Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Art (Ljubljana)

29 November 2012 – 10 February 2013

Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Maistrova 3, Ljubljana
Press conference: Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11 a.m.
Opening: Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8 p.m

Mounira Al Solh & Bassam Ramlawi, Halil Altindere, Rossella Biscotti, Chto Delat, Every Man is a Curator / Jeder Mensch ist ein Kurator. An archive as a tool, Fokus grupa (Iva Kovač & Elvis Krstulović), Siniša Ilić, Sanja Iveković, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Lutz Krüger, Marina Naprushkina, Hila Peleg in collaboration with Tirdad Zolghadr & Anton Vidokle, Cesare Pietroiusti, Public Library (Luka Prinčič, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Vuk Ćosić), Greg Sholette, Mladen Stilinović, Wendelien Van Oldenborgh

Curated by What, How and for Whom/WHW

“Dear art,” Mladen Stilinović wrote in 1999, “I am writing you a love letter to cheer you up and encourage you to come and visit me some time”. Always acutely aware of his own complicity and involvement, in his address to art Stilinović intimates a set of troubled, poetic, enigmatic and modest observations on the standing of art in the contemporary world, its reception and distribution. But he also questions the value of art, which far too often is translated exclusively in monetary terms, or as he puts it: “quick manipulation, quick money, quick oblivion”.

As in several previous shows curated by WHW, “Dear Art” takes its title from a work by Mladen Stilinović, and once again its wager is set on the “classical” exhibition format. Amidst the disillusionment created by the persistent feeling of failure (coming from the fact that attempts for a radical reconfiguration of art and cultural production in general always become almost immediately spectacularized), “Dear Art” insists on the obstinate repetition of what has become the curatorial method. Obsessed with the interconnectedness of art and politics and plagued by the nature of art’s “inefficiency,” it attempts to ask necessary questions: Why do we still need art, and what is it that we expect to get from art today? What is its promise, and what do we promise it in return? And what happens when this promise is broken, betrayed, and just plain exhausted?

“Dear Art” approaches questions of the artist’s autonomy and art’s necessity through works that deliberately blur the relationship between engagement, self-referentiality and aesthetics. Engaged with a range of contradictory, heterogeneous methods that affirm endurance, endure indecisiveness, face misunderstandings and reassert allegiances, the works included address the ways in which misunderstanding, confusion, regret, possession, appreciation and devaluation, support and solidarity play out in contemporary art practice, and in defining one’s practice in relation to discussions on reconfiguring the field of art and its relationship to the political.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, with texts by Mladen Stilinović, WHW and Stephen Wright, which is available for download in the attachment bellow.

The project is supported by:
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Slovenia
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport – City of Zagreb
Ministry of Culture of Croatia
ERSTE Foundation


Written by  Ioana Burtea

Slavoj Zizek’s new film, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (official website), is meant to be a wake-up call, not a propaganda film. While most things we see on the big screens are idealised, romanticised, stereotypical versions of reality (and especially of morality), the "big problems" eat away at us because public opinion avoids tackling them. This is especially true for Eastern Europe, where years of dictatorial regimes taught the population to not ask too many questions and less than 25 years of democracy haven’t yet produced a particularly opinionated generation. In several short scenes, Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher, film-maker and the protagonist of the movie, uses examples from film, music, history and current events to discuss various ideologies.

One of the fascinating points Zizek makes in the film is how the financial crisis became a source of violent outbursts and protest movements across Europe. He believes Europe no longer faces "an accident", something that can be fixed, but rather is undergoing a structural phenomenon. Crisis has become a way of life, with the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer until the poor act out. What these protests lack, though he says, is a coherent agenda. Putting it this way, most of the manifestations of protest in Europe, including the Eastern countries, have been nothing but rage episodes or wannabe-copies of what a public manifestation should look like. 

Slavoj Zizek's film is proof of a larger phenomenon - a modern version of communism becoming fashionable.

And Zizek may have a point. In May 2010, one of the biggest Romanian protests of the past decade took place in Bucharest. Over 30,000 people protested against the Emil Boc government and the austerity measures he had implemented. Far from touching on any violent frustration, the protest turned into what will be remembered as one of the largest-scale dance parties in Eastern Europe. People performed carefully synchronised choreographies on a well-known Romanian party-classic: the Penguin Dance. It’s on YouTube. And thus the grand reason why everyone gathered was forgotten. As Zizek would say, it started out from a spirit of revolt, but wasn’t followed by an actual revolution.


It is impossible to watch The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology without stumbling upon the fact that Zizek is a self-confessed communist with a declared interest in Lenin. What people need, he argues, is "a strong body able to reach quick decisions and to implement them with all necessary harshness". He believes the socialism implemented in Eastern Europe went terribly wrong and that Stalinism was a perverse torture inflicted upon citizens. However, he wonders why the emancipatory movement ended up so tragically and points out that an attempt at social change – even a leftist one – should not be thought to end in disaster.

Wherever you might fall in the political spectrum, Slavoj Zizek’s film is proof of a larger phenomenon – a modern version of communism that is becoming fashionable and targeting the young, cinema-consuming audiences. This re-emergence of leftism has been obvious in Europe since the beginning of the financial crisis and it is only growing stronger with the liberals’ failure to overcome it. We now have modern socialist parties that advocate free health care and the right to state pensions, promise stability in the job market, and oppose war and the expansion of NATO. Most importantly, they challenge the status quo of capitalism. It is the case with the main opposition party in Greece, Syriza, which in 2012 became the second largest group in the Greek Parliament. A much less radical version of this is the Romanian USL, the liberal-socialist coalition that won the local elections in June

Within this context it is even more crucial to distinguish between ideology and strategy – most of these parties are socialist only by name and televised speeches. The USL is not leftist, it is nothing. It is a bunch of people taking advantage of a void in the political landscape – namely a serious alternative to the capitalist waste Slavoj Zizek criticises. In the long run, people will always end up regretting having voted for them. The restless search for leftist solutions by young generations and mavericks like Slavoj Zizek is a sign that neither of these parties have filled or will ever fill that void.

The restless search for leftist solutions... is a sign that neither of these parties have filled or will ever fill the void.


Having leftist views is still a delicate subject in Eastern Europe, especially for youngsters – people don’t say it loudly, they only share their opinions in the voting booth. Politically correct society usually perceives such people as those who learned nothing from the past and it is slow in drawing a line between historical communism and modern leftism. This is another reason why Slavoj Zizek has become extremely popular – he has always been outspoken about his beliefs, even ostentatious.

Eastern Europe hasn’t forgotten its past. But more and more people want a leftist approach in running their countries and bringing the economy to life. They want a different approach, something that has nothing in common with Leninism or life under Nicolae Ceaușescu. Wanting a liberal left capable of producing solutions in a time when democratic capitalism is failing is not unreasonable. It just takes a bit of courage – and escaping ideology, says Zizek – to admit it.

In his new movie, Slavoj Zizek takes that courage and multiplies it by a million. He talks about adopting leftism with passion and naturalness. He adds some of the most iconic films and cultural trends of the past century to this mix and invokes a myriad of arguments for his positions. Some are logical and reasonable, others provocative, and some are difficult to imagine – like releasing oneself from all ideologies, living uninfluenced by anything.


At its heart then, Zizek proposes that we should constantly question our past and our present, as well as how we imagine our future. He puts communism back on the table and invites us to think about it once more, from a different point of view, with new information at hand. He encourages us to demand a real change in the social and economic order and go beyond the capitalism we’ve come to accept.

