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(en) Czech, oafed: A critical look back at May Day - Report from the anarchist May Day in Prague through the eyes of an OAF member. (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 17 May 2023 08:18:13 +0300

Anarchists on Strelák. This used to be a phrase that appeared in the media whenever Labor Day was celebrated. In recent years, however, even this traditional anarchist event has begun to decline. After a larger public event with the motto End bad work in 2017, the movement abandoned marches and chose the path of informal meetings. The nail in the coffin of this trend was put by the coronavirus pandemic, which also made it impossible to hold larger events legally. But this year we returned to the streets again. What did such a comeback look like? ---- Even before eleven in the morning, anarchists and anarchists with black and red flags began to gather on Strelecký ostrov, while several figures and groups that belong more to the political panopticon gradually appeared on the spot. The Stalinist KSCM couldn't even hold its usual geronto-festival on Letná, and in the number of a few dozen people, it read a few speeches and went away quietly. All this to the derision of both anarchists and a group of activists with EU and NATO flags. That this party is in total disintegration was also visible due to the fact that their chairwoman was also absent from the event. In even smaller numbers, the CSSD also appeared at Strelák, followed by the even more marginal Left, and the whole thing was topped off by Jirí Paroubek, who is trying to get into power through another new political party. The anarchists did not miss the opportunity and asked the supporters of the political parties present what their relationship is to the holiday, which is originally anarchist. It was found that even politicians who have been publicly involved for decades do not know the basic historical facts, and many have apparently heard about the Haymarket Massacre for the first time.

During the speeches, there was a sharp criticism of the anti-social policy of the current government, and there were also anti-war appeals. On the plus side, the anti-war criticism was on all sides of the conflict, so the speakers did not needlessly inflame the conflict between strict anti-militarists and supporters of the Ukrainian military. Nevertheless, the AF speaker did not forgive the criticism of those who remained faithful to anarchism, calling them dogmatists and idealists. Let us hope that the reformism of some comrades will not gradually lead to the founding of political parties or merging with the Bolshevik left. Even the handing out of flyers and dreaming of a classless society can be understood from a certain angle as "inability to face reality."

The speeches were followed by a free social gathering complemented by music and vegan food prepared by the FNB group. Around one o'clock in the afternoon, the crowd had already grown to more than 200 people and the front of the demonstration began to gradually form. The slogans on the banners were rather light-hearted, it can be noted that the legendary slogan "anarchists want such well-being for everyone" from the mouth of a police "expert" on extremism is still popular in the vocabulary of the current movement and is used in various variations during public promotion.

When dance music blared from the sound system, it was like being transported back to the 1990s. The route of the march led towards the island of Shtvanice, but surprisingly through Újezd. During the passage through Mostecká Street, the van that was driving in the lead broke down, and the march stopped for a while. Or the blockade of Prague within the limits of the law. The route was long and arduous, the chanting of anti-capitalist slogans was rather occasional. However, the demonstrators eventually successfully moved to the Bike jesus club, where refreshments were already prepared. A concert by excellent bands and informal entertainment was already waiting there.

If we look at the event from a distance, the positives clearly prevail. The anarchist movement must return to the streets from where it arose. If anarchists are seen in the streets, the movement is more likely to grow than if they limit their May Day activities to harmless chattering picnics that lack the urgency and authentic anger of wage workers.

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