Czech Anti-Fascist Action writes open letter to the ultra-right
On 25 October, the website for Anti-Fascist Action in the Czech Republic, Antifa.cz, reported that the group sent an open letter in the run-up to the recent parliamentary elections to members of the ultra-right DSSS party as part of Anti-Fascist Action's ongoing campaign against antigypsyism. News server Romea.cz presents the introduction to the open letter from the website below, as well as the letter itself in full translation.
Open Letter Campaign to Members of the DSSS
As part of our ongoing campaign, called "Gypsies are not to blame for your shitty lives" and our ongoing cycle of articles about antigypsyism we have decided to express our position in a constructive, direct way to all members of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS), the political entity that has been overseeing and putting the finishing touches to the escalating pogrom-friendly atmosphere in this society for many years. For the first and probably also the last time, we have chosen a method to which we are not very accustomed, that of direct communication.
We believe that at least some of the thousands of people we are reaching out to will reflect on our text, which they will receive by e-mail and through the postal service along with a small "present". Even though this specific campaign is primarily targeting the DSSS membership (i.e., an indispensable percentage of this country's convinced, long-term racists and violent offenders), we also view it, without false expectations, as a way to positively reach out to those who have not yet encountered our work, those who are on the fence, or those who are passive observers of what is going on.
That conclusion has been confirmed by some of the responses we have already received. We continue to understand the DSSS as a marginal party whose actual influence in terms of power in the context of the political struggle here constitutes a minimal fraction of the constellation of negative factors now influencing our lives.
As anarchists, we are aware that the current upswing in racist tendencies stands and falls primarily according to the socioeconomic elements cyclically generated by our current system. The DSSS represents only one of the consequences of these mechanisms.
That party publicly declares itself in favor of a rigorous social policy, but when we review the actual activities of its individual members, we see they primarily play the cards of primitive xenophobia and of radical economic repression against the most vulnerable groups in our population, drowning their anger side-by-side with convinced neo-Nazis and political careerists. It also cannot be ignored that most politicians across the political spectrum here understandably get along very well with such racist sentiments.
For some politicians this rhetoric is literally paving the way to the feeding-trough they so desire to access. It is very easy for them to hide their bad consciences over their own sins and their own crooked spines behind a populist vocabulary that dates from the time of the Nazi Protectorate and includes the planning of (concentration) camps for homeless people, the discussion of Romani states, or the purging of "inadaptables" from public transportation.
A brief note on the responses from the (non) members of the DSSS
Since we do not recognize the principle of collective blame which the chauvinists and racists use against immigrants or Romani people, we are glad that some of you really did think about our letter and sent us dozens of e-mails that showed a depth of content. We were sincerely surprised by the number of former party members who wrote to say they no longer agree with the party's policy, that they distance themselves from neo-Nazism and racism, and that they would be interested in further communication.
However, for some reason the party has not yet removed you from its member list and continues to publish your personal information there. To those of you who will continue to support and vote for the DSSS, we would like to remind you that you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with many people who can be proven to be neo-Nazis and violent offenders responsible for frequent attacks against innocent people.
We publish documented information about these people at regular intervals on our website. Naturally it is easy to label all of our work as merely a campaign of lies, rumors and tendentious scandals, but unless you are a total dunce, you can form your own opinion from the information available there.
Complete wording of the open letter
Members of the DSSS:
As a member of the DSSS, which wittingly incites and supports regular attempts at racist pogroms in localities inhabited by socially vulnerable families, and in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections, we have decided to use this format, for the first and last time, to ask you to reflect on what you are doing. As one of more than 1 000 party members, you too bear direct responsibility for the cowardly violence being committed against the most vulnerable groups in society.
You many just be a mere onlooker who "obtained" a membership card on the basis of your relationship with a partner or with relatives, or you may be one of those who succumbs to the psychosis of the mob and likes to shout "gypsies to the gas chambers" without giving it a second thought. If you are a person who has approved or does approve of the physical attacks being perpetrated against the Romani minority, from the Molotov cocktails in Vítkov to the violent demonstrations in northern Bohemia and Moravia, then you don't have to test your own patience by reading any further, as we lost our own patience with you long ago.
Everyone bears responsibility for their actions and must count on an adequate reaction to them in the future. The times in which we are living are not easy for anyone, not even for the people you hate.
No one ever asked you whether you wanted capitalism and the corruption, double-talking politicians, fear of job losses, mass layoffs, tax evaders and unemployment that comes with it. No one asked the Roma either.
The vast majority of you are living in the grip of racist hoaxes and rumors, as many people continue to repeat the mantra of an "unfair system for disbursing welfare" without any direct experience or real knowledge of what they are talking about. How many of you have admitted to yourselves that what lies behind this primitive hatred is just fear, pure envy, and uncertainty stemming from your own prostituted lives?
We do not believe in the neo-liberal notion being hammered into us about the same starting line for everyone and unlimited opportunities to come, but we also do not believe that "the gypsy from the other side of the housing estate", at whom even the very last poor guy is now pointing the finger, is to blame for our having to survive on the edge of the poverty line and for the continually deteriorating economic situation here. The DSSS is just one more political entity looking to trade in your (very often) unpaid assistance and your votes for money and power.
The party leadership treats you and your personal data like cattle, you are nothing more to them than cannon fodder they use to achieve their personal aims. These people are not interested in a better world for all of us, they are doing their best to just mooch off of the current situation.
What else can we expect from [party chair] Mr Vandas, who in the course of his political career has had no problem making speeches about the Sudetenland next to hard-core Bolsheviks from the Club of the Czech Borderland (Klub českého pohraničí)? This same person bought up several pieces of real estate last year, managed to throw out many inconvenient party members after friendly consultations with the narrow circle of leadership, and continues to burrow around in his own little sandbox together with Messrs Štěpánek and Zbela (and not only them).
The scandal of another high party functionary, Vlastmil Vach, and his defrauding the party coffers must certainly also be known to you. Believe us, many of you don't even see the proverbial tip of this particular iceberg.
We could continue by listing the number of police informers in the party, its members with long criminal pasts, including felony property crimes, Mr Borna from the party cell in Nový Jičín, who has set up a whole business of trafficking in poverty through residential hotels, and we would close off the list with an extensive roster of the names of people who can be proven to be Fascists and neo-Nazis (even though today everyone plays fast and loose with these terms) who are hiding behind the politics of the DSSS. We are giving you a final opportunity to realize that the problem in this country is not Romani people, and the solution is not represented by the party of which you are a member.
Even if the "last gypsy" were to disappear from your neighborhood, even if the last residential hotel were to burn to the ground, even if all of the "inadaptables" were to adapt (even those in your own ranks), you would still be alone. You would have the same elites manipulating you, the same politicians making promises, the same police defending the interests of the rich, the same problems, the same state that disappointed you long ago, and the same prostituted lives that are sliding through your fingers faster than you like to admit - and this is how it will be even if you support and vote for the DSSS as your savior.
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