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(en) Slovania, FAO-IFA: Statement of Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana: THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING (de)

Date Sat, 24 Oct 2020 08:56:02 +0300


Half a year after the first authoritarian shock of the ruling coalition, which was to a certain extent halted by the self-organized mass action, the government takes the current increase of Covid-19 infections as an opportunity to resume the same project. Although it already had a firm grip on state power, the government did not use the time of the relatively small number of cases of Covid 19 to build up additional medical capacity, but rather rolled out the red carpet for its alleged victory over the virus and continued to take possession of crucial government levers. Instead of providing public funds to the most vulnerable groups in times of developing social crisis, money was wasted on huge contracts for enormous weapons and military equipment orders. Instead of allowing people to organize themselves freely and act politically, they are harassed, punished, attacked and intimidated. Instead of supporting the most vulnerable among us, including the homeless, migrants and the poor, they lock people up in camps, hunt them like animals, chase them off the city streets and exclude them from the system of rights and social services. All this suggests that even in times of pandemic, the government's priority is only one - its own pursuit to maintain and consolidate power. Instead of emerging from the epidemic as a society with a newly woven web of care, solidarity and community, too often the government actively prevents this process. Instead of training new health workers and raising their wages, it extends its policing powers to people who were previously deployed as community guards or soldiers. For all these reasons, it should come as no surprise that the numbers are growing exponentially:

During the first wave of the epidemic, we as a society responded responsibly and cared for each other, which enabled us to limit the possible consequences of the epidemic to the best of our ability. As a society we are now getting used to the fact that the virus is among us, and so we are once again struggling to limit the consequences of the epidemic. But our hands are often tied because we still have to work in factories, bars, warehouses, markets, schools, shops and many other institutions and businesses to earn a living.

But there is one place the government says we are not allowed to enter - the protests against its authoritarian policies. The same worker who works day after day to the bone in a poorly ventilated warehouse to keep his poorly paid job is not allowed to breathe the fresh air during the protests on Friday night. The same worker who has to work every day in a supermarket where she is in contact with hundreds of people is not allowed to take part in the Friday demonstrations with members of her household, even though she is wearing a mask and is even further away from people than at her workplace.

It is clear that the police incitements and intimidation have nothing to do with concern for people's health, but rather with the government's fear of political action that is not under its thumb. The fact that people are forced to gather in large numbers in the workplace but at the same time are not allowed to gather to voice their criticism of the government confirms that this government, like any other, is first and foremost loyal and servile to the interests of capital.

The abuse of power understandably and rightly generates resistance which, as long as it retains its authentic character of rejection of authoritarianism, can endanger the plans of even the most aggressive and greedy gang in power. The latter therefore needs a smoke screen to carry out its project of taking over society, behind which it can hide its true interests and moves. The smoke screen, woven from fear, anxiety, hatred, unverifiable information, contradictory measures and an obvious discrepancy between objectives and methods. In times of epidemics, this also means destroying the possibility of a reasonable discussion about the level of risk or about necessary protective measures. To make the smoke screen as thick as possible, the government needs both submissive and subordinate media, as well as media subordinate to the parliamentary opposition to act as its mirror image. General mistrust, treachery, fear and insecurity individualize people, separate them from each other and block opportunities for joint reflection and engagement. Alienated from one another, people are easy prey for charlatans and their manipulations, fake news, hit-piece propaganda media outlets, hostile propaganda and conspiracy theories of those who glorify patriotic folklore, despise science and, in ideal symbiosis with the government, aggressively preach their nonsensical gospels.

Resistance to an authoritarian state and its impoverishment is the fundamental basic expression of humanity. The wave of protest that has swept over Slovenia in recent months is perfectly understandable and legitimate. Responsibility for oneself and for others nowadays does not only mean wearing masks and disinfecting hands frequently. It also means rejecting regimes of terror. The reason for the government's aggressive response to the protests, whether in the spring or now, is not epidemiological in nature, but rather the government's desire to maintain the social status quo, which is the global system of capitalism, which creates misery, conflict, war and poverty throughout the world. If the elites want to preserve their power over the people, they must resort to increasingly authoritarian measures. Slovenia with its local "great leader" is by no means an exception or an isolated case. Similar processes are much more advanced in much larger countries and states that are more important for capitalism, such as the United States, Brazil, France, but also Chile, Russia, Greece, Belarus, Hungary and many others.

