This is what democracy looks like - Bureaucratic hurdles against antifascist movement in Vorarlberg

In the last few months the level of activity of nazi organisations in Vorarlberg has risen dramatically. These developments have reached a new qualitative stage when about 1000 nazis from Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic attended a concert on the October 12 this year in Hohenems. As reaction to the inactivity of the Executive and the policy of the Regional authorities concerning the Nazi concerts in Vorarlberg, the marxist-led Vorarlberg Socialist Youth (SJ) started to build antifascist committees in the schools and called for the formation of a platform called "No Nazi Concerts in Vorarlberg".

In the last few months the level of activity of nazi organisations in Vorarlberg has risen dramatically. The nazis seem to feel very secure in this western part of Austria and obviously they have chosen this region in the border with Germany and Switzerland as a basis from where they try to reorganise internationally. Activists and sympathizers from "Blood and Honour" have been conducting violent attacks against immigrants and left wing youth. These developments have reached a new qualitative stage when about 1000 nazis from Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic attended a concert on the October 12 this year in Hohenems. The nazis are using these concerts to recruit new members and to finance their organisations and papers.

The police was present in Hohenems but instead of applying the existing laws against Nazi activities they were busy helping the visitors finding parking space. A leading police representative was quoted in the most read newspaper of Vorarlberg saying: "The security forces are first of all concerned that the left will get to know where the concert will take place and that there could be clashes with the Nazis." So, the extreme right wing is organising a massive event for 1000 people and the police consider the antifascists as the main danger on that evening! As if this policy of being "blind on the right eye" was not enough now the authorities are openly putting obstacles to the developing antifascist movement in Vorarlberg.

As reaction to the inactivity of the Executive and the policy of the Regional authorities concerning the Nazi concerts in Vorarlberg, the marxist-led Vorarlberg Socialist Youth (SJ) started to build antifascist committees in the schools and called for the formation of a platform called "No Nazi Concerts in Vorarlberg" which is supported by the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), the Independent Trade Union for Education (UBG), the Green Party and the New Democratic Youth (Turkish immigrants).

They have planned a concert in the Poolbar, which is an old indoor swimming pool for the December 7, 2002. Since then the conservative Council, which is the owner of the pool-bar and the Executive have tried to prevent this concert with bureaucratic hurdles and threadbare arguments. The peak of this political scandal is the security costs which the organisers would have to pay. The costs for the private security-service alone would be 2,750 Euro. And they were threatened that they would also have to pay the costs for the police detachment themselves. With these methods the authorities try to muzzle the antifascist movement in Vorarlberg.

It is a clear violation of the most fundamental democratic rights. In addition to that, this is an obvious proof that they would be capable of preventing the Nazi concerts if they had the will to do so. In the ÖVP (conservative Peoples Party)-dominated Vorarlberg this political power is used arbitrarily against the youth that is not longer willing to stand aside and look while the Nazis are reorganising.

We want these measures concerning the concert in the old swimming pool to be taken back immediately. We want these measures concerning the concert in the old swimming pool to be taken back immediately. It is clear that the authorities, instead of fighting against the nazis day, are openly trying to prevent the antifascist activities of the youth in Vorarlberg. Therefore, the only way of stopping Nazi activities in Vorarlberg is through the organised mobilisation of the youth and the labour movement, using the traditional methods of the working class.

To fight for these demands and to show that we are not only fighting against the nazi-scene, but also refuse to accept that our antifascist activities are prevented by the ÖVP and the conservative controlled authorities we are organising a school-students strike on November 22 with demos in Bregenz and Feldkirch. This campaign is already spreading to other regions in Austria. The Marxist tendency around the Der Funke paper is organising a petition protesting against these undemocratic measures as well as solidarity demos in Vienna and other cities. The Socialist Youth in Linz is organising a solidarity meeting, and they are also mobilising for the concert on December 7. The support we receive from trade unionists, social democrats, students and ordinary people every day is a big moral boost for the campaign of the comrades in Vorarlberg. Just one week before the parliamentary elections the bourgeois parties show what democracy really means for them.

by our correspondents from Vorarlberg

Please send messages of solidarity to the Socialist Youth in Vorarlberg: Petition

Sozialistische Jugend Vorarlberg
Mutterstraße 65a, 6800 Feldkirch
0699/12 33 93 32 Eva
www.jugendkaempft.com
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For a German version see: Antifaschismus schwer gemacht

See also: Der Funke