In the town of Iaşi organised comrades of Actiunea Antifascista (Antifascist Action) an of the Federatia Anarhista (Anarchist Federation) an demonstration on the 9th of November 2009 against Fascism, Racism and all forms of discrimination. On the demonstration participated till 50 people. She was the only demonstration of this kind in Romania in 2009.
Iaşi (pronounced Jasch) is with approximativ 310.000 Inhabitants the fourth largest town in Romania. She is located in the Northeast of the Country, with around 20km distance to the border of Moldavia. Anarchist traces are to find there since the beginning of the 20th Century. Anarchist pamphlets got there published and distributed in the country. Beside other things got here on the 2. March 1895 the known Thinker of the violent free anarchism, Eugen Relgis (natural name Eugen Sigler) born.
In a detailed interview with Syndikalismus.tk report the Comrades about the demonstration, the situation of the anarchist movement in the country and the various difficulties, with witch they are confronted. On this place once more a heart full thank you to the comrades from Iaşi for the interview. Long live Anarchy. Traiasca Anarhia!
Interview with anarchist antifascists from Iaşi (Romania)
Syndikalismus.tk: You have done on the 9.11.2009 a demonstration in your town, Iaşi, against “Fascism, Antisemitism and all forms of discrimination”. Could you describe how the demonstration was? How many people participated? Was it possible to disseminate your opinions and beliefs among the people? How did the police act? Did the media report about your demonstration?
Actiunea Antifascista: First of all, we have to say that it is quite difficult here, in Romania, to organize a demonstration, especially a demonstration against racism and discrimination. You have to motivate very well your reasons for which you want to organize the demo, and it is completely weird to have to talk a lot, to debate a lot of stuff about racism, about the gipsies, the magyar minority, the neolegionaries, and to expose a lot a lot of reasons for which people should join the demo. I mean that we think that a healthy minded person wouldn’t need any complementary explanations for which he/she should join us.
In order to organize this demo, two weeks before the 9th of november, we had to go to the City Hall, to the Main Police Station and to the Gendarmerie to write exactly the same application so they can authorize our march. We built this antifa blog http://www.actiuneaantifascista.blogspot.com and we displayed there some info about the fascist tendence from our country, the danger represented by the church, the media, the state. We handed out hundreds of flyers, we put a lot of announcements on the streets and in the universities, we sent a lot of e-mails. We even went to the Jewish Community from our town and invited them to the march, but only one guy from there came and joined us.
At the demo, we were about 40-50 people unfortunately. But we had 12 placards and one big placard for two persons, two black&red anarchist flags, and one big antifa flag (which we bought from Berlin, this summer). We also had two big black banners with red writings. The banners read “solidarity with the workers from China and Bangladesh” (we have some asian workers in our town) and “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason”. We also had a speaking trumpet which proved to be very useful and noisy and some music – alerta antifascista/sin dios, keny arkana -la rage and some romanian anarchopunk music (the terror art band). We handed out a lot of flyers and the people from the streets seemed to be very nice to us. Some of them told us that this is a good ideea but we have to send a letter to Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of PRM , the right extremist party, to make some fun of him. There were also few guys who passed near us with a fancy car, and they shouted at us ” heeey, what’s wrong with you guys? go hooome”.
The police wasn’t really ok with us. There were this guys holding the banners at their left side and 2 police cars were driving exactly near them, so it was sometimes impossible for the people from the streets to read the banners. One copper came to me and told me that “we are not allowed” to write on the placards “Fuck Hitler! Fuck Stalin! Fuck Corneliu Zelea Codreanu!” but I didn’t listen to him, so his request was in vain. They also wanted to look very smart in front of us, talking real fast, mentioning some laws and stuff but they looked like fools when we showed them that we have the laws printed on some papers, so we know exactly what we do. After the demo, a comrade of us saw a guy entering a hotel with a green t-shirt which read POLIZEI. Of course, he was a german cop. But we can not understand why was him dressed like that, here, in Romania.
