Dec. 1, 2012
Seattle Radical Women statement
at the Seattle anti-Putin demonstration
We are here today to join the Days of Solidarity Against Political Repression in Russia.
My name in Su Docekal, and I am representing Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization.
We are here in solidarity with our sister and brothers in Russia who are fighting the same fight that we have here – the same fight that is happening throughout Europe, Central American and Southern Africa.
This is a fight for fair elections and against corruption and bankrupting the working class with austerity measures that enrich the ultra-wealthy.
I traveled to Russia in 1993 as part of a Radical Women delegation. At that time capitalism was making a comeback and conditions were very harsh, particularly for women. But there was still a certain political opening for many political voices to be heard.
But since that time, Putin, a lifelong KGB bureaucrat, has consolidated power.
He combines the worst of the old Stalinist regime with a new, vicious capitalist order. A demagogue, Putin is building a police state by promoting nationalism and a "law and order" political atmosphere that demonizes darker-skinned nationalities as terrorists and criminals.
He has taken a page from Stalin, who used fake, doctored pictures to re-write history and vilify Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition who were fighting for workers democracy in the 1930s. Putin too makes fake, doctored videotapes that purport to show that socialists in Russia are collaborating with, and getting money from, the Georgian government. It is an out right lie. Next looms the threat of public show trials, Stalin-style.
When the Putin regime runs out of ideas from Stalin's playbook, his cohorts look to the U.S. ruling class for ideas on how to rule. That's why Putin's tactics seem very familiar to us here in the U.S.A.
Elections that are bought and paid for by the rich; indefinite detentions; consolidation of the police forces – mass fingerprinting and retina imaging of the population; brutal crackdowns on the Occupy movement, protesters and the labor movement; and consolidation of the media and elimination of the independent press–we know them well.
These tactics to defend the interests of the 1% are the same in both our countries, but in Russia today the situation has reached a much more critical point. In the U.S. they fire muckraking reporters – in Russia those reporters are being assassinated.
During the recent U.S. elections here there were numerous, outrageous attacks on women's rights and we saw that the Christian fundamentalists are thoroughly entrenched in the Republican Party.
In Russia, the Orthodox Church is working hand in glove with Putin's government. That is why the punk rock group Pussy Riot chose to make their feminist protest inside an Orthodox Church – and that is why they are sitting in prison today. Gay pride marches in Moscow have also been outlawed and brutally attacked by fascist thugs while the police stood by and watched. This is all part of the repression that we are denouncing today.
So we stand here not just from abstract sympathy for our sisters and brothers in Russia who are facing repression. We stand in solidarity because their fight is our fight and our futures are linked together.
We demand the release of the 19 activists whose names are on our signs today.
We are here with a message for Putin:
Autonomous Action, and the Left Front!
Hands off socialists, anarchists, anti-fascists and pro-democracy activists!
Hands off Pussy Riot and all feminist and gay activists!
Seattle Radical Women
5018 Rainier Ave South
Seattle, WA 98118