Authority and Sexuality


Getting back to the installments from the “Anarchist Current,” the Afterword to Volume Three of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, in this section I discuss anarchist ideas connecting sexual repression with authoritarianism.

Authority and Sexuality

Anarchists who sought to understand the popular appeal of fascism turned to the work of the dissident Marxist psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich was unpopular in Marxist circles, having described Soviet Communism as “red fascism,” which resulted in his expulsion from the Communist Party. In his book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Reich discussed the role of the patriarchal nuclear family, legal marriage, enforced monogamy, religion and sexual repression in creating an authoritarian character structure (Volume One, Selection 119).

Reich’s work was similar to the earlier psychoanalytic anarchist critique of Otto Gross (1877-1920), who argued on the eve of the First World War, echoing Max Stirner, that previous revolutions “collapsed because the revolutionary of yesterday carried authority within himself.” Gross believed that “the root of all authority lies in the family,” and that “the combination of sexuality and authority, as it shows itself in the patriarchal family still prevailing today, claps every individuality in chains” (Volume One, Selection 78). Although he put greater emphasis than Reich on the “inner conflict” between “that which belongs to oneself” and the “authority that has penetrated into our own innermost self,” Gross also called for the sexual liberation of women and for a struggle “against the father and patriarchy” (Volume One, Selection 78).

The Japanese anarchist feminist, Takamure Itsue (1894-1964), argued that the ruling class viewed sexual fulfillment “as a mere extravagance for everyone except themselves” and “babies as eggs for their industrial machines… to be chained up within the confinement of the marriage system,” with the burdens of pregnancy, child birth and child rearing being imposed on women. She acknowledged the changes in sexual relations arising from the development of birth control, which potentially gave women more control over their lives, but as with Carmen Lareva and He Zhen before her, warned against mere “promiscuity.” For her, “genuine anarchist love” was based on mutual respect, such that those who seek it can “never be satisfied with recreational sex” (Volume One, Selection 109). The liberalization of marriage laws and the legalization of birth control were not enough, for men would continue to view women as sex objects and deny responsibility for child care.

In Spain, Félix Martí Ibáñez argued that sexual revolution, because it involves the transformation of individual attitudes and relationships, can neither be imposed from above nor completely suppressed by the ruling authorities. The sexual revolution must begin now, “by means of the book, the word, the conference and personal example.” Only then will people be able to “create and forge that sexual culture which is the key to liberation” (Volume One, Selection 121). That this would be no easy task was highlighted by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, one of the founders of the Mujeres Libres anarchist women’s group in Spain. She criticized those anarchist men who used notions of sexual liberation as a pretext for looking “upon every woman who passes their way as a target for their appetites” (Volume One, Selection 123). Such conduct either results in the reduction of women to “a plaything of masculine whims,” or alienates them from participation in the anarchist movement.

Some anarchists felt that Reich’s analysis overemphasized the role of sexual repression in the rise of fascism. A Spanish article suggested that a “completely healthy and well-balanced individual in terms of his sexual life may be a long way off from being a perfect socialist and a convinced revolutionary fighter,” for “an individual free of bourgeois sexual prejudice may lack all sense of human solidarity” (Volume One, Selection 119).

Others were more enthusiastic. Marie Louise Berneri (1918-1949) endorsed Reich’s argument that the “fear of pleasurable excitation” caused by conventional morality and the legally mandated patriarchal family “is the soil on which the individual re-creates the life-negating ideologies which are the basis of dictatorship.” She also drew on the work of the anthropologist, Bronislaw Malinowski, whose studies indicated that in those societies where people’s sex lives are “allowed to develop naturally, freely and unhampered through every stage of life, with full satisfaction” there are “no sexual perversions, no functional psychoses, no psychoneuroses, no sex murder,” in marked contrast to societies based on the “patriarchal authoritarian family organization.” Berneri accepted Reich’s claim that when his patients “were restored to a healthy sex-life, their whole character altered, their submissiveness disappeared, they revolted against an absurd moral code, against the teachings of the Church, against the monotony and uselessness of their work” (Volume Two, Selection 75). In other words, they became social revolutionaries.

Paul Goodman drew the connection between the repression of homosexual impulses among adolescent males and the war machine. These “boys” are made to feel “ashamed of their acts; their pleasures are suppressed and in their stead appear fistfights and violence.” In the army, “this violent homosexuality, so near the surface but always repressed and thereby gathering tension, turns into a violent sadism against the enemy: it is all knives and guns and bayonets, and raining bombs on towns, and driving one’s lust in the guise of anger to fuck the Japs” (Volume Two, Selection 11).

The libertarian communist, Daniel Guérin (1904-1988), wrote that “patriarchal society, resting on the dual authority of the man over the woman and of the father over the children, accords primacy to the attributes and modes of behaviour associated with virility. Homosexuality is persecuted to the extent that it undermines this construction. The disdain of which woman is the object in patriarchal societies is not without correlation with the shame attached to the homosexual act.” While Guérin urged people “to pursue simultaneously both the social revolution and the sexual revolution, until human beings are liberated completely from the two crushing burdens of capitalism and puritanism,” he agreed with Emma Goldman, Martí Ibáñez, and Paul Goodman that the process of sexual liberation must begin now, not after the revolution. Yet, as with Goodman, he also recognized that the gay liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s “created a whole generation of ‘gay’ young men, profoundly apolitical… a million miles from any conception of class struggle,” casting doubt on the Reichian view that sexual liberation leads to social revolution (Volume Two, Selection 76).

Alex Comfort (1920-2000), who was also a pioneer of sexual liberation, suggested that part of the appeal of fascism lay in people’s consciousness of their own mortality and fear of death. Since “to admit that I am an individual I must also admit that I shall cease to exist,” people take refuge in the belief in “an immortal, invisible and only wise society, which can exact responsibilities and demand allegiances… Each sincere citizen feels responsibility to society in the abstract, and none to the people he kills… Fascism is a refuge from Death in death.” (Volume Two, Selection 20).

Robert Graham


Fascism: The Preventive Counter-Revolution

The Fascist Counter-Revolution

The Fascist Counter-Revolution

Returning to my installments from the “Anarchist Current,” the Afterword to Volume Three of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, in this section I discuss anarchist responses to and analyses of fascism. Despite common misconceptions in “ultra-leftist” circles, the anarchists did not fail to develop a response to fascism, nor to set forth a critical analysis of the spread of fascism in Europe. In fact, one of the first and best analyses of fascism, Fascism: The Preventive Counter-Revolution, was written by the Italian anarchist, Luigi Fabbri, in 1921-1922,  just as the Fascists were seizing power in Italy. Not being tied to a Marxist theory of historical materialism, which had difficulty explaining the appeal of fascism to many workers, anarchists drew on the emerging ideas of radical psychoanalysis to help explain the popularity of fascism, while keeping fascism’s counter-revolutionary role in the service of capitalism at the forefront of their analysis. Most of the material cited in this section can be found in Volume One of the Anarchism anthology.

Luigi Fabbri Memorial Plaque

Luigi Fabbri Memorial Plaque

Fascism: The Preventive Counter-Revolution

Those anarchists who were not seduced by the seeming “success” of the Bolsheviks in Russia were faced with an equally formidable opponent in the various fascist movements that arose in the aftermath of the First World War. As with the Communists, the Fascists championed centralized command and technology, and did not hesitate to use the most brutal methods to suppress and annihilate their opponents. One of the first and most perceptive critics of fascism was the Italian anarchist, Luigi Fabbri (1877-1935), who aptly described it as “the preventive counter-revolution.” For him, fascism constituted “a sort of militia and rallying point” for the “conservative forces in society,” “the organization and agent of the violent armed defence of the ruling class against the proletariat.” Fascism arose from the militarization of European societies during the First World War, which the ruling classes had hoped would decapitate “a working class that had become overly strong, [by] defusing popular resistance through blood-letting on a vast scale” (Volume One, Selection 113).

Fascism put the lie to the notion of a “democratic” state, with the Italian judiciary, police and military turning a blind eye to fascist violence while prosecuting and imprisoning those who sought to defend themselves against it. Consequently, Fabbri regarded a narrow “anti-fascist” approach as being completely inadequate. Seeing the fascists as the only enemy “would be like stripping the branches from a poisonous tree while leaving the trunk intact… The fight against fascism can only be waged effectively if it is struck through the political and economic institutions of which it is an outgrowth and from which it draws sustenance,” namely “capitalism and the state.” While “capitalism uses fascism to blackmail the state, the state itself uses fascism to blackmail the proletariat,” dangling fascism “over the heads of the working classes” like “some sword of Damocles,” leaving the working class “forever fearful of its rights being violated by some unforeseen and arbitrary violence” (Volume One, Selection 113).

The anarchist pacifist Bart de Ligt regarded fascism as “a politico-economic state where the ruling class of each country behaves towards its own people as for several centuries it has behaved to the colonial peoples under its heel,” an inverted imperialism “turned against its own people.” Yet fascism was not based on violence alone and enjoyed popular support. As de Ligt noted, fascism “takes advantage of the people’s increasing misery to seduce them by a new Messianism: belief in the Strong Man, the Duce, the Führer” (Volume One, Selection 120).

The veteran anarcho-syndicalist, Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958), argued that fascism was the combined result of the capitalists’ urge to dominate workers, nations and the natural world, the anonymity and powerlessness of “mass man,” the development of modern mass technology and production techniques, mass propaganda and the substitution of bureaucratic state control over every aspect of social life for personal responsibility and communal self-regulation, resulting in the dissolution of “society into its separate parts” and their incorporation “as lifeless accessories into the gears of the political machine.” The reduction of the individual to a mere cog in the machine, together with the constant “tutelage of our acting and thinking,” make us “weak and irresponsible,” Rocker wrote, “hence, the continued cry for the strong man who is to put an end to our distress” (Volume One, Selection 121). Drawing on Freud, Herbert Read argued that it is the “obsessive fear of the father which is the psychological basis of tyranny” and “at the same time the weakness of which the tyrant takes advantage” (Volume One, Selection 130).

Rocker Nationalism and Culture

The Triumph of the Irrational

Rocker noted how in Germany fascism had assumed a brutally racist character, with German capitalists citing Nazi doctrines of racial superiority to justify their own domination and to dismiss human equality, and therefore socialism, as biological impossibilities. Writing in 1937, Rocker foresaw the genocidal atrocities which were to follow, citing this comment by the Nazi ideologue, Ernst Mann: “Suicide is the one heroic deed available to invalids and weaklings” (Volume One, Selection 121).

The Italian anarchist, Camillo Berneri (1897-1937), described fascism as “the triumph of the irrational.” He documented and dissected the noxious racial doctrines of the Nazis, which, on the one hand, portrayed the “Aryan” and “Nordic” German people as a superior race, but then, in order to justify rule by an elite, had to argue that the “ruling strata” were of purer blood (Berneri, 1935). As Rocker observed, “every class that has thus far attained to power has felt the need of stamping their rulership with the mark of the unalterable and predestined.” The idea that the ruling class is a “special breed,” Rocker pointed out, originated among the Spanish nobility, whose “blue blood” was supposed to distinguish them from those they ruled (Volume One, Selection 121). It was in Spain that the conflict between the “blue bloods,” capitalists and fascists, on the one hand, and the anarchists, socialists and republicans, on the other, was to reach a bloody crescendo when revolution and civil war broke out there in July 1936.

The CNT fights fascism in Spain

The CNT fights fascism in Spain

Russian Anarchism Today

Autonomous Action

Autonomous Action

Recently, I posted an analysis of the situation in Ukraine by the Russian anarchist group, Autonomous Action. Here I present a statement of principles by Autonomous Action, to give a flavour of contemporary anarchist movements in Russia. I included material from Russian anarchists in all three volumes of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas.

autonomous action banner2


Autonomous Action – it is a community of people, for whom “freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice, and Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality” [Bakunin]. We consider that the most important things in life are not the consumption of goods, making a career, reaching positions of power and making money, but creativity, real human relations and personal liberty. All of us, be it workers and the unemployed people, students and pupils, employees and marginal elements, have one common unifying element – to protest against any power of a man over another man, state, capitalism and officially spread bourgeois “culture”. A desire not to be a willful nut in the mechanism of the System – to collectively resist it, to demand free self-realization.


Autonomous Action against any form of domination and discrimination, both within the society and in our own organization. The current system of domination is tightly interlaced with a repressive state apparatus, industrial capitalist economical structure and authoritarian and hierarchic relations between people. We see that every state is an instrument of oppression and exploitation of the working majority for the benefit of the privileged minority. Power of state and capital is suppression of personality and creativity of each and everyone. This is why for us libertarian (free, stateless, self-governed) communism, a society without domination, is the necessary structure of society. The closest aim of Autonomous Action is to create a tradition and basis for a new humanist culture, social self-organization and radical resistance against militarism, capitalism, sexism and fascism.


Our goals may be reached only when aims and means meet. This is why our organization has a federative structure, which excludes leadership and hierarchy, denies inequality of the participators, centralism, strict division of functions, which ruin initiative, destroy autonomy and suppress personality. Our ideals and organizational principles are wide enough not to make us a sect, and concrete enough to allow co-ordination of actions, common tactics and aims and successful decision about tasks we engage in. Our structure,conditions of membership and mechanism of decision-making are defined in detail in the organizational principles of Autonomous Action.


Members of Autonomous Action support direct action. In order to reach our goals, we do not participate in the fight for power, for a seat in parliament or for arm-chairs of state officials. We realise our goals in direct order, by a wide spectrum of non- parliamentary and cultural action, if necessary revolutionary by form and content. Autonomous Action is a common front, subdivisions of which, each in their own directions, realise an attack against repressive relations in different social movements, in all spheres of social and individual life – at the same time building new relations, without domination and submission. Autonomous Action recognises the right of society and individuals to defend themselves and to resist against exploitation.


We recognise a multitude of ways to reach our goals. The way might be one of revolutionary insurrection self-organised by the working masses, a general strike or a more or less gradual disappearance of the institutions of power and capital in favour of self-governing structures of alternative civil society, and so on. Life itself will define, which of the methods will be most effective and timely. But a society without domination may never be reached through reforms and legislative acts of parliaments and governments, initiatives of inter-state and corporate structures, representatives of the privileged and the ruling class. Our strategy is REVOLUTIONARY in the sense that it comes from below, from the very bottom structures of the society, and does not operate with the mechanisms and resources of the system; in the sense, that it does not demand partial changes in the system, but its destruction and change as a whole.


Centralised bureaucratic machine, national and global capital and the consumerist mass culture which they have given rise to, that is the system suPpressing us, and it’s not only immoral and unjust, but it also leads the present human society to an ecological and cultural catastrophe and to war. Sharp change of direction has become an urgent necessity today. This is why we propose a radical alternative to existing order of things, based on humanism, liberty and equality. Our goal is not to “set up a divine kingdom on Earth”, but only to open a road to real social development. In such a society some of the present problems may remain, and some new may appear, but it will in any case be more equal, human and free than the present one, and in certain circumstances, becomes almost the only alternative to approaching catastrophe. Simultaneously, our alternative is not only a goal of the distant future, for which we are fighting for, but a society which we are creating here and now through everyday resistance. This alternative is fixed by the following ideals and directions of our activity, which every participator of Autonomous Action expresses according to his will, whereas her or his actions comply with goals of Autonomous Action and do not contradict the ideas of this manifesto.

autonomous action march



Against every form of dictatorship, leadership, authoritarism, centralised bureaucratical apparatus, police excesses. For right to participate in making decision on any question influencing our destiny. For minimisation of vertical and maximisation of horizontal relations inside the society. For decentralisation of the governance, local autonomy, direct grassroots democracy and federalism. For free federation of self-governed, but interconnected individuals, groups, communes, regions where organs of the co-ordination, when they are necessary, are independent councils or other institutions of social self-governance, formed by assemblies not according to principle of presentation, but according to principle of delegation and imperative mandate – with the right to immediate recall delegates. FOR COMPLETE LIBERATION OF EACH AND EVERYONE! YOUR FREEDOM IS SENSELESS WITHOUT FREEDOM OF THE OTHERS!


Human race, undivided in its natural state, has become divided between masters and powerless exploited majority. We stand for liquidation of the class society, wage work, humiliation and exploitation of human by another and imperialism, and for elimination of power of money and products. Against the dependence of human from the nature of “market relations”. Products should not govern people, in contrary people should use products sensibly and cautiously. Society should get over the catastrophical logic of the bourgeois production. Against growing power of transnational corporations and international structures of the capital. For workers’ governance and control in production. The wealth and resources of society should be accessible to everyone, not only to the governing elite. For people’s self-governance without capitalists and bureaucrats. Organisation and integration of the production should be made according to the principle: from everyone according to their capacities, to everyone according to their needs – taking into account transformation in the structure of needs themselves, and keeping in mind the production limits given by the society and saving the equilibrium and diversity of nature. Capitalism, as a system of all out war, profiting and humiliation has only one historical perspective – death of humanity and planetwide ecological catastrophe. And in the best case, immersion to gulf of “civilised” barbarism. Capitalism may not be reformed.


Fascism, racism and nationalism are means of bourgeoisie and bureaucracy to provoke people against each other, and to divide them to different races and nations, to hide mastership. To create profits and maintain power of bourgeoisie and bureaucracy over the society. We are internationalists. Only organising workers in international scale may not only challenge power and capital and reactionary political tendencies, but also to give them a decisive death blow. World should be multi-coloured, not brown! For a world without borders and national states, one in it’s multitude of cultures and traditions. For a world with multitude of personalities, collectives, communities and regions, no to a downcast world of national and religious hatred, racial prejudices, chauvinism, xenophobia, unified and closed “national culture”. For protection of national and cultural minorities against discrimination and fascist terror. For radical counter-attack against neo-nazis and national-patriotist ideologists and organisations. For foundation of anti-fascist shock troops to physically confront fascists.


Negative experience of “real socialism” in countries like USSR, China, Cuba etc. does not in any case discredit ideas of libertarian communism. It is not possible to create free society and solidarity through authoritarian party structure seizing the state power, with dictatorship of any party apparatus or self-appointed “avant-garde”. Against Bolshevik principles of the organisation. For organisational structure, based on libertarian principles of mutual respect, equality and solidarity. Organisational structure should be image of things to come in the society, foundation of which we are trying to reach. We see, that regimes in so called “socialist states” were nothing but rude form of global tendency towards state-capitalism, a system in which bourgeois economical relations, wage labour as well as psychology remain. The only difference was that capitalist was one and collective – the governing party elite. Only difference between “socialist” and “western” capitalism was the form of capitalist accumulation. Libertarian experience of the Makhnovist movement, Spanish revolution, Tolstoyanism, independent labour movement etc. showed with which zeal Bolsheviks try to root out any anti-authoritarian, really communist movement. We are against any ideal and organisational unity with Leninists (Stalinists, Maoists, trotskists etc.). For close co-operation with non-authoritarian socialists, anti-party left communists and libertarian Marxists.

autonomous action banner


Forms of self-governance may be a) means of production seized by the workers to become common property, functioning with libertarian model of organisation; b) libertarian communes; c) other institutions, founded on regional, functional and other principles.

Such forms of self-governance could be effective method to found the basis of social alternative to the present society.


Against state army as a system of violence, instrument of governance of ruling class and instrument of integration of young men to patriarchal, authoritarian and hierarchical systems of domination. Against forced conscription. We should not defend state and government, which only exist in order to humiliate us. Boycott military call-ups! Trash all draft cards! For an alternative of general armament of workers and people’s militias, without hazing, humiliation of human dignity and prison regime. For full control of the society over military specialists. PEACE TO THE WHOLE WORLD! FREE PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE TO DIVIDE IT!


Against non-sustainable exploitation of the nature for profit of the few. Against industrial system of organisation and power of the technocrats. For development from all directions and inculcation of the alternative technologies. For foundation of ecological settlements and harmonisation of the relation between human and the nature. For decentralised, humanist, balanced production for interests of the people, with protection of the environment for the future generations, with gradual abolition of the industrial technologies. Active support to social ecologists in their struggle, participation to ecological actions and campaigns. NOT MORE, BUT BETTER! NOT EXTERNAL, BUT INTERNAL! NOT TO OWN, BUT TO BE!


Against sexism – humiliation, violence and discrimination against women and men based on their sex. Against patriarchy – authoritarian structure of any class society, where mostly proprietor-men have power in all key spheres of the society, “female” is always subordinated to “male”, and family has a function of of reproduction and socialisation of the labour power. Against sexist stereotypes, family despotism, homophobia, porno industry and ageism (discrimination on the basis of the age). For active participation of the women to the life of the society, and possibility of individuals themselves to control their own bodies (and reproduction in special). Every human is equal and unique socially, sexually (in her/his gender) and age.


Against hypocrisy and repression of the official mass culture, commercialisation of the creativity, power of the show-business and “amusement industry”. Against manipulation of the conscience and behaviour of any kind and form. Against elitism of the culture and hierarchy of its institutions. Global support to any kind of uncommercial creativity, experimental art and pedagogic. For support of the initiative of people, who already now want to live according to unauthoritarian principles. This kind of initiatives are important not only for escape from the reality, but also to gather experience of free and sensible relations. For foundation of squats, housing collectives, artist communes, autonomous cultural and information spaces, organisation of mass festivals of alternative culture. CULTURE SHOULD NOT IMPOVERISH OUR LIFE. LIFE SHOULD BECOME BIGGER THAN IT IS!


We, without conditions, support full “freedom of spirit”, for every man’s free search of world outlook and faith. But we should do our best to resist, without using mechanism of rule, those ideological systems which bring hatred, xenophobia, nationalism in society and transfer individual to an authoritarian and dogmatic person. Many religious ideas are connected to such kind of systems. Even more resolutely we are against hierarchical church organisations, pyramidal and authoritarian structure of which may not serve interests of liberation of human individual. Such churches serve only one goal – fortifying human both physically and in spirit. One of the most serious and powerful churches of such kind in Russia is the Russian Orthodox Church, which already long time ago transformed into a powerful capitalist and bureaucratic corporation, receiving from the state both financial and ideological advantages. Against using needs of man for explanations about universe in the interests of business and power.


Do not wait, take action yourselves. Concentrate your efforts to any direction you desire and feel close to yourselves. Find adherents among your friends, work- or schoolmates. Start from little, main thing is that you have some real issues to organise, such as publication and distribution of papers, formation of worker’s unions, organisation of squats, communes, alternative information centres or participation to a strike, anti-fascist struggle, protest camp, meetings, pickets or rock-concerts. The main thing is to take action, not to be based on the state or bourgeoisie, to take action against them and independent from them. It is necessary to connect other groups and initiatives, maintain informational and organisational connections to adherents in the whole country and abroad. That brings you confidence and power. Send materials about your life and struggle to our paper “Avtonom”, which covers struggle in the whole libertarian sphere. BE COURAGEOUS! LIVE FULLY, FREELY AND STRONGLY! RESIST! REMEMBER, THAT A SMALL GROUP OF FIGHTERS MAY START AN AVALANCHE!


"Anarchy is Good"

“Anarchy is Good”

The Ukrainian Conflict: Against Kyiv and the Eastern Junta

AWU Protest in Ukraine

AWU Protest in Ukraine

As the situation in Ukraine goes from bad to worse, anarchists continue their struggle against the Kyiv regime and the pro-Russian separatists. Below I reproduce a recent statement by the Ukrainian anarchist Autonomous Workers Union.

