AF Czeck Republic. Activities of the Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation in 2013


česká verze

logo csaf The Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation (Československá anarchistická federace; CSAF) was formed in summer 1995 and it is a part of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA). Despite its name, for quite a long time it doesn't have any active group in Slovakia.

CSAF unifies local groups and individuals, for whom it's a platform, by which they can coordinate their activities, work on common projects, lead an efficient communication or share experiences. The position of all members of federation are equal, there's not any kind of hierarchy, all kinds of decisions are made from below, with an effort for common consensus. Each local groups then decide about their activities autonomously and inform about it the rest of federation on congresses, which happen ordinarily in spring and autumn.

The common vision of classless, free and self-organized society connects us. We want to achieve it by organizing of free-thinking forces, spreading of consciousness about anarchist theory and practice and by realization of self-organized projects. Recently, CSAF doesn't aim too much to organize actions under its name. The most of anarchists unified in the federation generally participates either in activities in a frame of local groups,.or in activities of different groups, such as collectives of Food Not Bombs (FNB; http://food-not-bombs.cz), free community VAP (Voice of Anarchopacifism), Antifascist Action (AFA), Initiative No to Racism (Iniciativa Ne rasismu; INR) or Association Alerta. We don't care, who is subscribed under particular groups, but we care about its content, goal and result. We are activist organization, which, except unifying of people, puts the importance also on active participation. That, for sure, can have a different shape and intensity, according to possibilities of each members.

By years of its existence, CSAF crystallized into a platform of regions. The most of big actions and another activities of antiauthoritarian movement is happening in Prague – logically, there's the biggest concentration of activists, as well as places, where they can meet, and power centers, to which they can address their protests. Default conditions of the rest of movement are very different from those metropolitan and the need of durable organizational platform is much higher. Therefore CSAF rather supports by many ways the most of actions in Prague, than to organize them directly itself.

Anarchist May Day

As usually, we are beginning the summary of CSAF activity with one of the most important dates in „anarchist calendar",the May Day. On this date, several actions happened. One of them was a meeting of CSAF on a traditional place of anarchist May Days, on the Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov) in Prague. Seeing that in that time the island's area was under the reconstruction, the action was not public and happened attended by 35 anarchists. Songs by sympathizing folksinger, a speech and laying flowers at the memorial plaque constituted the action's program.

Two hours later, meeting's participants joined the anarchist demonstration called „The Party is Over" („Párty skončila"), which was attended roughly by 400 people. Before the procession, chanting anarchist and anticapitalist slogans, started, speeches of organizers and CSAF members were pronounced. Anarchist May Day happened, as was expected, calmly, without a bigger exceed out of anarchist movement itself.

November 17th

A celebration of November 17th within the antiauthoritarian movement took mainly an antifascist shape. Our federation supported by participation, banners and pickets a demonstration called by INR in Prague, as a reaction to a meeting of far right Workers' Party of Social Justice (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti; DSSS). A route of march of roughly two hundreds far right participants was blocked with chanting of antifascist slogans by 500 opposers. But our message on this action had a wider social dimension. In our speech we used November 17th, symbolizing the end of Bolsheviks' power, also for a criticism of capitalist regime, which was immediately established.

That on November 17th there's not much to celebrate, reminded also members of CSAF-East in the streets of Pardubice. On the one of frequented places they hanged a banner entitled in that manner and on several walls, next to wall newspaper A3, appeared sprayed inscriptions, such as „Racism is cool, students are silent" or „Too much of anti-communism, too less of anticapitalism".

Against Elections

A year 2013 brought two elections – first presidential and then an early parliamentary elections. Those presidential were typical struggle between six of one,and half a dozen of the other. We did not plan to say something to it, but a massive and blank buildup provoked us to publish an ironic article, which „supported" duke Schwarzenberg. This article celebrated a great success and became one of the most viewed text on our website in 2013.

The autumn elections into Chamber of Deputies of Parliament of the Czech Republic we decided to use for a criticism of parliamentarism and electoral fraud. Our main effort was to present arguments advocating active electoral absenteeism. Our press releases were as usually ignored by media, therefore we aimed mainly on propagation in streets. For such a purpose helped mainly the „(non)voting special" of newsletter Zdola (From below), which explained by a serious and funny way at the same time, why anarchists don't participate on these elections. It was handed out both at larger gatherings, and to passerby on streets. The pre-electoral release of wall newspapers A3 also contained the same topic. All groups of CSAF joined the propagation of elections' boycott. In Olomouc, they were followed by banner's hanging, the same in Pardubice, where appeared also some large inscriptions on wall. Directly on election day, members of CSAF organized "anti-voting grilling", where in front of polling stations they fed the fire by ballots. Other anarchist groups also helped to spread our materials, mainly then VAP. Electoral absence then reached 40% (however, it would be naive to ascribe this result to our campaign).

