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(en) PGA*-inspired newsletter, #3 - Short insight into the formation of autonomous block

Date Mon, 10 Dec 2007 09:40:18 +0200

*Note: Some reports, photos and video material from the action can be reached on
the internet page: http://n17-n17.blogspot.com/. This text consists of different
sections: description of the Autonomous Block (AB), call for actions, letter of
support and short history of Autonomous Tribune (AT). Short insight: formation
of the autonomous block (AB) around the workers' protests on 17.11.
Autonomous scene ---- It has been at least a good year since the activist,
"autonomous scene" in Slovenia has been united in the important struggle on the
local level. Last year, it was the squatting and the formation of the temporary
autonomous zone ROG (the former bicycle factory) that produced immense energy
and desire for the transformation of vacant space into a lively community of
different social relations. Even though later the community Rog faced many
difficulties, it still remains one of the most important alternative and public
spaces. One of the groups created a space and a group Social Centre Rog that
works on alternative education (Nomad University:
films, discussions...) and on immigrations issues (specifically connected to the
Erased). Apart from these political realities, the autonomous scene in Slovenia
has been in demise since the end of ANTINATO and antiwar movement in 2003/04.
This year, with the advent of privatization on all societal levels, with the
mounting governmental repression, the Autonomous Tribune, autonomous student
movement emerged (see number 4 for the short genealogy of the movement). In the
autumn, the autonomous scene started to gather around the issue of the
"normalization". Normalization-disciplinary techniques are quite evident in the
dominant attitude towards minority groups, in specific case, the
homophobic outbursts against lesbian couple in one of the famous clubs in
Ljubljana (October).

A small protest was organized, where many different political groups showed
solidarity. This was a precondition for the formation of Autonomous block.
Workers protests: all trade unions agreed to create a trade-unionist block that
will demand for higher wages and criticize neoliberal tendencies. Autonomous
block (AB) supported their claims and at the same time wanted to open a space
for different questions and demands.
Various groups, ranging from Autonomous tribune, social centre Rog, feminists,
the revolt of Lesbos, student associations to others debated around issues that
want to be presented to the public.
Working-groups started their elaboration on different topics that would finally
result in a small paper that could be used as a speech and material for the
future activities. Groups were centered around the problematic of student
situation, capitalism, repression ... Main conclusions were later on formalized
in common slogans, demands that were transmitted via flyers, graffiti, call
for action (see number 2).
Mobilisation starts. New logistic groups were formed in order to attract young
population. It was through flyers, banners, internet guerilla and small symbolic
actions that the message for the formation of autonomous block was spread.
Intention of AB was presented in the letter of support (see number 3) and the
initiative was greeted with respect and enthusiasm by official trade-unions.

More than 50 thousand people came to flood streets of Ljubljana. There were old,
young, workers, students, pensioners who joined the march for the workers'
rights. The autonomous block started at the different location as the official
event. Symbolically, it started at the Square of the Liberation Front (Anti-FA
front in the 2WW). There were not only local groups that joined the AB, but also
comrades/compas and groups from Italy, Croatia, Austria and Serbia. The AB
presented itself with various materials: from newspapers, flyers to speeches and
music that was echoing from the sound-system. The mobile and colored caravan of
500 hundred young people moved and finally joined masses.

The arrival of the autonomous block was emotional ­ you saw people crying,
cheering and shouting "Solidarity". Banners and shouted slogans of the
autonomous block radicalized the demands of the workers: "smash capitalism", "In
factories and on universities, against the logic of capital", "without
resistance there is no existence", "government should resign"... Many small
direct actions took place during the march, but stories are yet to be written by
others as well.
Trade unions demonstrated that they are one of the only real political forces
in Slovenia, what is specific si that they are not subjugated to the government
or to political parties, which is quite exceptional regarding the situation in
Europe. What remains unknown is the future of the trade-unionist movement and
the fate of their demands. If they are not to be heard, in January they call for
the general strike.
Apart from that AB showed that alternative politics is possible. Those different
political groups can participate and will participate. Next time already I
December, for the official introduction of Slovenia into the Schengen regime.
On 17th November we will massively occupy the streets of Ljubljana because we
think, that today's situation and even more importantly, the path for the future
is not set right. Workers' demonstrations for higher wages will be supported by
both, elderly and young. All of those fed up with humiliation and exploitation!
Governmental and capitalistic propaganda and their advocates would like us to be
convinced that we are living life of dreams. But since we are not stupid, we
know, that our situation is not improving and that the prospects for the future
are uncertain. So very praised economic growth does not only mean successes of
Slovenian economy but also indicates larger levels of exploitation and further
social differences.

Demonstrations will unite thousands of workers, men and women. Numerous young -
workers, schoolkids, students will also participate, as well as numerous
deprivileged workers, who don't have their own labour union's representatives.
Not only because of their own status but also to support union's demands. Given
the fact, that today's situation is not bright for any of those groups and the
fact, that the future perspectives for those groups are very uncertain, we
think, that it is a high time for serious and organized incorporation of these
subjects into the public debate about current situation and about future.
Student movement Autonomous tribune is therefore motivating formation of
Autonomous block at the demonstrations, which will join both young and a bit
less young from different stories:
students, schoolkids, unemployed, deprivileged and migration workers and many
others. In this way, we will be able to clearly express our views, address
masses with wider topics and in doing so, will be able to respond to labour
unions' call more seriously, support their demands, and enrich the
demonstrations with our own content.

We will meet on 17th November at 9:30 a.m. at the bus station!

Letter of support for workers' protests N17

Today situation of workers is not rosy. Although government, capitalistic sounds
and their ideological priests would like to convince us otherwise, people are
not stupid. People can think and know that their situation is not improving. So
very chanted economic growth does not mean solely successes of Slovenian
economy. Back side of this process is reduction of worker's rights. Actually we
have to step on the side of student or worker in order to understand the
whole phenomena: economic growth means above all larger level of exploitation of
workers and also students. What does that mean concretely? Wages are reducing,
there are more and more of unemployed, gained rights are reducing, really, life
in this splendid country beneath the Alps is getting better...

Labour fight is student's fight. It is not only about act of solidarity, more it
is about wider perception of social problems, which demands mental effort of
each individual. Students will become workers, some of them work even now during
their study. To be more educated does not mean assured job. Therefore students
have to deal with eminent working issues very early.

But workers and students also have many things in common. Not only that they are
their parents. Workers can soon realize that trends of privatization of school
system are not separated from privatization of other sectors of social state.
Therefore the front for maintaining public sector is in formation and new
programme basis which can serve alternative organization of society, are being
defined through common fight.

Fight for higher wages is of course legitimate union fight. We accompany and
welcome this fight and at the same time we announce that we will address the
masses with wider themes in the range of autonomous bloc. Our main 'sting' will
'fly' on problem of privatization and capitalistic organization of economy as
well on state's repression and other forms of domination. Extra important is of
course also difficult situation of students in the light of educational reform,
which is being rejected from the very beginning by the Autonomous tribune.
Autonomous tribune will work in direction of immobilization of student
population and will not only support demonstrations declaratively.
Therefore, see you on 17th November in occupied and motley Ljubljana, where
drums will resound and where we will exclaim that we are not so easy up for
sale. Not today, not tomorrow, never!
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist international direct action network
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