Russia: Anticapitalism 2017 and crisis of World Festival of Youth & Students

On eve of World Festival of Youth and Students, Moscow authorities are preparing an attack on left organizations

On the eve of the World Festival of Youth and Students [October 14-22 in Sochi], the Anticapitalism 2017 March will be held in Moscow on Saturday, September 23.

Notification was sent to the mayor’s office, signed by the participants of the organizing committee of the action. The subsequent actions of the Moscow government, alas, frankly violate the law on rallies.

For starters, the mayor’s office missed the deadline, having spent more than three days on its response. Moreover, the Moscow government refused to agree to the action, without offering the organizers an alternative route for the march.

Despite this apparent violation of the law by the Moscow government, the “Anticapitalism” Organizing Committee decided to compromise and offered City Hall an alternative route with fewer participants. The mayor ignored our goodwill.

In this regard, we announce that the Anticapitalism March will be held in Moscow on September 23. At 13:00 we will gather at the beginning of Strastnoy Boulevard, near Chekhovskaya Metro station.

The law is on our side, and we will assemble peacefully, without weapons, to express our rejection of the inhuman capitalist system that reigns in Russia.

“Anticapitalism” March Organizing Committee


Editor’s note: The whole idiocy of the situation is that, at an informal level, it is the preparations for the World Festival of Youth and Students that is behind the rejection of the “Anticapitalism” march.

Consider: the main foreign participants of the festival are “left” youth. How will they go to a festival in a country where the “Anticapitalism” march was just banned? Moreover, since the organizers of the march are not going to retreat, there will be mass arrests of the left in the capital on the eve of the festival, and at a march against capitalism!

It must be said that the festival itself is at risk from beginning to end — and precisely because of the position of the Russian authorities, who have long pushed back the real applicants, and elevated the forces of the Presidential Administration who intend to host a “Seliger in Sochi.” [Seliger refers to the All-Russian Youth Educational Forum, a Russian government-funded pro-capitalist youth forum.] Yes, yes, dominated by youth leaders from the pro-Kremlin organizations, diluted with a dozen or so real “leftists,” who “will be allowed.” The situation is at a stalemate — they started, they cannot refuse … And it seems that it will be unavoidable.

For example, one of the applicants of the “Anticapitalism” march is Denis Somer [of the United Communist Party – OKP]. But he is also officially a member of the National Preparatory Committee of the festival! He is one of the people who stood at the very beginning of this initiative. And now – bitter laughter — Denis Sommer is not allowed to participate in the festival! He recently received an official letter that said:

“Unfortunately, your application did not pass the final stage of the selection process for participation in the Festival. The application may have been rejected for the following reasons (including but not limited to):

“Non-compliance with eligibility criteria, incomplete or incorrectly completed questionnaire, non-confirmation of data in personal account. Failure can be caused by one or more reasons.

“We hope for your understanding and look forward to further cooperation on other youth projects!

“We wish success in your professional work!

“Yours faithfully,

“XIX World Festival of Youth and Students team.”

It’s clear, isn’t it? A certain “festival team” denies a member of the National Preparatory Committee the right to participate.

And now, as an applicant for the “Anticapitalism” march, he will certainly be arrested by the police and, undoubtedly, the most fair Metropolitan Court will award him a fine. Well, if they don’t put him in jail.

I’m curious: Don’t you think members of the left community will ask questions? And the first question is — is it worth it to go to a country where this happens?

Moreover, many foreign participants, including some very well-known ones, have also received rejections from the little-known “festival team” — wicked tongues say in the interest of state security. For example, Banda Bassotti will most likely not perform at the festival, although they were announced long ago. A number of leftist activists from Russia, who over the past two years have been actively involved in the preparation of this event, will not be permitted.

No, tell me, what kind of a fool would agree to go to a leftist youth festival in a country where an “Anticapitalism” march is dispersed? Well, unless it’s someone from the Ku Klux Klan…

Anatoly Baranov, Editor-in-Chief, FORUM.msk
Sept. 22, 2017


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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