A report on the Croatian anti-government demonstrations from an anarcho syndicalist participant.
The masses have taken to the streets of Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Đakovo. As they marched through the streets of their cities, demanding change, they were joined by a large number of curious passers-by who were suddenly drawn to this spontaneous expression of discontent. The illusory “alternatives” of the official opposition provide little solace and now a wave of anger, action and revolt against social injustice, increasing unemployment and corruption, against the ruling class thieves, has swept the country.
The leading figures of the official opposition and people such as Dragutin Lesar (of the Croatian Labourists) and Ivan Pernar (the self-proclaimed leader of the protests) tell us that the solution lies in “more capitalism”. We resolutely say – No! Even if we were to agree with them politically, which we do not, does that mean that we agree with them when it comes to social economy? From the nineties onwards, we have been told many times that we are equal in the eyes of the law and that there is a bright future ahead, but we, those who own nothing but our ability to work, who suffer every day under the conditions forced upon us by capital, according to its own laws, we find it hard to believe such claims of equality. Now that calling for more capitalism has once again become no more than an insult to the disgruntled masses, more social justice is the only reasonable answer.
While they “heroically” proclaim themselves as our leaders, we say – No! The people cannot be represented, the masses cannot be lead by anyone but themselves and their autonomous organizations. One woman shouted at a protest in Rijeka: “You have to fight for your rights! You should organise meetings like this in your local communities, the system has to be destroyed from below!” And she was right. Only a truly libertarian spirit can end all the injustice that surrounds us. And thus we support, as we always have, and state as our own principles both in theory and action - solidarity and direct democracy, autonomous struggle and self-organisation. In these early days of March, principles so dear to any libertarian emerge slowly, but resolutely out of the frozen city concrete.
As the voices from “above” tell us that taking to the streets is not the answer, we say – No! The streets are one of the few remaining realms of freedom, a wide space that belongs to everyone, to the people who grew up playing on the very same pavement, to the people who studied, worked and loved in the same places where they gather to protest today – only here can truly new alternatives be formed. A protester in Zagreb was seen carrying a sign on which “We believe in a new dream” was written. We believe in a new dream, too. Join us!
New protest scheduled for 6 PM today – we’ll see you there!
Network of Anarcho-Syndicalists
Local Group Zagreb