The struggle of people for basic needs and dignity around the world also encourages many opportunists who want to build their comfortable political careers at the expense of those who risk the most. In Slovenia it is no different, as the parliamentary opposition is trying to use the protest movement to regain its beloved governing role. But one should not delude oneself. Even if some might may feel this as a relief, the basic orientation of the new government also means continuity with the current government. What is to be expected is the continuation of the regime of militarization, the accelerated destruction of nature and the environment, the restriction of access to health care and the servitude to the centers of capital.

As part of the oppressed, persecuted, erased and exploited, we have no illusions. The coronavirus pandemic will continue for some time to come. With or without it, the attack on nature, the environment and people will continue. With or without coronavirus, the attack on the rights of workers and the marginalized will continue. With or without it, the racist border regimes, wars and war profiteering will continue. Nevertheless, we must preserve our dignity, our voice and thus the possibility of constructing an alternative to the system of destruction and death. The future cannot be built while we are locked up in arbitrarily defined state borders and burdened with identity issues, or by transferring responsibility to this or that representative of the forces that are destroying us. The future we are prepared to fight for is heterogeneous and does not consist of borders, patriarchy or exploitation. It is open to all, except those who want to impose their destructive or monolithic visions on others.

Neither the government nor the police have the right to determine how we want to make our voice heard. But any government that still claims this right and enforces it by force is a dictatorship, regardless of whether we are in the middle of a war, a pandemic, a natural disaster or any other state of emergency. Resisting a dictatorship is legitimate.

We will stay here, even after all these current political clowns will be long gone. We must therefore remain rational, determined and understanding, even though we live in turbulent historical times. Many people will not participate in the next protests because of the increasing and worrying epidemiological figures. Others will not come because they cannot afford fines or other forms of police harassment. Still others will attend, but will wonder whether this was the right decision or not. Nevertheless, some people will go to the protest despite their concerns, precisely because the government tells them not to.

All these different decisions must be understood and accepted, regardless of what each individual, group or collective decides. There is not just one prescribed path to responsible behavior. Those who take part in the protest should protect themselves and others from the virus and from the police. They should not rely on the supposed organizers or leaders of the protest, but should take responsibility for their own actions. Those who do not participate in the protests can find other legitimate ways to fight the authoritarian onslaught, either individually or in smaller groups. This can be done not only on the Internet, but also in communities, villages and other places. Since this struggle will not end soon, we must learn to be as volatile as water and as unpleasant as a thorn in the government's side. Let's not wait, let's start immediately! Graffiti, posters, stickers, agitation at work and at home, solidarity groups against repression, financial and psychological help, care for the elderly, strikes and sabotage. Every act of resistance is a step towards humanity, love, passion, comradeship and our best chance to stop the agents of division and death.

In the coming days and months, the key word will be solidarity: with the sick, the unemployed, the homeless, the targets of repression and the imprisoned. On the pretext of curbing the epidemic, we are not giving in to repression, silence, curfews and other autocratic measures aimed solely at strengthening the rule of capital and tightening its control over the people. Even in times when we are commanded to be individualistic, we must look for innovative ways of being together. Every authoritarian government hates autonomous and free collective initiatives which annoy its representatives. If some of us resist once a week, then we are annoying but controllable. But if our disobedience manifests itself in many different forms, from occupying the streets to organizing in the workplace, in schools and other institutions, we can create a real social power that the authorities cannot ignore. When it sometimes appears during the day, sometimes sparks at night, when it changes its shapes, faces and forms, then even the government armed to the teeth cannot harm us.

We will not give up our future!
Let's take care of each other - on the street, at work and at home!
Let the end of the epidemic be the harbinger of a new society!
Let's find each other!

Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana
15 October 2020
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