Monthly Archives: November 2009

Proud to be Flesh: a Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net

Proud to be Flesh: a Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net

Edited by Josephine Berry Slater and Pauline van Mourik Broekman with Michael Corris, Anthony Iles, Benedict Seymour and Simon Worthington


Nearly five years in the making, Proud to be Flesh offers some of the finest articles to appear in Mute magazine organised around key contemporary themes. This expansive collection of texts charts the perilous journey from Web 1.0 to 2.0; exposes how the logic of technology intersects with that of art and music; heralds the rise of neoliberalism and condemns the human cost; amplifies the murmurs of dissent and revels in the first signs of collapse. In the midst of a global crisis, Proud to be Flesh is an invaluable sourcebook for anyone wondering how we found ourselves here.

‘Mute’s writers remind us that there are always real bodies, and consequences, behind the gleaming abstraction of “new” media. They have managed an almost impossible task: to remain both substantively critical and accessible to a wide readership.’

-Grant Kester
Chair of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego; and author of Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art


On the fifteenth anniversary of Mute magazine, we go back in time to where it all began – the Slade School of Fine Art, where a student-initiated version of Mute was produced between 1989 and 1991 by Simon Worthington with Helen Arthur, Daniel Jackson and Steve Faulkner. Changing format with each issue, this proved an essential precursor to Mute when it was re-launched as an FT-style newspaper in 1994. For one night, the Slade’s Research Centre will turn into Mute‘s way-back machine, reanimating editorial, manifestoes, artist projects, sound-art, websites and other Mute-flavoured ephemera from two decades of experimental publishing.

Join us:

@ 6-9pm, Thursday 3rd December, 2009

Slade Research Centre (top floor)
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB


More details closer to the date, check for updates.

In the meantime, preview Proud to be Flesh at


Mute Publishing
Unit 9
The Whitechapel Centre
85 Myrdle Street
London E1 1HQ

T: +44 (0)20 7377 6949

Published by Mute Publishing in association with Autonomedia

Mute is supported by Arts Council England. Proud to be Flesh has been supported by ACE and the British Academy.

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Filed under activism, contemporary art, critical thought

Occupy California

A short film on the occupation of Wheeler Hall,  at University of California, Berkeley:

Why occupation? Why barricades? Why would an emancipatory movement, one which seeks to unchain people from debt and compulsory labor, chain the doors of a building? Why would a group of people who deplore a university increasingly barricaded against would-be entrants itself erect barricades? This is the paradox: the space of UC Berkeley, open at multiple points, traversed by flows of students and teachers and workers, is open in appearance only. At root, as a social form, it is closed: closed to the majority of young people in this country by merit of the logic of class and race and citizenship; closed to the underpaid workers who enter only to clean the floors or serve meals in the dining commons; closed, as politics, to those who question its exclusions or answer with more than idle protest. (Text continued here.)

UC Irvine sociology graduate student John Bruning recounts his arrest by UC police during a November 24 demonstration:

The tactics of UCPD have quickly escalated in the past week.  The last political arrest at UCI was a few years ago, during the struggle to insource workers.  In my time at UCI, there has not been an incident where police pepper sprayed students, especially not at a peaceful protest.  The use of tasers is troublesome given their lethality, and I would not at all be surprised if sometime this year police shot a student dead or killed them another way.  Looking into the eyes of the police yesterday, in all but a few cases, there was the appearance of outright contempt for students and their safety.  A few looked as if orders were the only thing keeping them from clubbing skulls.  My arresting officer carried a look of hatred on [his] face, as if students’ needs were the only thing keeping him from happiness.  One has to wonder, with all of the rage these men contain where their souls should be, how they take care of their aggression when there aren’t protests.  At home, on their families?  I hope not, for their sake.  Maybe they have a nice hobby, like playing baseball.
Statement in support of the UC Mobilisation

Here is a statement in support of mobilization at UC, started by Peter Hallward (Middlesex University, London), which is currently gathering signatures:

We the undersigned declare our solidarity with University of California students, workers and staff as they defend, in the face of powerful and aggressive intimidation, the fundamental principles upon which a truly inclusive and egalitarian public-sector education system depends. We affirm their determination to confront university administrators who seem willing to exploit the current financial crisis to introduce disastrous and reactionary ‘reforms’ (fee-increases, lay-offs, salary cuts) to the UC system. We support their readiness to take direct action in order to block these changes. We recognise that in times of crisis, only assertive collective action – walkouts, boycotts, strikes, occupations… – offers any meaningful prospect of democratic participation. We deplore the recent militarization of the UC campuses, and call on the UC administration to acknowledge rather than discourage the resolution of their students to struggle, against the imperatives of privatization, to protect the future of their university. (See a list of signatories at the link above.)

