rock group “Alice” (c. 1984). In the 1980s wrote socially conscious songs, some of which were direct reflections of his anarchist views of those years (“Red on Black,” “Time to Change the Name,” “It’s All Rock-’n-Roll,” “My Generation”). Took to the barricades as a member of an anarchist brigade during the GKChP mutiny of 1991. Later became a supporter of Russian nationalism. Today a member of Patriarchal Council for Culture of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Kirichenko, Vladimir Nikolayevich (1948–). Teacher from Zaporozhye. Took part in the underground dissident and anarchist movement in the USSR starting in 1968. By the end of the 1970s was one of the key figures in distributing underground literature (“samizdat”) in Ukraine. From 1982 was subject to persecution by the KGB. Founder of the anarcho-mystical “World Brotherhood of Anarchists” (1988). Spent some time as a member of KAS (1989–1991) and RKAS (2007–2009. Today – a lecturer in the philosophy department of Zaporozhsky National University, and an anarchist by conviction.

Komsomol, All-USSR Leninist-Communist Union of Youth (VLKSM). Youth organization of the KPSS [Communist Party of the Soviet Union]. By the 1950s membership had become virtually obligatory for some categories of youth (students, members of the armed services), which soon resulted in the lack of any well-defined ideology for the mass of ordinary members. During perestroika members of the Komsomol formed the basis of opposition movements ranging from anarchists to Nazis, and senior officials of the Komsomol soon became the first post-Soviet capitalists.

Kostyenko, Dmitriy Gennad’yevich (1967–). Moscow sociologist and journalist. In 1989 became an anarcho-communist, joined KAS, then was one of the organizers of the “Initiative of Revolutionary Anarchists” and chairman of the “Studyencheskaya zashchita” [Student Defense] alliance. Pioneer of the “orange movement” in the USSR. Editor of the publications Velikiy otkaz [The Great refusal] (1990–1991), Chornaya zvesda [Black Star] (1992–1994), Noviy Nestor [The New Nestor] (1994–1996). From the mid-1990s was connected with Maoist groups, promoted the practice of Juche (the ideology of North Korea), joined the National Bolshevik Party, in connection with which he was accused of deliberately discrediting the anarchist movement and provocation. Ceased political activity at the start of the 2000s.

KPSS [Communist Party of the Soviet Union]. Name of the Soviet Marxist-Leninist party ever since 1952. The ruling and only legal party of the USSR until it was banned in 1991.

Kronstadt Revolt. Uprising of sailors of the Baltic fleet and workers of the city of Kronstadt against the Bolshevik regime in March 1921. Strongly influenced by anarchist ideas. Suppressed by the Bolsheviks with great brutality.

Krylov, Mikhail Alekseyevich (1966–). Miner-tunneller, union activist from Donetsk. From 1989 one of the leaders of the independent labor movement in the USSR. Head of the Donetsk Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine and the city strike committee during the general strike of miners in 1996. When the strike was crushed, he was arrested and sentenced to two years of prison, but was soon released under the terms of an amnesty. In the mid-1990s he sympathized with the anarchists and worked closely with RKAS. Today he continues to head the DNPGU.

Left Association of Youth (LOM).  Left-radical organization of Kiev, created in March 1993. Brought together supporters of various socialist tendencies from social-democracy to anarchism, with a predominance of Maoists and anarchists. Leaders: Vladimir Zadiraka, Vladimir Osipenko, Pavel Shidlovskiy. Despite its small membership (25 people), for a long time it was the most active left-wing organization in the capital of Ukraine. Dissolved at the end of the 1990s.

Makhnovets. Newspaper, “organ of the anarchists-makhnovists.” Published “without prior arrangement” in Cherkassy in 1988–1990. Editor: Nikolai Ozimov. Circulation: 500 – 3,000. Published at least seven issues.

“Memorial.” International association of non-governmental historical-research and human-rights organizations. Started in 1987–88 to study the history of political repression in the USSR, as well as arranging for material and legal assistance to the victims of repression and their descendants. During the first years of its existence, often served as legal cover for activities of opponents of the Soviet regime.

