How a small group of anarchists took on the Soviet Union and won!

by Bob McGlynn, Fifth Estate

With the war in Ukraine and renewed US-Russian rivalry, the need has emerged for a “neither-nor” position of the kind some anarchists and anti-authoritarians took in the Cold War—building solidarity between anti-war and left-libertarian forces on either side of the East-West divide. In this context, the US anarchist journal Fifth Estate last year ran the following look back at the ground-breaking group Neither East Nor West, which took on such work at the height of the Reagan Cold War. Neither East Nor West co-founder Bob McGlynn recounts the little-known role of this and related efforts in a period whose history has suddenly become frighteningly relevant.—World War 4 Report

During the Cold War, there was always a sector within the anarchist/left-libertarian milieu in the West that took a special interest in dissidence and repression within the Soviet Bloc. This interest was in part due to the ultra-closed nature of Soviet Bloc societies and the lack of information about opposition and activism within them that did not come from a pro-Western perspective.

This changed in 1980 with the formation of Poland’s Solidarity free trade union. With a nationwide general strike and 10 million workers signing on in two to three months, Solidarity exploded Communism’s frontiers. Neither East Nor West-NYC (NENW-NYC) traces its roots back to this time, when a number of anti-authoritarians in the New York City metropolitan area took advantage of Solidarity’s opening. Individual activists and members of the anarcho-syndicalist Workers Solidarity Alliance, along with the (now disbanded) Revolutionary Socialist League, met while doing Solidarity support.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: leftist protester killed at Tahrir Square

Protests around the commemoration of Egypt's 2011 revolution may be dominated by Islamist Morsi supporters, but an early demonstration called by a socialist party saw one killed.