April 10 Thessaloniki ESF mobilization meeting

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Official report by Greek Social Forum and statement below.

The Balkan meeting organised by the Greek Social Forum in Thessaloniki on April 10, 2010, in preparation for the Social Forum in Istanbul , had a full day session, where many issues were discussed.

First, there was a presentation of organisational preparation by the representative of the Turkish organising committee, Eyüp Özer, in which he stressed the differences of the present social forum to the previous ones. He referred to the expected presence of countries from Asia and Northern Africa , as a qualitative element, he said that three thematic Assemblies are to be held the previous from the last day of the Forum, and a single Assembly at the last day.

The halls of the seminars and activities are booked, and they will soon send information for accommodation and for solidarity accommodation. 70 organisations from Turkey are participating in the organisational committee.

Matyas Benyik from Hungary brought the information from the successful preparatory meeting that took place in Prague on 27-28 March, with more than 70 participants, and stressed the big discussion on the rise of extreme right in Europe and the creation of a network on this subject that will have seminar in Istanbul and will continue with another European convention in Autumn.

In the presentations from Albania , the question of Environment and democracy
were stressed, but also the question of creation of a real left in Albania and the efforts to this direction.

From FYROM the delegates stressed the question of nationalism, of the
economic crisis and of the need for collaboration in the Balkans. Natasha
Dokovska from the World March of Women presented the plan for the Women’s
caravan that will proceed and follow the Istanbul ESF, with a great preparation.

Several speakers from Greece stressed aspects of the economic crisis and the
need for common action against the measures taken by the government, and the
expectance of networking and strengthening our international mobilisation in
the Istanbul Forum.

They also stressed the question of militarism and military expenditure, and the need to resist military spending and occupations in the Balkans that are presented as “peace missions”.

The women’s’ day to be held in Istanbul on the 30th of June, organised by the
World March of Women (European network), was presented by Sonia Mitralia,
who spoke of the serious preparation for it and the creation of a Balkan
network that already had three conventions, one in Thessaloniki in November,
one in Skopje in January and one in Tirana in March. A special women’s meeting was held in the afternoon for the elaboration of the networking and organisational issues for the women’s day.

The proposal for ecological way out of the crisis was put forward by Makis Stavrou, president of the Greek network of Friends of Nature, who stressed that we speak of another world, we don’t want to come back to the situation that led to the crisis, and we need to elaborate a total plan that will include the ecological dimension.

Finally, Banks trades unionist Dimitris Tsoukalas made an analysis of the power of banks in the economy and their decisive impact in the crisis. The meeting was held in the Labour Centre of Thessaloniki and its vice secretary, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, stressed the importance of international networking to confront the crisis and the need for popular mobilisations against the anti-labour measures of the Greek Government and the EU.

Attached statement against racism and nationalism, that was produced by the meeting.

From the Greek Social Forum



The participants of the Balkan meeting held in Thessaloniki, on the 10th of April 2010, organised by the Greek Social Forum in preparation for the 6th European Social Forum in Istanbul, want to stress our commitment  to international solidarity, friendship of the peoples and collaboration of the movements for social justice.
We condemn more particularly the hate slogans shouted by army personnel parading during the Greek National day of 25th of March, and we want to reassure everyone that the peoples of Balkans in their big majority deplore such events in everyone of our countries.
We call the governments of the Balkan countries and other political subjects, to seriously consider promoting the spirit of friendship among the Balkan countries, instead of hiding behind the euphemism of “patriotism”.

Participants in the meeting were Social Forum activists from Greece, Turkey, Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Hungary.

Thessaloniki, 10-4-2010

Right wing extremism in Romania

Tord Björk | ESF,political culture,Repression,right wing | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Presented at the Prague spring conference 2010: Alternatives to right wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis



In a time of trouble when xenophobia and racism are soaring in many European countries, Romania seems to remain an oasis out of the revival of the Far Right. Such typical traits of Right Wing Extremism are presently to be found and documented neither as social phenomena nor as organized movements.

On the contrary, Romania has lately opened its borders to immigrants from African countries to the Middle East and even to countries from the Far East as China and Vietnam, and there are dozens of documented cases that prove the kind, open and hospitable manner these people have been treated and helped integrate into the society. Prior to the EU accession, legislation has also been adjusted to the new reality and to comply with the European standards.

The tradition of welcoming people from afar and not showing xenophobic and racist attitudes towards them dates back long before 1989: members of the Greek ‘Eteria’ (that reads ‘Brotherhood’) liberation movement found refuge and support in Romania in the 1820s, Armenians, Jews, Italians, Greeks, Albanians and others came in waves as migrants mostly in the interwar period establishing flourishing businesses in trade, banking and sweets manufacturing, Polish refugees were offered aid and temporary home from 1939 to 1940 when fleeing from the Nazis and their national thesaurus was safeguarded until it was shipped to the US, to end up with the many thousands of Arab, African and South American students throughout the 1970s and 1980s who, after graduating, chose to remain, married with Romanian women and settled down in Romania.

Nevertheless, Romania is a case of a different kind in terms of what is being labeled as ‘Right Wing Extremism’: unlike in most European countries, the vectors of the Far Right are neither xenophobia, nor Islam phobia, nor racism, nor fascism, nor neo-Nazism, but extreme nationalism, ethnocentrism, traditionalism, conservatism, patriarchalism, and a broad intolerance toward gay phenomena.


The explanation of the aforementioned is, at least, threefold.

Firstly, historically and psycho-socially speaking, the innate structure of the Romanian people proved to be hardly tractable along the lines of xenophobia, fascism and racism.

Secondly, historically speaking, the genuine Romanian Right Wing Extremism has naturally died out.
The members of the notorious ‘Legion of Michael Archangel’ originally founded in the 1910s, and later renamed ‘The Iron Guard’, could not fully pass on their legacy to a new organization. It was the legacy of a paramilitary structure which had its heydays during the 1930s and 1940s and did contain elements of violent xenophobia, racism against the Roma and anti-Semitism. Their doctrine relied heavily on exacerbated nationalist feelings and Orthodox religion. It is notorious that combining extreme nationalism and ethnocentrism with Orthodox religion is a method of manipulating people in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, people who proved to be tractable along this course since times immemorial – the Civil War in Yugoslavia is probably the bloodiest and the nearest example in time in this respect.
The ‘Iron Guard’ spread terror throughout the country and carried out pogroms and individual executions of respected scholars, politicians, and even of prominent members of the Government.

“They murdered an entire series of former ministers (60 ministers and high officials were murdered at Jilava, in November 1940)” [Djuvara, Neagu, page 248].

The ‘Iron Guard’ had rather good connections with Hitler and even managed to rule the country for a brief, chaotic and bloody period of time between the close of 1940 and early 1941. After a two-day civil war waged between the Army and the ‘Iron Guard’ in the end of January 1941 the latter were defeated and its top leaders found refuge in Germany thereafter.
So feared and undesirable was the ‘Iron Guard’ that Hitler would occasionally resort to recall their potential menace in order to blackmail the Romanian Government and force them taking certain decisions.
The ‘Iron Guard’ was eventually dismantled and outlawed by the newly installed Communist regime in 1945-1946. Its members were declared enemies of the people, of the State and of the new social order and were hunted down ending either killed or in extermination prisons. The forty-five years of Communist dictatorship, as well as the generation gap that has gaped in time between them and any potential followers, took their toll and made their ideological legacy fade away.

Thirdly, and most importantly, both historically and psycho-socially speaking, Romanians are tractable along other vectors of the Far Right than xenophobia, fascism and racism, namely extreme nationalism and ethnocentrism.


Albeit after 1989 until the late 1990s the last elderly surviving members of the ‘Iron Guard’ who escaped from the Communist Gulag tried to make a comeback and recruit new members whilst the new political regime was showing tolerance and permissiveness towards them, the Legion has never recovered. Petty bickering and long-repressed disagreements on the would-be political doctrine split the movement into several political groups, each claiming to be the one and only holders of the true legacy of the Legion. Obviously, such groups of very old men were mere shadows of the past and their Right Wing extremism would be expressed only in discourses attended by few believers and some curious people.

Even if some of the members of the Legion, particularly poets and priests, have been somewhat rehabilitated, their works published, their tombs turned into shrines, and their sufferance and endurance in the Communist extermination camps have been turned into heroism mostly to comply with the political needs of the new political System-Machinery, the public appeal of the ‘Iron Guard’ doctrine has come to naught.

The attempts to found a New Legion in the image of the former glorious one with young people fell short because of the lack of the unity of the surviving patriarchs, of the generation gap and broken continuity, of the new political and legislative conditions, and because of lack of financing.

The only epigone organization that maintains partly the legacy of the ‘Iron Guard’ is the ‘Association the New Right’. Strangely enough, they have been legally registered as an NGO and thus they must walk on a thin line that separates the realm of Law from the realm of offense and crime. Consequently, the organization is not officially labeled as of ‘Extreme Right’. Nevertheless, they do have the features of Right Wing extremism at least in terms of ethnocentrism, extreme nationalism and intolerance towards sexual minorities. They would rise to the occasion and organize counter-manifestations against Hungarian ethnic minority and against homosexuals and lesbians, but they try to keep their actions non-violent and merely at the level of aggressive political discourse. They are battling against the claims of the Hungarian ethnic minority particularly from the districts of Harghita, Covasna and Mures in Transylvania, and, particularly, against the Hungarian ‘HVIM’, a Right Wing extremist organization that has established a branch in Transylvania and militates for border changes and re-annexation of the territories Great Hungary possessed before the Trianon Treaty.
The ‘Association the New Right’ is led by some young intellectuals and students. It is striving hard to gain an image and legitimacy both inside the country and across the borders. The organization’s financing sources remain a subject of speculation.


Nationalism, according to Albert Einstein, is a childhood disease of the human society, like measles is in case of the individual. In other words, the more exacerbated and virulent the nationalism, the less developed the society, and vice-versa.

“Albert Camus […] correctly noted that nationalism is a pathologic form of national identity.”  [Keane, John, p.118].

Since this is a critical work, we will not insist on the merits and benefic aspects of nationalism, elements which should have already ended their historic role in the consolidation of the nation and of the state throughout Europe.

In Romania, similarly to other European countries, the first notable turn of the nationalism that played a constructive role in the formation of the Romanian nation state during the first two decades of the 20th century into extreme, aggressive and violent nationalism appeared in the early 1930s and continued up to the end of the Second World War. Not by chance, it was a period of global crisis that ended in a world scale war.

