Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis now at upscale addresses in Brno
After several recent successes by antifascists in the city of Brno it might seem the struggle against neo-Nazis has been symbolically won there. In reality the neo-Nazis remain active in the Czech Republic's second-largest city and can be found at rather upscale addresses.
Euphoria over the unprecedented blockade of a neo-Nazi march in Brno in 2011 and the discovery this past August that anti-fascist civil society can effectively stop Nazi efforts to organize larger assemblies or marches through the city's streets might give people a false impression of victory. While anti-fascists in Brno may concentrate on actions of solidarity with other towns, it is important to know that in recent months neo-Nazi groups have set up shop at some rather upscale addresses there.
DSSS in your town
The Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) recently moved in next to the Veselá Vačice restaurant at Běhounská 22. In the Typos shopping arcade it is relatively easy to recognize the party's front door.
The office entrance is usually adorned with a sober image of party chair Vandas or a calendar with the party's motifs. The posters don't usually stay up very long.
The office is located next to a doctor's consulting room. The party's official logo will lead you to them in the arcade.
Visiting hours are Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and it is not known how willing the nationalists are to accept visits at other times. The DSSS is led and represented in the region by people such as Erik Lamprecht, a local Nazi who chairs the "Hitler Youth"-style organization Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM).
Lamprecht was the convener of the march that was blocked in 2011. His colleagues include Tomáš Málek of National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO), Rudolf Pikola and Simona Skoumalová, also affiliated with the NO, and Jakub Svoboda of the DM.
Any white-collar fascist in Brno probably knows very well not to advertise their agitprop and electioneering activity on Facebook. Last month Lamprecht, Pikola, Skoumalová and Svoboda were canvassing in front of the Labor Office; reportedly we can expect to see them doing so in Blansko on 18 October and in Moravský Krumlov, Pohořelice and Znojmo on 19 October.
Thor Steinar shop on Jánská Street
Despite the advertising image of the German clothing brand Thor Steinar, which features people relaxing on the beach, this brand functions as the unofficial uniform of hardcore neo-Nazis. There have been attempts to ban the brand in Germany and local antifascists are well aware of the locations of its stores.
The Brno branch of Thor Steinar publishes misleading information on Facebook that jokingly places the business at the location of a hat and wig shop. Its actual location is at Jánská 9, almost right next to the Unimoda second-hand store.
The brand is promoted through megalomaniac billboards located in inaccessible places, such as the one next to the Vietnamese market on Olomoucká Street. A smaller, more accessible sign can also be found posted on the railing at the tram stop by the main train station.
Ortel in Brno
The music band Ortel, who have attended antigypsyist marches in Plzeň and Přerov just for the fun of it, had been planning to play at the Rock Club Brooklyn at Bašty 6 on 23 November in Brno. That just happens to be the same address as what until recently was the sole distributor for the Thor Steinar brand.
While the band does its best to give an offended, whining response whenever it is directly accused of inciting racism, its fan base take no such pains. Concerts by Ortel often function as a mobilizing social event for local neo-Nazi rowdies.
The threat of a boycott and local resistance has recently managed to force Ortel to move their Brno concert to Plzeň instead. People may also be surprised to learn that a scheduled show in Ostrava has been cancelled altogether.
Don't rest on your laurels
This report does not intend to be an exhaustive catalog of all the local points of the fascist movement in Brno. There are many fronts for anti-fascist activism here.
Mgr. Libor Šťástka, a local intellectual and designer of all of the parks in the city center, is satisfied with the explanation that fascist sentiment in Brno has declined recently thanks to the short-term efforts of a minister from a ministry that hasn't existed now for years [the post of Human Rights and Minorities Minister]. Those of us who are not satisfied with this explanation should recognize that local direct action is yet another way to contain the neo-Nazi movement.
First published in Deník Referendum.
A video (in Czech only) comparing the iconography of the DSSS to that of its historical ideological predecessors is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7-I7gpx4kU&feature=player_embedded
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