Putting aside his efforts to turn us into little Leninists, Zizek's film lets us admit that we’re disappointed with our leaders, our political options and our world. So, let’s get our hands out of our pockets and admit that we need to re-examine our options – maybe create new ones. Let’s look at everything.

from a review of Sophie Fiennes’s The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

excerpt of film review by Yosef Brody

A truly unique personality, Žižek provides piercing social criticism by examining, in what is perhaps the most effective and entertaining way possible, the social and psychological meanings concealed within popular culture and mundane consumer objects. His main thesis is that ideology in its most powerful form is hidden from the view of the person who submits to it. Once it can be clearly perceived it effectively loses its power of social control; obversely, to believe oneself to be non-ideological is actually equivalent to being driven primarily by ideology.

No matter which orthodoxy we may live under, Žižek explains, we usually enjoy our ideology, and that is part of its function. Paradoxically, it hurts to step outside of it and examine it critically; by default we tend to resist seeing the world from any angle other than the one fed to us.

Žižek's many examples are pleasurable in themselves, whether you agree with his analysis or not. Take Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Žižek sees this piece of music, at least the first part of it, as presenting the quintessence of an ideological frame, a structural template. He shows how this composition has been used as an anthem by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao's China, South Rhodesia under colonial control, far left Peruvian guerilla forces, a pre-unified Germany when East and West participated in the Olympics as one nation in 1988, and the contemporary European Union. Ode to Joy provides an attractive but completely empty container that is devoid of all meaning, one that can be filled with any ideas whatsoever. The clichéd emotional image it provides effectively works to seduce and neutralize individuals, blinding them to their own reality.

Moving on from Beethoven we take a long, winding tour through cinema, traveling with Žižek through uncompromising socio-psychoanalytic analyses of A Clockwork Orange, West Side Story, Titanic, Jaws, Cabaret, Brazil, Full Metal Jacket, The Sound of Music, The Dark Knight, and many others. Watching key sequences from each, we enter the mind of Žižek, who sometimes appears inside set reconstructions of the films he is analyzing as he is analyzing them, a hilarious gimmick used to excellent effect (and one first used in Fiennes' lesser The Pervert's Guide to Cinemafrom 2006). In one of the more memorable moments, he interprets the inner monologue of the Taxi Driver and its greater meaning while lying in Travis Bickle's grungy bed, Scorsese camera angle and all. This method, skillfully used by Fiennes, serves to underscore Žižek's main idea since, just like with Ode to Joy, we're confronted with a potent and seductive framework that can reliably accommodate various contents.

Interlaced with his often-priceless film analyses are worthy and helpful looks at recent events, including the Breivik massacre of young leftists in Norway, the London consumer riots, Tahrir Square, and Occupy Wall Street, as well as examinations of the role of fear in modern society, suicidal violence, obscenity in the military, misguided fantasies about saving resistant women from victimhood, official lies as forms of social control, the psychoanalytic differences between Judaism and Christianity and the urgent need for all of us to take responsibility for our dreams. If this seems like a lot, it is, but it also all fits together quite beautifully in a lightening-quick 134 minutes. And if you watch through the end of the credits you'll be rewarded with a gem of a moment, a radical reimagining of an iconic film that effectively brings together his primary points.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Russia: Reading Aloud in Public Is Illegal

Russia: Reading Aloud in Public Is Illegal (Protest against the Torture of Russian Prisoners)

On November 26, a protest against the torture of Russian prisoners took place outside the headquarters of the Federal Penitentiary Service in Moscow. The protest was occasioned by the conflict in penal colony № 6 in Kopeisk. Police detained more than ten people during the protest.

This is how the protest was announced on Facebook:
On November 26 at 6:00 p.m, a protest against torture in Russian prisons will take place outside the headquarters of the Federal Penitentiary Service at Zhitnaya 14.
We protest against torture in Russian prisons and support the inmates in Kopeisk, who spoke out against bullying, extortion and sexual abuse. During the protest, we will be reading prisoners’ stories of torture and humiliation aloud. We are convinced that the public should be aware of what is actually going on in Russian prisons. And not just be aware, but try and stop this nightmare.

At penal colony no. 6 in Kopeisk in the Chelyabinsk region, more than a thousand prisoners have for several days refused to go inside in protest against torture and beatings. Silently, lined up, they stand in the cold for several hours. They refuse to eat, believing that it is better to die than to continue to suffer torture, humiliation and blackmail.

A group of convicts seized the guard tower in the industrial area of the colony and hung up a banner with the message “People, help us!” Riot police were deployed to the colony; they attacked prisoners’ relatives who had gathered outside the prison gates. People were beaten bloody and the windows of their cars were smashed. Among the victims was human rights activist Oksana Trufanova. “I heard [the command] ‘Beat!’ and the relatives were attacked by men in black masks and uniforms wielding clubs,” she said in an interview. “Everyone fled, but [the riot police] ran many people down. Personally, I was hit on the head and pushed to the ground. I told them I was a human rights activist, but they told me rudely, using obscene language, to keep quiet or I’d get another whacking.”

Even now the authorities are trying to convince us that nothing has happened, and that journalists have exaggerated the scale of the protests. That is why it is so important not to let them hush up this outrage.We demand:

-  An objective investigation of all allegations of torture and extortion in the colony, and an open trial of Federal Penitentiary Service employees implicated in them.

- The punishment of Interior Ministry officers who employed violence against family members and human rights activists gathered outside colony no. 6.

Olga Belousova, the sister of one of the inmates, was allowed inside Penal Colony No. 6 along with two other relatives. As a witness, she was able to speak to the press about the situation there.

“There were 60 people in the room; all were standing quietly,” Belousova said. “I told them that we support them and came to make sure that everything is fine, and that we want to make their voices heard outside the colony.”

The complaints, which were mainly communicated by the prisoners, include enormous extortions, inappropriate use of force and numerous other humiliations, Belousova says.
“They don’t touch those who give them money, but against those who can’t they use force to make their relatives pay,” she added.

Former convict Mikhail Ermuraky believes that this system of exploitation was a main reason for the riot.  

His mother said her son was tortured multiple times, sometimes even including with sexual abuse.

“They start beating those who don’t want to pay,” said Ermuraky in a recent interview with the RIA Novosti news agency.

The father of another convict, who spent three months in colony No.6, told Russia’s Dozhd television that he has twice paid off prison staff.

“Every month… If you don’t bring money, there will be problems,” a man who wasn’t named told Dozhd.

Payments in prison are typically euphemized as “voluntary contributions.” Local human rights ombudsman Aleksey Sevastianov has noted complaints from relatives that such “contributions” can sometimes reach up to 200,000 rubles – more than $6,400. For comparison, the average Russian’s annual income is just over $10,000.

For convicts, such sums are impossible to pay – roughly half the prisoners in the colony are not employed. Those who do have jobs in the prison are paid extremely little – less than 100 rubles, or just over $2, per month. Such a wage is not enough even to buy food in a convenience store in the territory, where prices are said to be higher than in the town.
The head of the detention facility met with inmates’ relatives after the uprising, assuring them that he is willing to abolish “the system of contributions.” However, relatives now fear that this change could bring retaliation from the prison staff.

When asked if such a system could be considered as criminal corruption, human rights ombudsman Sevastianov agreed that it is illegal, and should be investigated.

