Anarchistická federace

Activities of the Anarchist Federation in 2023

Traditional annual summary of Anarchist Federation members' activities with links to texts on the afed.cz website.

AF

The Anarchist Federation (AF) has been operating continuously since 1995 and is without a doubt the longest operating anarchist organization in Czechia. But that doesn't mean it claims a monopoly on local anti-authoritarian organization. On the contrary, it supports organisational diversity as it is a healthy aspect of the anarchist movement. This means, among other things, that a significant part of the membership of our Federation is also active in other, more specifically targeted groups. Some of us are active in, for example, the Food not Bombs, Limity jsme my, Dekonstrukce, Opravdu dobré squaty (ODS), NoLog, Sdílené domy, MSDN, Trhlina, Cocina Perdida, Výbor na obranu revoluce v Rojavě and others.

From the life of the Federation

The activities of the Federation develop from the interests, possibilities and capabilities of it's members. We would like to express ourselves actively on more topics, to engage in different fights for justice and initiate many others, but we are just ordinary people working or studying, no superheroes. We do what we can, but at the same time we realise that in order for our activism to be healthy, we must avoid self-sacrificing and, on the contrary, make our activities and collective work a joyful event every time, however frustrating the subject may be. We also place emphasis on mutual assistance and care. Sometimes we aren't very alert, but it is more important for us that we learn and apply ways of egalitarian decision making and avoid the emergence of organizational hierarchy and associated internal non-transparency.

We try not to make our organization a rigid relic of the past after so many years of activity. This is especially supported by the new perspectives of our new and young members, as well as open internal communication and constant efforts to seek consensus. In addition to informal meetings, the AF Conventions are traditionally held in spring and autumn, this time in Prague and Pilsen.

On an international level, AF is a member of the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA), but in practice it is only a formal confederation that aims to demonstrate the declared internationalism of the anarchist movement. As far as practical action and international cooperation is concerned, in which we now see genuine sense, we are particularly focused on developing solidarity networks in Central and Eastern Europe.

If we were to highligh only three things that we did last year, then it is certainly a participation in the launch of the information shop Trhlina in Prague's Nusle district, which started operating early in the year after the opening ceremony. Furthermore, significant material help to our comrades in Ukraine and finally a return of the anarchist 1. May to the streets.

Anarchist May Day

In 2023, it was clear that after a few years, we would try to return the Anarchist's May Day to the streets of Prague again, to draw attention to the cost of living raised by the right-wing government in contrast to the continuing profits of oligarchs and coal magnates; the continuing climate crisis; the war of the Kremlin dictator against Ukraine and the fashization in certain parts of society, narionalism and hatred towards immigrants and LGBTQ+ people.

We met traditionally in the morning on Střelecký Island. The ones who came first shortended their wait by shouting at the leaving Bolsheviks or former Prime Minister Paroubek. Anarchist distro and refreshments from the FNB Prague soon appeared on the site, special bulletin The May Day of Anarchists was handed out. Then during the picnic atmosphere the speeches were read. The first one from AF dealt with the topic of work in capitalism, they didn't forget to rake over the coals the so-called working nobility and asked how long will the workers let themselves be fucked. Another speech commemorated the day of the 140th anniversary of the birth of the anarchist writer Jaroslav Hašek and we also heard a speech from the Queer Spaces Network. After that, part of the audience went with banners and flags to the memorial plaque dedicated to the first celebration of May Day in Bohemia. Here the children laid flowers, after which the Prague Revolutionary Choir sang several songs associated with the workers movement.

Around 1:00 p.m. we hit the streets of the city. Some participants, especially those with children, have disconnected after leaving the Střelecký Island, yet a parade of 250 people has been created. The front was dominated by a banner. "Out with (this) Goverment! Let the people rule themselves!" The parade also included a van that generated a loud musical accompanyment. Under black and red flags and with the sound of anarchist chants we went through the city centre to Štvanice, where another part of the event took place. Here awaited a hearty refreshment from FNB Žižkov, there was again a distro, resting and chatter. Djs from the Vršovice Skins collective played. The music was briefly replaced by a second series of speeches. The first word was taken up by the representatives of the Limity jsme my Initiative, to put the topic of work in the context of combating the climate crisis. In the second speech, AF responded to Russia's ongoing bloody efforts to occupy Ukraine. The day that carried a great atmosphere was then closed by a concert of bands Ahoj, Trikosis, Thalidomide and Rozpor.

We don't need a president!

