Ljubljana. Slovenia. Statement of the Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana. In view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, including those in Slovenia, the state of emergency there is once again being considerably aggravated, which affects, among other things, the right to assemble. The government’s repression is also directed specifically against anarchist comrades.
Originally published by Komunal.
This is just the beginning
Half a year after the first authoritarian shock, halted to some extent by mass self-organized resistance by the people, the government sees the resurgence of the epidemic as an opportunity to try again with the same project. Although it has had all the levers of power in her hands for six months, it did not establish additional medical capacities during epidemiological break in between waves, preferring to sunbathe while flying over military aircraft and taking over key levers of power. Instead of devoting public money to the long-term protection of the most vulnerable during the evolving social crisis, it is devoting it to huge arms deals. Instead of letting people organize and act politically freely, it harasses, punishes, attacks and intimidates them. Instead of protecting the most vulnerable among us, including migrants, the homeless and the poor, it imprisons people in camps, hunts them like animals, persecutes them from the city streets, pushes them out of the justice system. All this clearly shows that even in the conditions of an epidemic, the most important thing for the government is to maintain and consolidate its own power. Instead of giving its contribution to driving the epidemic as a society with newly woven bonds of care, solidarity and community, all too often it actively prevents this. Instead of training and paying well new health workers, it is expanding its police powers and intends to give them to people who were only city wardens or soldiers yesterday. No one should be surprised, therefore, that the numbers are growing exponentially: the number of people in need of medical care, the number of deaths, the number of people left without regular and emergency healthcare, the number of people who have lost their jobs, the number of people left behind homeless, the number of those sanctioned for poverty or political activity.
As a society, we responded responsibly and with concern for each other in the first wave and limited the consequences of the epidemic to the best of our ability. As a society, we are now getting used to the fact that the disease is among us, we accept it and we fight again to limit its consequences as much as possible. But our hands are often tied, as we simply have to go to jobs in factories, bars, warehouses, to markets, to schools, shops, and many other institutions and businesses if we want to make a living. But there is a place, they think we should not go: a protest against its authoritarian policies. The same worker, who has to go to a closed and poorly ventilated warehouse every day to keep a miserably paid job, is not allowed to take to the fresh air on Friday night to protest. The same worker who has to go to work in a hypermarket every day, where she is in contact with hundreds of customers, is not allowed to protest with members of her household on Friday night, even if she wears the same mask as at work, even if she stays away from people as at work.
It is clear that police harassment of people has nothing to do with caring for their health, but solely with the authorities ’fear of political action that is not under their control. The fact that people must unite for the sake of work, and at the same time not unite for the sake of a policy critical of the government, confirms that the first loyalty of this government also applies to capital.
The abuse of power understandably and justifiably breeds resistance, which, as long as it remains an authentic expression of the rejection of authoritarian dictate, can jeopardize the plans of even the most aggressive and greedy clique in power. The latter therefore needs a smoke screen to carry out its company takeover project, behind which it can hide its real interests and moves. This curtain is woven from fear, anxiety, hatred, unverifiable information, contradictory measures, an obvious discrepancy between goals and methods. At the time of an epidemic, this also means destroying the possibility for a reasonable discussion of the levels of both threat and protection against the virus. In order for the curtain to be as thick as possible, it needs both subordinate media and media that are their mirror image and subordinate to the parliamentary opposition. Universal suspicion, insight, fear, and insecurity individualize people, separate them from each other, and block the possibility of shared reflection and engagement. Alienated from each other, people are easy prey for charlatans with manipulations, fake news, hit-piece propaganda media trumpets, hostile propaganda and conspiracy theories from the hands of people who indulge in patriotic folklore, despise science and, in ideal symbiosis with the government, aggressively approach their government gospels.
Resistance to an authoritarian state and poverty is the most basic expression of humanity. The wave of protests that has been going on in Slovenia for months is completely understandable and justified. At this point, responsibility for oneself and for others means not only frequent wearing of a mask and disinfection of hands, but also rejection of the regime of cowardice. The reason for the authorities’ aggressive response to the protests in the spring and now lies not in the fear of the epidemic spreading, but in the government’s desire to maintain the social status quo, a system of global capitalism that produces misery, conflict, war and poverty everywhere. If the elites want to maintain their power over the people, they must pursue an increasingly authoritarian policy everywhere, and here Slovenia and its local great leader are nothing special. Similar processes have progressed much more in much larger and more important countries for capitalism, such as the United States, Brazil, France, as well as Chile, Russia, Greece, Belarus, Hungary, and many others.