He explained that with the scheme working in the facility, relatives wire money to a bank account given by the colony’s administration. Thus, for example, millions of rubles sent by convicts’ families were spent to build a new church on the territory.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Protest at Russian Embassy, London (Thursday, November 29)

Protest at Russian embassy – defend democracy activists

Free Russian democracy activists!

Free all members of Pussy Riot!

End the Repression!

London Protest:  Thursday 29 November, 6pm, opposite Russian Embassy, north side of Bayswater Road, corner of Ossington St  (Notting Hill Gate or Queensway tubes.

Download the flyer here and sign up on Facebook.

Supported by Andrew Burgin, Ken Loach, John McDonnell MP, Derek Wall, Anticapitalist Initiative, Independent Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance

‘The continued oppressive treatment of dissidents makes a mockery of the pretence that Putin’s Russia is a tolerant and democratic country. I support the call for the immediate release of those imprisoned for political engagement. The true patriots are those who fight to end injustice and oppression in their homeland’.
—Ken Loach

What Goes On When Nothing Goes On?

Slavoj Žižek: 'What Goes On When Nothing Goes On?'
By Slavoj Žižek / 23 November 2012

So should the Palestinians stand idly while the West Bank land is taken from them day by day? When Israeli peace-loving liberals present their conflict with Palestinians in neutral “symmetrical” terms, admitting that there are extremists on both sides who reject peace, and so on, one should ask a simple question: What goes on in the Middle East when nothing goes on there at the direct politico-military level (i.e. when there are no tensions, attacks, negotiations)? What goes on is the incessant slow work of taking the land from the Palestinians in the West Bank: the gradual strangling of the Palestinian economy, the parceling of their land, the building of new settlements, the pressure on Palestinian farmers to make them abandon their land (which goes from crop-burning and religious desecration up to individual killings), all this supported by a Kafkaesque network of legal regulations. Saree Makdisi, in Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, described how, although the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is ultimately enforced by the armed forces, it is an “occupation by bureaucracy”: its primary forms are application forms, title deeds, residency papers, and other permits. It is this micromanagement of daily life which does the job of securing the slow but steadfast Israeli expansion: one has to ask for a permit in order to leave with one’s family, to farm one’s own land, to dig a well, to go to work, to school, to a hospital ... One by one, Palestinians born in Jerusalem are thus stripped of the right to live there, prevented from earning a living, denied housing permits, and so on. Palestinians often use the problematic cliché of the Gaza Strip as “the greatest concentration camp in the world”— however, this designation has come dangerously close to truth. This is the fundamental reality which makes all abstract “prayers for peace” obscene and hypocritical. The State of Israel is clearly engaged in a slow, invisible process, ignored by the media, a kind of underground digging of the mole, so that, one day, the world will awaken and realize that there is no more Palestinian West Bank, that the land is Palestinian-frei, and that we can only accept the fact. The map of the Palestinian West Bank already looks like a fragmented archipelago.

At times, the State of Israel has tried to contain Israel’s excesses, as when the Supreme Court ordered the evacuation of some settlements in late 2008, when illegal West Bank settler attacks on Palestinian farmers had become a daily occurrence. But, as many observers noted then, these measures cannot but appear half-hearted, counteracting a politics which, at a deeper level, is the long-term politics of the State of Israel, which massively violates the international treaties signed by Israel itself. Netanyahu is proceeding full steam ahead with plans for new illegal settlements, despite widespread international condemnation. The reply of the illegal settlers to the Israeli authorities is basically: We are doing the same thing as you, just more openly, so what right do you have to condemn us? And the answer of the state is basically: Be patient, don’t rush too much; we are doing what you want, just in a more moderate and acceptable way. The same story seems to continue from 1949: while Israel accepts the peace conditions proposed by the international community, it calculates that the peace plan will not work. The wild settlers sometimes sound like Brünnhilde from the last act of Wagner’s
Die Walküre, reproaching Wotan that, by counteracting his explicit order and protecting Siegmund, she was only realizing Wotan’s own true desire, which he was forced to renounce under external pressure. In the same way, the illegal settlers only realize the state’s true desire that it was forced to renounce because of the pressure of the international community. While condemning the openly violent excesses of “illegal” settlements, the State of Israel promotes new “legal” West Bank settlements, continues to strangle the Palestinian economy, and so on. A look at the changing map of East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians are gradually being encircled and their space sliced up, says it all. The condemnation of non-state anti-Palestinian violence obfuscates the true problem of state violence; the condemnation of illegal settlements obfuscates the illegality of the legal ones. Therein resides the two-facedness of the much-praised non-biased “honesty” of the Israeli Supreme Court: by means of occasionally passing a judgment in favor of the dispossessed Palestinians, proclaiming their eviction illegal, it guarantees the legality of the remaining majority of cases.

And—to avoid any kind of misunderstanding—taking all this into account in no way implies any “understanding” for inexcusable terrorist acts. On the contrary, it provides the only ground from which one can condemn the terrorist attacks without hypocrisy.

[In this extract from The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, Slavoj Žižek inspects the stark reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. As the world takes notice when missiles are fired, no liberal defence can excuse the actuality of the situation—that the Palestinians will not stand idly by while more and more of the West Bank is taken from them each day.]

Golden Dawn: Fascists Feeding on Greece’s Misery

November, 2012

The Greek economy is in a depression. The austerity measures demanded by the troika have made it worse. Nationally one in four Greeks are out of work. Those with jobs fair little better: Greek bosses are determined to trash conditions and drive down pay.

Greek workers are not just passive victims—they have been fighting every step of the way. Greece has been rocked by massive general strikes, rallies, and occupations. The crisis may be deepest in Greece, but the resistance is fiercest.

But progressive struggle is only one of two twins that are born in crisis. Reaction, too, has reared its head in Greece. Amid deprivation and social decay, fascism has found new momentum.

In the June elections the Nazi party Golden Dawn won eighteen seats and 7 per cent of the vote. In a poll published in November they are now the third most popular party. Their electoral rise has been rapid—in 2011 Golden Dawn polled at less than 1 per cent of the national vote.

Officially, Golden Dawn presents itself as “nationalist”, rather than fascist. But it puts little effort into maintaining this illusion: their banner resembles a swastika; they make Nazi salutes at meetings and rallies; and their leader—Nikolaos Mihaloliakos—praises Hitler and denies the Holocaust.

Canadian Greeks Disavow Golden Dawn Extremists

By Christina Flora on October 20, 2012 In Politics

Greeks living in living in Montreal say they are worried and disturbed by the recent appearance of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Canada, shortly after it opened an office in New York as part of a plan to reach out to the Diaspora for support for its racist, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-bailout, ultra-religious agenda.

Nicholas Pagonis, President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, made his opinion clear: “Golden Dawn is a neo-Nazi party,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a racist party. It’s anti-immigrant and (the party in Greece) has adopted violence as part of their activities.”

He said that his organization, which runs Greek educational, religious and charitable institutions across Montreal, will be reserving a special part of next week’s meeting to discuss the city’s chapter of Golden Dawn.”Golden Dawn has no place here,” he said.

At the same time The American Hellenic Progressive Association (AHEPA) disavowed Golden Dawn’s appearance in Canada. “Fascism has no place in Canada, where people including Greeks fight against violence and Fascism during Second World War,” it stated. AHEPA was founded 90 years ago to protect people from rascist actions and conflicts caused by the racist Ku Klux Klan in the U.S.

