Interview with the Philosopher and Anarchist Adrian Tătăran.
BUNĂ: Dear Adrian, how have you reached the interest, to deal with the topic of anarchism and history in Romania?
Adrian Tătăran: I started to get an interest in the anarchist ideas and movement about ten years ago when I first got my hands on a Romanian translation of Bakunin’s “God and the State”. Looking back, I can say now that this incendiary text was like a spark that lighted up and gave clear expression to many ideas and that I diffusely already had.
I grew up in Romania in the ’90. It was a quite chaotic and unsettling time, following a brutal dictatorship whose traces were still present in society. I grew up as a metalhead in a country that was at the time particularly conservative and authoritarian. We weren’t politically conscious in a formal manner and we hardly knew what anarchism was. However, we lived metal as a way of rebelling. We actually created a small society together, a sort of counter-community where we could be free, here and now; free from the all this “wave of deceit, cunning, exploitation, depravity, vice – in a word, inequality – which they have poured into all our hearts”, as Kropotkin would have probably put it; free from obedience, fear and uniformity masquerading as the highest form of morals; free from a dead-end future as dead-end human beings. This is why for me the encounter with Bakunin’s text was a liberating and powerful experience.
It was only quite recently that I started to have an interest in the actual history of anarchist ideas in Romania. For a long time I shared the widely spread misconception here, even among people who are interested in various anarchist topics, that there is not much to look for altogether. Which is, of course, hugely inaccurate to say the least.
In 2015 I enrolled in a PhD program at the Faculty of Letters in Cluj with a thesis proposition regarding the anarchist literature, philosophy and literary theory. My initial interest of research was not the literature or the history of anarchism in Romania. While enthusiastically going after the French, German or English anarchist literature, I stumbled more and more upon what I saw at the time as being obscure references to Romanian writers, thinkers and militants that were wholly unknown to me and generally quite absent from most of the Romanian historical and literary accounts. To my amazement, I discovered more than a few isolated, pale voices, as I somehow anticipated it to be. I came across a diverse, rich and vivid “legacy of freedom”, stretching from the late XIX th century and up to the end of the Second World War, date that marks the start of the Stalinist-inspired dictatorship in Romania and, of course, the actual suppression of all dissident voices, all the more of those perceived as being anarchist. Thus, I was drawn to reconsider my approach and I came to realize that the richness of the subject equaled, if not greatly surpassed, its unanimous oversight and almost utter oblivion. The actual infiltrations, circulation and relevance of the anarchist ideas were not of little importance. I say that not only in relation with the debuts of the socialist movements in Romania, which, as Max Nettlau noticed, had actually been anarchist; but most and foremost in relation to the literary and artistic movements of the time. It is this particular relation that I find interesting and even fascinating. On one hand, there is a consistent, yet almost totally unknown, literary production from the Romanian anarchists themselves; and, on the other hand, there has been a certain circulation and contamination of the literary and artistic movements by the anarchist ideas and, generally speaking, literature. This relation has not yet been properly addressed as such.
BUNĂ: The history of anarchism in Romania is less discovered, even that there exist since around ten years a growing interest in it and several studies got published. What is your impression? Of what kind of quality are these studies and which ones would you recommend for interested people?
Adrian Tătăran: Indeed, there seems to be a slow, yet steady growing interest here these last years in the general topic of anarchism. This in turn has normally raised some questions and, might I add, also some eyebrows over the history of anarchism in Romania, or the lack thereof. However praiseworthy and gladdening I find the publication in 2011 of Vlad Brătuleanu’s article Anarchism in Romania, which offers a quite comprehensive overview of the matter, I cannot but notice that the follow-up has been rather timid in terms of domestic research and popularization. There is, for instance, a rather interesting and well documented chapter about the history of anarchism in Romania in Adrian Dohotaru’s doctoral thesis from 2013. However, as far as I know, his research has not been published yet. Overall, this seems to be the paradox in Romania at the moment: a growing interest, even a growing quality of research, but little or almost no notable publication.