Against Evictions and Anti-Roma Racism

The year 2013 was mainly in the name of activities aimed against anti-Roma racism and evictions of poor ones, mostly Roma-people, inhabitants in Ústí nad Labem and Ostrava. Even if CSAF did not join these activities as a whole, quite a big part of federation's members participated.

In January we supported families evicted from Předlice, a district in Ústí nad Labem, into a dormitory in Krásné Březno, from which they had to move away later again. On such a dismal state of things a demonstration of initiative Housing For All (Bydlení pro všechny) brought an attention. It happened on January 28th in Prague in front of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and resulted, after getting in, to an intervention of police forces. The second step was the occupation of dormitory in Ústí, to prevent the eviction of families with children on streets. This campaign fortunately resulted to a good end, when a new housing for threatened families was successfully found.

Another case, which dominated in the end of 2013, was continuing – and sadly successful – effort of municipal politicians and entrepreneurs to evict poor Roma people from Přednádraží in Ostrava. Activities for their support took a place from visits of affected people, through media coverage of problem, to demonstrations and petitions. Also here anarchists participated.

Against anti-Roma moods, which intensively raised in a part of society, we reacted by a themed release of newsletter Zdola (From below), antiracist leaflet „Let's Stand Against True Causes of Problems" and wall newspapers A3 with article „Racism Is For Dolts". Some of us continually participated in actions for supporting of local Roma families in Duchcov, Krupka, Varnsdorf and repeatedly in Ostrava.

In Pilsen, the local group of CSAF joined actions against marches of neonazis and racists on August 24th and October 28th. Then, in December, this local group supported in its town Slovakian-Czech campaign refusing Slovakian fascist Kotleba in a high political position.

Celebrations in Streets

CSAF also actively joined several happenings and street protest celebrations. On April 27th, the initiative ProAlt organized an action called „DemoFest", which constituent part were information booths, theatre exhibitions, a concert and discussions. CSAF Publishing (publishing organization of CSAF) presented here itself with its stall and members of CSAF actively joined several discussions, in which they except other things emphasized anticapitalist and antiparliamentary positions of federation.

On May 11th, in the streets of Pilsen, a street party happened, which under a new designation „Freeday" followed similar actions from previous years. Members of local CSAF group actively joined its preparations and course.

By the end of May, members of CSAF joined again with own activities traditional festival of alternative culture and activism „ProtestFest" in Brno, which happened under a motto „We Don't Give a Damn about Your Fences!".

By participation, distribution of anarchist publications and spreading of „(non)voting special" newsletter Zdola (From below), we joined on September 28th the traditional DIY carnival, which had to be dedicated to a support of jailed members of band Pussy Riot.

Pieties

In January 2008, Jan Kucera, the young antifascist skinhead, was killed by neonazi sympathizer. From this time we remind his memorial every year. CSAF participated in organization of memorial actions across the country. Except that, many other actions happened on other places.

On September 9th, a gig in underground club in Poděbrady happened as a memorial action for Filip Venclík, who was one of victims of neonazi murders 20 years ago.

Support of the Uprising in Turkey

During the end of May in Turkey, when riots began there, which turned from a protest against the destruction of the Istanbul Park Gezi into anti-government uprising, CSAF decided to declare solidarity support. We were bringing an overview of current events in Turkey as well as statements of our Turkish comrades. We have also dedicated the autumn issue of anarchist revue Existence to the topic of "The Uprising on Taksim". We sent an open letter to the Turkish ambassador, in which we expressed our support of the uprising as well as declared that if the Turkish prime minister ever appear on official visit to the Czech republic, he is going to be properly "welcomed" by anarchists. There were a lot of other solidarity actions around whole country, organized by the local groups of our federation.

Anarchist Book Fair

We received the information about the first local anarchist book fair with great pleasure and decided to join the event and to participate. The book fair took place in Prague on the 20th of April and attracted relatively high interest within the anti-authoritarian movement.