As Ukraine slides towards civil war,the anarchist group Autonomous Workers Union appeals to the working class to reject both sides and instead to fight for their common class interests. —- There is a continuing confrontation on Ukraine’s territory between the groups of local and Russian ruling classes which play off the working people one against another and stir up enmity, bringing the country closer to a state of civil war. The events in Mariupol are the embodiment of this confrontation. Many people, the combatants and civilians, contract military staff and conscripts, as well as volunteers, have suffered on both sides of the conflict as a result of the “anti-terrorist operation” —- This is a critical situation for working people. The government treats all protesting Anti-Maidan people alike: soldiers don’t understand who they shoot at, and the ones who are being shot at don’t understand what they die for.

Both sides of the conflict manipulate their “foot soldiers” with a particular cynicism, and because of this working people fight for ideas that do not have anything in common with their material, class interests. Ukrainian military units and other armed groups fight for the senseless ideals of national-patriotism and “national unity”, while separatists fight for the creation of a new state and/or for joining Russia. In all cases the aim is the bourgeois national state with its bureaucrats, police, judges, prisons, capitalists and paupers.

Even now there are already dozens of victims and deaths as the consequence of the struggle between these two reactionary movements. Army incompetence, on the one side, and the combatants’ depravity, on another side, increase the losses significantly.

The highest ranks of Anti-Maidan movement are generally made up of military retirees, as well as senior police officials, wh0 are loyal to the previous regime. Therefore, the leadership of the “people’s republics” in the Eastern regions of Ukraine may indeed be styled as the junta – the dictatorship of the law enforcement and armed forces.

Fascist groups and criminals present in this movement make the overall character of junta deeply reactionary and radically contrary to the class interests of the working people in the Eastern regions.

Pro-Russian propaganda portrays separatist combatants as fighters of anti-fascist resistance. According to this propaganda, the “anti-terrorist operation” started by the Ukrainian government is nothing else but the attack of Ukrainian fascists from the “Right Sector”, whose role in these and many other events is disturbingly blown way out of proportion.

The “Right Sector” is a poorly coordinated coalition of several far-right organizations. Its social structure consists of far-right youth and criminal groups. The social structure of the “people’s republic’s” combatants is mainly similar: teenagers, gangsters and declassed elements. The popular appeal of the “Right Sector” in the present moment is very low (even lower than that of the totally discredited Communist Party of Ukraine); moreover, the “Right Sector” is in a state of an undercover war with Ukrainian government.

Owing to the constant PR from the pseudo-antifascist international community, the “Right Sector” acquires the dreadful image of a powerful organization which almost rules the Ukrainian state, which is obviously not true. But we are not trying to minimize the problem of fascist movements in Ukraine. AWU repeatedly emphasized the escalation of far-right violence, aimed particularly at leftists, as early as 2012, during Yanukovych’s regime. AWU activists were also attacked. One of our comrades was almost killed by the neo-nazis who had attacked him with knives. Also, the location of this year’s May Day march had to be moved due to the threat of clashes with the  far-right.



Resisting  fascist movements has been one of the primary tasks of the anarchist movement in Ukraine for a long time. Unlike many post-Stalinist “antifascists” in Western countries we know this problem firsthand and not from the Internet. And yet, we and our comrades managed to organize May Day anarchist marches with a social, anticapitalist and antinational agenda in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Zhytomyr.

Anarchists do not intend to give ground to the nazis and to the right-liberal government. It was the AWU that organized the radical left protest campaign against the “Bat’kivshyna” ruling party.

We are ready to continue the fight against the state, capital and the far-right who protect them. But this fight is a hundred times more difficult when the state, the church, police structures and fascist movements are united into one force. Such is the situation in Donbass, where the “army of Donetsk people’s republic” is headed by Igor Strelkov, the Russian undercover man and a great fan of the historical Tsarist White Guard movement; where the organizer of the referendum, the founder of the “Orthodox Donbass” movement, consults with the leader of the oldest post-Soviet neo-Nazi movement, legendary Aleksandr Barkashov; where activists of Anti-Maidan manifest their solidarity and respect for another icon of European fascists – Aleksandr Dugin; where co-chairman of the “Donetsk people’s republic government” Denis Pushilin openly regrets the revolution of 1917 that put end to tsarism and calls it a “bloody disaster”.

Social slogans did not fit into the manifestos and official documents of the separatists, while there are many phrases about class peace and the interests of “small business”. The criminal and fascist junta of the East at present organizes the tortures and abductions of trade union activists.

Nationalism is the deadly enemy of the working people. This is proved by the current events in Ukraine, when fascists on both sides help the ruling class to physically fight down the working people. The question is – how many victims and how much destruction are needed before the Ukrainian proletariat realizes it.

We demand from the Kyiv government to remove the troops from the cities immediately, and from the Eastern junta to stop terrorizing peaceful working people. Our own goal is to keep up the resistance at all fronts and to build revolutionary labour movement against all the odds.

We call on our fellow Ukrainian workers to line up behind our common class interests, among which are peace and solidarity, but not the senseless fight for keeping the territories or their separation. Class struggle does not have anything to do with the fight for redistribution of power. Whoever wins in the confrontation between the government and separatists – we will lose, that is why its boycott is our priority. Ignoring the government’s decisions, renouncing militarism, striking and building the revolutionary labour movement – such are our weapons against the war imposed upon us. We can count only on ourselves and the international solidarity from other left-radical organizations. If we don’t start to rise now we will face the most difficult times.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!
Workers of the world, unite!

Autonomous Workers Union (Ukraine)

Autonomous Workers Union (Ukraine)

Anarchism and the Ukrainian Civil War (2014)

Street scene from Odessa, May 2014

Street scene from Odessa, May 2014

Below I reproduce excerpts from an article by “Antti Rautiainen” of the Russian anarchist group, Autonomous Action, regarding Ukrainian anarchist responses to the current situation in Ukraine. The article was prompted by the fire at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2, 2014, the result of armed clashes between pro-Russian militia and right wing Ukrainian nationalists resulting in some 42 deaths. The full article can be found here. In Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, I included several excerpts regarding the anarchist movement during the Russian and Ukrainian civil wars of 1918-1921. Although the Ukrainian anarchist movement today is tiny by comparison, the difficulties facing it, and the people of Ukraine, are no less significant.

Civil War in Ukraine

War does not require personal hatred between people, geopolitical and economical reasons are good enough for that. And in the Ukraine, the geopolitical interests are far greater than in Yugoslavia. If you have an interest in flaring up ethnic hatred or war, a rather small ethnic rift is enough. A few abuses, murders, and kidnappings, and everyone will be ready for battle. This has succeeded now in Ukraine, just as it has succeeded in many other places.

At the moment, the Western «left» seems to be pretty much clueless in terms of the events taking place there. This is because the «left,» broadly speaking, is not a very useful concept in the former Soviet Union, as it can mean anything from social-democrats and anarchists, to stalinists supporting Putin. Personally, I prefer to always write the word in quotation marks. I identify with anarchists, not the «left,» since, for quite a while now anarchists have been the only political force in Russia which united the ethos of opposing racism, sexism and homophobia to the ethos of social equality. Until very recently, there had not been much of any Western «new left» in Russia, with the exception of a handful of Trotskyists.

A split within the «left» in Ukraine is completely predictable and even necessary. In Kharkiv the streetfighting, Stalinist organisation, «Borotba» (meaning Struggle), has been on the opposite side of the anarchists. In this region of the former Soviet Union, 99.9% of the «left» will always support imperialism for the sake of «being with the people.» It is about time that anarchists refuse the «left» label. We have nothing in common with these people.

But anarchists, too, can be easily manipulated with buzzwords such as «self-organisation» and «direct democracy.» For example, Boris Kagarlitsky, a Russian intellectual widely known amongst the Western «left» and a frequent guest of World Social Forums, has found favorable ground in the West by using these buzzwords.

Apparently, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchists could not foresee the developments which lead to the civil war. Maidan had only been discussed from the point of view that it could offer something better than the Yanukovich regime. It was not expected that Russia would react to a Maidan victory with a conscious escalation of the conflict, and which could eventually lead to civil war.

Whereas Russia is the major propaganda machine and arms provider in the conflict, Western countries are not doing much better, as they only acknowledge the interests of the new government in Kiev and present the movement in Eastern Ukraine as mere Russian puppets.The armed wing of the «federalists» are definitely Kremlin puppets, but if it were not for the widespread discontent and protests against the new regime in Kiev, this armed wing would not have emerged.

I do not believe that a civil war was the Kremlin’s aim. First of all, it wanted to destablize Ukraine to the maximum in order to have Kiev give up any attempts to gain back control over Crimea. Now the situation is out of the Kremlin’s control, and it may have to send regular troops to Ukraine in order to fulfill the promise of support it has given to the «federalists.»

The government in Kiev has given so many «final ultimatums», which were quickly forgotten, and has announced so many [nonexistent] «anti-terrorist operations,» that it is clear it has very few battle-ready troops. A few times, the central government troops have actually taken action and the results have been tragi-comic. Thus, the government understands that it’s still in question whether it would succeed in a full-scale civil war. However, it also understands that war can help discipline society and stabilize the new order to the extent that any promises given to Maidan would be forgotten. With time, both sides have come to understand that a full-scale war might be necessary for their interests, even if neither was initially planning for this.

Anarchist Black Cats in Ukraine

Anarchist Black Cats in Ukraine

Disagreements within the anarchist movement

Over the course of events, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchist movements have split into three different sides. A first group concentrated on producing internet-statements against both sides of the conflict. For them, keeping out of any social processes is a matter of principle, and they only want to monitor and assess. Participation in the social protest is not a goal for them, as they prefer to keep their hands clean. Since every process has input from either disgusting liberals, hated nationalists, awful stalinists, all three at the same time, or other undesirables, one can never fully participate in anything and the only alternative is to stay home and publish statements on the internet about how everything is going from bad to worse. However, most of the time these statements are just self-evident banalities.

A second group was made up of those who got excited about all the riot-porn and anti-police violence in Kiev, without considering who was carrying out this violence and in whose interests. Certain antifascists drifted as far as to defend the «national unity» in Maidan, and threatened particular Kiev anarchists due to their criticism of Maidan and refusal to participate. Most of the people in this camp are just fans of anti-police violence without any theoretical frame[work], but some want to give Maidan an imagined anti-authoritarian flavor, by equating the general meeting of Maidan («Veche») with the revolutionary councils established during 20th century revolutions. They base this claim on the social demands occasionally presented at Maidan, but these demands were always at the periphery of the Maidan agenda.

One of these peripheral demands was the proposal that oligarchs should pay a tenth of their income in taxes and was generally in tune with nationalistic populism. However, the demands of the Kiev Maidan were still far from returning the billions stolen by oligarchs back to society. In Vinnytsa and Zhitomir, there was an attempt to expropriate factories owned by German capital, but this was the only case going beyond the national-liberal context that I am familiar with.

In any case, the main problem at Maidan wasn’t the lack of a social agenda and direct democracy, but the fact that people did not even demand them. Even if everyone kept repeating that they did not want another «orange revolution» like in 2004, nor for Yulia Timoshenko to return, at the end of the day chocolate industrialist Poroshenko and Vitaly Klitchko are leading the polls. This was the choice the people made as they grew weary of the revolutionary path as proposed by the radical nationalists of the Right sector. As of now, people want to return to «life as usual,» to life before Yanukovich, and are not prepared to make the sacrifices that further revolutionary developments would demand. Representative democracy is indeed like a hydra, if you cut one head, two will grow in its place.

However, none of the fears of a «fascist takeover» have materialized. Fascists gained very little real power, and in Ukraine their historical role will now be that of stormtroopers for liberal reforms demanded by the IMF and the European Union — that is, pension cuts, an up to five times increase in consumer gas prices, and others. Fascism in Ukraine has a powerful tradition, but it has been incapable of proceeding with its own agenda in the revolutionary wave. It is highly likely that the Svoboda-party will completely discredit itself in front of its voters.

