A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists

News in all languages
Last 30 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ All_other_languages
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) [LPA] More texts of german 2001 bordercamp group

From ralf@anarch.free.de (Ralf Landmesser)
Date Wed, 25 Apr 2001 15:21:13 -0400 (EDT)

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

## Ersteller: hagen@kein.org
Statement of the german bordercamp group on the meeting dated 07.04.01

2001 antiracist initiatives are planning a summer filled with campaigns and
actions including an international camp chain and resistance actions in
connection with the summit in Genoa.

>From 2 until 8 July 2001 a border camp will take place in Tarifa in the
south of Spain.
Followed by a  (second) border camp in Poland near Bialystok at the
Lithuanian- Belarussian border from 5 until 12 July 2001. Furthermore
another border camp will start in Slovenia at the Hungarian-Croatian border
at the beginning of July. From 19 until 22 July campaigns against the
G8-summit will take place in Genoa and from 27 July until 5 August the tents
will be put up near Frankfurt airport.

At present a bus caravan is planned to connect the different camps and to
carry campaigners from camp to camp as well as to the summit in Genoa. In
Germany we call upon participation in the border camp and action chain and
to visit other camps. We hope that there will be an active exchange about
antiracist, feminist and internationalist questions and that new forms of
co-operation will be developed.

At the last meeting of the German camp preparation group it was decided to
financially support the bus caravan project. We certainly hope to be able to
welcome a great number of activists from other countries at our camp at
Frankfurt airport.

Because of our criticism of the FA Poznan and their central role for the
first Polish border camp we did not mobilise last year. However, we did not
call upon a boycott of the FA Poznan as was frequently asserted. We demanded
a critical debate about sexism and cross alliances (Querfrontbuendnisse).
Until today there is no discernible reason to alter our position towards the
FA Poznan.
We know that even a member has left the group due to the lack of a critical

We are very interested in a co-operation with different East-European
groups. We welcome the new camp project in Poland this year which is
prepared from an alliance of Polish groups as well as groups from
Belarussia, Ukraine, and Russia. In Germany we call upon participation in
the Polish camp.

Furthermore a few members of the German camp preparation group together with
the Emancypunx from Warsaw are preparing a weekend of discussion and actions
in Warsaw from 28 April until 1 May. We hope that a lot of German and Polish
activists will participate.

For your information we repeat our last year's comment concerning FA Poznan:

Statement of the preparation group for the border camp in Forst/Germany
concerning the co-operation with the
Federacja Anarchistyczna Poznan (June, 2000)

The story so far:

For the past four month people from the groups preparing the third
antiracist border camp in Forst/Germany have been discussing the
co-operation with the FA Poznan, a group from Poznan/Poland that is
currently preparing an antiracist camp on the border of Poland, Ukraine
and Slovakia in Ustrzyki Gorne. In the past years the FA Poznan
participated in the antiracist border camps in Goerlitz and Zittau (both
Germany). This year they invited us to join the camp from 13th to 19th
of July 2000, which they are planning with Ukrainian anarchists from

There are two issues that lead some people from the camp preparation
group Forst to discuss our relations with the FA Poznan and our reaction

to their invitation to Ustrzyki Gorne. Those two issues are: how the FA
Poznan deals with sexist behavior and their alliance with the right-wing

group "Naszosc". We think it is time to write down the discussion so
far, in order to enable a broader discussion. It was extremely difficult

for us to find a position that reflects all our opinions. We encountered

several problems:

? the problem of communication taking place in different contexts,
languages and over hundreds of kilometers;
? the gathering of incidents; the individual evaluation of these
incidents; the danger of not taking into account some basic questions
and statements due to personal points of view; the request for more
information to clarify certain details; the personal and political ties
of some of us with the people of FA Poznan, etc.;
? finding a common evaluation of the incidents as grounds for a
collective way of dealing with the issue;
? taking into account the context, i.e. the meaning of this discussion
and our position for Polish and German-Polish groups. In Poland these
are the Emancypunx (an anarchafeminist group who have criticized the
sexist incidents in Poznan as well as the alliance of FA Poznan with the

right-wing group "Naszoc"), the FA Poznan themselves and the general
political situation in Poland. This also includes the consequences this
debate will have for us as antiracist groups (our political principles),

for our partner groups and for the political debate in Germany;
? the difficulty to determine the principles of our political work and
to define criteria for our co-operation with people or groups.

Almost all of us have expressed critique about the way in which the FA
Poznan deals with sexism and about their alliance with the right-wing
group "Naszosc". But we had very different positions on how to express
this criticism and how to enable a discussion about our point of view.
Some of us favored a critical discussion with FA Poznan whereas others
took the position of no further co-operation or discussion with FA
Poznan until they find a self-critical position about the sexist
incidents and until they stop all co-operation with "Naszosc".

