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(en) Finland, Black and Green days 2000-report I (1/2)

From Antti Rautiainen <antti@polly.phys.msu.su>
Date Mon, 21 Feb 2000 16:22:38 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Black and Green days 2000 - report

During the last couple of years, Black and Green days of Tampere has become
the most important anarchist event in Finland, which is quite interesting
since there is not any special eco-anarchist movement in Finland, and
Tampere has not managed to maintain any anarchist collectives althought a
small more wider "radical scene" exists there.
 The concept of the festival is to organise a music festival in the time of
the year they are the least, midwinter. The success is guaranteed, and part
of the participators will participate to political activity in the daytime,
since there is nothing else to do in between of the concerts - at least if
their hangover is not too bad. And the concept works - in 1999 there was
maybe 500 participators from which maybe 200 participated to political
activity, this year the respective numbers were 700 and 350 - raise from 40%
to 50%, which can be explained with recently increased demo-quality in Finland. 
 The presence of Russia-scene was excellent - 14 people from 4 different
cities - Saint Petersburg (ex-Saint Petersburg anarchist league, SPB
Antifa), Moscow (Rainbow Keepers, Moscow Antifa, Dikobraz-group,
independent), Ryazan (Rainbow Keepers), Samara (Rainbow Keepers). Swedish
participation was not more than last year - 3 young syndicalists (SUF) from
Swedish Lapland, some animal rightists and punks from south. Central
Europeans did not showed up althought threats and blackmailing were used to
get them. We must be more harsh next year.
 These numbers and other comments are of course only my subjective views, 
and since there was so much program I was only able to participate to a
small part of it. 


The bus from Helsinki was not able to catch the anti-fur demo which began 4
PM, so I was not there. People I talked about were stunned due to its energy
- some 130 people most of whom old farts had never seen before were shouting
like hell and making trouble (in the modest Finnish scale). Demonstration
included celebration outside recently collapsed huge "Turkismakasiini"-outlet.
 The first event I participated was the "Battle of genes"-panel discussion
which was for sure one of the bests I have never seen in Finland. The
participators were long-time activist and intellectual Olli Tammilehto,
chief editor of eco-radical Muutoksen Kevät Ville Lähde, Hannu Hyvönen from
the Union of ecological forestry, student Ossi Kakko and a guy (surname of
whom I missed) from Maatiainen-organisation which tries to preserve
traditional agricultural species. The audience was 60 people -  maybe 3
times more than organisators expected. It was very good that panel did not
tried to reach "false objectivity" by inviting enemies, now it's educational
function worked much better. 
  Olli Tammilehto had a pretty high-fly speech, mostly concerning false
neutrality and power-structures creating aspect of technology, discourses
about the power in our society (allowed when it is about the competition to
get it, not allowed when the demand is to destroy all the power and elites),
and marginalizing of the resistance. Tammilehto has 20 years of experience
from the anti-nuclear movement, a discourse from which he founded analogies
with the present discussion on genetic technology - back in the days it was
planned to build 40 nuclear power plants to Finland, now they are only 4. He
also spoke how the media is not always so monolithic and how it maybe could
be used (point of which I did not really understood). 
 Markku from Maatiainen had a more concrete speech, mostly about discourse
on genetic technology around the world, and about the resistance. He spoke
about various cases, such as close ties between FDA of USA and the
 Ville Lähde talked about the companies of life industry, and new strategy
of the resistance to attack one company at the time. British activists are
about to concentrate to AgrEvo, which is now the leader of the industry
after hardships of Monsanto. However, attacking headquarters or other
centers of power of these companies has been found ineffective, since the
companies have been able to hide their branches and brands under masses of
labels. Mapping of the company networks is really a task which should be
done before and during offensives against the corporations, and started in
Finland right now.
 Overall trend of the life-industry is decreasing due to the furious
resistance, althought some sectors like pharaceuticals are doing better than
some others, such as agribusiness. However, backlashes of the industry does
not mean victory at all, since hardships allow more concentration than in
the case of boom. It can be that in few years 2-3 huge, victorious companies
control the whole business, making it so much more difficult to destroy. 
 Hannu Hyvönen from union of ecological forestry talked about the production
chain of organic production, from seed production to consumers. He was
involved in "Apple project of North Finland", which was collecting genetic
heritage of apple trees from north Finland, which had been developed to
resist harsh enviroment during the generations. A Finnish state institution,
"Economic research center of agriculture" - MTT, was hostile towards this
project. Knowledge of farmers is ignored in favour of pro-industry
specialists, which collect genetic heritage for huge companies. MTT even
tried to sabotage using of the term "research" by the project, since "only
academics can do research". 
 Hannu also talked about continuum of tactics from journalism to sabotage,
open civil disobedience in the between. He noted that a lot can be done
already before starting the ecotage, so few counter-information is publicly
available in Finland. 
 The discussion after introductions was not so interesting, a theme among
others was wether to oppose all the genetic technology, or just some parts
of it or the way it is used now. 
 In the very end some people managed to get the discussion to very practical
level, which was excellent - it is not so often when eco-anarchists and
farmers sit down to plan common activities, althought now common plans were
in the very draft level. But an excellent start anyway. I also noted that
older generation anarchists have fleed to countryside in larger scale than I
expected, thus giving new dimension to both this discusison and the
discussion about food of saturday.

