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Report on Third Annual Russian Autonomist—Anarchist Conference

Anonymous Comrade writes: "On 24-26 August, 2001, the 3rd Conference of
Autonomous Action took place in the North Caucasus,
Russia. 30 people from more than 10 regions of CIS
were present. We gathered late in the night, 23
August, at a remote hill in a forest. Generally the
need to organise was understood and shared by
everyone. It goes without saying that all three days
were filled with informal conversations — people met
each other, talked, shared experience and views.

Although the main concept of the movement seems to be
West European autonomism, various tendencies of
anarchism were represented — from redskins to animal
rights fighters and from radical ecologists to
non-orthodox dialectical materialists. Three
identified them-[our]-selves as "platformists".
The formal part started around noon, on 24 August. A
representative from each region introduced
him/herself and his/her group and talked about local
situation, current activities, and projects.
Unfortunately, at that point it started raining. We
had to move to a nearby town of Adler in search of
refuge, but as along our way it had stopped raining we
ended up again in a forest on another hill in the
town's vicinity. By then it was late night already. We
continued the following morning. After the projects,
such as antimilitary propaganda against the war in
Chechnya, direct actions against "Blue Stream"
pipeline, demos, antifa activism, etc. we proceeded
with discussion on the draft of Organisational
principles. Some minor changes were introduced through
majority vote. For example the definition of our
target as "a revolution that leads to social
self-management and individual autonomy" was changed
into "leads to Stateless and classless society
governed by social self-management" or the word
"brotherhood" was deleted completely as there is no
such word as "sisterhood" in Russian. There was a
little confusion about individual/collective
membership and in fact it might prove to be a big
problem in the future because the geographic territory
of Autonomous Action is so vast and communication
between our countries is often very bad and hard to

But the most heated debate occurred around
the principle stating that our member "cannot at the
same time be a member of any other political party
aiming at conquest of political power". The violent
discussion between some of us went on until 5 AM under
the rain and continued the day after. The minority
argued that it would impede to a great extent
accomplishment of many tactical tasks, related with
entrism and not only. From there also sprang an
argument that Organisational principles were not
needed at all as bureaucratic practice and a means of
restricting party-like control. They said that
although it was understood that being disorganised is
the weakest point of anarchism it was at the same time
its strongest point.

Apart from that (still unresolved) discussion during
the final day the approximate date and place of the
1st founding Congress were defined as well as its
co-ordinating council. Slight changes were introduced
to the Manifesto — e.g. many, including "Rainbow
Keepers" (famous radical ecologist organisation, quite
but loose on ideological and structural level),
disagreed with the definition of "slaves" in the
phrase "the Humanity is divided into classes, masters
and slaves" so the necessary corrections were made. In
general both drafts — that of "Manifesto" and of
"Organisational Principles" were approved by majority."