We think that this discussion has fundamental implications for all of
us. Especially the question of setting up criteria for political
alliances showed us the necessity to reflect upon this issue.
What happened / the background of this discussion

These are the two points regarding the FA Poznan that we criticize:

1. In their anti-military campaign in 1998 a member of FA Poznan made a
Poster which he showed publicly at a demonstration. The poster shows a
picture from a porno magazine: A naked woman lays on her back with her
legs spread open. Between her legs there are the words: "while you join
the military, she meets with the mailman."  This poster was put up at
the library of FA Poznan for some time. When a woman of FA Poznan
criticized the poster she found a pornographic picture at the door to
her room showing a woman with the penis of a man in her mouth and a
comment: "anarchofeminism in practice". At a party some Polish and
visiting Swedish women took down the poster mentioned at the beginning.
This lead to a physical fight in which members of FA Poznan were
involved. After this there was another sexist picture and sexist verbal
attacks on women. The FA Poznan is criticized by the Polish
anarchofeminist group Emancypunx that demands a statement about the
incidents from FA Poznan, who up until now have not reacted to this

2. The alliance of  FA Poznan with the right-wing group "Naszosc" and
their work within the alliance "free Caucasus" (Wolny Kaukaz). "Naszosc"

is a group of the extreme right. It can be characterized by their
political representative Piotr Lisiewicz who is a regular member of  the

editorial staff of the right-wing newspaper "Gazeta Polska" (GP). The GP

is considered one of the "moderate" papers of the extreme right. In this

paper Piotr Lisiewicz promotes the idea of a "cross alliance": His aim
is a modernization of the right, which did not manage to develop a broad

acceptance in society by their strategies of right-wing skinheads or as
political parties. The main targets have to be the fight against
post-communists and the state, all other issues have to be set aside.
Since anarchist groups have a broad acceptance with young people and an
innovative potential of actions they are considered important partners
for alliances. The common points of reference should be anti-state
activism and anti-communism.

These discussions took place at two visits to Poznan and in different
papers. The statements from here were translated into Polish and sent to

FA Poznan and the Emancypunx. There are also recent statements from the
Emancypunx and from FA Poznan which can be asked for at :

Which part does the context play?

In this discussion we often wondered about the question to which extent
political principles are marked by the context and the history of the
activists and their movements and whether we know enough about the
context in which the FA Poznan acts politically. Do we know how these
issues are discussed in Poland? This question can be seen as arrogant
(assuming a personal or "western" superiority) or as constructive and
enlightening. We do ask ourselves whether our own analysis of sexism is
sufficient and if we can take this as a standard for the judgement of
others. We also discussed the history of our own analysis of sexism and
how this was pushed forward by political pressure of the women and
lesbian movement and by women who demanded a discussion. For us it is
crucial that in this case it is a Polish feminist group, the Emancypunx,

who demands this debate on sexism. From our political point of view it
is important to strengthen this position.

>From the statements that we know, FA Poznan was clearly confronted with

criticism on their way of dealing with sexism, so their apparent
"ignorance" does not explain anything. We are aware of the fact that the

discussion is determined by their own context which produces
systematically "blind spots". Nevertheless the incidents in Poznan are
more than "blind spots": There was active sexist behavior and the FA
Poznan as a group did not try to find a position and act accordingly. In

our opinion the rejection of all sorts of discrimination (be it
materialistic, legally or on the basis of recognition) is not a
national/cultural but a universal principle of emancipatory politics
(emancipatory meaning "towards the liberation of everyone).

We are aware of the fact that our criticism can be misunderstood as
arrogant. We understand this judgement as a concern about an
imperialistic interference of "the West" on Poland and other Eastern
European countries.  Moreover there is a general incompetence and
indifference on the side of the German left in dealing with the concerns

of Eastern European activists. The accusation that the criticism is
arrogant and not open to criticism itself should not, however, lead to a

general avoidance of discussion but instead be a further motivation.

During the debate with FA Poznan about their alliances they criticized
that we ourselves co-operate with groups that do not join our
emancipatory political criteria. They referred to the co-operation with
Maoist or Stalinist groups. There is no doubt that this needs to be
discussed within the German left, nevertheless FA Poznan has to give a
concrete statement on their alliance with "Naszosc" and the "cross
alliance strategy".

