Setting the Record Straight – All Violence was Fascist Violence, 11/11/2011


The Audacity of the media and their xenophobic paranoia legitimizes the nationalists and their extreme violence.

I attended the peaceful, “Colorful Independence” manifestation November 11 in Warsaw which was half festival, half protest against the nationalist march. For the past weeks the nationalists built an extensive public relations campaign, even shooting professional pictures in a photography studio for their posters of a young man and woman, well dressed among Polish patriotic symbols. It is no surprise the November 11 Nationalist march looked nothing like the posters, besides of course the red and white flags in the background.

We assembled at 12 noon, 3 hours prior to the Nationalist march departure time. On our way to the meeting point we had heard rumors of fascists roaming the city and felt uncomfortable taking the metro across town, not knowing if right-wing gangs wouldn’t be out “hunting faggots and feminists” before we could assemble (later reports confirm this was true, with prominent local politicians attacked). Despite seeing symbols of “white power” on the clothing of groups of young men, we were left alone blending into the normal population on the streets of the city.

We arrived 15 minutes late to the assembly point all the while walking next to clusters of men heading in the direction of the nationalist rally. The official organizers of the Colorful Independence demonstration had a truck from which music was played and it was more of a party atmosphere than a protest, despite the hundreds of police assembled on the street and all surrounding streets. For the first hour things remained peaceful until around 1pm when a group of about 50 men came up the street moving towards our manifestation (see: youtube “atak na kolorowa1”). One of them was carrying a red flag with the Celtic Cross symbol in the center, the logo used by most contemporary neo-fascist groups. They ran at the side of the group and started throwing punches, people defended themselves by fighting them off and their attack lasted all but 5 seconds when they were forced to flee down a side street still trying to throw stones at us off their back feet.

At that point the police intervened and fled their positions that had been holding us to only half the boulevard. Antifascists took advantage of the chance (along with rumors that we were about to be kettled-in by riot police) to take the entire boulevard, unfurling antifascist banners and swelling the occupation across the entire street (about 8 car lengths across). We clearly would stop them from marching their planned route, but leaving them with 4 other exits from Constitution Square.

Further attacks took place against our blockades for the remaining 2 hours, where groups of fascists would charge at our blockade with bats and hurled rocks, certainly where some of those “hospitalizations” the media writes so compassionately about, came from. Again, people defended the blockade, some with force chasing the attackers away down side streets all the while the police trying to intervene and arrest people from all sides but to no avail.

It’s important to say, this was by far the most peaceful antifascist demonstration I have ever attended. Most antifascist demonstrations involve levels of violence because fascists and radical right-wing activists invade cities during their demonstrations and it is inevitable that people will either defend themselves through intervention (especially immigrant and gay communities) or will end up another victim of Nazi attacks (in Poland, the number of murders attributed to radical nationalists is around 50 in the last 20 years). I was proud to attend an effective, peaceful blockade, but uneasy all the while as we waited for attacks that would set things off and the streets would turn into violence. It never came.

At around 2:55pm, we began to here explosions of fireworks coming from the nationalist assembly point, Constitution Square. Since our blockades and banners stretched about 16 meters across the street on both sides it was difficult to decide where to defend the blockade from (small groups of half a dozen fascists continuously tried to provoke our blockade) and when the explosions began, hundreds of people began to hold the south side of the barricades. We joined them and as the explosions grew more and more frequent I checked the time and saw 2:59. We watched in disbelief from a few hundred meters away as the time of the march arrives and the Nationalist March began attacking the front lines of the police in our direction. Chants erupted from our side, “An end to fascism” as we watched rocks, flares and fireworks fly at the police. It was impossible for the antifascists to have attacked, instigated or have been involved in the violence of the “Independence March” because we were divided by lines of riot police, immobilized. A report has come out today even accusing leftists of being on Constitution Square: only antifascists with a death-wish would dare to hang around Constitution Square on Friday.

I could not understand such a tactic from the nationalist side because the ruin of their public image had come: five minutes into their “patriot march” they turn to violence. It seems so apparent to us, but with the sympathetic media campaign in the previous weeks it looked as though the public was starting to believe the lies about the, “heroic patriots.” Now it would be clear, we thought.

We felt the tear gas and watched the water cannons attempt to extinguish the burning objects shooting at the police, this was a conflict between the police and the fascists while we peacefully waited for what was to happen next. If the fascists would have broken police lines, perhaps they would have come for us, and there would have been extreme violence and perhaps even deaths, especially based on their behavior in retrospect.

