Archive for ‘English’

februar 9, 2014

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The situation in BiH is changing rapidly. Numerous cantonal governments have already resigned and we can expect further protests in the coming days. The authorities in BiH have already begun a concerted campaign of disinformation about the causes of these protests and their aims. In an effort to support the struggle of the workers and students in BiH, I am publishing here the English translations of the demands issued by representatives of the people of Tuzla, Sarajevo and Bihac, ably translated by my colleagues Konstantin Kilibarda (Tuzla) and Marina Antić (Sarajevo, Bihac). The original texts can be viewed herehere and here.

Please share these demands widely, copy, paste and disseminate them as you see fit. Change is coming to BiH and we can help be a part of it.

Tuzla

DECLARATION 7 February 2014. Today in Tuzla a new future is being created! The [local] government has submitted its resignation, which means that the first demand of the protestors has been met and that the conditions for solving existing problems have been attained. Accumulated anger and rage are the causes of aggressive behaviour. The attitude of the authorities has created the conditions for anger and rage to escalate.

Now, in this new situation, we wish to direct the anger and rage into the building of a productive and useful system of government. We call on all citizens to support the realization of the following goals:

(1) Maintaining public order and peace in cooperation with citizens, the police and civil protection, in order to avoid any criminalization, politicization, and any manipulation of the protests.

(2) The establishment of a technical government, composed of expert, non-political, uncompromised members. [They should be people] who have held no position at any level of government and would lead the Canton of Tuzla until the 2014 elections. This government should be required to submit weekly plans and reports about its work and to fulfill its proclaimed goals. The work of the government will be followed by all interested citizens.

(3) Resolving, through an expedited procedure, all questions relating to the privatization of the following firms: Dita, Polihem, Poliolhem, Gumara, and Konjuh. The [government] should:

§  Recognize the seniority and secure health insurance of the workers.

§  Process instances of economic crimes and all those involved in it.

§  Confiscate illegally obtained property.

§  Annul the privatization agreements [for these firms].

§  Prepare a revision of the privatization.

§  Return the factories to the workers and put everything under the control of the public government in order to protect the public interest, and to start production in those factories where it is possible.

(4) Equalizing the pay of government representatives with the pay of workers in the public and private sector.

(5) Eliminating additional payments to government representatives, in addition to their income, as a result of their participation in commissions, committees and other bodies, as well as other irrational and unjustified forms of compensation beyond those that all employees have a right to.

(6) Eliminating salaries for ministers and eventually other state employees following the termination of their mandates.

This declaration is put forward by the workers and citizens of the Tuzla Canton, for the good of all of us.

Sarajevo

With regards to yesterday’s protests across Bosnia and Herzegovina and the media’s attempt to discredit this justified rebellion, this informal group of citizens and protest participants repeats our demands to the government.

IN THE NAME OF CITIZENS ON THE STREETS OF SARAJEVO

We declare:

We, the people who went out onto the streets of Sarajevo yesterday, also regret the injuries and damage to properties, but our regret also extends to the factories, public spaces, cultural and scientific institutions, and human lives, all of which were destroyed as a direct result of actions by those (ALL THOSE) in power for, now, over 20 years. We ask our fellow citizens and fellow sufferers not to allow these unpleasant scenes to cloud the fact that this kind of government and those in power have costs us immeasurably more.

We, thus, demand:

–        Unconditional and immediate resignations of both the Sarajevo Canton and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina governments; and the formation of non-party governments.

–        No measures, of any kind, to be undertaken that would limit peaceful citizen protests.

–        The immediate release of demonstrators, no criminal case filings against them, and an end to the witch hunt of people.

When these demands are met, we can then ask for the start of conversations and actions at all levels of government in order to establish a more socially just order for all social strata; and for all those whose human dignity and material basic needs have been endangered or destroyed by the transitional theft, corruption, nepotism, privatization of public resources, an economic model that favors the rich, and financial arrangements that have destroyed any hope for a society based on social justice and welfare.

To establish such a social justice order, before we undertake any social measures are, we demand an immediate end to the larceny of this society cloaked in politics, and criminal prosecution of those responsible. Only when all of that is complete, can we begin to build something new for all of us.

Bihac

Protesters have sent their list of 13 demands to the Parliament of the Una-Sana Canton:

  1. Resignation and replacement of the Una-Sana Canton (USC) government and all directors of public institutions and public enterprises.
  2. Appointment of the new government of USC and the new directors, without influence of politics in choice of prime ministers and ministers (professional governance – with public release of biographies and the reasons for their appointment).
  3. Matching salaries in the public sector to the industrial sector, so that the highest public sector salary cannot be higher than three average salaries in the industrial sector.
  4. Matching salaries in the public sector to the educational/professional level.
  5. Public release of documents for tenders in the last 10 years and in the future.
  6. Matching levels of budget appropriations for agricultural production in the budgets at all levels of government to the European Union standards.
  7. Matching educational standards, at all levels, to the European Union standards.
  8. Matching the number of employees in the public sector to the European Union standards.
  9. Finalizing construction of the veterans’ building, at the latest by the elections of 2014.
  10. Ending all additional privileges for government officials.
  11. Ending additional financing of representatives and employees in the administrative institutions, on the basis of various commissions.
  12. Ending the salaries and other privileges of all politicians following the end of their term.
  13. Immediate end to the use of force by the police toward the protesters and vice versa.

Prevod: Jasmin Mujanović

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januar 4, 2014

Slavoj Žižek “The 20th Century Is (Really) Over!”

december 22, 2013

Unification of Europe’s Far Right: Rise of the Fourth Reich?

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It took only five years for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), or Nazi Party to rise from having only a few hundred members, to being able to force the president of Germany to proclaim Adolf Hitler — a man whom he thoroughly despised — Chancellor. Hitler’s meteoric ascent to power should serve as a cautionary tale for modern-day Europe.

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In late May 2014, over 500 million European citizens in 28 member sates will vote for their representatives to the European Parliament, despite their ignorance of the political climate that is likely to shape the elections and define the composition of this body of governance. In almost every single nation in Europe, far-right parties are gaining ground, and most adhere to the 14 precepts of fascism established by political historian Dr. Lawrence Britt. The situation is not entirely comparable to that of Europe and Germany of the 1930s and 40s.  Nevertheless, the rise of these far-right parties, their ties to the economic hardships and austerity measures imposed by the European Union, and the generally increasing nationalist and xenophobic tendencies are alarming.

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Ethnocentricism and racism rebound on hard economic times

The far-right parties rely on rhetoric that calls for ethnic exclusion, cultural purity, discrimination for one’s “own people” and against immigrants and asylum seekers, demonization of Muslims and other minorities, and maintenance of so-called traditional values. The threat to national integrity in the face of increased globalization is the excuse used to enact policies and engage in discourse that rely on a fanatical nationalism. The boogieman of the era are largely Muslims and immigrants who are accused of overrunning the clean, pristine, white western supposed democracies with their incredibly high birth rates and “inferior cultural values,” which make them more prone to crime and theft of the natives’ jobs. No mention is made of the continued ghettoization and social exclusion of minorities by the mainstream society and capitalist economy. An irrational fear of the imposition of Sharia law by Muslims on everyone else is often evoked to depict the boogieman.

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The success of far-right parties and their leaders is strongly linked to economic policies that have plunged much of Europe into a situation of perpetual debt and the socioeconomic repercussions from this. The cause for these parties’ rise is quite evident: in times of economic recession, people try to find a convenient scapegoat for their problems and those of their country. This is especially convenient if the subjects of this prejudice are marginalized, demonized and lacking in recourse to counter the irrational finger pointing and social blame. Scapegoating is yet more convenient if the target groups are second-class citizens, like migrants and refugees, who do not enjoy the same legal rights to protection, whose lives and lifestyles are at risk, and who can be intimidated into silence with the threat of deportation. Thus politicians exploit the fear of an uncertain future due to economic hardship, project it onto a marginalized group or ethnic minority, and use it to ascend to power and impose their ideologies.

