2003 – Ljubljana, Slovenia

From the Local Struggle to International Resistance

The statement from the First Annual Balkan Anarchist Bookfair

Anarchists from numerous groups and organizations from eight Balkan, Eastern and Central European countries gathered at the end of March in Ljubljana, Slovenia for the International Anarchist Gathering and the First Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. The purpose of the meeting was first and foremost to create a space for dialogue among anarchists from various parts of Europe.

Because of the existing authoritarian and repressive system, which divides people with the help of ever more walls, many comrades were turned back at the Slovene border. The border and visa regime therefore kept many of our comrades from joining us.

Nonetheless we met in great numbers with the desire to exchange experiences and ideas, as well as create new contacts, understandings and connections among the diverse realities within the international struggle for a world founded on solidarity, equality and social justice. We struggle for a world of free of the permanent global war and violence that creates and sustains new divisions among people and imposes new borders at all levels making possible the maintenance of the unjust world social order. We oppose the logic of war just as we oppose the current war in Iraq as well as the system that produces that war. We therefore exrpress solidarity with the Iraqi people, who alone can fight for their true liberation because “Enduring Freedom” can never be flown in on the wings of capitalist, quasi-democratic aggressors and occupiers. We therefore also express our solidarity with the our comrades from the “Antiauthoritarian movement of Salonika 2003” and all those who have set off for Iraq with the goal of honestly helping the Iraqi people.

Through our discussions, debates, and meetings we remained firmly committed that our struggle is essential. We are just as sure that the further investment of energy and effort into the building and development of our movement for a true alternative to the existing unjust sytem. The international character and principles in the realization of this gathering confirm the possibility as well as the advantages of abolishing all borders between, people, classes, races, sexes and cultures.

We share the belief that the anarchist movement cannot be built in ghettos nor closed in its own circles but rather that we must open anarchism and the anarchist movement to the people. This is only possible by building strong local structures which work in local communities and take advantage of existing potential to bring development and progress to the movement.

The anarchist movement must ceaselessly work to create a parrallel alternative world that operates outside the existing paradigm as well as alternative forms for communicating with the public.

With the desire to create the above goals we will protest in the coming months against the capitalist system that, in its exploitation, forgets humanity. We will work for another world, which is not divided between the dominant and the exploited, a handful of rich and a majority of impoverished. May 1, 2003 will therefore be marked by protests under the title East European May Day 2003, so we will go to the conference in Sofia, in June fill the streets of Thessaloniki and oppose the summit of the EU, and meet again at the International Anarchist Meeting in Warsaw (Anarchy 2003).

At the Second Annual Balkan Anarchist Bookfair (expected in Belgrade or Sofia) we will reflect on these efforts and their accomplishments.

Of course, it is important to say that this year’s event was successful, constructive and productive. We all allowed ourselves to enjoy the positive mood, which showed great potential, desire and energy for future cooperation towards the building of a internationally connected movement.

The First Annual Anarchist Bookfair is therefore an important milestone which will leave its traces on the future path of the international anarchist movement.