We got word that the police de-legalized their march and were ordering them to disperse, but mixed messages were being sent as riots took place on one end of Constitution Square while a few thousand of their fellow protesters stood by waiting on the back lines of the confrontations. In fact they were ordered to disperse but were never forced to vacate the square.

The riots died down while crowds of nationalists waited on the square and we had heard that they were legal again. Absurd that the state can criminalize their march and later forgive their violence to allow them to take the city, which they did, terrorizing southern Warsaw, burning cars and attacking people along the way.

We waited for what felt like an eternity, the police blocking all supporters from joining the antifascist manifestation. I received texts and later read accounts about people not being allowed to enter the peaceful blockade and yet the fascists were allowed to fight the police and then permitted to march the streets as if nothing had happened.

We held our blockade until 6pm when all nationalists and fascists had left Constitution Square, heading for home, knowing that thousands of fascists were milling around town looking for people like us. At their march they burnt cars and attacked citizens, including journalists, robbing them and sending them to the hospital. We returned to our homes by 6:30pm knowing it was unsafe to try to confront the fascists as they had imported thousands of outsiders to Warsaw, particularly from stadiums across the country, the henchmen of the Independence March. We did not confront the Independence March directly at all on November 11th and the police even seemed sympathetic to our groups as thousands of us were free to head North towards the city center, escorted by zero police presence: a clear indication of our relationship with the Police on November 11th. The antifascist blockade had no confrontations with the police on Friday, reading Saturday’s newspapers one might think that is all that happened at the antifascist blockade.

The National Media, the Nationalist Media

We are still in a state of shock, after 2 days of video evidence to emerge of nationalist thugs burning Warsaw that the media, even the media who had their vehicles burnt by the fascists(!), is claiming the riots were right versus left; Fascists against anarchists; or the lowest of Friday’s defamations: Germans against Poles. This was a campaign of terror brought about by the media and the leaders of the far right who believe that a great war is coming, as the paranoid-nationalist Korwin-Mikke said on television on Friday night, the 19th century occupiers of Poland “are coming back.” Claiming all men should be ready to fight, fanning the flames of the nationalist violence (see: youtube, Korwin-Mikke, 11.11.11 superstacja).

They attempt to make a dichotomy of protesters and hooligans, and adding insult to injury “hooligans” come to be associated with the antifascists and legitimate demonstrators with Marsz Niepodleglosci is ludicrous! The image has spread from the Polish media into the international sphere, where Reuters, the BBC, RT, and others have picked up and reproduced the idea that the violence in Warsaw was mutual or even perpetrated by antifascists!

Our friends from Berlin, as well as from Prague, Lviv, Minsk, Copenhagen, Barcelona, and across Europe have been blamed for the riots. “Half those arrested were foreigners” read the headlines across Poland. Yes they were, and while the Germans sat in jail all day for committing the crime of being in Warsaw (and released Saturday without charges!), the nationalists were free to assemble and burn the city from morning to night. Ninety Germans arrested at 12 o’clock, riots start at 3pm, perhaps it’s another German-Jewish-communist conspiracy? Thankfully the sensationalist newspapers help us sort it all out: Germans invade Warsaw, riots ensue. And this story was written before Friday’s riots, as newspapers such as Rzeczpospolita claimed ‘leftist-extremists’ were coming to Warsaw to stop the Polish Patriots from marching. The extremist narrative embraced by the mainstream newspapers has completely ignored reality and have, consciously or otherwise, propagated the cause of the violent fascists who have attacked our city.

The call for antifascists to come to Warsaw needs no explanation, we will confront fascists wherever they assemble, just as dozens of Polish antifascists have attended the blockades in Dresden against German Nazis, let the Germans stand in solidarity with Polish antifascism here in Warsaw. The media is obsessed with the arrested Germans, one needs only to take a look at where antifascists were in Warsaw, where the Nationalist March went, and where the path of destruction lays. There is no doubt that Warsaw has been attacked by nationalist thugs and for the media to report anything else is a crime! Friday’s journalism not only shows the path this country is headed in, but the total lack of respect for Polish history in its fight for independence from fascist occupiers. How ironic, for this to occur on Polish Independence Day.

-An anonymous Warsaw immigrant

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