Statement by a group of Belarusian anarchists in Warsaw regarding the takeover of the Syrena squat
Yesterday, the Syrena (Mermaid) squat social collective attempted to evict D. from the squat; he came from Belarus about five years ago. The reason for the decision was, among others, an attempt to appropriate the collective space by D., the use of violence and the threat of using a knife, insults and threats against women and queer members of the collective. The eviction was preceded by a long and unsuccessful attempt to carry out a restorative process, which was sabotaged by D. After the eviction, D. went to the neighboring Przychodnia (Clinic) squat, where he gathered several dozen supporters who attacked the Syrena squat with bottles, stones and firecrackers; as a result, part of the collective lost their apartments and had to flee.
The website of Przychodnia stated that D. was a ‘political refugee from Belarus’ and ‘the leader of the Belarusian community in Warsaw’, that he was exposed to frost and brought to the edge by psychological violence. We consider it unacceptable to try to play the ‘Belarusian card’ in the conflict and to abuse the intersectional approach (who is more oppressed here) to justify the authoritarian actions and violence of D. and his allies. Having experienced state repression and prison sentences, or one’s citizenship, do not grant any permission to commit acts of violence and intimidation. D. considers himself an anti-fascist, and an anti-fascist is not just someone who can fight. Fascism is also authoritarianism and the use of violence against those who do not agree with the status quo.
We are part of the Belarusian community – and we want to declare that D. is not our ‘leader’, and many of us do not even know him. Apart from the fact that he is not a member of the anarchist movement, he is also not present in the field of political protest of the Belarusian diaspora in Warsaw. Moreover, leadership and the cult of authority in an anti-authoritarian environment are generally considered unacceptable, but there is no doubt that the ‘Belarusian community’ in which D. participates does not care about non-authoritarianism.
It is also disturbing that due to such confrontations, politics completely disappears from Polish squats, because principled activists are either pushed out or decide to leave themselves, and their place is taken by people who are not involved in political activity. Yesterday’s attack on the Syrena will mean, in the long run, that the movement will lose another safe place to organize, and due to the boycott of these people in the movement, the level of solidarity needed to defend these spaces will decrease in case the state and owners try to take them back.
We condemn the violence within the movement, and we sympathize with the Syrena social collective.
A group of Belarusian anarchists in Warsaw
insta @ bel.anark.waw