But anyone attempting to intervene, anarchists included, could have encountered the same fate — that is, to be sidelined after all the effort. During the protests, anarchists and the «left» were looking towards the Right sector with envy, but in the end all the visibility and notoriety, for which they paid dearly, was not enough to help the Right sector gain any real influence.

If Kiev anarchists would have picked the position of «neutral observers» after Yanukovich had shot demonstrators, it would have completely discredited them. If after being shot, the working class, or more exactly «the people,» that is, the working class along with the lower strata of the bourgeoisie, would have failed to overthrow Yanukovich, Ukrainian society would have fallen into a lethargic sleep such as the one Russian and Belarusian societies are experiencing. Obviously, after the massacre there was no choice left except to overthrow the power, no matter what would come in its place. Anarchists in Kiev were in no position to significantly influence the situation, but standing aside was no longer an option.

And thus, we come to the third, «centrist,» position taken by anarchists — between the brainless actionism and the «neutral» internet statements. The camp of realist anarchists understood, that even if the Maidan protests pretty much lacked a meaningful positive program, something had to be done or the future would be dire.

Russian Anarchist Street Fighter

Russian Anarchist Street Fighter

The limits of intervention

In Kiev, anarchists took part in a number of important initiatives during the revolutionary wave — first of all the occupation of the ministry of education, and the raid against the immigration bureau by the local No Borders group, which was looking for proof of illegal cooperation with security services of foreign countries. But the most successful anarchist intervention was the one in Kharkiv, where Maidan was relatively weak but also freer of nationalistic influence.

Still, such centrism has its own problems. For one, you might unintentionally help the wrong forces gain power, also discrediting radical protest. A second problem would be that you might end up fighting a fight which is not your own. When AntiMaidan attacked the Maidan in the city of Kharkiv, its imagined enemy was not the anarchists, but NATO, EU or Western-Ukrainian fascists. Since anarchists had joined Maidan, it would have been cowardly to desert once the fight started. Thus anarchists ended up fighting side by side with liberals and fascists. I do not want to criticize the Kharkiv anarchists, after all they made, perhaps, the most serious attempt among Ukrainian anarchists to influence the course of events, but this was hardly the fight, and these were hardly the allies, they wanted.

And so comes the point when desertion becomes imperative, and that is when civil war begins. As of now, it’s still too early to make any final assessment of the anarchist attempts to influence Maidan, but after the beginning of a civil war, Maidan will no longer play a role. From now on, assembly will gradually turn to the army, and assault rifles will replace Molotov cocktails. Military discipline will replace spontaneous organisation.

Some supporters of the Ukrainian organisation, Borotba (meaning Struggle), and the Russian Left Front claim that they are attempting to do the same things as the anarchists did at Maidan, that is, direct protest towards social demands. But AntiMaidan has no structures of direct democracy, not even distorted ones. It quickly adopted the model of hierarchical, militaristic organisations. The AntiMaidan leadership consists of former police and reserve officers. It does not attempt to exert influence through the masses, but with military power and weapons. This makes perfect sense, considering that according to a recent opinion poll, even in the most pro-«federalist» area of Lugansk, a mere 24% of the population is in favor of armed takeovers of government structures. That is, AntiMaidan cannot count on a victory through mass demonstrations.

Whereas at its essence Maidan was a middle-class liberal and nationalistic protest, supported by part of the bourgeoisie, AntiMaidan is purely counter-revolutionary in tendency. Of course, AntiMaidan has its own grassroots level. One could attempt to intervene, but an intervention by joining would mean supporting a Soviet, imperialist approach. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Borotba, the Russian Left Front and Boris Kagarlitsky have all joined this Soviet chauvinist camp. Intervening in Maidan made sense only as long as the enemy were Berkut police forces and paid thugs. When the opponents are misled AntiMaidan participants, it no longer makes sense to fight in the streets.

When looking at either side of the conflict one can see a dangerous tendency, which every anarchist and anti-authoritarian will face in the future: the recuperation of anti-authoritarian rhetoric and terminology for the purposes of hierarchical ideologies. On the one side, «autonomous nationalists» who have found sympathy amongst many anarchists, and on the other, intellectuals such as Boris Kagarlitsky. Both characterising warring factions with attributes such as «direct democracy» and «self-organisation.» In reality, these characteristics are either present in a distorted form or not at all. When two different flavors of nationalism are «self-organising» in order to maim and murder each other, there is nothing to celebrate. Subsequent to the events in Ukraine, it is clear that anarchists must explain the essential difference between «self-organisation» and self-organisation to the world.

According to the opinion poll referenced above, in Eastern Ukraine as a whole, only 12% of the population supports the «federalists’» armed actions, whereas the Kiev government is supported by some 30%. The remaining 58% supports neither, and in conditions of civil war, this is the majority on which we should count. We should encourage desertion and conflict avoidance. Under any other conditions, and if anarchists had more influence, we could form independent units against both warring factions.

Unarmed civilians have stopped bloodbaths in several places by moving in between the troops as human shields. If not for this kind of civil disobedience, a full-scale war would have been launched much earlier. We should support this movement, and attempt to direct it against both «federalist» and government troops simultaneously.

In case Russia reacts either by occupying parts of Eastern Ukraine or the country as a whole, we could take the example of anarchist partisans in World War II era France and Italy. Under such conditions, the main enemy is the occupying army, as it will antagonize the whole population very quickly. But it is also necessary to keep the maximum distance from the nationalistic elements of the resistance, as any alliance with them would hinder anarchists from realizing their own program in the framework of the resistance.

The events in Odessa are a tragedy, and it is possible that among those who died in the House of the Trade Unions were also people who played no part in flaring up the violence. People who threw molotov cocktails at the House should have understood the consequences. Even if the fire igniting was not solely due to them, it is not for lack of trying.

In case civil war spreads, these deaths are just the beginning. No doubt that on both sides the majority only wants a better life for their close ones and their motherland, and many hate governments and oligarchs to an equal extent. The more sincerely naïve people die, the greater the pressure to support one of the factions in the war, and we must struggle against this pressure.

Whereas it may occasionally be worth it to swallow tear gas or to feel the police baton for a bourgeois revolution, it makes no sense at all to die in a civil war between two equally bourgeois and nationalist sides. It would not be another Maidan but something completely different. No blood, anarchist or otherwise, should spill due to this stupidity.

Antti Rautiainen, May 2014

Autonomous Action

Autonomous Action

Statement of Ukrainian left and anarchist organizations about “Borotba”


The situation in Ukraine is perilous for both ordinary Ukrainians and anti-authoritarian and anarchist groups, with much of the protest movement being infiltrated by neo-fascists and neo-nazis, while the pro-Russian groups are in lock-step with Putin’s authoritarian politics, as he anoints himself leader of world “conservatism” while using anti-fascist rhetoric to justify the Russian annexation of Crimea, and threaten the invasion of the rest of Ukraine. One of the “anti-fascist left” groups supporting Putin is the “Borotba” party, from which genuine left revolutionary and anarchist groups have distanced themselves, as demonstrated in the following statement from the Autonomous Workers Union and the Independent Student Union “Direct Action” group.

Statement of Ukrainian left and anarchist organizations about “Borotba”

We, the collectives and members of Ukrainian leftist and anarchist organizations, announce that “Borotba” union is not a part of our movement. During the whole time of this political project’s existence, its members tended to be committed to the most discredited, conservative and authoritarian “leftist” regimes and ideologies, which do not represent the interests of working classes in any way. “Borotba” has proved itself an organization with a non-transparent funding mechanism and unscrupulous principles of cooperation. It uses hired workers, who are not even members of the organization. The local cells of “Borotba” took part in the protest actions together with PSPU (Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, which is an anti-Semitic, racist, and clerical party, and has no relation to the world socialist movement), and with Kharkiv pro-government, anti-Semitic and homophobic group “Oplot”; and are known for their linkage with an infamous journalist O.Chalenko, who openly stands for Russian chauvinism.

Recent events demonstrate that the leadership of this union, following the example of the “Communist” Party of Ukraine, have been overtly defending the interests of president Yanukovych, justifying the use of weapons by security forces and denying the acts of unjustified violence and cruelty on their part, the use of tortures and other forms of political terror. The representatives of “Borotba” take an extremely biased stance concerning the composition of protest movement, which is represented both on their own web resources and in the media commentaries. According to them, the Maidan protests are supported exclusively by nationalists and radical right, and were aimed only at a coup d’etat (“fascist putsch”).

We stand on antifascist positions, and our activists have often been victims of radical rightists’ attacks. We do not support some of the Maidan’s ideas, and are against the bourgeois opposition. We also condemn conservative, nationalist, and radical right sentiments, which are tolerated in the protesters’ circles nowadays. However, we emphasize that labeling all active citizens as “fascists” is not only false, but also dangerous. This one-sidedness is fueling chauvinist hysteria and divides society, which is only favourable for the ruling class.

On January 24th, the region council deputy and “Borotba” representative Oleksiy Albu participated in the protection of Odessa region administration building against “Nazis”, accompanied by Russian Cossacks and nationalists (“Slavic Unity”) and the members of ruling Party of Regions and Communist Party. In his later interview, he admitted his cooperation with the Security Service of Ukraine. On March 1st, “Borotba” activists together with pro-Putin organizations took part in the assault on Kharkiv region state administration, which resulted in raising of a Russian flag and severe beating of many Kharkiv Maidan activists, including a leftist poet Serhiy Zhadan. The members of “Borotba” call all of this “an antifascist action” and claim that these violent actions were aimed against radical rightists.

Therefore, we conclude that the leadership of “Borotba” union not only support the authoritarian Soviet past, but also consciously manipulate public opinion, and are acting as “pocket revolutionaries” of the ruling elites. Their activity at the moment does not have anything in common with leftist politics and class struggle, and is aimed at the support of pro-Putinist forces behind the mask of “antifascism” and “communism”. Thus, the actions of this organization are discrediting both its name (derived from “revolutionaries” — “borotbists” — of the beginning of the XXth century) and all the modern Ukrainian left in general. Moreover, “Borotba” does not disdain overt lies and fact manipulations, deceiving foreign leftists and antifascists.

We urge all the conscious revolutionaries, who are still the members of “Borotba”, to leave this treacherous, pro-bourgeois union and to cease all the political relations with its leadership. We also hope that European and Russian left will reconsider their attitude to “Borotba.” An organization of this kind should be isolated.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!
Workers of all countries – unite!

Autonomous Workers Union
Independent Student Union, “Direct Action”

Russian Anarchists

Russian Anarchists

Golden Dawn and the Fascist Counter-Revolution in Greece

Pavlos Fyssas

Pavlos Fyssas

In a recent post at, Leonidas Oikonomakis, a contributing editor of ROAR Magazine, a rapper with Social Waste, and a friend of Pavlos Fyssas, a.k.a Killah P, whose recent assassination by the Greek fascist party, Golden Dawn, sparked massive public protests, discusses the rise of Golden Dawn and its connections with the Greek police, army and security apparatus. In the excerpt below, Leonidas tries to answer the question, why have the Greek authorities turned a blind eye to Golden Dawn’s fascist violence? His comments remind me of something Luigi Fabbri said about the original fascists in Italy in his 1921 book, Fascism: The Preventive Counter-Revolution, excerpted in Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas:

Fascism “champions the same social interests, the same class privileges over which the state itself mounts guard. Fascism is an ally of the state, an irksome, demanding, inconvenient, embarrassing and insubordinate ally—all of these things—but an ally nonetheless… [a] sword of Damocles to dangle constantly over the heads of the working classes, so that the latter can never be fully at ease anywhere, even within the parameters of the law, and forever fearful of its rights being violated by some unforeseen and arbitrary violence.”

