First Encounter
Anna Engelhardt, Josh Nadeau, Larissa Babij, Elena Ischenko, Kuba Szreder and friends

Sunday February 27th 2022
12pm (EST)

Dear Friends, Comrades,

We have written an introduction below. In short, we would like to invite you this Sunday to join in what we hope will be the first of several encounters thinking through this moment, the current invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military, this war in a sea of wars we have been assembling and thinking through over these last 22 months.

Our friends Olga Kopenkina and Dmitry Vilensky have been at the heart of trying to bring together and create this space of assembly.

Anna Engelhardt, Josh Nadeau, Larissa Babij, Elena Ischenko are among those invited who have said they will be able to join and help us construct a space of sharing questions, positions.


Since 2020, we have been testing assembling drawing on friendships old and new from all the various parts of our shared planet, considering the current conjuncture. We felt then, in the urgencies of 'lockdown' and imposed 'social distancing' to find new ways of recomposing the cartographies of struggle in the face of what could only be another crisis through which states and capital would opportunistically manipulate toward their advantage.

Our thesis has been confirmed time and again as states, especially those bearing the imprint of supremacist mandates, imperial or colonial histories, have used in the most wretched manner the pandemic and its conditions of distraction to further their capacities to exert and extend their will to govern and control.

A global war has been pronounced against a virus. And in the middle of that war many other wars have and are taking place. Wars against indigenous communities, migrant peoples, displaced, houseless peoples, wars of dispossession, wars of occupation, of omission, sometimes as if by accident, organized neglect, in the name of safety, security, law, of restoring territorial integrity or restoring old empires.

But these wars are like palimpsests, taking the same writ, the same sheets of proclamation and rewriting over them new conditions, new rules, new impositions, and new justifications. Amidst the seas of war are floating peoples, communities, multitudes who struggle to find a side, a way, a path toward autonomy, subsistence, if not bare survival.

The current invasion by Russia of Ukraine is a moment of intensification in an ongoing war, which inherits the legacies of a cold war and the hot wars which preceded it, always risking to spill into surrounding territories and justifying new forms of weaponry for forced forms of pacification. These wars certainly have their locality and specificity but they cannot be read outside also the larger forces at play.

But understanding these forces also does not necessarily arrive to understanding how they implicate each of us wherever we are. As we have asked implicity or explicity in our many assemblies, the Conference of Butterflies, a Conference in Shards, as well as our vigil, Fukushima at 10, how to reimagine solidarity today?

Over the course of these following weeks, we will try to enter collectively a process of thinking together the various forces at play, the questions this invasion by Russia raises, the various modes of discourse and practice it may call into being in order to struggle against the supremacist, imperial, colonial, fascist, racist, patriarchal, capitalist forces which continue to invent and direct new causes of war and war by other names.

Note on Organizing

As a form of organizing this summit, we will try to share responsibility with friends. We began this process leading to this first encounter with a letter from Dmitry Vilensky of Chto Delat on February 6th asking how we may organize something together in response to a potentially devastating war.

Given Belarus's implication in this, we asked our friend Olga Kopenkina to join us in situating occasions and inviting friends from Ukraine, Belarus, and beyond to think and share questions.

Whatever we have planned or written has seemed to be inadequate by the day as the situation has deteriorated from a potential for intensificaton of war to a full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

At the level of organization, we would like each encounter to have its own approach to thinking and finding a way to discuss what is taking place in a manner that can go beyond news and toward nourishing our ways to conjoin struggles wherever we are situated.


This Sunday, February 27th, we would like to invite you to the first encounter and share with you Olga Kopenkina's invitation:

We will begin this act with an analysis of the current moment created by the Russian invasion and bombing of Ukraine and Belarus being used as a military platzdarm, focusing on post-cold war colonialist expansion and the human cost of sustaining national sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

With Ukraine being now invaded and Kyiv apparently turned into a theater of war, how does the international left address concepts such as 'national sovereignty' and 'territorial integrity' in a situation when a geopolitical positioning and proximity to the imperial power create a state of permanent vulnerability?

Left political thinker Tariq Ali has recently suggested that 'national sovereignty' is a myth created by liberal ideologists to submit smaller and weaker nations to the international order dominated by unequal power dynamics. At the same time, it's a nation that is under attack right now. Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s neighboring nation Belarus, voices worn down by two-years of political crisis, ongoing suppression of human rights, including its own military threat from Russia, call for reconciliation and submission.

Can we mobilize a potential Left movement (that includes "new left": feminist movements, movements for black life, LGBTQ+, indigenous nations, struggles, and others) that resists the logic of permanent vulnerability within the capitalist geopolitical divisions and create solidarity in support of vulnerable nations and peoples in struggle?

We invite you to think with us along these lines.