Tuesday 31 January 2012

Protest at Stadium turns into Antifascist Counter

On January 29 was the grand opening of the National Stadium in Warsaw, built for the Euro 2012. The hideous structure turned out to be the most expensive stadium in the world, thanks to the many money-making opportunities to be had with its construction. ZSP, whose offices are located nearby, has been involved in protesting it at several stages: when workers, many illegally employed did not receive wages and went on wildcat strike, we helped them expose the situation, encouraged and helped some to take action, when Ukrainian workers housed in containers without heat contacted us, we helped to correct their situation and when two workers died at the stadium, we pushed for investigation and the testimony of workers on safety violations. We also have been involved in another way since the building of the stadium sped up gentrification in the area, which we are fighting. So when the Stadium finally opened, we decided to go there and protest.

It is important to note that just before the immensely costly Stadium opened, the city announced plans to liquidate 18 public schools. We have been protesting the social policies of the local government for some time and for us, as well as for many local people, the Stadium is a symbol of public waste. Half of the schools being shut down are located in the poor areas in Praga, where the stadium is located.

We had heard that fascists from the ONR (National Radical Camp) would also have a protest there. We were expecting an assortment of different protests. Unfortunately what we encountered were about 100 fascists and nationalists of different organizations. If they think they can just protest in our neighbourhood without getting some resistance, they have to think again.

We started out with our normal program, handing out leaflets, inviting people to protest against the cuts, act against raising the retirement age, defend the neighbourhood, etc. etc. We had our papers on hand for more interested people. We also had a stock of counterslogans for the fascists' boring and predictable ones. We picketed for about 1.5-2 hours as people came into the stadium, occasionally have to pause to shout something at fascists.

When the crowds were already gone, a group of "autonomous fascists" came to harrass us and a scuffle broke out. No comrades were hurt. Interestingly, somebody was making a video when this happened and immediately afterwards, when we decided to leave. We therefore got to see some reactions made by the few people around. For example, an old lady came up and started shouting at the fascists that they would better do something about the retirement problem than pick on us. To which they told her off with some shithead remark about how they work to pay for her retirement.

The ignorance here of course is disgusting. We hope that stuff like this leaves no doubt in people's minds that, even if these fascist sorts try to pretend that they are some popular movement, they are just mindless goons, far removed from the reality of most people and hardly able to understand even the social and financial realities of the world we live in.