This is the third in a series of translations of the articles in BASTA!, a special Russian-only issue of Chto Delat that addresses such pressing issues as the fight against racism and facism, the new Russian labor movement, the resistance to runaway “development” in Petersburg, the prospects for student self-governance and revolt, the potential for critical practice amongst sociologists and contemporary artists, the attack on The European University in St. Petersburg, and Alain Badiou’s aborted visit to Moscow.
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I sit typing this text on my notebook. Out the window I see a sixteen-storey building under construction. The guys who work there from morning till night have never in their lives seen the Internet. They have come to this city from godforsaken villages—in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzia, and Russia itself—to earn money. Most of the guys don’t leave the construction site. To avoid taxes, their employer hasn’t given them their papers. In their free time, all that they can do is sit in the trailer and watch TV programs in a language—Russian—that most of them, especially the younger ones, understand poorly. Although it is cramped in the trailer, it is warm. A shower isn’t provided, so after a hard day’s work they have to wash themselves using a bucket and a pitcher. The guys put up with these hardships, however: they are young and full of strength. And hope?