On the other hand, the history of anarchism in Romania seems to have attracted a more consistent interest and research from abroad. I was quite happy and surprised to discover Martin Veith’s book about one of the most important, prolific and interesting Romanian anarchists: Unbeugsam Ein Pionier des rumänischen Anarchismus – Panait Muşoiu. It is, I think, the first comprehensive presentation and analysis dedicated to this impressive, yet forgotten figure, and to his outstanding work. Besides that, the book offers a quite compelling image of the Romanian anarchist press at the time and, also, of the figures around the Revista Ideei, the most important and long-lived anarchist paper, published by Muşoiu and his collaborators between 1900 and 1916. I would also recommend the second study written by Martin Veith, this time dedicated to Ștefan Gheorghiu, a key figure of the militant syndicalist movement before the Great War. I actually consider it a must-read for anybody who is interested in the topic mainly because, besides being a very well documented research, it comes as a long-due recuperation of this extraordinary voice of freedom and revolt, for so long relegated in the official communist iconography and confiscated by a ruthless and oppressive state regime. Naming the Romanian Communist Party academy as “Ștefan Gheorghiu” unfortunately and unjustly associated his name to the detested and vile party elite. The irony of this situation is that Ștefan Gheorghiu was actually marginalized by both the social-democrats and the communists, seen as a rebel and unruly figure … as he actually was and prided himself to be, with regard to bosses in general and to party leaders in particular. I only hope that Martin Veith’s work will soon be translated and published in Romania also, so that these still ignored topics reach a wider public and stir up a bit the interest and the debate regarding a hidden, interrupted, yet extraordinary “legacy of freedom” that we amazingly have in such an abundant supply.
Other than that, for those interested to read directly some of the classical texts written by the Romanian anarchists, there is a sizeable collection of the Revista Ideei that has already been put online, thanks to the efforts of some comrades from Bucharest. Also, those curious about the current anarchist events and activities in Romania can easily find info online, in Romanian, English or German. There is for instance the Râvna organization’s blog, the Claca Center in Bucharest, the LMA Collective blog and online zine, in both English and Romanian, or the A-casă Collective’s blog, with info about the various events organized by the group in Cluj-Napoca. Of course, there is the Bună Magazine in German, a notable initiative in my opinion, as it offers a quite wide array of articles, not only about the history of the anarchist movement in Romania, but also about the current events taking place in the country.
My overall impression is that there is a growing interest in the anarchist-related topics in Romania, especially in the big urban and university centers. With all the estimable initiatives I spoke about so far, I think that there is still a discrepancy between the potential receptivity of a wider public and the actual responses to meet that openness.
BUNĂ: What kind of difficulties do you see at the mediation of historical facts in relation to anarchism? Especially, because many anarchist protagonists get till today in the public opinion seen as marxists. How can this wrong image get straight?
