The word fascism has been utterly devalued today. It is hard to find a political movement that avoids branding its opponents as “fascists.” But there are also meaningful interpretations of this term. Many of them have a direct bearing on what is taking place in contemporary Russia.
For some people, fascism is the extreme intolerance intrinsic to authoritarian societies. For others, it is an ideology of exploitation and coercion. For still others, it means the use by the authorities of covert paramilitary units for the suppression of democratic movements. Finally, for some, fascism is a force that murders good people, people like the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Nastya Baburova, the young antifascists Fyodor Filatov and Ivan Khutorskoi, the ethnologist Nikolai Girenko, the chess player Sergei Nikolaev from Yakutia, the programmer Bair Sambuev from Buryatia, and hundreds of others. People who define fascism in this way do not divide their enemies into Russians and non-Russians, grown-ups and children, priests and punk rock fans, young activists and defenseless janitors from Central Asia.
It is not a matter of definitions, however. All the murderers come from one and the same environment.
They can be defeated only through a combined effort, only by overcoming the barriers that separate political activists from each other and from people who do not trust politicians and are not involved in the political process. For this purpose we are organizing an antifascist initiative that will unite people of various political persuasions with all those who consider themselves apolitical but who are convinced that the rise of fascism in Russia demands a clear response from society.
The neo-Nazis have changed. They now not only attack marketplaces, they also blow them up – along with railroad tracks, concert halls, churches, cafes, and the entryways of the buildings where their political opponents live. The fascists now not only beat up people on the streets, they also murder them. Neo-Nazi terrorism has become a reality.
If this goes on much longer, Russia will turn into a country wracked by ethnic cleansing and inter-ethnic war. We appeal to everyone who would rather not wait to see this happen. Act now: take a public stance using whatever means you have at your disposal.
We also call on well-known and respected people – scholars, artists, writers, and intellectuals – to support our cause with their good names. We believe that the struggle against the neo-Nazi scourge in Russia must be raised to a new level. It has to become a mass campaign of solidarity that reaches beyond youth subcultures and activist groups. The understandable aversion people feel to politics should not prevent them from recognizing the threat posed by neo-Nazism.
We believe that we have three main tasks today. First, we need to deprive neo-Nazis and racists of the explicit and implicit support they receive from bureaucrats and establishment politicians. Second, we have to drive members of ultra-rightist organizations out of mainstream politics. Third, we must put an end to the practice of using radical right-wing gangs to intimidate and murder social and political activists.
We call on people in various cities and countries to take to the streets on January 19, 2010, and show their solidarity with our cause.