“Solidarity Collectives” (former “Operation Solidarity”) is an anti-authoritarian volunteer network formed before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine to help comrades on the frontline and civilians affected by the war. “Collectives” isn’t merely a name but the essence of our initiative which was joined by various organizations and groups from Ukraine, Germany, Poland, France, US, Netherlands, Canada, and many other countries.
Based on our anti-authoritarian values, we decided to actively resist Russian aggression. We support the right of the Ukrainian people to self-defense and consider the Russian invasion an imperialist act. Despite the multidimensionality of any global event, the key reasons for this war are the imperial policy of the Russian Federation, the belief in the historical mission of the Russian elites, and an attempt to establish control over what they think is their sphere of influence. The reasons should not be sought neither in the economic interests of the Russian oligarchy nor in “Russian security precautions”, and especially not in NATO’s scheming. Full support of the Ukrainian people in their struggle (which doesn’t necessarily mean supporting the government’s policies) is the only consistent stance for anarchists and leftists worldwide.
Ukrainians wage an armed struggle against Russia because there is no other way of effective resistance now. Classic pacifist recipes don’t work here because the sides of the conflict aren’t equal. If the Russian army surrenders, the war will end. If Ukrainian soldiers lay down their weapons or “turn them against their government”, as some ‘experts on Ukraine’ suggest, the Russian army will occupy more territories and commit more war crimes. Both solutions are equally unrealistic though. And reality requires practical answers and specific actions.
On a big scale, Ukraine has no choice other than to defend itself with weapons. However, on the individual level, many Ukrainian men and women, including our comrades, joined armed units voluntarily and consciously.
So what do we do? We’ve created a volunteer team of very different people and initiatives, managing to maintain its work despite crises and reformatting. We’ve established a logistics network and strong partnerships with many anarchist and left-wing initiatives in Europe and beyond. Domestically, we cooperate with anti-authoritarian groups, labor unions, local activists, and institutions in areas near the frontline.
But our main achievement is an incredible amount of equipment and other essentials delivered to our fighters at the frontline.
Currently, “Solidarity Collectives” have three main areas of work: military, humanitarian, and media. We work daily collecting fighters’ needs, making purchases in Ukraine and abroad, organizing humanitarian trips to war-affected regions, communicating with friendly initiatives, and publishing the results of our work. For many, this is the most important part of our lives now.
Practice is one of our founding principles. We came together to help the Ukrainian resistance fight off Russian aggression. But we aren’t just against something, we also stand for. Our goal is a free and just society, our main values are social, economic, and gender equality.
- We believe that the Ukrainian reconstruction which politicians and diplomats already discuss should benefit the people. It shouldn’t be based on neoliberal dogmas that the authors of the reconstruction plan are trying to include there.
- We think feminism today should be based on a proactive position. Now, female activists of the anti-authoritarian movement bravely fight the aggressor, head military units, and provide medical aid on the battlefield. Also, most of the ‘Solidarity Collectives’ members are women, and they do most of the work in the military direction
- We support anti-authoritarian and anti-colonial movements around the world. Today, anti-authoritarian activists in Ukraine acquire experience which might be useful to topple dictators and authoritarian regimes both in post-soviet countries and other regions (Iran, for instance).
- We support animal rights movements and fight against climate change. We pass vegan food to vegan fighters and advocate for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. It’s not just about preventing climate disasters in the distant future but also about reducing the dependency on the resourse-oriented Russian economy.
Our goals are incompatible with Putin’s authoritarian regime. But we’re ready to fight for them in post-war Ukraine too opposing authoritarian tendencies in our society.
We’re grateful for the support to everyone who’s been working with us through all these months. To those who help raise money, transfer vehicles, organize public events, or come to Ukraine with humanitarian aid. Today, we feel the strength of international solidarity which is capable to do great things, despite the international left’s split on the ‘Ukrainian question’. We realize this solidarity isn’t easy but we call for you not to give in to the war weariness, especially now when your support is crucial to us.
We are also ready for open dialogue with those who still hesitate but are ready to hear the position of the Ukrainian anti-authoritarian community. We want to see you on our side of the barricades!
Meanwhile, our work continues. No rest ‘till the last dictator dies.