Greek Police Attacking Anti-Fascists

Greek Police Attacking Anti-Fascists

Turning a Blind Eye to Fascist Violence

If the Greek media and government knew about the murderous actions of Golden Dawn, why did they decide to turn a blind eye to it until today? I argue that there are basically three reasons:

First, let’s not forget that only two years earlier, with the process that was set in motion with the occupation of Syntagma and the other squares of Greece, Greek society was radicalized to an unprecedented extent, endangering the representative two-party political system as well as the neoliberal policies promoted by successive governments. In its place, the movement of the squares demanded autonomy, horizontality and direct democracy. Neighborhoods all over the country experienced this “dream” through numerous neighborhood assemblies, while a number of local and national movements put the neoliberal policies of the Troika and the Greek governments into question. Golden Dawn played the role of stopping and distracting this radical process and re-directing it towards the struggle against fascism, which became the number one priority for the Greek left over the past two years.

Second, Golden Dawn appeared on numerous occasions as the protector of the owners’ interests, at times — like in the case of the shipyard workers of Perama — directly and violently attacking the left-wing workers’ unions. With a rhetoric of protecting “Greek” investments as long as “our ship-owners” keep employing Greek workers instead of immigrants, they have terrorized the Greek Workers’ Unions and have, in their own way, helped safeguard the political and corporate elite and push forward their neoliberal agenda.

Third, Golden Dawn was there to terrorize all free voices that were being raised against the country’s neoliberal and fascist downslide. As former Golden Dawn members have said in their interviews, Pavlos Fyssas was a target for his antifascist songs. And it is true that in the past years there was a sentiment of fear all over the country when it came to criticizing Golden Dawn. I have to admit here that even in the case of my little hip-hop group and our upcoming album, which has a number of antifa songs in it, we were concerned that we might become a target of or face threats by Golden Dawn.

It seems that after the assassination of Pavlos, though, the Greek elite has decided that Golden Dawn is not useful to them anymore, and has abandoned its former ally. At the same time, while the main opposition party of the left (SYRIZA) appeared to be surpassing the ruling conservative party (Nea Dimokratia) in the polls, it seems that the latter has decided to abandon its plan of forming a coalition with Golden Dawn — which they have admitted they had been considering — and dissolve the party instead. In order, of course, that they may take the credit for cracking down on Nazism, while stealing away the right-wing votes.

However now it is too late.

If the country’s elite and government had decided to counter Golden Dawn earlier — and they did know about its criminal actions way before — many human beings wouldn’t have been brutally beaten up in the streets of Athens and other cities of Greece. Many antifa activists wouldn’t have been tortured in the police headquarters and others wouldn’t have been injured by the fascists or their collaborators in the police during antifa demonstrations or direct actions. At the same time, the Greek left-wing movement would have been able to develop further its radical direct democratic proposition, and many neoliberal policies that led to the loss of jobs and lives (suicide rates have skyrocketed in Greece in the past years) may have been overturned. And, above all, Shehzad Luqman and Pavlos Fyssas would be alive today…

Leonidas Oikonomakis, September 2013

Memorial to Pavlos at his murder site

Memorial to Pavlos at his murder site

Building the Revolution in Greece

The New Anarchism (1974-2012)

The New Anarchism

Below I reproduce excerpts from a recent report at Truthout by Joshua Stephens on the constructive efforts by Greek anarchists to create alternatives to capitalism and the nation-state. The approaches they have been developing since the uprising in 2008 are similar to those proposed by Alexander Berkman based on his experiences during the Russian Revolution. Directly democratic popular assemblies formed the basis of the anarchist collectives during the Spanish Revolution, and were later championed by Murray Bookchin. Stephens refers to Colin Ward, whose ground breaking article on anarchism as a theory of organization is included in Volume Two of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. Anarchist alternatives to capitalism and hierarchical organization are well documented in all three volumes of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, now on sale at AK Press.

Joshua Stephen’s on the situation in Greece:

“On the first day of the uprising, we smashed the police stations,” an anarchist in Thessaloniki told me last spring.  “On the second, we smashed the banks.  On the third, there was nothing left to smash, and we were suddenly faced with the fact that we didn’t really know what to do.”  It seems to have been a widespread frustration.  The occupations of academic and political institutions that occurred amidst the uprising gave way to what are called Popular Assemblies in some 70 neighborhoods across Athens.

About half of these are still operating, composed of an often unlikely spectrum of participants.  Anarchists, local workers, even municipal employees and officeholders all collaborate off the political grid in democratically administering needs, redistributing available resources and bolstering existing struggles against both austerity and the steady creep of fascism.

Their strategy can be read in a short 1958 article by Colin Ward in the British anarchist journal Freedom, entitled “The Unwritten Handbook”:  “The choice between libertarian and authoritarian solutions occurs every day and in every way, and the extent to which we choose, or accept…  or lack the imagination and inventiveness to discover alternatives to the authoritarian solutions to small problems is the extent to which we are their powerless victims in big affairs.”  When a round of austerity measures included a new and often unaffordable property tax in electricity bills, many Greeks saw their power abruptly cut.  Popular Assemblies began compiling lists of households without power, ranking them based on vulnerability (age, the presence of infants, etc.), and deploying qualified people to restore electricity, illegally.

On a cool April evening in the neighborhood of Peristeri, assembly participants debated models for localizing economic transactions through alternative currencies and non-monetary programs like time-banks.  Over drinks following a talk I gave last spring, the bulk of the questions from local anarchists known the world over for bravado and street warfare were about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, an overwhelmingly liberal phenomena back home, hardly considered political (much less radical).  In Greece, however, forging direct relationships with the agricultural sector amounts to a fuck-you to the International Monetary Fund and its threats of import cutoffs, issued to leverage passage of austerity measures.

During my few days on the ground in Athens this trip, I was invited to an anti-fascist march organized by the Popular Assemblies of south Athens.  It marked what felt like an expansion of their role into directly confronting Golden Dawn, where the state has proved either unwilling or unable to tread. “If we don’t resist in every neighborhood, they will soon become our prisons” could be heard reverberating off the facades of buildings.

Counting by tens, I estimated roughly a thousand marching from the commercial plaza adjacent to the Dafni Metro, winding through a number of its various neighborhoods before reaching a former military installation occupied and renamed Asyrmatos Greek for “wireless,” referring to the towering antennas jutting out of what is now a sizable community garden and community-managed conservatory.

In the adjacent neighborhood of Aghios Dimitrios, where much of the march was organized, the Popular Assembly meets weekly in theatrical space of a local municipal building.  On the surface, it appears quite innocuous, as though it’s scheduled through an arrangement with the local government.  I was surprised to learn that each week’s meeting is a sort of micro-occupation; participants simply walk in and seize the space, with zero visible pushback from employees, and no police response.  “In 2008 (during the uprising), we seized the building for a month,” one local told me.  “So, I think that, for them, two hours a week is a bargain.”

The oldest Popular Assembly in Athens operates in the neighborhood of Petralona, the site of a recent, widely publicized murder of a Pakistani man at the hands of fascists.  When I visited with them last spring, they were opening a kitchen and cafe space for educating people about nutrition and food production, and operating an extensive calendar of peer-led health and mental health events, inspired in part by Mexico’s Zapatistas.  Today, they operate medical, dental and eye clinics in coordination with other Popular Assemblies, based on non-monetary mutual aid.

As we weaved through commercial corridors and narrow neighborhood  arteries last week, all of this seemed to be shifting from a sort of quiet mode of survival into an overt assertion of power.  Scattered action commanded the attention of onlookers.  Quarter-sheet fliers were tossed into open bus windows, open supermarkets and even into the day’s light breeze, scattering like ticker tape. Two masked young women darted out of the crowd periodically, spray-painting a stencil onto walls featuring a sort of close-up frontal image of a boy with his fist forward, reading “The sons of Adolf will receive a red and black punch” (a reference to the colors of the traditional anarchist flag).

The smell of fresh spray paint hung in the air, the fire to its smoke appearing on walls, the sides of buses, and a newly favorite target in the country’s crisis establishments set up to buy people’s gold.  These entrepreneurs are referred to as mavragoriters a termcoined during Greece’s years under Nazi occupation. “They were Greeks, usually friends of or sympathetic to the Nazis, and they took advantage of the crisis and the starvation that existed all over the country,” explained a young woman, who asked not to be named.  “It reached a point where they were buying houses in exchange for two bottles of olive oil, or quantities of rice.”

The subtext of the young woman’s description seems the soul of the Popular Assemblies:  dignity.  She later pointed me to a communique posted at Indymedia Athens, in which anarchists in the city set about countering the neoliberal mantra heard around the country, and the ethics of the mavragoriters “No job is a shame.”  The Popular Assemblies appear to operate from the inverse that appears in the communique “Shame is not a job.” Surviving merely to revive histories of foreign occupation or homegrown fascism, for them, is a path without hope.

Joshua Stephens is a board member with the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and has been active in anti-capitalist, international solidarity and worker-cooperative movements across the last two decades.  He currently divides his time between the northeastern US and various parts of the Mediterranean.

Anarchist Demonstration in Athens

Anarchist Demonstration in Athens

Camillo Berneri – Against the Racist Delirium

Camillo Berneri (1897-1937) was an Italian anarchist forced into exile in 1926 as a result of his anti-fascist activities. A professor of literature and philosophy, he refused to take an oath of allegiance to Mussolini and to join the Fascist “syndicate,” a state controlled corporate organization (not to be confused with the revolutionary trade union organizations of the anarcho-syndicalists, such as the Union Sindicale Italiano (USI) – Italian Syndicalist Union). Berneri moved from country to country, being refused refugee status and often expelled. He was a prolific writer active in the international anarchist and anti-fascist movements. English translations of some of his writings can be found at: When the Revolution and Civil War broke out in Spain in July 1936, Berneri went there to continue the fight against fascism, only to be murdered (probably by Stalinist agents, but possibly by Italian Fascists) during the May Days in Barcelona in 1937. Berneri was an eloquent critic of anarchist collaboration with the Republican government in Spain. In the following excerpts, translated by Paul Sharkey, Berneri dissects the vicious and absurd Nazi (“National Socialist”) doctrines of racial purity and superiority that were coming to ascendancy in Germany and other European countries. Originally published as El Delirio Racista, Ediciones Iman, Buenos Aires, February 1935. The anarcho-syndicalist, Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958), develops a more extensive anarchist critique of nationalism, racism and power in his book, Nationalism and Culture (Los Angeles: Rocker Publications Committee, 1937; reprinted by Black Rose Books), excerpted in Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume 1, Selection 121. Berneri’s daughter, Marie Louise Berneri, was also very active in the international anarchist movement. Selections from her writings will be included in Volume 2 of the Anarchism anthology.