To endorse the statement and add your name to the list, email Nathan Brown (UCD) at

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Filed under activism, open letters, manifestos, appeals, protests, student movements

An Appeal for Solidarity from Dutch Squatters

[Thanks to Reclaiming Spaces for sending this down the line.]

We are squatters from the Netherlands. We are asking you to organize a protest (for example by dutch embassy) in your country against squatting prohibition in the Netherlands. We suggest to organize your protests between 26 and 28 of November, because Eerste Kamer (First Chamber of dutch parliament) will vote about squatting prohibition beginning of December.
To all the people who are against squatting prohibition, 
to all the squatters, 
to all ex-squatters, 
to all young people who would like to become squatters in the future, 
to all the friends of the squatters, 
to all political activists, 
to all antifascist activists, 
to all artists who create art and/or perform in the squats, 
to all bandmembers and DJ’s that play in the squats, 
to all people who enjoy parties and concerts in the squats, 
to all travellers who visit and stay in the squats, 
to all of you who are not mentioned above. 

As you probably might know dark days are coming for the squatting movement in the Netherlands. On 15.10.2009 the Tweede Kamer (Second Chamber of the dutch parliament) voted for a squatting prohibition. Please remember this would not have happened without the support of racist and xenophobic politicians as Rita Verdonk and Geert Wilders. From 1st January 2010 squatting can be illegal in the Netherlands. Beginning of December Eerste Kamer (First Chamber of the dutch parliament) will discuss and vote about squatting prohibition. If First Chamber of the dutch parliament approve this law, persons that try to occupy an empty building, will be considered a criminal and punished by dutch authorities. Penalties are very high and range from one year up to two years of prison! 

This is very serious threat! Don’t let politicians destroy squatting movement in the Netherlands! We can’t wait! We must act now! 

The future of the dutch squatting movement is in our hands. It is a big responsibility as well. We should show respect to those previous squatting generations who made squatting possible in the Netherlands. They sacrified a lot of time and energy for us. We should think about all the youth who would like to have the possibility to live in squats in the future. 

Mass media and politicians say that we are few, but our spirit is stronger then this rotten and unhumane law that politicians have created! We are willing to show politicians and police forces our determination in the defence of our rights for housing. There is lack of cheap houses in the Netherlands. For example in Amsterdam price of renting one room range from 300 till 550 euros a month!

Mass media and politicains say that we are violent, but those christians from CDU (Christian Democratic Party), CU (Christian Union) and SGP (Orthodox Protestant Party) are violent. For them empty buildings are more important than human beings searching for a house. Those christians decided that police will come to arrest us, if we try to occupy a house after 31st December 2009. 

We are proud of who we are and we are willing to defend our rights to occupy empty buildings. We won’t give up without struggle! Some of you remember those proud and angry youth from Kopenhagen who were fighting for Ungdomshuset and dignity. Some of you probably have joined the struggle. If will be necessary, we are willing to bring the spirit of youth from Denmark and Greece to our streets! 

Politicians did not leave us another choice! From 1st January we have to choose between being homeless or criminals. This choice is not suitable for us! We won’t live on the streets or in the prison! We are human beings and we deserve respect! 

There is few hundreds squats in the Netherlands. We can’t afford to lose this enormous infrastructure! There are houses, autonomous centers, places for cultural activities. In all those buildings we live and/or practice and promote our political ideas. We use that space to promote independent art and underground counter culture in opposition to mainstream pop culture and art. 

Let us be a bit sentimental. For many of us to be a squatter is way of life. A lot of us spent the best times living in the squats. We had unforgettable adventures together. We have plenty of invaluable experiences, like living in self-organized communities or housing collectives. Many of us met their best friends in the squats. Yet another reasons to struggle against squatting prohibition. 

