Barekendan yesterday is reported as a success
Posted by kronstadt on February 19, 2007
“Although the participants were not anarchists, one of the main purposes of the event was to raise awareness of the need to participate in the coming parliamentary election. About 150 mainly young Armenians assembled in the park opposite the Conservatory in Yerevan and marched to the Marshall Baghramian Metro to ride back down to Republic Square.
The group, blowing whistles, while handing out alarm clocks with messages attached, to passerbys then returned to the park where the procession initially started to enjoy a free open air concert by Gyumri rock band, Bambir. Although attendance was small, there were some noticeable figures from civil society in attendance.
There was also at least one member of the opposition present, along with two government figures. Public TV filmed the event.
The organizers seemed pleased and collected email addresses in order to send out announcements for future events which they plan to hold every second Sunday until the 12 May election. Interestingly, USAID has also apparently pencilled in Rock The Vote type activities in their proposed election-related assistance for Armenia. ”
Bambir… now that’s a name from the past… Bambir (the Armenian version of Jethro Tull). I first saw them I don’t remember when 1990s or 2000. But in 2003 they were featured at that famous first Rock festival in Yerevan, which was organized by the anarchist cell “Breakthrough” (Proryv) of the autonomous movement. That sound of Rock combined with Armenian folk music was prety unique and stayed in my mind. I remember saying at the time “Now that Rock scene in Armenia is out of the underground, it means that real politics will be ariving soon too“. There was no more need to hide from rabiz in small exclusively russophone rock-bars like in 1990s (I hoped).
As for the Barekentan event itself, few important things need to be said:
Ancient festivals are, before anything, a ritual — just like elections in ancient Athens were a ritual… They don’t have a meaning in themselves unless you invest that meaning yourself. The same goes for political life, political conciousness and politicization.
Every such event and every alarm clock handed out is a seed of liberty. And very often that seed will land on rocks. Other times it will land on soil and maybe (given the right type of atmosphere and provided that it is not stamped out at an early age) it will grow into a tree … but rarely. (maybe I sould stop talking like Jesus and Chancey Gardner) Every such ritual, every such event is a step forward in cultivating a vibrant political culture, but they must be backed by action! Yes, action. A prior type of activity by the people in their everyday life, that generates a type of conciousness that when an alarm clock is handed out it spartks a thought. Conciousness is not the same as idea. This goes back to Heidegger, Marx and Aristotle: what people do in their every-day routive bread-earning activities and how they do it, create who they are (and how they perceive the surroundings and how they perceive themselves in relation to those surrounding events). If a person toils as a slave then the chance is that he will soon develop the menaty of a slave (it’s not his fault). If a worker is in control of his means of production and therefore in touch with what he does, then he knows the true value of his labour, true value of things that he produces and true value of immediately political processes. It becomes even better when he is in daily communication with his fellow workers who co-own that collective enterprise – because it generates a sense of collectivity, togetherness, connectedness and direction (which are very political concepts).
In other words, though such events are very helpful, they can have a lot more impact with prior initiation of worker and peasant empowerment programs which would remove the current obstacles to their efforts to form unions and syndicates and become masters of their own production.
It’s a great process and I wish to congratulate and thank the organisers and wish them an ever greater success in what they (we) are trying to achieve.
It looks like there will be more events of these kind in the weeks to come. So if you didn’t go to celebrate Barekendan, then make sure you go to those.