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To blame only economic conditions for this state of affairs, however, would be too simple and superficial. In many countries, the rise of far-right parties can be tied to a direct failure of governance, as well as historical trends of subjugation and colonization by imperial powers in the rest of the world. In fact, Europe and the rest of the imperialist world have never really addressed the ethnocentric perceptions that lead them, more of less consciously, to believe themselves superior.

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In the Netherlands, the rise of the far-right party is strictly tied to a reinforcement of the notion of a superiority of Dutch white culture, which has been an enduring part of Dutch self-perception. In Greece, the proliferation of racially and politically motivated hate crimes by fascist elements has been largely tied to the complicity of police or their unwillingness to pursue serious investigations of these crimes.

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Fascism’s common cross-border strategy

Greece’s Golden Dawn party is emblematic of the sharp resurgence of European fascism, but it is by no means an isolated example. Most European nations, including Switzerland (not in EU), Austria, Finland, Hungary, Norway, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and Germany are witnessing a rise in fear-mongering populists from the far-right of the political spectrum, who call for a revamping of national and traditional values and endorse outright racist and xenophobic views. Far from calling themselves fascist or far-right, they categorize themselves as “national conservatives,” “liberal democrats” or simply “conservatives,” or do not register themselves under a political ideology (non-inscrits) to avoid the historical and popular opposition to the term “far-right.”  This is the case for parties such as the French Front National, the Dutch PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid, Party for Freedom), the Italian Fiamma Tricolore, the Belgian Vlaams Belang, and the Freedom Party of Austria.

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Fascism comes in many different forms but adheres to some basic elements, especially because the political system is most often utilized to manipulate the disgruntled masses. It relies on the perpetuation of popular fears that depend on the local and national contexts. It might even be constituted of workers and laborers, just as in Germany in the 1930s.

Although the European far-right parties may target different groups, all seem to follow a similar model in different contexts. Consequently, they find much common ground to cooperate for the upcoming European Elections. Symbolizing these pragmatic alliances is the flirtation between the Dutch PVV and the French Front National. The PVV is led by the charismatic Geert Wilders (voted Politician of the Year by South Hollanders), and it is currently gobbling on the largest slice of the Dutch popular vote. The Front National is led by Marine Le Pen, the daughter of its controversial founder, Jean-Marie le Pen.

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A pan-European alliance joined by hatred and ironically against the EU

Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders met on November 13, 2013 in The Hague to discuss how to cooperate in the creation of a pan-European alliance. On one hand, Wilders often criticizes Muslims for their homophobic attitudes and — at least for now — he prides himself on tolerance of sexual freedom as being one of the fundamental liberal values of the Netherlands that he and his party represent. On the other hand, Marine Le Pen has vigorously fought against the recently voted gay-marriage laws in France. While Wilders speaks of the “Christian-Judeo culture” of the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen is suspected of antisemitic attitudes, and her father is an expressed antisemite.

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Despite these fundamental differences, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen have no qualms about cooperating in a power grab at a European level, which would allow them to further their ambitions for power on their respective national stages. Both are aware of each other’s use of fear tactics to manipulate their support base, with the scapegoated minorities being north Africans and Africans, some of whom are Muslims. Both also claim to be the paladin defenders of their Christian and national white values and to abhor those of migrants, although they seem unable to reach a consensus on values such as acceptance of sexual freedom in the Netherlands versus the adoption of Catholic gender roles in France. Le  Pen’s ideology recalls the “Travail, Famille, Patrie” motto of the Nazi collaborators of Vichy France.

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Other far-right parties across Europe are also collaborating with each other. Ideological minutia are not the subjects of discussion and discord in such deliberations. Rather, the establishment of a fascist system of political manipulation is the common goal, and fear-mongering is the common strategy. Despite being rhetorically largely anti-European and even calling from an exit of their respective nations from the Euro-zone, these parties had no compunction in banding together in late 2010 to launch a European referendum to “protect the union” by preventing Turkey‘s entry in the EU. Later, in December 2010, Heinz-Christian Strache (chairman of the Freedom Party of Austria), Belgian politician Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang), Kent Ekeroth (of the nationalist and anti-Islamic Sweden Democrats), and René Stadtkewitz (German Freedom Party) went to Israel to meet with Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and discuss “strategies against Islamic terror” before being hosted as honored guests at the Israeli Parliament. United in their hatred for Islam, these parties have found much ground for cooperation at a European level.

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This is not the first time that far-right parties in Europe have attempted to cooperate. In 2007, for example, various parties, led by France’s Front National, banded together to create a pan-European far-right alliance called “Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty.” Jean-Marie Le Pen also tried, between 1989 and 1994, to create the “Technical Group of the European Right.” Such attempts were often short lived and relatively unsuccessful, since they were consistently marred by internal disagreements. This seems to be changing.

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Birth of the fourth reich?

Far-right parties are continuing to encroach on and infiltrate the European political landscape. When one looks at the European Parliamentary elections over the past years, one immediately notices a consistent erosion of the socialist and leftist groups (and the ones remaining are, in any case, a “lighter” version of their predecessors), which might also account for the rise of parties and political entities on the opposite side of the political spectrum. This rise of the far right is not immediately apparent, but it can be seen if one compares the number of seats held by such parties in the European Parliament, and the number gained since 2009 in their national governments’ parliaments.

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In Italy, the Lega Nord (Northern League) already controls most of the northern regions as well as nine out of Italy’s seventy-three MEPs. The Dutch PVV is Europe’s far-right rising star, going from holding 5.9 percent of the electorate in 2006 to 15.4 percent four years later, and to now being placed by many polls as the most favored party in the country. France’s Front National is also enjoying enormous success, as 42 percent of French citizens would consider voting for it at the upcoming municipal elections, and polls currently place it in the lead for the European Elections. Golden Dawn has the majority of voters galvanized in Greece and is poised to achieve similar results in the upcoming European parliamentary elections. The Danish People’s Party is the third largest in Denmark and steadily rising in polls. Similar trends are apparent in Northern-European countries such as Finland and Norway, as well as Eastern-European countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland.

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The European elections in May 2014 bring to mind a few questions: will the far-right get set on its way to further its agenda and increase its prominence? Arguably, the 1929 Wall Street crash that triggered the Great Depression brought along Adolf Hitler as one of its nastier side effects. Will the current austerity measures and economic turmoil across Europe be allowed to bring a modern-day, international version of the Nazis?

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Author: Ruben Rosenberg Colorni
Editor’s Note: Photographs one, five, seven, eleven, thirteen and fourteen from James Vaughan archive. Photographs eight and fifteen by StrassenStriche.net. Photograph six by Marie II, photograph ten by Jacco de Boer and photograph twelve by Gueorgui Tcherednitchenko.
december 12, 2013

Beyond Europe – Antiauthoritarian Platform Against Capitalism

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Just the beginning…

The slogan “Beyond Europe” is a clear “no” to current imaginations of Europe. Obviously, the dream of a politically-economically united, “more equal” and “just” Europe for everyone under the Euro is breaking apart. At the moment, this “Nation Europe” turns out to be a Europe of austerity and deadly disharmony. The nostalgic wish for a re-strengthening of the state to control the “lawless” market is no lasting alternative which can make life better ; in the best case, this is just the other side of the same coin. Another false alternative is being propagated by several right-wing and reactionary forces across the continent. They argue that the only solution is to “fall back” to a “Europe of nations”, where it’s every national state for itself. We want to go beyond these solutions. We argue for the option beyond state, nation and capital brought about by anti-authoritarian struggle and self-organisation. Six years on from the start of the financial crisis, we finally make a start on the necessary project of a transnational platform for radical exchange, discussion and action. We see “Beyond Europe ! – Antiauthoritarian platform against capitalism” as a small start that has been long overdue. Just one beginning for exchange and understanding between anticapitalist groups, beyond our usual borders and limits.

The Origin of the idea

It is becoming increasingly clear that partial, nationally contained struggles within and against the spheres of production and reproduction are not enough to resist the austerity measures of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund). More and more of those engaged in social struggles are being confronted with the limits of national isolation and the urgent need to refer to common points of analysis and struggle ; the need to work towards building transnational movements which relate to each other within and across national borders and that would be capable of creating new dynamics and of disrupting, at least on the level of ideas, traditional conceptions of what constitutes the political terrain.