There are four elements that may be regarded as being amongst the most negative features of nationalism.
Firstly, nationalism creates Myths and fosters Mythical Thinking in the terms of Ernst Cassirer. We believe the time of myths has gone and the 21st century should not be a time of the creating Myths and of Mythical Thinking.
Secondly, nationalism helps spreading neoliberalism and populism with the creation of so-called providential Father Figures and grand Saviors of the Nation. Thus, it helps the maintaining of the self-entitled ‘Elites’ in Power.
Thirdly, nationalism seems to have a natural tendency of combining with religion, which, more often than not, has led to social, cultural and economic catastrophe.
Fourthly, nationalism is being used to manipulate and divert the attention of the public opinion from real issues in the state during times of political and economic crisis.
In real life, these four features of nationalism appear blended and have always been harnessed by those in Power to extend, deepen and prolong their domination over the masses.

Nationalism and its extreme forms are, along with Religion and its extreme forms, ways of venting out Weakness and Fear, Failure and Frustration by means of inventing a non-existent reality that satisfies the expectations of the ego of the individual and of the group. Both Nationalism and Religion heavily rely on Myth production and Mythical Thinking that involve taboos, rituals, and worshipping God-like founding heroes and past embellished events. The pattern has been similar all over the world since ancient times.

“For Armstrong, the group identity named ‘nation’ is simply a modern equivalent of the pre-modern ethnic identity which existed throughout the entire recorded history. […] Following Barth’s analysis concerning the social organization and group boundaries, Armstrong sees the set of perceptions called by us ‘ethnicity’ forming and dissolving in each period of history. Some of these, supported by various myths and symbols resisted for centuries and constituted the foundation for the emergence of the ‘national’ identities later on. […].” [Smith, Anthony D., p.174-175


In a strange and ironic twist of fate, the Far Right legacy in the form of extreme nationalism and ethnocentrism contributed, along with other factors, to the establishment of dictatorial Communist regime in Romania and, thus, to social dissolution, cultural decay, and oppression of the people.
A relevant argument in favour of this thesis lies in the fact that many prominent historians refer to certain stages of Communism by using the term ‘National Communism’.

An even stronger argument lies in the emergence after 1989 of a number of political structures and personages which promote extreme nationalism, chauvinism, ethnocentrism, intolerance and hatred directed against ethnic minorities, parties and individuals which emerged directly from the former dictatorial Romanian Communist Party (PCR), from amongst the circle of court poets, as well as from the former the top State apparatus.

“Ever since the ‘velvet revolutions’ of 1989-1991, the nationalist card has been played not only by the communist parties and by the organizations struggling to maintain their power – Milosevic in Serbia, Kravciuk in Ukraine, and Iliescu in Romania are but a few examples.” [Keane, John, p.124].


The Party of the National Unity of Romanians (PUNR) was founded in mid-March 1990 on the basis of a so-called civil organization called ‘Vatra Romaneasca’, that reads ‘The Romanian Hearth’, which, at its turn, had been initiated by an obscure Orthodox priest. Once again, the link between nationalism and Orthodox religion inevitably leads, like a déjà vu, to the model of the ‘Iron Guard’.

An objective analysis of the bloody inter-ethic conflicts of 15th of March 1990 that caused many casualties on both sides as well as a serious damage to the international image of the new-born Romanian State could not dismiss the role these extreme nationalist organizations played in its ignition and fueling.

Official historical versions insist in explaining its emergence as a genuine popular response to the allegedly rising danger of the Hungarian ethnic minority backed up by the Hungarian State claiming rights and liberties that would, allegedly, jeopardize the national unity of the State by the separation of Transylvania from the motherland. Some of them even went that far to declare that the events in Transylvania had been an experimental embryo for the operation of dismantling former Yugoslavia the following years, experiment carried out by the powerful Western States that did not want Nation States in the region.

The PUNR used to promote a nationalist discourse mainly directed against the Hungarian ethnic minority living in Transylvania.

“The jingoistic discourses are meant in the best case for ‘internal usage’, if one may still be hoping that they can cover the deplorable state of the Romanian society. But they do not help at all abroad. On the contrary, this is precisely the kind of discourse which discredits.” [Boia, Lucian, p.388].

The PUNR has become lately a mere shadow of what it used to be in the turmoil of the early 90s, undergoing some obscure period of transformation. Some of its top leaders left the party for the Great Romania Party and, eventually, it seems it was, in the early 2006, silently absorbed into the Conservative Party whose discourse became imbued with stronger nationalistic tones.

The Great Romania Party (PRM) is a notorious Right-Wing party that used to promote in the past an ethnocentric, anti-Hungarian ethnic minority, anti-Roma ethnic minority and anti-Semite political discourse. Their European political family is composed of the French Le Penn, the Austrian Haider, and the like. Presently their discourse shifted to milder tones but nevertheless, elements of ethnocentrism, extreme nationalism combined with populism remained obvious.

“The Grand Romania Party is a nostalgic party […]”. [Gusa, Cozmin, p.32].

It is relevant to remark that the founder and the president of the Great Romania Party was one of Dictator Ceausescu’s court poets and shared all the privileges of the Nomenklatura, though he presently denies it. This confirms again the inseparable connection between the present-day nationalist structures and the former dictatorial structures.

Both the aforementioned parties are infested with retired Securitate and Army high-ranking officers, with Ceausescu’s former henchmen, and with priests, in the attempt to psychoanalytically exploit primeval drives of the individual and of the group.

At the last Euro parliamentary elections of 2008 the president of the Great Romania Party (PRM) managed to get a seat in the EU Parliament showing that the nationalist and tough redeeming political discourse is rather appealing and dear to the Romanians. Beyond that, such a high score indicated the need of Romanians for healing, for Justice, Truth, and a Better Life, ultimately, the quest for an alternative.

Article on the left wing nationalist attack on Romanian Social Forum


The Socialist Party of Workers (PSM), later on turned into the Socialist Alliance Party (PAS), is a case of a different kind and requires an attentive analysis since it is the only party in Romania that declares itself as Radical Left.

The party was initially structured on the traditionalist hard-liners of the former dictatorial regime and some top former apparatchiks in the 2nd and 3rd echelons of the PCR. The passage of time has proved that their only supporters remained the nostalgic, the frustrated who could not adapt themselves to the new dynamics in politics and lost their positions as strongmen, few of the workers and peasants, some of the poor, some of the older generation, and, unfortunately, lately, some opportunists and upstarts.
They managed to get access into the Parliament only in the very first period of the 90s, gradually fading away since then. The PAS tried hardly to catch the new and democratic European Left Wing political style and pace by joining the European Left Party (ELP) in 2004 in Rome, but they could not reach the political honesty of publicly denying Stalinism and Ceausism.

The PAS leadership still publicly claims that Ceausescu’s dictatorship had in fact been a ‘Nationalist Communism’ and an ‘Illuminated Communism’ for the benefit of the Romanian people. One of the satellite NGOs of the PAS, the Association ‘Genius of the Carpathians’, bears one of the worshiping addressing names imposed to Romanians by Dictator Ceausescu.
Many a time, PAS revealed that it relies on and it employs extreme nationalism as a manipulating political tool, the same way as the Ceausescu had been doing. Populist demagogic Right Wing phrases embellishing the past such as ‘the grand Romanian people’, ‘our grand nation’, ‘our grand past’ and ‘our grand heroes’ are permanent ingredients of their so-called ‘Left’ political discourse.

Presently the importance and influence of the PAS in Romanian political life has become practically insignificant, and their political chances are close to naught, most likely because of the presence in the party of nostalgic followers of Ceausism and Stalinism.
The proof lies in the disastrous scores the PAS obtained in the 2004 and 2008 elections when they hardly managed to get 1% of the votes in certain ‘red’ areas of the country like the Southern Counties. Rotaru Constantin, president of PAS, scored rather poorly when running for the Presidential elections of 2009 only to finish before the last. Such performance and scores dismiss their political approach and signal the historical need for the emergence of a completely different Left Party in Romania.

In spite of all the political failure, the president of PAS, Rotaru Constantin, is a well-to-do businessman who holds the monopoly of flag manufacturing in the country and has founded a Media trust. His company ‘Rotarexim’ has a publicly declared an annual turnover that exceeds 1,000,000 Euros. In such circumstances, the Media is not far from the truth when writing that his businesses may well keep the flag up but Capitalism does not match with Left ideology.

On 26th January 2008, the Association for the Development of the Romanian Social Forum (AD FSR) and the Romanian Ecological Action Foundation (AER Foundation) were the only to legally organize a social-environmental and cultural event in Romania in the frame of the series of events of the Global Day of Action launched by the World Social Forum.
Rotaru Constantin, president of PAS attacked the event, the participants, and the organizers in a libeler newspaper article that had all the characteristics of Right Wing Extremism: extreme nationalism and ethnocentrism, ethnic discrimination and chauvinism, intolerance and hatred discourse against the Hungarian ethnic minority, political harassment, populism and inciting authorities to take action against innocent people.

Consequently, the president of the Romanian Socialist Alliance Party (PAS) was sued for the offence of publicly promoting Right Wing Extremism in the form of multiple discrimination, political harassment, and hatred discourse.

In his sole written defence, Rotaru Constantin insisted that ‘that was a political position’ and ‘he did not express himself a private person but as political leader’. It is beyond any doubt that such statement made a very bad impression on the Judges because it implied that a political leader may have immunity to do whatever he wants against people. Moreover, the statement confirms once again that the Left Radical Socialist Alliance Party admits that they promote Right Wing Extremism in the form of extreme nationalism, ethnic discrimination, and hatred discourse.

During the trial, the High Court admitted as proof a document that consisted of a newspaper article according to which the Socialist Alliance Party (PAS) has close connections with the Great Romania Party (PRM) with which they were to establish an electoral alliance in the autumn of 2008. It appears that one of the common denominators of the two parties is extreme nationalism and ethnic discrimination targeting mainly the Hungarian ethnic minority in Romania.

After more than a two-year long legal battle, the Highest Court of Justice in Romania (ICCJ) ruled in early February 2010 that the sentence of the High Court of Appeal of Alba County in the case no. 292/57/2009 was right and legal.

Therefore, Rotaru Constantin, president of PAS, was sentenced for promoting  multiple discrimination and political harassment as offender of Law no. 137/2000 corroborated with Recommendation no. R (97) 20 issued by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the hatred discourse, as well as with the judiciary practice of the European Court of Justice. The president of PAS was also sentenced to pay a contravention fine. The judgment of the Highest of Court of Justice in Romania is final and irrevocable (see: http://www.scj.ro/dosare.asp?view=detalii&id=100000000209313 ).