Golden Dawn takes advantage of recession ravaged Greece

Fascist gangs are turning Athens into a city of shifting front lines, seizing on crimes and local protests to promote their own movement, by claiming to be the defenders of recession ravaged Greece.

The undisguised extremism promoted by Golden Dawn is a chilling watershed in Greece's post-war democracy 

By Damien McElroy, Athens

7:00PM GMT 02 Nov 2012

Thugs wearing the black T-shirts of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party are carrying out attacks on immigrant markets and in public squares, according to the United Nations, with victims speaking of areas in the capital which are now strictly off limits.

Malik Abdulbasset, an Egyptian-born shopkeeper, found himself the target of one of the mobs on Wednesday night after the barber across the road was stabbed during a robbery.
Golden Dawn members led a crowd of enraged locals in a protest on Mikhail Voda St that turned violent despite the presence of riot police.

While no one witnessed the attack on the barber, residents were adamant the assailant was black.

After battering his Egyptian assistant, the mob turned on Mr Abdulbasset, who had defied police to keep his shop open.

"I had to turn and point to my Greek children and my Greek wife and say, look I am Greek, we are Greek, if you want to kill us we cannot stop you but you are killing your own."

The riot police watched on but did not intervene and threats of more protests were pasted on nearby doors.

"I will not close my shop because it is not my fault. But at the same time if something was to happen to my shop I will leave Greece because I am not protected."

Ilias Panagiotaris, an MP for Golden Dawn, and a leading party figure in Athens, was unapologetic about his group's methods.

"Most nations, well, not the US or Australia, have a single nationality that defines its culture and Greece must return to this ideal," he said. "The Golden Dawn is a very well organised party that is intervening to support and help people. Without us in a country
where two million of ten million people are illegal, there would be chaos."

Support for his party has doubled from the seven per cent it received in the last Greek election, according to an opinion poll this week.

One of its main claims is it would dragoon immigrants on to flights to Islamabad and dare Pakistan to shoot the aircraft down.

Mr Panagiotaris added the 'papers' of every Greek who had acquired citizenship would be thoroughly vetted. "Everyone should have their documents inspected and those that bought their papers expelled."

The undisguised extremism promoted by Golden Dawn is a chilling watershed in Greece's post-war democracy.

Dimitra Xirou, the mother of Argyris Argyropoulos, the stabbed barber, seethed with anger at the nearby hospital, while holding vigil for her son.

The 43-year-old Mr Argyropoulos, came within an millimetre of death when he was robbed for just 10 euros, with the knife just missing his heart.

"It is us who have no one to protect us," Mrs Xirou said. "We are hungry, we have no jobs, there is crime everywhere.

"It used to be one of the best districts of Athens and now it is slum that we can't escape because the Pakistanis all come here when they arrive in Athens."

While the attacks have not specifically been backed by the powerful Orthodox Church, some priests have reportedly been involved in the protests.

Metropolitan Omyotis Moiysides, the local priest in Mrs Xirou’s Panteleiomon district, said the crime wave sweeping Athens as the economy disintegrated was forcing residents to fight back.

“I understand why the people are crying for help. I was pulled from my car and robbed,” he said. “The police do not come and stop these crimes, so the people have to defend themselves.”

Greek heroes fight fascist and police thugs

October 10, 2012


On Sunday (30th) night anti-fascists clashed with police during an anti-fascist patrol which resulted in 15 people injured and 23 arrested.

Around 9pm the easy riders crossed paths with far-right members of Golden Dawn in the Athens neighbourhood of Agios Pantalaimonos. Unsurprisingly a heated political debate ensued with two fascists requiring hospital treatment as their oratory skills were found lacking. The Greek mainstream media reports residents being present during the incident and one local producing a gun but not using it. Afterwards the anti-fascist motor division was followed and ambushed by Greek police motorcycle units.

On Monday (2nd) an anti-fascist demonstration was called for outside the courthouse. Around 300 people attended the solidarity demo. As the anti-fascists exited the courthouse to be escorted back to the police vehicles and driven to the cells the police attacked the demo dispersing those gathered to the nearby streets. This led to another 20 people being detained with four arrests who were promptly taken to court next day.

Fifteen anti-fascist protesters arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have said they were tortured in the Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) – the Athens equivalent of Scotland Yard – and subjected to what their lawyer describes as an Abu Ghraib-style humiliation.

Members of a second group of 25 who were arrested after demonstrating in support of their fellow anti-fascists the next day said they were beaten and made to strip naked and bend over in front of officers and other protesters inside the same police station.

There were several reports posted on Athens Indymedia of anti-fascist patrols burning rubber on Athenian streets. These patrols have mirrored the increase in racist attacks in Athens and across Greece in general. Last week a Tanzanian community centre was attacked by members of Golden Dawn who damaged the building and shops in the area belonging to non-Greek citizens. In a separate attack two people were assaulted with knives after attending an anti-fascist demo, both needing hospital treatment.

Earlier during September racist factions stormed foreign stall holders at open air markets. The fascists destroyed their stalls and filmed the event as they were doing it. As if to dispel any doubts of the links between far-right groups and police in Greece on one of these occasions a police man was caught on camera joining in during the attack on the stall holders. The 44 year old officer (whose name has been withheld by the justice system) was playing personal body guard to Golden Dawn MP, Kostas Barbarousis. The officer took an active rôle in the attack. He has been suspended and is facing dismissal from the police force.

In the words of one local anti-fascist, “People are getting organised, the police and the fascists here are the same. We need to protect ourselves and others from racist attacks. If we don’t, who will?”

Greek anti-fascist protesters tortured by police

Greek anti-fascist protesters 'tortured by police' after Golden Dawn clash

Fifteen people arrested in Athens says they were subjected to what their lawyer describes as an Abu Ghraib-style humiliation

Fifteen anti-fascist protesters arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have said they were tortured in the Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) – the Athens equivalent of Scotland Yard – and subjected to what their lawyer describes as an Abu Ghraib-style humiliation.

Members of a second group of 25 who were arrested after demonstrating in support of their fellow anti-fascists the next day said they were beaten and made to strip naked and bend over in front of officers and other protesters inside the same police station.

Several of the protesters arrested after the first demonstration on Sunday 30 September told the Guardian they were slapped and hit by a police officer while five or six others watched, were spat on and "used as ashtrays" because they "stank", and were kept awake all night with torches and lasers being shone in their eyes.

Some said they were burned on the arms with a cigarette lighter, and they said police officers videoed them on their mobile phones and threatened to post the pictures on the internet and give their home addresses to Golden Dawn, which has a track record of political violence.

Golden Dawn's popularity has surged since the June election, when it won 18 seats in parliament; it recently came third in several opinion polls, behind the conservative New Democracy and the leftwing party Syriza.

Last month the Guardian reported that victims of crime have been told by police officers to seek help from Golden Dawn, who then felt obliged to make donations to the group.
One of the two women among them said the officers used crude sexual insults and pulled her head back by the hair when she tried to avoid being filmed. The protesters said they were denied drinking water and access to lawyers for 19 hours. "We were so thirsty we drank water from the toilets," she said.

One man with a bleeding head wound and a broken arm that he said had been sustained during his arrest alleged the police continued to beat him in GADA and refused him medical treatment until the next morning. Another said the police forced his legs apart and kicked him in the testicles during the arrest.

"They spat on me and said we would die like our grandfathers in the civil war," he said.