Fascism, the triumph of the irrational, has taken the most discredited myths of pre-scientific ethnology to its bosom. One of the theorists of Hitlerism (assuming that it can be regarded as a body of doctrine), Ernest Krieck, in his book National Political Education (page 17), proclaims the need to subject science to National Socialist politics, thereby giving science the kiss of death.
“The age of ‘pure reason’, of ‘science for the sake of science’, of ‘disinterested science’, is over. Any science that has an active contribution to make towards a broad objective becomes political, and thus, like politics, has its principles and its accomplishments alike, imbued with racism, nationalism and National Socialism.”
On 11 May 1933, while carrying out sentence passed on 20,000 impounded books in Berlin, Goebbels announced: “Intellectualism has had its day.”
It is absolutely plain from the racist delirium (an out-and-out collective psychosis) that Hitlerism represents a great eclipse of German intellect and culture. On 25 March 1933, Goering, the then Reich minister of the Interior, told foreign press representatives: “Plainly, anti-semitism is part of the official program of the National Socialist Party and the manner in which the latter has moulded its storm troops makes it plain that today every member of the storm troops looks at Professor Einstein with a feeling of racial superiority.”
The most grotesque stance of all is the stance of the Hitlerian scientists (?). Race professor H. Günther, speaking as a National Socialist, announces: “Only regeneration of the Nordic blood, to which the Indo-Germanic peoples are indebted for their historical greatness, can ward off defeat. Rebirth is impossible until the Nordics become many and strong again.” “Onwards, to Nordification!” What a stunning watchword! Meanwhile “with the Nordic race as its objective, a new notion of duty must be born.” But he finds himself greatly embarrassed as an ethnologist, not knowing how to reconcile the watchword with the scientific data and is obliged to confess: “Race science is, sadly, obliged to class the vast majority of the inhabitants of Europe as bastards and mixed-bloods. Which makes it a difficult and disagreeable science and renders it as unacceptable as the dictum: Know thyself. A really difficult and unpleasant undertaking, even for the champions of racism…”
German racism claims to seek “the purification of the German race” and at the same time exalts the myth of racial purity, proclaiming the superiority of the Aryan-Germanic race.
Mussolini told Emil Ludwig: “There is no pure race. The laughable fact is that none of the champions of German racial purity was German: Gobineau was French, Chamberlain English, Woltmann Jewish.”
If anti-semitism were to become necessary for the survival of Italian fascism, Mussolini, worse than Macchiavelli, would follow in the footsteps of Gobineau, Chamberlain and Woltmann and he too would be talking about racial purity [as he did in 1938, when the Fascists introduced “race purity” laws in Italy]. Hitler, being self-educated and bereft of any critical sense, is taken in by the Aryan myth, however. Speaking to representatives from the medical associations in Germany, he stated, on 6 April 1933: “In the world of the intellect, the greatest advances have never been made by elements outside of the race, but rather by Aryan and German brains.” This simplistic notion is emphasized in several passages in his book Mein Kampf (pp. 478-479, 316, 322), where he takes vigorous exception to the intellectual emancipation of blacks. According to him, it is an affront to reason and criminal lunacy “to teach a half-monkey to believe that he can make it as a lawyer”. The myth of creative races prompts him to these typical expressions: “All that we admire on this earth—science and art, technology and invention—all of it, is the exclusive creation of a few peoples and perhaps, initially, of a single people. Upon those peoples depends the existence of civilization as a whole. If they perish, all that is fine upon this earth will be buried with them… Denied the possibility of using men of inferior race, the Aryans would never have been able to take their first steps towards their subsequent civilization, just as, without the aid of some animals which man has successfully domesticated, it would have been impossible to perfect the technology which today allows us gradually to dispense with those very same animals…”
In October 1933, the German Philosophy Society held its annual congress in Magdeburg. Its chairman, Professor Kruger, closed his address with a eulogy to Hitler. The gathering sang “Deutschland über Alles” and the Nazi anthem “Horst Wessel”. Hitler had telegraphed the congress: “I send my greetings to the German Philosophy Society. May the powers of an authentically German philosophy help to inspire and bolster the German outlook on the world.” One might be inclined to believe that these were the “hired philosophers” rightly held up to ridicule by Schopenhauer. Not so. The German Philosophy Society was established in 1917 with the aim of erecting a “bulwark against the invasion of Germany by foreign ideas and in order to cultivate thinking in tune with the race.”
The race delirium is not a product of Hitlerism: it predated and largely generated the latter. Even Nietzsche expressed scorn for the unbelievable exaggerations of the racism of his day and wrote: “How much bad faith and how much pettiness are required to raise race issues in today’s confused Europe… Have nothing to do with anyone who has any hand or part in the shameful fraud of racial issues”…
…[I]t should come as no surprise to us to find that in the schools of Hitlerite Germany it is taught that Jesus Christ was born of a blue-eyed, blond-haired mother by a German soldier who had enlisted in the Roman army. The Prussian minister of Public Education and Worship declared in his appeal to the Protestant masses (18 July 1933) that the advent of Jesus Christ represented “ a return to Nordic influence”. Hardly surprising then that a Hitlerite newspaper (the Voelkischer Beobachter of 14 March 1933) should assert: “The Marseillaise is an ancient German air set to music by a writer from Wurttemburg”, while one teacher, a certain Zinner, published a 674-page History of Astronomy in which the work of French, British, American and Italian astronomers is summed up under the heading ‘Die Stern Kunde der Germanen’ (German Astronomy). But there’s worse. Architect Hermann Wille, at a meeting of the Society for the Study of Germanic Pre-History, has argued that the stone monuments marking prehistoric graves thus far uncovered are in fact merely the most ancient forms of German temples. The temple of Delos supposedly demonstrates the Germanic influence and some Germanic temples supposedly date back to the Bronze Age.
The Prussian minister of Public Education is not content with the Bronze Age and has reached back even further to the Ice Age, writing in his circular: “History textbooks designed for Prussian youngsters should start with the Ice Age in Central Europe because prehistory is an eminently national science and will rebut the commonly held prejudices regarding the inferiority of the culture of the Germans, our ancestors.”
And again: “Neanderthal man, Arignac man and Cro-Magnon man must serve as an example in showing that countless races have had original cultures.”
“Teachers must briefly demonstrate how the Nordic race and the Falish race (a neologism devised by German racists to refer to what some ethnologists refer to as the Dalic race) spread throughout the North and Centre of Europe.”
“The Hindus, the Medes, the Persians and the Hittites had Nordic roots. Similarly, Greek history should be traced back to central Europe; indeed, the conquering Hellenes were Nordic and it was they that formed the master-caste in the country.”
And the minister concludes: “Democracy (sic) has triggered race mixing. Depopulation was the ruination of the Nordic race in Greece. Thus, in Italy, the strife between patricians and plebeians was a racial struggle: the vast majority of the population of Italy was made up of descendents of Oriental slaves.
The migration of the Germanic peoples (the barbarian invasions) injected fresh Germanic blood (sic) into a hodgepodge of races in the degenerate later empire. Which explains the fresh cultural upsurge of the Middle Ages, since this took place only in countries where the Germanic tribes finally settled: Northern Italy (as distinct from the South), Spain, France and England”…
…All German official publications popularizing ethnology are utterly bereft of any scientific value. They are devised exclusively for rabble-rousing and propagandistic purposes (in the nationalistic sense), as encapsulated in this snatch from the Berlin Morgenpost: “Just as Goethe was descended from the German emperors and kings, so the veins of a modest artisan or peasant should carry princely blood. The object of research will be to convince sons, grandsons and great-grandsons that, being descended from illustrious forebears, they must show themselves worthy of them by living a glorious existence.”
The Aryan myth fits in with National Socialist mysticism perfectly. On the one hand, it heightens national feeling and on the other it worships the people by conferring a sort of congenital nobility upon them. Hitlerism tends towards a collectivization of blue blood; which is the main reason for the popularity which this colossal fraud is gaining…
A 100% German will look at himself in the mirror once he reads in government publications these precepts of Hitlerite science:
‘In non-Nordics, the roots of teeth are slanted more, as they are in animals, and this corresponds with the protruding upper jaw in animals.’
And will be tempted to reach for his wife’s make-up pencil as he reflects upon this other precept:
‘As the colour red has an exciting effect, the light pink lips of a Nordic man, by inviting kisses, play an important part in love-play.’”
When eating, he will try to monitor the work of his jaws, taking care with his mouth or trying to shape it like a knife blade; otherwise he might be mistaken for a Dinaric type or an Eastern-Balt or even a Jew. In fact, official publications caution:
“The mastication of the Nordic who tends to crush and grind food down is carried out with mouth closed. By contrast, in non-Nordics, vertical mastication tends to be noisy, like in animals.”
“…in non-Nordics, wide mouth and thick lips are indicative of concupiscence. Ingestion is noisy and eager and sensation-hungry. Movement is frantic and pleasure is taken in the ability to cause upset.”
And with no fear of embarrassment, he will turn as red as a pepper or at least a shy girl, because:
“Shame proper is pretty much non-existent in non-Nordics, who in fact use the word ‘shame’ to designate the sexual organs. Besides, the dark-skinned man finds it very difficult to blush from embarrassment.”
If his teeth are good and straight and his lips pink, etc., etc., he can feel well satisfied because he will think himself the perfect man and not a half-monkey. Hitlerite anthropology teaches:
“The non-Nordic is half way between Nordic man and the animals, coming right after the anthropomorphic monkeys. Thus he is not the perfect man nor in fact a man as against an animal; he is merely a transition, an intermediate stage. The designation ‘un-man’ would be a lot fairer and particularly appropriate”…
In Europe it is in fact the bigwigs that cannot lay claim to the tag of ethnic “purity”. In the aristocracy and bourgeoisie down through the ages, interbreeding has always been commonplace and these are the very classes that have provided the largest numbers of philosophers and artists regarded as typifying the “national psyche”. I cannot dwell longer upon this subject which would require a very full exploration, but I think it may be opportune to cite a few examples because, even in our own ranks which are alien to racist infatuations, phrases such as the “Latin mind”, or “Slav mind”, etc. are often employed in order to characterize aspects of the culture of one people or another.
The emperor Justinian, regarded as the man who brought systemization to Roman law and who was hailed as the top symbol of Rome’s greatness, was the son of a Slav peasant woman. Montaigne, on whose “French spirit” many have expounded, was the son of a Jewish mother. The Slav soul that the critics invoke in order to explain away nearly every aspect of Russian literature is a myth, if it is meant as a body of attitudes tied to ethnicity. Pushkin, the great Russian poet, had a grandfather who was the son of an Abyssinian man and a German woman and his paternal forebears included a Prussian who married an Italian woman. The Russian poet Vassili Zhukovsky had a Turkish woman for a mother and the Russian poet Ogarev was of Tartar descent. The Russian poet Del’vig belonged to a German family and the Russian poet Prince Kantemir was the son of a Greek mother. The Russian poet Fet was descended from a German woman. Mikhail Lermontov was of Scottish extraction and Herzen had a German for his mother.
Many contemporary writers have a mixed bag of ancestors, reminiscent of the family tree of the French socialist writer Paul Lafargue whose maternal grandmother was a mulatta from the island of Santo Domingo, while his maternal grandfather was a Jew and his maternal grandmother a Carib Indian, that is, a survivor of the aboriginal population of the West Indies.
The superstition of race defined as homogeneous ethnic origins, while it has generated inane Aryan pride, has also led to racist anti-semitism, the first systematic exposition of which appears in Dühring’s book The Jewish Question Considered as the Outcome of Racial Character. In the wake of that book, which was rebutted by Marx, many other authors have argued that the Jews are a race and that that race is an inferior one.
The enormous anthropological variety among Jews is the best proof of the non-existence of a Jewish race. The Jews of North Africa, Italy, the Iberian peninsula and the French Midi are dolichocephalic (cf. Prunier-Bey, Lombroso, etc.), whereas the Polish, Russian and German ones are brachycephalic (cf. Kopernicki, Mayer, etc.). There are black Jews like the Daggatun (a tribe living on the fringes of the Sahara), the Abyssinian Falashas 3 and the black Jews of India. There are fair-haired types (in Bohemia and Germany), Mongoloid Australian types (in China and the Caucasus). And there are tall Jews (in southern Russia) and squat Jews (in Galicia and Poland).