This judgment puts the European Left Party in an unprecedented embarrassing position since one of their founding party members has been sentenced for publicly promoting Right Wing Extremist policies directed against innocent citizens and social actors engaged in the WSF and ESF processes.

24th-26th of March 2010
Aiud, Romania

Petre Damo


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Crisis, nationalism and revolutionary possibilities: The case of Eastern Europe

Tord Björk | ESF,global crisis,political culture,popular movements,right wing | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Crisis, nationalism and revolutionary possibilities: The case of Eastern Europe

This paper by Andrejs Berdņikovs and Steffen Böhm was presented at the Prague spring conference. It was also presented at Alternative Futures and Popular Protest conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, 29-31 March 2010.

It includes such critical remarks as:

“We see obvious signs of the rise of ultra-right wing and fascist movements all
around Eastern Europe as well as parts of Western Europe, and what we hope to show is
that fascism is a ‘logical’ successor of neo-liberalism, the way it has been practised as
‘transition’ in Eastern Europe.”


“This is precisely the weakness of the theoretical oeuvre of Ernesto Laclauv as well.
Writing in the post-Marxist tradition, his theory of hegemony and populism seems to be
based on the explicit or implicit ethico-normative belief that socialist revolution is part of
culture, history and political goal of social movement organising. What is less theorised
in his abstract theoretical framework is the possibility of social movement organising
leading to anti-emancipatory, right-wing and even fascist forms of ideology that,
nevertheless all legitimate capitalism, yet in different ways.

Let us therefore outline a theoretical framework that distinguishes between three politico-
ideological regimes of capitalism, which can exist side by side. It is our argument that
what we are currently seeing in many parts of Eastern Europe is not necessarily the
starting point of a socialist revolution but, on the contrary, the restructuring of capitalism
and the movement from one capitalist politico-ideological regime to another one.”
Author: andrejs.berdnikovs (at) fulbrightmail.org

Appeal for Anastasia Denisova.

Tord Björk | ESF,Propaganda,Repression,right wing | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Governor of Krasnodar krai
Tkachov Alexandr Nikolaevich
Krasnodar, Krasnaya, 35.
Tel/fax: +7 (861) 262-57-16,
fax: +7 (861) 268-35-42

with Copy to:

Plenipotentiary of President of the
Russian Federation to South Federal District
Ustinov Vladimir Vasilyevich
Rostov-on-Don, Bolshaya Sadovaya, 73
tel. +7 (863) 249-99-43, fax +7 (863) 249-99-47


We are extremely concerned about the situation with human rights activists in Krasnodar krai and, namely, the criminal charges filed against Anastasia Denisova.
Anastasia Denisova is our colleague, a 27-year-old human rights defender and an expert in counteraction against xenophobia, racism and intolerance. Anastasia is the president of Krasnodar krai non-governmental organization Youth Group for Tolerance “ETHnICS”, a member of the Coordinating Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement, an employee of Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Analytical center SOVA and co-coordinator of the ”Green Alternative” group in the region of Krasnodar.
We know that Anastasia has done a lot in the sphere of non-violent antifascism, both practically and theoretically. For several years Anastasia Denisova and NGO “ETHnICS” have been subdued to harassment and inhibition of professional activities (presence of outsiders during the Federal Registration Service check-up; groundless claim of damages from Tax Inspectorate, as a result of which the activities of the NGO were brought to a halt; regular delays and examination at crossing the border of the Russian Federation; prevention of her departure to the OSCE meeting in Warsaw, etc.). This high-pressure situation culminated in late 2009 when the criminal charges were brought against Anastasia Denisova. At the same time the criminal case is centered around examination of computer equipment which does not belong either to Anastasia Denisova or NGO “ETHnICS” and as far as we are informed which was confiscated with the violations of the Russian Federation legislation. The criminal case is based on the expert advice the validity of which is highly doubtful.
Systematic prevention of Denisova’s activities allows us to suggest that this criminal case is again a form of pressure on behalf of the authorities of the region. We are amazed that monitoring manifestation of xenophobia, and discrimination of ethnic minorities, cultural and educational projects that Anastasia does – are not welcomed and supported by the authorities of Krasnodar krai. We express out deep concern about the rise of right-wing extremism in Europe and in Russia and call for respect for people who decide to act against it.
At the same time mass media is covering other incidents of harassment of human rights and civil activists in Krasnodar krai. These cases instigate a very unpleasant atmosphere around Krasnodar krai, which seriously influences the image of the Russian Federation, especially on the eve of Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

In this respect we call upon for:

1.    personal control of lawfulness of the court trial against Anastasia Denisova
2.    assistance to ensure secure functioning of civil society institutions in Krasnodar krai.

Name of organization / Name

Right-wing and extreme right-wing groups in France

Tord Björk | ESF,political culture,right wing,Uncategorized | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Luis Weber and Ewa Ziolkowski at the Prague spring conference

Right-wing and extreme right-wing groups in France

About the latest regional elections in France

by Luis Weber

Regional elections took place in France on March 14th and 21st, 2010. With regard to the subject of our conference, two remarks should be emphasized, in my view :

−    the huge rate of abstention, over 50%, very high in the French context and which expresses, among other reasons, the lack of interest in the big «traditional» parties.
−    the score obtained by the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, about 11,5 %, to which we should add the results of the other extreme right-wing lists, generally born of splits of the NF itself (about 1 %). Certainly, these results are lower than those the National Front and the other extreme-right candidates got at the beginning of this century: more than 19 % for example in the presidential election of 2002. And about 15 % in the regional elections of 2004, if we want to compare with a ballot of the same nature. But, meanwhile, Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP had made a lot “to siphon” the electorate of the NF – I will return to this matter – with certain results: in the presidential elections of 2007, Le Pen lost more than a million votes and fell again back to 10,5 %. The fall seemed to accelerate when the lists of the NF obtained only 6,3 % in the European elections of 2009, passing from 7 members of the European Parliament in 2004 to 3 in 2009. What led the medias to emphasize two facts after the regional of this year: the victory of the Left and the “bounce” of the NF.

From there, I suggest making at first some reminders on what represent regions in the French institutional context and to say how far it can influence the elections at this level. Then, in brief too, I will propose some thoughts about the place of the extreme right in the French political context. Finally, I will propose some considerations on the possible reasons of the “surge” which I have just evoked.

Regions are a recent creation in the French institutional architecture. Historically, France has been a very centralized country. Since Napoleon, the State was dominating, being the only level holding the legislative power, the only one collecting taxes and consequently having resources. Municipalities, which are very numerous, and especially departments (around one hundred) had thus hardly any consistent autonomy. Regions (they are 22 in continental France, to have an element of comparison with departments) were at first purely administrative groupings. It was only in 1972 that they were endowed with elected assemblies. Their competences have been will been actually widened up from the so-called decentralization laws, the first of them having been adopted in 1982, a short time after the election of the first left president of the Fifth Republic, François Mitterrand.

Since then, there has been more and more devolution of competences to the regions:

– In the economic field, through the elaboration of regional plans of economic development,
– For transportation, with a regional plan of infrastructures and of transports,
– For education, culture and, especially, vocational training

These competences are consistent, they allowed the left in the electoral debate to campaign on the theme: “voting for the Left is giving regions the means to become a social shield “, that means for the people, by opposition to the decision of the government, after the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, to establish a ” fiscal shield ” for the rich, limiting their fiscal contribution. But, according to an argument moved by the Right to justify the very high level of abstention in these regional elections, regions would be still too recent to interest the population, who hardly knows about their very role and doesn’t even know the name of their presidents, as diverse polls have shown. This explanation is obviously a little bit short-sighted. It seems to ignore that abstention increases in all the elections, with the exception of the presidential one. And especially that it is particularly important in what we call in France the “sensitive areas” (that means where most people are poor, at least socially disadvantaged) within the  big cities and their suburbs. And that this abstention also expresses the depreciation which strikes today politics in general and the “traditional” political parties more specifically.

The place of the extreme Right

One should not make a mistake, this place has existed for a long time. Since the end of the 19th century, there have been in France populist politicians whose influence sometimes threatened the very republican institution, at that time still fragile. They were supported by all those who had not really agreed, a century later, to have been the losers of the French Revolution or those who, later, were going to be, from another point of view, the losers of the Industrial revolution, mainly the tradespeople and the artisans in the cities.

In the 1930s, influential groups in France looked with sympathy at what took place in Germany and in Italy with the rise of fascism. During the 1929 crisis, of which middle classes became the main victims, the believers in an authoritarian regime, a “national” extreme-right groups rather than “fascists” one, in the Italian or German way, leaned on the widespread antiparliamentary feelings, fed by some financial scandals and the ceaseless changes of government, to organize real riots in February, 1934. The parliamentary Left, then in power, denounces it as an attempt of fascist coup d’etat. The result was however going to take away the danger for a while: labor unions, which had divided in 1921, reunified ; the Popular Front Left won the 1936 elections. But the war and the invasion of the country were going to allow the extreme-right leagues to take their revenge in 1940, with the end of the Third Republic and the coming into power of marshal Pétain. I do not insist here on what in France we call the collaboration, which was going to allow the extreme-right not only to serve as auxiliaries to the Nazis but, as it is revealed more and more today, to play an active role in the deportation of the Jews and the gypsies, as well as of the political opponents, the communists, the socialists but also many right-wing people refusing  fascism.

One can understand that, under these conditions, the extreme-right seemed to disappear, with the exception of some very tiny groups, during the decades which followed the Second World war. For example, when Le Pen decided to stand for the 1974 presidential election, as a representative of the then very young NF, he got 0,75 % of the votes cast (to compare with the about 15% he obtained in 1988 !). But the recollection of the dark years of the occupation and the treason of the “national Right” does not explain the whole situation. We can add some other factors:
– The strong economic growth until the middle of the 1970s, which led to speak of the Thirty glorious (years) to indicate these three decades. The considerable increase of the average standard of living, alomost no unemployment, deprived the extreme-right of one of its favourite arguments: to denounce ” the system “, ” the profiteers “, “the politicians”, ” the parliamentarism”, etc.

– The strongly nationalist character of the Gaullism, which satisfied the ” national right “, not so much inclined under  these conditions to adopt extreme-right views.