Nabat [Alarum]. Newspaper, organ of KAS. Five issues were published in Kharkov from the summer of 1989 till January 1990. Editors: Vladimir Radchenko and Vladimir Fidel’man. Circulation: 3,000–5,000 copies. Played an important role in the process of organizing the anarchists of Ukraine during perestroika.

Nestor. News agency founded in Zhitomir in early 1991 by members of KAS-KAU. Director: Yuriy Anisimov. In 1991–1993 published the news bulletin Nestor, dealing with news about the anarchist movement and social life. Around 300 issues were published.

Novikov, Oleg Anatol’yevich (1973–). Political adventurer, whose social activity began in the extreme right-wing National-Democratic Party of Ukraine. In 1991 declared himself an anarcho-communist, the organizer of the mythical “Front of the Anarcho-Revolutionary Vanguard” and the “Association of Anarchist Movements (Marxist-Leninist).” In 1992 moved from Ukraine to Belarus, took part in the creation of the Federation of Anarchists of Belarus and the Confederation of Revolutionary Anarchists. Had a reputation as a provocateur in the anarchist movement, and in 1996 was officially declared a provocateur by the German FAU. Today – chairman of the Green Party of Belarus, and a parliamentary opposition politician.

Novomirskiy, Yakov (1882–after 1936). Ideologue of anarcho-syndicalism in Russia.

Obshchina. Historical political club, then an historical-political association. Founded in September 1987 by students of the faculties of history and physics of Moscow University who were interested in socialist tendencies, anarchism especially, which offered an alternative to the official Marxist-Leninist ideology. Published a journal of the same name which made the club the center for bringing together similar groups from other cities of the USSR. In early 1989 the Obshchina group provided the basis for creation of the Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (KAS).

Obshchina. Journal, organ of the historical-political association of the same name, then of the Moscow branch of KAS. Published from September 1987 till September 1993. Forty-nine editions came out, including three special issues. Editors were Vladimir Gubarev, Andey Isayev, Aleksandr Shubin, Vladlyen Tupikin, and others. The journal played an outstanding role in the establishment and development of the anarchist movement in the USSR.

Ozimov, Nikolay Mikhailovich (c. 1943–2005). Professional engraver from Cherkassy. From the early 1960s distributed anarchist leaflets and so subjected to systematic persecution by the KGB, resulting in several prison terms and forced psychiatric treatment. Carried on lengthy (up to 10 months long) hunger strikes, and became an invalid. In 1989–1991 joined KAS and KAU, edited the newspaper Makhnovets. In the early 1990s declared himself a wizard and healer, tried to create an anarcho-pagan sect “Volka Luna” [Wolf Moon].

Perestroika. [Rebuilding.] Period in the history of the USSR (1985-1991), during which top party leaders initiated a series of economic and political reforms which ended in the collapse of so-called “socialist bloc” and the USSR itself.

Pirumova, Natalya Mikhailovna (1923–1997). Soviet historian. Wrote studies of Herzen, Bakunin, and Kropotkin which were published during the Brezhnev era. Despite censorship and a superficial fidelity to the official ideology, her books provided a glimpse of libertarian thought. During the last years of her life, she called herself an anarchist and took part in demonstrations in memory of Kropotkin.

Predtecha. Newspaper, organ of KAS. Pubished in Zhitomir from April to August 1990. Editor Yuriy Anisimov. Three issues with a circulation of between one and two thousand.

Pryama diya. [Direct action.] Student organization in Kiev. Created in 1993, it was strongly influenced by anarchist and Maoist ideas. Dissolved at the end of the 1990s. A new left-radical student organization with the same name was started in Kiev in 2008 and is still in existence.

Radchenko, Vladimir (1964–). One of the leaders of the Ukrainian anarchists during perestroika, a member of KAS and KAU. Editor of the newspaper Nabat (Kharkov, 1989–1990). In 1991 was elected a deputy to the Kharkov oblast Soviet and soon broke with anarchism.

Rassokha, Igor Nikolayevich (1965– ). Historian and philosopher from Kharkov. One of the principal leaders of the anarchist movement of Ukraine during perestroika, a member of KAS and KAU. In 1991 became the assistant of the deputy chairperson of the Ukrainian parliament and left the anarchist movement. Today he is an associate professor at the Kharkov National Academy of Municipal Economy, and an advisor to the head of the Department of humanitarian issues of the Kharkov regional state administration.

