A lot of myths has accumulated about the events around the 11th of November, especially of the day itself. Turning to the sources, watching the news in which there are many contradictions, we have decided to dispel some of them:
Myth # 1 –„ANTI-FASCISTS FROM GERMANY ATTACKED A HISTORICAL-REENACTMENT GROUP”
The fact is that a group of several dozen anti-fascists broached the centre from Nowy Świat street in only to join the anti-fascist block. It is also true that many of them went to Warsaw from Germany. German anti-fasicsts have been involved in protests for years against racism, nationalism and anti-semitism in Europe. Many of them take part in restoring Jewish cemeteries in Poland, cemeteries which have been damaged by Polish nationalists and fascists in the last decade. German anti-fascists also regularly block (the anti-Polish) NPD marches. They also conduct educational activities among young people in germany, sensitsing them to the extreme right. German anti-fasicsts marched to Nowy Świat street in order to join another anti-fasicst protest in Europe. Along the way they passed many groups of historical reenactment. Like many passers-by they took some photos in order to remember their stay in Warsaw. The situation escalated on Świętokrzyska street when 3 or 4 Polish neo-fasicsts (including the well known fascist Bałtyka Gdynia football ultra Rafał Gołuch, author the the fascist blog „Ostatna Kohorta” – „The last resort”) ran towards them. There was a brief confrontation. The attackers were successfully overpowered by the group of anti-fasicsts and the anti-fascists were moving quietly away when suddenly there was confusion when one of the members of another historical reenactment group shouted „Fight the krauts” in the direction of the young Germans. There was a few seconds of struggle; one of the German anti-fasicsts wildly grabbed a firearm that his attacker was using to try to him him. After some time the attacker returned to the historical reenactment group; however, suddenly many police patrols appeared in cars to stop all anti-fascist groups. The extreme right-wing media, including Nowy Ekran hid the shameful fact that a group of a group of Polish neo-fasicsts and Polish xenophobes had attacked German youth who had come to protest against the threat of nationalism. An absurd narrative was constructed with the aid of a few photos and cut films in order to create „evidence’ that „Germans had come to beat Polish historical reenacters”, and this narrative went to the mass media. They, in turn, amplified it uncritically. That’s how the absurd myth was formed.
Picture 1: Historical reenacters attacking anti-fascists.
Half a year later:
a) Warsaw court acquitted the German anti-fascists of ALL absurd charges (which was obvious from the beginning)
b) Rafał Gołuch and his companions, whose attack had been clearly to cause confusion on Nowy Świat (which the historical reenacters had willingly joined in with) has been very active in Polish fascist structures
c) the whole country based itself on the narrative crafted by Nowy Ekran
It is worthy noting that the whole thing resembles a provocation. A few days before November the 11th, right-wing activists set up an event on Facebook called „Disarm the German – reenactment game” (sic!) which urged a raid on German anti-fascist. Several hundred people expressed a willingness to participate in the action including prominent activists of the national movement, including Krzystok Bosak and Samuel Rodrigo Pereira, who had more fiercely attacked the anti-fascists. This has been completely ignored by the media.
Picture 2: Event on Facebook „Disarm the German – reenactment game” refreshing anti-German phobias before 11th November.
MYTH # 2 –„ANTI-FASCISTS PARTICIPATED IN THE CLASHES ON KONSTYTUCJA SQUARE”
It became the custom in many media sources to pass on that the military clashes on Konstytucja Square took place between participants of the blockade and those of the March for Independence. Let us explain once and for all that in all acts of arson, beatings and destruction of the city participated only the nationalists and drafted-in militants. From many a „journalist” we heard about „hooligans on both sides of the fence” and that of especially the „German army boots” beating the nationalists. It is at least amusing to consider that, when at the start of the clashes, the citizens of Germany had already been in custody for a few hours (and their only crime was to come to Warsaw). The very idea that the anti-fascist guests from germany could attack the historical reenactment group of regrettable. These are people who deal with the fight against prejudice eery day and providing selfless help to immigrants, including many Poles. It is none other than the „terrible German Antifa” which organises meetings with Polish veterans (such as that which took place in the May of this year).