Writings of Olli Tammilehto available online:
http://get.to/tammilehto (maybe not a lot in English)
Contact of Muutoksen kevät: skvila@uta.fi
Contact of Union of ecological forestry: ekometsa@saunalahti.fi
Contact of Maatiainen: perinto@saunalahti.fi, maatiainen.ry@saunalahti.fi

Two concerts were organised in friday evening, one for non-punks and other
one for non-punks. I am sure many were very content after this distinction!

Working groups and the demo of saturday

3 working groups started 10 am in the morning - Globalization, DIY and self
sufficent food production. I missed the beginning, and went to the
Globalisation-group since I am not a farmer and not so familiar with
theoretical punk-philosophy;-)
 The discussion in the G-group was too high-fly in the beginning, so I did
not bothered to make notes. A discussion paper made by the organisers of the
group beforehand was a big plus. It was not so clear to me about what
organisers wanted to discuss, at least about the economic system which we
want to create. Since I had a suspicion we wouldn't be able to finish with
it in an hour in the smaller group, I tried to push the discussion in
smaller group to practice. So there came discussion about experiences of
Finnish anti-corporate movement since 95/96, how information moves inside
and outside of the movement and how to reach out to people. Unfortunately,
we did not managed to create a comprehensive theory how we can win the
 After midday, there was working groups about civil disobedience, traffic
campaigns and Muutoksen kevät-paper, while some of the old groups continued.
I concentrated to "social networking and human resources"-group, which means
talking shit with people I hadn't seen for a while. 
 Next one in the program was the big demo, theme was "Against biocapitalism
- for ecological food". "Tute Bianche" were in the frontline, followed by
some 350 demonstrators which formed a closed block surrounded by banners.
There was not soundsystem in this time, "to avoid repeating of the same
idea"... I think it should have been, but there should be new, innovative
ways to use the soundsystem to energize the demo, instead of just filling
demo with noise. However, people made quite well noise themselves. If
somebody complained the demo was not energetic enough, for sure he had not
seen very many demos in Finland. Abstractness of the theme was for sure
something which influenced the demo, if there was a concrete target (or cops
protecting it) there would have been even more groove. But I think it is a
big plus to organisers to pick up such an abstract theme, it is mocking of
people's intellectual capacity to assume that people can not understand more
complicated economic structures than some McDonald's which should be
destroyed to reach the anarchy.  2 years ago no-one would have expected that
it is possible to have such a good demo with such an abstract theme in
Finland. Actually this was first real demonstration against the genetic
technology in Finland, if you do not count mediatic Greenpeace-actions. In
the end, center square of Tampere was lighted with a burning corporate boss
(or maybe it was just some state bureaucrat since it had head full of
paper). Food not bombs distributed food which ended to demonstrators instead
of local poor, as usual in events like this. 
Slogans shouted in the demonstration were:

