This is the seventh 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.
The entire issue may be downloaded as a .pdf file here. Selected texts may be accessed here.
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We often explain that we will work for “majority” and “conscious” revolutions. Majority: which implies “revolutionary-democratic” processes. […] Conscious: which requires the preparation of the revolutionary rupture by a series of confrontations where the masses go through the experience of the superiority—even partial—of socialist solutions compared to capitalism.
—François Sabado, “Components of Revolutionary Strategy”
Advanced by the workers of the Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk on the eve of the parliamentary elections (in early December 2007), the slogan Don’t Vote! Strike! was a precise and capacious reply to certain vital questions. For example, it became clear what was meant by the “active boycott” to which leftists have long been making abstract appeals. An answer was given to the question, “Which is better: not to go to the polls or to go and invalidate your ballot?” This question has, up until now, been followed by the useless, apathetic answer, “Go or don’t go. Tear up the ballot or don’t tear it up. All the same we’ll be deceived.” A weighty word has also been uttered in the debate about whether there is a working class, and if there is one, who should represent it and how it can be given a voice.
Over the past few days, participants of Chto Delat’s e-mail platform have been debating two articles recently published at Рабочая борьба: Сайт настоящих профсоюзов — The Worker’s Struggle: The Site of Real Trade Unions. In the first article, Рабочее движение и гражданское общество (“The Worker’s Movement and Civil Society”), well-known Russian Marxist political analyst and writer Boris Kagarlitsky argues:
По существу, рабочее движение оказалось пока первым и единственным действительным проявлением гражданского общества в современной России. Не искусственного, созданного на западные гранты или заседающего в муляжной Общественной палате, а реального, формирующегося снизу.
In essence, for now the worker’s movement has proved to be the first and the only real manifestation of civil society in contemporary Russia. [That is, it is a manifestation] not of the artificial [civil society] that is produced with the aid of western grants or for a member of the ersatz Public Chamber, but of the real [civil society] that forms at the grassroots. Continue reading