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(en) Britain, Organise! #65 - A brief look at the state of anarchism in 21st century Croatia. `bez boga, bez gospodara!'

Date Fri, 04 Nov 2005 15:34:38 +0200


On the 18th March 2005 in its capital city of Zagreb, Croatia held its
first anarchist bookfair as part of a series of travelling anarchist bookfairs
across the Balkans that strarted back in 2003 in Slovenia. Zagreb's bookfair went
off well, lasting several days with lots of groups from the region and all over Europe
attending and it's now set to become an annual event, happening every spring.
The anarchist movement in Croatia is small, amassing only a handful of groups
across the 57,000km2 of its political area and all of which seem to be acting
independently of each other; the forms of organisation are often very diverse. There
are groups `without adjectives' such as in Rijeka (Rijeka Anarchist Initiative, which
has in its ranks many different strains of thought ranging from primitivism to forms
of social anarchism); other individual
groups like in Umag; an infoshop in
Cakovec; there is an informal grouping
centred around the anarcho-marxist
magazine, `Thesis Eleven' and Food Not
Bombs projects in several cities. Affinity
groups, such as Anarcho-Feminist Action
and Anti-Fascist Action, are also active in
Zagreb. Not suprisingly, there exists a
situation similar to that of many countries
whereby anarchists in Croatia have very
little social influence outside their own
circles. There is, for example, less input
from anarchists into workers' struggles
than in the UK, but this can be mainly put
down to the seemingly dominant lifestylist
element in Croatian anarchism. There are
occasional attempts to co-ordinate
activities on a national level but these
usually end in failure. The basic problem of
the anarchist movement in Croatia is that it
has its roots in punk culture; there are
individualist, anti-organisational views
among many of these groups and they are
not influenced by, or even introduced to,
classical anarchist thought (from theorists
like Kropotkin, Bakunin, Malatesta et al)
simply because there is very little
translated literature available; the
importance of a permenent libertarian
organisation is not fully understood or
appreciated.
Mid-way along the countries Adriatic coast
lies the port city of Zadar and home of the
Anarho Sindikalisticka Konfederacija (or
Anarcho-Syndicalist Confederation - the
ASK), an organisation that aims to build
itself along the the lines of the `traditional'
social anarchist movement, inspired in part
by the ideas of libertarian marxism (council
communism, humanist-marxism etc.). It is
possibly the only class-oriented
organisation in the country and the only
one that aims to found itself on a national
level. It is at the moment a very young
propaganda group seeking to provide
people with libertarian literature and
establish contacts to build the national
organisation.
The movement in Croatia is currently at a
low point, indeed it could never really
claim to be at a high, although until very
recently slogans like `No Gods, No
masters' could be seen graffitied over the
main squares in Zagreb and a movement
did start to develop after the fall of the old
Yugoslavia.
I
n the Dalmatia region, the anarchist
movement was heavily
influenced by Italian anarchism (not
surprising as some of the Dalmatian cities
were a part of the Italian state). Around the
beginning of the 20th Century the
movement here came under the influence
of the Germinal anarchist communist group
in Trieste, Italy. The centres of activity
were Zadar and Split with some numbers
of militants who were distributing
Germinal newspapers among working class
circles and also trying to organise workers
there. They supported the Germinal tactic
of direct action on a local level. At this
point, Germinal was distributing its papers
in a large number in these areas, bigger
then some social-democratic parties.
Unfortunately, the movement didn't last
long.
There were also those people who were
influenced by the Propaganda by the Deed
idea. In Istria, anarchists were involved in a
failed assassination attempt on Mussolini,
who was giving a speech in Pula in
September 1920. The anarchists and their
socialist comrades planned to smuggle a
bomb wrapped in newspapers into the
theatre where the Italian fascist leader was
speaking. However, the plan was never
pulled off as a few of the older socialists
who were known to the local police
decided they would be caught before they
could make an attempt on Mussolini's life.
Two days after the speech, Pula was
overwhelmed with terror between right-
wing and left-wing groups. After an
investigation into the group of anarchists
and socialists, the police discovered the
bomb and other weapons. They were
arrested.
There has even been talk of an anarchist
partisan militia in Istria during World War
Two, but at the time of writing no other
information is available.
The ASK in Zadar are asking for
international anarchist organisations to
spread their influence over the Croatian
area of the world. They would particularly
appreciate Croatian translations of
anarchist communist literature and support
for the publishing of anarchist material in
the Croatian language generally.

Contact: Anarho Sindikalisticka
Konfederacija, Croatia via
www.solidarnost.mahost.org
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