I02 Essen Minutes from i02 Cooperation with groups of Eastern Europe

Monday 16 July 2007, by FAUD

Material given by FAUD

Minutes from i02 Cooperation with groups of Eastern Europe

Willi and Valentin of FAU, Germany, and Tanya of RKAC of Ukraina prepared the workshop.
They suggested we mainly focus on contacts with groups of far eastern Europe. Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine- countries of the former Soviet Union.

Valentin and Tanya propose we produce a bulletin where groups can present themselves and their activities. People can use which language they want. It would function like a information- network. Valentin is interested in editing the bulletin if we decide it is a good idea. They also propose we start a network focusing on Eastern Europe.

Tanya wants to leave some information about a summer camp RKAC are planning 2003 in Ukraine. She has information both in English and German.

Liv of SAC, Sweden suggested we join the Sil-ils network instead. Angel of CGT, Spain joins in order to explain what Sil is.Sil was founded two years ago, and is a network of libertarian organisations. The main purpose is practical work and to keep permanent relations and manage solidarity actions when needed. SAC, CGT, ASF, WSM, FAU(Uruguay), FAG, Alternative Libertaire, Apuyo Muto, Bikisha Media Collective and others are in the network. The main purpose is contact, distribution and exchange of information. The next meeting of Sil is next year in Porto Allegre. SAC has proposed SKT to be the next group to be supported economically by Sil.

Then we continue with reports of the different groups of Eastern Europe present.Tanya begins and tells about RKAC of Ukraine.They have local groups in nine different places. The local groups have different focus, but common statues and platform. She stresses the importance of remembering these questions are not a one-way communication. RKAC for example have a nine-year experience of organizing. They don’t have access to the Internet but are interested. Of course money is a problem, but not a roadblockà The last ten years lots of independent unions were created, some of them based on direct democratic principles. They also have a new labour law coming, and it is very bad.

RKAC makes lots of propaganda about anarcho-syndicalism, addressed towards workers and students. They have lots of good contacts with mineworkers and worker s in some of the big corporations.They publish one paper called Anarchy, and another called Anarcho-syndicalism more oriented to politics and ideology. They make a special paper addressed to wards young people called Rebellious Ukraine. They make leaflets on different issues. Most of their members are miners, students and factory workers. One of the biggest problems is factory closures and unemployment because of that.They also organises concerts and other cultural events, for example to commemorate Nestor Makhnos birthday, the war in Tjetjenia and so on.

They also do lots of anti-fascist activities, using direct action in order to stop concerts. One disc store did decide to stop selling fascist music after RKAC picketed them. RKAC then did arrange a public action destroying the discs.

They also do social work, for example they have initiated a place for homeless kids. They have an annual summer camp. Very impressive work of the comrades of Ukraine!

After her, friends from Zagreb, Croatia did a brief report. They have lots of activities. The groups active are Antifascist Action, anarchafeminists and Food not Bombs. They have serious problems with money. They think, if they manage to receive just a little money, they can start some kind of activities to raise money. The y have a centre in Zagreb and a concert place. The people active are 18- 25 years old. The two men present express their satisfaction with the meeting so far, itÆs giving lots of hope. They want to start an anarchist federation in the countrie s of former Yugoslavia. What a great idea!

Then Elena Starostina of SKT did a short presentation. They are working in Siberia and have local branches in six different places. They have problems to ge t people from different parts of Siberia to meet each others. She did tell about the conference they managed to make this summer with money from SAC. As the others present they also have financial problems. She also wanted to thank for the massive international support received after the arrest of the local SKT- secretary in Anjero Surchensk. International solidarity in practise!

Then the people of the Anarchist Federation of Poland did continue. The federation has local groups in ten cities. The groups have different focus. There is also a workers initiative in 8 cities. The high
unemployment, 20 pe rcent is one of the worst problems. Every group have it is own paper.
In Stettin the workers initiative started organise one year ago. Now they are about 50 people around Poland. They had lots of contacts with the striking workers in the harbour of Stettin, for example
Other activities are squatting, and they organized an anarchist bookfair in Poznan. They also did actions around housing issues, when a new law did pass. The law allowed landlords to throw tenements out after two months of missing rent. One of their problems is printing things. There is a new (badà) labour law coming in Poland as well. Good work going on in Poland!

After that web had a report from Serbia and the Initiative for Anarcho-syndicalism. They have local groups in Belgrad, Novy Sad, Ada and Bor. In Bor, a mining city, they recently organised a public meeting. They were amazed by the fact that 35 miners or more showed up!

Of course they also have problems with money. They start taking a membership fee the next month in order to get more money. They print a monthly bulletin called Direct Action; theyÆve been doing it for four months. They make 3000 copies. They hand them out outside factories and g et very good response. They also have problems with the extreme right; some of the groups are tied to the Orthodox Church. There are lots of confrontations. Next year they will organise a conference for all the anarcho-syndicalist groups on Balkan. Interesting to hear more about their inspiring work!

Then we got a short report about an anarchist group in Tallinn, Estonia, consisting of nine members. They had a squat.