Our criteria of emancipatory politics:

To us the rejection of racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, fascism,
sexism and authoritarian structures are basic conditions of politics
aiming at the liberation of everyone. These criteria have been developed

collectively over the years by activists of the campaign "no one is
illegal" and they are the foundation for our politics or leftist
politics in general. We expect from ourselves and others that structures

of domination are criticized and that they try to stop any kind of
racist, nationalist, fascist, sexist and authoritarian behavior. We do
believe that we can expect leftist men to reflect sexism more critically

than others. The same applies to nationalism.

our evaluation:

We think sexism is a structure that exists internationally on different
levels. In our opinion it is necessary for us as emancipatory groups to
reflect on sexism, including our own sexist behavior, and to criticizes
such behavior of other groups. Sexism is a pattern which systematically
discriminates, hurts and humiliates women. We expect ourselves and
others to criticize this domination structure and to be open to
discussion. We judge them and ourselves on the grounds of how determined

they try to stop any kind of discriminating and excluding behavior. We
do not criticize FA Poznan because of the sexist incidents as such, but
because of their reaction to the criticism: starting new sexist attacks,

ignorance or trying to discredit the critics and pointing out that other

women thought the poster was "funny". So far there has been no public
position of the group regarding the poster , and - to our knowledge - no

open political discussion with those who have been attacked politically
and hurt personally.

Cooperation with »Naszosc« - right-wing strategy of "cross alliances"

We see the alliance with "Naszosc" as part of a development within the
anarchist as well as the ecology movement in Poland to form alliances
with right-wing groups. This kind of alliance took place on the issues
of "police brutality", "globalization" and issues of ecology. "Cross
alliance" means alliances across political lines (usually referred to as

"left" and "right"). In such an alliance the issue of ecology or the war

in Czeczenia would be more important than the refusal to co-operate with

anti-Semitic groups or with extreme nationalists. Piotr Lisiewicz of
»Naszosc« is a supporter of this strategy of "cross alliances".
Throughout history there have been attempts of right-wing groups to form

alliances with leftist groups. In our opinion it is crucial for the left

to refuse these offers because they contradict emancipatory politics. It

is not helpful to discuss the details of how extremely right-wing these
groups have to be in order to refuse an alliance.

There have been controversial discussions in Polish anarcho-zines about
this kind of alliances. There are numerous critics on this issue. We are

aware of the fact that our political decision regarding the FA Poznan
can be influential on the debate within Poland, i.e. it can strengthen
or weaken positions on the two issues (right-wing alliances and
sexism).  In our opinion the current practice of FA Poznan to be the
head of a anti-racist campaign and at the same time to be allied to a
right-wing group is dangerous, politically inconsistent and wrong. If we

would decide to co-operate with FA Poznan this would be a further
legitimization of their alliance with "Naszosc".

Our conclusions:

There will be no co-operation of our part ( the groups preparing the
border camp in Forst/Germany) with the FA Poznan. We regret this,
because the contact to anti-racist groups from Poland (and Eastern
Europe) is important to us. Our decision is not meant to be an end to
the discussion, but an expression of criticism. We hope that this
decision will start a new discussion about the principles of our
political work and our alliances. We decided against a co-operation
because we think that there will be no significant change of position
within the coming four weeks (i.e. until the Polish border camp takes
place). We will not mobilize publicly or privately for the border camp
in Poland. We think that it is politically important to discuss
controversially about sexism and alliances with right-wing groups, i.e.
we think it is a mistake to join alliances with right-wing groups as
well as not taking a clear political position as a group after sexist

We have no knowledge of controversial discussions on the issue within FA

Poznan. We hope that this discussion will take place and that it will be

made public. The statement that FA Poznan has made so far on the issue
did not reply to the arguments mentioned above. If the FA Poznan decides

that a dissociation from sexist incidents or from right-wing groups is
not important or wrong, there is no room for co-operation. FA Poznan is
free to decide for or against a critical discussion as well as for or
against a co-operation with leftist or right-wing groups. In case that
they decide for a co-operation with right-wing groups we will continue
to criticize this. In this paper we want to clarify our positions which
are the basis of possible alliances with other groups.

Some of us have decided to travel to Poland. We asked them to distribute

our statement and to try to open a critical dialog with the FA Poznan
(and others). We will inform participants of the border camp in Forst
about this discussion and we will be open to criticism on our decision.
We hope that many people or groups from Poland participate in the border
camp in Forst.

We ask you to discuss this paper in your groups (in Germany and other
countries as well as in the No Border Network) and to get involved in
the discussion.

Alter-EE mailing list

               The A-Infos News Service
      News about and of interest to anarchists
               COMMANDS: lists@ainfos.ca
               REPLIES: a-infos-d@ainfos.ca
               HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
               WWW: http://www.ainfos.ca
               INFO: http://www.ainfos.ca/org

 To receive a-infos in one language only mail lists@ainfos.ca the message
                unsubscribe a-infos
                subscribe a-infos-X
 where X = en, ca, de, fr, etc. (i.e. the language code)