Bratlislava, Slovakia - 9 June 2001
Bratislava's second Street Party took place on Freedom Square on Saturday 9 June. The aim of organisers (composed of anarchists, members of NGOís, punks, straight-edgers and others ≠ without any organisation as such) was to medialise [publicise? mediatise?] the processes of global capitalism and the necessity of resistance - and to point out at the plan to build the Kosicka Bridge which, according to organisers, will only worsen the environment in Slovakia's capital city.
We see the solution in preferring public transport before automoblism.
Around 1200-1500 people came ≠ mostly young people from various subcultures. The whole event was meant to be a non-violent direct action and the posters proclaimed that no violence, drugs, alcohol and bolsheviks are welcomed. However, the situation turned to be much more complicated.
The first people started to gather on the square at 12-13 p.m. Soon it satrted raining, and kept on with some breaks during the whole day.
The first conflict started when marxists from the Czech "Budoucnost" group, with some of their Slovak friends, tried to give out leaflets for an antifascist demo they were organising to support the case of Mario B. - a Bolshevik who killed a nazi a few months ago - and to point out the current growth of racism and neonazism. They were asked to spread no such propaganda - or at least to remove the contact address from the leaflet - which they finally did.
Immediately after resolving this, anarchists and militant antifascists had to confront the Bolsheviks of Socialist Workers Organisation (SOP) who, together with the members of AGM, started to prepare a stall with their literature and a big banner in support of Mario B. (Budoucnost and SOP were separated and it seems they have some inter-organisation disputes). They were asked to pack their propaganda which they refused to and tried to dicsuss the matter with us (saying we are authoritarians and ban their freedom of speech ≠ as if they had a right to something like that...). The response was an attack from our side on their banner and almost a fight with them but unfortunately the cops came and said that if we attack them, the whole meeting would be dispersed. So, we had to leave them with - great anger.
There were stalls of Priama Akcia-IWA, Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation (CSAF), Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists ≠ Solidarita (ORAS), The 8th March Group (8MG), Initiative for Free Study (IBV) and some NGOís were in the square. The speeches dealt with:
At about 16:30-17:00 we started a non-permitted march of around 1000 people with the aim of blockading the transport in the city - we walked for almost two kilometers, on both sides of the road most of the time.
There were two big transparents [banners?] in the front of the march "Capitalism is an organised crime" and "Clean life without cars - Free life in a free society" (or something like that). There were several placards from PA-AKOP-IWA and CSAF. The 8 March Group had a banner in the middle of the march - "Against capitalism and sexism".
Police were again pretty unprepared for the march. Around 100 cops (according to the official sources - we saw only a few of them) were able only to redirect the traffic.
After around 300-400 metres during a crossroad blockade, the first problems started when cops attacked few people (and injured some of them). Also, alcopunks started to make trouble here, which they later repeated.
The crowd moved on in attempt not to be surrounded but the police. But just some 100-150m further on the cops attacked again, and the front of the march was divided. However, people didnít run away - they immediately almost completely surrounded some 10 attacking cops, who had to move back, The re-joined crowed then moved further. But soon the march finally got under the control of the police, who incresed their harrassment - but no injuries or arrests were seen, at least at the front. The march ended up at a place where a concert was to occur.
Police said the following day that they had detained 5 people from the march.
The event had many good and bad sides. On the one hand, for many of us, it was nice - we met with friends from the whole country and had a chance to spread anarchist publications among people. Also, the response of some people, even in the cars, was very nice (for example, after reading our placard "Anarchosyndicalism ≠ YES to unions, NO to the bureaucrats" a woman in a blockaded car smiled at us and waved us in a sign of agreement).
On the other side, many people didnít pay much attention to the stalls and the speeches and were there just for the entertainment. Also, the bolsheviks and alcopunks were unwanted elements causing lots of anger and sadness. The event was not able to attract attention of older working class people and the media coverage was pretty horrible (shortly, saying the people made troubles, were drunk and caused disorder).
Although the organisers are thinking of doing another Street Party next year and say it seems it will be necessary not only to ban the bolshevik amaakciapropaganda [?love to know what that is] but also the alcopunks, it is questionable if itís worthwhile for anarchists to put energy in organising street parties if they are able to attract mostly only an attention of young students who do not feel the social injustice and wage slavery so intensively as the older working class people. Sad but true, all that Slovak anarchist "movement" is able to do today is just this and it seems that there isnít much work going on to change the situation...
Updated 5 July 2001