The 21st century is marked by a series of wars, military conflicts, neocolonial and imperialist advancements. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the transformation of Syria into a military landing site for hegemonic forces in the past twelve years and Erdogan’s military incursions into Rojava; the unrests against the reactionaries in Brazil and indigenous peoples’ struggles against neocolonial economic engines; the Bulgarian sabotage of North Macedonia on its path to joining the EU, betraying a desire for colonial domination and many more processes inevitably raise questions about the state of imperialism, colonialism, reaction and militarization nowadays. Although the past decades have been ripe with various military conflicts, the Russian invasion of Ukraine drew leftist movements in Central and Eastern Europe out of their thirty-year-long hiatus and posed with a renewed force questions regarding the history, legacy, and future of the anti-war, anti-colonial, anti-fascist, and anti-imperialist resistances.
Simultaneously, in 2023 we mark the 100th anniversary of the September Uprising in Bulgaria. The intention to deal with the anti-fascist roots of the uprising, its complex legacy, as well as the necessity to engage anew with the concept of ‘anti-fascism’ in the contemporary context are among the motivations for dVERSIA journal’s forthcoming issue. The confrontation between the peasantry, leftists and communists on the one side, and reactionary and conservative forces on the other, is of course not a local phenomenon. These conflicts were fundamental for the interwar history of Europe but also had lasting consequences for the subsequent years during the so-called ‘Cold War’ and our own contemporaneity. It appears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine challenges with utmost urgency the left forces in Central and Eastern Europe and globally to rethink the meaning of anti-fascism and anti-imperialism today. Who are carriers of anti-fascism and anti-imperialism today? Are there social, historical and epistemological contexts that are capable of facilitating a reversal of the meaning of fascism and anti-fascism today? How have the forms, strategies and tactics of anti-fascism and anti-imperialism changed in the past century?
Anti-fascism, anti-imperialism and anti-war struggles in the past and today: these are the three axes around which we see the need for an urgent ideological discussion. Recent events on the left in the Balkans and around the world concerning the divisions over the war in Ukraine and Russian imperialism make this discussion particularly urgent. These processes highlight not simply the lack of spaces to hold such conversations, or diverging understandings of basic concepts on the left, but also often reveal deep contradictions within the theoretical knowledge-production of actors on the left.
For us, there is no question that every ‘anti’-movement includes the path to more just and solidary societies. We see ‘anti’ as the simultaneity of destruction and creation. Tracing the conceptual boundaries, knowledge developments, and historical legacies of anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, and anti-war struggles and ideas, our forthcoming ‘Anti’ issue aims not just to delve into the destructive power of empires, wars, and rising neo-fascist waves, but also to seek their urgent alternatives.
dВЕРСИЯ’s 6th collection of texts would like to engage with the following questions:
- Anti-fascism: What is the role and meaning of anti-fascism today, in particular in the context of the war in Ukraine? Is it necessary – and, if so, then how – to draw from the historical experience of organised anti-fascist movements for present-day struggles in the Balkans and across the world – and if so, then how? What strategic and conceptual continuities and ruptures can we chart out through 20th century anti-fascist struggles on the Balkans and in Europe? What is the role of anti-fascism for the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles of the past and where can we today find their conceptual intersections?
- Anti-imperialism: How should we regard the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the opposition between the West and Russia through an anti-imperialist lens in today’s highly charged context? What meaning does the “right to self-determination” acquire in the context of contemporary military conflicts? What can we learn from the experience of anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century across the globe, as well as from the theoretical engagements with these topics by communist, national liberation, workers’ and progressive movements of the past?
- Anti-war struggles: How should we construct an anti-war position and build a movement in the current militarised context, which polarises positions and obliterates the spaces for dialogue – even amongst comrades, who have until recently shared common goals and struggles? How is such a movement possible when everyone is against the war, but wars keep being waged? What can we draw from the experience of anti-war movements in Bulgaria and across the world from the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century – in particular such movements that intersect with anti-fascist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles? How can we keep maintaining an anti-fascist and an anti-imperialist line, which is at the same time also against the war? And where can we find the sites of conflict on the left – in terms of ideas, positions and strategy? What does ‘peace’ mean today?
We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts (ca. 400-800 words) by May 21st 2023 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles will be published online (Bulgarian and English) and in print (only Bulgarian) by the end of 2023. In case you want to submit a text, which is already published elsewhere, please get in touch with the editors at the above address. Their volume should not exceed 8,000 words.