At the moment the exchange processes between people struggling in Europe and beyond are still underdeveloped. As movements, we are definitely still lacking the skills and the Know-How needed to coordinate effective long-term organising and resistance at the European scale and beyond. We see very few possibilities for even sharing our own histories or current experiences. If we want to build effective transnational movements we need to start experimenting with physical and virtual spaces where we can come together and develop these plans together. Fortunately, many groups and individuals have realised that there is a need to pass from visiting and consuming “hotspots” of (radical) protest and radical journalism to a more advanced level of activity, solidarity and to build solid connections with comrades throughout these places. This is an experimental process to create the tools and spaces needed to overcome both the boundaries we face now and through our consequent networking.

We had our first experiences in the process of transnational organization when we co-organized M31, the decentralised European action day against capitalism which took place on the 31st March 2012. Many of the activists in Germany had to discover that although mass demonstrations are normal in Greece, it does not mean that people will listen to a call for an anticapitalist action day within a European context. Different situations need different approaches and these approaches can only be decided by those putting them into practice. We also learnt that it is one thing to plan a local event in the context of a one off action day and completely another to start a committed and continuous process of discussion and long term co-ordination between radical groups. Of course we had to find out that many groups don‘t want or can‘t participate in this long exchange process. This is based on both a group‘s perspective – how important a group thinks it is to act transnationally, but also it is a matter of capacities and possibilities – which is influenced by the situation each group finds itself in. We hope to see many of these groups and projects again, either within Beyond Europe, or organising alongside us.

The past years have shown us the current limits of our organising. These are limits we want and need to overcome. In Greece the movements have come to the realisation that struggles that stop at the national level will not bring about real change, because only overthrowing the Greek government would not bring about long-term change within the complex European wide situation. In Germany activists are falling into the trap of “there are no struggles” and many have stopped looking for them. In England antiauthoritarian, anticapitalist groups face problems developing practical interventions and links to wider society. In any case, alone we are weak, only by acting locally but thinking globally can we proceed ; only through co-ordinated international activity can a society beyond state, nation and capital be achieved.

What we want – Discover, Exchange, Discuss, Act

We need to (re)occupy the principle of solidarity and fill it with left-wing, emancipatory and radical content. Solidarity has to be freed from the isolation of single-issue campaigns ; it has to be revived and updated by purging it of both its reactionary and nationalist blinkers. We also have to take it back from its recuperation by capitalism : by solidarity we don’t mean “charity” or “investment”.

We have to discover the links between capitalist processes within Europe and beyond. Information must be gathered about state-institutions and companies that act transnationally : what are their functions and how are they involved in organising the flows of capital and power which produce the current management of the crisis and austerity ? Furthermore we have to understand the local situation in each different country. How are austerity politics influencing and changing daily life ? How are people getting organised against wage cuts and rising unemployment ? Are classical defensive struggles transforming into offensive ones ? And, how do they do this ? It is also clear that during these social attacks social relations change. As the reproduction of our lives enters into crisis, existing patriarchal structures which are central to contemporary capitalism are exacerbated. Against the background of strengthening fascist organisations, particularly in Greece and Hungary, and growing racism and nationalism in the so called Western countries, we have to coordinate also on the issue of reactionary answers to the crisis. For example : in England a new rise of antifascist initiatives are emerging to intervene against right-populist and fascist propaganda. This experience will be familiar to Greek comrades who had to face new threats to refugees, homosexuals and themselves since the sudden growth of the fascist Golden Dawn. German activists have had similar experiences during the racist pogroms in the 90s. We want to share successes, mistakes and analysis with our comrades in different countries so that they can act effectively when facing similar issues.

Together we have to develop the weapon of critique whilst simultaneously engaging, slowly and carefully, in a discussion about where we are heading. Can we exchange our theoretical and practical expertise in ways which comrades elsewhere can understand and make use of ? For example, on how to criticise the nation and the formations of national unity ? And most importantly we need to collectively discuss topics that concern us all : for example what is the nature of contemporary Europe ? (How) do we want to overcome it ? What do we want to do next ? And of course we need to start taking further steps and move slowly into discussion with comrades in other continents.

We do not want to remain a theoretical circle only. Our interaction has to find its expression in practical issues, since no relevant change was ever carried through by writing texts alone. We can‘t develop our collective political power sitting in our bedrooms. We can keep our standard solidarity recipe, of course : that is, when something happens in one place, in other places we go out with banners, or light our usual flares, and take several photos which we spread through our channels. This is better than nothing and still one way to refer to each other. But we have to go beyond. The European General Strike N14 was another experiment in making the idea of solidarity broader and more concrete. Whilst there are problems with big international action days which can happen, if done in the right way these can have positive and long-term effects. Other continuous practices could be through strengthening self-organised projects and providing practical support including distributing their goods and products on a bigger level (for example VIO.ME, the self-organised factory in Greece). It is important that we also exchange our knowledge about projects of commoning and socialisation in their different forms and continue developing direct democratic processes. Ultimately, there are many ways to expand practical solidarity that we have yet to find.

So, there are many things on many different levels that we want and that need to be done in common.

Horizons

The horizons for this platform are not, and hopefully will not ever be, completely determined. We do not want to limit our imagination – we envision beginning modestly, exchanging discussion papers and hopefully moving on to coordinated activity and beyond. Everything is open. The way this project develops is for us to decide – alongside the dynamics of movements and struggles that will emerge around us of course ! This project starts small – with four groups in three countries. It is clearly not representative, or even inclusive of all the of the great projects we see taking place, and we hope that more groups that share a similar perspective to us join this networking process. If you would like to find out more about getting involved, please contact us.

It is clear that if we do not try to get organized in this way, if we do not intensify our exchange processes and develop a shared analysis of the international functioning of this system, we won‘t be able to develop our own agenda. We keep working on the basis that the doctrine “There is no alternative” is only the ideology of those who do not want to see real change. In these times of austerity and popular revolt, we have to bring our forms of organization and action to the next level. We say that we have to understand the situation and to act – to take our radical critiques of state, nation and capital, and our promotion of self-organisation and the building of counter-power out of our political milieus, into our neighbourhoods and far beyond.

Beyond Europe, November 2013

http://beyondeurope.net/

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november 22, 2013

Blockupy Frankfurt a/M: 22nd to 24th of November: European Action Conference

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In a statement the Blockupy network wrote about this years (May 31 and June 1) action in Frankfurt: “During Blockupy 2013 we experienced intense and powerful days of collective action and common resistance. On Friday, more than 3000 activists blockaded the entrance to the European Central Bank, making good on our announcement to carry our resistance deep into the heart of the European crisis regime.

(..)

We came together in a great camp that was more than simply a place to sleep: for activists from Germany and Italy, from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, from Greece and Austria and many other countries it was a place for encounters and exchanges as well for planning actions.

The police’s assault on our international demonstration – with more than 20.000 activists – on Saturday was obviously intended to erase our successes from the previous days, and to split the coalition that had achieved them. Those responsible for the attack – especially the interior minister of the state of Hessia, Frankfurt’s senator for law and order, both from Angela Merkel’s conservative party – could not bear an international demonstration walking right past the ECB. In the run-up to the march, they tried to prohibit the march taking that route, but the courts cashiered their edict. In response, they simply went ahead and ignored the court’s ruling, thus highlighting just how little their talk of democracy and rule of law is worth. The danger that the spotless façade of the ECB might be tainted by a few splashes of paint was apparently reason enough to suspend freedom of assembly, and injure – sometimes seriously – more than 300 people through punches and kicks, through tear gas and pepper spray.

The attack on our demonstration was meant to demoralise and split the movement. They really thought that they could just ‘kettle’ 1000 activists from the anticapitalist block at the head of the demonstration, and that the other blocks would simply continue walking on the route that the police had always intended for us. Obviously, they seriously underestimated the resolve of and solidarity among the coalition and among the activists. An attack on one part of the demonstration is an attack on all of us.

