Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair - September 13, 2014.
Over the Walls of Nationalisms and Wars
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.
Many in the Ukraine today think they have to respond to the false choices of war posed by states and corporations (amongst them are even some anarchists and “anarchists”. We, however, maintain that nationalism is always an ideology that reproduces the State, a system of repression and exploitation, and pits the exploited and oppressed against one another. Today we see in the Ukraine the same mechanism that was used also in the war(s) in former Yugoslavia: Nationalism is the tool of those in power to push people into war for the interests of capital. As anarchists, we opposed all war efforts in former Yugoslavia through solidarity that continues to this day. Far from liberal pacifism or obsessions with left-nationalist guerrilla armies, our struggle will never take the side of militarist politics and the destruction that all states are based on.
Against nationalism, militarism and war! Against all governments and states! For solidarity and autonomy!
 From anti-colonial nationalists of “Mlada Bosna” from Sarajevo of 1914 influenced by anarchism, and especially to the case of posers like the “anarcho”-nationalist group “Slobodari” from Sarajevo of 2014, all attempts of combining anarchism with nationalism, have shown that the result is simply: nationalism. “Slobodari”, are a small group from Sarajevo who pose as anarchists but are in contact with Nazis from the Ukraine (the so called autonomous nationalists “Autonomous resistance” ). They have many websites which created a lot of confusion, including a Balkan anarchist black cross website, more on this here: http://www.sabotagemedia.anarkhia.org/2014/03/on-self-styled-libertarians-and-antiauthoritarians-from-bosnia/
See also, transcript of Slovenian radio show prior to the bookfair (English part is at 1:48 till 20:00 with one song in between):
English text from the radio show:
Once again the news coming out of Ireland regarding the welfare of women and children is both appalling and yet unsurprising.
The country which imprisoned and starved women and their babies for being respectively pregnant and illegitimate and which buried them in mass graves, has committed another atrocity against a woman. She is unnamed, a non-national, who speaks little English and was, at the time the crisis pregnancy began, a minor aged 17.
This woman has suffered multiple rapes. Firstly she was raped by the penis, then by the medical instruments wielded by doctors and other practitioners who forced the equipment into her body, down her throat and into her abdomen and womb. She was forced to carry the foetus she did not want. The whole horrible, sad mess is another example of how a male-based, church-based, state based power deals with women who don’t fit and accept its structure. When we do not accept the power of a male-based religion, a capitalist patriarchal state we are assaulted by its full strength.
When Savita Haloppanovar died in Galway 2 years ago, after being refused a termination despite being in the throes of miscarriage and suffering from septicaemia, many reproductive rights activists including myself, thought, this is it. They can’t allow any more disasters like this. The law will change, people needing terminations will be able to get them where they need them and when they need them. We thought the Irish State would not want to expose itself to any further international embarrassment. In the last month the Irish State has been heavily criticised by the United Nations for its cruel abortion legislation. But, no. The wheels of legislation rumble slowly and the bodies of those pregnant are ground between the cogs of the machine.
The State does not exist for the welfare of its citizens. The State exists for the benefit of, amongst others, the powerful and the rich, the religious hierarchy and those who benefit from patriarchy. We anarchists know this well. Horror stories such as this one will continue as long as we are governed . It will only be in an anarchist revolution that all the components of this horrible story, from male violence, oppressive state legislation, medical dominance, ageism where young people’s decision making is invalidated will be removed. The organisations working in Ireland are campaigning for the repeal of the 8th amendment. Whilst this will improve the situation it will not truly free us. The power of the state will remain.
“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke
As the threat of war looms in Eastern Europe echoing the threat of a third World War yet to come, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One looms more as a lesson for our time than merely a dusty piece of history.
In 1914, a violent act of Slav nationalism took the breaks off Europe's alliances and treaty systems driving rival power blocks into a devastating armed conflict that wracked Europe with its consequences for the century to come. The current conflict is as much framed by treaties and timetables as then. Russia wants its share of Ukraine before it slides into the framework of the EU and NATO and the stakes would be higher.
Before the current fog over the Crimea there were those in Britain who sought to revise the First World War and claim it as a source of national pride and dress up the death of 13 million as a price worth paying in a “just” war. Were the millions of workers led into a war between ruling elites of bankers and aristocrats “lions led by donkeys” or true sons of freedom defending all that was good in Britain? The debate is a smoke screen to hide one of the greatest mass murders in history. It's hardly surprising that those who want to celebrate the generals and spirit of Empire and claim the war as “just” are the privileged great grandchildren of the “donkeys”.
The current conflict has the same roots as its historical predecessor – a conflict between elites, the gangster capitalism of the Russian oligarchs versus the free market plunderers of the neoliberal European club. “Just” or “unjust” is the new smokescreen again.
International conflicts between or within states only have one lesson, and that is those of us with no real stake, workers on both sides, die, lead or driven by the donkeys, to preserve their power, profit and privilege. The lessons now as then are the same – we die, the rich pillage, and their pride is our shame.
“All wars are fought for money.” Socrates (philosopher)
AFem2014 will be an anarcha-feminist conference held in London on Sunday, October 19th, 2014. It is being organised by a group of anarcha-feminists of varying genders, backgrounds and histories. We want to use AFem2014 to build concretely towards the transformation of our own experience, and towards toppling all institutions and ideas which oppress us.
AFem2014 will be the first of what we hope will be a series of international anarcha-feminist conferences. We are spread across several different continents and speak a variety of languages, and we need to raise money to help with travel and accommodation costs for participants coming from far away.
We are also committed to making AFem2014 as inclusive as possible, and are taking donations to pay for BSL interpreters for the conference.
You can find more information about AFem2014 on our website, http://afem2014.wordpress.com/, and can get in touch on twitter or via email: afem (at) afed.org.uk. If you can't make it this October but want to help out in some way, please consider donating to help us reach our goal.
To donate please follow this link: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/2mmvd/
Four public talks will take place in UK to mark the bi-centenary of the birth of anarchist revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin. We hope you can make one of them!
1) An Introduction to Bakunin
Wednesday June 18th, 7pm.
At Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh
Convened by Edinburgh group of the Anarchist Federation
2) The Spirit of Revolt: Bakunin
Sunday June 29th, 1pm
Speakers: Brian Morris (author of book on Bakunin) and speaker from Anarchist Federation
Convened by London group of Anarchist Federation and South-east England Region of Anarchist Federation
At the Common House Unit E, 5 Punderson Gardens, London, E2 (nearest tube Bethnal Green)
3) Manchester on Friday June 27th, 7pm
At Subrosa (Manchester Social Centre), 27 Lloyd Street South, Moss Side, M14 7HS.
Organised by Manchester AF.
(not yet sure about Disabled access).
4) Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair (Details of the event are here : http://afed.org.uk/component/content/article/403.html ).
Saturday 12th July, 10am-6pm (there are the opening times for the bookfair as a whole - free/donation entry).
At Showroom Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2BX
Organised by the AF.
- Why Willy Wonka Shouldn’t Win : New Zealand/Aotearoa 2014 elections
- The Fire Next Time? - article from Organise! magazine #82 - Summer 2014
- 2014, the year of Bakunin - information about bicentennial events
- IFA statement - War is the Health of the State - May 2014
- IFA anti-Election Text - European Elections - April 2014
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