Adrian Tătăran: Well, anarchists – and this is the case with Romania also – never had a good press generally. Anarchism seems to have been for a long time the convenient “bête noire”, for both the left and the right. So it comes as no surprise that, in general, it remained a quite unknown and misunderstood tradition. Anarchists challenged the principle of authority in society, so anarchism could not fit into a narrative that understood alternative exclusively within the same social framework: as an alternative power, a different ruler, more brutal or more humane, incarnated in a monarch, a certain social group or an idea, etc., but basically upholding the same authoritarian principle as basis for the organization of society. Romania is no exception. Actually, quite early on, anarchism became a subject for debate across the political and social spectrum. If the conservatives saw it as a menace to the traditional values, a sign of decadence or a poised import, brought by foreigners and aimed at destroying the national cohesion, the socialists were mostly worried of being associated with what they saw as being a terrorist, chaotic and undisciplined movement. There were, thus, multiple ideological strategies put in practice by all the parties in order to muzzle the disquieting voice of the anarchists. Ridiculed as utopian idealism or vilified as senseless terrorism, anarchism was either suppressed directly – Romania, like France, had laws aimed namely at the expulsion of anarchists –, suppressed by interested recuperation, or by omission. The latter tactics were used to a great extent by the communists in order to somehow morally justify their ruthless, oppressive regime. One of these cases is namely that of Ștefan Gheorghiu, that we already evoked, and, to a lesser extent, that of Panait Mușoiu. This serves to explain in part why, after the 1989 Revolution and the fall of the dictatorship, these remarkable figures were relegated to oblivion. For quite a long time, everything that was even remotely associated with the communist rule or ideology became more or less taboo. So, regarding anarchism in Romania, the honest historian has to pierce through two thick layers of historical mystification and prejudice. The normal layer, so to speak, is that stemming from the accounts dedicated to anarchism that depict it either as a chaotic surge of violence, or as a delirious, unrealistic ideology, or simply both. There is also a second one, which is maybe more difficult to undo, as it has functioned by cooption, not by exaggeration or exclusion. This is the case with anarchism in Romania and might also explain in part the timid, hesitant and slow pace of the research. This is exactly why I insisted that there is a real need of serious and well documented studies about the history of anarchism in Romania, studies that would also try to debate and openly discuss the association with communism, its actual terms, validity and extent, from a historical and ideological point of view. Leaving it unexamined and unaddressed would only deepen the confusion and the mystification, especially in countries like Romania, where the scars left by fifty years of brutal oppression are still vivid. What is at stake here is more than a straightening up of the record. Important without a doubt, this historical clarification needs nevertheless to be “put to work” into a wider context as a basis for an extended dialogue that would engage and inspire those rebellious and creative energies in society looking for an expression.
BUNĂ: Short time ago, you were in France. There you gave two lectures about anarchism in Romania. How was the feedback to them? Historical existed all time close relations between anarchists in Romania and France.
Adrian Tătăran: I went to Limoges University for a semester to learn more about the anarchist movement and literature in France. I had the pleasant surprise to find there a quite enthusiastic group around the C.I.R.A. Limousin Center, the International Center for Anarchist Studies, affiliated at the wider C.I.R.A. network. The first lecture I gave was at the University as part of what turned up to be a very interesting conference around the “defiance of anarchism”. The approaches were quite diverse: from history, to literature, philosophy, pedagogy, economics or even contemporary militant activity. It was professor Till Kuhnle, one of the organizers, who challenged me a couple of months before to prepare a presentation about the beginnings of anarchism in Romania. I must admit I was skeptical that such a “bizarre” subject would actually be well received and interesting for the audience. While the cultural, artistic and intellectual ties between Romania and France have a long and rich history, the topic I discussed was utterly unfamiliar to all of those present. However, I also must admit that I was taken by surprise by the enthusiastic response I got during and after the presentation. While I concentrated mainly on figures like Zamfir Arbure, the nihilist aristocrat, friend of Bakunin and Reclus, or Panait Muşoiu, I also mentioned other figures related to the anarchist movement, such as Neagu-Negulescu, the writer Panait Istrati, quite popular in France, or Eugen Relgis, the only Romanian contributor to the famous Anarchist Encyclopedia of Sébastien Faure. Because apparently this first lecture created a certain expectation for a more detailed discussion, I was also invited by the comrades at the C.I.R.A. Limousin to give an extended version of my presentation as a lecture for the general public. Once again, the interest was higher than I expected and there was a quite numerous turn out for this kind of event and, especially, for this kind of “exotic subject”. While I normally expect strong reactions when I address this topic at home in various contexts, the genuine interest I perceived in France was indeed an indication that the forgotten voices of the Romanian anarchists, diverse and vivid, are still relevant and could still have a strong appeal today. And I think that this is especially the case during the present time, when the necessity to find ways of creating new spaces of freedom in face of mounting oppression, deceit and injustice, is all the more present.