The media didn’t seem to be so interested about our demo. Only two local tv channels came there and only one newspaper called us. Anyway, we refused to give them interviews because they had a lot of racist news during this year, they presented a lot of ugly news about the gipsies, they associated the word anarchy with diseases, with catastrophic events and, of course, with chaos. So, one team of one tv channel left the demo, but the other seemed to be very interested about our demo. And they really presented quite good stuff about us on their news. They interviewed two persons from the street, who were very enthusiastic about our action and one activist girl from France. Also, that newspaper presented good stuff about us.
Syndikalismus.tk: Which is the situation of Neonazis (to be more precisely Neolegionaries) and Fascists in Romania? Are they present and active in the public? How do you think they can be stopped?
Actiunea Antifascista: The problem with fascism in Romania is that almost everybody has fascist thoughts. If you ask somebody on the street “are you a fascist?”, he/she says “no, I’m not, what the fuck”, but “what do you think about the gipsies or the magyars, or about the gay people ?” he/she says “I can not see the connection between fascism and the gipsies. Hitler is dead anyway, so there is no more fascism. And, about the gipsies. I hate those shity people, burn them, get them out of our country, let’s send them to work for us. The magyars should learn to talk romanian, because this is Romania, not Hungary, otherwise, they should go to Hungary. And the gay people are some fucking freaks. Shoot them!”. Hardly can you meet somebody who doesn’t hate gipsies. The media is also guilty for this.
The neonazis and the neolegionaries doesn’t seem to be in very good realationships. Usually, they hate each other, they even had some fights – because most of the neonazis are atheists and the ND is christian. But some neonazis also joined a demo of the ND, in Bucuresti. There are a lot of neonazis in the soccer team galleries from Timisoara and Bucuresti, and a lot of them are also in Bacau ( near Iasi! ). But there are more neolegionaries than neonazis. The New Right (Noua Dreapta) , the neolegionaries organization, is very active in Bucuresti, Cluj, Timisoara and Galati. In Iasi there are only about 20-30 of them, but there are also a lot of rockers who support them, but who do not agree with all of their ideas, and also who do not agree with all the neo nazi ideas. The leader of Noua Dreapta is a lawyer in Bucuresti, he is about 30 years old. A lot of the ND members are about 30 years old people, with families and kids, but there are also some big skinheads, about 25 years old or so.
The antifa demo from Iasi, was the only antifa demo in the country! In all the other towns, the antifa & the anarchists had problems with the ND, but they had problems especially with the SRI ( The Romanian Information Service – Serviciul Roman de Informatii ). We think that the ND is supported by SRI. For example, in 2008, when some antifa from Bucharest went to the City Hall to get the authorization for the antifa march, the ND leader was already in the city hall, laughing at them. They didn’t receive the authorization for the march, they received an authorization only for a static demo, they had to stay in a small area and everybody who came there was stopped and searched by the police.
The ND is quite active. They have a lot of actions, they also seem to have a lot of money – probably from Forza Nuova, from Italy and from NPD, from Germany. They seem to be in good relationships. They are very populist, especially in this last year. I think they aren’t as many as in 2000, at their beginning. On the 24th of january 2010, they will probably come to Iasi – all of them! They also came this year and they were drinking on the streets ( in romania you are not allowed to drink on the street) and they were really noisy. They saw a comrade of ours, an anarchist, and they shouted at him ” heeey, you commuuunist!”, but, fortunately, he got out of that area. They also covered a lot of graffiti and writings from the walls from the city center, in the day light! And if we want to make a graffiti, we have to go in the night, to be very careful, especialy because one of us was even beaten by the police because he did a graffiti near the police station. The worst part is that the police was really expecting him to do the graffiti and there were about 5 police cars in the area waiting for him and they also knew his name and his adress.