On the other hand, the decolonization (around the early 1960s) meant for France  the loss of its colonial empire and, consequently, of its influence in the world. It allowed the extreme-right to lean on a feeling of frustration and the demonization of those, the  Arabs in particular, who became some years later most of the migrants. If the decolonization process was almost peaceful in Africa, it was very violent in Indochina (today Vietnam) and, especially, in Algeria. Whole generations of soldiers were sent into this ” dirty war ” which, furthermore, did not want to say its name. Officially, the matter was only to “pacify” Algeria !

All this was going to give to Jean-Marie Le Pen (who went himself as a volunteer to Indochina and to Algeria, where he has been accused of having practised torture) and to the National Front the main ingredients for their political emergence.

The National Front defines itself at the same time as being a part of the “national Right” (which may explain its trend towards xenophobia and even racism, with the motive that the French identity would be threatened), as being populist (The NF criticizes elites and advocates appeal to the people, which must obviously be embodied in a charismatic face, the leader) and sovereignist (the NF thus refuses any transfer of sovereignty, it is against Europe and fustigates globalization). We shall note however, it is a tradition in the French radical right, that it does not consider itself as an extreme right-wing party!

The deterioration of the economic situation from the 1970s, the rise of  unemployment and then poverty, was going to feed the populist discourse of the NF. According to its leaders, it defends the poor people, accuses the rich and the political and economic elites, without moving back from the resumption of the old anti-semite slogans, taking so up another solidly anchored tradition of the ” national right “. This populist discourse does not hesitate to denounce – just in semblance, the economic and social programme of the NF being indeed properly reactionary – the consequences of the liberalism, which will deeply affect people from the early 1980s. It meets all the more success as the relinquishment from 1983 of the policy of “breaking off with capitalism” promised by the Left and François Mitterrand upon their arrival into  power in 1981 allows the NF to appear as the only “anti-system” party, the communists being from these years identified with the Union of the Left which discredited lastingly itself among popular classes by this “turning point to rigor “.

One should add to this the fact that from the same time, most immigrants settled down durably in France, in particular through the possibility of “family regroupment”, supposed to be the counterpart of the end of immigration announced in 1974. For the NF, the immigrants become the cause of all the troubles. “They take the work of the French people “, when ” they do not eat their bread “. They “Islamize” France. In that time, immigrants came indeed mostly from North Africa and, gradually, from sub-Saharan Africa. This rhetoric finds thus considerable echo in regions, particularly in Southern France, where those we call in France the “Repatriated” from Algeria, having left this country when it became independent in 1962, have started a new life.

This rather complex reality of the National Front in the French political scene from its first big electoral successes (it started in 1983, on the occasion of a municipal but highly mediatized election in Dreux near Paris, then at the European elections of 1984 the NF got about 11 % of the votes, after a quite small 0,75 % in the general election three years previously!) may explain the main features of the NF’s implantation today:

– In regions formerly industrialized as Lorraine or the North of France, where the crises of the mining and of the steel industry dislocated totally the economic structure and, consequently, the social structure. They are also regions where these industries, operating with lowly qualified workers, attracted many immigrants, in particular of North Africa after the Second World war (before, they came rather from Poland, from Central Europe or from Italy). They are established today since two, even three generations and are French. It does not prevent the NF from stating that they remain immigrants and Muslims, what allows it to play upon the fears already mentioned.

– In the South of the country, in particular along the Mediterranean Coast, the strong presence of the “repatriated people” from North Africa allows the NF to exceed there also 20 % of the votes in the last regional elections. In this region, the NF was even able in the past to govern relatively important cities.

Certainly, this very simple scheme (with a Southeast / Northwest bow where the NF  exceeds everywhere 10 % of the votes and sometimes 20% as in Marseille in the South and in the region of Lille in the North; a sharply lower presence in the rest of the country) does not exhaust the reality. The National Front is sometimes very strong in cities of Côte d’Azur the population of which is rather wealthy. Also, it happens that whole villages of the rather rich region of Alsace vote mainly for the National Front. But, globally, this image is however rather close to the reality.

The dangerous game of the Right

Historically, the border between the right and the National Front has always been rather permeable. When the National Front obtained more than thirty members of Parliament in the National Assembly in 1986, most of them were formerly lected as candidates of ordinary ight-wing parties.

With Nicolas Sarkozy, the ambition became quite different: he would have wanted to attract the voters of the National Front not so much through  policies  capable of ending the disparities which are preying on the country and which add fresh fuel to the NF vote, but by taking back some of the themes which made the success of the NF:

– a bit of populism (” I listen to you, contrary to the other politicians who do not”),

– a big emphasis put on the matter of security (Sarkozy was Minister for Home Affairs before becoming President of the Republic and election campaigns have been for years opportunities to display police forces and to focus on well chosen criminal affairs such as assaults on elder people, etc.)

– and a relatively new form: the theme of national identity.

Some words on this matter. From the formation of the first government under Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, an important institutional innovation was introduced with the creation of a Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Jointly liable development. This last element – Jointly liable development – was lately added, in order to calm down the outcry of indignation against the three first ones and their amalgamation. From a symbolic point of view, the association of national identity and immigration made indeed a strong gesture, making clearly of the immigration a problem for the national identity. We were thus very close to the usual rhetoric of the NF on this matter. This ambiguity was going to be stressed by the initiative of a ” debate on the national identity ” taken in November, 2009 by the Minister concerned, one of the former leaders of the Socialist Party Éric Besson. To tell the truth, he just endorsed a promise made by Nicolas Sarkosy during the presidential election campaign. But the dates finally chosen are blurting out the real objective pursued: the debate had to end with a national colloquium two weeks before… the regional elections of March, 2010. In fact, the debate started very badly. As many observers forecasted it, it quickly  turned into a debate on immigration and not around national identity. Which opened a boulevard for the most extreme opinions, so much that the government was forced to bury rapidly the debate itself in oblivion. The real winner was thus the NF, the favourite themes of which came back onto the front of the stage, this time even without any initiative of its own. But, as it was said on other occasions in France, ” the voters prefer generally the original to the copy “. This episode thus very probably restored some legitimacy and voters to the NF and to its ideas, without any benefit for the President’s UMP.

By way of (a brief) conclusion

The crisis and its consequences on the population, in particular on the most fragile groups, maintains the fear of the future and the loss of confidence in the capacity of the political elites to bring up long-lasting solutions. This provides credibility to the populist themes developed by the extreme-right, including xenophobia and racism. In a country like France, this “refusal of the other one” has privileged targets, in connection with the history of the country in the 20th century. For years, these targets have mainly been the “Arabs”, and more generally the Muslims (islamophobia), including their children having been French for one or two generations. But the changes of geopolitical nature and the new flows of immigration which result from it (Eastern European countries, Turkey, the Middle East and Asia – Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, etc.) create new tensions. It is an issue the Left and the anti-globalization activists cannot ignore today.

On the 65th Anniversary of the Victory against Fascism in the WWII

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Joint Declaration of

The Prague Spring II – network against Right-Wing Extremism
in the European Social Forum process

on the 65th Anniversary of the Victory against Fascism in the WWII

Prague, 8th of May 2010

The Prague spring II conference

The international community is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the historic victory in the WWII. The allied forces of USSR, US and UK was victorious against Fascism 1945. This cost millions of lives, especially in Eastern Europe, where the main mass murder operations and battles unfolded. We remember these battles and we mourn all innocent victims. The victory in May 1945 was a military victory over Nazi-Germany and its allies, not a victory over fascism as a whole – unfortunately. We have still to fight for real and sustainable victory over fascism.

We now see a new rise of the extreme right and a need for alternatives solving the social and ecological crisis.

To enable us to do this it is necessary to acknowledge the differences in European history and put it in a social and ecological global context. In all parts of Europe history today is under threat of becoming an instrument for governments proclaiming versions of history of interest to the present regime. To enable us to constructively respond to the social and ecological crisis it is necessary to promote an understanding of Europe that oppose both simplistic nationalistic right wing extremism as well as the governmental nationalistic interpretations of history in different parts of Europe.

Europe has been the base for both capitalist and anti-capitalist Western development models. By economic, political and military means they have been conquering the minds of people willingly or by force causing great social and ecological consequences. The colonialization of the world putting much of the world under direct control of European nations brought material prosperity to some but caused also mass murder, enslavement, social inequalities and ecological damage. Today this dominance is continued more by economic means by the power of transnational corporations often based in the Western world creating growing social inequalities within and between nations and a global environmental crisis with art extinction, food crisis and climate change.

In the time of this crisis of the present development model, ugly heads of fascism, hatred, racism and xenophobia rise again, and are again supported by those who see in fascism their last resort in keeping control over broad masses of people. In our meeting in Prague in March, 2010, after having analyzed the resembling neo-fascist and racist tendencies in the countries of Eastern and Western Europe, we agreed to coordinate our efforts in stopping them.

We also appeal, in a wake of the upcoming meeting of the European Social Forum in Istanbul in July 2010, to individuals, organizations and movements to join efforts and build a strong alternative to neo-liberal and neo-fascist tendencies in all of Europe and the world.

Last man standing or Prague spring for ever

Tord Björk | popular movements,Uncategorized | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

A personal report from the ESF mobilization conference Alternatives to right wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis

Here I was standing he says moving his body back and forth showing how he stopped the fascists recently from going away when they wanted to march towards the Prague city centre. All the others were young activists, not very many. He alone was from an older generation. The police came and stopped the antifascists from blocking the way of the right wing extremists.

I am told the story by Mirek Prokes when we pass the bridge across the Moldau river where it all happened. My companion tells me a story which seems common in many places in Europe today. One last man standing among the older generations, none from the generations in between and then only young activists protesting.

Mirek Prokes is busy. He is preparing the Alternatives to right wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis conference that will take place the following days. But he cannot stop himself from showing me the new model railway exhibition in Prague. He had to give up his whole collection of model trains when he was forced out of his old apartment, but he still have the interest. And it is there, full of all the Czech model train products, exhibitions about Czech railways and a full scale Moldau river landscape with both trains and cars moving by themselves along the river. The Czechs are proud of their technical interest and like to play as well.

At the city hall there is a press conference for the conference organized by the All European mobilization committee for the European Social Forum to be held i Istanbul July 1 – 4. It takes some time to find the the localities. I have to walk through long corridors of the proud municipal headquarters of the national Czech capital. Yes dominated by the Austrian emperor, then for the first time in many centuries independent, then under Nazí and Soviet rule and now again independent, still all the time Czech. But one wonders when one looks at the walls. All over the place there are prominent visitors to Prague, primarily Hollywood actors and sport stars. I even find the Swedish tennis player Björn Borg there between the Belgian king and other odd figures that seems to be surrounded by some star quality that I do not understand what it has to do in a the municipal head office.