Don’t ignore serious threats for squatting movement in the Netherlands! Use your imagination, open your eyes, stand up and act! 

Our struggle is for a world without capitalism, race and gender differences, poverty and war! 

We are going to be very thankful for all your support. Solidarity is our weapon!

You can write your complaint to Eerste Kamer, e-mail address:

“Spirit of the unity” collective.

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Filed under activism, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, urban movements (right to the city)

Chto Delat in London/Alexei Penzei: “Under Suspicion”

First, an important announcement:

Dmitry Vilensky & Alexei Penzin from Chto Delat/What Is to Be Done?
Lecture: Tuesday, December 1st at 6.00 pm
Small Hall / Cinema (to the side of Loafers)
Richard Hoggart Building
Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

Organised by Marxism in Culture and the Micropolitics Research Group, Goldsmiths, and supported by the Open University.

Second, to give Londoners a taste of what they might be hearing at the December 1 lecture, we are reprinting here Alexei Penzin’s essay “Under Suspicion,” from a recent issue of our newspaper entitled Another Commons: Living/Knowledge/Action. Sadly, what Alexei wrote this past summer has only gained in relevance and timeliness since then.

Alexei Penzin: Under Suspicion

When we peruse the timeline of the “merry month of May” 2009 in Russia—a laconic chronicle of arrests, detentions of activists, intellectuals and artists, but also of protests against these actions of the authorities—many difficult questions arise. Of course, the fragmentary and brief comments given below do not claim to be a definitive diagnosis. The incomplete and sketchy quality of these comments is rather a part of the problem itself. A fuller analysis will be possible when there is a systematic understanding of the post-Soviet political experience, which for now is a thing of the future. 

1. In medias res

It is very difficult to understand what is going on in medias res, from the inside: these are events that are in the process of development, that affect us personally and assail us from all sides without allowing us to assume the stance of a dispassionate observer. These events affect many of us, sometimes in the literal, physical sense. The command “Hands against the wall!” A stunning blow to the head in a bus filled with people nabbed at a demonstration. Or, for example, the indescribably grotesque intrusion of a detachment of armed, shouting men during the showing of a Godard film at a peaceful leftist seminar. For about a year now the solidarity networks have been constantly delivering reports of new arrests, unlawful summonses for “discussions,” and beatings of activists. It is possible, however, that we should not be so focused on ourselves. The bad news concerns not only the minority of activists and intellectuals. The news also comes from those who are not involved in politics, education or research—from “average citizens.” The very texture of post-Soviet society in recent years has been steeped in anonymous, free-floating violence committed by the “forces of law and order.” Violence against civilians has become a kind of collateral damage, an excess of the existing system of political management. Sometimes this anonymous violence takes on personal and transgressive features. For example, in the person of a police officer who shoots at customers in a supermarket with the cold-bloodedness of a character in a computer game. Continue reading

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Filed under activism, critical thought, our newspapers, political repression, protests, Russian society

Ljubljana: Radical Education (Conference)

Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana
Concept by REC 
28 – 29 November 2009

Imagination is not just a composition of thoughts and projections; it is undepictable. The border is not an edge, but the horizon beyond. Politics is where a constant deconstruction of injustice and inequality takes place in society. Micropolitics is not the other face of capitalism, but a permanent becoming-revolutionary. Institutions are not organisations or a mere technology of the arrangement of thoughts, bodies, memories, and discourses. They are also a manifestation of counter-power and places of self-organisation. A university is not an incubator of competition and productivity. It is a place where critical thought is born. New public spaces are not reserves of alternative or interest groups. They are places beyond capitalist urbanisation. 

In times of crisis, the conference focuses on the meaning of the radical. It explores the radical through the notions of micropolitics and transversality. It asks questions: what is the relationship between social movements, institutions, and alternative practices of institutionality; why can new politics emerge only beyond the state, parties, and traditional labor unions; how is the crisis of the university manifested in society; how do new public spaces and their protagonists undermine the prerogatives of capitalist urbanisation; how do art and artistic practices elude the trappings of representation; how is it possible to think about ruptures and utopias today; how can “wanting now” become possible and on what can life beyond capitalism rely? 