A third said he was hit on the spine with a Taser as he tried to run away; the burn mark is still visible. "It's like an electric shock," he said. "My legs were paralysed for a few minutes and I fell. They handcuffed me behind my back and started hitting and kicking me in the ribs and the head. Then they told me to stand up, but I couldn't, so they pulled me up by the chain while standing on my shin. They kept kicking and punching me for five blocks to the patrol car."

The protesters asked that their names not be published, for fear of reprisals from the police or Golden Dawn.

A second group of protesters also said they were "tortured" at GADA. "We all had to go past an officer who made us strip naked in the corridor, bend over and open our back passage in front of everyone else who was there," one of them told the Guardian. "He did whatever he wanted with us – slapped us, hit us, told us not to look at him, not to sit cross-legged. Other officers who came by did nothing.

"All we could do was look at each other out of the corners of our eyes to give each other courage. He had us there for more than two hours. He would take phone calls on his mobile and say, 'I'm at work and I'm fucking them, I'm fucking them up well'. In the end only four of us were charged, with resisting arrest. It was a day out of the past, out of the colonels' junta."

In response to the allegations, Christos Manouras, press spokesman for the Hellenic police, said: "There was no use of force by police officers against anyone in GADA. The Greek police examine and investigate in depth every single report regarding the use of violence by police officers; if there are any responsibilities arising, the police take the imposed disciplinary action against the officers responsible. There is no doubt that the Greek police always respect human rights and don't use violence."

Sunday's protest was called after a Tanzanian community centre was vandalised by a group of 80-100 people in a central Athens neighbourhood near Aghios Panteleimon, a stronghold of Golden Dawn where there have been many violent attacks on immigrants.
According to protesters, about 150 people rode through the neighbourhood on motorcycles handing out leaflets. They said the front of the parade encountered two or three men in black Golden Dawn T-shirts, and a fight broke out. A large number of police immediately swooped on them from the surrounding streets.

According to Manouras: "During the motorcycle protest there were clashes between demonstrators and local residents. The police intervened to prevent the situation from deteriorating and restore public order. There might have been some minor injuries, during the clashes between residents, protesters and police."

Marina Daliani, a lawyer for one of the Athens 15, said they had been charged with "disturbing the peace with covered faces" (because they were wearing motorcycle helmets), and with grievous bodily harm against two people. But, she said, no evidence of such harm had so far been submitted. They have now been released on bail of €3,000 (£2,400) each.

According to Charis Ladis, a lawyer for another of the protesters, the sustained mistreatment of Greeks in police custody has been rare until this year: "This case shows that a page has been turned. Until now there was an assumption that someone who was arrested, even violently, would be safe in custody. But these young people have all said they lived through an interminable dark night.

Dimitris Katsaris, a lawyer for four of the protesters, said his clients had suffered Abu Ghraib-style humiliation, referring to the detention centre where Iraqi detainees were tortured by US soldiers during the Iraq war. "This is not just a case of police brutality of the kind you hear about now and then in every European country. This is happening daily. We have the pictures, we have the evidence of what happens to people getting arrested protesting against the rise of the neo-Nazi party in Greece. This is the new face of the police, with the collaboration of the justice system."

One of the arrested protesters, a quiet man in his 30s standing by himself, said:

"Journalists here don't report these things. You have to tell them what's happening here, in this country that suffered so much from Nazism. No one will pay attention unless you report these things abroad."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Greece: fighting back against the Golden Dawn fascists

Greece: fighting back against the Golden Dawn fascists

Nikos Loudos analyses what lies behind the rise of Golden Dawn, and how the movement against racism and austerity can stop it

The rise of Golden Dawn in Greece has caused shivers across Europe. It is an openly Nazi organisation that hails Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

Its members systematically murder and wound migrants. They throw petrol bombs at mosques and say that every woman’s place is at home.

Greece hasn’t become fascist, as some commentators are too easily concluding. But support for Golden Dawn is growing.

It entered the Greek parliament with almost 7 percent of the vote in elections this June. It grabbed around 425,000 votes and is the fifth biggest party in parliament. Opinion polls show that it could become the third party in the next parliament.

Economic crisis, austerity and cuts are the motor behind Golden Dawn’s surge. But its rise wasn’t automatic. The racism of the Greek ruling class and the mainstream parties has opened the way for the Nazis.

As the economic crisis has deepened, Greek governments have increasingly used racism as a weapon against social movements and the left.

The mainstream parties blame migrants for rising unemployment, crime and poor services. For them this is a way of deflecting attention from their own damaging policies.
After a rebellion in December 2008, sparked by the police murder of a school student, they ramped up the rhetoric. They blamed migrants and the left for instability in Greece.


The political by-product of this was the rise of the far right party Laos. It didn’t build up fascist street gangs, but several Nazis found refuge in it.

Greece’s mainstream parties dealt with the rise of Laos by putting even more racism at the centre of their politics. This didn’t undermine Laos—it legitimised racism even more.
But as Laos came under pressure to act as a serious political party, the open Nazis of Golden Dawn were able to present themselves as “the real thing”.

An important turning point came in late 2011. Laos joined the “technocrat” government of Lucas Papademos, under pressure from the ruling class. This was the government that tried to impose austerity after the Labour-type Pasok government of George Papandreou collapsed.

After that Laos disappeared electorally. This collapse of the official far right cleared the way for the rise of Golden Dawn.

The collapse of the mainstream parties is critical to understanding the electoral rise of the Nazis. Pasok used to take more than 40 percent of the vote in every election.

Last June it took 12 percent—and opinion polls predict that will fall to just 5.5 percent. The Tory-style New Democracy also got its lowest ever result in June.

Millions of people who had only ever voted for these two major parties were left floundering. The majority turned to the left, but the Nazis were also able to capitalise.


Their rise hasn’t simply been electoral. The Nazis had already organised a successful experiment on the streets.

On the square of Aghios Panteleimonas, downtown Athens, they had started organising through a “citizens committee”. This was nothing more than Nazis along with racists from the neighbourhood. Its aim was to “cleanse” the area of migrants.

The official anti-immigrant rhetoric encouraged them. Well before Golden Dawn became a parliamentary party, Pasok’s public order minister declared that he could start talks with it over dealing with illegal migrants.

It was well known that Golden Dawn was calling for the annihilation of migrants. It started organising pogroms, terrorising migrants and destroying their homes and shops. The media and the government presented this as a citizens’ action.

The government’s response was to provide more police. But many cops back Golden Dawn. One in two cops voted for the Nazis in June. Among riot police the number is even higher.

When anti-fascist demonstrators were arrested recently, they were tortured in the police headquarters. Police officers told them, “We are all Golden-Dawners now. You should know it.”

So pogroms began to be organised by police and Golden Dawn. Police arrested wounded migrants instead of the Nazi gangs.

Just last month police raided two migrants’ homes and arrested them. A quarter of an hour later, Nazis raided the empty homes to destroy and steal.

The government’s current response to all of this is to talk of “the extremes” and to try and demonise the left and workers.

They say that the left, by organising militant demonstrations, strikes and anti-racist action, is as much to blame for the violence as the Nazis.


Greece hasn’t become fascist. But the rise of Golden Dawn partly reflects the panic of the ruling class. It fears the growing resistance to, and workers’ strikes against, austerity.
The anti-fascist and anti-racist movement is now at the forefront of the struggle. The fight against austerity cannot be untangled from the fight against racism and the Nazis.