Nobody took them up on their absurd offer to leave behind those in the kettle. Thousands stayed until late in the evening and bravely confronted the police until the very end. It is this common experience of courage and solidarity in the face of police violence that forged even closer bonds amongst our coalition and within the movement.

Blockupy has achieved an important political victory. The attack on our demonstration has turned into a political disaster for the interior ministry and the representatives of the authoritarian politics of crisis ‘resolution’. We are determined to continue preparing further actions at the European Central Bank, this raw nerve of the European crisis regime, where protest is so obviously effective and thus clearly undesirable.”

Footage from Enough is Enough TV of Police violence at last years Blockupy demonstration at June 1 in mobilisation clip for demonstration against police violence 1 week later (June 8, 2013):

You can read an eyewitness account of the police brutality (including many videos and pictures) during this years edition of Blockupy here: Blockupy 2013: Police Brutality in #Frankfurt – An Eyewitness Account

One week after the police attacks there was a demonstration against police violence and state repression with 12.500 people who marched in Frankfurt again. They marched the same route as the Blockupy demo should have been allowed to one week before. This time the police did not attack the demo after they were heavily critised in the mainstream press for their brutality during Blockupy 2013.

In October 2013 German newspaper “Junge Welt” reported that the state prosecuter started a preliminary investigation against 943 people who where kettled on June 1, 2013. This after many people filed a criminal complaint against several policemen and against the interiour minister of the state of Hessen because of police violence and deprivation of liberty during the 10 hour kettle. The legal battle of Blockupy 2013 isn’t over yet but activists are focusing on next years actions in Europe’s finance capital. If the state wanted to intimidate protesters they didn’t succeed as the demostration against police brutality and state repression showed only one week after Blockupy 2013. Activists are determined to come back in 2014 with even more people. The preparations for Blockupy 2014 start with a conference and actions during the Europe Finance Week later this month (Call and programm below).

Footage from Enough is Enough TV  of the demonstration against police violence on June 8, 2013 in Frankfurt:

Call for Blockupy’s European Action Conference – 22nd to 24th of November 2013

Against the European austerity regime, against the rule of the EU-Troika, for the transnationalisation of our resistance, for real democracy!

On May 31st and June 1st, the European Central Bank was effectively blockaded by thousands of protesters against the politics of troika. The central commercial zone of Frankfurt was blocked and stores had to shut down, there were loud protests at the airport against deportation, financial and real estate firms were marked and the right to the city was claimed, a care mob called attention to the increased burden on women in the European crisis. Blockupy 2013 brought about intense and powerful days of collective action and resistance. Our many disobedient actions highlighted the ways in which the politics of crisis and impoverishment affect our lives and the lives of millions of people around the world.

Blockupy will return to Frankfurt in 2014 to resist the opening of the ECB’s new headquarters. Yet much remains open. We want to make plans together.

Blockupy 2013 has been one step on the path towards becoming part of a huge, common European and global movement. We want to continue down this path together with you. Therefore we invite you, our friends, colleagues and comrades from all over Europe and beyond, to the Blockupy European Action Conference from November 22nd to November 24th 2013 in Frankfurt.

The Blockupy European Action Conference will be the last of multiple European meetings of movements, networks and organizations this autumn – in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome. All these meetings aim towards finding ways to transform Europe from below, towards further exchanging and debating practices and strategies and towards forming transnational movements.

During the Blockupy European Action Conference we hope to exchange our different experiences of protest and resistance towards creating a different Europe. One core of the Blockupy idea and practice since 2012 is to link alliance building with disobedient, confrontational actions aimed towards mass participation for scandalizing the violent austerity measures and politics of impoverishment. Now we want to create a space to discuss Blockupy and other struggles up to now, to talk about possibilities for the future, and to sketch out a more transnational Blockupy for 2014.

Our goal with the conference is twofold:

  • To engage in strategic debate about the commonalities and gaps in our struggles, and
  • To find out together how Blockupy in 2014 could be successful as a platform for transnational resistance against the troika and politics of crisis.

The questions we have

  • How do we best create powerful connections between our struggles? How can we push together for a dynamic shifting of forces?
  • How do we relate disobedient forms of action (mass blockades, social and general strikes, taking and squatting public spaces, preventing evictions and many more) to alliance-building?
  • How do we connect the struggles in the European south and north? What are the needs of different struggles throughout Europe in crisis? How do we relate these to the aims and imaginations for common resistance in countries like Germany, headquarter
    of the EU crisis regime, where recent elections have shown voters casting ballot to continue these capitalist politics?
  • What role can Blockupy 2014 play within European crisis and the protests against it?

actionconference

Blockupy Frankfurt a/M: 22nd to 24th of November: European Action Conference

action-conference-2013-624x200In a statement the Blockupy network wrote about this years (May 31 and June 1) action in Frankfurt: “During Blockupy 2013 we experienced intense and powerful days of collective action and common resistance. On Friday, more than 3000 activists blockaded the entrance to the European Central Bank, making good on our announcement to carry our resistance deep into the heart of the European crisis regime.

(..)

We came together in a great camp that was more than simply a place to sleep: for activists from Germany and Italy, from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, from Greece and Austria and many other countries it was a place for encounters and exchanges as well for planning actions.

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Blockupy 2013:  Police brutality in Frankfurt, Germany.

The police’s assault on our international demonstration – with more than 20.000 activists – on Saturday was obviously intended to erase our successes from the previous days, and to split the coalition that had achieved them. Those responsible for the attack – especially the interior minister of the state of Hessia, Frankfurt’s senator for law and order, both from Angela Merkel’s conservative party – could not bear an international demonstration walking right past the ECB. In the run-up to the march, they tried to prohibit the march taking that route, but the courts cashiered their edict. In response, they simply went ahead and ignored the court’s ruling, thus highlighting just how little their talk of democracy and rule of law is worth. The danger that the spotless façade of the ECB might be tainted by a few splashes of paint was apparently reason enough to suspend freedom of assembly, and injure – sometimes seriously – more than 300 people through punches and kicks, through tear gas and pepper spray.

The attack on our demonstration was meant to demoralise and split the movement. They really thought that they could just ‘kettle’ 1000 activists from the anticapitalist block at the head of the demonstration, and that the other blocks would simply continue walking on the route that the police had always intended for us. Obviously, they seriously underestimated the resolve of and solidarity among the coalition and among the activists. An attack on one part of the demonstration is an attack on all of us.

Nobody took them up on their absurd offer to leave behind those in the kettle. Thousands stayed until late in the evening and bravely confronted the police until the very end. It is this common experience of courage and solidarity in the face of police violence that forged even closer bonds amongst our coalition and within the movement.

Blockupy has achieved an important political victory. The attack on our demonstration has turned into a political disaster for the interior ministry and the representatives of the authoritarian politics of crisis ‘resolution’. We are determined to continue preparing further actions at the European Central Bank, this raw nerve of the European crisis regime, where protest is so obviously effective and thus clearly undesirable.”

Footage from Enough is Enough TV of Police violence at last years Blockupy demonstration at June 1 in mobilisation clip for demonstration against police violence 1 week later (June 8, 2013):

You can read an eyewitness account of the police brutality (including many videos and pictures) during this years edition of Blockupy here: Blockupy 2013: Police Brutality in #Frankfurt – An Eyewitness Account

One week after the police attacks there was a demonstration against police violence and state repression with 12.500 people who marched in Frankfurt again. They marched the same route as the Blockupy demo should have been allowed to one week before. This time the police did not attack the demo after they were heavily critised in the mainstream press for their brutality during Blockupy 2013.

In October 2013 German newspaper “Junge Welt” reported that the state prosecuter started a preliminary investigation against 943 people who where kettled on June 1, 2013. This after many people filed a criminal complaint against several policemen and against the interiour minister of the state of Hessen because of police violence and deprivation of liberty during the 10 hour kettle. The legal battle of Blockupy 2013 isn’t over yet but activists are focusing on next years actions in Europe’s finance capital. If the state wanted to intimidate protesters they didn’t succeed as the demostration against police brutality and state repression showed only one week after Blockupy 2013. Activists are determined to come back in 2014 with even more people. The preparations for Blockupy 2014 start with a conference and actions during the Europe Finance Week later this month (Call and programm below).

Footage from Enough is Enough TV  of the demonstration against police violence on June 8, 2013 in Frankfurt:

Call for Blockupy’s European Action Conference – 22nd to 24th of November 2013

Against the European austerity regime, against the rule of the EU-Troika, for the transnationalisation of our resistance, for real democracy!

On May 31st and June 1st, the European Central Bank was effectively blockaded by thousands of protesters against the politics of troika. The central commercial zone of Frankfurt was blocked and stores had to shut down, there were loud protests at the airport against deportation, financial and real estate firms were marked and the right to the city was claimed, a care mob called attention to the increased burden on women in the European crisis. Blockupy 2013 brought about intense and powerful days of collective action and resistance. Our many disobedient actions highlighted the ways in which the politics of crisis and impoverishment affect our lives and the lives of millions of people around the world.

Blockupy will return to Frankfurt in 2014 to resist the opening of the ECB’s new headquarters. Yet much remains open. We want to make plans together.

Blockupy 2013 has been one step on the path towards becoming part of a huge, common European and global movement. We want to continue down this path together with you. Therefore we invite you, our friends, colleagues and comrades from all over Europe and beyond, to the Blockupy European Action Conference from November 22nd to November 24th 2013 in Frankfurt.

The Blockupy European Action Conference will be the last of multiple European meetings of movements, networks and organizations this autumn – in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome. All these meetings aim towards finding ways to transform Europe from below, towards further exchanging and debating practices and strategies and towards forming transnational movements.

During the Blockupy European Action Conference we hope to exchange our different experiences of protest and resistance towards creating a different Europe. One core of the Blockupy idea and practice since 2012 is to link alliance building with disobedient, confrontational actions aimed towards mass participation for scandalizing the violent austerity measures and politics of impoverishment. Now we want to create a space to discuss Blockupy and other struggles up to now, to talk about possibilities for the future, and to sketch out a more transnational Blockupy for 2014.

Our goal with the conference is twofold:

  • To engage in strategic debate about the commonalities and gaps in our struggles, and
  • To find out together how Blockupy in 2014 could be successful as a platform for transnational resistance against the troika and politics of crisis.

The questions we have

  • How do we best create powerful connections between our struggles? How can we push together for a dynamic shifting of forces?
  • How do we relate disobedient forms of action (mass blockades, social and general strikes, taking and squatting public spaces, preventing evictions and many more) to alliance-building?
  • How do we connect the struggles in the European south and north? What are the needs of different struggles throughout Europe in crisis? How do we relate these to the aims and imaginations for common resistance in countries like Germany, headquarter
    of the EU crisis regime, where recent elections have shown voters casting ballot to continue these capitalist politics?
  • What role can Blockupy 2014 play within European crisis and the protests against it?

actionconferenceActions on Friday

All guests are invited to join the protests against the Euro Finance Week (18.-22. November) already on Friday, November, 22th at 2 p.m. we will have a noisy manifestation in front of the Alte Oper. For more info see: http://notroika.org/

Afterwards we offer a city walk to some stakeholders of the crisis, including a visit of the site of the new EZB building.

Conference Program

Friday, Nov 22nd:

  • 2:00 p.m. Noisy Manifestation against Euro Finance Week, Alte Oper
  • Afterwards City Walk to the new ECB building site
  • 6:00 p.m. „You are leaving the democratic sector“, Public Opening Meeting, Studierendenhaus
  • 8:30 p.m. „Get together“ of conference participants

Saturday, Nov 23rd:

  • 9.30 a.m. 6:30 p.m. „Disobedient Resistance for Democracy without Capitalism“, Plenaries and Workshops about transnational counter-power
  • 7:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m. „How to create strong and European Blockupy actions in 2014“ Evening Plenary
  • Party
Sunday, Nov 24th:
  • 10:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. Debates and decisions about dates, common structures and action concepts for 2014

Registration

In order to get a good overview of the approximate numbers of participants, we kindly ask you to register beforehand. We’ve set up a small Form for this. Please fill it out: here

Organsational Stuff

Everything from the Venue, to the accomodation, translation, food an so on can be found here

 

PresenceCounts-15o-OccupyLjubljana

september 8, 2013

What do Brazil, Turkey, Peru and Bulgaria have in common?

 
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The protests in Bulgaria have much in common with protests in other countries [AFP]
 
 

This year’s protests have less to do with ideology and specific grievances than a new architecture of protest.

 
Sao Paulo, Brazil – What influence did Istanbul’s Gezi Park protest movement have on the uprising in Brazil? Can we explain the sudden emergence of mass demonstrations in Peru as being inspired by neighbouring Brazil? What do the anti-government, anti-establishment protest movements in these three countries – and in Bulgaria – have in common?Analysts have searched for specific reasons to explain the recent revolts: Istanbul rose to protect Gezi Park from neoliberal enclosure; Brazilian citizens took to the streets to protest against the rising of the price of public transportation; Peruvians were outraged by corruption and a government that tried to impose its will on the country’s constitutional court. Bulgaria’s protests, which started this January, were spurred by anger at high electricity and water bills.But does this really explain what has happened in recent months? The reasons listed above would imply that four almost disconnected rebellions took place simultaneously. And cause-and-effect logic cannot fully explain these protests, which fall largely outside the left-right axis.

 
Rather, what the movements have in common has less to do with ideology and specific grievances, than with a new architecture of protest. In all four countries, established groups such as unions and political parties were almost irrelevant. For instance, the calls for protest in Peru, which filled the capital’s streets in July, were born [Es] in social networks, mailing lists and non-ideological groups. When a reporter suggested to human rights activist Rocio Silvia Santisteba that she was leading the Peruvian protests, she replied: “We convene. We do not lead.”

Violent police crackdowns, news of which was largely ignored by the mainstream media but spread on the internet, transformed the initial demonstrations in Istanbul and Sao Paulo into what John Robb calls “open source protests”, in which no group was able to impose its own agenda. These are protests in which information spread by self-convened, networked citizens breaks the consensus built by the state, media and market.

A study [Es] by Brazilian digital communications firm Interagentes on Brazil’s protests shows that the Passe Livre Movement, which called for lower bus fares, largely lost its leadership of the protest movement following police violence on June 13. The incident opened the demonstration’s range to include many other causes. In massive rallies on June 17, millions of Brazilians took to the streets shouting, as in Bulgaria, against the country’s political parties and wielding a never-before-seen variety of posters demanding a better public health system, better public transport, better education, transparency, and civic rights, among many other causes. 

The same thing happened in the early days of the Gezi Park movement in Turkey. After the use of tear gas by the police, the protests evolved into more than just the defence of a park; instead, the movement broadened to become a struggle for civil rights, for a more transparent democracy and for a new economic model.

Alter, remix, hack

What do the Bulgarian, Turkish, Brazilian and Peruvian revolts have in common? Another similarity is the fact that they did not aim to destroy the power structure.

The from-the-networks-to-the-streets flow is one of the most notable patterns of these revolts.

“The best subversion is to alter the code instead of destroying it,” wrote French philosopher Roland Barthes in the 1960s. Connected crowds, assembling emotions, do not destroy power. They prefer altering the code of power, the protocols, the process. Doing yoga in front of the Bulgarian congress or in the local occupied political assembly of the Brazilian city of Niteroi can be as subversive as actually taking power. Holding a horizontal, popular and open assembly inside an occupied public building – which has been quite common during the Brazilian uprising – can change how politics work.

When Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan referred to the protesters using the slang word “chapullers”, or looters, the crowd took over the code, proclaiming a “chapulling movement” and creating Chapull.tv, which streamed the events in Gezi Park. And when the Brazilian media called the protesters “vandalos” – rioters – the crowd remixed the insult, proclaiming: “Vandalism is what they do with your father in the doctor’s queue,” referring to the country’s sclerotic medical system.