BUNĂ: Especially Iuliu Neagu-Negulescu translated various articles from the french movement into romanian. He was both: A syndicalist agitator and organizer as well a writer. How do you review his activities and vibes, and has he to say something also today?
Adrian Tătăran: One of the major literary contributions that Romanian anarchist had, one that normally tends to be overlooked, was the outstanding work and continuous effort they put in translating and publishing many of the classical anarchist texts. However, the topics they covered were not confined to what would be considered to be the commentary or translation of classical anarchist literature. The texts they discussed, the approaches they had were astonishingly diverse. From Schopenhauer, to Thoreau, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Marie Guyau, Chernyshevsky, Ibsen, Engels or John Stuart Mill, just to give a few examples. There is a feeling of intellectual freedom, curiosity and openness that stands out when going through their writing and publications. As a parenthesis, that would explain the constant labeling of anarchists as unruly heretics and deviationist by the authoritarian left. And also, their easy subsequent recuperation by the same authoritarians, within a narrative framework that downplayed precisely this plasticity and independence, in favor of a rigid, partial and false ideological interpretation.
What is even more amazing, to come back to the main point, is the quality of these translations, when taking into consideration that those involved with this work, like Muşoiu or Neagu-Negulescu, were basically self-taught men. Of course, many of those translations were made after the French editions, as the connections with the French anarchists were quite close at the time. My first encounter with Neagu-Negulescu was when I was reading a 1900 issue of the famous Temps Nouveaux magazine, where there was a correspondence from Romania signed by a certain J. Neagu. The small note detailed in an emphatic and somewhat bellicose tone the abusive confiscation by the authorities of a translation from Kropotkin and the scuffle with the gendarmes that ensued. Apparently the gendarmes were sent to Neagu’s home precisely under orders to discover and to eventually shut down the “center of the Romanian anarchist movement”, to quote J. Neagu’s exact words. He was truly an extraordinary figure in my opinion, a “sort of peasant” as he was described at a certain moment, self-taught man, worker, militant, translator, publisher and utopian writer. A particularly fascinating part of his work, the writing, is also the least known one. He actually published, besides the numerous articles and translations, a few short-stories volumes and, most interestingly, the only anarchist utopia ever to be written in Romanian, Arimania. His problematic positioning on certain issues sparked controversy within the socialist movement and even intense debate, as he was accused of nationalism at a certain point. His later consistent antifascist stance, for instance, only proves to show that it would be erroneous to try and paint his intellectual path with a single brush. I find his work exemplary, controversies and shortcomings included, especially for the times we are facing today. His path was not a straight, pure line. His activity was not only intense, but diverse and broad, and while his commitment in the struggles of his time cannot be questioned, his intellectual outlook was far from being a rigid, dogmatic engagement. It is exactly this sense of intellectual freedom, of openness, this fundamental disposition to meet all those creative and insurgent energies in society, to join them where they are, to give them a voice, this generosity, passion, lucidity and determination that, I think, now more than ever, need to be acknowledged.
This is why I insisted on the necessity to restart a concerted activity of publication, translations and debates that would take as model the work the Romanian anarchists were doing a century ago. In this sense, the path started with the first two books on Muşoiu and Gheorghiu is only to be broadened and taken further.
Neagu-Negulescu’s anarchist utopia, Arimania, is in its own right a captivating literary document that would deserve a lot more attention and scrutiny. As I will have a series of lectures this year, part of a seminar at the Faculty of Letters in Cluj, I seized the opportunity to introduce Arimania for discussion within a broader topic regarding the anarchist utopias, like those of Déjacque, William Morris or Ursula K. Le Guin. I think it is the first time that the literary work of Neagu-Negulescu is studied at the University, so I am all the more enthusiastic about it. Hopefully the students will equally find it interesting.