In the press conference room very different characters looks upon us from the wall, very proud men that seems to have been mayors or the like through centuries in Prague. There are more people on the podium then from the press. But compared to Swedish standards there is much media attention for a social movement conference, three journalists puts questions after the presentation from Turkey, by the young Czech leader of the successful resistance against US long distance rocket bases in the country, by Austria and Hungary all under soft control by Mirek Prokes.

After the press conference Mirek cannot stop himself from showing where he had been sitting for many years in the municipal hall fighting for better bicycle conditions in Prague, a prolonged but slowly successful battle which we could se on big posters set up within the building. As there were almost no resources for an office that implemented the decisions on a longer term made the propaganda from the actual results had to be made explicitly huge in the midst of the film and sport stars.

He then shows us to the meeting facilities. It is hard to believe how it is possible. Right at the most attractive site in one of the most popular tourist places in the world we have our conference venue. In an old fashion restaurant situated at the Moldau river right under the Charles bridge with a huge modern projection from a computer above the speaker’s table between Greek colonnades. Every detail is planned. With most participants from low income countries all meals have to be considered. Water for drinking but good food and coffee breaks for all is included.

At the back of the conference hall is the most important detail, the translator booths. Many languages will be spoken, Russian often but also English, German, Czech and French.

Materials on right wing extremism and racism from UNITED are all over the premises. The reason why the localities can be used for a reasonable prize is the season. There are already many tourists in Prague but not yet the full invasion. Thus a Czech institution with the father of the nation Masaryk in its name could rent the premises for the conference.

As an environmentalist I was a bit nervous about the conference. Should I not feel alone among the participants who I thought mainly should be involved in fighting right wing extremism and as such not necessarily much interested in ecological issues. I was wrong. Already at the press conference the anti-right wing extremism veteran Hermann Dworzak from Austria made a passionate speech about the need to struggle for climate justice and the up coming conference in Cochabamba in Bolivia for the right of Mother Earth. When the problems in Azerbaijan is addressed the ecological concerns also became cetral. Here the government used nationalistic feelings in the Nagorno-Karabach conflict with Armenia to sell out national oil well interests to Western corporations. What followed was not only social but also ecological problems. The environmental issue cannot so easily be disclosed by ideological arguments. Petrova from Bulgaria contributed by addressing educational issues and how Green cities was used as a method to mobilize people . It sounded at first as non-political but in the end the result was struggle for lower public transport fares for young people, an issue of importance in many parts of Europe.

Experience of struggle against right wing extremism was given proper attention with the mass mobilization from many different strands ranging from Christian Democrats to autonom activists in Dresden as a great achievement. A new trend was also presented. Right wing extremists behaving and dressing up as black bloc anarchists using some of the language of the globalization critical movement. This seems to attract young right wingers in Germany, Ukraine and Russia. What was also a strong tendency is the growth of right wing populist parties. From France and Hungary speakers addressed the present situation. From Czech republic we were presented a poster by a main political party. On the picture there was two very grim muscular looking man sitting in the local pub doing nothing. It was time to stop these potentially violent people living on social welfare was the message and get them out of the local pub.

Our Czech hosts told us that actually much of the message was directed against Roma people but it was to obvious and politically incorrect so instead it was the image of dangerous rude men that should give the right message to people to gain support. Interestingly the toughest guy in the centre of attention with a black T-shirt on had two necklaces hanging down on his chest, one with a peace symbol and the other turned around with the text Love. The pictorial message was thus clear, dangerous people living on social welfare with hippie life style ideals needs to be confronted by a strong and demanding political party and state. That the kind of person envisioned on the poster do not exist in reality is of no concern. It can be constructed as if it exists in the heads of voters. It is hard to not think about the posters made by the fascists during World War II or in Denmark portraying Muslims. They look very much the same. A Semitic grim looking man with beard with fists attacking the onlooker or with a bomb in his turban. Looking more closely at the older version of a Semitic man one could see that the star on his chest did not have six edges like the David star but five as the communist star. Behind him was skyscrapers in New York. But his headdress was typical Jewish, as typical as the later version with the turban was typical Muslim or Arab. Both of them as mysteriously combining symbols of violence to put a label on underprivileged groups in society. This in a way that was seen as useful to create distance among groups by the help of propaganda images that have nothing to do with reality. In Fascist countries during WWII, Denmark some years ago or Czech Republic today the same propaganda tricks are used.

All-European ESF mobilization committee meeting in Prague

The conference had been organized in very short time and made possible thanks to the Czech practical competence and the efforts by Austrian Social forum to mobilizes funds from different places for the CEE participation. The reason for the fast preparations was that it was  necessary to have som impact on the mobilization towards ESF in Istanbul in July. On the final day the European Social Forum mobilization was also addressed.

After the conference is over Mirek Prokes takes us on a guided tour to the centre of Prague. He is at his best. Every step you take in Prague he has already been taken.

To us normal persons the old city centre seems impermeable with huge blocks and endless small streets ending nowhere. Prokes just goes straight through them in any direction, through narrow nooks dwindling through houses with bazaar style shops along the way or suddenly running into modern buildings in the midst of the medieval town filled with shop signs only in English, or to be more precise American.

Languages is of no problem to Prokes. He is an officially approved guide in five languages. When we meet at international conferences it is a relief as we can speak Swedish to each other. With all the Russian visitors he is at home as well.

He can take you to any kind of traces of history. All the fascinating architectural traces you could not imagine existed as cubistic houses and all the old proud Jugend buildings from a hundred years ago of a nation knowing it is on the way to become independent and the endless rows of medieval houses from almost a thousand year. In 1638 the Swedish army entered the Czech region. There were then 3 million inhabitants. When the Swedish army left there were 800 000, 2/3 of the villages and ½ of the towns were destroyed, but Prague was still standing.

With Prokes this history is alive. In one second you stand in front of a statue of a Prague student that once defended the city on the Charles bridge right were we had the conference venue the against the Swedes in 1648 ushering in the Westphalian peace treaty and the present interstate world system, in the next you stand in front of the ugliest modern shoe box building in Prague erected by a modern Swedish transnational corporation to promote consumerism maybe ushering in yet another new world order.

When I visited the other side of the river which the Swedes never were able to conquer I came to a park on the slopes of the Moldau below the castle protecting the city. The kind of warm gentle atmosphere between people was in the springtime air. Very few were sitting alone, not even two alone. Mostly there were groups of three or more often some seven eight people having a good time. If there was a radio on, the sound was often drowned by the laughter and noise from the group who be chance had a radio with them as well. None seemed to isolate themselves behind their individual music taste with the help of  music hand sets, or that was maybe a dream. But maybe capitalist consumerism still can be defeated and replaced by a culture that brings more individualism and collective solidarity making our senses feel better than in the present model of commodification of our bodies and nature.

High above the people in the park a proud flag can be seen at the horizon between the castle and a church. It is huge and the only flag I saw in Prague. It has stars and stripes and is placed on the US embassy at the top of the slope.

Down inte the city centre Mirek can show us the place named after Jan Palach that committed political suicide in 1969 to awaken the nation against the Soviet occupation. Mirek than was leading the protests against the communist regime. Today Mirek is a member of the Communist party. He is one among the youngest. Most members are 8o years from the generation that was fighting against fascism. They do not go out on the street anymore to stop fascists. The communist youth organization exist but has few members,. It was made illegal during some years and only lately permitted to exist again. Mirek is also a member of Friends of Nature, an environmental organization set up by the workers movement in the 19th century to give  He is also a member of UNITED, the European network against racism. He is also the main organizer of the Czech Social Forum since many years. In most organizations he seems to be the last man standing.

And yet, compared to last time I visited Prague on a mobilization tour for the European Social in Malmö 2008 there is a new vigour in the Czech Social Forum and many new young faces. They all say they are very few but they are many times more than last time.

Mirek seldom states his political opinion very frankly. But this year he told me that the Czech social forum was put off the list of extremist organizations that was controlled by the security police, I guess we are not a threat to anyone anymore he said. When the issue of how CEE countries are treated in the ESF process was brought up and the argument was put forward that a preparatory programme mneeting had to be held in Brussels as a meeting in a CEE country could get problems with getting copies of conference material made Mirek upset. So he gets when programme for the ESF is so late that it becomes more or less impossible to organize translation at the forum to smaller languages. His democratic engagement is deeply rooted.

When differences of opinion occurred regarding the name of the new network set up in Prague Mirek made one of his few but typical interventions. Judith Dellheim from Germany proposed that the name should be open calling it the Prague spring network commemorating the time in history when democratic socialism seemed a possibility. The effective Austrians promoted a name only focusing on opposition towards right wing extremism. Mirek suggested Prague Spring II All –European network against right wing extremism. May he get many followers on that slope on the Moldau river and everywhere else in the world were people are fighting for alternatives, social justice, against authoritarian regimes, for bike paths, against racism, overcoming of all language barriers and a Prague spring for ever.

You find more photos by Valereij Pankov here

or by Gökhan Bicici here

or by Piotr Kawiorsiki here

or Flickr gallery: here

Call out: Alternatives to Right wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Friday, April 9th, 2010

At the last European Preparatory Assembly in Berlin in January the alleuropean mobilization committee for the ESF in Istanbul was created.
The committee is organizing together with the Czech  Social Forum  the conference in Prague 27./28. March: ” Alternatives to right extremism in times of social and ecological crisis “.

Moldau and the Charles bridge in Prague, view from the conference venue

Here is the call out:

There is an urgent need for a constructive program in all parts of Europe that can provide hope and solutions to the present social and ecological crisis. Such solutions can only become a reality through collective efforts”  from below( like the Alternative Climate Summit in Copenhagen with 50 000 participants and the demonstration of 100 000 people). We need cooperation across all borders to strengthen practical initiatives at both local, national and international level. Initiatives addressing both social, democratic and ecological concerns. Solutions that sees rural and urban life and professions as equally important in society and gives special emphasis public services and to direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry. A break with neoliberal politics is necessary. We need another society which is no longer based on the principle of „ profit „ but on the principle of solidarity.

