Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 26, 2014

The perfect embodiment of the anarchist concept of the revolutionary order?

Filed under: Russia,Ukraine,Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 5:36 pm

“By contrast, the Donetsk Republic formulates its agenda from below, literally on the run, in response to the public mood and the course of events. Strictly speaking this republic is not even a state—rather, it amounts to a coalition of diverse communities, most of them self-organised. In essence, it is the perfect embodiment of the anarchist concept of the revolutionary order.”

–Boris Kagarlitsky


Pro-Russia rebels paraded Ukrainian prisoners of war through the main street in central Donetsk on Sunday. Onlookers shouted insults and pelted the prisoners with beer bottles, eggs and tomatoes. Credit: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

NY Times, August 25 2014
In Eastern Ukraine, Rebel Mockery Amid Independence Celebration

DONETSK, Ukraine — On a day when Ukrainians celebrated their independence from the Soviet Union with parades and speeches, pro-Russia separatists in the eastern part of the country staged a grim counter-spectacle: a parade that mocked the national army and celebrated the deaths and imprisonment of its soldiers.

Leading the procession was an attractive young blond woman carrying an assault rifle, followed by several dozen captured Ukrainian soldiers, filthy, bruised and unkempt, their heads shaved, wearing fetid camouflage uniforms and looking down at their feet.

Onlookers shouted that the men should be shot, and pelted the prisoners with empty beer bottles, eggs and tomatoes as they stumbled down Artyomovsk Street, Donetsk’s main thoroughfare. A loudspeaker played Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March,” a familiar Russian patriotic piece. Behind the prisoners were two tanker trucks spraying soapy water, demonstratively cleaning the pavement where the Ukrainian soldiers had passed.

People in the crowd shouted “fascists!” and “perverts!” and separatist fighters held back a man who tried to punch a prisoner.

The Geneva Conventions’ rules for treating prisoners of war prohibit parading them in public, but the treatment of the wounded, disheveled prisoners seemed to offend few of those watching, who in any case had turned out for the promise of seeing a ghoulish spectacle. “Shoot them!” one woman yelled.


A passer-by at a checkpoint taunted a woman suspected of aiding the Ukrainian military. The prisoner had to hold a sign saying: “She kills our children.” Credit: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

NY Times, August 26 2014
As Peace Talks Approach, Rebels Humiliate Prisoners in Ukraine

DONETSK, Ukraine — On the sidewalk of a busy street beside a checkpoint, a bearded gunman wrapped a woman in a Ukrainian flag and forced her to stand, sobbing in terror, holding a sign identifying her as a spotter for Ukrainian artillery. “She kills our children,” it read. Because the woman was a spy, said the gunman, a pro-Russian militant, everything that would happen to her would be well-deserved.

Passers-by stopped their cars to get out and spit, slap her face and throw tomatoes at her. Her knees buckled. She struggled to mumble in protest of her innocence and to shake her head in denial.

This theatrical scene of abuse unfolded a day after the rebel movement had paraded Ukrainian prisoners of war down a main thoroughfare here at bayonet point, then dramatically washed the pavement behind them.



  1. I think it would be better to shoot them dead right away. It’s not a good idea to march the fascists like this, since it creates a paranoia environment. But, as Boris Kagarlitsky says, it’s a display of anarchist order, so if they want to propaganda by the deed, it’s up to them. They got these 2 articles in NYT, so, I guess they got something of what they wanted.

    Comment by Daniel de França — August 26, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  2. You really are an ignorant piece of shit, aren’t you, Daniel. The next time you degrade this blog with such a nihilistic comment, you will be banned.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 26, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  3. Sam Marcy would be so proud.

    Comment by John B. — August 26, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

  4. I was looking for nihilism and I found this:


    It seems closely related to many forms of anarchisms, right? So, I don’t think I degraded, it seems that if the person quoted in the beginning is claiming anarchism, then what is shown in the articles does seem to reflect that. In the previous paragraph, of the text quoted in the beginning, the author even wrote:

    “Before us is the real working class—crude, muddle-headed and devoid of political correctness. Anyone who dislikes the present ideological and cultural state of the class should go and work with the masses. The good thing is that no-one is stopping people going to this crowd with red flags and socialist leaflets (unlike the case with the Maidan, where the flags were torn up, and left agitators were beaten and thrown off the square).”

    That seems to be the case, doesn’t it? And the part in parenthesis does seem to reflect the state of affairs during the protests during the last year’s protest in Brazil, including the part of flags being torn apart. The protests were crushed by the police anyway and most people just accept that (after all, many claimed to be “apolitical”).So, the end result, including what happened to my sister, was a terrible move away from the left.

    @Sam Marcy: I think you mean that I am somehow saying that Russia is being imperialist and I am excusing them, is that it? So, like, this is a movement created by them, or something like this? Or is it because they are supplying arms? I don’t get it.

    Comment by Daniel de França — August 27, 2014 @ 12:53 am

  5. Don’t be a fucking smart-ass, Daniel. There is nothing “anarchist” about this: “I think it would be better to shoot them dead right away.” I don’t need assholes hanging out here. If you ever write anything again that has the slightest whiff of “shoot them dead”, you will be banned. Mark my words.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2014 @ 1:00 am

  6. That’s **supposing** that what is really happening is a revolution. There is a saying of Che, the most famous of all of them (which is also pretty much most people only know about him), at least around here, quoted by his friend Ricardo Rojo “Hay que endurecerse, pero sin perder la ternura jamás.” (“One must endure without ever losing tenderness”). This is taken by the romantic side, but I take it more like to understand it as saying, among other things, of to kill, expel someone, rather than torture or humiliate.

    I have to agree with this. In a revolution, things are taken away, and some people cling and fight to their material things rather than to the good of their fellow human beings. So, you are in a contradictory position. What to do with a person like this? Humiliate or torture is a no go. Put them in a prison for the rest of their lives, or in a gulag, is torture. Parade with them, is humiliation, is a circus, it’s like reproducing the daily exploitation to extract surplus, except this is a surplus of barbaric pride. So, I’d prefer to shoot them out of sight or in the spot of the counter revolutionary act.

    Comment by Daniel de França — August 27, 2014 @ 1:45 am

  7. Bye-bye.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2014 @ 1:58 am

  8. thanks for the housekeeping, Louis

    Comment by MB — August 27, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

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