Numerous investigations have been mounted into the huge ethnic diversity among Jews, some of them hugely valuable scientifically speaking and we need not cite texts. Let us confine ourselves to a few observations. The largest number of Jews lives in Russia and Poland and since, in the first centuries of the Christian era, many Slavs converted to Judaism under the influence of fugitives, there are grounds for believing that the Jews currently found in Bessarabia, the Ukraine and Poland are, the majority of them, Slavs and Tartars. Remember here that an entire people, originally from Sarmatia but who settled between the Caspian and the Black Seas, the Khazars, converted to Judaism almost to a man around 763 AD. In the 4th century the Khazars were subjugated by the Huns and later by the Avars and Turks. In the 7th century they defeated Persia and allied themselves with the Byzantine Empire. In the first half of the 8th century, their capital, Semender, was overrun by the Arabs and they were driven into Mesopotamia. This traffic leads us to believe that there was a mixing of Mongolian-Semitic-Mediterranean Greek types. According to other writers, the Ashkenazy Jews are likely of pure Israelite extraction.
The ancient Jews were by no means an ethnic unit and the whole of Jewish history is an ongoing succession of intermarriages. In Herod’s times, the Jewish people was a mixture of Idumeans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Syrians and Greeks. There was a city called Scitopolis, a Greek name that refers to the Scythians who had invaded Palestine during the reign of Josiah (639-608 BC). Pella, Gadara, Hipos, Gamala and Gerasa (east of the Jordan) were Greco-Roman cities. Josephus Flavius (De Bello Judaico, Book VII, Chapter III, part 3) asserts that many Greeks in Antioch converted to Judaism.
In Man and the Earth, Elisée Reclus states that the Aryans of Armenia were heavily judaicized but remained Aryans and were regarded (in Byzantium and all the other cities to which their nomadic lifestyle brought them) as belonging to the Jewish race: which goes to show that physically the Armenians and the Jews resembled one another. It is no surprise to find that the Assyrian conquerors scattered their Jewish captives by the hundreds of thousands through the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, the mountains of Armenia and the Caucasus. The Jewish Semites thus lived cheek by jowl with the Aryans of Armenia. There were even Jews who became sovereign over the whole Aiasdan region, Georgia included. The pure Aryan element therefore had a hand in the ethnic changes of the Jews in a variety of ways: through the Armenian and, above all, the Greek influence.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Copenhagen’s Dagens Nyheter, Streicher, the official organizer of the boycott of the Jews in Germany, conceded that the Jews are not a race; and, whereas in the Hitlerite press one frequently reads the assertion that the Jewish people is a mixture of races, when it comes to anti-Semitic propaganda the German National Socialists seize upon all the old chestnuts—the Jew is grasping, the Jew is lascivious, etc., perpetuating and spreading the fable that the shortcomings (real or imagined) of the Jews are a by-product of their “Semitic blood”. The “Jewish nose” is seized upon by all the caricaturists, whereas a German survey has found that 13-14% of Jews have an aquilinine nose and all the rest had “Greek” noses. Paragraph 4 of the National-Socialist Program declares that the Jews may not be “blood comrades” to Germans, while all the comparative analyses of blood show that there is no such thing as “Jewish blood” or “German blood”, nor any other national blood type.
Anti-Semitism has to generalize and characterize and represent the Jew as a fixed human type identifiable at a glance or by smell, as recommended by Professor Fischberg.
Denying the existence of a Jewish race when there are Jews in existence might seem a bit of a paradox. Schopenhauer said that “the Jewish homeland is other Jews” and Renan, who subscribed to no racist myths, eventually contrasted Jewish tradition with Jewish race. Elisée Reclus rightly noted that the Jews constitute a nation “insofar as they share an awareness of a collective past of joys and sufferings, a sediment of identical traditions such as the more or less illusory belief in a shared ancestry”. Bernard Lazare spelled out the same idea , to which all serious students of the Jewish question subscribe…
…Since Darwin, the notion of the human race has been closely bound up with that of heredity and the race issue has looked like a biological issue.
H. Günther defines race as “a human group that is separated from other human groups by physical and moral features of its very own which are passed on through heredity”.
The issue of the unity of the species is being resolved in a scientific monogenesis that looks beyond the diversity by highlighting the factor of social life. In an article entitled “Is there any basis to race theory?”, Professor Schaxel (in Le Monde, Paris, 28 October 1933) clearly illustrates where the issue currently stands:
“We know the law governing the reproduction of the same characteristics over successive generations. We put resemblance to parents, in which the features observed (measured in terms of quantity, quality and chronology) are the same, down to heredity, insofar as these same hereditary factors can be discerned in forebears or descendants. A particular hereditary group should therefore display a very specific collection of characters. There is no way of reproducing similar features with the requisite precision except by means of a series of rigorously studied experiments. Broadly speaking, the requisite scientific monitoring can only be implemented in instances of asexual or incestuous reproduction. In other cases we are dealing with mixed groups that are impossible to study or take under consideration in terms both of the science of heredity and of the race angle. Furthermore, the same hereditary ‘product’ emerges in a completely different way depending on the external surroundings. No verification is feasible unless due scientific regard is given to the environmental factor.
Applied to humanity, what this means is simply that all existing human groupings (especially the inhabitants of central Europe) are mixed ‘products’, even if only in terms of heredity. So due account must be taken of the geographical and social location of the individual, his environment, the environment in which a man develops absolutely independently of his overall inherited origins. The economic and social factors determine his fate.
From the scientific point of view, there is nothing more to be said as to his racial character.”
It strikes me that… it is plain that race can no longer be viewed as a prime factor, as the absolute origin of physical and psychological features observed in the description of a human grouping, but rather as a checklist of those features. Race does not appear as an expression of a straightforward law, but rather as the extremely complex outcome of a whole series of influences.
…In a speech, Frick, the Reich’s minister of the Interior argued: “Study of the races must be cultivated at all levels of teaching in order to further the exercise of children’s educated eye in picking out the races.” (Voelkischer Beobachter, 10 May 1933). In Michael (p. 86), Goebbels writes: “As I see it, the Jew is a source of physical revulsion. The mere sight of him makes me nauseous.” We could fill an entire book if we wanted to cite this obsession with anthropological type in Germany which extends not just to external morphology but also to blood composition. In the Hitlerites’ articles, speeches and songs, there is a lot of talk about “Aryan blood” or “Germanic blood” and bio-anthropological research is being conducted into various physical-chemical properties in human blood, with the findings brazenly falsified…
Human scent has even been invoked as an anthropological-type factor, but that factor too is of very little significance in racial individuation. One of the sections of the German Race Study Institute is busily if tendentiously looking into the olfactory aspect of race and very learned memoirs have been published on this matter by three race theorists: Günther, Fischberg and Genning. Günther credits the specific scent of each race partly to heredity and partly to environment, but does not go as far as Fischberg who contends that Jews give off a sharper and more unpleasant smell than negroes and that if Aryans can bear to have Semites near them it is because the latter neutralize their body odour with all manner of perfumes and cosmetics. Like Herr Ellis, Genning goes so far as to advise against marriage between Aryans and Jews and vice-versa, precisely because of the unbearable Semitic stink that is a barrier to the couple’s happiness.
The funny thing is that one expert in such matters, the Japanese Adaki, insists that his own countrymen find the smell of white people offensive. In the nostrils of the Japanese, who are also expert in matters of race smells, white people all smell alike—be they Italians or Scandinavians, Jews or dolichocephalic, blond-haired Germans .
Günther, the Third Reich’s racist pope, concedes that “peoples are racially mixed and are not themselves races” and he argues that what distinguishes one people from another is “the degree of race mixing”. According to Günther, the German people is made up of seven “Aryan” strains. The psychic features of these strains are supposedly hereditary and determined in such a way as to make a man a genius or a criminal.
Günther has credited the finest qualities to Nordic man who supposedly make up between 6% and 8% of the German people and he depicts the other races as inferior and mediocre. This “Nordicism” of Günther’s has raised a storm from defenders of the other six “Aryan racial strains”. Rosenberg, one of the theorists of Hitlerism, refutes these opponents:
“These typically Talmudist show-offs must be shown that race science identifies about five races in Europe, each with its own characteristic features, temperament and state of mind and there can be no doubt but that the German nation is not an equal mixture but that its origins are 80% Germanic (Nordic)”…
On the one hand, Hitlerism tends to affirm the racial unity of the Germanic people; on the other it tends to award the Nordic strain the lion’s part in the racial mixture.
On the one hand, there is a tendency to dismiss classes in order to affirm national and racial unity, and on the other the superior race is accorded a caste supremacy. In one of his speeches Hitler said: “Here in Germany where every German shares the same blood, the same eyes and speaks the same language, we cannot have classes: there is but one people and nothing else.” In another speech he stated: “National Socialism recognizes the existence of several racial strains in our people. Far from refuting this mixture which encapsulates our people’s entire life expression, it wishes to be guided politically by that race, whose exceptional heroism, thanks to its genius, has conjured the German people out of a clutch of differing elements.”
The German “national community” is therefore supposed to be made up of six strands, only one of which is allegedly the creative element. Saller’s “Germanic race” serves to provide a biological basis for the “national community”, but is not enough to justify bourgeois privilege and the Hitler dictatorship. The Third Reich is therefore founded upon Günther’s theory:
“We must suppose that within every people or tribe in every continent the ruling strata are of a different racial make-up from the ruled. In certain instances, the ruling strata and the ruled share the same racial blood but in differing proportions. As for the peoples of the west, among the upper strata there is a higher amount of Nordic, Falish and Dinaric blood; among the lower orders, on the other hand, there is more eastern and Baltic blood.”
The social and political ruling class is supposedly the superior race. The rise of the proletariat would bring the inferior orders to the top.
Class privilege has been converted into race privilege, trampling not only over anthropology but also over common sense.
Here are a few newspaper clippings from the German press offering some idea of the degree of lunacy attained by Hitlerian racism:
“The Reichsminister for Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones has informed the public that in future the following phraseology should be used when spelling out a name by telephone: Dora rather than David for D, Julian instead of Jacob for J, Siegfried instead of Samuel for S, Zeppelin instead of Zachary for Z.”
“The movie, Typhon, based on the comedy by the Hungarian writer Lendengyel, has been banned in Germany. The censorship board justifies this decision by pointing out that in the movie the person whose behaviour is exemplary is Japanese. The white people all behave rather badly. The Japanese, with whom the heroine strikes up a friendship, is an impeccable gentleman. Moreover the movie shows French people and in fact does not deal with Germans. In short, this work is regarded as, by omission, an insult to the Aryan race, whose superiority is not even mentioned.”
“In order to show the high levels of culture of the ancient Germans, according to government instructions, a professor at the University of Gottingen recently came up with the idea of presenting his wife at a high society event dressed in an evening gown copied exactly from the clothing in vogue among the Germans of about two thousand years ago.”
“The German association for the blind has decided to add to its statutes a paragraph calling for the expulsion of blind Jews.”
Large numbers of such reports could be gathered. And it would be just as easy to put together an anthology of Hitlerite idiocy. This is how Alfred Rosenberg, in his book The Twentieth Century Myth deals with the race issue (pp. 125, 505 and 584): “If the womenfolk of the European nations carry on bearing bastards to blacks and Jews, if the slimy tidal wave of ‘negro art’ continues to break over Europe unhindered, if Jewish brothel literature carries on invading our homes and the gentlemen on the Kurfurstendamm continue to be looked upon as race brethren (Volksgenosse) and marriageable men, we will find ourselves in a situation where the heartlands of Germany and the whole of Europe will be populated exclusively by bastards”… “If a German woman willingly consorts with blacks, yellows, half-breeds or Jews, she places herself outside of any lawful protection and the children, legitimate or illegitimate, will not be able to claim the rights of German citizens. Rape committed by a person of a different race is to be punishable by flogging, forced labour, confiscation of assets and definitive expulsion from the German Reich…”
“Bolshevism represents the rebellion of the Mongol type against Nordic forms of culture… It is an expression of the hate that nomads feel for settled individuals.”
Professor Ernst Bergmann (in Erkentnissgeist und Muttergeist) suggests “breeding camps” for the Nordic race:
“There are enough willing and hard-working (!) men and youths available to fertilize women and girls and luckily one vigorous male per ten to twenty women who have not yet lost the urge to bear children, if only we can do away with the cultural and unnatural nonsense of everlasting monogamy” (quote taken from The Brown Book, French edition, pp 202-203).
The National Socialist theorist Gorsleben, in his book, The Apogee of Humanity, calls for “long-distance procreation”. “The life of a woman is largely determined by the man to whom she sacrifices her virginity: the children that such a woman brings into the world will be more or less influenced by that first lover. Science defines this phenomenon as long-distance procreation… That said, it is plain that the old custom of ‘jus primae noctis,’ to wit, the right of a nobleman or priest to deflower a virgin, was designed to better the race. We are indebted to that right for the existence of a humanity that is racially and spiritually of a very high order in certain regions” (taken from Arbeiter Zeitung, Vienna, 16 January 1934).
Darré, the Reich’s agriculture minister, has written a learned book to show that “the pig distinguishes the Nordic from the Semitic peoples”. His conclusion is as follows: “On the one hand, Semites refuse to have anything to do with the pig, whereas the Nordic peoples hold the pig in the highest regard. The pig is the sacred animal of the Nordic cult of the sun…”
“In the religion of the Germans the pig occupies pride of place and is the first among the domestic animals.
Thus, out of the shadows of history step two human races whose approaches to the pig clearly contradict each other”…
We could fill a book with material on the race delirium in the realms of German culture. Here we shall make do with recalling a few points from the program of the proclamation Against the non-German mentality, issued on 13 April 1933 by the German Students’ Association:
“The Jews and their followers are our most dangerous foes.”
“The Jews cannot help but think Jewish. If he writes in our language, he lies.”
“We respect the Jew as an outsider and assess his racial character seriously. We also call for censorship of Jewish works appearing in Hebrew. If these appear in German, there ought to be a note stating that it is a translation. We should come down heavily on the illicit use of ‘Gothic’ script which only Germans are authorized to use.”
Philosophers, physicists, physiologists, writers, musicians, etc., have had to leave Germany simply because they are “non-Aryans”. This cultural exodus is embodied by Einstein and Hirschfeld, the literary exodus by Toller and Plivier, the musical one by Walter and Reinhardt and the deaths of the philosopher Lessing and the poet [and anarchist Erich] Mühsam [tortured to death by the Nazis] show that the Third Reich is a reversion to the Middle Ages.
To the famous ‘Aryan’ orchestral conductor Furtwaengler who had written to him: “I recognize only one boundary: the one that divides good art from bad”, Goebbels replied: “Of the existence of your single boundary I know nothing. Art should not merely be good; it should also be national and militant” (Frankfurter Zeitung, 11 April 1933).
The latter brat declared in an interview in Sunday Referee (30 July 1933): “For 14 years now our war cry has been ‘Death to Judah!’ And now the ghetto is finally dying out once and for all!”
Jazz music has been banned by Goebbels on the grounds that it is negro music, but he has pronounced that the saxophone is ‘Aryan’ in that it was “invented by the German Adolf Sax” and because it is played in military bands.
The whole of Germany is delirious. Pope Pius XI is described as the “illegitimate son of a Dutch Jewess by the name of Leiaman”, and is therefore “a vulgar Jew”; the president of the Council of State in Schleswig has ordered that the story of the sacrificing of Isaac should be eradicated; German Jews are denied access to public beaches and baths and sexual relations between ‘Aryans’ and Jews are banned. This latter facet of the racist delirium deserves special scrutiny.
In one of his speeches, Hitler declared:
“…The Third Reich is not founded on the principle of monogamy. Adultery is not regarded as a crime unless it is liable to harm the purity of the race, which is to say, unless a German woman or man has sexual intercourse with blacks, yellows, Jews, etc.”
In August 1933, the Berliner Tageblatt carried the following news item: “In Nuremburg Pastor Munchneyer has declared that none of the German political parties, from the Communist through to the German National Party, was imbued with a sense of German honour because they all allowed Jews to play a crucial part within them. Only the National Socialist movement demands, in the name of German honour, that the country be released from the chains of Judaism. Any Jew who corrupts a German woman deserves the death penalty.”
That same month, the Nazi Julius Streicher in an article carried by Der Stürmer in Nuremburg pilloried German girls guilty of loving Jews.
In August 1933, a letter in the Times reported this sordid incident: “The son and daughter of the United States ambassador in Berlin were among foreigners staying in Nuremburg when, on Sunday the 13th, they witnessed a young girl dragged through the streets with her head shaved and wearing a placard on her back that read: ‘I offered myself to a Jew’.
Many other foreigners were eye-witnesses to this spectacle. And such a spectacle was made of the girl that the entire city turned out to watch.
The girl was tiny and fragile and spectacularly beautiful. She was trailed from one international hotel to the next and also close to the station where the mob blocked traffic, and then from one drinking establishment to another. She had an escort of storm troopers: and was followed by a mob estimated at two thousand people.
Every so often she would fall to the ground, but the vigorous brownshirts escorting her would get her back on her feet and hold her up so that the most distant onlookers might see her. Whereupon there would be shouting and insults from the crowd…”
In September that year, a letter from Berlin reported the following: “For having had relations with a young Christian girl, a Jew from Cassel, the son of a factory manager, was dragged through the streets of the city by the Hitlerite militia along with the girl and her mother.
The Hessische Volkswacht writes that this public degradation was decided upon because the girl insisted that the government had no power to ban her from loving the young man. Her mother was punished for having tolerated these things.
Furthermore, the Oberhessische Zeitung points out that in a similar case a young Christian girl was dragged through the streets of Marburg.
Finally, in Worms, a statement from the local police refers to a Jew having been jailed for having tried to date a Christian girl.”
The following November, the press carried this report:
“The Harburg-Wilhelmsburg police chief has reported that a non-Aryan shop assistant and a ‘racially pure’ female Christian shopowner were handed over to the police by members of the storm troops. The militiamen had successfully, though not without some difficulty, gotten wind of the ‘culpable relations’ between the two representatives of different races. Moreover, the offenders have ‘confessed their shame’…
The chief of police informs ‘all interested parties that any trespass against race purity will be punished with the utmost severity, even if it predated the passage of the relevant legislation’.”
Two widely distributed manifestoes threaten to disfigure young German girls having relations with Jews.
A draft bill drawn up by Professor Stammler “for the preservation of race purity” proposes:
“1. Marriages between the German and foreign races are banned. Those already contracted retain their validity; but further marriages may not be contracted and will not be recognized.
2. Extra-marital sexual relations between Germans and foreigners of different race are punishable by penal incarceration of the foreigner and imprisonment of the German partner. Prostitutes are not covered by this legislation.
3. The entry into this country of those outside of the race is not permitted except in special cases. Immigration is forbidden.
4. Changes of name which generally have no purpose other than to conceal racial origin are banned pending further notice.
Name changes effected from 1914 until now are hereby annulled.”
The most significant document here is the Race Crime Law of Hans Kerre, the Prussian justice minister (1933). This book represents a draft criminal code and is prefaced by an explanatory memoir. Part two of the project is entitled: “Defence of the Race and People” and opens with a chapter (on “Attacks on the Race”) that contemplates two new offences: “Race Treason” and “Offences against Race Honour”:
“Any sexual liaison between a German and a person of another race is to be regarded as race treason and both culprits will face punishment. Even should precautionary steps be taken within such liaisons, this will not prevent their being looked upon as constituting sexual liaisons falling under the rigours of this present law. Deliberate concealment of one’s real race in sexual liaisons outside of marriage or within marriage will be regarded as an aggravating circumstance.
From the point of view of civil law, marriages between persons of differing races are to be declared null and void.
Anyone who may favour sexual relations between a member of the German race and a member of another race, thereby contributing to the decadence and demoralization of the German people, will be guilty of treason against the race. Such treachery will be found even where contraceptive measures are taken.
Offences against race honour are punishable under the article that states: ‘A German who offends German feelings through the maintenance of relations with persons belonging to coloured races becomes culpable of offences against German honour’.”
The memoir stipulates that this article does not so much apply to sexual relations as to consorting in public with a coloured person. For instance “indecent dancing with a negro in a public place”.
Here are the ten commandments of German marriage as devised by Dr. Heinsius of Berlin, in concert with the Reich Interior ministry, the Racial Hygiene Office and the National Socialist Party’s Race Bureau:
1. Remember that you are German.
2. If you are genetically healthy, you should marry.
3. Keep your body healthy.
4. Keep your spirit and mind healthy.
5. As a German, do not choose as a spouse anyone other than a German or someone of Nordic blood.
6. When choosing a spouse, check into ancestry.
7. Health is also a condition of outer beauty.
8. Do not marry for love.
9. Do not choose a playmate, but look to your spouse as a marriage partner.
10. The real meaning of marriage is healthy progeny. Survival is assured after the third or fourth child.
The eighth commandment is the hardest to honour, judging from the matrimonial recommendations in fashion, as reported in the German press. In an article in the Berlin weekly magazine Das Wissen der Nation (6 August 1933) every racially pure citizen is urged to “marry a blond Aryan with blue eyes, oval face and white skin and not a young, long-bodied, short-legged brunette of Mediterranean race with dark hair and fleshy lips…”
The well-advised and consistent Aryan is not going to marry a Mediterranean woman, nor is he to marry a young woman who has shown a penchant for parties and theatre, who has played sports or practiced a liberal profession. “He is to marry only a hard-working young woman, a good housekeeper with a love of children.”
So the ideal wife should be an Aryan, Nordic housewife ready to bear lots of children, with no Jews among her forebears, and she must be healthy. Anthropological-eugenic-Hitlerite-racist love is no longer a heaven-sent Cupid but is, rather, a sharp-eyed magician armed with anthropometric instrumentation, race laws, a set of matrimonial ten commandments and genealogical records.
Hitlerite sterilization is excused by invoking eugenic arguments, but National Socialist doctors still look upon it as an arrangement bound up with racial purity. Dr. Vellguth writes in a leading medical review (Aerzliche Mitteilungen, Leipzig, 20 May 1933) in praise of sterilization: “The infiltration of foreign blood into the body of our people must be prevented. The Jews, the Mongols and others can therefore be lawfully sterilized with their consent, be they healthy or ailing individuals.” The good doctor goes on to suggest “encouraging persons of different race to allow themselves to be sterilized by offering a reasonably high premium.”
What assurances can Hitler’s Germany offer regarding the sterilization option? The Jews, barred from offices and factories, persecuted in a pogrom-like climate, might be starved into being sterilized as their only salvation. How much and what sort of pressures can be brought to bear in a country like today’s Germany? The Frankfurt police chief Von Westrer declared at a Hitlerite demonstration in March 1933:
“Germany is awake. Fear not, Jews, we will abide by the law, but we will be so law-abiding that that law will prove bothersome to you. Then you can go back to Palestine and slaughter one another”…
Hitlerite sterilization has been enforced for political reasons and will be taken to the most nonsensical extremes. In order to justify the switch from eugenic sterilization to racist sterilization all of the old theories about Jewish pathology rebutted by medical science are being unearthed.
The issue explored in very cursory fashion here is immense and complex and my only intention has been to bring the race issue to the attention of educated young people. It was looking as if racial prejudice had become a thing of the past among the educated classes in the more advanced nations. Instead, it lingers. In Austria in October 1933, the courts granted a divorce in a marriage contracted between an Aryan and a Jewess, in a verdict in which the grounds cited include incompatibility deriving from race difference between the spouses, a difference that ought “in a symbiosis as close as marriage, inevitably trigger profound frictions.” In Lithuania the National Socialist Party there is calling for a ban on marriages between Jews and non-Jews. In France we have seen the launching of a blatantly racist and anti-semitic Celtic League. In the United States of America there are laws banning marriages between blacks and whites, there are universities closed to black students and anthropologists who talk of an American race (not to mention lynching!). And among the mastheads of the Italian nationalist press are La Razza, La Stirpe, Il Grido della Stirpe, etc…
Paris, November 1934


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