Golden Dawn has the official prestige of a parliamentary party and millions of euros in its coffers coming from the state. But it hasn’t been able to reproduce its Aghios Panteleimonas experiment.

Its MPs and cadre can’t go anywhere without the cover of the police. And trade unions, one by one, are voting to stop the fascists in their workplaces.

Tens of thousands of migrants and others joined an anti-racist demonstration in August. It proved that the anger is stronger than the fear.

The newly-organised Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat organised a successful event earlier this month to coordinate action across Greece.

The slogan, “Fascists, bankers, troika—all you scum work together” is chanted louder and louder during every strike. The stakes are high in Greece. The future will depend on whether we can get rid of the scum altogether.

A history of collaboration and resistance

The far right in Greece has a history of deep cooperation with the state. The Greek government collaborated with the Nazi forces that occupied Greece during the Second World War between 1940 and 1944.
It organised paramilitary forces known as the Security Battallions to suppress anti-Nazi resistance. Greek fascists joined Nazi troops in encircling working class neighbourhoods. They murdered Communists, Resistance fighters and their families en masse.

When the Resistance won, most fascists went into hiding. But they soon became useful to the state again. From 1946 to 1949 civil war raged in Greece. The Greek government army, backed by British and US troops, fought the Democratic Army of Greece, part of the Greek Communist Party.

Fascists became useful informers and torturers for the Greek state in cities and villages across the country. They were rebranded as “Greek patriots”. Some were even honoured as Resistance fighters.

The fascist networks were kept alive during the 1950s and existed on the periphery of the police. In 1958 there was a sudden electoral explosion for the left. Following this, fascists acted as infiltrators and agent provocateurs in the labour movement.

In 1963 police looked on while a fascist gang murdered an MP of the United Left, in which the Communist Party was active, during a rally.

A military dictatorship ran Greece between 1967 and 1974. It outlawed, imprisoned and exiled left wingers. The junta started to crumble after the Polytechnic Uprising in 1973.


After it collapsed the new labour and student unions campaigned for the cleaning of fascists from all institutions. The fascists were on the margins but they didn’t disappear.

Nikos Michaloliakos, the current leader of Golden Dawn, was convicted in the 1970s for assaults and involvement in putting bombs in a cinema. He had a very short stay in prison and became an informer for the secret services.

The fascists became more irrelevant during the 1980s and Golden Dawn reshaped itself into an openly Nazi organisation.

In the early 1990s the Greek government tried to impose neoliberal attacks. It began a racist campaign against migrants and a nationalist campaign against the Republic of Macedonia.

The government and the Orthodox church organised huge nationalist rallies. They mobilised hundreds of thousands with Greek flags.

The Nazis of Golden Dawn tried to rebrand themselves as “Greek Orthodox Nationalists”. They took part in the official rallies and started building branches in some schools.

But the campaign backfired and the government fell. The anti-racist movement won gains for migrants in the following year and blocked the fascists.

In 1998 the vice-leader of Golden Dawn, in charge of an armed gang, attacked and almost killed a student member of the Anticapitalist Left.

With its vice-leader hiding, Golden Dawn made several ineffective attempts to get out of the margins in the following years. In 2005 it even announced that it would suspend its own political activities altogether.

Yet the devastating economic crisis, combined with the racism of the state, has enabled it to make a comeback.

Ivan Khutorskoy

November 17th, 2009

A leading anti-fascist activist has been shot and killed in Moscow, according to reports
by Interfax on November 17.

Ivan Khutorskoy, 26, was found by neighbors in the entryway to his building on Khabarovskaya ulitsa on the evening of November 16.

Law enforcement agencies say they are investigating several possible motives for the killing, including connections to the victim’s anti-fascist activism.

According to the monitoring group Institute of Collective Action, Khutorskoy had been assaulted three times prior to his murder. In 2005 his head was slashed with a razor, he received multiple wounds around the neck from a screwdriver and was beaten with a baseball bat during a second incident, and in 2009 he was stabbed with a knife in the stomach during a street fight.

According to the website, Khutorskoy had recently been working as security for concerts put on by anti-fascist groups. Colleague Aleksei Grigoryev said in an interview on Svoboda radio that Khutorskoy had also frequently worked as security during the press conferences of the prominent human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who was murdered last January.

“In general, he was a visible figure for opponents; apparently this is why the fascists tried so persistently to liquidate him,” Grigoryev said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, another colleague told Reuters that Khutorskoy’s murder was likely political. “Ivan [Khutorskoy] knew Markelov. His murder was either revenge, or a challenge to the authorities following the arrests.”

A rise in nationalist sentiments in Russia has contributed to growing clashes between anti-fascist activists, ultranationalist neo-Nazi groups, and authorities in recent years. A coalition of ultranationalist groups distributed instructions on how to acquire firearms at a large rally held during Russia’s November 4 Unity Day celebrations, while another group held a concert featuring neo-Nazi performers.

The rise in fascist and ultranationalist extremism has additionally resulted in increased violence against dark-skinned migrant workers, as well as a number of recent murders. Stanislav Markelov, a high-profile lawyer known for his defense of anti-fascists and victims of human rights abuses, was shot dead in January in central Moscow. One suspect, a member of neo-Nazi organizations, was detained in early November and has admitted to the killing. In October 2008, anti-fascist leader Fyodor Filatov was killed after a fight between anti-fascists and ultranationalists in central Moscow in which four people were injured.

Armando “Ka Arman” Albarillo

Armando Albarillo: Mass leader, victim of fascism, people's martyr

Armando “Ka Arman” Albarillo was one of 11 Red fighters killed in a gunbattle with fascist soldiers of the US-Aquino regime on June 30 in San Narciso, Quezon. He was formerly the secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST).

It has been a decade since Ka Arman’s parents Expedito and Manuela were killed. The military had raided their house in Sitio Ibuye, Calsapa, San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro on April 8, 2002. His parents, who were both members of Bayan Muna were brutally murdered by fascist troops under then 204th Brigade chief Jovito Palparan Jr.
Orphaned, Arman and his younger sister Adeliza were given sanctuary by church and human rights groups.

It did not take long for Arman to join rallies where he assailed the Arroyo regime’s inaction not only on his parents’ murders but on the plight of many other victims of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and other forms of human rights violations. He became a good organizer of the masses and eventually rose to the position of BAYAN-ST secretary-general. He was loved and admired by the people and his co-workers for his militant style of leadership and his determination.

In early 2008, military agents offered him a huge sum of money in exchange for cooperating with the reactionary government. Ka Arman flatly refused the offer. He and his wife joined the New People’s Army when Arman’s name was included in a list of 72 mass leaders and activists of Southern Tagalog who were slapped with trumped-up criminal charges in 2008.

Ka Arman was killed at the age of 34 amid his continuing quest for justice for his parents and the oppressed and exploited Filipino people.

In Athens, murder of a young man from Bangladesh

In the early morning hours of the 10th May a theft ended up in the tragic murder of a come-to-be father in the centre of Athens. During the following hours of the day, the media started reporting about “three dark skinned suspects”, hence, initiating a propaganda which ended up in a manhunt by fascists of the extreme right group “golden dawn” on all migrants in the centre of the city. Around 16 o’clock 100 “inhabitants of the neighbourhood”, as the media said, protested against the violent death of the “Greek citizen”. Only some hours later central streets were closed by the police, the neighbourhood was patrolled by armed officers, while a group of 100 fascists attacked migrants and refugees at a central square, beating up many of them. A young men from Bangladesh was so violently stabbed 10 times that he died on the way to the hospital.

