Monthly Archives: April 2009

Solidarity with Pinar Selek

Dear Friends,

As you will learn from our statement below, Pinar Selek, who is a well-known feminist, anti-militarist and peace activist in Turkey, is going through an unfair trial for 11 years. To support her against this injustice, we are collecting signatures of organizations (not persons) that want to be witness to her and that believe her innocence. To support her, you can send your organization’s signature to us.

Contact e-mail address: yaseminsevval[at]yahoo.com

With solidarity,

WE KNOW PINAR SELEK

WE ARE IN SOLIDARITY WITH PINAR SELEK

One of the leading anti militarist-feminist , peace activists of Turkey, sociologist, researcher and writer Pinar Selek is tried to be brought to court again owing to a suit where she has already acquitted twice. Pinar Selek who has devoted her life to the marginalized and the oppressed, this time confronts the demand of life sentence by the 9th Penal Department of Court of Appeal.

Despite the court decision of acquittal she has been labelled as a “bomber” for 11 years and through all this time, she has never ceized to work and share her production with the public.

fft5_mf145309Pinar Selek has shaped her private and working life according to the motto of “Living is the most important academic activity.” Born in 1971 in Istanbul, she graduated from Notre Dame de Sion French School and as an honour student from the Department of Sociology at Mimar Sinan University. In 1996‚ her translation selection titled Ya Basta-Artik Yeter [Enough]‚ dealing with the indigenous movement of Mexico‚ was published by Belge Publishing. Her MA thesis at the same university was published as Maskeler, Süvariler, Gacilar-Ülker Sokak: Bir Dislanma Mekâni [Masks, Cavaliers, Gacis – Ülker Street: A Place of Marginalization] (1st edition: 2001, Aykiri Publishing, 2nd edition: 2007, Istiklal Publishing).

The academic achievement of Pinar Selek relies heavily on her idealistic viewpoint of getting involved into the lives of her research subjects. In this respect she looked after street children and transvestites after her thesis was long finalized and established with them the Street Artists Atelier. Through this initiative both street children and transvestites got the chance of becoming integrated into society with their works of art.

Pinar Selek was just about to finish her research about the consequences and effects of the civil war in Turkey, which has gone on for decades and cost the lives of many people and so much grief, when she found herself accused of being part of a plot to plant a bomb in the Spice Bazaar (in Istanbul in 1998). She spent 2.5 years in prison and 11 years in the court rooms. While she was acquitted twice, she still had to counter attacks labelling and terrorizing her as a “bomber.” She fought with the single method she knew—namely‚ by distilling knowledge, love, and experiences from life. During this period she wrote Barisamadik [We Couldn’t Reconcile],  focusing on various difficult peace struggles of modern Turkey (2004, Ithaki Publishing), and Sürüne Sürüne Erkeklik [Leading a Dog’s Life: Masculinity] (2008, Iletisim Publishing), taking up manhood within the context of military service experiences. She also has a book of tales called Su Damlasi [Drop of Water] (2008, Özyürek Publishing).

Pinar Selek has devoted her life to a moral attitude against war and to an active struggle against all kinds of violence without any pretext. She has taken part in numerous conferences, workshops and seminars about gender, militarism, violence, ecology, media, street children and marginalized groups. She also has published articles about these issues in various newspapers, magazines, and journals.

In 2001, she was one of the founders of Amargi Women Co-Op and organized women’s meetings in Diyarbakir, Istanbul, Batman, and Konya that became an important part of Turkey’s agenda. She is an active member of Amargi Women Co-Op, and since 2006 she has worked as editor and coordinator of Amargi Feminist Journal. She is among the founders of Amargi Feminist Bookstore (opened in 2008) and has acted as coordinator of the women readers and writers meetings (titled “Which Doors Do Our Experiences Open?”) that have been held in this place, the first feminist bookstore in Turkey.

During this long period of hard work more than 2000 people, including intellectuals such as Orhan Pamuk and Yasar Kemal, writers, film and theater actors, journalists, lawyers, activists, academics, and, of course, women have declared solidarity with Pinar Selek by stating, “We are witness to Pinar Selek’s attitude against violence.” While Pinar Selek continues her legal struggle and academic work, her supporters also go on with their struggle, both encouraging and strengthening each other.

We once again declare our solidarity with her, for we all know who Pinar Selek really is. We demand justice for Pinar Selek as well as a country where struggling for justice like Pinar Selek has done is imaginable and possible.

Amargi Feminist Journal

Ankara Woman Platform (Ankara Kadin Platformu)

European Women Lobby-Turkish National Coordination (EWL-TNC) (Avrupa Kadin Lobisi Turkiye Koordinasyonu)

Feminists from Ankara (Ankarali Feministler)

Filmmor (FilmPurple)

Woman Cooperative Foundation for Women’s Solidarity (Kadin Dayanisma Vakfi-KDV)

Forty Braid Woman Cooperative (Kirk Oruk)

KAMER Association and its 23 branches in East and South East Turkey

KAMER (Woman Center) Foundation

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Assocation

Lambda Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association

Pink Life LGBTT Association (Pembe Hayat)

Proletarian Action Party (EHP)

Revolutionist Socialist Proletaria Party (Devrimci Sosyalist Isci Partisi)

Supporting and Training Woman Candidates Association Ankara Branch (KA-DER Ankara)

Turkish Penal Code Woman Platform (TCK Kadin Platformu)

We Are Feminsts Platform-Ankara (FeministBiz Olusumu)

Woman Coalition for Elections (Kadin Koalisyonu)

Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR)-New Ways (KIHP)

Women from Purple Roof Woman Shelter Foundation (Mor Cati)

Women’s Constitutional Platform (Kadinlarin Anayasa Platformu)

Women’s Media Watch Platform (MEDIZ)

Women’s Solidarity Foundation (KADAV)

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE, USA)

Chto Delat Platform (Russia)

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Filed under activism, feminism, gay rights, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression

Solidarity with Alexei Olesinov

A Moscow anti-fascist is on trial for his anti-fascist beliefs! International solidarity is needed!

Next Monday, 21 April 2009, a verdict will be announced in the trial of Moscow anti-fascist Alexei Olesinov.

He has already been in pretrial incarceration for more than five months (since 6 November 2008). The prosecutor has asked that he be sentenced to five years in prison. The anti-fascist is accused of “group hooliganism” (Article 213, Part 2, Russian Federation Criminal Code).  Specifically, he is accused of fighting with guards at the Cult night club, in Moscow. This incident is alleged to have taken place on 30 August 2008. He was arrested two months after this incident, and a criminal case was opened only then. It has been falling apart from the very beginning: for instance, there is no “injured party” (the guards claim that neither moral nor physical harm was caused). All the evidence and statements of witnesses prove that the case is completely fabricated.  The investigation agencies also claim in their investigation file that Olesinov is a leader of an “informal movement—antifa,” as if this were an additional crime. So this is an explicit case of political persecution.

It is quite likely that Alexei Olesinov could receive a long prison term. Besides the fact that our comrade would be deprived of freedom, this would also set a really dangerous precedent for the Russian anti-fascist and other movements if a person active in these movements can be sent to prison on absolutely arbitrary grounds.

While there is still time, we can try to influence the decision currently being made at a very high level by putting international pressure on the authorities. A person should not be sentenced for their anti-fascist convictions, especially not on Hitler’s birthday.

We need your help and solidarity! What can you do? Organize actions at Russian embassies, demanding immediate freedom for Alexei Olesinov.

You can phone, send a fax or a telegram to the court where the case of Olesinov is being tried. Demand that the criminal prosecution of Alexei Olesinov be stopped and that he be freed immediately!

Fax/phone number: +7 (495) 911-03-85, marked for “Konovalova N.V.”
Address: 109147, Russia, Moscow, Marksistskij per., 1/32
I.o. predsedatelya Taganskogo rajonnogo suda Konovalovoj N.V.

In Russian:

 109147, Россия, Москва, Марксистский пер., 1/32
Исполняющей обязанности председателя Таганского районного суда
Коноваловой Наталье Владимировне

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Filed under anti-racism, anti-fascism, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

The Events in Moldova: Questions and Answers

The hot topic of discussion on our e-mail platform in recent days has been the bewildering events in Moldova after the recent disputed parliamentary elections there. Comrade V., a member of the Rezistenţa Populară group in Chişinău, kindly agreed to answer some of our questions.

1. What are the concrete contradictions between the pro-Voronin and opposition bourgeois groups?

The main contradictions between these groups center on personal commercial interests. There are no essential ideological or socioeconomic contradictions between them; or rather, these differences are purely ornamental. If we compare their political platforms, then we’ll see that all their promises—to raise wages to European levels; to increase pensions and stipends to the minimum living standard or higher—are completely populist because none of the parties explains where they plan to get the money.

In essence, what we’re seeing now is a struggle for spheres of influence in the commercial structures and for political power. This time round, Voronin decided not to stand on ceremony—to push the opposition into the background and not take them into account in any way. The ruling oligarchy decided to resort to falsifying the results (there are such cases), but the only thing it didn’t take into account was the possibility of popular demonstrations.

Obviously, power is being consolidated in the hands of the bourgeoisie, which is what always accompanies a consolidation of capital and the means of production.

2. Why has the idea of unification with Romania come up now? Or is this constantly in the background of Moldovan politics?

The theme of unification with Romania and the issue of what the language should be called [i.e. Romanian vs. Moldovan] are the usual bogeymen that are pulled out of the closet when the electorate needs to be taken in hand. (That is, this is done so that the electorate understands whom to support, including during the elections. In the end, this plays into the hands of the PCRM.) Yes, there is a minority of the populace—mostly, the remnants of the intelligentsia—who still rave about reunification, but the mass of the population prefers to live in an independent country, especially now that the crisis is sweeping the world. Our country might be a swamp, but it’s a warm, familiar swamp. But young people really have nowhere to turn. Maybe they would like to find well-paid work here, but under the current capitalist regime they aren’t given this opportunity. That is why they’re often inclined to support anyone whomsoever as long as at least something changes.

3. How much basis is there to Voronin’s claims that the Romanian secret services were involved [in organizing the unrest]?

During his entire administration, Voronin has been doing his best to strengthen his own system of state security. The creation, equipping and maintenance of the Information and Security Service (SIS) and the Supreme Security Council have probably put a big dent in the budget. You could spot SIS agents at every demo that happened in Chişinău. But now it turns out that they slept through an attack by foreign secret agents! Well, if that’s the case (since this is what Voronin says), then the SIS isn’t worth a farthing. So now they should be punished to the full extent of the law for their incompetence.

4. How strong was people’s interest in the elections themselves?

If you believe the statistics, 59.5% of the electorate voted in these elections. That is, people didn’t ignore the elections, but this percentage is lower than for the previous elections in 2005 (64.84%) and 2001 (67.52%). Many people say that elections have gradually turned into a farce or (at best) a festival. The majority is equally irritated by the red-orange hydra of Voronin and Roşca (Christian Democratic People’s Party), and the yellow-green-blue “cuttlefish” of Urechean (Alliance Our Moldova)-Filat (Liberal Democratic Party)-Chirtoacă (Liberal Party). People have bigger fish to fry. For example, how to live on a pension of 600 lei, to pay for utilities when the monthly heating bill alone comes to 900 lei. Or how to live on a monthly wage of 2,000 lei (and sometimes much less)—that is, how to clothe and feed your children, pay for kindergarten, school, university fees, medical care, and those very same crazy utilities bills. As they try every way they can to eliminate the class contradictions from their policies, the bourgeois parties are forced by other means to curry favor with the voters. This includes playing the “anticommunism” and “reunification with Romania” cards or promising entry into the EU—they really just have nothing else to offer people. But it’s unlikely that they will fulfill even these promises because opening the borders with the EU would lead to an even greater exodus of the population, who won’t be willing to work here for kopecks.

5. Considering the fact that the unrest didn’t begin immediately after the elections, is the opposition’s behavior directly linked to the election results?

The opposition began stirring things up before the elections in fact. It tried to stoke passions as much as possible. You have to hand it to them: in this they were successful. I think that if the communists had avoided falsifying the results, the opposition would have got what it considered it was in its rights to ask for—that it be taken into account. Then it would have immediately set about divvying up the portfolios and seats in parliament with the PCRM. But the PCRM ran such a smooth operation and spent so much money (officially, they spent around 5.5 million lei on the campaign—more than any other party) that they ended up outwitting themselves as well. Instead of a triumphal procession in celebration of their third administration, they got an organized popular revolt. Although it wasn’t carried to its logical conclusion, it showed that the PCRM, which to this point has done its all to support business, has no support amongst the masses.