BUNĂ: This winter mass protests happened in Romania against an governement edict, who should give corrupt politicans impunity, if the harm, which they have done trough there corrupt activities is less than 200.000 Lei. How have you seen the protests? Which political positions where there in the foreground? Where anarchists able to be heared? Or focused the protest single sided against one party or governement-coalition and did not abstract a principal critic on government and politicans?
Adrian Tătăran: Well, the protests and the indignation were fully justified in my opinion. The way “they” have tried to pass the decree, in a total contempt for normal debates and the public opinion, the fact that they’ve tried all sorts of petty manipulations in order to break the protests and make people turn on each-other, either by a sort of parody of class-war jargon, or by using xenophobic slogans and provocations, made it all too clear for a lot of people that the country is actually run by gangs of mobsters posing as Government, Parliament and Law. I don’t even want to discuss the actual decrees, as they can be summed up quite simply: using the legitimate idea of clemency and the actual dire conditions in prisons (they couldn’t care less, actually), the politicians have tried passing a law that would legitimize privilege and discretionary rights in society for the powerful. Moreover, the decree would have effectively consecrated the latter’s “holy right” to appropriate the social wealth with impunity. In a sense, this arrogant and brutal move exposed in broad daylight the actual functioning of the state generally speaking: a mere structure of dispossession and control in favor of the ruling class. While the decree was initiated by the social-democratic government, the general feeling was that it was silently condoned by most of the traditional political class, excepting the president and the newly formed USR, a wide political platform mostly originated in the previous civic movements. This situation only further exposed the fact that the so-called democratic political system is nothing more than a spectacular smoke-screen. The only actual principle of government is simply the cross-party complicity whose purpose is the depredation of society.
There have been various attempts to discredit the protests, or to capitalize on them, in order to conveniently channel the energy for political gains or institutional leverage. However, my impression is that these moves have had limited success.
While the protests were directed mainly against the government and the ruling Social-Democratic Party, who were the originators and the principal upholders of the decrees, this was far from being a show of sympathy for the opposition. People are generally fed up with all politicians and quite wary when it comes in placing their trust in any of them.
The last five or so years saw a succession of different mass protest movements in Romania, from the Roşia Montană struggle in 2013, to the public outrage following the “Colectiv” disaster and, finally, to the current anti-corruption protests. There seems to be an expectation for a radical social change and an increasing impatience with the old political alternatives, perceived as inadequate, unjust, authoritarian and morally bankrupt. The main gain of this prolonged situation, that seems to be turning into a conflict between society and the generic state (including politicians, the government and the big capital); the main gain is the fact that people come to realize that they do not need politicians or the state in order to function together as groups and as a society. When the evidence seems to point into that direction, there is a fair chance that at least some of the people will start to act and think accordingly, looking not only for ways to challenge the state, but also to find alternatives.
However, a sizeable part of the intellectual left, as well as many anarchists, had a different approach to the recent events, which I’ll try to shortly sum up. They interpreted them mainly in the context of the on-going power-struggle within the state. On one hand, we have the politicians with the traditional economic and power groups around them. On the other hand, we have the security services and a part of the judicial system challenging them. Thus, the current events would merely be an episode of a ruthless “gang” war, a war for the uncontested access to resources, power and impunity. This fight does not even remotely address the real issues of social injustice or the very harsh and precarious conditions affecting so many of the working people, as well as increasingly larger sections of society. Besides, those involved in the protests are mainly the urban, privileged young professionals, disconnected from and even hostile to these issues that the majority is facing. In addition to that, the demonstrations are far from expressing a faltering trust in the state, or in politics as such. They are rather claiming stronger security and judicial structures, so, basically they actually wish for a more authoritarian, strong state.
Some of these critiques and concerns are valid and do reflect existing realities within the Romanian society. Their interpretation nonetheless is rigid and, considering the situation, quite short-sighted in my opinion. For instance, there is indeed a growing gap between the urban youth, the creative and generally well-off class, and the precarious, vulnerable majority. However, saying that these mass demonstrations have mobilized only the urban youth is nothing short of a gross simplification, if not a downright distortion of the facts. Also, the power-struggle for supremacy and state-control between different “gangs” is evident, as well as the attempts made to polarize the public opinion around these competing sides. Still, it would be a blatant error to simply overlap the public outrage and the obscure, backstage power-struggles.