Revolutionary Confederation of Anarchists-Syndicalists (RKAS). Organization of anarcho-syndicalists and anarcho-communists of Ukraine. Founded in October 1994. Printed organs: the newspaper Anarkhiya (Donetsk, published from 1993), the journal Anarkho-syndikalist (Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, 1994–2003), and others. Maximum membership: 200 – 250. Still in existence and  active in Ukraine, Georgia, Russia.

Revolutionary proletarian cells (RPYa). The first Trotskyist organization in the USSR. Created in the summer of 1990 on the basis of the Leningrad branch of the Anarcho-Communist Revolutionary Union. Leader Dmitriy Zhvaniya. Printed organs: the newspaper Rabochaya bor’ba [The Worker’s struggle] (1990–1996) and the bulletin Sotsialisticheskiy rabochiy (1991–1992). In 1991–1993 affiliated with the Trotskyist International Socialist Tendency. In 1997 joined the National-Bolshevik Party.

Rokotchistogoserdtsa [This portmanteau name emphasized a dual meaning: “Rock from the pure heart” and “Murmur of the pure heart”]. Newspaper. Pubished in Lugansk by members of a local rock club in 1990–1991. Devoted to the popularization of rock music, anarchism and Buddhism.

Rukh, “National Movement of Ukraine.” Ukrainian political organization. Created in September 1989 as a citizens’ movement in support of democratic reform in the USSR. Originally Rukh brought together adherents of very different views, from liberal communists to radical nationalists. Some anarchists also participated in starting Rukh. In 1990–1991 several organizations split from Rukh, after which it was transformed into a political party with a national-democratic line. Today it is the Ukrainian People’s Party “Rukh.”

Sakharov, Andrey Dmitrievich (1921–1989). Physicist, creator of the Soviet hydrogen bomb. In the 1960s he took up a position in opposition to the Soviet regime, becoming the best-known dissident and human rights advocate in the USSR. Nobel laureate (1975). During perestroika was considered the spiritual leader of the democratic opposition.

Shevchuk, Yuriy Yulianovich (1957– ). Musician, poet, leader of the rock group DDT (started in 1980). Son of Party bigwig, became a hippy at 15 and a staunch opponent of the Soviet regime. Persecuted by the KGB. During perestroika called himself an anarchist, and was a leading representative of socially-conscious rock music (the songs “Revolution,” “Time,” “Terrorist,” etc.). Later continued to perform songs on social themes, and remained one of the main figures of the Russian rock scene, but was no longer connected with the anarchist movement. Supports the democratic opposition to Putin’s regime.

“Solidarity” [Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity”]. Federation of independent-of-the-state unions opposing the ruling regime in Poland. Created in 1980, and carried on an active struggle for economic and social interests of the workers. After the introduction of martial law in December 1981, went underground. Legalized at the end of the 1980s and victorious in the parliamentary elections of 1989. The leader of Solidarity, Lech Wałęsa, became president of Poland and expedited the process of capitalist reforms.

Solov’yev, Yeveniy (1965–). A leader of the Ukrainian anarchists during the perestroika period, a member of KAS and KAU. In 1991 was elected a deputy of the Kharkov oblast Soviet and broke with anarchism. Subsequently worked as a lawyer. Today – a deputy of the Kharkov city Soviet and secretary of the environmental organization “Green Front.”

Sotsprof. Federation of independent trade unions of the USSR, then Russia. Created in April 1989. Originally called the “Federation of Socialist Trade Unions of the USSR,” bringing together supporters of various socialist tendencies, from “pure-and-simple” unionists to communists. Leaders: Sergey Khramov, Lev Volovik, and others. In 1991 transformed into the “Federation of Russian Trade Unions Sotsprof”; by that time left-of-center views dominated in the organization. In the 1990s participated in founding the Pan-Russian Confederation of Labor and the Russian Party of Labor. Still in existence.

