Filed under: Analysis, Anarchist Movement, Featured, War
A look at autonomous anti-war struggles and interventions in the recent past and how they could inform a struggle against the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
With a ground war between Russia and Ukraine now playing out in real time, anti-authoritarians in the U.S. will have to decide what is the best form of participation to take within a broader
A recent analogous comparison to this potential anti-war movement are the actions which took place in 2019 under the banner of #riseup4rojava. In this case, anti-
HAPPENING NOW: Protesters are blockading Norfolk Southern freight lines by Whittier Mill Park in Atlanta, in solidarity with the people of Rojava.
Get there & show support if you can!#Riseup4Rojava #DefendRojava pic.twitter.com/FucWXWOr0X
— Rise Up for Rojava – Atlanta (@Rise4rojavaATL) November 3, 2019
One aspect to any possible anti-war movement regarding Ukraine and Russia that will not be analogous to #riseup4rojava is that there will certainty be the presence of authoritarian communists, some of whom will be members of various
Nick Fuentes– "the US government has become the Great Satan that many have called it", borrowing a phrase from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. He then suggests that comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler is "a good thing", before nervously laughing "I shouldn't have said that" pic.twitter.com/Ub0EbFTWIb
— Ben Lorber (@BenLorber8) February 26, 2022
Tankies and fascists were both present in the January 2020 protests against a possible war between the U.S. and Iran. While on the surface, many American fascists present themselves as paleoconservatives with an isolationist foreign policy
With former #ProudBoy leader Augustus Invictus back in jail on domestic violence charges, we think it's a good time to release this clip of him + Richard Spencer attacking "libertarian" ideas + discussing their ambitions for a global white supremacist order born out of conquest. pic.twitter.com/kUxbn2eRPG
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) April 21, 2020
Members of the Ukra
Dealing with Fascists and Tankies
The fascists should be given no space to operate within any anti-war movement. An excellent flyer for dealing with fascists present at anti-war protests was made by Atlanta Antifascists during the no war with Iran protests
We made a "What to do you if Nazis show up at your anti-war demonstration" informational flyer.
We use the (fascist) Patriot Front flyers at the anti-war demo in Little Five Points on Sat. as a starting point, but much of the advice could be applied elsewhere.#NoNazis #gapol pic.twitter.com/2WLo8BOOOX
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) January 9, 2020
Tankies will attempt to use their front groups, such as ANSWER, to call for anti-war rallies and protests. These will probably only be attended by people in or adjacent to the existing activist Left. Those within the ethnic Ukrainian community and other eastern Europeans will almost certainly not attend these protests or leave in disgust due to the Tankies allegiance to Russia and for use of communist imagery. There is little likelihood these protests will be a space for direct action or fierce protests.
Best Forms of Participation
Anti-authoritarians should seek to work with and mobilize alongside the wider Ukrainian community. This strategy worked and was useful during #riseup4rojava (2). This will allow us to build lasting relationships and also build capacity for numbers on the streets.
Group of veterans protesting in solidarity with #Rojava at SFO in #SanFrancisco. People have protested Turkish Airlines across the world in an effort to bring attention to and stop the Turkish invasion of the autonomous region. #VeteransforRojava pic.twitter.com/quRIUkfGYc
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) October 12, 2019
We should however not expect a huge mass movement immediately to be the form that an anti-war movement takes. Anti-authoritarians are often unable to consciously start mass movements but we can participate in them when they occur. Based on the amount of energy and participants there have been in anti-war demonstrations after the invasion of Iraq, we should not expect crowds numbering in the thousands unless the U.S. committed to or made moves towards significant numbers of troops on the ground in Ukraine.
Rallies only consisting of speeches filled with platitudes, marching in circles, and chanting outside of empty buildings is not a winning strategy. We should leave these symbolic protests that only leave people feeling disempowered to the Tankies and NGO’s. We need to push for direct action, blockades, and fierce demonstrations.
Mass actions continue across North America in solidarity with #Palestine, where today saw the launch of a general strike. Tens of thousands have been taking to the streets in #NewYork over the last few days. See our roundup of recent actions here: https://t.co/7GLAHLSh89 https://t.co/uAJozn1NW4
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) May 18, 2021
In 2021, mass protests against Israeli state aggression towards Palestinians swept the world (9). While the vast majority of actions consisted of symbolic protests, in Ontario, hundreds of people blockaded railroad tracks for several hours (10) and in Oakland and in other cities, people blockaded the unloading of Israeli goods at key ports.
The actions undertaken in solidarity with the Rojavan revolution over the past few years offer us examples of what is possible even if thousands aren’t on the streets, as do actions in solidarity with Palestinians show us what can be done in the midst of a mass movement dominated by largely scripted demonstrations. If we are willing to reach out to other communities in struggle and build real relationships, we can continue to organize and carry out actions that have a real impact on the war machine, while also mobilizing to support refugees, ejecting authoritarians of all stripes from movement spaces, and promoting a liberatory perspective on the unfolding conflict. Lastly, if a mass movement does arise against the war, we must participate and push the struggle to its limits.
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) October 12, 2019
Hopefully war will be avoided and this text will only be useful as a proposal for future anti-war endeavors. As the 21st Century unfolds, nation states and the goons that control them will seek to use war as a means to ‘stabilize’ their domestic populations, while capitalists will be all too happy to reap the profits from being merchants of death. Anti-authoritarians will have to play a role in stopping these sort of conflicts while simultaneously pushing for new horizons with liberatory potential.