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(en) avtonom: Victory won't be quick: thoughts on chains of solidarity [machine translation]

Date Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:33:49 +0300

What happened was what many thinking people in Belarus were waiting for. Mass dissatisfaction with the regime of Lukashenko turned into street actions: hundreds and thousands of people in a dozen cities came to protest. Will these speeches lead to changes and what to do to make this happen? ---- Context ---- The election institution, which is in a deep crisis, got a new meaning this year thanks to the appearance of three figures: Babariko, Tsepkalo and Tikhanovsky. The first two, close to the Belarusian elite and thinking in a legalistic paradigm, managed to win over the previously non-politicized part of society. Many believed that peaceful changes are possible in Belarus, not going beyond the legal framework. More than 6% of the population signed for them, despite the pressure on their studies and work.

Tikhanovsky initially came up with a more protest stance. Apparently, his supporters are ready for street protests no less than the small electorate of the "classical" opposition. And there are a lot of them, which can be seen not only in the hundreds of thousands of signatures collected by his wife, but also in the huge audience of the blog.

Of course, these figures only mobilized people, and the roots of discontent are much deeper: from the spread of the Internet, free from censorship, to economic stagnation and "coronacrisis".

From voting to protest
The arrest of Babariko was a turning point. Lukashenko did not take risks: in spite of all the experience of falsifications and administrative resources, he was afraid of a large percentage in the elections of his main opponent.

After the arrest, part of the supporters of Babariko may lose hope, they will be disappointed and return to apoliticality. Someone will continue to act in a legitimate field, implement the idea with a referendum on the constitution and, if Lukashenko permits, run an election campaign.

But the third part will be outraged and begin to understand: there will be no changes along the legal path. This group of dissatisfied people will connect with the audience of Tikhanovsky and the rest of the opposition-minded opposition, ready to act on the street.

It looks like this is already happening. So, Tsepkalo himself came to the "chain of solidarity" and expressed support, and many protesters with the symbols of "Country for Life" and the BChB said that the impetus for the exit was the arrest of Babariko. In turn, the team of Babariko expresses support for the protest, but so far does not call for participation in it, but initiates legal initiatives.

From protest to resistance
Although participants in the "chains of solidarity" violate the laws established by Lukashenko, rhetoric of peaceful expression of opinions "guaranteed by the constitution" continues to prevail in this environment. This is the main weakness of the protest.

The protest is completely toothless: for a hundred detentions, we know only a few attempts to help the victims of lawlessness. It is really painful to understand that the courage of Belarusians is now enough only to shout "ganba" and shoot on the phone. We must pay tribute to the tricks of the security forces. They are afraid to provoke violence by protesters and refrain from particular cruelty.

The problem of installation for peaceful protest and the rejection of resistance to lawlessness is that it simply is not suitable for the current situation. Lukashenko implements a scenario of force suppression; he himself pushes dissatisfied people out of the legal field. If power has gone beyond the "limits", why should we stay in them? This is neither effective nor fair. If we enter into a military confrontation with the state, we have to learn how to defend ourselves according to the rules of this field.

What will happen if people start to become coupled and not let their people be detained, and each vintilovo will require a large number of cops and last for half an hour? Indeed, decentralization is on the side of the protesters - the security forces simply do not have enough resources to disperse such outbreaks throughout the city.

The problem of protest is not only tactical, but also strategic. We have no plan except to "express an opinion", which the authorities do not care about. Many are betting on August 9+, but what will happen on these numbers? Most likely, the Maidan is not possible in Belarus, the authorities have been preparing for it for a very long time, nothing prevents Lukashenko from screwing up several thousand people, including all leaders and blocking Minsk. But how then will a street protest lead to the overthrow of the regime? Our task is to develop this strategy.

In addition, the protest is not massive enough. Yet not many people understand the dangers of dictatorship and the importance of action. Our task is to tell them about this. Indeed, in order to overthrow the regime, it is not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands who are ready to take to the streets.

So we need to do even more work, solve many issues and learn a lot. The "chains of solidarity" alone will not lead to the overthrow of the regime, but they can become an important point in a series of events that will lead to changes. There are more enemies of the state, and this is an incentive to act.

What to do?
Of course, there are no recipes, but events have shown several directions in which you can work.

By the way, anarchists now have no opportunity to influence what is happening either ideologically or organizationally. Nevertheless, we can participate in grassroots initiatives and self-organized protests, contributing to the overthrow of the dictatorship and attracting new supporters.

Discuss, disseminate and implement new tactics of protest. You can get together with a friend or have a chat where you can discuss how to resist detention or get together in many places in the city.

Lukashenko will not leave himself. But what form can a rebellion take? Could it be massive entry in the central squares? Or spontaneous performances throughout the city? Or barricades with Molotov cocktails? Discuss this with your friends and share possible scenarios.

Spread criticism of the regime, tell how the end of a dictatorship can improve people's lives. Do it everywhere: talk with family, distribute leaflets in your entrance, or repost. Unfortunately, we are not 97%, but active at least, so this is an important area of work.

Explore and disseminate activist safety materials. How to behave on a street rally, in the CIP, how to talk with the cops. Help human rights defenders. After all, reducing the harm from repression is an important part of the struggle. Here is a great guide .

Petr Fomashov for pramen.io

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