Haluamme syödä luomua - ei vieraita geenejä!
(We want to eat organic - no alien genes!)
Luomuruokaa kuvun alle - se maistuu paljon paremmalle!
(Eat organic - it tastes much better!)
Ruokaa kaikille - ei yhtiövallalle!
(Food for all - no to corporate power!)
Puhtaan ruoan puolesta - yhtiövaltaa vastaan!
(For pure food - against the corporate power!)
Bioteknologia on pahaa - sillä tehdään vain rahaa!
(Biotechnology is evil - only for making money!)
Bioteknologiaa - sitä kansa vihaa!
(Biotechnology - people hate it!)
Niitä geenipelto, polta mutanttipuu - geeniteknologia tuhoutuu!
(Cut a transgenic field, burn a mutant tree*
- genetic technology will be destroyed!)

*)Finnish forest research center has a test trial of transgenic pinetrees.

Meeting of "self-governing collectives of Finland" - reports from different

 After demo there was a panel discussion, theme of which is impossible to
translate into English. Something about self-sufficcency, you may even label
it spiritual. However, I did not went there since there was a half-closed
meeting of "self-governing collectives", in other words anarchist and
related-movement of Finland.       
 There was people present from HIT (=Self-governing Action), IWW, Autonome
Offensive, Makhnovist fraction, FNB-Helsinki and anarcha-feminist league
Peppi of Helsinki; Tor@ and Kumina of Tornio; JOA (=Student Anarchists of
Jyväskylä), FNB-Jyväskylä and Megafoni-paper of Jyväskylä; 65 Center of
Vaasa; various peace/animal rights groups from Turku; yet anonymous
collective from Kotka; and individuals from Joensuu and Oulu. People from
SUF-Luleå (Swedish Lapland), Saint-Petersburg league of anarchists and
Dikobraz of Moscow were also present.     
 Cities with the most anarchist activity are Helsinki and Jyväskylä. In
Jyväskylä, FNB has been good experiment to get something concrete to the
activity. Megafoni is a new, excellent looking paper to get some new spirit
to action - people wanted to do some less serious and more populistic, and
quitted highly theoretical and academic Kaurapuuro-paper. MÄÄ-alliance
("Moderate extreme left") in which anarchists are involved holds 10% of the
seats in the student body, being the thirdmost biggest group there.  
 Kumina of Tornio is an "alternative cultural group" which was formed
already in the first half of the nineties. Not anarchists formed own,
political group TorA since in Kumina there was some tension between
"artists" and "politicals".Anarchists are still involved in Kumina anyway.
Anarchists of Tornio and Oulu are also giving rebirth to legendary "Wild
North"-paper, forum of the arctic rage which was not only maybe the
northmost anarchist paper ever published, but also the most frequently
(average 8 numbers/year) published Finnish anarchist paper until it
collapsed in the spring 1998. New editors said "unfortunately we will
diminish the traditional eco-anarchist part of the content in favour of the
social struggle". I can hardly wait!
 In rest of the cities there is not specially anarchist activity, people are
involved in animal rights or anti-fascist networks, or form "local activist
groups" with nice names to deal with large field of global and local problems. 
 In Vaasa a sort of social center, 65-center has existed for a few years
serving local animal rights and anti-fascist activists. New generation has
penetrated these groups which for sometime ago were dying. Monthly
anarchism-inspired punk-paper "Toinen Vaihtoehto" is also located in 65-center. 
 In Turku, people have been maintaining existing anti-militarist and animal
right groups. Women have started their own active discussion group. 
 Emerging of the radical activism in Kotka is something completely new and
great. Their collective has not yet any name. 
 In Oulu there has not been any special anarchist activity for 2 years, only
small promotion of big events in other cities. From other groups, only
animal rightists are active. This is sad, since in the mid-nineties Oulu was
the capital of Finnish anarchism.

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