The struggle of people around the world to respect their most basic needs and dignity also encourages many opportunists who want to build their comfortable political careers on the shoulders of those who risk the most. Here, too, the parliamentary opposition is trying to use the protest movement to return to power, which it misses so much. But no one should have illusions: although she may have a more beautiful face for someone, the fundamental orientation of the new government will also mean continuity with the current government. It can be expected to continue with the regime of militarization and closure, the accelerated destruction of nature and the environment, the reduction of access to health care, and subordination to the centers of capital power.
As part of the oppressed, persecuted, erased and exploited around the world, we have no illusions. The coronavirus epidemic will continue for some time to come. With or without it, the attack on nature, the environment and people will continue for some time to come. With or without it, the attack on workers’ rights and the socially disadvantaged will continue for some time to come. With or without it, racist border regimes, wars, and war profiteering will continue for some time to come. And yet, in spite of everything, we must preserve our dignity, preserve our voice and with it the opportunity to build an alternative to this system of destruction and death. We cannot build the future on our own, locked in arbitrarily delineated state borders, burdened with identity baggage and by transferring responsibility and authority for our lives to this or that representative of what destroys us through elections. For us, a future worth fighting for is one that is multifaceted, knows no boundaries, patriarchy and exploitation. There is room in it for everyone except those who want to impose their destructive and monolithic visions on others.
No government and no police have the right to determine the way we will be heard. Any government that nevertheless takes this right and enforces it with violence is a dictatorship. And that’s whether we’re as a society in the middle of a war, a pandemic, a natural disaster, or another emergency. And resistance to any dictatorship is justified.
We will be here, even when the current political figures are long gone. Therefore, let us be prudent, determined and understanding even in the turbulent times in which history has placed us. Many people will not go to the next protest because the data on the spread of the epidemic is filled with concern. Others will miss him because they can afford neither financial punishment nor other forms of police harassment. Third parties will go to the protest with concerns about whether this is the right move or not. Many will go to the protest despite their concerns precisely because the government is asking them not to go.
All these different decisions need to be understood and made. Whatever one chooses as an individual, as a group or a collective. There is not just one prescribed way of behaving responsibly. Anyone who goes to the protest should take care of both protection against the virus and the police. Both for themselves and for others. He should take responsibility for his behavior, not transfer it to the alleged leaders or organizers, no matter how loud they are. Whoever does not go to the protest should find other ways to support legitimate urgent efforts to stop the authoritarian wave. Either alone or in a small group. In their community, village, if only elsewhere than on the internet. This will not end so quickly, and we will have to learn to be as elusive as water and repulsive as a thorn in the fifth power. Let’s not wait, let’s get started now! Graffiti, posters, stickers, agitation at work and at home, solidarity groups against repression, financial and psychological assistance, visits to the elderly, strike and sabotage. Every act of this kind of rebellion is a step to preserve humanity, love, passion, camaraderie, and the best guarantor to stop the agents of division and death.
In the coming days and months, solidarity will be the central word. With the sick, with the fired, with the homeless, with the targets of repression, with the imprisoned. Let us not agree to repression, silence, curfew and other autocratic measures under the pretext of urgent measures to control the epidemic, which merely consolidate the power of capital and increase control over the people. Let us also be innovative in finding ways we can be together in times when we are entrusted with individualism. Any authoritarian government hates the autonomous and free collective initiative the most, which annoys its representatives. If a handful of us resist one day a week, we are annoying but manageable. However, if our disobedience finds diverse ways of occupying the streets, organizing in the workplace, in schools, and behind the walls of institutions, then it can create such a social force that the authorities will no longer be able to ignore it. If it appears once during the day and ignites a second time at night, if it changes its appearance, face and shape, then even the armed forces to our teeth will not come to life.
We do not intend to 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 a harbinger of a new society!
Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana
15 of Oct 2020
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