What we have today are growing tendencies towards more authoritarian regimes in both Western and Eastern Europe. Instead of addressing the concerns raised by growing unemployment and social inequalities and environmental degradation these authoritarian regimes tries to solve the present problems by imposing more burdens on the majority of people while giving privileges to a few or by exporting the problems to other countries.

Under these circumstances we see how the right wing extremism in different versions on the rise in all parts of Europe. On the one hand, neo-Nazi movements are to be observed; on the other, these times also witness the spread of more electorally viable, and therefore perhaps more virulent, forces of so-called Haiderization, which tries to disguise the face of extremism under a mask of populist respectability. The results of the European Parliamentary elections (mainly in Hungary – the JOBBIK and Austria – the FPÖ and partly in the UK- the BNP) illustrate this claim well: the shift to the far right across almost all EU member states can be explained only very partially through global social and economic developments. We should not forget  the negative conseqences of the politics of the traditional left and many trade unions . More and more they adopted neoliberal, procapitalist positions and paved so the ground for far right demagogy when capitalism showed open  his crisis tendencies.  Right wing violence is growing in many countries in Europe, e.g. in central Moscow a lawyer and a human rights activists were murdered last year. In Sweden right wing extremist have killed first homosexuals than immigrants, than trade unionist and policemen since the 1980s. In Denmark the population are according to international studies the happiest in the world and at the same time they are very scared not only of Muslims but also of environmental activism during the Climate Summit in December last year. In Italy the military are ordered to march on the streets to give people the feeling of security while Romani settlements in the outskirts of Rome are erased. In Central Eastern Europe (CEE), hatred of the Roma is rampant and sometimes violent. In Hungary attacks against Roma population are increasing in the last two years. While the former serial killer group is behind the bars (nine attacks, six victims), in November 2009 a village was besieged by the militant right-wing group ‘Hungarian Guard’ (formed against the so-called ‘Gypsy criminality’). The common denominator of all right wing extremism in whole Europe lies in xenophobia, i.e. hate of  foreigners (i.e. the migrants, the minorities, like Roma and the Jews).

For the last two decades, extreme and populist right-wing parties have been highly successful in many European countries. In some countries, they were even able to come to power through coalition governments, such as in Austria or Italy, or, as in Denmark, to gain influence by supporting a minority government. These political trends have triggered debates about the reasons for the rise of the populist and extreme right.

When people start to perceive their daily lives as a competition there is no understanding or space given to diversity and intercultural dialogue anymore. The public discourse gradually becomes absorbed by the argumentation of xenophobic and extremist groups who consider equal rights for everybody as danger for the nation and its natives.

As a result social inequalities has been growing and whole sectors of society both urban and rural has become precarious. Even whole national economies, so far in the periphery of Europe have gone or are at the brink of going bankrupt while core sectors in Europe are wealthier than ever. Privatization, making consumerism more and more central in our society and the attacks on direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry have caused more power to corporations and ever growing environmental destruction. Together with these developments a new Berlin wall was erected along the borders of EU. A wall that also has been erected around a fragmented Palestine and along the Mexican-US border. This time to keep people out instead of keeping them inside but with a lot more dying along the wall than along the old division in Europe.

These main stream tendencies in our societies has fostered the growth of right wing extremism from explicit anti-semitism rigth wing extremist organizations to xenophobian anti-muslim an anti-Gypsy political parties.

We call for an All-European common response to meet this threat by both addressing organzied right wing extremsim as well as the causes by calling for social and ecological constructiev solutions.

The environmental movement and right wing extremism

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Friday, April 9th, 2010

A contribution to the ESF mobilization conference in Prague 27-28 March 2010
Alternatives to Right Wing Extremism in a Time of Social and Ecological Crisis

The author discussing environmental networking in the ESF process with Judith Dellheim during the Prague spring conference

How to address the issue of “Alternatives to Right Wing Extremism in a Time of Social and Ecological Crisis” from an environmental movement perspective? As such the environmental movement is not necessarily always easy to place on a left-right political axis. The Left has been sometimes as ignorant or more of environmental issues as the right wing. In Sweden the first party to launch en environmental program was the Nazi party in 1963. In general the Nazi party in the 1930s had some environmental concerns especially when it comes to agriculture that were more progressive than the left who with a dogmatic view on science and development of the productive forces as socially neutral for a long time ignored environmental issues. Or worse, when quite a few believed as in the 1960s and early 1970s that environmental concerns was a conspiracy made up by the right to marginalise the all-important social issues and the left.

Theoretical arguments building on the the qualities of left or right ideologies is with other words not enough to judge how to relate to different political forces from an environmental movement point of view. A movement cannot only relate to the inner qualities of ideologies but must also relate to the actual content of the politics brought forward by different actors in society. Historically we can see that this support have been shifting. In some countries in Western Europe we can today see that relatively better environmental policies have been the result of social democratic governments rather than conservative. We can also see that at times right wing and especially right wing extremism but maybe mostly right wing populism plays the role of aggressively attacking environmental concerns. In Russia fascists even kills environmental activists as happened in 2007 in a camp near Irkutsk protesting against a planned uranium processing plant.

As starting point from an environmental movement perspective on right wing extremism is thus good to use something else than ideological analysis of right wing extremism. This in spite of that the dominating view in society and among NGOs is to address the issue of right wing extremism as mainly an issue of ideology and tolerance. More useful is to start by defining what is at the core of the environmental movement and from this analyse how right wing extremism is related to environmental concerns.

Material relationships

At the core of the environmental movement lies the material relationship between human beings and nature. This relationship is defined socially, culturally, religiously, politically, economically or however one chose to present it. But in the end it is the material relationship that can motivate the environmental organizations to go beyond conventional limitations and act to change a system.

One example is that the environmental movement in quite a few central and Eastern European countries during the 1980s were among the forces that brought down the communist party rule by mass mobilization for environmental concerns or using international conferences in their countries as a space in time when freedom of expression could not easily be repressed. At the same time the environmental movement was the first movement that confronted the new regimes with mass civil disobedience on the nuclear power issue in Poland and in general soon started to criticize the rule of investment bank in the CEE countries. When a environmental degradation is severe enough and there is social opportunities for change it does not matter whether the degradation is caused by actors from the right or left. What matters is if such risks for the environment and health is caused to such a degree that it is not negligible.

This does not mean that the environmental movement never is ideologically biased and never a tool for the present regime. As any movement the environmental movement is stretched between what is pragmatically possible and what is necessary if the concerns of the movement should be put as the primary value. In the case of the environmental movement this choice between pragmatism and radicalism sometimes develops according to other rules than that of lets say the workers movement.

The reason for this is that the environmental movement do not only address the issue of the relationships between different social groups in society but also between the society and nature. This makes it possible and sometimes necessary to base environmental struggles on broad class alliances rather than classical antagonism between capital and worker. To a certain degree it is even true that environmental concerns is a concern for everybody. Furthermore is it not the industrial worker, often male, that is necessary at the core of the environmental conflict. It is as often if not more often the class struggle between direct producers in agriculture, fisheries and forestry and the capital as índustry workers. It is also between those that work to maintain reproduction in society, often women.

Thus at times also the most radical and one would guess least pragmatic mind of the working class can be used against environmental concerns. A clear expression of this is when the Anarcho-syndicalist trade union in Mexico in the 1910s set up armed militia to terrorize the Zapatista peasants and make a halt to the environmentally and socially very important land reform movement, a struggle as important today as then. As the Anarcho-syndicalists were industrial workers they believed themselves to be more advanced then the perceived more backward peasant who often as well were Indians. Furthermore the Anarcho-syndicalist trade union had been promised by the liberals possibilities to have a function in the coming liberal regime. When the Anarcho-syndicalists had taken part in the successful terror against the peasant they were of no use anymore and did not receive the rights they had been promised. The fate of the peasant revolution in Russia from 1902 and onwards tells an even more tragic history.

Thus both class struggle of importance to environmental conflicts and possibilities for broad class alliances looks often different for the environmental movement compared to many other movements. This poses both risks and opportunities that can be a trap or an opening of avenues both for ecological and social concerns.

Public health and conservationist roots

As such modern environmentalism in the industrial society can be claimed to be the result of the concerns for public health and conditions at the workplace and housing in the workers movement and the concern for nature in the upper classes as well as the workers movements interest in healthy recreation. From this era we have in Europe the Friends of Nature with its roots in the working classes and the Conservation Societies mainly based in upper and middle classes. These movements were able to contribute to public health and conservationist regulation in the welfare state era both in the West and the East. Thus the environmental concerns was to a large degree made into something socially neutral of concern for the whole society with the state as perceived neutral regulator. At the highest point of this development was the International Union for the Conservation of nature, IUCN, established in 1947 with its typical lack of distinction between state and independent organizations. Here governmental authorities together with conservation societies still today work side by side as if they all have the same interest. In the early 1950s environmental concerns that radically questions the existing development model was marginalized and carried forward by groups as vegetarians, pacifists, feminists, Anarchists, Gandhians and right wing extremists. The believe in progress and science was totally dominating both among liberals, the left and the right. As such the  model for public health care and nature conservation worked to make improvements for people in common and for the nature at some spots.

The limitations of the welfare state was challenged both in the West and the East by a system critical anti authoritarian movement of movements with concerns for how health and nature was the same environmental issue. The earlier state centred system for solving the environmental problem was not able anymore to cope with growing problems of wide spread pollution.

This movement was especially strong in building local class alliances in many parts of Europe against state or corporate environmentally destructive projects and created during the 1970s and 1980s strong mass mobilisations in conflictual environmental issues as against the building of dams, nuclear power, motorways and the use of pesticides in forestry and agriculture to name a few.

There was one big strategic difference between the East and the West. The development model in the East built upon exploitation within countries belonging to the Soviet Union dominated countries which meant that environmental destruction at places in the East could be very intense. The development model in the West built upon global exploitation outside the communist bloc and could then successfully export a lot of the environmental problems to places were it was as intense as inside the Soviet dominated countries, but easier to explain by propaganda in Western Europe as something to ignore.

Global governance for sustainable growth

With the fall of the Berlin Wall the capitalist development model became the only regime in all of Europe and globally it seemed as if capitalism and liberalism was the only still existing models for the future. In this era once more the environmental movement becomes very much integrated into the system, this time in a model for global governance were busíness, governments and so called non-governmental organizations, NGOs, together should find win-win solutions to promote environmental awareness and solutions. What happened to a large part of the trade unions 50 years earlier now happened also to the environmental movement. The door was open for influencing policy to the price of adapting to the role in the social partnership propaganda for stability and trust in the existing system. Some environmental movements shifted their earlier strong criticism of economic growth and the prevailing development model to appraisal of sustainable growth as it was presented by the Brundtland commission and the UN Conference in Rio 1992.

