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Moscow May Day Actions

Oleg Kireev, host of the 'Mailgetto' mailing list, describes creative actions taken by Russian anarchists this May Day.

"SVOI 2000" movement ("OWN 2000" or "OUR OWN 2000") had organized a Mayday demonstration - the second russian street-party. All were dressed in suits (so unusual for the unformal people) and held the advertising banners instead of transparencies. The demonstration participants had been representing themselves advertising the services like: "Videofilming. Non-linear montage", "Chemistry lessons", "Logotypes. Marketing style", "Bicycles' repair". A column headed by the trumpet orchestra "Pokava it'" followed the red oppositionary procession across the Yakimanka street and turned aside nearby the "Udarnik" cinema, settled at the green field by the fountain and started to celebrate a Day of Spring and Labour - a Mayday. At the end the trumpeters stood in the fountain playing and the demonstrators danced. That's how Mayday, long after the Soviet Union, became cheerful and hospitable again.

People who are known as the resisters-anarchists for their companions, the "Against all parties" campaign and many radical actions participants and so on, do such pleasant things now. The Mayday demonstration had raised all the questions familiar to anarchist ideology, such as protest against the labour alienation, against urbanist space, negative self-positioning towards on the parliamentary opposition, direct expression etc. - but they were only "mentioned" as a background for a collective holiday feeling.

Anarchism in Russia had found its positive program finally. There's now something to answer a usual rhetoric question "What are you suggesting instead?" We suggest ourselves instead of the aged and corrupted politicians and their activists - ourselves who are young, well-looking, aware and able to do the work which we like "quickly, accessibly, qualified". Those who are aware as well have made their choice already. And there's no need to talk about the politicians too much. They didn't take part in a celebration anyway. But for us the city streets were "owned" again, for the second time. They weren't alien anymore, they became "our own". As our friends from the Saint-Petersbourgh band "Jah republic" sing,

"Positive, positive -

no alternative."

So there're already two street-parties, a legendary deputy Bobkov's preelectoral campaign and a lot of videoworks and texts in a portfolio of "SVOI 2000" movement initiated by Dima Model and Marina Potapova for now. Let's look, by the way, at a leaflet they wrote in a very beginning of "SVOI's" existence, at winter'99:

"... There were unformal groupings, gatherings, identifications before, now there's nothing left from this culture. The lower intitatives are replaced by styles, propagated by the fashion youth magazines and TV-shows, which a whole industry is based on. They aren't 'svoi' ('our') as well.

People become 'svoi' in a process of creative and social interaction. Collective holidays initiated from below, social movements expressing their attitudes and demands in a case of injustice - so are the conditions which will let people overcome an alienated state of being and take a completely responsibe position towards on their environment.

'SVOI 2000' movement could become an important social experiment aimed to reconcile different groups of people: to support variable creative initiatives, local holidays in urban areas, competitions between the areas, aim to the aged people and invalids, areal newspapers made by their inhabitants; to form students' gatherings of a new kind, youth committees of different sorts; psychogeography, areal and local statuses, space division... "

All this makes us think - together with the completely positive Mayday results - that the "SVOI 2000" movement has a far-going perspectives of "osvoenie" ("owning") of a post-Soviet postpostmodern space.

Thanks for the posative note. 08.May.2001 22:39

skye skye_far@yahoo

It's good to here some one on the other side of the world with such a posative message. It sounds like you have a realy sollid base for your actions there. Here, in America I feel that the movement is fragmented. It may just be that things need to gain more momentum befor we start unifieng. Keep up the good work, Solidarity 111=!!!