Solidarity collectives, Ukraine

Intro, Oekraine en solidarity collectives

Hey allemaal, deze aflevering is een gesprek met Mira en Malina van Solidarity Collectives. Omdat zij geen Nederlands spreken is deze aflevering en de rest van deze beschrijving in het Engels. Qua inhoud sluit deze aflevering mooi aan op die over Wapenhandel, die vind je hier. Veel plezier met de aflevering!

This month, Onderstroom is in English again, as we had the opportunity to interview Mira and Malina from Solidarity Collectives. This was recorded in late november, just after the chock-full Anarchist Bookfair of Amsterdam.

Content of the episode

In this episode, Alex , Mira and Malina talk about the war in Ukraine. They begin by introducing themselves and some of the political work they did before the war.

Next, they give a short outline of the timeline of the war in Ukraine and the current situation.

Then, we more on to the Solidarity Collectives themselves, and the antiauthoritarian fighters they support. Who are they, where do they come from, why do they fight, and more.

After that, the episode pivots to Russia, its influence in the region, and political dissent inside Russia and Belarus. Mira and Malina show how connected their struggle and the Solidarity Collectives itself, is to political struggle within these countries itself.

Solidarity Collectives tries to support antiauthoritarian fighters in Ukraine, but also workers and others, and for this it is dependent on donations and support from elsewhere. The level of support given varies per area, and not everyone on the left or within anarchism agrees with this groups’ approach.
In the next section we talk about the different reception given to these groups in different countries. Many people are very supportive, but we also dive into some of the frustrations experienced when others pretend that Anarchists defending themselves in Ukraine is somehow pro-NATO, pro-fascist, pro-militarist, nationalist, or in other ways not anarchist/leftist/revolutionary. They also describe the patronising attitude where people from other countries claim the fighters in Ukraine are too close to the issue to have their own analysis. Here, there is a similarity with an analysis of the situation that only acknowledges the agency of NATO, but not that of Russia when it comes to aggresion in the region.
In connection to this point, we talk about the Far right in Ukraine (and elsewhere).

We hope you enjoy the episode, at the bottom of this page are links to various videos and sources for further reading and action!

Notes, disclaimers and more

This episode deals with some themes that are sadly contested within our movements. What’s worse is that this contestation at times has a quite nasty character, like at St Imier, when a group disturbed a moment of silence for revolutionaries who died in Ukraine and harassed the Solidary Collectives and ABC Kiev/Belarus stand endlessly thoughout the event.

Not everyone agrees with each other’s tactics, but a basic premise within our movements should be that we have faith and confidence in comrades who are active on the ground, and try to hear and understand their arguments.

Those who oppose the powergrab from militaries and arms traders following this conflict, are in a tricky position when it relates to their messaging, because their voice is so marginal in the mainstream, that they need to show themselves as different from both the various strains of pro-russian narratives, and from the liberal-nationalistic narrative where NATO and it’s suppliers are defending us, a narrative that urges us to a sort of nationalistic, defensive fervour in favour of the military-industrial complex.
Antiauthoritarian fighters in Ukraine are caught in a similar position. Between western anti-militarists who try to stop endless arms proliferation and increasing political repression in the west, and the witless tankies who identify them with the far right groups also active in the militaries. Making the estimation that a Russia occupied Ukraine would be a disaster, and the death end of a life-or-death situation, does not make you a nationalist of pro NATO. It does not mean they are in favour the privatisation being forced of Ukraine, or the other prices it has to pay for the arms supplied, it does not mean they support the anti-union actions from the Ukrainian government, nor does it mean they do not see these problems.

But these two groups do not need to be in conflict with eachother. There is a well-established tradtition of revolutionaries participating in national-liberation struggles, despite being anti-nationalist themselves. The pervasiveness of nationalism is such that the term contaminates the very name of these struggles of liberation, sometimes to the point where even some comrades in the west can no longer see the difference and conflate being against nationalism as being against liberation. Still these struggles are often relevant for revolutionaries, it is often a matter of life and death for them, against immmense oppression. But beyond that, it is an arena where they can operate and attract others, where their movement earns it’s stripes and positions itself to move forward, able to show that it fought for people around them.



Solidarity Collectives website, instagram, introduction video

Video with Dmitry Petrov, on why he fights in Ukraine

Wikipedia on the kidnappings in Russia-held territories

Alerta! Stop Russian Propaganda. Telegram channel. Instagram