Continue reading

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Filed under activism, alternative education, contemporary art, critical thought

Speech of Moscow Antifascists at Berlin Memorial Demo for Silvio Meier

Thanks to Vlad Tupikin for this. You can see his photo reportage from the Berlin action in memory of Silvio Meier here

Vlad writes that 3,000 people attended the Saturday demo in Berlin. Typically, the Moscow authorities forbid a memorial march for the murdered antifascist Ivan Khutorskoi planned for Sunday after allegedly consenting to it. Instead, the much smaller group of demonstrators resorted to placing carnations on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, next to the Kremlin. (See the excellent photo reportage by blogger keltea here.) Later in the day, a group of about forty anarchists and antifascists held their own unsanctioned march in central Moscow (photos here).

Speech Given by Moscow Antifascists at the Berlin Memorial Action for Silvio Meier and Other Victims of Nazi Violence

Today, November 21, 2009, we honor the memory of Silvio Meier and other people who have perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Unfortunately, in Russia we also have good reason to remember the victims of fascist violence in November. Four years ago, on November 13, 2005, our friend and comrade the antifascist Timur Kacharava was murdered in Petersburg. This past Monday, November 16, 2009, the antifascist Ivan Khutorskoi was murdered in Moscow. Over the past three and half years, a total of seven antifascists have been murdered in Moscow.

But the antifascist movement is also growing. Because they can no longer risk open confrontations with the antifa, the Nazis have switched to cowardly murders on the sly, to shooting their victims in the back of the head.

Recently, the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev reported to the German magazine Spiegel about the solving of the murders of the antifascist lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the antifascist journalist Anastasia Baburova. Yes, specific Nazi murderers were apprehended. Yes, over the past year the authorities have intensified their fight against Nazi gangs. But the number of murders committed by Nazis (that is, those that we know about and could thus count) has practically not decreased. There were around one hundred such incidents in 2008, and approximately eighty in the first ten months of 2009.

We should not forget, however, that over the past years the state authorities and state propaganda in Russia have done much to incite xenophobia and nationalism and thus strengthen the Nazi camp.

We must not forget that at various times four major Nazi organizations have enjoyed the direct patronage of the authorities: Russian National Unity (RNE); the National-Socialist Society (NSO); the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI); and now Russkiy Obraz (Russian Way). The two people arrested on November 4 for the murders of Markelov and Baburova are members of this organization. That is why, in response to the murder of antifascist Ivan Khutorskoi, Moscow antifa attacked the headquarters of Young Russia, a puppet pro-Kremlin youth organization that provides “protection” for Russkiy Obraz.

As we can see, the Nazi terror in Russia continues.

And that is why we must continue to pressure the Russian government to end its support for Nazi front organizations, to end its nationalist propaganda, and to engage seriously in the capture of Nazi murderers.

We need to remember this not only on days like today, but on those days when Russian leaders come here to do their financial deals with Germany, when they come here to open art shows and film festivals and try in general to present Russia as a normal democratic country. Don’t believe them! Remind them about the unsolved fascist murders in Russia, about the Nazi terror that continues in our country.

Long live the international solidarity of antifascists!

The Antifascists of Moscow
November 21, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Berlin, U-Bahn Samariterstrasse

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Filed under anti-racism, anti-fascism, open letters, manifestos, appeals, protests, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

Californication, Part 2

We got this through the grapevine. Thanks to the comrade who sent it.

This week, 2000 students and workers from across the state converged on UCLA’s campus to demonstrate against 32% tuition increases imposed by the UC Regents. Students and workers from at least 8 UC schools, various Cal State universities, and 5 private colleges stood together in a fight to get our voices heard amidst a glaring lack of leadership, transparency, and accountability on the part of the top tiers of UC management. In addition, across the state, numerous student-organized occupations, strikes, sit-ins, and shut-downs brought attention to the broader issues of this “economic crisis” that affect all of us: the privatization of the university as a public good; the resegregation of the university to exclude people of color and working class people; the concentration of power in the hands of a wealthy minority; and a federal budget more oriented towards bailing out Wall Street banks and fighting two wars than educating our young people.

Below is a selection of media coverage and student statements from this week. Please disseminate far and wide! The struggle has just begun and we UC students need both local and national support to win it. If you’re at UCLA and wish to get involved, please join us at the UCLA Fights Back Meeting this Monday at 6pm in the School of Public Affairs 3rd Floor Lounge.

