For forty two days martial law was officially imposed in Serbia: we wanted to find out what was happening, but it has just now become vague what was really going on; what we know is who is, again, going to suffer the consequences. In order to face the criminal, the State needed to ban right to strike and other syndicalist activities, public gatherings and public commenting on the decision of imposing martial law – and in this way using the methods of the fascist regimes, the methods which are perpetuating undisturbed manipulation and repression.
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Two days after the statement of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative was delivered to the media, related to the murder of Zoran Djindjic (Serbian prime minister), police searched the flat, confiscated the computer equipment and the mobile phone, and arrested one of the members of the local group of ASI. Serbian Minister of Labor Dragan Milovanovic issued an order according to which the police was working. He is continuing his politics of betrayal of the workers' interests, faced with furious resistance of those whom he betrayed: «the wild», only according to the State standards, strike of more than 300 workers of IMT factory are giving best example that we are not going to go along with the state which has been imposed upon us and which is taking part after part of our lives.
After the arrest, our member was questioned more than six hours about our union actions, membership and ways of organizing. During this time our member was not informed about which law was broken by delivering the statement – since non of the media had published our statement. Our member got a police document deciding to hold him for thirty days and he was taken to the prison cell in the police station «29. November». While staying in the cell he was faced with other prisoners who were systematically beaten up by the police (for example: with baseball sticks over their whole body, especially the knees), who were forced to sign blank statements and who were threatened with torture and assassination by special plaintiff. After tree days our member was released – again without any explanation of the grounds on which he was arrested – and he was ordered, in spoken form, that he cannot comment on the things he saw or heard in the cell.
The document that was given to our member on the occasion of the assessment of the sentence in the explanation states that: «Named person has been detained on the date of 14th of March 2003., on the basis of legitimate suspicion that his freedom could jeopardize security of the citizens and of the Republic itself.» It is made self-evident that the State, i.e. its striking force – the police, considers that today's safety of the citizens is much more threatened by those who publicly present their positions than by those constantly laying off thousands of working people, those who are making their living on the stolen surplus value of those working people, those training young man to kill or those running over pedestrians in Belgrade. (Note by the translator: several days ago Serbian minister of agriculture ran over a young woman in Belgrade because he was overspeeding in the center of the city)
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The repression against our union has not ceased with the detantion of one of our members. Moreover, our member, a ballet worker, employed in the National theatre in Belgrade had been exposed to intimidation and threats by her superior. Ministry of internal affairs (the police – translators note) had delivered request to the Ministry of Culture of Serbia which, for their part, addressed the management of the National theatre asking for surveillance and keeping track of «possible problematic» behavior and activities of our member. While talking with operational director of the theatre our member found out that she was subjected to scrutiny for a longer period of time. As some of potentially criminal acts she was faced with suspicion that she was: propagating free love in her rented apartment, painting graffiti against privatization, organizing the agitation group in the theatre, participating in the distribution of leaflets in front of the building of Ministry of culture (translators note: which is completely preposterous falsehood) and distributing our propaganda newspaper «Direct Action» to other employees. It is important to notice that the operational director was not contacting our member, although he is the person in charge for financial managing within theatre, whereas our member, as well as many other employees of the National theatre, didn't get paid for more that six months.
We are going to repeat that only the fascist regimes in near past used to act in this manner against union organized workers. If the practice of the intimidation continues, Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative will not hesitate to use any means necessary for protection of our member's rights.
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Imperialism of the USA has continuously beein going on through the war against citizens of Iraq. Calling themselves upon the god blessing, protection of freedom and democracy, once again USA has gained supremacy over «middle east» and control over Iraqi oil industry in another private war. Apart from that, the war can prevent severe economic crisis and further declining of dollar. The government of the republic of Serbia didn't find it suitable to even comment on this military adventure of its big friend and donor, and in this way is forgetting that we have all gone through this process in our not so distant past. Anglo-American barbarians, among other things, have made it possible for the sum of 170,000 artifacts created at the dawn of civilized human society – the artifacts which represent the history of the entire humanity – fall into the hands of enormously rich collectors from the «west» who will skillfully hide them from «ordinary» people.
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Big union centrals are still continuing to undermine the history of the workers struggle – Association of independent trade unions will not be marking the First of May this year, while the «Independence» will bring, for second time, the proven enemies of the workers to the celebration – the Social-democratic party. The party which in parliament voted for the law which would shame some of the worst conservatives of nowadays.
As long as unions are continuing cooperation with the State and political parties, workers rights will remain forgotten and unfulfilled.
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It will be 19 years since the brutal murder of the union activist Radomir Radovic at the end of this April. He was one of the rare syndicalists who publicly supported the idea of the creation of the unions independent from the State. On the 20th of April 1984. he was imprisoned along with another 27 participants at one of the gatherings of the «Open university». The «Open university» refers to the number of discussions, held in secrecy in private apartments all over Belgrade during the eighties, which gave opportunity to dissidents to exchange their ideas. The day after his imprisonment Radomir was released, but the day after that he was taken to the police station by the two employees of the State Security (Mirosavljevic and Petrovic). However he was released around midnight on the same day. On Monday, the 23rd of April, Radovic went to work, afterwards he met his girlfriend from who he parted around 7 pm. – he was not seen since than. On the 30th of April in 1984 Radomir Radovic was found dead in his aunt's cottage in the village of Orasac. Despite the official survey which described Radomir's death as a suicide, great number of facts are witnessing that Radomir was another victim of the State repression. Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative is contributing to the request of his friends and family to open the files of the State Security that were supposed to clear the ambiguities concerning his death. The State and capitalism are killing, but we never forget.
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We believe that after ceasing of the martial law the workers rebellion will reach its peak again and that the workers will see through the union bureaucracy and the State structures – discarding the tactics of the lesser resistance and waiting for the fulfillment of the false promises, while accepting the radical struggle for their rights on each and every front.
April 24th 2003.
Secretariat of Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative