On the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair (BAB) that took place in Ljubljana, between the 6th and 9th of July 2023, one of the discussions opened was related to the Struggles for Anti-authoritarian Countryside, Environment and Beyond – and continued the ongoing topic from BABs that took place in previous years.
On the open panel, firstly, the views of agrarian initiative from the squat Scholeio (Thessaloniki, greece), the agrarian collective Cultiva Orasul (Cluj, romania), the farmers’ network Radiči Domači (region around Trieste, italy) and the radical agrarian association Črn Trn (slovenian region and wider) were presented, followed by inputs from many others – among countries already mentioned also from serbia, hungary, austria, portugal, germany, france, netherlands, britain,…
The importance of the presence of anti-authoritarian ideas in countryside was stressed in order to stop the devastating processes imposed by states’ and capitalistic interests.
Extraction and exploitation of, what is left of, nature are evident in Balkan periphery as elsewhere – in a lot of cases by the “new green industries” and mega-infrastructure investments. The processes of sub-urbanization, gentrification or touristification are also widely spread and are similar to those in urban areas. They are dissolving village communities into individualised “sleeping” areas and turning nature in to a commodity to be used by tourist industries. While food production and access to fertile land gets more and more dominated by big owners, usually concentrated in hands of global corporations with the support of the states which are, to say it very politely, favouring poisoning of lands and food while letting the middle and small scale farmers struggling for their survival on a globalised market of food production and distribution.
Nonetheless it was clear that the anti-authoritarian and anarchist movement in the Balkans and wider is aware and actively involved in the situation. On the discussion numerous fights against those destructive processes and examples of resistance were presented. It is clear that ecological struggles are important within the movement also when thinking of the general struggle against the state and capitalistic system. Producing and distributing quality food is a concrete concern within the movement, as it is reflected in numerous smaller and bigger initiatives that are connecting urban and rural areas. Those connections are recognised as vital parts for the future development of anti-authoritarian tendencies in rural areas in order to strengthen the position that goes beyond nationalistic-conservative or liberal-consumeristic options.
From the discussion two general conclusions can be made, the one that has been described beforehand, the other is obvious also. In the globalised world we are leaving in, we must continue developing and fighting in our localities, but we must also maintain a bigger perspective in order to fight global capital and national states that are trying to divide us and our power from below. With this in our mind, we will try to establish future collaborations within the wider Balkan region and continue to develop this topic also on future Balkan Anarchist Bookfairs. We will meet again in Priština!
Land & freedom!
Communique from the discussion »Struggles for Anti-authoritarian Countryside, Environment and Beyond« that took place on Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, 8. 7. 2023, in Ljubljana, slovenia