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What is actually happening in Belarus right now?
On 24.10. we drove to Nuremberg. Our comrades from Auf der Suche, the anarchist group in Nuremberg, had organized an event. It was about the situation in Belarus, Lukashenka’s dictatorship, the massive repressive apparatus and the work of the anarchists on the ground. The lecture was given by anarchist Black Cross Belarus. This is followed by a report and an assessment of the political situation of Belarusian anarchists and how solidarity can become practical. It is Monday, 24.10.2022 on a rainy autumn day in the Nuremberg district shop Schwarze Katze. In front of us sit comrades who inform us about the past and current situation in Belarus. There is a pleasant atmosphere, but in terms of content it is getting very, very cold right now.
With an introductory trigger warning, we are warned against torture, rape and murder. We are told how the protests are being crushed after the falsification of the results of the 2020 presidential election and how repression has increased massively since then. We see photos of prisons and their torture rooms, demonstrators shot, neighborhood initiatives and organized workers‘ strikes, and of those very people who are being tortured to death in the prisons there at this moment because of their political work, among other things by isolation and hunger.
For those who, despite everything, do not allow themselves to be intimidated by the dictatorial regime and nevertheless take to the streets, a law against extremism will be passed. What is extremist and what is not is primarily decided by the cops and the court. Despite state law, there is no state requirement, the absurd legal situation is abstract and serves above all for the arbitrariness of state enforcement organs. Lawyers who stand up for activists have their accreditation revoked, and as a result they often end up in jail themselves. On state channels, there are masses of videos in which activists apologize for their participation in the demonstration, regret it as a mistake and speak out for the Belarusian state. It can be seen in the pictures that these confessions were extorted by psychological pressure and torture. This is followed by images of armed cops standing in the living room threatening the family of activists.
As a result, many people, including many anarchist comrades, flee to other European countries. Partly without papers, because the Belarusian leadership is also depriving many people of their citizenship as a result of the mass protests. The following is a picture of an anarchist volunteer battalion in Ukraine. At the forefront an anarchist flag, many anarchists come from Belarus, who hope that the victory against Russia will also at least weaken the bloody regime in Belarus.
As a result, the war in Ukraine is also becoming an issue. The historical connection to Soviet Russia is emphasized, as well as the stationing of Russian troops in Belarus to attack Ukraine and the feeding of wounded Russian soldiers in the border area of the Belarusian south. This is followed by talk of partisan tactics to sabotage railway tracks in order to prevent the transport of Russian soldiers, ammunition and weapons to Ukraine. Again, images of arrested people imprisoned in the very prisons and labor camps that have been seamlessly adopted, including torture rooms and torture methods from the Soviet era.
It was important for the speakers to emphasize this again and again. On the one hand to point out the torture methods of Stalinist law enforcement organs and on the other hand to point out the inhuman continuation policy of the Belarusian state under Lukashenka. After all this terrible input, it was again about information on how we can help, but more about that later.
What does this mean for us anarchists?
For their dreams and efforts for a free world without state, patriarchy and capitalism, anarchists in Belarus are subjected to the harshest repression. Apart from torture, heavy prison sentences and the simultaneous threat of families, friends and lawyers, Belarus is the last country in Europe to have the death penalty. In addition to the already mentioned newly introduced extremism law, there are also allegations of terrorist offences. Acts of sabotage, e.g. on the rail network, can now also be regarded as a terrorist offence. Persons convicted as terrorists can thus be sentenced to death, which can also apply to many comrades.
In the meantime, political work in Belarus is only possible underground. Human rights organizations are completely banned and anyone who is considered a political prisoner has the lowest position in prison and is marked with a yellow plaque. All prisoners must wear badges, but the political ones are at the lowest level. They are forbidden to talk to other inmates. Some are not allowed to talk to anyone at all. It is an attempt at the complete isolation and psychological destruction of political prisoners, which comes on top of the physical, caused by malnutrition, no protection from cold in winter or heat in summer and other violence.
What can we do?
The repression affects many anarchists, but also others who are considered political prisoners because they took to the streets against the president. We must do something to counter this isolation of people. We must make their stories known! We need to talk about it and show what is happening in this country! And we have to support people financially. There are various ways to do this, from donations to anarchist Black Cross Belarus to group sponsorships for prisoners or writing letters and postcards to prisoners. What you can do can be found on the website of the group ABC Belarus.
The people of ABC Belarus have talked about terrible things, but at the same time they have shown enormous strength and energy to fight for a free world despite these dangers. Let us support them! Share your information material online, print it out (via your university account, your workplace, at home or in the copy shop) and distribute it at your meetings, regulars‘ tables, demos and actions. And donate if you can!