 Alter, remix, hack. Spread the virus. The Peruvian Indignados movement referred to the “repartija” – the government’s opaque distribution of political offices – as the”lagartija”, or lizard, an ironic icon for memorably spreading the message.

For their part, Bulgarians brought watermelons to the door of parliament on day 45 of the protests, an act laden with layers of metaphor. The Bulgarian word for “watermelon” sounds similar to the words for “day” and “year” said together. The Communists ruled Bulgaria for 45 years, and the Bulgarians surrounded the parliament for 45 days. The country, the protesters were saying, was ripe for a change of cycle.

All revolts are connected

What’s more, all revolts are connected somehow. The fact that a Brazilian flag was flying in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, or that the slogan “Brazil will be another Turkey” was used during Brazil’s demonstrations, are examples. The Interagentes study [Es] of digital networks mentioned that when the first protests were called in Sao Paulo on June 6, there were two Turkish Facebook pages among the ten most influential in Brazil on that day: Diren Gezi Parki [Tr] and Turkiyenin Gururu Recep Tayyip Erdogan [Tr].

In the case of the Peruvian protests, the connection was with a more distant revolt: The hashtag used on Twitter to mobilise protesters was #TomaLaCalle, the same phrase used by the Spanish Indignados movement in 2011. From #TomaLaCalle to #VemPraRua (the most popular hashtag of the Brazilian protests), the from-the-networks-to-the-streets flow is one of the most notable patterns of these revolts. These types of protests transcend the traditional format of demonstrations – and build, in the words of Spanish thinker Javier Toret, “a mutant network system with moving boundaries, hybrid, cyborg, a collective body that resists time and can extend through space”. 

Maybe the global revolution has just begun. Maybe we can sense its unpredictable flow by observing small details – gestures, posters, icons, photographs, streamings. “I am nobody,” said one of the members of the Passe Livre movement to a journalist. “We are the 99 percent,” shouted the Occupy Wall Street movement. “We are looking for a new horizontal form,” the streets seem to whisper. We desire a distributed democracy. We are a new social grammar. “We are part of a larger struggle, of a global struggle,” a crowd shouted from the roof of the Brazilian congress on June 18.

The Hungarian sociologist Peter Pal, describing what is happening in Brazil, helps us to understand what these networked revolts have in common. Although there may not yet be categories to describe this new type of movement, these uprisings are all “more insurgent, more movement than party, more flow than discipline, more impulse than purpose – with an uncommon power to bring people together”.

Bernardo Gutierrez is a Spanish journalist and writer who researches networked revolutions, hacker culture and peer-to-peer politics. He is the founder of the global innovation network FuturaMedia.net and lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Published: Al Jazeera, 07th of September 2013 (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/09/20139572247949239.html)

maj 28, 2013

Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2013 – Protest action in Ljubljana

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The assembly of the participants of the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2013 (that was taking place in Ljubljana/Slovenia 24 – 26 May 2013) decided to use the opportunity and make a political intervention in the city.

The Statement from the action:
http://www.a-federacija.org/2013/05/26/we-are-their-crisis-for-a-transnational-struggle-against-capitalism-and-repression/

All infos about the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2013:
http://www.a-federacija.org/bab2013/

WE ARE THEIR CRISIS — for a transnational struggle against capitalism and repression!

We, the participants of the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair in Ljubljana, are taking to the streets today in order to express our common rejection of capitalism and repression. We are an international community of anarchists and anti-authoritarians, engaged in struggles against the regime of capitalist exploitation, austerity measures, the rise of nationalism and fascism and state repression.

The global crisis of capitalism has completely discredited the dogma that capitalism and liberal democracy can provide for the well-being of all. As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, we reject austerity measures and authoritarian crisis management as a solution to the crisis. We understand austerity measures as a path towards a Europe of generalized poverty. We also reject nationalist populism and fascism as responses to the social crisis that the austerity measures are causing. The only solution to the crisis can be the destruction of capitalism and the state and the continuous construction of new social relations, free of all forms of exploitation and domination. Building a new world in the shell of the old!

In the time of the crisis and intensified social conflicts, state repression is becoming increasingly brutal and police is transforming more and more into a paramilitary force, serving the interests of political and economic elites. Basic rights of all those who resist capitalist expropriation of our lives are being continuously suspended. We stand in solidarity with all political prisoners and subjects of repression. We strongly reject the criminalization of widespread revolts. No justice, no peace, fuck the police!

We invite everyone who is interested to take part in the common struggle:

Let’s kick capitalism while it’s down!

General assembly of the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair 2013

Ljubljana, 25. May 2013

Photos and video of protest action in Ljubljana:

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april 23, 2013

Skupna izjava udeležencev Hub meetinga / povezovalnega srečanja 2013 Maribor – Ljubljana

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Skupna izjava udeležencev evropskega in mediteranskega Hub meetinga / povezovalnega srečanja 2013 Maribor – Ljubljana, ki je potekalo od 18. do 20. aprila 2013 v Mariboru in Ljubljani

Hub meeting / povezovalno srečanje 2013 Maribor – Ljubljana je nadaljevanje procesa srečanj evropskih gibanj. Izmenjevali smo izkušnje s petih področij: znanja, migracij, radikalnega socialnega dela, vladovanja v mestu in konstituirajočega procesa. Izhajajoč iz lokalnih razlik smo razpravljali o odpiranju skupnega prostora, v katerem razumemo Evropo ne kot geografski prostor, razdeljen z mejami in definiran s strani hegemonskih struktur, temveč jo razumemo kot regijo, ki jo definirajo boji. Zato vanjo vključujemo tudi boje Arabske pomladi ter upoštevamo razlike med severom in jugom. To je proces, v katerem mislimo skupni prostor skozi rezoniranje lokalnih bojev proti transnacionalnem nivoju.

Konstituirajoči proces je ključni horizont, ki ga polnimo z vsebino in praksami. Te temeljijo na splošnem raziskovanju okolja, v katerega so gibanja vtkana, ob tem pa spoštujejo heterogenost družbe ter lokalnih kontekstov. Prepoznavamo občo nujnost kritike finančnega kapitala, Troike itn., a ta ne sme ostati le na simbolni ravni, temveč mora obstajati tudi materialno, skozi konkretne prakse.

Zgolj dialog med radikalnimi gibanji, ki so že vključena v proces, ne zadostuje. Boje je potrebno generalizirati.

Kot gibanja se želimo videti kot del družbe, ne ločeni od nje. Boje želimo spodbujati na terenih, kjer se kapitalistični sistem reproducira. Med njimi so neoliberalno vladovanje v mestu, znanje, migracije, socialno delo in evropski konstituirajoči proces, vsiljen od zgoraj.

Na delavnici „Upiranje neoliberalnemu vladovanju v mestu“ smo se pogovarjali o bojih in praksah v mestu in urbanem prostoru nasploh ter o organiziranju potreb na teritoriju.

Na delavnici „Migracije“ smo govorili o bojih proti vsakršnim ekonomskim in političnim mejam, skozi njih pa smo zaznali povezave med boji beguncev in boji migrantskih delavcev.

Na delavnici „Znanje“ smo to prepoznali kot temeljno bojišče, ki nam nudi orodja za spodbujanje novih bojev.

Na delavnici „Ženske, kriza in (radikalno) socialno delo“ smo govorili o povezavah med patriarhatom, kapitalizmom in krizo. Najprej smo razpravljali o vključitvi feminističnih perspektiv v skupen boj proti politikam zategovanja pasov; nato smo se pogovarjali o mehanizmih radikalnega socialnega dela v skupnosti.

Na delavnicah „Perspektive političnih procesov in bojev v Evropi“ in „Konstituirajoči proces“ pa smo izmenjevali mnenja o delovanju v okviru koncepta „družbene stavke“ z dolgoročno perspektivo. „Družbena stavka“ pomeni forme stavkanja izven formalnih struktur, denimo sindikatov ipd. Pretresali smo mehanizme in metode, ki jih ljudje že uporabljamo in so del tovrstnih akcij ter razpršenih mrež teh praks. Prvi test „družbene stavke“ bo 15M.