Democracy Now: “As UC Regents Approve Major Tuition Hike Students, Faculty Decry Erosion of Public Education in CA and Nationwide”

The New York Times: “Regents Raise College Tuition in California by 32 Percent”

Communique from the UCLA Occupation

LA Times: UCLA Protests Photos

Democracy Now: “Why Are We Destroying Public Education? University of California Students and Staff Prepare for System-Wide Strike to Protest Cuts”

Anti-Capital Projects: “The Neoliberalization of Public Education: What’s Race Got to Do with It?”

NY Times: “Students Protest Tuition Increases”

NBC: “Why are You Protesting? Voice of a UCLA Student”

Youtube: “Skirmish between student protesters and police at UCLA”

The Guardian: Judith Butler’s “Save California’s Universities” article

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Filed under activism, international affairs, protests, student movements

Gazprom Tower: Fools Rush In

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The St. Petersburg Times
November 20, 2009
TV Campaign Against Gazprom Tower Mounts
By Sergey Chernov

The controversial Gazprom Tower found itself under harsh attack last week on Russia’s main state television, Channel One, for the third time in the past four weeks — and its supporters struggled to offer any good reason to back the 403-meter-tall skyscraper in close proximity to the city center.

First slammed by the Kremlin-controlled channel in its primetime weekly news roundup on Oct. 18, the Okhta Center, as the building is officially known, was derided in the comedy show “Prozhektorperiskhilton” (Paris Hilton’s Spotlight) a week later, and last week became the subject of “Sudite Sami” (Judge for Yourself), a political talk show hosted by Maxim Shevchenko.

This time Okhta Center representatives — communications director Vladimir Gronsky and the project’s chief architect Filipp Nikandrov of the British firm RMJM — were given a chance to present their case for the skyscraper, which is planned to house state energy giant Gazprom’s headquarters and was described by Bloomberg News critic Colin Amery as “just another global corporate monolith — banal, dull and inappropriate.”

The unsuspecting Okhta Center team, which enjoys full administrative support in St. Petersburg, arrived at the studio to discover that the show was to be called “The Tower Against the City.” They were then refused the opportunity to show their presentation of the project, and were instead confronted with a barrage of questions — including ones they had ignored or mocked during the heavily policed public hearings held in St. Petersburg.

With no backing from City Hall, OMON special-task police or menacing individuals scattered around the room pushing and kicking opponents, as there were at the public hearings, the Okhta Center’s representatives appeared helpless and confused.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“During the past 80 years, no architectural masterpieces have been created in the city,” said Nikandrov, following one of the lines of the Okhta Center’s publicity campaign, to which the presenter Shevchenko asked whether Nikandrov considered the project to be a “masterpiece.”

“I think that this tower is a masterpiece,” Nikandrov replied.

“So we have a list like this: Rastrelli, Rossi, Falconet, Nikandrov. A great list,” Shevchenko summed up with irony.

Professionally, Nikandrov’s reasoning was confronted by Andrei Bokov, president of the Russian Union of Architects, who gave examples of Soviet architecture in St. Petersburg.

“I don’t know you, and I am shocked that a man whom I, the president of the Union of Architects, see for the first time, has taken responsibility for such a complex undertaking,” Bokov said.

“This project is naive and aggressive; it is dull, it is archaic. Chinese cities are being built with buildings that are vastly more interesting and better than what you are offering. Your brains haven’t been turned on.”

Advocates of the tower who were present in the studio struggled to come up with good reasons to support the project. The arguments they made frequently sounded eccentric.

Film director Vladimir Bortko claimed that the tower would be an “adornment” to St. Petersburg. When Grigory Revzin, Kommersant’s architecture critic, asked him to specify with what it would adorn St. Petersburg, Bortko replied, “With beauty!”

“You mean there’s no beauty [in St. Petersburg]? Not enough?” Revzin asked.

“Not enough,” Bortko responded.

Boris Nadezhdin, one of the leaders of the pro-Kremlin “liberal” party Pravoye Delo, touched on the political meaning of the tower, implying that it would symbolize the growing power of Russia.

“This tower is a symbol that Russia is rising from its knees, among other things,” he said.

“In clear weather it should be visible from the NATO Headquarters in Brussels!”