I have the feeling that many anarchists, and also a good part of the left, were actually caught off-guard and didn’t quite know what to make of the protests, so they rather preferred the sanctuary of an orthodox class theory that, while correctly noticing some of the existing social discrepancies, totally eluded the actual problem. I could even say that they almost completely missed the point. The main fault lines are not between the well-off urban youth and the vulnerable majority, the precarious working-class. Embracing that line of argument means effectively playing into the rudimentary, divisive strategy pushed by those in power and by their media, turning on each-other instead of realizing that the fight is different and broader in scope. The risk in turn, and a very real one, is that this initial popular momentum is co-opted and mystified by the same powers it now menaces. And thus, a good opportunity would be effectively wasted and, might I add, obtusely discarded.
The main, the real fault line is between the ruling political and economic elites and the majority of the working people that are, in fact, “relieved” of the (social) wealth they are striving to produce. The despised, “better-off” urban youth, that the orthodox left seems to be so eager to do away with, is also working-class, be it better-off or not. The systematic depredation of the social resources affects everybody, and above all, the most vulnerable ones. This is why I fail to understand how denouncing the consecration of “boss-privilege”, how opposing the right of a few to dispossess the many, is not to be considered a concern precisely for the working people, meaning those who, above all, will be mostly affected by it.
One might remark that this is merely a “luxury” discussion of principle, in a context where the majority is burdened by other, more concrete, more material urgencies. I couldn’t dispute that and I wouldn’t, as it is basic evidence. However, what I would like to dispute is precisely the type of hesitant, disengaged, yet rigid approach that I discussed so far. I find it quite disheartening for a number of reasons. First and foremost because I think that this way we are grossly missing out, failing to meet those creative and rebellious energies in society that are now surfacing. Secondly, the almost immediate recourse to an over-simplified class-divide theory is also problematic. It only proves a certain unwillingness to get out of the safe intellectual sanctuaries, necessary to understand what happens around, yet so dangerous when they become comfortable echo-chambers. Many of the reactions I saw on the left were not bids to understand the actual situation, to approach it, be it in a hazardous or clumsy manner. They seemed more like a predictable list of retaliatory idiosyncrasies, hurled at the circumstances in the hope that they will hit their mark and produce a convenient echo. My impression is precisely that they didn’t.
This is one of the reasons why I think that the work and, most importantly, the life of some of the early Romanian anarchists are more relevant than ever. I cannot help but admire their passion, their intellectual consistence and freedom. Their militant practice is an effective critique of dogmatism and a challenge to fixed, unscrutinized interpretations. Also, their willingness to understand and join the actual struggles of their time was truly generous, lucid and, most importantly, free from any restrictive definition that would come beforehand. They seemed more interested in finding ways of “bringing down the walls”, as David Graeber would put it, than concerned with the formal orthodoxy of their actions and associations. They also seemed keen to comprehend the different emancipatory fights and to bridge the gaps, rather than concerned about keeping in line. An unruly, passionate and uncomfortable bunch indeed. That is maybe why I keep thinking about that portrait of Gheorghiu made by Istrati ten years or so after his death. Gheorghiu, writes Istrati, was a man with a heart and a great rebel. He never argued about ideas with those who were rebelling or with those trying to fight oppression. Instead, he simply joined them and told them: Rise-up!
BUNĂ: Romania is a country with major social inequality and a huge number of social problems. What do you think, how these problems can get solved? Politicians and parties trust less and less people, like it is to be seen at the steady falling turnout. At the last elections not even 40% of the entitled voted. Do you see emancipatory alternatives? And do they exist at all?