CSAF Publishing presented itself with own stall, which was shared in common with the ABC distribution. We have prepared two new features for this occasion: a book Sabaté – Urban Guerrilla in Spain and a brochure Maricana Massacre. For a better overview of our publications, we have released its actual catalog. We have also contributed with a lecture „Anarchist Publishing as a Part of a Whole" in which the earlier experiences were reflected and the publishing strategy of our federation explained in detail. The performance of a poet M. Sosoi drew attention on our Poetry edition.

Publishing

The main informational channel of the federation is daily updated website csaf.cz. Theoretical texts, reports from actions, information about publications and about forthcoming events appear there. Information about new articles is available also on the facebook profile of the federation. There also independently exists a website of CSAF Publishing since the year 2012.

Every month, we published one issue of the wall newspapers A3, which are aimed mainly at social, anti-racist and anti-capitalist topics. The newspapers are addressed in particular to the broadest range of the unprivileged.

There were published two issues of the magazine Zdola (From Bellow) during the year 2013. The overall seventh issue with the theme „Nane paťiv" („No respect" in Romany language) was released on the occasion of May Day and was dedicated to anti-Roma racism. On the occasion of parliamentary election, we issued a (non)electoral special of Zdola magazine, in which we explained why the anarchist do not vote.

Periodically every quarter of a year, a new issue of anarchist revue Existence was published. This year's volume dealt with topics "Localization", "Ethical Consumption", "Anarchist Journalism" and "Taksim Uprising"

There were also published two new issues of full coloured magazine Klíčení (Germination), which is created by both children and adult. Within the poetry edition, CSAF Publishing released two poetry collections during previous year.

Publications of CSAF Publishing are spread within the network of distribution points as well as on various lectures, debates, projections, gigs or festivals.

Anarchist Black Cross

Anarchist black cross (ABC) is aimed at help the prosecuted and imprisoned activists and used to be a project associated to CSAF. However, since the year 2012, it is more or less independent activity within the anti-authoritarian movement, presenting itself on website anarchistblackcross.cz. Within the activities of seeking for funds to support the prosecuted, in the year 2013 the important role played a beneficial gigs, whose proceeds were mainly used for the campaign "Moscow calling for help." ABC released during the last year six issues of the newsletter Solidarity. Several records and compilation were released to support the ABC activities. Local groups of CSAF organized or participated on various solidarity actions throughout the year, for example the Prague demonstration to support Russian antifascists.

Symbolic Support of Squatting

Members of local group CSAF-East participated in symbolic occupation of the house in Ceska Trebova. The event, which included an exhibition of wall newspapers A3, should draw attention to the problem of dilapidated buildings, lack of cultural activities, the problem of housing and the business with poverty. Several members of CSAF joined a vast squatting event called "Memories of future" held in Prague in August. During the event, many long term abandoned houses were occupied and decorated by banners. The event culminated with police intervention in a house on Pohorelec.

International Activities

We consider linking across the borders as important as cooperation between regions. That is the reason why our federation is a member of the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA), which was established to face a global capitalist agenda. IAF-IFA tries to help to create or strengthen active anarchist groups around the world. The International consists of ten member federations from Europe and Latin America.

We accepted an invitation to the congress of Federation of german Speaking Anarchists, in order to start closer cross border cooperation. We presented here the situation regarding increasing anti-Roma moods, anti-Roma marches and living conditions of the Roma people in the Czech Republic. On the basis of our presentation, we later organized a meeting of Czech and German anti-authoritarian and anti-racist groups. Delegates of 13 organizations and individual activists discussed the current signs of anti-Roma mood, atmosphere in Romany localities and common struggle against anti-Roma racism.

We also participated, together with delegates of other seven sister federations, in the meeting of international secretaries of IAF-IFA, which was held in Berlin. Besides the presentation of our activities and gaining experiences from our comrades, we have also planned another meeting next year as well as joint activities aimed the topics of Europarliament, anarchofeminism, anti-militarism and the anniversary of birth of M.A. Bakunin.

Other Activities

Besides all the above mentioned activities, members of CSAF participated in many different actions or campaigns, such as referendum on construction of megalomaniac shopping center in Pilsen, organization of anarchist summer camp for children, demonstration of coalminers in Ostrava, Food not Bombs actions, libertine film clubs etc.

Web site : http://www.csaf.cz/