Gronsky applauded his own remarks, as if giving a sign to the pro-tower rent-a-crowd used at hearings in the past two years, but there was no rent-a-crowd to back him among the show’s audience.

At one point during the 45-minute show, film director Bortko, who appeared to be verging on hysteria for most of the program, rushed out of the studio, failed to find the exit and circled the speakers again before managing to leave.

Summing up the debates, Valery Fadeyev, editor of Expert magazine, said that the planned tower should be thoroughly discussed on a national level.

“We should return to the first phase of this project,” he said.

“The project has now gone outside of St. Petersburg. This problem has become national.”

The national uproar and Channel One’s campaign against the tower began after City Governor Matviyenko signed a decree exempting the Okhta Center from the height regulation law on Oct. 6. Some media suggested a rift in the Kremlin over the project and even took it as a sign that the project may soon be cancelled by the Russian authorities.


Filed under Russian society

Copylefter: “They Killed Vanya”

The following text appeared yesterday in the LiveJournal blog of copylefter. According to several folks on our platform, it is the most thoughtful response to the murder in Moscow of Ivan Khutorskoi, an antifa activist. As such, it is less about that horrible event than about the growth of the neo-Nazi movement and the Kremlin’s attempts to control and manipulate elements of that movement for its own ends. It is also contains a very clear call for a mobilization of all normal people in Russia to face what is happening and unite to stop this double-headed menace. 

Although we have rendered the text into English as faithfully as possible, we have had to replace the links in the original with references to English-language sources and add a few explanatory links of our own. Our apologies to the author for this intervention.

Copylefter: “They Killed Vanya”

They killed Vanya. Now the Nazis don’t jump random punk-rock concertgoers — now they operate like professionals. And indeed, why else would they have trained so much at “patriot” camps and abandoned building sites if only to operate like a mob of disguised football hooligans who attack their victims with knives? If it goes on this way, then the right-wingers will simply gun down all the important actors in the antifascist network. Then they’ll finish off the “importunate” liberals like the folks at SOVA. Then probably they’ll go after artists: after all, they’re too visible, and besides, they already have practical experience with organizing pogroms at art exhibitions. And after that the selection of books at Falanster will arouse their displeasure… And so, without taking power directly, the fascists will quite palpably begin limiting the freedom of people who aren’t involved in political life. Meanwhile, the Kremlin will with one hand catch some “right-wing terrorist” or other, reporting to the west about the success of its operation, while with the other it will shake the hands of his comrades-in-arms, make them aides to Duma deputies, and shell out dough to organize right-wing resources — all exclusively within the conceptual framework of controlling the nationalists. What kind of fucking controllable Nazis are we talking about? How can you use training camps to “castrate” Nazis?

RNE (Russian National Unity), a 1000% police-controlled organization, was able to use the financing and resources of pro-Kremlin structures to recruit a staggering number of people to the right-wing movement: newspapers that were distributed amongst cops and the military, training camps… The story of the NSO (National-Socialist Society) and [Dmitry] Rumiantsev is also widely known, but who cares? Now there are new Nazis at the feeding trough — Russian Image (Russkiy Obraz). It’s total fucking nonsense: the guy under whose name [the organization’s] eponymous journal is registered is being prosecuted for a political murder to the accompaniment of the state-controlled media, while his comrades-in-arms write daring texts about “killer journalists,” and the Kremlin gives them permission to hold concerts by Kolovrat [a Russian Nazi skinhead band whose name is taken from the Slavic version of the swastika] in the middle of Moscow.

I will say it one more time: what kind of fucking controllable nationalists are we talking about? What, if you create a legal political buffer for them and feed them, they won’t kill people? Fuck that. Vanya’s murder is merely the latest tragic example of the idiocy of this idea. It’s clearly revenge for [the arrests] of [Nikita] Tikhonov and [Evgenia] Khasis, and the legality of the Russian Marches couldn’t stop it in any way.

Meanwhile, posts and comments have already appeared in LiveJournal in which people who “do not approve” of fascists talk about how the antifa are the same kind of shaven-headed extremists —just look at what a big guy [Ivan Khutorskoi] was, and he’s wearing a Lonsdale shirt. This is such a convenient way to distance yourself from the problem. It’s in the style of the late nineties: all politics is sansara, and the best way to deal with it is to consciously keep aloof. But keeping aloof is possible only if and when all participants in an event are equally losers. If you recognize that at least one of them has truth and honesty on his side, then keeping aloof is tantamount to treachery. And that is why the flywheel of collective therapy — “they’re just like the Nazis, they’re just like the Nazis…” — will start spinning again.