Poleg tega smo prepoznali agendo evropskih dogodkov, vključujoč Blockupy Frankfurt, Que se lixe a Troika (na Portugalskem) in španskimi dnevi mobilizacij Plan de Rescate Ciudadano, kot del nadaljnjih korakov proti jeseni aktivnosti. Poudarjamo pomen teh dogodkov kot uporabnih orodij za izgradnjo konstituirajočega procesa.

Z ljubeznijo,

udeleženci Hub Meeting 2013

 

English:

Common Statement Maribor – Ljubljana Hub Meeting 2013

Hub Meeting 2013 Maribor ‐ Ljubljana is the continuation of a European movements meetings process. We shared our experiences around five topics: governance of the city; knowledge; migration; women, crisis and radical social care; and the constituent process. Starting from our local differences we talked about opening common space in which we think of Europe not as a geographical space divided by borders and defined by hegemonic structures, but rather as a struggle defined region. In this we also consider the struggles of the Arab Spring, and differences between south and north. This is a process in which we imagine the common space through which local struggles resonate to a transnational level.

The constituent process is a crucial horizon to be filled with content and practices that have to be based on a general inquiry in which the movements are embedded, respecting heterogeneity of society and local circumstances. There is a general need to attack financial capital, troika,  etc., not only on a symbolic level but also in a material way through concrete practices. It is not enough to just talk to radical movements already included in the process, but to generalize the struggles.

As movements and activists, we want to see ourselves as embedded in society and not separate from it. We want to create struggle on the terrains where the capitalistic system  reproduces  itself:  for  example  in  governance  of  the  city,  knowledge,  migration, social care and a top down European constituent process.

In Governance of The City we discussed struggles and practices in the city and urban space and the organizing of needs on the territory;

In Migration we discussed struggles against any economic and political border through which we found the lines that cross the refugee struggles and the struggles of migrant workers;

We recognized Knowledge as a fundamental battleground that gives us the tools to create new struggles.

In Women, Crisis and Radical Social Care we discussed the link between patriarchy, capitalism and the crisis. First it was how to insert feminist perspectives in the common struggle against austerity; second was mechanisms of radical social care in the community;

And in the Constituent Process we discussed working on a social  strike with a long-term perspective, where “Social  Strike” means  forms  of  strike outside formal unions, etc. We inquired about mechanisms and methods of how people create by themselves and are involved in such actions and diffuse networks of practices,  rescuing the next 15th May as a first test.

Besides this we recognize there is an agenda of European events, including Blockupy FrankfurtQue Se Lixe A Troika and Plan de Rescate Ciudadano days of mobilization in the perspective of further steps towards the autumn, and we stress that those events must be useful tools for building a constituent process.

With love, the participants of Hub Meeting 2013

februar 28, 2013

Could the practice of the latest Bulgarian protests be an inspiration to other protesters across the world?

bolgarijabalkanwakeup

Balkans wake up!

The first wave of privatization in Bulgaria took place between 1992 and 1994 under UDF (Union of Democratic Forces). Land and industry was privatized through the issue of shares in government enterprises to all citizens, but accompanied by massive unemployment as uncompetitive industries failed.

The negative reaction against economic reform allowed BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party) to take office in 1995. In late 1996 and early 1997, mass protests took place against BPS’s government which had led the country to hyperinflation and a complete crisis.

In 1997 the BSP government collapsed and the UDF came to power, the first government to serve its full 4-year term since communism. Economic reforms were carried out under the guidance of IMF, including privatization of state-owned enterprises on a large scale. The country started accession talks with the European Union (which Bulgaria joined on January 1, 2007). UDF was accused of corruption, nepotism and illegal privatizations. The majority of the charges were aimed at selling at minimum value the enterprises from the so called “Videnov list for liquidation and isolation”.

The privatization has continued up to now. In 2004 The Republic of Bulgaria sold a 67% stake in its three electricity distribution companies to E.ON Energie AG of Germany, EVN AG of Austria and CEZ a.s. of Czech Republic.

Economic difficulties and a tide of corruption have led over 800,000 Bulgarians, including many qualified professionals, to emigrate. The reform package introduced in 1997 led to rising social inequality. The political and economic system after 1989 virtually failed to improve the living standard. On the contrary, according to a 2009 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, 76% of Bulgarians said they were dissatisfied with the system of democracy, 63% thought that free markets did not make people better off and only 11% of Bulgarians agreed that ordinary people had benefited from the changes in 1989.

The protest in Bulgaria began in Blagoevgrad in late January after consumers received electricity bills that were two times higher than those for the previous month. Protesters symbolically burned their bills.

Motivation video of protests in Bulgaria

On 10 February, demonstration took place in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Shumen, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski, Silistra, Yambol, Gotse Delchev, Belene, Montana, Dobrich and Kardzhali. The same day, two EVN (EVN Bulgaria, part of EVN AG – Austrian power company) utility vehicles were set ablaze in Plovdiv. Demonstrators in Sofia gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism and threw snowballs at minister Delyan Dobrev. One protester was stabbed in Varna on 13 February 2013.

By mid-February tens of thousands of people were on the streets, demanding nationalisation of the private regional monopolies, removal of subcontractors, assigning traffic and distribution to NEK EAD (the state-owned power distribution company), declassifying all contracts between the state and energy companies and more liberal combined heat and power usage laws, among others.

On 17 February, a national demonstration against monopolies gathered 10,000 people in Plovdiv, 8,000 (up to 30,000 by other estimates) in Varna and a smaller number in other cities. In total, 150,000 people protested all over the country in 35 cities and towns. Key motorways and transport routes in the country were blocked; rocks, bottles and eggs were thrown against Gendarmerie units, the Ministry of Economy and the National Assembly in the capital. People chanted “mafia” and “resignation”, and carried slogans such as “This is not a protest, it’s a process – the struggle for a new Bulgaria”, “Down with GERB” and “Janissaries, the end is coming”. They gave the government one more week to respond to their demands. Clashes occurred near CEZ’ headquarters (Czech power company) in Sofia.

On 18 February mass demonstrations continued all over the country. In Sofia, they escalated into civil resistance and protesters attempted to attack the National Assembly. The crowds were pushed back to Eagles’ Bridge (the starting point of the protest), and after their demands to begin immediate talks with government representatives remained unanswered, they moved towards the National Palace of Culture. Clashes with police and Gendarmerie units left two police officers injured and six patrol vehicles were damaged. Eleven people were arrested.

The same day Boyko Borisov dismissed finance minister Simeon Dyankov, unpopular among the population because of his abrupt manners and strong insistence on austerity, but this did not reduce public tensions.

On 19 February, which marked 140 years of national hero Vasil Levski’s execution, violent clashes between protesters and police occurred in Sofia. Two dozen people, including Gendarmerie officers, were injured during a police charge on protesters at Eagles’ Bridge. President Rosen Plevneliev was booed at during his speech at the Levski Monument. The number of demonstrators in Varna was around 8,000.

Protests in Bulgaria 19.02.2013 Sofia – chronology

On 20 February, Boyko Borisov announced that his cabinet would resign. The resignation was voted in Parliament next morning, with 209 MPs voting “for” and 5 “against”. Borisov said: “Our power was handed to us by the people, today we are handing it back to them” as the state “needs leadership that has new credibility.”

After Borisov’s resignation initiative committees by citizens formed around the country.

On 21 february around 500 members of the Anti-mafia civic associacion voiced their discontent with the judiciary. Posters called for stripping magistrates of immunity and of ousting magistrates involved in fraud schemes with real estate. The protesters called on the President to appoint an expert government until the convocation of a Grand National Assembly to amend the Constitution and the entire political and judicial systems.

On 23 February coordinators of demonstrations gathered in Sliven to discuss further actions after the resignation of the government. Several members of different political parties who were present at the gathering were expelled. Demands for a change of the political system, a ban on all political parties in power, abolishment of value added tax on electricity production and state ownership of natural resources and strategic sectors were added to the original calls for nationalisation of the power companies. TIM, a semi-legal company, was reported to have organised a crackdown on an initiative committee gathering in Varna. The “Rakovski Legion”, an organisation of military officers and supporters of the Bulgarian Army, have joined the protests.