But, the most funny thing happened when we reached the meeting zone, at 12:00 pm. Then, one neolegionarie came there – a really retarded one – with a small piece of carton which read “god is the master of our country. long live the legion and the captain.” the legion refers to the fascists from the interwar period from our country, the captain (Corneliu Zelea Codreanu) being their leader. We all shouted at him and I wanted to beat him but the police was there also. He started to panic and he was requesting to the police officers to fine me because I told him to go to his mother’s gods, it sounds very funny and not polite in romanian. But the police was also scared because we were all masked up, dressed in black, and shouting. They got the fascist out of there, and after this, we started to march. There really was something bizarre at this fascist. You will laugh at him. We all believe that he has some real skizo problems, mentally deranged or something, a real kamikaze.
I think, in Iasi at least, we have to beat every ND member and to terrorize their neighbourhoods with antifa graffiti and we definetly need more anarchists.
Syndikalismus.tk: Many demonstrations are “against” something. What are the aims of Actiunea Antifascista? Which kind of society do you want to reach?
Actiunea Antifascista: Well, this is the most difficult question I think. We aren’t really a homogenous group if we speak about our political or philosophical views, so it is a little difficult for me to speak for all the other people.
There are some neomarxists, some anarcho-communists, some anarcho-individualists, some anarcho-primitivists, some of us are just antifa, some of them are anticapitalists and antiwar activists bur are not anarchists, some anarcha-feminists. For example, I am an anarchist, I really believe in anarcho-communism and in anarcho-primitivism. A lot of us are vegetarians also, and some of us are vegans.
But, most of us believe that Actiunea Antifascista (die antifaschistische aktion) wants to destroy the ND, the church,wants to do some direct actions against the pro-fascist media, wants to display a lot of info about the danger of racism because there is a huge lack of info about anticapitalism, anarchism, antifascism.
I don’t really know in exactly what kind of society would like all the others to live , but of course that society would be without capitalism, without parliamentarism, without classes, without pollution and without fascism.
For example, I believe in Proudhon’s idea that a revolution needs centuries to be done, for the people to change. But I do not just wait for them to change or I do not just wait for the great revolution to come, I believe in the revolution of the everyday life, in the direct action. I would like to see the destruction of all this “civilization”, of all the states, all the churches all the police stations, all the armies, all the fascist organizations, all the schools. I believe that anarchists can create healthy communes but I don’t think that the other people would be so enthusiastic about anarchy, some of them have a really slaves mentality, this is why I believe in Proudhon’s theories. These people need a lot a lot of time to change themselves. They have deviated a lot from their nature, from their instincts. If somebody just sets them free, they would be like a wild animal who had been kept in a cage all his life, and when he goes into the wild, he is very weakened and he probably dies. That’s why I do not believe in ideologies, because they suppose they can decide what’s the best way of life for everybody, and I do not consider anarchism an ideology. Anarchism is not about deciding what’s the best solution for all the individuals in the world, but about deciding what’s to be done when there is no best solution for everybody, when there is no good government. Anarchism is about direct action, about free initiative of the individual.
But, of course, there is no point in elaborateing all the anarchist theories because you all know them.
Syndikalismus.tk: Fortunately in your Logo the bigger flag is the black one. Which is your relation to the anarchist movement? Are there in Iaşi any anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist groups?
Actiunea Antifascista: The Antifa movement in Iasi and the anarchist movement are almost the same. I mean, you can hardly talk about an anarchist movement in Iasi, as long as there are about 10 or 20 anarchists at the maximum, here. We also built an anarchist blog : www.federatia-anarhista.blogspot.com in order to display more info about anarchism. The others antifa, who aren’t anarchists, are in good relationships with us, but they aren’t so involved, so active in fighting fascism or capitalism. Anyway, we organize together a Food Not Bombs action once a month. We also built a blog for this action to display more info about antimilitarism and vegetarianism : www.hrananubombeiasi.blogspot.com
As far as we know, there are no anarcho-syndicalists in this town. There was a kind of a beginning of an anarcho-syndicalist movement, a few years ago, at a steel factory from this town.But this movement was more syndicalist than anarchist. Anyway, it was one of the most active and serious syndicalist movements from Romania. But, this movement ended in 2000 when the trade union leader was killed with a knife, by two guys, at the entrance of his block of flats. It’s about Virgil Sahleanu, who organized a lot of strikes and demonstrations. It is curious that the ND movement was founded also in 2000, but we don’t know if there are some real links between the start of a neolegionary movement and the end of a quite strong syndicalist movement. Probably the SRI knows something!
