Member federation

Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. Over the walls of nationalisms and wars

Versión española

September 13, 2014 - Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair

It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990's helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.

The need to confront nationalist ideology from a radical and anti-authoritarian perspective gathered us in Mostar on the 5th and 6th of September 2014, for the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. We came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Greece and other countries outside the Balkan area.

The true nature of nationalism is nowhere more obvious then in Mostar, a city divided in two, with the signs of wartime brutality still evident in the streets of the city.

It is essential to realize that this division was not the cause of war, but the consequence of wars and nationalist ideologies created by the ruling class.

This was clear to the demonstrators in Tuzla who wrote the graffiti "Death to nationalism" as well as to demonstrators in Mostar who burned down the headquarters of both nationalist parties in February.

Still, in other parts of the world new nationalisms and conflicts are being created on similar lines and with predictable consequences.

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Belarus. Boycott of Ice Hockey World Championship

Declaration of anti-authoritarian groups on the Ice Hockey World Championship held in Belarus.

French version

Minsk, the capital of Belarus, holds the Hockey World Championship from Friday, May 9 to Sunday, May 25, 2014. As every act of top sports business, it carries more or less bullying of the locals (in case of Belarus, it is, of course, rather more). Moreover, this particular championship is a mockery to the subjects of the world power elite that had long rhetorical objections against the Belarusian regime, but did not prevent the Championship.

These are the two main reasons why we boycott the Belarusian championship.

  • Firstly, we are principally against a police threats to potential opponents of Lukashenko's hockey circus, which, as always, had the biggest impact on our anarchist comrades. Belorussian Anarchist Black Cross has been gathering information for weeks about police interventions against the anarchists, who must endure interrogations at home and police stations, whose parents are urged to give phone numbers of their children to the police, or they will be summoned for questioning... The number of such bullied people has already exceeded one hundred. For example, the anarchist Aleksander Franckevich was exemplary sentenced to 25 days of isolation under the pretext of violation of paragraph of "bitching in public." Anastasia Kukhta was sentenced to 17 days of isolation and Aleksander Orlov to 20 days, just a day before the start of championship in Minsk. They were caught on the street by unknown people in civil clothes, pushed into a car and taken away the day before the sentencing. There is no need to talk about the fact that Minsk will now be swarming with hundreds of police officers in uniform or civil clothes. It obviously has to be the promised reward to Belarusian fans, which was mentioned by the Swiss boss of the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, when he justified the pros of organizing the championship in Minsk.
  • Secondly, let us remind that since the year 2009, when IIHF agreed to organize world championship 2014 in Belarus, corporate media have constantly reminded the fact that the Western states and the U.S., as a moral authorities, have called for a boycott or relocation of the championship, because to accept the Lukashenko regime in this way is immoral. At least since the end of 2010 (when there were held mass protests during Belarusian presidential elections) with growing numbers of specific evidences of Lukashenko repression of any opposition, the western leaders were more often forced to proclaim their outrage of human rights violations in "the last European totalitarian state." They should supposedly draw consequences such as economic embargo, removal of organization of the championship, etc. However, almost nothing happened in reality, and the ridiculousness and absurdity of mass media phrases about the totalitarian state and the last dictator in Europe, that mechanically surrounds the practical information about the start and progress of Lukashenko's championship, is really blatant. Moreover, talkative flexible advocates of the realpolitik, who are always closer to any profit than attitude, are helping themselves by quoting Hockey Federation president Fasel, that "sport cannot and should not be an instrument of politics," in argumentation, which is provided by megaphones of corporate media as a basic replica to repeat during the insider pub debates.

So, sport is not an instrument of politics? Sure, it's more about tickets, sponsorship, media revenue, merchandising, betting agencies... Professional sport is simply "just" a means of advertising, tourist and other business; corruption at high and medium level of business trafficking headed by concrete lobby; propagation of all-saving consumerism; gaining favour of obedient and forlorn herd-audience.

