Thursday, November 13, 2008

While November 11 is Remembrance Day here in the British Commonwealth in Poland it is celebrated as Polish Independence Day. The joint was jumping in the Polish capital Warsaw as the local anarchists held a "counterball" to the official celebrations and confronted neo-fascists who attempted to stage a march. Here are the stories from the Centrum Informacji Anarchistcznej, a Polish anarchist news service.
Anarchist Counterball:
The anarchists' "people's ball" was held yesterday in Warsaw.
Nov.11, was Polish Independence Day. As the country becomes sick with more and more patriotism, the patriotic holidays are becoming more and more grandiose and grotesque. This holiday, the 90th anniversary of Polish independence, saw huge military parades, dozens of patriotic demonstrations and a presidential ball.

At a time when the government is preaching austerity to the people, when thousands of people are striking for better pay, when the government is attacking the health care and education systems, when early pensions and other benefits for working people are being done away with, and we are being told "we cannot afford this", the state wastes millions on shows of patriotism and attempts to show off its military might and present itself as a regional superpower. While millions suffer from lack of basic services, the president decided to throw a gala ball.

Presidents from the Visegrad countries, the Baltics, Balkans, Ukraine and Georgia came, as did high-ranking officials from other "aspiring" countries like Turkey. In short, the "B-list" countries are networking. Angela Merkel arrived for official ceremonies in the morning but did not stay for the ball, which featured all the typical luxuries, dashed with amazing Polish ultra-kitsch such as the strange chorale group Zakopower. (All we can say is the ball's 800 disgusting guests certainly deserved the torturous concert.) While the Presidents, the rich, powerful and elite were whining and dining, the anarchists decided to hold a counter ball - a people's ball.

Anarchists protested the arrogance of the politicians and their use of tax money, which was typical of the relation between those in power and those without. One of the many themes of the ball was the warning "Capitalism is sinking, enjoy your last dance" sent to the participants of the ball. Posters with the warning in many languages were put around the city.

Many would-be participants, who had taken part in an antifascist action were either blockaded by the police or waiting for people blockaded by the police. The ball was then attended mostly by people outside the movement, who danced to the DJs or samba band, watched fire shows, got a warm meal, anarchists leaflets and newspapers. Afterwards, people tried to move on to the official ball, but were stopped by the police. Some people went there anyway only to find that the anarchist ball, which was only a couple of hours long, had actually outlived the presidential ball. (Our guess is that people ran away after Zakopower.)

As a political protest, maybe the ball was a bit weak, but it was not a bad street party, made by the people, for the people and at a cost of a few thousand times less than the president's ball.
Some photos of the ball are here:


On 11 November the extreme right group National Radical Camp (ONR) made a demonstration in the streets of Warsaw during the patriotic holiday. ONR is an antisemitic fascist group, which celebrates the pogrom in Myslenic like a national holiday, extreme nationalist and with contacts with other neonazi groups. ONR makes many demonstrations. They planned a large demonstration on 11 November in Warsaw. Antifascists decided to organize a blockade.

The crowd of antifascists was not very big because they divided into two groups: the antifascists who wanted to make hard action and antifascists who want to make public civil disobedience. These last decided to blockade the street of the fascist march.

About 150 people went on the blockade. It was half as many as the marching ONR. More antifascists patrolled the area. The antifascists jumped into the street with banners: NO PASARAN and WARSAW FREE OF FASCISTS. The atmosphere was very hot. Many police arrived to block the antifascists. There was a helicopter, a big water gun and many more police equipment . Police blocked antifascists and other people for three hours. The fascists had to stop their march, but then police protected them, escorting them on a different route. Some people of Warsaw yelled to police to let antifascists go and even some joined the blockade.

Nobody was arrested on action but police wrote the ID of everybody surrounded by cordon, so it is possible there can be court case in the future for participants.
Photos Wideo

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