The beginning of 2023 was in the Czechia in the spirit of presidential elections. It was hard to escape this hype. Since the whole choice is one big tomfoolery, we decided to contribute a little bit to the mill. We have asked the question: "Do we need a president?' and we did not hesitate to answer, that we do not. Our answer was as part of the A3 wallnewspaper of the year before, which was published throughout January, but also through a specially established website nepotrebujemeprezidenta.cz and several posters.

Several reasons led us to the anti-election mini-campaign. Above all, the fact that however much a person might feel from political and media hype that nothing else in the world matters, the real choice of a president will not affect the difficulties of our lives or society at large. But since the presidential election did not mean much to us, our commitment was not excessive. It culminated in an anti-election studio in the centre of Zdena, which was carried purely in the spirit of entertainment, and a convlusion which clearly states that instead of a president we need to create a movement, build its infrastructure, strengthen its connections and update itself.


War in Ukraine

Like in 2022, last year too, Putin's imperial campaign on Ukraine did not leave us indifferent. The anarchists from Belarus and Russia also joined the defense. AF supported their difficult decision and decided to actively support them in their fight against Z-fascism.

In February we commemorated the sad first anniversary of the military invasion, for example during the benefit festival "Riot Over River Winter Stop War! Stop Putin!", with the participation of several dozen performers on four stages. At the club café (already traditionally) representatives of AF discussed the war in Ukraine from anarchist perspective and its broader context. We helped in the benefit in Olomouc and on 20 April held a long-distance meeting with Ukrainian solidarity collectives in Trhlina.

AF has been involved in the international network of Solidarity Collectives, which covers Ukrainian anarchists who are engaged in both material assistance to their fighting comrades and coordination of humanitarian aid to people in war-stricken areas. We regularly bring monthly reports from the collectives and on the given aid (here, here, here, here, here, here and here). We continued to inform about other groups that are part of the network, e.g. Yellow Peril Tactical, and updated an overview of the possibilities of supporting anti-authoritarian activities against Putin's Z-fascism. We share the opinion of our Ukrainian comrades that without the presence on the front, anarchism in Ukraine has no future.

We continued our ongoing financial collection for the Solidarity Collectives. After summer international meetings in August, on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, we announced a special fundraiser for a 4x4 offroad vehicle against the invasion, which aimed to raise 100 000 kč as a contribution to the acquisition of a field car for the needs of anti-fascists fighting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A transparent account was established and all information on the collection was available on the website auto.afed.cz. It didn't take long and managed to collect 138 percent of the target amount, so we already delivered the car to Ukraine in October. Among other things, it was a great opportunity to gain new experiences that we could use in securing another car.

We also paid attention to anarchist anti-Putin opposition in Russia. We have published a summary of resistance actions and informed about antiwar events in Russia in the official press. For context we translated a story about the history of Antifascism in Russia, a statement by the Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists to Wagner's rebellion or an interview with a Russian anarchist who is fighting on the side of Ukraine. We continued to promote the Solidarity Zone, which is dedicated to supporting prosecuted antiwar activists in Russia. We attended the lecture of it's activists in Václav Havel Library and published an interview with one of the lecturers.

We also support aid to refugees without any need to examine the seriousness of their motivation to escape. We think that everyone has the right to voluntarily decide how to act in a heated situation, and we do not have the right to judge people in immediate danger of life from a safe distance. Anyone who doesn't want to fight shouldn't be forced, and that is true of defense.

In the monthly A3 we pointed out that there is also Putin's fifth column and people who speak of peace, but in fact help, consciously or unconsciously, his imperial interests. At the same time, we are sad at the fact that a part of the left and even anarchist movement in the west arrived at dogmatic about the invasion. In defence of the anarchists who support the Ukrainian people, we published, for example, two argumentative texts by Wayne Price or an interview with Russian anarchists fighting in the ranks of the Ukrainian army.

The essence of war is that it takes people's lives. Even we with a heavy heart read the news of our fallen comrades. We believe that they must not be forgotten, so we brought in the obituaries of Dmitri Petrov, who was an important figure in the movement in Russia and now a separate website is dedicated to him, Finbar Cafferkey, Cooper Andrews, Yevgeny Osievsky and Marsy.


For climate and social justice

AF has no independent campaign on climate justice. We find this point point pointless, given that there are de facto anarchist principles on which the Limity jsme my initiative is organised, which has the theme for its main purpose, which we support and which we engage in. Together with Limity we went to Vienna to demonstrate against the gas conference or at a Prague demonstration against energy poverty. In the A3 wallnewspaper, we discussed how the police is helping fossil capital protect profits, and in another issue the impact of agrarian business on climate.