Many thanks to ABC Belarus and Auf der Suche for the event!
Solidarity is our weapon!
If you want to know more, you can inform yourself here: https://abc-belarus.org/?tag=belarus&lang=en
For Donations see here: https://abc-belarus.org/?page_id=8661&lang=en
Against authoritarianism and militarization: the pandemic is not an argument! A contribution to the german army called Bundeswehr and the further militarization of civil society.
As an anarchist group, we reject the german Army called Bundeswehr in its entirety. Today, however, our concern is to criticize the use of the Bundeswehr during the pandemic, which is becoming more and more a matter of course. We would like to raise awareness of this topic and hope that the critical voices will increase. Because at the moment, militarization is mostly accepted in silence or even gratefully.
The so-called requests for administrative assistance provide the legal framework for an internal deployment of the Bundeswehr. These may only be accepted if the required services are legally permissible and civilian resources have been exhausted. Since March 2020, over 9,000 applications have been submitted and between 3,000 and 25,000 soldiers are deployed.
This mission is the longest and most extensive since World War II. It is also the first time in the history of the Bundeswehr that it has set up a contingent for domestic use as a preventative measure. The figures show that this internal deployment of the Bundeswehr can no longer be described as „administrative assistance“. No, it is already a systematic part of crisis management. This can also be seen from the fact that no changes are being worked on.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, no existing civil infrastructures such as hospitals, health authorities or other parts of the health system have been strengthened financially, in terms of personnel or technology. Also, no special medical civilian crisis center was set up that could cushion the consequences of the pandemic and the ailing, broken healthcare system. No sign of any plans. Instead: photos of friendly soldiers doing social work, which make us forget all the right-wing entanglements of the Bundeswehr and are intended to increase the acceptance of the military in the country. One of the most important demands is therefore the expansion of civil structures for crisis management! Easily financed by dismantling military.
In addition to the deployment of soldiers, the Bundeswehr’s means of transport are also used as part of administrative assistance. Corona intensive care patients are transferred with Bundeswehr aircraft as part of the military operation „Cloverleaf“. This is also presented to us without alternative and is intended to strengthen the positive image of the Bundeswehr. And, not so well known, since March 2020 a general medical officer has been leading the joint crisis management team of the Ministry of Health and the Interior. Political decisions are prepared there, we have to keep that in mind. The new government is continuing this policy of militarization. Major General Carsten Breuer was made head of the newly established Corona crisis management team. He is the commander of the „Territorial Tasks Command“ in the Bundeswehr, which is responsible for domestic deployments of the armed forces. We cannot and must not accept that.
We are not at war, we have to deal with a pandemic. According to the coalition agreement, the crisis team should better coordinate “the nationwide fight against the corona pandemic”. Thus, for the first time since the Second World War, a national crisis is officially assigned to a military leader who is also an internal leader of the Bundeswehr. In order to strengthen the civil crisis capability, a representative of the Bundeswehr is active in the Chancellery. We cannot address this often enough. Since then, Gereralmajor Breuer has been telling us almost every day whether the vaccination goal has been achieved and how the vaccination campaign is being organized. Or we may read the headline: „Carsten Breuer is Germany’s Corona General“. Where’s the outcry? What did Germany learn from the Nazi era?
Such a decision is not accidental or determined by the fact that there is no other person who could take on this task. No, it is a deliberate breach of taboo by the traffic light coalition, which continues and expands the deployment of the Bundeswehr within the grand coalition. We on the left know that this breaking of a taboo will have an impact on future crisis management, whether it be environmental disasters or riots. This approach will result in the Bundeswehr demanding more funding for its equipment. And again there will be no more money for the care or civil structures that are necessary to take humanitarian action against a pandemic. We find ourselves in a spiral away from prevention and support for civilian crisis management structures towards controls and the military in everyday life. The pandemic was neither planned by anyone nor wanted by politicians. Nevertheless, it is being used: to expand the powers of the internal military and the police to be prepared for situations beyond pandemics.
If the climate crisis worsens, the reasons for fleeing increase and more and more people rebel against capitalist constraints, the military is ready with its experience from the pandemic and its acceptance in society as new friends and helpers. These crises will then be dealt with in a military manner and it will not be about actually solving these crises.
Therefore we warn against getting used to the pictures of helping soldiers in test centers, homes for the elderly and health authorities. The military is neither social nor humanitarian!
We will stay with it:
Corona is the virus – capitalism is the crisis
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