Anarchist perspectives: Ukraine as “an island of freedom”

7 03 2022

Since UKR-TAZ was partly inspired by the idea of a “Temporary Autonomous Zone,” which comes from anarcho-surrealist writer Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson), and since anarchism has some history in Ukrainian political thought, identified especially with early twentieth century revolutionary Nestor Makhno, it’s fair for me to share an anarchist perspective on the current situation in Ukraine.

War and Anarchists: Anti-Authoritarian Perspectives in Ukraine,” written in February by an anonymous collective of Ukrainian anti-authoritarian leftists (and published by the autonomists at Crimethinc), provides a detailed history of anarchist theory and practice in Ukraine’s last decade. The following paragraph summarizes the authors’ position on the current resistance to Russian invasion and occupation:

Anarchists in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia mostly support Ukrainian independence directly or implicitly. This is because, even with all the national hysteria, corruption, and a large number of Nazis, compared to Russia and the countries controlled by it, Ukraine looks like an island of freedom. This country retains such “unique phenomena” in the post-Soviet region as the replaceability of the president, a parliament that has more than nominal power, and the right to peaceful assembly; in some cases, factoring in additional attention from society, the courts sometimes even function according to their professed protocol. To say that this is preferable to the situation in Russia is not to say anything new. As Bakunin wrote, “We are firmly convinced that the most imperfect republic is a thousand times better than the most enlightened monarchy.”

[. . .]

Is it worth it to fight the Russian troops in the case of an invasion? We believe that the answer is yes. The options that Ukrainian anarchists are considering at the present moment include joining the armed forces of Ukraine, engaging in territorial defense, partisanship, and volunteering.

Ukraine is now at the forefront of the struggle against Russian imperialism.



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