Strelkovskiy, Vladislav Alekseyevich (1955–?). Photographer, later an unskilled laborer, from Dnepropetrovsk. While a student, organized the Communist Union of Anarchists (1978–1979). Constantly persecuted by the KGB. In 1989–1991 joined KAS, KAU and AKRS, then started the anarchist International Labor Association, which dissolved in 1999. Spent some time in RKAS. Disappeared at the end of the 2000s.

Tigra Nigra [Black Tigers]. Anarcho-communist group from Kiev. Created in 1996 by students of Kiev University. Leader: Maksim Butkevich. Around 20 members. newspaper Pereday dal’she [Go further] (1998). Dissolved in 1998 as a result of police persecution.

UVD [Dept. of Internal Affairs]. Police department; territorial branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; also known as the “militia.”

Ukrainian National Self-Defense [full name: Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self-Defense, UNA-UNSO]. Ukrainian radical right-wing party. Created in 1990–1991. Leaders in the 1990s were Oleg Bitovich, Dimitriy Korchinskiy, Yuriy Shukhevich, etc. Militarized formations of UNA-UNSO took part in many armed conflicts on the territory of the former USSR during the period 1991–2008. Today operates as a right-wing parliamentary opposition under the leadership of Shukhevich.

Ukrsotsprof. Federation of independent trade unions of the Ukrainian SSR. Created in 1990 as part of the “Federation of Socialist Trade Unions of the USSR Sotsprof.” In 1990–1991 anarcho-syndicalists exerted an appreciable influence in the organization. After the dissolution of the USSR carried on for some time independently. Ceased existence in the early 1990s.

Ukrainian SSR [Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic]. Quasi-state formation in the structure of the USSR. At the end of 1991 transformed into the independent state Ukraine.

Verkhovnyy Soviet [Supreme Soviet]. Highest legislative organ of the USSR; its constituent union and autonomous republics also had their own Supreme Soviets. These bodies were analogous to the national and regional parliaments of Western-style democracies.

Vosstayushaya Ukraina [Insurgent Ukraine]. Journal, organ of RKAS for promoting anarchism in youth sub-cultures. Editor: Sergei Shevchenko. Published in Donetsk in 2000–2001. Two issues printed.

World Brotherhood of Anarchists. Group of mystical anarchists. Started by Vladimir Kirichenko in Zaporozhye in 1988; affiliated with KAS for some time. Membership: around 10 people. Unsuccessfully tried to extend its activities to other cities of the USSR. Formally still exists.

Zhitomirskiy Anarchist Union (ZhAS). Organization of anarcho-syndicalists of Zhitomir. Created in 1989. Leader Yuriy Anisimov. Maximum membership – 20 people. Published the newspapers Chorniy Internatsional (1989) and Predtecha (1990). Dissolved in 1992–1993.

ASR 67 (Summer 2016)

asr67coverASR 67 (Summer 2016)

3. Editorial: The Anti-Fascist Dilemma
4. Obituaries: Paul Poulos and Louis Prisco
4. Wobbles: Unaffordable Healthcare Act, Walmart Calls in the FBI, Wildcat Strikes, World Without Work? …
6. International News: Verizon Strike, S. Korean Unions Under Attack, Terrorist Puppets?, Reorganizing the International Workers Assn.?… compiled by Michael Hargis
10. Worker Revolt in France by John Kalwaic
12. Organizing Immigrant Workers in Berlin from Direkte Aktion
13. Articles: Should the Left Call for a Third Party? by Wayne Price
17. Bows & Arrows: Indigenous Workers and the IWW on the Vancouver Docks  by Jeff Schantz
20. The $400 Question: Getting By After 50 Years of Stagnation by Jon Bekken
21. Anarchism in the 21st Century  by Iain McKay
25. A History of Anarchism in Ukraine, 1980s – 1990s by Anatoly Dubovik, translated by Malcolm Archibald Supplemental Glossary available only online
34.Reviews: An Improved Capitalism? Or the End of Capitalism?Review essay by Wayne Price
37.George Orwell’s Solidarity with Imprisoned Anarchists Review essay by Raymond Solomon
38. Transportation and the Ecological Crisis by Jon Bekken