Fascism, White Nationalism in Ireland

Pro Life Pro Mass Murder? - arrested for protesting fascist on 'Rally for Life' march

Date: Mon, 2012-07-09

Saturday's Youth Defense march in Belfast saw a WSM member arrested for protesting the presence of Michael Quinn, the fascist who told the Sunday World that he would "he would have "no problem" with an Anders Breivik style-massacre" in Ireland. When Quinn was pointed out to stewards on the so called 'Rally for Life' they protected him and allowed him to continue on the march. On Sunday Youth Defence deleted posts of the picture of Quinn on the demonstration from their Facebook page and banned people who posted the picture or demanded to know why they had allowed Quinn to march. 

One woman described how "I posted up a picture of Micheal Quinn from the Belfast rally on the Youth Defence page. One person replied going something like 'that is a massive generalisation' and before I could reply, by posting up the youtube of his racist rant my post was removed and I was banned from posting on their page. They seem to be particularly sensitive about people revealing Quinn's presence as I had previously posted a link to the Danish survey on mental health and abortion which was not removed and is still rumbling away according to my alerts."

A member of Anti-Fascist Action Ireland, who has been following Michael Quinn's entry into far-right politics since 2010, posted the same image to the Youth Defence page and was also then banned. "I wanted to alert their supporters that long-term YD activist Michael Quinn is now a self-confessed and active White Nationalist and has been building links with Irish neo-Nazis, formerly of the group Celtic Wolves, and Greek fascists from Golden Dawn. For my trouble, my post was deleted and I was banned from the page."

Other people also contacted us to tell us their posts on the same topic had also been deleted from the page. So what are Youth Defence trying to hide and what does it tell of the real nature of the 'Rally for Life'?

Quinn's links with those around Youth Defence go back a long way. On July 11th 2000 the Independent described him as a member of Youth Defence after a court appearance with five other Youth Defence members. The others listed included Justin Barrett and Maurice Colgan. Barrett's link with the far right have already been broadly exposed in the mainstream press but AFA told us that "The former National Organiser of Youth Defence, Maurice Colgan, shared a flat with Anthony Barnes, lead singer of Dublin neo-Nazi bonehead band ‘Celtic Dawn”, in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Colgan was seen at least once, at a YD leafleting session, wearing a Celtic Dawn t-shirt. His friend Barnes was later convicted for assault, slicing a political opponents neck with a beer bottle."  (as reported in the Dublin Tribune, Nov 15 1990)  (Read more )

The Sunday World article revealed that "As the news of the sickening Norwegian terror attack broke last week, DRM chief Quinn (51) took to the web to broadcast his sickening support for the murders." The article then went on to point out that "Fascist Quinn ran for election in Dun Laoghaire in 1992 as an 'Independent pro-life' candidate but failed to gain popular support. He went on to become a supporter of Justin Barrett, the anti-Nice treaty campaigner disgraced over alleged links to European neo-nazis . Barrett and Quinn were arrested at a violent anti-abortion picket of a Dublin hospital in 1999 but the charges were later dropped." Another Sunday World article sub headed "Sick Irish thugs' recruitment drive with members of racist BNP group" published April 29 2012 revealed that Quinn had previously travelled to Belfast to meet with the far right British National Party and loyalists. 

There was also controversy over Quinn's presence on last years anti-choice march in Dublin - in short there is no excuse for claiming not to know who and what he is. Quinn is certainly a nut, but after the Breivik massacre in which 76 people were killed, many of them teenagers, nuts cannot be simply dismissed as harmless. The fact that Quinn was not only tolerated but protected by stewards exposes the lie that is the entire 'Pro-Life' label. Those on the pro-choice counter rally were chanting"Pro Life, that's a lie, they don't care of women die" as the march passed. The continued toleration and protection of Quinn reveal that the fundamental truth of that slogan is much deeper than many of those chanting it probably realized. (Watch a copy of Quinn's post massacre youtube video)

The "Rally for Life' was otherwise the standard march of the religious far right determined to continue the regime which makes it possible to criminalize Irish women and doctors. The organizers pulled their usual branding routine of having young women carry the front banner but apart from this banner and a couple of other 'created to be photographed' clumps the march was overwhelmingly composed of religious fundamentalists, men, women over 50 and young children. In other words almost no one on the march was someone who might find themselves pregnant in the near future yet all were determined that a women with a crisis pregnancy should not be allowed to decide themselves whether or not to continue with it.  Many of those marching thrust rosary beads into the faces of those on the counter protest or waved religious placards.  Many of the older men were either wearing priests collars or were wearing the standard priest black shirt with the collar removed. (Facebook album of photos from the march).

The anti-choice march seemed quite a bit smaller than last years march, despite the massive amount spent promoting it and running coaches to it from all over the island. On the other hand the 'organised on a shoestring' counter rally had grown in numbers in comparison with that last year with as many as 300 taking part.

Those attending included a coach load of pro-choice campaigners from Dublin who had been moved to action by the shocking Youth Defence billboard campaign aimed at traumatizing the tens of thousands of Irish women who have had abortions abroad. As we previously reported women outraged at these bill boards have torn many of them down, splashed them with paint or covered them with counter slogans.

All this in the context in the south where the Labour Party seems so scared of Youth Defence that rather than legislate for abortion in the very limited circumstances of the X-Case judgement they voted down a Dail bill to do just this and are hiding behind seeking a report from yet another committee. This 20 years after the X-case and after all previous governments have either tried and failed to overturn this judgment in referenda or also hidden behind getting reports from committees. This pathetic situation has gone on far too long, every day women are forced to make the difficult and often expensive trip aboard for an abortion or risk using medication ordered off the internet to self-induce an abortion at home.

Youth Defence have been crowing about their success in stopping legislation being passed under the weird '100,000 babies saved' slogan. Weird because in reality about that number of women in Ireland have obtained an abortion since 1992 through travel or self inducement. Women have not been prevented exercising choice by Youth Defence, its just been made much more difficult for them. It's time Youth Defence were stood up to, their constant campaigns of shaming and traumatizing women ended and abortion made available, free and on demand as part of the Irish health services north and south. 

Alexander Selchow

15. Januar 2011

Approximately 300 people took part in a gathering today to remember Alexander Selchow, murdered by Nazis in a suburb of Göttingen on the night of January 1st 1991.

Speeches were held by several antifascist groups (Jugend Antifa, Antifaschistische Linke International, Redical) as well as reformist organizations. Directly following the gathering, over 150 people took part in a brief spontaneous demonstration through Göttingens inner city, with chants pointing to the parallels between Nazi activity and state policy, as well as to the current case of a Göttingen antifascist who is „wanted“ by the police, and in solidarity with which the demonstration next Saturday in Göttingen is to take place.

You can read more detailed reports (in German) at the ALI website and at Monsters of Goettingen.

Dr. George Tiller

Dr. Tiller's Murder: Fascist Terrorism and Its Pampered Apologists

by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard
Attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice
Statement on behalf of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

The rampant terrorism and violence against women and health care professionals who dare to provide women's health services took its latest victim when Dr. George Tiller was brutally gunned down in his church on Sunday in Wichita, Kansas.

The government and the corporate media coddle these anti-women terrorists.

In the last 30 years, right-wing bigots have carried out 5,800 reported acts of violence against women's health care providers, including targeted assassination, bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings and assaults, according to NARAL.

Hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of women have been assaulted and harassed by the right wing as they tried to see a doctor.

The Fascist Strategy

By targeting and intimidating health care providers, the fascist movement hopes to effectively ban abortion services in the United States. If they were to succeed, not only would it deprive women of their fundamental right to control their own bodies, it would be a health care catastrophe. One out of three women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45, according to Planned Parenthood.

The only question is whether women will be maimed or left to die because they cannot access quality health providers. Dr. Tiller took over his medical practice from his father, a doctor who began performing abortions himself in the 1940s after a patient whom he refused to help died in a back-alley abortion.

Dr. Tiller, like many other health care heroes, kept providing abortion services to women despite the threats. He had been shot previously in both arms; had his office bombed, shot at and frequently vandalized; and he and his patients were routinely threatened, intimidated and attacked.

Dr. Tiller kept providing health care services because, as his family said in a statement, he was “a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere.” He was past retirement age, with four children and 10 grandchildren, and he lived under a virtual military siege because of the terrorist threats. But he didn't stop.

It Wasn't Just the Gunman

This assassination is the culmination of a coordinated assault by the right wing. This included the Kansas Attorney General's efforts to prosecute Tiller, the demonization of Dr. Tiller by Bill O'Reilly, who ran dozens of hit pieces targeting him as a "murderer," and by "Operation Rescue," which prominently called him "America's Doctor of Death."

In the aftermath of the murder, amid reports that the killer had worked with them, Operation Rescue scrambled to take down their prominent "Tiller Watch" webpage, apparently sanitizing it, while their founder continued to call Dr. Tiller a "mass murderer” and held a press conference to do so.

The New York Times coverage of the murder was pathetic. On its front page it stated, "Officials offered little insight into the motive, saying that they believed it was 'the act of an isolated individual' but that they were also looking into 'his history, his family, his associates.'"

The decision to question or suggest uncertainty as to the killer’s "motive" reflects an effort to depoliticize and isolate this most violent of political acts and to disconnect the killing from right-wing groups who seek as their goal to deprive women of their rights using assassination as they see fit. Some right-wing groups and leaders have been quick to announce that the killing was not a homicide, but a justifiable act of "salvation."

The mass media has leapt to the defense of many anti-woman, right-wing groups who directly targeted Dr. Tiller by giving their spokespeople more time in the wake of Dr. Tiller's death to express their primary grievance with his murder -- that it might make them look bad.

Fake Terrorism and Real Terrorism

In recent months, Dr. Tiller reported to the FBI that the threats were increasing.

Obviously, stopping real terrorism is not a "priority" for the FBI, which has allocated limitless resources to infiltrate and sabotage lawful political organizing all over the country. The FBI and police have disrupted and spied on progressive organizations that built a powerful anti-war movement in the last years. They have paid agents provocateur to infiltrate and frame up organizations and individuals engaged in dissent.

Nor is any mosque or Muslim community center safe from FBI infiltration and disruption activities. From Southern California to upstate New York, undercover FBI agents are trying to entrap Muslim youth into "terrorist" plots that emanate from the FBI itself.

The U.S. government's use of the terrorist label is used to frame up and imprison Muslims in the United States. Just last week in Dallas, representatives of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) were sentenced to as much as 65 years in prison for the “terrorist” crime of raising money for desperately needed humanitarian relief. HLF had been the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. The charity's "crime" was that the humanitarian relief was going to those starving and dying in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine. The U.S. government has determined that it is an act of terrorism to get medicine to hospitals and food to children when U.S. foreign policy supports the strangulation of a civilian population for geostrategic reasons.

When Anthrax Threats Were No Big Deal

Yet, when it comes to the right-wing organizations that engage in violence and threats, the FBI and the corporate media are conspicuously mute.

For instance, shortly after the September 11 attacks, letters containing anthrax were sent to media and Senate offices. Hundreds of anthrax threats were also sent to reproductive health clinics, according to the website of NARAL, which states: "Between October 15 and 23, 2001, more than 250 abortion and family planning clinics in 17 states and the District of Columbia received letters purporting to contain anthrax. In each instance, a powdery substance was accompanied by a letter stating, 'You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill all of you.' An additional 270 letters were sent to clinics during the first week of November."

Very few people know about this kind of extreme terrorist intimidation. Can you imagine the reaction of the FBI and the media if anti-war organizers or Arab Americans were linked to anthrax threat letters? There would be screaming headlines and nationwide police sweeps.

Coddling Right Wing Terrorists

But in 2007, in Washington, D.C., when a man showed up at an immigrant rights rally, covertly carrying a map of the demonstration area with sight lines drawn on it, with a cache of weapons including a converted fully automatic M1-Carbine and apparent plans to massacre participants, you probably never heard about it. Why? Because the man, Tyler Froatz, was a right-wing vigilante bent on attacking immigrants and their supporters.

Froatz, who organized with the Free Republic and acted as a spokesman for the Minuteman, stalked a May Day demonstration in 2007. He was arrested after he was confronted by a courageous young woman working as an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition. She was then assaulted by him when she objected to the racist signs he was posting depicting the graphic slaughter of immigrants, including pregnant women and children.

In addition to the weapons Froatz brought with him, in his apartment was found a large arsenal of rifles, handguns, ammunition, a Molotov cocktail, a hand grenade and a 100,000-volt taser gun.

So is Froatz in the special terrorist prisons in Terre Haute or Marion? No. He was released to the custody of his parents in Connecticut and thereafter allowed to plead to a minor weapons charge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office never charged him with any terrorism-related offense or hate-crimes offense. And today, members of Froatz’s group, the Free Republic, celebrated this latest cold-blooded terrorist murder of Dr. Tiller in their postings.

More than Bullet-Proof Vests and Federal Marshals: A New Strategy is Needed

The murder of Dr. Tiller is a misogynist attack against all women. It is also the foreseeable outcome of a climate of bigotry and vilification fostered by the right wing, normalized by the media and the U.S. government.

A political calculus has been made by the government as to what will be deemed terrorism: what political acts will be crushed and what political violence will be supported or tolerated. As it stands, there is no mobilized effective counter to this fascist violence and the threat that it poses. It’s time for a new strategy and a new challenge.

There must be a multi-faceted mobilization of women themselves and of all those men who stand with us against anti-woman bigotry.

Nikita Kalin

Russian anarchist anti-fascist murdered
Sunday, 04 March 2012 

On the 9th of February at 6:30am in area of the institute "FIAN", a janitor found the body of Nikita Kalin, born 1991. At 8:00am police arrived, and at 11:00am, police contacted the mother of the murder victim. Nikita was from a simple working class family and never hide his anti-fascist and anarchist views. According to his mother, Nikita was stabbed 61 times and his ribs fractured multiple times, as well as having head wounds as well. No property was stolen. Currently a murder suspect has been arrested and the blood of Nikita was found on their clothes

It is obvious that Nikita was attacked by a group. The police also told the mother off the record that the detained suspect is a National Socialist activist and that he refuses to name any other co-conspirators. Despite the brutality of the murder the investigation has still not questioned the mother of Nikita, or his friend who was the last person who saw him alive. Due to this we suspect that there will be an attempt to cover the case, as often happens in Russia. The accused has already hired a lawyer

We suspect that the investigation is working in interests of the arrested,
and thus support is necessary. At this point, a human rights organisation has provided a lawyer, but funds are still needed for funeral costs.