During the protests against the “patriotic march” in the Polish capital of Warsaw, some fierce clashes between police, neo-Nazi hooligans and protesting anti-fascists took place. All in all, 210 detentions were counted (including fascist detainees). Here we recount a statement from Antifa Poland, assessing the events of this 93rd independence day in Poland.
On 11th November, we – anti-fascists from all over Poland, together with invited guests from Russia, Belarus, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and elsewhere – participated in diverse anti-fascist activities in Warsaw. Our main aim was to organize blockades and to defend the rally in Marszałkowska Street. As was revealed in the course of the day, fascist squads tried at various times to attack the rally, but all provocations ended in a mess for the extreme right wing protagonists. Our blockades were not abandoned.
Another endeavour of Antifa groups on the day was to protect people who left the site after the rally had dispersed. Even then, fascists attempted to attack the (counter) protesters, among them the elderly and families with children. Such situations occurred for instance, in the Metro stop ‘Centrum’. There, the fascists were restrained by anti-fascist forces and the protesters guided safely to their destination. We thank all our comrades from abroad!
The fallacious material that was spread on the Internet by the extreme right about the day’s events requires comment. It is not true that we attacked people randomly, as this movie is supposed to show:
This clip is compiled in such a way as to make it impossible to grasp the course of events, unlike it is here:
This movie shows distinctly that those under attack were part of a fascist squad, themselves attacking a blockade. The first video also shows how one comrade was guided out of the clashes so that they would be out of harm’s way.
Another manipulation of information that was (consciously or otherwise) reproduced by the mainstream media was that a German Antifa group attacked a performing group. The situation happened as follows: the German group was attacked by a group of fascists. The group defended themselves (in the presence of police, who did not react). After some minutes, the police forced the German anti-fascist group into the location Krytyka Polityczna, where they were all detained. In the police station, the anti-fascists were treated contrary to all international standards. As we write this text, the majority of them have been released. There were several cases where people faced absurd charges, indicating that the police obviously wanted to save face. Nevertheless, the most conservative (but also liberal) media has produced dozens of articles and conjectures, motivated by their greed for sensation, triggering and amplifying xenophobic attitudes. Sometimes they even blame the German groups for the following events that occurred in Constitution Square. We condemn these tricks and state loudly: Our resistance does not know any borders! We will not adopt the norms of the power against us!
The hypocrisy and lack of civic courage shown by the organizations responsible for the march of “independence” – MW and ONR – are notable. Since last year, hooligans have formed the most active and aggressive element of the marches. In the preceding year, the organizers succeeded in distracting attention away from this topic within public debate, in an effort to generate an even bigger mobilization for this year. But what happened on 11th November 2011 was beyond the control of the organizers completely. To save the remnants of their media capital, the representatives of MW and ONR put distance between themselves and the “troublemakers”, “hooligans” and “criminals”, and condemned them. In doing so they exploited the people who put trust in them. We are not surprised at all.
The radical right has always applied the principle that “the end justifies the means”, especially if the means are violence, manipulation of facts, censorship, denunciation, and collaboration with the prosecuting authorities. It screams for “national revolution” but that is all that it is able to. When the situation was exacerbated, the “Polish Youth” and the “National-Radicals” buried their heads in the sand and delivered their “soldiers”, for better or worse, to the apparatus of repression and the mainstream media.
The clashes with police, initiated by hooligan squads, serve as motivation for Prime Minister Tusk and President Komorowski to prune civil rights with regards to freedom of assembly. This also does not surprise us. The government shows the same hypocrisy as the MW and ONR, but on a much bigger scale. It won the election by milking their roots in the Solidarnosc movement and uses its power now to restrict the rights for which this movement was fighting for, in every possible occasion. All this happens amid the applause of the liberal and conservative press. Similarly it uses the patriotic debate hypocritically, in special events like anniversaries, elections or sporting spectacles. At the same time however, social inequalities are deepening as the government demands the country to tighten the belt, to work harder, to live in abandoned houses and to eat modified food. All this in the name of “national unity”. We believe that it is exactly these factors – and not “national pride” – that are the reasons for the turmoil on Friday. They sow a wind and reap a whirlwind.
The Warsaw police again demonstrated their total blindness and brutality. The first instance is the example, described above, of the German Antifa group. Despite the pledge to be prepared for every possible scenario and to effectively utilise the secret services, they failed to fulfill their claims. They allowed aggressive squads of fascists to approach the blockades, and thwarted anti-fascists attempts to join the blockades. As you can see in several movies online, the police used illegal means and techniques and oppressed arrestees by beating them gratuitously.
The behaviour of the police in the headquarters was scandalous. At this point we are not interested in whether the victims were anti-fascists or sympathizers of the march of “independence”. Police repression is one of the most distinct manifestations of domination by the elite over the majority. In sight of this, “national unity” becomes dust. VIPs will never be treated with police clubs and kicks in the face. This kind of “privilege” is only assigned to ordinary people.
Again, we would like to thank our comrades from Poland and beyond who came to Warsaw to resist against the extreme right.
Simultaneously, we call out for the establishment of further Antifa collectives, self-organization and solidarity with other groups in the struggle against political and economic oppression.