However, the extend to which other anti-fascists share in the events of Konstytucja Square was limited to the fact that the peaceful assembly had to, for several hours defend itself against attacks by fascists. The far-right even put forward a myth of „Polish patriots carrying flags” being beaten, having forgotten to add that patriots had marched alongside less nice flags, decorated by an international symbol of racism. You had also forgotten to add that in addition to their flags, these „patriots” were carrying stones in their hands. Finally, no media tried to see that among the victims of „patriots” were such personalities like the innocent victim of the hero Rafał Gołuch, neo-Nazi sympathiser who calls in his website to inform on „leftist and Jewish degenerates”.
Picture 3: Neo-fascists attacking the „Colourful Independence” demonstrators, with a flag modeled on the flag of Nazi Germany, and the Celtic cross, an international symbol of racism
Movie 1: Neo-fascists attacking the”Colourful Independence” demonstrators (at 0:21 can be seen a family with a small child fleeing)
MYTH # 3 – „THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THIS RIOT WERE ORDINARY FOOTBALL FANS, NOT PARTICIPANTS OF THE MARCH OF INDEPENDENCE”
Violence is a fundamental method of nationalists and this would not change even if it ordered by a hundred articles in right-wing newspapers and magazines. It is true at times that those who were demolishing the city on 11/11/11 were militants involved in hooliganism, not themselves nationalists, but it is also true that the militants were the nationalists who were mobilised for the year to come. In countless forums football ultra nationalists had over a period of several months meticulously fueled an atmosphere of hatred, manipulating stories about the „German left-wing” and inciting trouble. While the militants were involved in burning cars and pulling out road signs, nationalists were not wasting time. Around the same time stones were slung at the centre of the Wilcza street as well as a frontal attack on an anti-fascist concert (which was immortalised in films and photos). A day later two random Germans were beaten and sprayed with gas in one of Warsaw’s restaurants.
Similar acts of violence took place throughout the year. Since the last March for Independence nationalists have made a series of attacks on community centres (including Rozbrat in Poznań, where festival was held just for children), beatings and acts of vandalism. Sometimes the fascist aggression is so much that it accumulates against their own allies, as happened in May when a young girl, who in 2011 allowed her face to be the face of the March of Independence received a series of death threats from nationalist leaders. The reason? She had dared to say a few words about ONR-style militants.
Myth # 4 – „THE BLOCKADE OF THE MARCH OF INDEPENDENCE WAS ILLEGAL”
Anti-fascists had never hid that their aim was to stop the nationalists before they entered the city and carried out their attacks on places like cultural centres, clubs, cafes, etc. The anti-fascist gathering permit was issued by the city; however, much earlier than the authorised nationalist march. The latter had at first delayed the submission of the application for a long time, and then they couldn’t fill it in, so it was rejected. Therefore from a legal point of view the March of Independence interfered with the previously reported „Colourful Independent” who was registered for the same path. Recall that the anti-fascist blockade proceeded calmly and peacefully, while on the other side were massive riots. Municipal services in turn gave out contradictive information about the March of Independence, saying at times that it was delegalised.
Myth # 5 – „ANTI-FASCISTS COVERED THEIR FACES AS THEY WERE TO PARTICIPATE IN RIOTS”
The covering of faces by some anti-fascists has been practiced for a long time and has little to do with the preparations for riots. Neo-Nazis always appear at anti-fascist, anti-racist and pro-social demonstrations in order to photography the most active participants and create their own databases, such as the infamous RedWatch. Attacks on people who are there has happened many times – in 2006 one of Warsaw’s activists was stabbed and barely escaped with his life. Therefore a year ago most participants on the blockade put coloured scarves in front of their faces in order to show unity. Does this mean that this year should/ought to be masked? Well that is completely an individual choice, we are not urging anyone to conceal their face. If you’re a grassroots participant of the demonstration, and there will be thousands of us, camouflage is probably unnecessary. It is however needed to show understanding to those who would cover their faces, because they are daily active for anti-fascism and the most vulnerable to attack.