Trans-Pacific Partnership of Corporate Oligarchs

The so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership” treaty was recently “fast-tracked” by Congress, would giving President Obama a free hand to finish negotiating this deal behind closed doors. (House Democrats united with far-right Republicans to delay passage by stripping the Senate bill of provisions to assist workers who lose their jobs because of TPP. So the Senate approved this even-more-anti-labor version; nothing can stand in the way of the bosses’ ability to enrich themselves.) Under fast track, Congress will not be allowed to change the final treaty, but only to approve the entire thing after a brief period for public comment. Americans will have to suffer the consequences of another NAFTA/CAFTA “free trade” agreement that makes it even easier for U.S. manufacturing to move to the sweatshops of Vietnam, Bangladesh and China (which is not part of the current negotiations, but could be added to the treaty later).

What makes the TPP different than previous “free trade” treaties is the enforcement provisions, which allow multinational corporations to go before a non-elected tribunal of corporate judges (who work as lawyers for the bosses in their day jobs) and sue governments for “future damages” that may be caused if an environmental law, food safety regulation or worker protection is enforced. Citizens of these countries could be taxed to pay for hypothetical losses that have not yet happened. (A chapter of the treaty draft obtained by Wikileaks includes a provision specifying that it would not be made public until four years after the agreement is implemented. The treaty draft is being kept secret from citizens and unions; members of Congress are allowed to read it but not to take notes – however, hundreds of corporate “advisors” have special access.)

This is nothing short of a power grab by the multi-national corporations that will result in lowering labor and health standards down to the level of the poorest countries in the world. Future government leaders will be bound by whatever terms the multi-national corporations dictate. Although President Obama and the leaders of the other countries involved will be giving up some of the national sovereignty they now have, they know what they are doing. Obama and his supporters (in both the Republican and Democrat corporatist parties) are playing the role of corporate hit-men, and will be handsomely rewarded for their betrayal. The six hundred corporate lobbyists who are helping write this treaty will be gaining a lock on future governments and the international economy, creating a bulwark against workers who might follow the example of Greece and Spain to fight austerity policies.

The business union leaders of the AFL-CIO have not been silent about TPP. Although they have been shut out of the secret negotiations, they know from past experience with NAFTA and CAFTA what “fast-track” means – more jobs losses to global sweatshops. The so-called environmental and labor protections will never be enforced. What will be enforced are patent and copyright protections that are there for the drug companies and media companies to stop production of low-cost generic medicines and to police the internet. The provisions of Stop Online Piracy Act that were rejected after a public outcry because they would have criminalized unauthorized use of copyrighted material (by, for example, posting a video of you singing a copywritten song), blocked internet sites accused of hosting copyrighted material from appearing on search engines, and allowed media conglomerates to go after internet providers for allowing their users to share “copyrighted” information have been reintroduced through the back door as part of TPP.

This is the brave new world order in the making. The mainstream labor movement’s efforts to block the deal by pressuring Democrats (many of whom rely on unions for campaign workers and money) have failed. Even the Republicans’ much-ballyhooed hatred of the Obama administration was not sufficient to peel off enough Republicans to join the tiny handful of Senate Democrats who tried to block fast-track. The social democrats in the Democrat Party are too few in number to make a difference, even if the corporations were willing to tolerate democracy. The one principle upon which nearly all politicians can agree is the supremacy of capital over all.

If we want a different world, or even to preserve the limited protections won through past struggles, we can not rely on the Democrats. Our power lies in our organization – in our refusal to submit. It is time to organize and take back our lives.

The U.S. government’s war against the IWW

A Symposium on The Wobblies in their Heyday

Eric Chester, The Wobblies in their Heyday: The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World during the World War I Era. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2014. 316 pages, $58, hardcover.

Eric Chester’s new book on the IWW focuses on the period leading up to the U.S. government’s decision to crush the organization, and to the massive repression unleashed against the union during World War I. Based upon an impressive array of archival sources, many previously unavailable, Chester argues that the IWW appealed to many workers precisely because of its radicalism but that IWW leaders made a series of strategic errors that undermined their ability to build the broader radical coalition necessary to prevail.

