Ukraine: “The practice of self-management is widespread”


Patrick Le Tréhondat Ksénia (Ukraine)

October 20, 2022

Following the Russian imperialist aggression of February 24, 2022, society mobilized to defend its existence. On March 11, the Autogestion association in a statement published on its website noted that “The war has provoked… popular self-organization – both spontaneous and encouraged by institutions – combining citizen initiatives and administrative, governmental and military action.

On the initiative of the workers, the conversion of the production of many companies to support the war effort was organized. A metallurgy factory now manufactures anti-tank booms. “We just needed one day, the engineer drew the prototype for us and we put it into production,” explains a worker. The director of the company adds “We have stopped our usual production to devote ourselves to the manufacture of these metal structures which will serve as dams to stop the tanks of the occupants. Since the beginning of the invasion, we have been mobilized to manufacture all of this. But we soon ran out of raw materials. Fortunately, volunteers brought us more metal and we were able to expand the production of these dams. We have a group on the Telegram application that brings together about fifteen factories in the region. Some also make harrows. In Lviv, women and children have organized themselves to make camouflage nets for the army. A brewery that has a stock of bottles has been converted into a Molotov cocktail factory. » We went to meet these Ukrainian in favour of the self-management. We are publishing the interview with Ksénia, a member of the QueerLab cooperative who took the time and had the energy to answer our questions as Iranian-Russian drones sowed death and destruction in Ukraine. May she be thanked here.

Patrick Le Tréhondat

Patrick Le Tréhondat - Can you introduce yourself for our readers, your commitments and your activities?

Ksénia - We are QueerLab, located in Lviv Ukraine cooperative. We try to give queer people possibilities for self employment and donate money for Ukrainian military

Let’s talk about the cooperative before February 24th. Can you tell us a few words about its history, what are its activities, how does it work or organized ?

We didn’t exist before 24th of February. The escalation of war became the trigger for us to come together.

And since February 24, what has changed for the cooperative? For its activities, its members and for you?

Since the escalation of war we decided to create cooperative as a platform for queer people who had to flee from war to make some money for themselves with what they are the best at. Also people from Lviv are present in our cooperative. We want to show that queer people help during this war too. We still struggle in our country in the fight for equality and some people are not shy to make wild accusations that queer parole and feminists do nothing during this war. We are one small example that it is not true. We are in the same boat we want our independency and safety for our citizens. That’s why we are doing the best we can to try to support our army

Do you think that this cooperative is a tool for the social transformation of Ukraine or take part in its progressive evolution? and how ?

Yes. Progressive evolution is precisely expressed in the social transformations that our cooperative promotes in society. For example, such a transformation is job assistance for vulnerable groups. This became especially important during the war, when many of our staff had to leave their homes and workplaces. Also, our cooperative destroys the stereotype that the LGBT community is a useless segment of society, because according to the concept of our cooperative, we will donate 50% of the profit to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and we also hold events aimed at raising funds for the army.

Here we talk a lot about self-management (самоуправління?) Is this a topic that is discussed in Ukraine, in cooperatives for example?

Yes, the practice of self-management has become widespread. In Ukraine, this topic is discussed and is relevant, because everyone is impressed by the phenomenon of self-organization of various teams, volunteers, activists, a special wave of which became noticeable with the beginning of a full-scale war! Our team also has self-management, everyone is engaged and coordinates their direction. Also, adhering to the horizontal structure, we do not have “chiefs” or bosses