At a roundtable discussion, which was organized by the National Association of the Free “Free Choice” about 100 citizens and NGOs demanded constitutional change, especially of article 12, according to which citizens’ associations, including trade unions, cannot have political goals and carry out political activity. They also demanded a civil quota everywhere – ministries, agencies, including the judiciary and prosecutor’s office so that citizens can exercise some kind of control over the political system. The declaration adopted at the roundtable discussion and the one adopted at another roundtable discussion in the southern city of Sliven were almost one and the same.

The protesters’ demand for a constitutional change was adopted by some MPs and parties. On 22 February Bulgarian independent MPs launched a petition calling for the convocation of a Grand Assembly tasked with drafting a new Constitution. Such a decision can be initiated by half of the total of 240 MPs, the President or by a referendum. The Constitution provides for a two-month long procedure before elections could be held, during which each political party and social group could state its ideas on the Constitution, after which the Grand Assembly would prepare it within a short term.

bolgarija occupy

End the illusions! Self-government. Civil activity every day!

The far-right party Ataka also expressed support for the convocation of the Grand Assembly. Ataka also wanted a revision of the privatization deals, cancellation of the contracts with the power distribution companies and bringing all people who were to blame for the privatization to justice.

Bulgaria’s Grand National Assembly (Велико народно събрание, Veliko narodno sabranie) is the only body entitled to draft and adopt new constitutions and to change the organization of the state. A total of seven Grand National Assemblies have been in operation in Bulgaria, the last one from 10 July 1990 to 12 July 1991 adopting the current constitution.

A petition for a referendum on the summing of Bulgaria’s Grand National Assembly for the adoption a new constitution had been organized in 2010 by the “Order, Law, Justice” (RZS), a controversial marginal Bulgarian conservative party.

According to the inspection of the Bulgarian census authorities, there were a total of 389 705 authentic signatures backing RZS’s petition for a referendum for a new constitution. Under Bulgarian legislation, any petition backed by more than 200,000 people has to be considered by the Parliament, and any one backed by more than 500,000 signatures is binding.

The party tabled to the Bulgarian Parliament a motion for the holding of a referendum on this topic on 26 February.

On 24 February president Plevenliev met the protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism ahead of the official start of the before the announced protest and received an open letter, signed by 35 initiative committees, with their demands. The protesters set a deadline of one week after which the resignation of the president would also be demanded if there were no results.

The demands of the protesters can be viewed here:
http://sofiaglobe.com/2013/02/25/bulgarian-political-crisis-protesters-demands-in-english/

Thousands of Bulgarians living abroad supported the national protest with demonstrations and rallies held in a number of cities across Europe.

A demonstration was held in front of the Bulgarian embassy in Vienna. The participants pledged support to the open letter of the 35 initiative committees. Many Bulgarians marched the streets in London showing their solidarity with the protesters in Sofia. The Bulgarian communities in Valencia, Madrid, Manchester, Athens and Munich also rallied in support of their protesting compatriots across Bulgaria. A number of Bulgarian students gathered in front of the city hall in Manchester. They said that the political model in Bulgaria had to be changed.

The left-wing Coalition for Bulgaria Parliamentary Group declined the exploratory mandate to form a government in the framework of the 41st National Assembly, as they had stated earlier. Under the constitutional procedure President Rosen Plevneliev handed the mandate to the second largest parliamentary group on Wednesday, after GERB declined to form a cabinet on Monday. On Friday the mandate will go the third largest group in Parliament – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). The MRF have also said that they will not accept a mandate to form a government under the incumbent Parliament. If all three attempts fail, the President must appoint a caretaker cabinet, dissolve the National Assembly and, by the same decree, schedule new parliamentary elections within two months.

In less than 10 days there have been three self-immolations in Bulgaria. In Veliko Tarnovo a man set himself on fire and later died in a hospital. A 36-year-old from Varna is in a coma due to severe burns and another man has been hospitalized with burns over 71% of his body. A man who began a hunger strike in Sofia was detained by police.

Management of corrupt politicians and the alienation of people from making decisions affecting directly their economic and social prosperity inevitably leads to similar acts of civil unrest. Of course, the more important question is what happens after that. Whether it leads to phase transition into a whole new state of the system, or just as a discharge valve of social stress and the replacement of some people in a return to a power system which creates the same problems.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 the first open meeting among citizens and protesters from all the country was held in Sofia. The next meeting will be organized on Friday, 1 March. One of the protesters said, “For now we are dissscusing the short term demands, for example minimising the price of electricity and majority vote for parliament elections. There are no debates about a new system we want to live in. But I hope we start soon.”

As the protesters stated in one of their slogans, “We are not a protest, but a process.”

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februar 25, 2013

#NoTroika #2M #Portugal: Screw the Troika! Power to the People! #qslt2M #Queselixeatroika

lisbon-calling

Screw the Troika! Power to the People!

In September, October and November we filled the streets of Portugal showing clearly that the people are against the austerity and destructive policies imposed by the government and its allies, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank – the troika. Once we defeated amendments to Sole Social Taxe, new measures soon appeared and even more serious. The Budget for 2013 and the new proposals of the IMF, prepared with the government, unerringly fire against labor rights, against public services, against the public school system and the National Health Service, against culture, against all that is ours by and hit right in the heart of each and every one of us. Everywhere, growing unemployment and precariousness, emigration, wild privatizations, selling the balance of public enterprises, while reducing labor costs.

We can not take more theft and aggression.

We stand indignant with the theft of the retirement pensions, with the threat of firings and lay offs, with each job destroyed. We stand indignant with the closure of the grocery stores, the restaurants, the shops and cafes of our neighborhoods. We stand indignant with the town government that disappears, with the health center that closes, with the closing of maternitiy hospitals, with schools increasingly more poor and degraded. We stand indignant with the appearance of new taxes disguised as fees, tolls, etc. We stand indignant with those who managed poorly what is ours and then decide to privatize what belongs to all- water, oceans, beaches, territory – everything that we built over the years – the electricity network, airports, hospitals, post offices. We stand indignant with the daily degradation of our quality of life. We stand indignant with increases of bread and milk, water, electricity and gas, public transport. We are revolted to know of another friend who is forced to leave Portugal, of another family who lost their home, of another hungry child. We rebel against increased discrimination and racism. We are revolted to know that another citizen gave up on life.

All this is the troika: an unelected government that decides on our present conditioning our future. The troika condemns dreams to death, the future to fear, life to survival. Its aims are clear: to increase our debt, impoverishing the majority and enriching a minority, to annihilate the economy, to reduce wages and rights, to destroy the social state and Portuguese sovereignty. The success of its objectives depends on our misery. If the destruction of the welfare state ensures the troika’s debt financing and therefore their profits, with the destruction of the economy ensures a continuously dependent and indebted country.

nunosaraiva

On February 25, the leaders of the troika, in cahoots with the government, will begin a new evaluation period of our country. For this they need our cooperation and that is what we are not going to give them. Because we do not believe in the false argument that if we “just bear it” markets will be generous. We refuse to collaborate with the troika, the IMF, with a government that serves only the interests of those who came to pay less for labor, with banks and bankers, with the dictatorship of the financial markets. And resist. We resist because this is the only way to preserve dignity and life. We resist because we know that there are alternatives and because we know what we have as inevitable is in fact unworkable and therefore unacceptable. We resist because we believe in building a more just society.

To this wave that destroys everything we oppose the tidal wave of our indignation and on March 2nd we will fill the streets again. We demand the resignation of the government and that the people to be called to decide their lives.

United like never before, we shall say enough.

To all citizens, with and without a political party, with and without employment, and without hope, we urge you to join us. All political and military organizations, civic movements, trade unions, political parties, institutions, informal groups, we urge you to join us. From north to south, the islands, abroad, take to the streets!

SCREW THE TROIKA! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

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