6. All political forces claim that they had nothing to do with the demonstrations. What really mobilized people?

I think that the mobilizing factor was the hopeless situation of a particular social group (I wouldn’t begin to divide it according to language)—young people, who were counting on certain changes in the social, educational, and economic spheres, and who long ago lost confidence in Voronin personally and in the grouping of capitalists he has consolidated around himself. One thing is clear: in the absence of coherent social and political demands by the opposition, this social group will gradually radicalize. At present, around two hundred of the people who participated in the riots have been detained by the police. They’re facing fifteen years in prison for taking part in a coup—that is how Voronin has labeled the popular revolt against his regime. We’ll soon find out whether the leaders of the opposition will be arrested or whether our vigilant SIS will “slip up” again and let them escape into neighboring Romania. Whatever happens, the appearance in our country of political prisoners will do little to strengthen the Voronin regime and the country’s “stability.”

7. What is the role of the imperial powers in the current situation? Does the US want to bring down the Voronin regime? Is the EU interested in bringing Moldova into its fold? What are Russia’s interests?

As for international imperialism, I myself said on live TV that the Voronin regime has been supported in particular by the US ambassador in Moldova. Suffice it to say that the “red-orange” compact between CPSU apparatchik and ex-interior minister Voronin and pro-Romanian nationalist Iurie Roşca was concluded in the safety of the US embassy.

(This compact was reached after the 2005 elections when Voronin didn’t have the necessary number of votes in the parliament for re-election. This is precisely why, in the present elections, the voters “rolled” the Christian Democratic People’s Party. Roşca himself didn’t gain the minimum 6% required for re-election and thus lost his seat in the new parliament.

Practically speaking, close and active collaboration between the CDPP and the PCRM (although it was hidden from the public eye) began earlier. (For example, during the government crisis in late 2000/early 2001, when the PCRM parliamentary faction teamed up with the CDPP faction and tried to oust the government of President Peter Lucinschi on several occasions.) But the birth of a genuine “red-orange,” purely pro-American regime in the form it exists today happened after parliamentary elections in March 2005.”)

During the entire period of its administration, the Voronin regime has closely cooperated with the World Bank and the IMF, in particular with the SCERS program, which provides loans for economic development and poverty reduction. But what the World Bank and the IMF essentially demand is liberalization of the economy and privatization of the principal state sector enterprises.

By virtue of their interests, Russia, the EU, and the US would rather that Voronin stay in power. To be more specific, Russia doesn’t want another Georgia here. The EU is already conducting its own set of reforms: it is introducing its own system of education per the Bologna Process, including fees-based tuition and contract teaching, as well as its own system of medical insurance. (From my own experience, I can say that people are not very enthusiastic about these reforms.) The US is pushing its banking and loans system. Romania has extended its citizenship rights to the Moldovan population. (Until recently, people could get Romanian passports at the Romanian embassy. Voronin legalized dual citizenship, and so several of our parliamentarians have Romanian citizenship.)

How would the US profit by “whacking” the Voronin regime? Voronin more or less suits both the US and Russia. Russia is afraid of Romania, the EU, and NATO expanding onto Moldovan territory. As long as Russia keeps Transnistria as its ace in the hole in its dealings with Voronin, he’ll have to take Russia’s opinion into account. If the opposition comes to power, they might give up Transnistria and then Russia would just have to lump it. (It is clear that Transnistria is huge problem for the Moldovan political elite, a problem it isn’t capable of solving. That is why the opposition also seriously considers the option of joining Romania even without this region. As for who to give it to, one famous liberal politician declared that Russia could have a concession on it for thirty years!)

As for the US, I’ve already said that it was the US that encouraged Roşca to accept Voronin’s offer of an alliance. That means that Voronin suited the US then and he continues to suit them now: he does everything the World Bank and the IMF tell him to do. The overthrow of the Voronin regime would strengthen Romania’s position here; the US would probably have to step aside if Moldova joined the EU.

But no one in the EU is in hurry to take in Moldova. It’s the poorest country in Eastern Europe, but on the other hand it’s quite eager to please. Even without membership of the EU, it is conducting all the liberal reforms—reforms in education per the Bologna Process; reforms of its medical provision system; economic reforms via privatization. That is, it’s doing everything to become a capitalist country. (The communist symbols mean nothing.) But if the opposition comes to power and, let’s say, holds a referendum and it suddenly passes (which I seriously doubt), or Romania suddenly decides to open its borders and let us in, to rig up some kind of union with Moldova, then in this case the Moldovan leadership would lose its independence. It would no longer be possible to apply simple stupid pressure on it and blackmail it with loans and credits. You would have to go through Romania and the EU, and that’s not quite the same thing as direct pressure.

So all this spy mania isn’t worth a damn thing. Actual geopolitical interests don’t warrant such insinuations.

8. Western media have made a lot of the role of the “Twitter” generation in organizing the protests, citing in particular the work of liberal journalist Natalia Morar and her Think Moldova group. One US website even went so far as to claim that since young Moldovans can’t reasonably afford the iPhones (or other mobile devices) and high-speed Internet access necessary to carry out such complex actions, then this technology might have been supplied to them by US-front organizations. What is your reaction to such claims?

Maybe Morar was even able to organize some kind of flash mob consisting of six people. What, there weren’t flash mobs here before then?

Those students aren’t actually all that poor. At very least, having a decked-out mobile phone is considered the norm in their circles. It’s a matter of prestige, as they say.

9. The western media have also made much of the fact that, apparently, this is a confrontation between “liberals” in the opposition and the ruling “communists.” Are the communists really communists? What’s up with their name?

The communists emerged as an opposition to the liberal democratic forces that took power after 1993. As one of our comrades noted, this was something like the Zyuganov phenomenon in Russia. But when they themselves came to power, they rejected social and political change, and Voronin declared that there was no alternative to capitalist development in Moldova.

After this, the PCRM started to lose its activists and supporters. At present, there are no convinced, principled activists in its ranks (that is, no one who isn’t a paid-off party hack). Several of the members in our group (Rezistenţa Populară) left the PCRM after they came to power.

But, as you understand, they kept the name for cover.

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Support Roma Housing Struggle in Belgrade, Serbia

Solidarity Appeal: Support Roma Housing Struggle in Belgrade, Serbia

http://www.youtube.com/user/pravonanaseljetv

Today, Roma organizations and allies in Belgrade, Serbia are organizing a demonstration in response to the demolition of the Roma community’s housing units in Block 67 situated in the New Belgrade. The violent and surprising move to destroy people’s homes and an entire community was organized by the City of Belgrade authorities with the support of Belgrade City Mayor Dragan Djilas. Your solidarity is needed!

sequence-2On Friday morning (April 3rd), the forcible and violent eviction of Roma families living in the Block 67 neighborhood began. The residents of this community say that the demolitions began during a surprise invasion beginning at six in the morning led by heavy police presence and special forces. Police brutality resulted in an emergency evacuation of two women from the community. Peoples’ entire belongings were left behind in the ruins. A part of the community is now spending the night in front of the City Council. They are without warm clothes, blankets, food, and medicine (many people had to leave them behind). Residents say that during the day unidentified youth on motorcycles were provoking and instilling fear in the community.

In the meantime, no alternative housing has been secured by the city government, nor is anyone taking care of these needs. Belgrade’s Mayor Djilas announced that it is “necessary that they be removed from that area so that we can build a new boulevard necessary for the development of the city, and holding of events being planned in the future.” He also threatened to deploy police forces to remove any protesters attempting to bloc the streets. These actions were preceded by a media campaign that justified the expulsion of Roma living in New Belgrade under “security” and “city image” considerations in the lead up to the Universiade 2009. Through his statements, Mayor Dragan Djilas has contributed to the fascist relationship towards Roma citizens and justified the destruction of their homes. As an “alternative” the city officials are suggesting to remove the building of a fence around the community so that “the city’s deformities won’t be seen during the Universiade.”

Does this mean that the Universiade will be paid for with human lives if necessary?

Our fellow citizens who have been left without home are determined to fight for their rights, their right to life, freedom, housing and work.

Today (Saturday) at 1pm a protest is being organized against the brutal behavior through which the Belgrade government prefers to solve the city’s problems. Support people that have been thrown onto the streets in this violent way. We must stand in solidarity with the Roma of Belgrade, we must not allow that people’s houses are destroyed, that fascist walls are built and that people are fenced into ghettoes!

We call on international solidarity in conjunction with these actions:

PLEASE CONTACT THE FOLLOWING: (1) Mayor’s office of the City of Belgrade; (2) President’s Office of the Republic of Serbia; (3) Head Office of the International University Sports Federation (organizing the Universiade in Belgrade); (4) Your nearest Serbian embassy or consulate.

(1) Mayor’s Office

E-mail: natasa.golubovic@beogradsg.org.yu
Head of Office, tel: 3246-764, 3229-787
tel: 3247-424, tel/fax: 3344-675
Natasa Golubović
independent expert associate in international affairs

Dear Mayor Dragan Djilas:

I am writing to express my outrage at the recent racist expulsion of 50 families from the Roma community of Block 67, near Belvil in New Belgrade.

I demand that your government take all necessary measures to provide restitution to the residents of the community and prevent any further expulsion of Roma families or their further social exclusion.

Belgrade can not expect to rebrand itself in the eyes of the world by hosting Universiades or Eurovision contests while it continues to deny fundamental rights to housing, employment, life and security to its residents, particularly the most vulnerable and socially excluded.

I demand that your government respond and meet its obligations under a number of international conventions and work towards securing the rights of Roma residents instead of deploying police forces to suppress them and engaging in “social cleansing.”

Kind regards,

____________

(2) President of the Republic of Serbia

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
Andricev venac 1, 11000 Beograd, Serbia
tel: +381 (0)11 3632-007, 3632-136
e-mail: kontakt.predsednik@predsednik.rs
http://www.predsednik.rs

Dear President Boris Tadic:

I am writing to express my outrage at the recent racist expulsion of 50 families from the Roma community of Block 67, near Belvil in New Belgrade.

I implore your government take all necessary measures to sanction the Belgrade City Authorities and ensure they provide restitution to the residents of this Roma community and work towards preventing any further expulsion of Roma families or their further social exclusion in Serbia.

Belgrade can not expect to rebrand itself in the eyes of the world by hosting Universiades or Eurovision contests while it continues to deny fundamental rights to housing, employment, life and security to its residents, particularly the most vulnerable and socially excluded.

I demand that your government respond and meet its obligations under a number of international conventions and work towards securing the rights of Roma residents instead of deploying police forces to suppress them and engaging in “social cleansing.”

Kind regards,

 

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Filed under anti-racism, anti-fascism, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, racism, nationalism, fascism, urban movements (right to the city)

Rezistenţa Populară: On the Events in Moldova

A Communiqué from the Rezistenţa Populară Political Movement on the Situation in Moldova after the Parliamentary Elections of April 5, 2009

According to the official results of the parliamentary elections that took place on April 5, 2009, the ruling party in Moldova, the pseudo-communist PСRM (Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova), received 49.9% of the vote. This enables them to seat 61 deputies in parliament, and their votes are sufficient to elect the republic’s new president (who requires a three-fifths majority of deputies to take office). Despite the fact that international observers have declared the elections fair, numerous violations were noted on election day. Voters were surprised to find on the voting rolls the names of their dead relatives, as well as the names of unknown people who had been mysteriously registered as living in their apartments. There were also cases when election commissions refused to give people ballots—because someone had already signed and voted for them.

27654998The opposition parties publicly disputed the falsified election results. On Monday evening they held a peaceful protest rally on the square next to Government House that brought out approximately five thousand people. On April 7, from twenty to thirty thousand people gathered in the center of the capital; these were mainly university and high school students, who came in response to appeals from the opposition parties. Their principal demand was that the results of the election, which they believed had been falsified, be overturned, and new elections be held. Opposition leaders very quickly lost control of the crowd. The authorities, who had not anticipated such massive protests, had posted insufficient numbers of policemen to guard the buildings of the parliament and the presidential administration; they were simply swept away by the enraged crowd. The police—who in 2008 “heroically” dispersed protests by pensioners unhappy with their miserly pensions (lower than the minimum living standard)—proved powerless against the young people. Despite attempts by representatives of the opposition parties to prevent acts of vandalism, their appeals were simply ignored. The rioters smashed all the windows on the first two floors of Parliament and the Presidential Palace. Both these buildings were looted; furniture and documents were torched. Two stories of the Parliament were completely gutted by fire, and two police vans were burned. The damage amounts to millions of lei. The main propaganda force in these protests were members of the nationalist parties. It was they who chanted “Down with the communists!” and raised the flags of Romania and the EU over the Parliament.

In his address to the nation, President Voronin characterized these events as a coup, and he laid all the blame for the events on the leaders of the Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and Our Moldova Alliance. That same day, PСRM representative Marian Lupu met with the leaders of these parties. In a neutral albeit admonitory tone, he asked them to cease all protests and engage in dialogue within the bounds prescribed by law. The opposition leaders repeated their demands for new elections, and they blamed the authorities and the police for what had happened. According to the opposition leaders, it was their actions that had provoked the riots.

MOLDOVA-VOTE-RALLYIn light of the current situation, Rezistenţa Populară makes the following statement. We fully recognize the fact that the ruling party falsified the election results. It is losing support amongst the masses, and it has attempted to compensate for this lack of support through falsification in order to remain in power. (For the bourgeois grouping who backs the party, this is quite important.) However, the PСRM’s influence is still quite great, and a significant number of voters did in fact vote for this party insofar as the other parties represent the interests of even more odious bourgeois groupings. Unfortunately, seduced by the PСRM’s promises to preserve an illusory “stability,” voters from the masses of workers and the poor did not use their chance to vote for the working-class candidate from Rezistenţa Populară. The central plank of our platform was organization of the workers’ struggle for their rights.

The events in Chişinău are a reflection of the struggle amongst the main groupings of the bourgeoisie over the redistribution of property and state power. The PСRM is supported by the state bureaucracy, which is wavering in this situation (the party has had no principled activists in its ranks for a long time). The opposition is supported by young people (mainly Moldovan speakers) unhappy with the system. The campaign platforms of these parties are indistinguishable. Both the PСRM and the opposition support rapidly integrating with the EU and continuing the liberalization of the economy. However, a defeat for the PСRM would destroy the party, which over the course of the past eight years has discredited the idea of communism. The young people who chant “Down with the communists” quite sincerely believe that communism equals the Voronin regime. His clan owns the factories, banks, transportation, IT, and telecommunications companies, and it is under his regime that a police state has been established in Moldova. President Voronin is Moldova’s chief “communist,” but his son is one of the republic’s biggest capitalists, a billionaire. And yet our country is the poorest state in Europe.

007846z5Rezistenţa Populară condemns the acts of vandalism, which have caused enormous damage to public property. However, we believe that blame for this is shared both the leaders of the opposition, who failed to keep the protests peaceful, and the authorities, who were unable to provide the necessary security for the parliament and presidential administration buildings. It is likely the case that, not entirely sure whether police units were loyal to him, Voronin was simply afraid to give orders to take more decisive action, just as was the case twenty years ago, when he was the interior minister of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic.

We believe that the protests also have a definite social subtext. Most young people feel abandoned and unwanted by society in the new period of “stability” that has been established by the regime. During an “interview” with journalists from PRO-TV in the looted parliament building, one of the young marauders said, “I’m twenty now. What will I have in this country by the time I’m thirty? Nothing!” In essence, the universities are diploma mills for gastarbeiters, who will replace their parents on construction sites in Moscow and Italy.

In the current situation, Rezistenţa Populară’s main task is to provide a class-based explanation for what is happening. We argue that there is no principal difference between the PСRM and the opposition; that we need to fight not for one bourgeois against another, but in order to get rid of them all. It is capitalism that is to blame for everything: it throws people into the trash heap; it deprives them of work and the means of existence or turns them into beasts of burden. The only solution is for workers to unite in the struggle for their class interests—for a decent wage, pension or stipend; for an end to the privatization of public property; for the nationalization of the principal means of production and the banking system. In the end, for socialism!

April 8, 2009

Originally published (in Russian) on the website of the Vpered Socialist Movement.

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