This new model proved in the beginning as successful in a number of fields. At the same time seemingly unrelated right wing extremism started to grow in Europe after being repressed in both the East and the West since the victory of anti fascism during Word War II and the welfare state gains for people in common in Europe.

Offensive environmentalism and social concerns on the defensive

Today the model for win-win solutions building on an alliance between so called stakeholders from business, government and NGOs have lost its appeal as the totality of environmental destruction still is growing. This is expressed in such issues as water, energy, art extinction and biological diversity, climate change etc.

While the ecological issues becomes more severe the social cleavages in society are growing both within and between countries. The difference is that seemingly social issues in Europe is not the basis for movements that are on the offensive. On the contrary in spite of historically huge problems for the trust in the capitalist system it is the right rather than  the left that so far have gained from the financial crisis. Trade unions, anti racist movements, movements against war are all on the defensive and right wing extremism is gaining more influence both in the East and the West.

The environmental issue has not been as easy to present as possible to solve by the system in spite of many efforts. Contrary to movements addressing only social issues movements addressing environmental issues are more on the offensive.

From  this one could conclude that it is most successful to avoid combining the ecological and social issues. Instead of becoming a movement addressing every issue and get linked to movements primarily addressing social issues in an unsuccessful way it is more useful both for environmental politics and for other movements to focus upon on environmental conflicts without putting them in a social context. In this way one could argue it is easier to win victories good for the environment and in this way also inspire other movements with results rather than proclaiming and focusing upon ideological unity. This would also mean to avoid the issue of right wing extremism as not only marginal to the environmental movement but directly contraproductive to take into consideration.

Global material realities makes social connections necessary

The problem with this seemingly correct way at looking at the present realities is that the environmental concern is a matter of material circumstances. At the moment there is a concern that these material circumstances have reached global dimensions. That environmental problems no longer can be solved by longer pipes and sewers in larger and larger recipients. Some are of course still local in their character but we now have a global production and consumption system that puts a total burden on the ecosystems that has for future human generations a negative effect on the whole biosphere.

This makes it necessary to take into consideration the social causes of the environmental degradation and possible solutions. And then the issue of right wing extremism becomes necessary to relate to.

There are at least two aspects of the relationship. One concerns the defensive aspect, the other the necessity under the present circumstances to be offensive when addressing the the present ecological crisis.

At the basis of the defensive relationship towards right wing extremism lies a need to start from a material understanding. As the material effect on human possibilities for well being as living beings in nature is the final judgement it is possible to see why right wing extremism when it turns up inside the environmental movement at times gets problems. The idea to reduce the world population by forced sterilization of men in the third world which belonged to the main stream Anglo-American environmentalism in the beginning of the 1970s had from this perspective one contradiction on its own terms. If one at all should except that environmental destruction can be reduced to the issue of number of people there still is the need from an environmental point of view to look at how much each individual in different groups actually puts a burden on the environmental. It then becomes obvious that  the growth of the consumption pro capita in rich parts of the world is having a considerable higher impact on the environment than that of population changes in impoverished countries. Thus the environmental effect of reducing the number of people in impoverished countries is a way to disguise the need to focus on the main problem of reducing negative environmental effects among the populations that puts a lot higher burden on the environment.

The Anglo-American environmentalism recognized that the over population issue was actually more of a problem in the rich world as the pro capita environmental destruction here was a lot higher than in those parts of the world they proposed forced sterilization. Behind this political understanding was the claimed fact that although this was the case the environmental movement have to focus upon the achievable. So even if forced sterilization or other population control measures would be more needed according to the ideas of over population as the biggest environmental problem in rich countries this was not pragmatically possible to achieve here so instead it was proposed to implement the ideas in other parts of the world were the effect would from an environmental points of view have lot less effect and even be contrapoductive as it disguised the more important factor behind global environmental problem, the over consumption among the rich classes. Once Third World Network emerged as a central actor in global environmental politics and Friends of the Earth International became a global democratic organization with a leadership representing the majority of countries on earth environmental concerns became central to the movement and right wing extremist ideas was completely marginalized.

Right wing extremism a tool for anti-environmental and repression interests

In the same way it is necessary to address the issue of right wing extremism external to the environmental movement. As the material relationship is at the centre right wing extremism must be put in context. As such right wing extremism in today’s world is not much connected to environmental destruction as it has very little direct governmental power. But we can see in countries like Denmark that modern right wing populism is at the frontline of opposing solutions to climate change and other globally important environmental issues while also supporting extremist positions towards refugees and immigrants. We can also se how this right wing populism with its extremist chauvinist ideas is an integral part of broader political groups which in Denmark is the basis not only of the right wing government but also have influenced the social democratic party and even the Socialist people party. Right wing extremist positions is in today’s Europe not a marginal phenomena but can at times have an effect on the whole political culture.

This was clearly visible during the recent climate summit in Copenhagen when the Danish People’s party easily could influence the whole parliamentary party system to adopt ever growing repressive measures against climate protesters so that in the end even social democratic and Socialist party spokes persons supported the police after the mass arrest of 2000 protesters.

Right wing extremism can be influential when it is an integral part of political forces in society that have the same interests. The Danish People’s Party have the same point of view at global environmental issues as climate change as quite a few corporations. The right to continue to pollute for those with global consumer power to do so regardless of the social and ecological consequences as long as the burden is located among impoverished nations or local settings. That such unbalanced relationships in the long run is a threat to both the biosphere and human relationships is not of concern. The way of thinking promoted by some right wing populism today together with corporate interests and their allies is in the way of addressing global environmental crisis.

Put Europe in a global context exposing also the role of liberalism

But this cannot be addressed only as an issue of right wing extremism. To point at the right wing extremism dimension is necessary for both a defence against repression and to show how some dominant solutions to the global environmental crisis are linked to right wing extremism and racist ideas. But it is also necessary to address the whole material circumstances in which the right wing extremism can promote their environmentally destructive politics.

Thus it is necessary to confront the dominating NGO way of addressing right wing extremism as caused by ideological intolerance of a nature that is fundamentally different from that of the dominant forces of today’s society.

In the European context the defensive side of this approach makes it necessary to put the material conditions in Europe in a global context. The understanding of right wing extremism have a dominant position of the political culture of Europe today. It is defined as something defeated in the past and yet necessary to stay alert to recognize as a ideological phenomena today that has its roots in extremist ideas different from that of the dominating political ideas of today. The situation is furthermore complicated by the different situation in Eastern and Western Europe after de facto Soviet occupation and a Nazi occupation in the East and cold war military US camps and strong influence in the West. Thus left wing ideologies have been to a large extent put into the same category as right wing extremist ideologies as something equally dangerous, separate from today’s dominating political thinking and above all separate from material conditions.

From an environmental point of view this is problematic. It is in the first place historically untrue. European fascism came to power with the help of the first world war which was the result of a period dominated by liberal ideologies. The result of this conflict in the liberal world was a polarization in Europe that brought fascism to power with the help of liberals in Italy. This while liberal ideology still ruled the colonial world and secured cheap natural resources for Europe as well as a racist ideology as the basis for this exploitation. The problem was that Germany and Italy was late comers in this struggle for dominance of other countries and their natural resources so more drastic methods to come in similar positions as the liberal countries were promoted. In the case of Italy in the unsuccessful dream of a new Roman empire and colonial victories, in the case of Germany by colonializing Eastern Europe.

Today the same liberal ideology that supported corporate interests in the 1930s and brought fascism to power tries to claim that politics should be separated from economy and thus ecology. Ideologies should be seen as isolated phenomena and not in their historical or material context. In this way a European identity is constructed built upon an enemy image that the threat against our well being comes from right wing and left wing extremism. In this way material relationships and especially those with global economic and ecological impact gets out of sight.

This is a threat to environmental concerns. Thus it is necessary from an environmental point of view of addressing the issue of right wing extremism from a material perspective and looking at which right wing extremist ideology and practice is linked to what kind of environmental concerns.

Address immediate threats as well as write a global history of Europe

At one level it is of course a need to unite a broad opposition in society against the most explicit expression of this right wing tendencies whether in the field of populistic simplistic politics, repression or racism and xenophobia. But of more vital concern to the environmental problems of today is the need to address the necessity of putting Europe in a global context.

What is necessary is to write a European history from a global historical point of view based on material realities. As environmental problems have no boundaries. Such a history will put the right wing extremism into the context of European exploitation that was started primarily by regimes underpinned with liberal ideology. This was expressed quite openly in the war to force China to open its population for selling opium grown in the East India territories in India to make England rich twice, first by forcing Indian labour to grow the opium and then forcing Chinese to open its market for making people drug addicts. This kind of war in the name of liberal ideologies to claim that the natural resources and markets in the third world belonged to European interests to do whatever they liked with as they had the economic power was the same as the Nazi regime promoted. Contrary to the propaganda today that Nazi ideology was only directed against Jews and democracy in reality it was equally or more directed against both the worker’s movement and populations outside Western Europe. Colonial Bolshevism was one of the main enemies that threatened the claimed Europe’s right to natural resources from the rest of the world. To not talk about the red army soldier who was in the way of colonializing Eastern Europe and the natural resources in Central Asia.

Only by challenging the present dominating way of building a European identity through separating politics from economy and ecology is it possible to build an understanding of the material realities of how the future of Europe is part of the fate of the biosphere. An understanding that puts liberal ideology as the unquestionable only way of looking at societal concerns is blocking such placing of Europe in its global context. It is also a way of promoting a false polarization in European between EU and Russia were on both sides more authoritarian tendencies can gain influence blaming extremists as the cause of instability while glossing over the role of now dominating ideologies in the East and the West. A Europe put in its global material context is a prerequisite for the environmental movement to be able to make its concerns for the biosphere seriously taken. It is also a necessary contribution to challenge right wing extremism.

Rural and urban sustainable transition

To be on the offensive when addressing the the present ecological crisis in relationship to right wing extremism it is even more important to put the ideology into the context of material concerns. As the ecological crisis today is of such a magnitude it is necessary to put it into its social context. The main focus must here be how to formulate and struggle for a sustainable transition of our societies both in rural and urban areas. A transition that puts direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry at the centre of transition of production and gives local communities a central role in addressing the cultural, political and economic concerns. A sustainable transition based in a material understanding of global realities which comes from the ability to not only have but also use freedom of expression and organize popular movements that enables us to develop scientific and cultural understanding of our lives and the planet we live upon.