We also watched it spark at the workplace. In A3, we drew attention to a specific example of how an effective weapon in the fight against capital can be a strike, another issue in the antisocial behavior of the government, which prepared tax increases and other cuts for ordinary people, while billionaires become richer, and in the next issue we asked what the government and trade union papals are for. Some of us have joined the student strike.

We also dealt with housing issues. The AF-Olomouc Group launched a local five-day campaign against economic power and housing. They published a thematic brochure for this purpose, handed it out to passers-bys, and posted several banners. We supported the Pilsen campaign, which deals with police torturing homeless people. To this end, we published the thematic issue of the A3 newspaper and some tips on how to stigmatize police bullying against homeless people unconfrontedly. Anarchists of Olomouc then intervened in public space as a protest against its fascism in relation to homeless people. We continued to support, directly and indirectly, the Food not Bombs collectives and made a translation of an interview with the co-founder of this global initiative, Keith McHenry. We also brought an interview about the implementation of the cooperative team's plans for Sdílené domy (Shared Houses), in which some of us are engaged.


We have not forgotten the people fleeing poverty and wars that Fortress Europa needelesely worsens. In particular, we focused on the Belarusian-Polish border. Not only did we draw attention to a documentary film on the dehumanization of refugees, but we also participated in organizing a lecture tour No one is illegal from the No Borders collective. It happened in Prague, Pilsen, Děčín, Brno, Bratislava, Trnava and Olomouc. AF also joined the call for solidarity with refugees detained in Slovakia in the detention facility in Medvedov.

For women's and LGBTQ+ rights

An integral part of the AF agenda is the fight for women's rights and against sexism, which is the essence of the ruling patriarchy. And so this year we commemorated International Women's Day, and a little theory about anarcho-feminism and then the voices of comrades from the Ukrainian front. We joined the public celebration of MDŽ in Pilsen and did not miss the one in Olomouc. The celebrations followed the fight for the streets and for Prague feminist, when we gladly joined the blockade of the March for Life. Moreover, in August A3 we opposed the debacle of violence against women.


We have traditionally also devoted ourselves to the position of LGBTQ+ people. We started working with the queer collective Dekonstrukce and promoted and included their brochure Kvír anarchismus in our distro, because we consider it very necessary and beneficial. Under the slogan Good night corporate pride, we joined the traditional Prague Pride together and created a black-and-red blog, where we spoke against the spirit capitalism. Together with Dekonstrukce, PAC and Plusko+, we have convened a memorial event for the victims of queerphobia as a memory of the victims of the attack on October 12, 2022 in Bratislava. Dozens of people met before the Slovak embassy in Prague.


Hašek 2023 and other memories

On January 3, 1923, Jaroslav Hašek died at the age of 40 years. After his death he became the most famous Czech writer in the world thanks to the novel Good Soldier Švejk during the World War. Last year, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death, we remembered him in many ways not only as a writer, but also as an anarchist and a person to who authority was not holy. On our website, we published Hašek's writingsfor the whole last year as part of the series Hašek 2023, which had 17 parts. These consisted mainly of stories, fejetons and humorous stories, which he wrote for the anarchist newspaper Omladina, Nová Omladina, Komuna, Chuďas and Matice Svobody. But we also published Hašek's depiction of personalities, such as Karel Pelant and Jiří Mahen and Josef Mach, or the mystification of his arrest during the 1. May demonstration in 1907 in the "Story about the Black Bullwhip". In the series we also gave space to remembering Hašek from the view of one of his friends, Václav Menger. In addition to many others, the texts from the above newspaper appeared in the book Všivá historie published by the Anarchist Federation Publishing House on the occasion of last year's Anarchist Book Festival. We also gave Hašek the spring issue of anarchist revue Existence. On its pages we devoted our time to his life and work and special attention is directed to his involvement in anarchist movements and his anti-authoritarian attitudes accompanying his entire life. Hašek was discussed at the traditional Existence Party, which was held in the information shop Trhlina. The lecture concluded with a debate, we tried to capture Hašek not only as an active anarchist, but also complexly as a student, punk, poet, editor, mystificator, husband, queer person, drunkard, entrepreneur, electoral candidate, father, entertainer, soldier, legionaire, multiple traitor, red commissioner, returnee, bigamist or novelist.


In January, we traditionally remembered the murdered anti-fascist skinhead Jan Kučera, both at the usual LP playing function in Pilsen, during the Existence party on the topic of the Anarchist Strategy in Holešovice's Zdena or by hanging the banner at the concert Oi! band in Strahov club 007. We attended a memorial concert at Anarchopunker Filip Venclík, who was killed 30 years ago. On the second November, we remembered our former members David Bednar, Honzu Roubíček and Roman "Chic" Kulla and Ladislav "Apache" Novák, Jakub Polák and Filip Fuchs, who were at the beginning of the restoration of the anarchist movement in the Czech Republic.