Now, the syndicat of that steel factory has the name ” The Virgil Sahleanu Syndicat”, and there is even a book written about him – “The history of the first syndical assasination from Romania”. We can not say if they were really anarcho-syndicalists. For example, when we once visited this trade union, they were having a black&red flag, but when we asked them what’s with that flag ( hoping that they would say that it is an anarchist flag) the trade union leader told us that those colours are just some indian colours, some simbolical stuff, since the boss of the steel factory – Arcelor Mittal – is an Indian guy.
There are also some other anarchists from Iasi, who left the country – it is very obvious why – and now, some of them are in Italy, some of them live in squats in Austria, some of them are in the UK. There isn’t so much hope for the anarchist movement from Iasi, but we try to do our best. We are in good relationships with the Cambridge anarchists and the Sheffield anarchists from UK and we correspond a lot with them via e-mail.
It is quite hard being an anarchist here. I do not say that in other western countries it’s easier, but at least there are more people who understand what’s anarchism, at least, in those countries there were anarchists before (starting with 1848, 1871, 1900, 1968 etc.) and now, there are more anarchists in the western countries than there are here. In Romania, there was no anarchist movement in the history, only a few isolated individuals who were anarchists or who had anarchist thoughts. Now, if you say anarchy here, everybody thinks that it means chaos and nothing more. A lot of them don’t even know what’s that capitalism, what’s that fascism and a lot of them are ignorants and hypocrites. And I reffer here to the youth especially.
You are chased by the police if you put a sticker or an announcement and if they catch you they beat you, or at least they fine you. This also happens if they catch you doing graffiti. They stop you on the street almost everytime they see you, to check your identity card, and to ask you some stupid questions ” how are you mister…? Where do you go? Where do you come from? ” . Of course, you don’t change your identity card everyday, but they continue to stop you. Sometimes they even shout behind you “heeeeey, mister X, ( or mister Y, etc. – they usually know your full name and adress) , take care today, we will patrol in this area”. Some of us were stopped in the street, and taken to the police station to be fingerprinted and photographed. They motivated their action saying that there was a robbery in the area and we are suspects. Of course, there was no robbery in the area. On the 16th of October, for example, 5 of us, were taken to the police station because we were distributing some flyers against mcdonalds. We stayed at the police station for two hours. They took all the flyers from us and they asked us a lot of questions and after this they let us go. At school or at the university, a lot of teachers make fun of anarchism if they find out that there are some anarchist students. A lot of people won’t talk to you anymore if they find out that you are an anarchist. Most of them can not imagine a society without god!
That’s the main thing that scares them, that we are atheists. Most of them even consider that they can not govern their own life, that they really need a leader. At the demo for example, a lot of people asked “who organized this? Who is your leader?” and I was trying to explain to them that there is no leader, we are anarchists, we all organized this, not a single individual. There is no boss, no master. But most of them just couldn’t understand. “somebody must have payed you”, they use to say. “somebody is behind all this”.
Syndikalismus.tk: Thanks a lot for the interview and much success with your work.
[Note: This Interview between anarchist comrades from Iaşi and Syndikalismus.tk was done in November 2009. It was first published in german language on Syndikalismus.tk.] http://syndikalismus.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/interview-mit-anarchistinnen-aus-iasi-rumanien/