Tord Björk

Active in Friends of the Earth Sweden

The Alternative to the Right-Wing Extremism in the Time of Social and Ecological Crisis

Tord Björk | CEE,ESF,International action | Friday, April 9th, 2010

Klimaforum declaration presented at the ESF mobilization conference in Prague

Russian below = Po-russki vnizun and in Czech

Conference „The Alternative
to the Right-Wing Extremism in the Time of Social and Ecological Crisis“
Prague, 27th and 28th March 2010
Final Declaration

Approximately 100 participants from 19 Eastern, Central and Western-European countries representing a great variety of social movements, human rights and ecological organizations and trade unions got together in Prague on March 27th and 28th, 2010 to take a part in a conference on alternatives to right-wing extremism in a time of social and ecological crisis, held in the framework of the European Social Forum.

Analyzing the rise of right-wing extremism in different European countries in the global context of social and ecological crisis we considered it to be a very serious danger to civil and social rights and for the future of our countries. In numerous discussions we discovered a great diversity of reasons for this threat to the democracies in the Eastern, Central and Western European countries, a threat which is deeply rooted in the history of fascism and the growing social inequalities and unemployment in the present.

We detected a whole spectrum of extreme-right organizations going form autonomous, militant and militaristic neo-fascists like in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Germany to right-wing tendencies embedded in nationalist parties like in Austria, Hungary, France and Czechia. In Romania and Ukraine extreme right-wing policies are promoted not only by the well-established and known right political parties but also by those pretending to be from radical left. There is also a new tendency of youth mobilizations drawing from globalization critical and antifascist movements their ways of dressing in black and disguising themselves as autonomists whereas on the other side, in Turkey right-wing extremism is integrated in the State apparatus where a right-wing religious party promotes the neo-liberal restructuring of the State and taking advantage of being in the government to present itself as democratic.

The participants of the conference agree on the fact that it is neoliberal global capitalism and neo-conservatism which has incremented and enhanced conditions for the rise of both, populist right parties and right-wing extremist organizations. Following this analysis, the participants concluded that there is an urgent need for a new kind of joint international and transnational solidarity. In order to fulfill this need for resistance, celebration of togetherness and the promotion of alternatives, we decided to form an All-European Network against Right-Wing Extremism.

Inspired by each other, the participants call for support of mobilizations (like the one in Dresden) against right-wing extremist manifestations. We also propose joint action days initiated by existing human rights networks like UNITED for Intercultural Action and the Climate Justice Network in order to strengthen the base for the integration of the movements on a larger scale. That is why we will issue a call for simultaneous common actions in different countries of Europe on specific dates like e.g. 8th-9th of May, the days of commemoration of the defeat of fascism in order to promote simultaneously the establishment of social and ecological rights as an indivisible claim of all people on the Earth. For the purpose of enlarging our network we also call to assist to the 6th European Social Forum (Istanbul, 1 – 4 July, 2010) where we propose a joint seminar with other networks for alternatives to the present social and ecological crisis with the purpose of integrating as many people as possible. Considering this as an ongoing process the participants decided to organize a next conference in autumn 2010, either in Budapest or in Vilnius.

Prague, March 28th, 2010 The participants of the Conference


Пражская декларация о правом экстремизме в Европе

Около 100 участников из 19 государств Восточной, Центральной и Западной Европы, представляющие широкий спектр социальных движений, правозащитных и экологических организаций и профсоюзов собрались 27-27 марта 2010 года в Праге для участия в проводимой в рамках Европейского социального форума конференции «Альтернатива правому экстремизму в периоде социального и экологического кризиса».

Проведя анализ роста правого экстремизма в различных европейских государствах в контексте социального и экологического кризиса, мы пришли в выводу о его серьезной опасности для гражданских и социальных прав и будущего наших стран. Во многочисленных дискуссиях мы выявили большое разнообразие причин этой угрозы для демократии в государствах Восточной, Центральной и Западной Европы. Эта угроза для демократии имеет глубокие корни в истории фашизма и в растущем социальном неравенстве и безработице настоящего времени.

Мы установили наличие целого спектра крайне правых организаций, начиная от автономных, воинствующих и милитаристских неофашистов, таких как в Латвии, Литве, Эстонии и Германии, до крайне правых тенденций в рамках националистических партий, как в Австрии, Венгрии, во Франции и в Чешской Республике. В Румынии и на Украине крайне правую политику продвигают не только этаблированные и известные крайне правые партии, но и партии, претендующие быть радикально левыми. Возникла также новая тенденция молодежной мобилизации посредством заимствования стиля черной одежды у альтерглобалистских и антифашистских движений и маскировки под автономные движения. С другой стороны, в Турции правый экстремизм интегрирован в государственный аппарат, а правая религиозная партия проводит неолиберальную перестройку государства, используя свое пребывание в правительстве, чтобы выдавать себя в качестве демократов.

Участники конференции согласны в том, что неолиберальный глобальный капитализм и неоконсерватизм расширили и улучшили условия для подъема как правопопулистских партий, так и правых экстремистских организаций. Руководствуясь подобным анализом, участники конференции пришли к выводу о насущной необходимости нового типа международной и транснациональной солидарности. Для удовлетворения этой потребности, мы решили, исходя из нужд сопротивления, проявления чувства единства и продвижения альтернатив, сформировать Общеевропейскую сеть против правого экстремизма.

Вдохновленные друг другом, участники конференции призывают поддержать мобилизацию (подобно тому, как это было в Дрездене) против правоэкстремистских демонстраций. Мы также предлагаем проводить совместные акции по инициативе таких существующих правозащитных организаций как UNITED для интеркультурных акций и Climate Justice Network для укрепления интеграции движений на более масштабной основе. Поэтому мы намереваемся призвать к проведению одновременных общих акций в различных европейских государствах по случаю таких памятных дат как 8-9 мая – дни памяти Победы над фашизмом, для закрепления и обеспечения одновременно как социальных, так и экологических прав в качестве неразделимого требования всех народов Земли. С целью увеличения нашей сети мы также призываем поддержать Шестой Европейский социальный форум (с 1-го по 4 июля 2010г.) в Стамбуле, где мы предлагаем провести с целью интеграции максимального числа людей совместный семинар с другими сетевыми сообществами об альтернативах нынешнему социальному и экологическому кризису. Рассчитывая на продолжение процесса, участники конференции решили организовать следующую конференцию осенью 2010 года в Будапеште или в Вильнюсе.


Pražská deklarace
konference „Alternativa k pravicovému extremismu v době sociální a ekologické krize“, organizované Evropským sociálním fórem a Českým sociálním fórem, Praha 27. a 28. 3. 2010

Na konferenci o alternativách k pravicovému extremismu v době sociální a ekologické krize, pořádané v rámci Evropského sociálního fóra, se v Praze sešlo zhruba 100 účastníků a účastnic z 19 zemí východní, střední a západní Evropy, kteří reprezentovali velkou škálu sociálních hnutí, lidskoprávních a ekologických organizací a odborů.
Na základě analýz nárůstu pravicového extremismu v jednotlivých zemích v globálním kontextu sociální a ekologické krize jsme došli k závěru, že pravicový extremismus představuje závažné nebezpečí pro občanská a sociální práva a budoucnost našich zemí. V četných diskusích jsme rozebírali jednotlivé příčiny tohoto ohrožení demokracií v zemích východní, střední a západní Evropy, které je hluboce zakořeněno v historii fašismu stejně jako v současných rostoucích sociálních nerovnostech a nezaměstnanosti.
Podoby pravicového extremismu jsou ovlivněny historickou zkušeností jednotlivých zemí. Odhalili jsme celé spektrum krajně pravicových organizací od autonomních, radikálních a militantních neofašistických skupin jako např. v Lotyšsku, Litvě, Estonsku, Rusku a Německu až po pravicové tendence zakotvené v nacionalistických stranách jako např. v Rakousku, Maďarsku, Francii a Česku. V Rumunsku a na Ukrajině jsou extrémně pravicové politiky prosazovány nejen zavedenými a známými pravicovými politickými stranami, ale také stranami, které předstírají, že reprezentují radikální levici. Objevuje se také nová tendence mobilizace mládeže, která přebírá způsob oblékaní do černého od kritiků globalizace a antifašistů a maskuje se za autonomisty. Na druhé straně v Turecku je pravicový extremismus integrován do státního aparátu. Existuje tu náboženská strana prosazující neoliberální restrukturalizaci státu, jež využívá své přítomnosti ve vládě jako příležitost k sebeprezentaci jako demokratické strany.
Účastníci a účastnice konference se shodli na tom, že neoliberální globální kapitalismus a neokonzervatismus vyzdvihly a prohloubily podmínky k růstu jak populistických pravicových stran, tak krajně pravicových extremistických organizací. Po této analýze došli k závěru, že existuje naléhavá potřeba nové společné mezinárodní a transnacionální solidarity. Abychom naplnili tuto potřebu rezistence, semknutosti a uvědomování o alternativách, rozhodli jsme se vytvořit Celoevropskou síť proti pravicovému extremismu.
Účastnice a účastníci se vzájemně inspirovali k výzvě k mobilizacím (jaká proběhla např. v Drážďanech) proti manifestacím pravicových extrémistů. Rovněž navrhujeme společné akční dny iniciované existujícími lidskoprávními sítěmi jako např. UNITED for Intercultural Action nebo Climate Justice Network, což by posílilo základ pro širší a větší integraci hnutí. Proto vyhlásíme výzvu ke společným akcím probíhajícím současně v jednotlivých evropských zemích ve specifických datech jako např. 8. a 9. května, dnech vzpomínek na porážku fašismu, abychom tím současně podpořili naplnění sociálních a ekologických práv jako nedělitelných nároků všech lidí žijících na Zemi.
Za účelem rozšíření naší sítě vyzýváme k účasti na 6. Evropském sociálním fóru v Istanbulu (1. až 4. července 2010), na kterém navrhujeme zorganizovat společný seminář s dalšími sítěmi k diskusi o alternativách k sociální a ekologické krizi, který by měl oslovit co nejširší okruh lidí. Protože jde o kontinuální proces, účastníci se dohodli zorganizovat další konferenci na podzim 2010 buď v Budapešti, nebo ve Vilniusu.
Praha, 28. března 2010                    Schváleno konsenzem účastníků konference