In the form of obituaries, we remembered more or less figures of the international anarchist movement that left us, such as Jen Angel (48), Alberto Gazzarri (60), Neala Janis Schleuning (82), Agustín Torres Ramos (97), Ronald Creagh (94), Nicolas Trifon (74), Maurizio Antoniol (78), Alfredo Bonanno (86) or Benjamin Zephaniah (65). Unlike writing obituaries, it was pleasant to write congratulations to jubilants, namely Jan Tesař (90) and Alan Moore (70).


Publication activity

One of our core activities is promoteing anarchist principles through publishing, familiarizing people with anarchist visions, comment on events at home and in the world from an anarchist perspective and inform about events in the broad anti-authoritarian movement. In the virtual world, our daily updated web afed.cz is used for this and marginally also social networks, whose pitfalls we are fully aware of. We will also inform about the upcoming public events in this regard, we were involved in the launch of the event platform in 2023 akce.nolog.cz which has been created for this purpose.

But we still remain loyal to the printed media. So, next to the occasional leaflets, we create a thematic wall newspaper A3 every month (January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December). We publish the anarchist revue Existence twice a year. In addition to the mentioned issue on the topic of the Anarchist Hašek, the autumn issue was published, which deals with a not very reflected topic, namely food policy. Regarding books, the Anarchist Federation Publishing House published three in 2023. In addition to the history mentioned above, it was Marx's Economics for Anarchists from Wayne Price and the prison journal Ihara Alinevich On my way to Magadan.

With both news and older publications in the distro, we participated in several events during the year. First of all, it was the 10th Anarchist Book Festival, which took place at the end of May in Prague's Holešovice and once again presented a rich program in which we participated, for example, in a panel discussion over the book Manifesto of the Socialist Movement. We were also happy to participate in the winter version of the festival, which was of great interest and which took place in the end of the lifespan of Prostor39, and we were not missing at the first year of the Anarchist Bookfair in Brno. We also participated with our distro in a discussion with Luk Haas, the fourth Spring Zine Party, the last Fluff Fest in Rokycany, the successful Riot Over River festival, the Olomouc LITR 2023 or Jihlava mini market of independent publishers.

On the contrary, we tried to promote other interesting publications, such as the Bur magazine, two zines Hřmot, the brochure Nothing Has Been Released And Nothing Will Be Release, the books of the publishing house Neklid, the Goodbye Capitalism and the Manifest of the Socialist Movement, the publication of the Spinkdistro publishing house, the book Earth Democracy published by Broken Books or subculturally tuned titles of Furious Punk, Cut – paste, Everything Is Wrong, Back to the Trees or Told Us That the Engine Burned And Is Not Going Anywhere. Then in Existence we devoted to the Collected Verses of Jaroslav Hašek, anthology See You, Brothers, Before Hell! and the book Nourising Resistance.


Anarchist Theory and History

As has already been said, in Existence we focused on anarchist history in particular on Jaroslav Hašek and on the theory of the detailed topic of food. On the web we came especially with translations of interesting texts, but next to them we also took over those that appeared on our comrade's blog, which he writes under the nickname Anarchoreader, e.g. about personalities such as Nicolas Walter, Virginia Bolten, May Picqueray, about Fire Ant magazine or about the book Greece And the Black Flag. We also took his translation of the great essay Anarchism and Its Misunderstanders by Margaret Killjoy.

On the web and in Existence we commemorated the uprising in Lower California, the Parisian commune, Karel Vohryzek, Željazk Jack Grancharoff, Anu Garbín Alonso, the Spanish anarchists in the British army in 1939, Jan Opletal, John Olday, Voltairine de Cleyre, anarchists during Pinochet's dictatorship and Petr Kropotkin.

Regarding the anarchist theory, we reached for Emma Goldmann and Murray Bookchin in particular to the texts of contemporary authors Matthew Wilson, Tomás Ibáñez, Dmitri Petrov, Peter Gelderloos, Jérôme Baschet, Lusbert Garcia, Alessandro Stella, Wayne Price, or the current topics of the multifaceted crisis or authoritarian regimes.

International activities

The year 2023 was also rich in active travel abroad. With the help of solidarity networks, we went to Ukraine and the Balkans. In addition to this demonstration in Vienna, we also welcomed the protest against the criminalization of antifascism in Leipzig after the judgment in the Antifa-Ost trial was handed down. A banner was flown in Prague on that occasion.

In July we attended two important international meetings. The first was the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair in Ljubljana, which ended with demonstrations in early July. Another was a worldwide anarchist meeting in St-Imier, which, despite several controversies, turned out great and was an amazing opportunity to get interesting contacts and arrange specific collaborations, which we used, as well as the possibility to choose from a number of workshops, lectures and discussions and screenings on various topics. At both meetings we also presented ourselves with the distro of the AF publishing house, which for similar foreign stops joined other Czech friendly publishers. And so our publications could also be at anarchist book fairs in Vienna or Warsaw.


Support to prisoners and the prosecuted

On the issue of the support of imprisoned anarchists, we have again focused mainly on Russia and Belarus, where repression falls on our movement with the hardest weight.

This was reflected in our contributions to the International Week of Solidarity with the Anarchist Prisoners 2023 at the end of August: We organized a talk with ABC-Belarus on anarchists in dictatorship, the fight against Lukashenko, repression and war in Trhlina. We sent a birthday card to our imprisoned friend M. Dziadok. On the web we published an interview with Belarusian anarchists who found asylum in Warsaw, an interview with the Belarusian ABC collective, a letter from one of the anarchists convicted by Russian justice in a constructed case, a report on the activities of the Solidarity Zone and a list of imprisoned anarchists and anti-fascists in Belarus. Profiles of individual prisoners were published on our FB profile for the sequel.

At the beginning of January AF joined the Week of Solidarity to inform the world about the case of Rumen, to get support for the prosecuted and to send them solidarity greetings. But they still face charges in Russia, and their best hope is undoubtedly defeating Russia in Ukraine and the subsequent fall of Putin and his regime. During the year we informed about the torture and condemnation of Ruslan Ushakov and about the kidnapping and torture of Lev Skorjakin.

We drew attention to the comrades imprisoned in Belarus by the book On My Way to Magadan by Ihara Alinevich, whose second edition of the new preface was presented at the Brno debate on Belarusian anarchism. We also brought an interview with a Belarusian anarchist who participated in the organization of female marches in 2020 and informed of the condemnation of Belarusian activist Nasta Lojka and the fight of Belarusian anarchists in emigration for their imprisoned comrades and against empires.

In addition, we also turned our attention to Italy, where an anarchist Alfredo Cospito was starving because of his long-term imprisonment in solitary confinement and where anarchist movement found itself in the center of repression after the takeover of the government by the ultra-right.


Resistance and Solidarity in the World

We have mediated information and anarchist views of the various uprisings, protests and events that took place throughout the planet during 2023. We have most likely devoted ourselves to the events in France, which is a demonstration of progressive authoritarianism, as we pointed out in A3. We took over the analytical leaflets relating to pension reform and protests against it that faced a wave of police violence. The French government also declared war on ecology, disregarding the lives of the protest in Sainte-Soline, and in Nanterre murdered a teenager named Nahel Merzouk, which once again provoked protests and other police violence. Although the rebellion itself did not lead to anything, it was certainly a source of many lessons.

AF joined the declaration of solidarity with the Weelaunee forest defence movement threatened by the construction of a giant police training ground in American Atlanta after police there did not hesitate to shoot down a peaceful activist.

Even the events in Palestine/Israel, where civilians found themselves in a fire of hatred, did not leave us cold, as we commented on the situation in the A3 wallpaper. We were interested in looking directly from the site and brought translations of interviews with Israeli anarchists from Jaffa and Haifa or with the Palestinian Fauda Group. We have identified with a statement on the situation in Palestine from the Francophone AF and published a letter from the open Ukrainian-Palestinian solidarity group, which clearly states that the occupation is still an occupation wherever it occurs.

We also focused on eviction of the occupied village of Lützerath in Rhine, which is to retreat from the brown coal mine, the second anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar, violence in Nagorno Karabakh, Turkish war crimes in Syria, anti-fascist resistance in Poland, the outcome of elections in Argentina, the background of the new EZLN communiqué, Orbán's persecution of anti-fascists in Europe, the threat of the liquidation of the occupied self-governing factory Vio.Me in Greece, the fate of the Athenian radical district of Exarchia after police attacks and an attempt to gentrify it or anarcho-communist bakery in Paris' suburbs.


Related link:
AF 2022


Verze pro tisk 29.1.2024 AF

V nejbližších dnech:

IFA/IAF - Internacionála anarchistických federací
Web Nakladatelstvi Anarchistické federace

Píšou jinde

Odkazy