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Abolishing Borders from Below *35 Oct 2009

Abolishing Borders from Below *35 Oct 2009

The anarchist journal from Eastern Europe. This issue asks; , Who are the terrorists? and has news from Serbia, Russia, squatting in Prague, repression in Latvia, etc etc. 

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There is a justifiable need to abolish the borders between nations, societies, cultures and whatever else seperates and defines us. In order that the process of their abolition does not lead to the formation of new borders or other types of segregation it has to be done from below, by the people not by elitist institutions such as The European Union, NATO or United Nations.

There is an enduring need to instantly abolish all states, governments and authoritarian institutions so that communities based on common values such as freedom, respect, collaboration and solidarity can be formed. These communities in turn can lead to the transformation of the world order into one based on the above mentioned values. In an attempt to push forward both of these goals with support for developement from the anarchist movement above the borders we have created ...

ABOLISHING THE BORDERS FROM BELOW

There are many reasons why it is necessary to put out this type of publication on a regular basis. There are a large number of anarchist groups in Eastern Europe who could operate much more effectivly with a continual exchange of ideas, tactics, experiences and materials with similarly minded groups from all over Europe and the World. It is clear that many western activists are also interested in the ideas and actions of the "eastern anarchists". We believe it to be necessary to tighten the collaboration between east and west in resisting Fortress Europe, the globalization of the world economy, and above all capitalism and it's effects on our life. A mutual exchange of inspirations, motivations, and cooperation from anarchist communities all over Europe is needed on a day to day basis not only in times of international protests like the ones in Prague, Gothenburg and Genua. The intent of this paper is to set up a better network of communication between groups and individuals from different parts of this continent. The process of creating an editorian team for "AbolishingBB" was a great step toward this so we appeal to everyone to make the most of the information here as effectivly as possible.

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ANARCHIST COLLECTIVE FROM BERLIN
ABOLISHING THE BORDERS FROM BELOW

 

The Berlin-based collective "Abolishing the Borders from Below" began its activities in autumn 2001 and was formed by a handful of East-European migrant anarchists and political and counter-cultural anti-authoritarians. From the very beginning our activities were focused on both socio-political and counter-cultural aspects, while the anarchist principles of non-hierarchical structures and decision-making processes were taken as the common ground for all our activities. Resisting the rules of capitalistic, parliamentarian and other doctrines dominating all aspects of social relations today, we decided on promoting anarchism as the possible alternative; an alternative to the social-systems based on competition, segregation, obedience, exploitation and violence. However, it has to be stressed that, as a collective, we have never decided on one program or exact description of what form of anarchism we are aiming for.

There are many reasons for that. Among them: the great differences between the backgrounds we come from, from a young anarcho-punk standpoint to that of experiences of participation in the “Solidarnosc” movement (polish workers movement of the 80’). From the beginning we have been rather intuitively using this variety of diverse experiences, standpoints and visions, for breaking the dogmas and letting “our vision of anarchism” develope freely and see it rather as an ongoing process than as a particular unmistakable concept we need to reach one day. So if one would necessarily like to place AbolishingBB (2001-2004) on the global map of the revolutionary left one should see our attempts as heading towards a collective that strongly supports a variety of issues but based on anarchist values, while the AbolishingBB version of anarchism should be seen as a permanent process of collective praxis and theory in order to form our own alternative and see it as a little piece of the complexity of the alternative social relations which we call Anarchism. That is also why we call ourselves an anarchist collective and not an anarchist organization.

In these few years of activity, the collective has managed to create, and continuously improve on, a regular anarchist publication with quite a wide popularity among various spectrums of anarchists around the whole continent (and beyond). The publication has the same name as the collective itself and its full name is: Abolishing the Borders from Below – an anarchist courier from Eastern Europe. That is why many people believe we are specifically a magazine publishing collective. Actually there are other projects we have been involved in over the years. We built up (namely!) and opened our office in Berlin, which serves as a meeting space for other anti-authoritarian leftwing groups and which also has a small libertarian library with a focus on Eastern Europe. AbolishingBB has also organised solidarity actions, informative meetings, exhibitions and other political and cultural events. From the very beginning we have cooperated with other anarchist groups, projects and campaigns both locally and around the world, especially in Eastern Europe. Depending on our limited capabilities we have always tried to give our support to various local and global struggles fighting against all kinds of oppression, each time trying to enrich these struggles with an anarchist perspective.

Since the very beginning, the collective has tried to confront and consciously exercise one of the biggest issues of an anarchist perception of social relations, which are the mutual-relations between freedom & preferences of individual and the concept of collectivism. During this time we have been through and created various forms of cooperation within our group, some were better than others. Learning from our own mistakes and enjoying watching the progress within our praxis seems to be two common parts of AbolishingBB reality. Remaining faithful to our intuitive understanding of anarchism as a process under permanent construction (which we are part of) we have never considered this process to be finished. This fact was of the biggest importance especially in winter 2004/2005 when the collective found itself in at a very difficult stage…
Basically, winter 2004 was for the ABB crew a really cold one... some of the problems that were affecting the collective for a long time, arrived at a "breaking point"… the collective at that moment found itself drastically reduced in numbers and facing a kind of existential crisis. Several questions were raised with a strong impact among the few people left in the project: how did we get to this point, how are we going to go forward? The people from the old collective tried to question themselves deeply, in order to not let the project come to a certain death, since everyone was still convinced of the importance of its existence. Some meetings started slowly to take place again, where participants began to reflect on the past 3 years of activity, and also – what was felt as a really necessary thing – to let a good and healthy self-criticism come out: the people felt this was really necessary to continue the project.

One of the very first topics approached was definitely how to get more people involved in the project, since a lot of people in the last years left the collective for very different reasons; we started to ask some people who were already collaborating, on different levels with the collective, if they would have liked to engage themselves on a deeper level of participation... it looked like that this trick functioned, and the number of the collectives members doubled itself! With new energy, we could start to talk about ourselves...

We at first discussed how the collective found itself in this position in order to avoid mistakes for the future and learn from our mistakes of the past, a method which we feel as a constitutive part of our anarchist praxis... major problems that were faced were: