Message from Poland

Post date: 25/10/2016

Message from the Hands off Dabrowszczacy Street Initiative

[] in Warsaw about an attack on the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the International Brigades.


Yesterday evening (October 22 2016) a nationalist attack during the event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the establishing of the International Brigades and the Dąbrowski Battalion [Polish volunteer unit] took place. 


After screening the movie about International Brigades and commemorating their volunteers across the world, a smoke grenade with the ‘han pasado’ inscription (Spanish for ‘we passed’, a phrase said by General Franco after the fall of the Republic, which was an answer to the antifascist ‘¡No pasarán!") was thrown into the place attended by few dozens persons. 


The perpetrators, probably three young persons, vanished right away. Luckily, one of our friends reacted immediately and kicked the grenade out of the place. No-one got hurt and the room just had to be aired out. 


Participants of the event gathered in front of the building, where the Warsaw Revolutionairy Choir (pictured) spontaneously sang ‘Warszawianka (1905)’ [Polish revolutionary song from which the Spanish ‘A las baricadas’ – to the barricades – took its tune]. 


The event was held till the end according to the plan. It was the first attack of this kind on our initiative; however, to left-oriented social activists, nationalist and fascist violence is not new to us. What is more, we are fully aware that it has significantly grown over the last years. 


We shall point to those who are actually responsible for the yesterday's incident: the Institute of National Remembrance [a state institution researching ‘crimes against Polish nation’ and imposing historical policy in Poland], political right, right-wing media and the pseudo-patriotic business [companies producing and distributing anti-communist and nationalist clothes and gadgets, popular among young people in Poland]. 


The attack was not an act of simple hooliganism. It was a political act and people and institutions, who try to impose their vision of history, memory and the world bare responsibility for that. These people and institutions manipulate the past, leaving no space for critique. They do not discuss with critical voices and don't try to workout anything that could be 'common'. 


The incident goes hand in hand with current nationalist culture, which sets the new, ‘mythical’ heroes created by right-wing propagandists beyond the law and morality. Approached in this way, an armed struggle with political opponents is treated as virtue, not as a tragedy [It refers to the widespread and government supported cult of the so called anti-communist armed resistance in Poland].


This incident is also related to the plans of renaming the Dąbrowski Battalion Street (Dąbrowszczacy Street) in Warsaw. These ‘decommunising’ actions are nothing more than attack on broadly defined left and anti-fascist values; they are inscribed into disgusting activities of ‘brown’ violence, which is more and more present in the public space in Poland. While right-wing gangs disturb the events commemorating anti-fascist heroes, city councillors and the Institute of National Remembrance officials clean out the city space of any traces of leftist tradition.


In the end, we would like to state that we shall not get intimidated and that our actions aimed at preserving memory of the Dąbrowski Battalion volunteers as well as for saving the street name in Warsaw will be continued.


Posted on 25 October 2016.

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