The organizing committee of the June 12 opposition march and rally in Moscow refused to let members of the Occupy movement read their manifesto onstage. Activists assembled a mini-rally at The March of the Millions and, using the “human microphone,” read out their manifesto along with sympathetic anarchists.
The text we are going to read aloud was composed collectively and publicly by members of the Occupy movement.
On May 7 we took to the streets of our cities and remained there. Moscow, Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kaliningrad. When we were illegally detained by the police, when the riot cops chased us away, we returned again to our streets, we occupied them once and for all in order to liberate them from the violence of the authorities. This is our city! This is our country!
We took to the boulevards and squares, and began living together, setting aside ideologies and disagreements. We organized ourselves. We got field kitchens, security and public awareness campaigns up and running. We set up camps at various points in the city to protest day and night.
We learned to negotiate with one another and make decisions at General Assemblies, decisions that give every individual opinion the right to be heard and to influence the decision of the majority. We made mistakes, suffered divisions and came together again, for we had no teachers and no one to help us except ourselves.
Over this month of hard daily work we have gained practical experience: we have learned to organize ourselves and solve problems independently.
We do not trust the authorities. We do no trust the laws they pass, and we do not expect someone to come along and write better laws behind closed doors and make sure they are enforced without our involvement.
But we trust ourselves: this is how direct popular democracy is born. A democracy without leaders whom we only know from TV screens, leaders who are somewhere far away, while we are right here. A democracy without leaders who forget about us as soon as they have clawed their way to the top.
You cannot change the system by acting the way the system does. The goal of our self-organization is to build a different political system, a system based on the principles of horizontality and democracy.
Only the opportunity for each person to influence how decisions are made will enable us to live in our country the way we want to live.
Do we want Russia to join the WTO?
Do we want to live under the new law on demonstrations?
Do we want to have commercialized education and medical care?
Will we continue to let ourselves be duped during elections?
Or do we not want all this?
Or can we take to the streets and begin acting independently? Right here, right now, without waiting for help from the authorities or media personalities?
We can make our own education by organizing free lectures, seminars and discussions. Make our own decisions and prove ourselves by getting things done. Make our own public television rather than waiting for Channel One to tell the truth. Come to municipal governments with ready-made solutions rather than waiting for them to figure out how to improve our lives. Form cells on the ground that will organize society around them and become district councils. Take to the streets with public awareness campaigns, telling people about the crimes of the regime and how to stop them.
Each of us who begins doing something in their cities, in their districts, lays the foundations of self-organization along with their friends and neighbors.
We are asked, “If not Putin, then who?”
We reply, “Who if not us?”
We ourselves, our self-organization, are the powers that be!
Occupy in order to liberate!
(The original manifesto in Russian has been posted here.)