MYTH # 6 – „THE EXTREME RIGHT HAS CHANGED AND IS NOW NOT CONNECTED TO FASCISM”
ONR and Młodzieża Wszechpolska has been for a while trying to hide their old fascist imagery, but it has only came of of them in a moderate way. Through the last year nationalists show that the tradition of Nazi-saluting is in a distance past, but their arguments fall down like a house of cards after hundreds of photos have poured out of this year’s ONR holiday came. Many of them represented a number of nationalists who dutifully raise their arms in Nazi salutes. Now, when they managed to get into the mainstream, they do not even try to stand out from such roots of extremism and officially embrace brown symbols in public spaces; such as the Celtic cross, the international symbol of racism which the ONR attempted to legalise, and other nationalist groups regularly use in their protests.
Picture 4: Members of the ONR (one of the organizers of the „March of Independence”) at a camp in Chańcza – Holiday 2012.
You may not also forget that a large part of the „dirty work” of march organisers have cast out a new, dangerous environment of the extreme right, the Autonomous Nationalists. This informal group refers openly to the ideas of racism and fascism. Their leading method is of irrevocable deemed physical abuse. Their website Autonom.pl has as official patronage the March of Independence.
Picture 5: Autonomous nationalists and football fans join in a Nazi-salute with symbols of „Warsaw Uprising”, photo at Euro 2012.
It should be emphasies that an invitation to the „March of Independence” appeared as here on the website of the international terrorist organisation „Blood and Honour”. Its members and supporters regularly appear in demonstrations organised by the ONR and NOP (as documented by photographs), marching shoulder to shoulder with „real Poles”. After learning these facts one should not longer be surprised that the activities of Polish nationalists are inspired by the manifesto of the Norwegian killer Breivik.
Picture 6: Invitation to the March of Independence on the neo-Nazi terrorist organisation Blood and Honour / Combat 18th
The best proof is, however, at the very source – this is what we read in the statutes of groups organizing the march: „[ONR] WIA post on your idea of fun mid-ment will receive: (…) which is not a demo Reject tion as a national regime cation of the Second Cywia you wro tion for the European Union pej that the death nik truth shall be adopted will HEAVY COMPONENTS greater superiority ru it is more commonly the most part low feelings ”
However, the best proof is at the very source – this is what we read in the statutes of groups organising the march: „(ONR) declares itself in accordance with its fundamental ideas […] a rejection of democracy as a hostile regime against European civilisation, whereby truth is defined by the majority while actually it is the result of base impulses.
Myth # 7 – „THIS YEAR’S MARCH OF INDEPENDENCE WILL BE TOTALLY PEACEFUL„
Although the cream of the extreme right and the favours of their political elites in the media try to show the November march as a worthy way of celebrating Independence Day, there is no doubt that it will be a dangerous event. ONR leaders and Młodzież Wszechpolska will abandon their uniforms and replace them with ties, will stop shouting about „Jews and faggots” and talk about „Greater Poland”. However, this is only for the cameras, in their communities remain the same anti-Semitism, homophobia and racism, and perhaps their message will become stronger since the opening of the discussion about a „national revolution”.
Mainstream football fans across the country are infiltrated by nationalists who encourage them to come, promising them a riot. On the internet is a flourishing trade of balaclavas, „delivered especially for the March of Independence”. Recently a councillor in support of nationalists called for setting fire to cars and the storming of buildings on the 11th of November. Such calls occur more frequently in discussions on nationalist portals. Without a doubt, the march of the extreme right will not be the best place for families with children, or for anyone who wants to come home safe and sound.
Picture 7: A group of nationalists, participants in the March of Independence, Konstytucji Square on 11 November 2011
translation: http://theredandblackstork.wordpress.com (czarny kapturek)