It is time to put a stop to it.  What is happening has long ago stopped corresponding to the favorite theory of office clerks made wise by their benefits packages (about turf battles between neighborhood teenage gangs) — this is genuine political terrorism. And the policy of the authorities vis-à-vis the right-wingers — this de-marginalization of Nazis in the teeth of a constant stream of murders — unties the hands of the “Aryan warriors” and enables them to recruit 100 people for every one that gets sent to prison.

Moreover, there is no need at all for any kind of “centers for extremism prevention” or passing harsher laws. As it is, they already forbid practically everything you can think of, but for some reason the Nazis aren’t becoming fewer. We need a decisive mobilization on the part of all people who don’t fancy ending up to their ears in fascist shit, despite the fact that we’re unaccustomed to traditional political actions.

We need to put an end to very possibility that the authorities could support the right-wingers. For the sake of this goal we can even forget about political differences, about our traditional fussiness and the fear of being deceived by “politicos.” Otherwise we’ll soon find ourselves in a country where the Nazis have grown so strong and made themselves so at home that it won’t even be possible to think about autonomy and personal freedom.


Filed under anti-racism, anti-fascism, political repression, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

Antifa and Leftist Activist Ivan Khutorskoi Murdered in Moscow

Yesterday evening at around 9:00 p.m., 26-year-old Ivan Khutorskoi was shot and killed in the stairwell of his apartment building (Khabarovskaya, 2) in Moscow. While the greater public might not know his name, this is a truly enormous loss for many Russian antifascists and leftist activists. Ivan held leftist views and periodically participated in various social protest actions. First and foremost, however, he was known as one of the informal leaders of the Moscow antifascist movement. It is obvious to most of Ivan’s friends that Russian Nazis committed the murder.

Like the addresses and names of many other well-known antifascists (for example, Stanislav Markelov and Nikolai Girenko), Ivan’s address and name were frequently posted on pro-Nazi sites alongside calls for his liquidation. And in fact the murder was the fourth in a series of attacks on Ivan. The first attack took place in 2005, when Nazis attacked him and wounded him in the head with a razor blade. This incident was captured on video and then later used in the program “Ordinary Antifascism,” on NTV.  The second time, the radical right-wingers were waiting for him in the stairwell of his building. Although Ivan received multiple wounds in the neck area from a screwdriver and numerous blows from a baseball bat, he miraculously survived. In January of this year, Ivan was stabbed in the stomach with a knife during a street fight, and once again Ivan barely survived the attack. But now, it would seem, the Nazis have succeeded in achieving their goal the fourth time round. 

Recently, Ivan has been involved in providing security at concerts of antifascist groups, and he was also an organizer of martial arts tournaments for antifascists. His friends will remember him as an extremely kind, life-affirming individual for whom the notions of friendship, freedom, and solidarity were never mere talk.

At present, a police investigative squad is at the scene establishing the circumstances of the crime. Meanwhile, information about the murder has already appeared on Nazi websites.

This is the sixth murder of an antifascist in Moscow in the past few years. In April 2006, 19-year-old Alexander Ryukhin died from multiple stab wounds before a hardcore concert in the neighborhood of the Domodedovskaya metro station. This murder was solved. Three of the assailants, activists from various ultra-rightist organizations, were sentenced to between four and a half and six and half years in prison. Two other assailants are still wanted by the police, while a sixth, Nikita Tikhonov, was arrested on November 4 on suspicion that he murdered lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were also involved in the antifascist movement. In March 2008, another young antifascist, Alexei Krylov, died from stab wounds. Approximately twenty neo-Nazis attacked a group of young people near Maroseika, 6. Alexei received thirty-four knife wounds and died on the spot. In October 2008, Fyodor Filatov, a leader of the antifa skinheads, was murdered near the entrance to his building. On June 28, 2009, a group of Nazis murdered antifascist Ilya Dzhaparidze. His assailants used knives and air pistols. Dzhaparidze was taken to hospital, where he died from multiple injuries.


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