ASR has published three articles by Eric Chester: two on IWW history (one on the Wheatland Hops case appears in longer form in this book; the other examined IWW membership levels from World War I through the mid-1920s) and an analysis of a Danish general strike for shorter hours. His previous books include True Mission: Socialists and the Labor Party Question in the U.S.; Rag-Tags, Scum, Riff-Raff and Commies: The U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic; and Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee and the CIA.

Chester offers detailed accounts of the Bisbee and Butte mining strikes, offering a sympathetic portrayal of IWW organizer Frank Little in the process, though he is critical of Little’s proposal to resume picketing when strike support waned (strikers originally decided against picketing in order to avoid confrontations with gun thugs), and seems to suggest that Little should have heeded warnings to go into hiding at a critical moment in the strike. (Little was lynched two days later.)He discusses California Wobblies’ resort to empty threats in a counter-productive effort to free Ford and Suhr (imprisoned for their role in a strike of hops pickers) – substituting rhetorical bluster for the power they had been unable to build in the fields. (The argument that national IWW leaders supported this, or that government officials were provoked to crush the IWW by this campaign is less persuasive.)

Chester also offers a detailed analysis of the IWW’s legal strategy, which he argues exhibited a naive faith that justice could be had in the U.S. courts. He demonstrates that the Chicago espionage trial was a show trial whose outcome was pre-arranged by prosecutors and the judge and presents evidence suggesting promises of leniency if the Wobblies played along. (Instead, the judge handed down savage sentences that shocked many observers.)

The book focuses on IWW activity and government repression in the Western United States; the IWW looks like a very different organization when examining its work in the maritime, textiles and timber industries, or its substantial membership among the immigrants who made up so large a share of the U.S. working class. (The claim that the IWW failed to sink deep or lasting roots in working-class communities, for example, ignores textile, longshore and seafarers branches that lasted for decades, as well as a network of Finnish branches that sustained a daily newspaper, several large halls, a traveling theater troupe, etc.) And while Chester is surely correct that the union suffered a far more devastating blow than is acknowledged in its official history, it remains true that the IWW was far from crushed. The IWW launched several major organizing drives in the 1920s and 1930s, reopened its halls and newspapers, and maintained a significant industrial presence in manufacturing and maritime.

We offer four takes on this important addition to the historiography on the IWW. We asked each reviewer for critical reflections on the book and “what this history can tell us about the challenges and prospects facing those trying to rebuild a labor movement that envisions itself as part of a broader emancipatory project.”

Staughton Lynd has written countless books on history, labor law and political theory; is a longtime advocate of solidarity unionism; and a life-long participant in and student of radical social struggles. His books include Doing History From the Bottom Up, The New Rank and File, and Wobblies & Zapatistas.

Peter Cole is professor of history at Western Illinois University, wrote Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia (University of Illinois) and edited Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly, including Fellow Worker Fletcher’s Writings & Speeches (Charles H. Kerr). He is currently working on a book titled Dockworker Power: Struggles in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gerald Ronning is chair of the liberal arts department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His dissertation explored the IWW in the West and offers the most authoritative available account of IWW martyr Frank Little.

Steve Kellerman is a longtime Wobbly, retired machinist and compiler of An Annotated Bibliography of Books on the IWW (2007), a comprehensive list of books published in the IWW’s first 100 years with brief but useful assessments of each.

The Bernie Sanders Illusion

Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, a former member of the Young People’s Socialist League and self-described “democratic socialist,” is running to be the Democratic Party candidate for U.S. president. Sanders’ candidacy has generated enthusiasm among liberals and leftists in an otherwise bleak political landscape dominated by the likes of Hillary Clinton (right-wing Democrat), Jeb Bush (right-wing Republican) and Donald Trump (right-wing demagogue billionaire). Could it be possible that this one man could do the unthinkable, and get Americans to rally behind an anti-corporate and progressive political agenda and return the United States to the pro-labor capitalist welfare state of the Roosevelt and pre-Vietnam era?

Not likely. For one thing the political odds are stacked against him. As Sam Dolgoff pointed out in his classic essay “The Labor Party Illusion,” the electoral system has always been rigged in favor of big business and capitalism. Even before the Supreme Court Citizens United decision (2009) and the massive Gerrymandering that occurred in the wake of the Republican sweep of 2010, elections have always been bought and representation has never been proportional and evenly distributed. The electoral system has been created to make sure that the majority does not rule. Sanders will face an uphill battle both within the Democrat Party and in the general election that will follow.

On the other hand, should a miracle happen and we have our first “socialist” president, Sanders will be blocked by the same forces that prevented Barack Obama from accomplishing anything beyond a bailout for the capitalists when they need it. There will be no socialist party that will be taking their places in the next Congress but the same army of corporate hacks in both parties that will prevent Sanders from implementing even the mildest reforms. Not to mention that Sanders himself has a spotty voting record in his past. Although Sanders did vote against giving George Bush the green light to invade Iraq, he voted in favor of Clinton’s “humanitarian war” in former Yugoslavia, the invasion of Afghanistan, the F-35 war plane program, giving military aid to Israel to make sure it did not run out of artillery shells it rained on Gaza, and Obama’s drone assassination program. Sanders is a member in good standing of the military-industrial complex, although “he doth protest too much.”

Nor would it make much difference if there were a left-wing party swept into office with Sanders. We have seen recently what happened with Syriza in Greece. When faced with the prospect of forced austerity in favor of European bankers, Syriza held a referendum of the Greek people. The people voted overwhelmingly to reject the austerity plan. When the bankers were unimpressed and doubled-down on their demands, Syriza agreed to them, ignoring the referendum results.

Apologists for Syriza on the left blame the bankers for ignoring the referendum results and staging a “coup.” If there was a coup it was not the bankers, but Syriza who staged it. Syriza had made no preparations for the likelihood that the bankers would ignore the voters. To do this would have required that the Greek people be ready to take over industry and agriculture themselves, and toss out the capitalists. This goes beyond the capabilities of politicians, even socialist ones. Syriza had no choice and their election to power was an empty victory.

Many on the left will no doubt agree that Sanders can lead us nowhere, but will insist on voting for him anyway. What can it hurt?

Admittedly the act of voting itself will not hurt. An extra few minutes out of the day, does not really hurt. It could be seen as a protest vote, like voting for Mickey Mouse. The real problem is the many who will spend inordinate amounts of time and money on the Sanders campaign that could better be used to build unions and grass-roots movements that could make a real difference. The choice is yours.

ASR 66

asr 66 coverASR 66 (Winter 2016)

3. Editorial: The Bernie Sanders Illusion

3. OBITUARY: Federico Arcos

4. Wobbles: Vulture Capitalists, Economic “Boom,” Killing Your Own Job, Jailed for Poverty, Profiteering Off Pensions…

6. Syndicalist News: Union-busting in Kyrgyzstan, Polish Nurses Strike, U.S. Job Deaths Rise, Repression in Iran, Paperworkers Build Global Links, Autoworkers Fight Two-Tier, Polish & German Amazon Workers Coordinate Struggles, CNT Strike…  compiled by Mike Hargis

9. Articles: Ready to Fight: Developing 21st Century Community Syndicalism  by Shane Burley

15. Imperial Wars &  Their Losers: A Critique of ‘Labor Aristocracy’ Theories by Lucien van der Walt

16. The “Sharing” Economy  by Jon Bekken

17. The Attempted Rehabilitation of the Communist Party by Wayne Price

21. Poor Adam Smith  by Iain McKay

23. Proudhon, Property & Possession  by Iain McKay

26. Regarding Louis Blanc – The Present Utility and Future Possibility of the State by P. J. Proudhon; translated by Shawn P.  Wilbur

29. Anarchists in the Russian Labor Movement: 1900 – 1930 by Anatoly Viktorovich Dubovik, translated by Malcolm Archibald

32. REVIEWS: The Realities of Self-Managementreview by Jeff Stein

34. Anarchists & the French-Algerian War  review by Wayne Price

35. Joe Hill’s Living Legacy review by Jon Bekken

35. The “Progressives” and Labor Reform  review by Dylan B.

38. Germany’s “Wild Socialism” review by Jon Bekken

39. Reclaiming the Commons  review by Jon Bekken

39. Letter: Like A Bag Over Our Heads by Kenneth Miller