In the words of George Orwell, it is "war without firing." The war for money, for power, for dead and living souls that is wrapped into platitudes about fairness and rules. So it is only a modest imitation of what is called the politics.

The championship, directed by Lukashenko with silent nodding of western political and pseudo moral authorities, is also the sarcastic culmination of a hypocritical sports series, which kicked off the Chinese Olympics and was followed by the one in Russia. Similar sports gigantic events are legitimization of repressive regimes and particularly big business, all at the expense of ordinary people and their rights.

Our idea of sport is different!

Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation (ČSAF)
Anarchist Black Cross (ABC)
Voice of Anarcho-pacifism (VAP)
Anti-Fascist Action (AFA)
Asociace Alerta
Severočeská anarchistická federace (SAF)

Website : http://www.csaf.cz/

Syndicalism. Declaration of the Coordination of union activists of the French Anarchist Federation

To understand to in order to act

We are organized in the French Anarchist Federation because we want our ideas and our practice to be useful in class struggle through federalism, the appointment and permanent control of mandates and the direct control of struggles.

But to be useful and efficient, we must also understand as well as possible the economic, social and political situation. What are the leverages, the obstacles ? With whom can we possibly work ? What is possible on short and medium terms ?

Very briefly, we can consider that one of the main assets of the capitalist system is its ability to evolve and adapt. After the Second World War it has followed a Keynesian model : strong intervention of the State, mass consumption facilitated by high wages. This model has fueled the famous economic growth and contributed to the myth of the Welfare State.

From the mid-1970s, the model has reached its limits and was replaced by a much more financially rooted capitalism. The production was partly relocated in countries where the rate of exploitation of human labor is maximum and where the plundering of natural resources is limitless.

Besides, capitalism appears as producing mass unemployment, lower wages and increased job insecurity, which makes well-being impossible. It is reasonable and necessary to free ourselves from it if we want to become emancipated.

We are now in the third stage of the process. In order to face the drop in consumption, subsidiary States (which sometimes are the armed wings of the market), facilitate the credit, support the banks and get indebted so as to try and prevent the collapse of the stock exchange system. This is the debt crisis, which implies austerity measures of an extreme brutality, privatization and liquidation of public and health services leading to the fall of life expectancy.

At the same time, as a result of globalization, these States are deprived of part of their "sovereignty" and of their leeway. Europe and international institutions (IMF, World Bank, OECD, WTO) take major strategic decisions and impose a new territorial pyramiding : in France, the traditional territorial delimitations are replaced by delimitations chosen by the European institutions.

This is exactly the opposite of true federalism as defined Proudhon : "The real social contract is a contract of federation the essential condition of which is that the contractors always keep a fraction of sovereignty and of action greater than what they relinquish."

In the current context of social crisis and general confusion, false solutions, conscious or unconscious diversionary tactics flourish and it is important for anarchist militants to bring clarifications on the one hand and perspectives on the other.

To counter any temptation of retreat into nationalism, anarchists encourage international solidarity, especially in social struggles.

Against the fool's bargain of participatory democracy and social dialogue, anarchist militants propose direct management of public affairs, the building up of a balance of forces to confront the employers and the State.

Confronted with interclassist diversions such as societal questions, anarchist militants must concentrate on the refusal of capitalism and State.

Finally, without intending to limit the struggle to companies or administrations, they consider that the trade union struggle remains decisive. Firstly because it is located on the field of class-struggle. And because it induces the possibility of a fundamental questioning of capitalist exploitation through the general strike, which aims not only at blocking the production, but also at bringing down the State and handing over the whole economic system to the community. We can act collectively, with all those who agree on this point, without compromise, but without sectarianism either.

We are perfectly aware of the current drift of unionism, which is in disarray, which tosses and turns in the void : the syndicalist militants of the French Anarchist Federation, think and act to the extent of their means in order to put some sense back into it and give it a new impact force. They insist on the urgent need to develop and organize on the social field.

The Coordination of union activists of the French Anarchist Federation, May 2013.