Adrian Tătăran: Panait Muşoiu wrote somewhere that having the freedom of speech, the freedom of movement, the freedom of association, the right to a fair trial, etc., in a society where the material conditions are such that people cannot actually exercise and enjoy those rights, is nothing less than a mockery and an insult. I guess that this describes perfectly the situation where we all are at the moment, the discrepancy between our declarative attachment to democracy and the actual reality: an ever expanding portion of society no longer has the means, or never had them, to exercise its freedom. Less evident for those who can still enjoy some degree of freedom, however not less problematic, is what Bakunin once remarked about this kind of situation: one’s freedom is not truly real if all the others, men and women, are not free as well.
There have been significant changes in Romania during the last two decades: a thriving professional and “creative” class, a growing economy, bustling cosmopolitan cities enjoying the good life, etc. However, the different gaps in society have also been growing and the social infrastructure seems to have crumbled following these same fault-lines between the haves and the have-nots. Thus, a sizeable proportion of the population has somehow been “left behind”, relegated in a cycle of misery and exposed to precarity.
I have only very limited hopes from the classical political process in this respect. It is only normal, I think, that more and more people feel the same way. The danger in those situations is that, and this is valid for Europe in general, a low voting turn-out, for example, might eventually present reactionary forces (or even worse) with an unexpected opportunity. Under the current circumstances, and with the overall worsening of the situation everywhere, such a scenario will be nothing short of catastrophic. So, I guess we have to exercise a sort of “engaged disengagement” in political matters, as a hybrid form of vigilance against the reactive forces in society.
To go back to your question, I don’t think there is a simple answer to these issues. Having said that, I can give you my evaluation of the general directions I think we need to concentrate on. As I said, I don’t think that the gaps in society are to be solved via the old political system. In fact, the creation, the maintenance and the speculation of these disparities is an essential part of its power and of its functioning as such. So, people learning to distrust politicians, even to ignore the political system is not such a bad thing after all, as they might just wake up to learn that they don’t need government in order to fully live their lives or if they want to rebuilt the social fabric as such. And this is the direction that needs to be reinvented and encouraged: the social creativity and the creativity of the social. Finding a new and strong sense of solidarity might also relieve many of the material hardships that are now the basis of exclusion and injustice. Not all of them, of course, but it could signal a change of heart. This is what Muşoiu would probably understand by the term “social revolution”, as opposed to the never-ending “political revolutions” which merely divert the creative energy of revolt into the consolidation of the status-quo.
Even if the current context is complicated, I would say that there are alternatives at hand, especially if we are to take into consideration the evolutions in Romanian society over these last few years. This is why I insisted that we don’t necessarily miss ideological debates right now, but rather a clear head and the will to engage, to join and to open up to these revolts as anarchists. We need to tap into this “river of anarchy”, we need to take the risks. We need to start tearing down the walls. We need to effectively stop playing blindly into the politicians’ and the media’s divisive discourses, separating us into young and old, workers and intellectuals, better-off and poor, educated and less educated, etc. We maybe also need to re-read and seriously rethink the old texts, like Kropotkin’s “Appeal to the Young”, or Zamfir Arbure’s, “The intellectuals”. It might sound naïve, but re-discussing the relevance nowadays of a notion like the “going to the people”, for instance, might just be the revolutionary thing to do. Or at least the preferable thing to do, instead of just ineptly and arrogantly alienating this unexpected energy of dissent and renewal across society. That could, in turn, inspire those spaces of freedom and autonomy, of solidarity and trust that will eventually reverse, at least in part, the general social trend of resignation and mistrust. It would maybe give a sense of purpose and confidence, and a sense of solidarity across the social divide; it would eventually question this divide and the mechanisms that keep it in place. It is, as Muşoiu would have probably put it, “experimental”, a fragile “school of the fact”, but that is the effort that I see ahead of us and our best chance at this time.
BUNĂ: Thank you for this interview.
A German version of this Interview is published in BUNĂ #5 | Sommer/Vară 2017