Anarchists to meet in Tallinn (6)
Way, way back while in high school the undersigned chose to write a history term essay on anarchism, the European model. Naïveté had a lot to do with this choice; but greater was the desire to understand what had led to the foundation of Marxism and communism, the latter being what unleashed the greatest terror of the twentieth century. Loss of the ancestral homeland was also critical to this theoretical excursion.
Men like Kropotkin, Bakunin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon interacted with others such as Karl Marx, and it was who had a greater impact on Marxism than these intellectuals who espoused collectivist anarchist theory. We know full well where the collectivism led.
However, in Europe, although anarchists were often violent in their espousal of their demands they accepted the premise of the absence of a leader, which is the definition of the Greek word anarchia. (Although there are other, conflicting definitions as well). The theorists developed a system of governance, impractical in the nation-states of Europe that while aiming for a productive, equitable society attempted to avoid violence, authority and coercion. Again, we know where this led.
In the United States the anarchists never developed the toehold or public appeal that they found in certain intellectual segments of European society. This was mainly due to the eruption of violent protest that had to be firmly suppressed by government.
These days it seems that almost any protest against entrenched government, such as the recent G-20 uprising in Toronto has serious anarchist claims to leadership and almost always results in senseless violence.
As a result it was disturbing to discover on the internet the intentions of a group that calls themselves Baltic Anarchists. The following is the complete press release that recently reached this computer:
“On the 25th to 27th of May, the first Baltic Anarchist Meeting will take place in Tallinn, Estonia. We foremost hope to meet anarchists from the region around the Baltic Sea, both individual activists and representatives of organizations / groups, but of course, guests from other regions are welcomed as well.
The programme, venue and participants remain to be clarified. We are planning lectures, panel discussions and a demonstration against NATO (during the same time the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly takes place in Tallinn), a call for the demonstration to be published soon as well. The goal is to exchange experiences and improve co-operation between anarchists in the Baltic region.
We ask all organizations and groups who wish to participate, and in general, everyone who would like to add something of their own to our schedule, to contact us via e-mail: bam2012[at]riseup.net
Visiting the above website on May 6th – what a coincidence that this was a day before the one when Moscow has triumphantly marked the end of WW II in Europe - provided no additional information, the names and organizations noted as being behind this meeting were unfamiliar. However, classic anarchist strategy – perhaps not those of Kropotkin and Bakunin, but similar – are at play. This thanks to the cyber age. Little extra information is provided. Where will this meeting be held? Are there statesmen invited? What do they intend to accomplish demonstrating against the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly? Will we, or can we anticipate violent public action, as anarchists have pulled off since the days of Proudhon? Let us not forget the year 1848 in Europe, which was one of many revolutions that were fomented by none other than anarchists and their “fellow travellers.” And the roots of the movement are not in Marxist philosophy but in the ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, who developed “their philosophy”, if it can be called that, in tsarist Russia, under some of the most repressive laws known in Europe at the time. Marx, on the other hand, sat in the relatively benign environs of London, no paradise, but certainly no authoritarian capital city.
There are, of course, an awful lot of other questions that need to be asked. One can be confident that the KaPo, the Estonian secret police is aware of this meeting. The critical issue, is whether or not violence is part of the goal of this Baltic anarchist meeting. As it has been part and parcel of so many global protests one cannot be confident that the anarchists will remain “civilized.”
Further, the proximity to the 5th anniversary of the Tõnismäe riots that were provoked from Moscow as payback for the removal of Aljosha, the Bronze Soldier, makes one concerned, that this is not mere happenstance. As noted above, die-hard Soviet nostalgists will have just marked triumphantly the end of WW II in Europe, and in doing so reaffirmed that the Soviet man has gone nowhere but is dormant, just waiting for a chance to regain an empire that the Baltic people were instrumental in bringing to a peaceful end after a fifty plus year occupation of terror and horrendous crimes against humanity.
Coincidence? Over-reaction? Paranoia, or plain practical reaction? The last seems to be the calm, logical option. Let us hope that beyond KaPo the NATO forces are well-informed as to the possibility of what may just take place in Tallinn at this months end.