Monday, 14 November 2011

On the anti-fascist Germans in Poland and a few other things

Just one more article (following the last one) about last Friday's events (EDIT: alright, I have one more, which I'll probably do next week.)

Those dangerous anti-fascists in Warsaw

You've heard about those anti-fascist Germans who came to Poland to confront the far-right?  Well I was with some of them.  I know what they did.  You see this attack?  (You must have.  The mainstream media has been full of it.  Alert as they are to right-wing violence.)

The Germans were there!  I saw them.  I spoke with them, before, during and after the "equivalent to the far-left" went past.  You know what they did?  What dastardly action they did?  They backed away to escape the fire torches being thrown at us.  The violent, coming-to-Poland-to-start-fights bastards!  If you don't believe me (and understand German), read this article of German terror!

Some, for some evil reason didn't join with the continued (and enabled by the police, left-wing violence fans) march of the anti-fascists.  I spoke with those that did come with us.  We laughed about having such a peaceful time in Poland.

 Probably not a German, but I can do with a nice picture here

Oh, you didn't want to hear about them

Alright, the other Germans.  Let's move away from Wrocław, then.

To tell the truth, my Polish isn't the best.  I can understand the general gist of articles in Polish, but my head starts to spin after a while, so I am reliant upon Google translations; which only adds to the lack of comprehension of what happened.  Anyway, here is a report about those dastardly Germans and now follows the aforementioned translation:

German anti-fascists argue that it did not take part in riots on 11 November. - As we all know, the riots began around 14.00-15.00, and ended around 17.00. While all the German group has already been stopped at 12.00, so you do not have the opportunity to take part in riots - said the representative. [...] Representatives of anti-fascists of Germany said that at the time of arrest were not allowed to contact a lawyer and an interpreter was not provided for 32 hours to stop not given food or drink.

At. 15.00, where we were detained for a long time at the police station, 8 thousand. neo-fascists in the city center was beating people, the police beat and devastated city - he said.

Today, when I was released, I read in the German media and learn from the Polish media that we have a responsibility for the escalation of violence in the city center. How is it possible that people who were trapped three hours earlier could devastate the city center? 
As pointed out Representative Agreement on November 11 , German participation in the events was negligible, because most of them were released after detention without charges, and charges against some of them are not very significant.

And there's more, from here:

"... allegations were presented to us. Translator was unable to translate them, twice translated it wrong. I said that I do not want to participate in this circus, I tried to leave, he demanded a lawyer. We wanted to grab the phone, twisted our hands. Translator said he did not want to further explain. The situation escalated, officers with the interpreter began to challenge us. (...) We were in a room with five girls, the officers sang "Deutschland uber alles Deutschland" and other racist song. K. mocked that she burst into tears after the hearing, and that at first glance might be considered a man. (...) In the morning we asked for food and warm drinks, but we received nothing. It was cold, the windows were still open. "
"... Circle 0:30, when it became clear that on that day no longer get out to freedom, our cries for water became louder. In response, called for more police officers in full riot gear battle. Until the end of steel over our heads, playing with guns, throwing gas and making sarcastic remarks. Peter was Head of the floor leading to the people in the chicanes. We are constantly walking through the floor yelling, preaching to get up and sit down, etc. .. Seven of us were taken to a place resembling a drunk tank chamber (tiles on the walls, etc.). They gave us to sign the Charter of Rights was written in German, in which the speech was enjoyed by us about the right to an interpreter - this place was not. We had to strip naked and do squats and then we were thrown into the cell. In the morning (after 17 hours) we got breakfast and confined us again in the cell. " 

So, the claims are that Germans were in fact abused by the police, in fact, I would use the word tortured.

I daresay you've heard of that, eh?

The violence in Warsaw

There are allegations that the media is falsifying the picture of what happened on the 11th of November.  The usual 'far-left versus far-right' (with the subtext that both groups are as bad as each other) dominates the narrative (not that Poland is alone in this, though watch out for another link later in this article).

As I have said, due to the outright falsified representation of what happened in Wrocław (I know about what happened, as I was there) I have not been trusting the accounts of what has happened in Warsaw.

I gather that this is what happened

Starting at 9 am nearly one hundred and fifty right-wing thugs with sticks in their hands circling the pl. Three Crosses in search of victims. Around 11:30 another group of people walking nationalists attacked the New World, but you put a resolute resistance. Police enters into action. This leads to the first arrests neo-fascists, while the anti-fascists are pushed to the premises of Political Critics, the Coalition of Agreement.

So legally, and anti-fascist Independent Colored Lock are constantly attacked by a group of neo-fascists, armed with metal pipes. Burning outside broadcast van TVN, Polsat cars are destroyed and the Polish Radio, the participants of the March of Independence attack the embassy of Russia and the Belvedere.
Gathered at the Constitution Square "patriots" pull cobblestones and attack the police.
This is born out by this video, which shows the fascists attack the police (from about 4:30):

Anti-fascists were attacked on the street:

I think this type of video shows the context in which 'right against left' happened.  The far-right attacked the anti-fascists, therefore they defended themselves.  One sees no sign here of both groups going after each other.

He we see fascists attacking a left-wing shop:

Fascists also attacked a Vegan cafe:

The media said that members of 'far-left' had attacked people in Polish football shirts and also a historical enactment society.  While I don't trust the media (have you heard of any of the videos or claims given in this article?) it is possible that they happened (this may be due to a cultural misunderstanding, seriously).  Perhaps video evidence can be offered.  The organisers of the anti-fascists have spoken of 'people not attached to us' who did violent things.  Now, that may not be true.  Perhaps the fascists are saying the same.  But no, the attack on the shop shown above shows that the far-right crowd supported their actions.

Proportionally, the far-right were responsible for more violence on Friday.  This does not invalidate the seriousness of any violence done by the 'far-left', but it has to be remembered that the narrative that the 'far-left and far-right went to the parade in order to attack the other' is not true.  The far-right went there to attack the anti-fascists.

NEWS JUST IN:  It seems that one of the people allegedly 'beaten' by the Germans is the creator of a conservative-nationalist website, a website that had (before they had been quickly deleted) links to the Klu Klux Klan and Redwatch (an anti left-wing page used to help people know who they're supposing to be hitting.)  Indeed, here it is shown that Mr Rafał is a Nazi.  Hmmm.

This is also new.  Turns out that those historical enactment people actually attacked the German anti-fa, joining in with the attack that fascists had started!

AGAIN, MORE NEWS JUST IN (24th November): All violence was fascist violence (from someone who was there).

The far-left being violent

There's more

Whenever something involving violence happens there's a media panic afterwards.  People feel the need that 'something must be done'.  Politicians get caught up in this mood.  The result is never good for human rights.  We've had the Patriot Act in the US, various anti-terror legislation in GB, and so on.

Poland is not exempt from this.  I gather that there may be a ban on the covering of faces.  I covered my face in Wrocław.  The police used tear gas and I was trying to protect myself.  Also, the fascists were taking photos of us, so to avoid future bother I covered my face a bit as well and my clothes were very much not stand-outy.  Incidentally, this is one reason (and also that of police violence) why Black Blocks wear black clothes.  The banning of covering faces would be dangerous.

The banning of counter-demos is plainly undemocratic.  Also, simply having the far-right and the police would not a peaceful situation make, as the video showing them attacking the police above makes clear.

I would hope, and I would say that regardless of one's political views (i.e. I hope the same for the fascists as well) that any legal procedures would follow humane procedures with respect for the human rights of the defendants.

One thing that the state could do would be to ban flares and lit-torches.  They are weapons and were used against the left in both Warsaw and Wrocław (with no police invention in Wrocław).

If the state really means business, their representatives would come to the counter-demos on Wrocław and Warsaw next year, in order to show their commitment to democracy.

I won't hold my breath.

As Germany is finally remembering, the far-right are extremely violent.  Graffiti in Białystok and the hospitalisations of gays in Kraków are two examples of what they have done this year.  German intelligence has been massively criticised for not knowing of a Nazi-cell group in Zwickau which were responsible for the deaths of ten people over the past ten years.  Perhaps they were too busy looking at the 'far-left'.

PS The successful approach of anti-fascists in Dresden gives us some hints as to what we can do in Poland.  Look at this article.

If you wish to keep in touch with upcoming articles (on the Jewish graveyard in Oświęćim, the new modern art museum in Wrocław as well as some cool cafe, and the 'Taboos and other subjects to piss people off' series), 'like' my page on Facebook here.

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