News from Moscow

This encouraging report just received from Alexei Gusev, longtime Russian activist and Chair of the Praxis Center at the Victor Serge Library in Moscow www.praxiscenter.ru
“The latest Popular March held on June 12 was quite successful, bringing together more than 60 000 people in Moscow. The newly adopted Draconian laws on "violations of order during mass actions" and police searches at the homes of opposition activists did not prevent people from demonstrating. A new mass demonstration is scheduled for September.
At the same time, the arrests and interrogations of participants of the May 6 March are continuing. More than 1,000 people were interrogated and 12 put into prison,  accused of "provoking" or "taking an active part" in the May "riot". Following old Stalinist traditions, interrogators threaten arrested people with long prison terms and even sexual violence, trying to make them "confess" that they attacked the police and were paid for participating in the demonstration.
A group of human rights activists has recently issued a statement describing the situation as one of "state terror" with some aspects similar to 1937. It seems the authorities are preparing a political show trial of a group of opposition activists in the Autumn. In order to defend arrested people the "May 6th Committee" was established, in which Praxis participates. If you can help this work by spreading the information in the West, it would be good.
We also joined the Organizing Committee of an international conference which will take place in Moscow on 22-23 September 2012 on the topic "Labor and Union Movements in the Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights: History and Perspectives." The main sponsors of it are Russian Confederation of Labor (a two million-strong organization of independent unions, presided by a socialist, our comrade Boris Kravchenko), along with the Memorial Society and Global Labor Institute (Switzerland). We hope you will come! Given your involvement with various movements of “Occupy” and "Arab Spring" it would be great if you would speak about that! Maybe Jonathan Neale, whose “Stop Global Warming” we have translated, could also come, so we organize presentation of his book in September too. We of course are happy to extend Praxis’ invitation to all our friends in the West.
Another interesting development concerns the Victor Serge Library in Moscow. We have established contact with the State Social and Political Library (SSPL), whose representative participated in our series of seminars on "Russian Left: Past and Present" at Memorial. This Library considers itself the heir of the Marx Institute Library, built in 1920s by David Ryazanov, famous Marxologist and Communist dissident killed by Stalin. (They even hold "Ryazanov Readings" regularly). And now we are discussing with them a possibility to attach our Victor Serge Library to the SSPL as a "Victor Serge Memorial Foundation Collection."
If this happens, it would serve our cause, since SSPL has much bigger readers audience than the VSL in its present form, and we would be relieved of most expenses related to the Library (These constitute the biggest item of Praxis' expenses). In that case we, of course, will continue to develop our translation and publication work, and it would also be possible to use SSPL premises for our public events.
As regards Igor's appeal to help the Kiev Library financially, it is in critical situation now. We in Moscow will also need more money to continue other projects, including preparing the Serge/Sedova "Life and Death of Leon Trotsky" for publication and translating Serge's chronicles. And if there is a transfer of thousands of VSL books to the SSPL, that would mean expenses too.”
(Readers who wish to help Praxis continue its activities should send checks made out to the Victor Serge Foundation Inc. They count as U.S. tax deductible charitable contributions. Mailing address:
c/o Greeman, Apt 24, 555 W. 151st St., New York, NY 10031).
“Julia sends best wishes! She is enjoying two things that compliment each other: translating Jules Michelet’s "History of the French Revolution" into Russian while trying to apply its practical lessons for the contemporary revolutionary process developing in Russia. Attached is a poster showing her at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on May 6, after the first attack of riot police against protesters: it reads: "Michelet wrote, we act!"

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