We are excited to announce that next Balkan Anarchist Bookfair (BAB) will take place from 7th to 9th of July 2023 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This decision was made by the general assembly of the last BAB that took place between 24th and 26th of June 2022 in Cluj, Romania (you can read the full statement of the assembly here).
This will be the 15th edition of BAB but will also mark 20 years of its inception as the first BAB took place in Ljubljana in 2003. After that it had traveled all around the Balkans (in geographies of Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Greece, Romania) and is now again returning to our city after 2013 when we hosted it last time.
We want to use this anniversary as an opportunity to organize a strong international anarchist gathering – one where we can address important questions of our time in a collective manner and with a perspective of future organizing and struggle. The concept of BAB was never only about the books for us. We always understood it as a tool for strengthening our groups, organizations, relations and networks on local, regional and international level. We understand it as a space where we exchange our ideas, analysis, perspectives and confront our practices, models of organizing and experiences of struggle, of our participations in social movements and of inserting our ideas in them. All with the intention to form meaningful proposals for future steps that can help us tackle the challenges our movements and societies are facing in the context of political, economical and social realities as well as that of revolutionary potential.
The current state of affairs on the global level is confirming our analysis from the past and is giving our political agenda of radical social change even more urgency for the future. It is clear that the capitalist system – based on enslavement, exploitation, domination and in a coherence with other oppressions such as racism and nationalisms, patriarchy and sexism – is destroying our lives, our societies and the environment. All the recent crises, constant intensification of attack of capital against popular classes, radicalization of police repression and state violence, and finally militarization and war are confirming our statement that capitalism is crisis. It is clear that the privileges of the ruling classes, coercive distribution of common wealth, existing hierarchies and the system itself can survive and be reproduced only through the rule of brute force and violence. From this we can easy extend our previous statement to capitalism is war.
Balkans with its specific history is no different in this aspects. It experienced all the brutality of war, nationalism and transition to capitalist economy in former Yugoslavia, was forced to become a laboratory of neoliberal politics (as experienced most obviously in the time of economic crisis from 2008 to 2012 in Greece), is witnessing deathly results of the European border regimes and its migration politics and is living disintegration of society with alienation and individualisation most extremely expressed in the practices of social cannibalism.
We can see different popular reactions to this realities: from reactionary rise of populist, nationalist, fascist extreme-right, the constant outbursts of riots in all corners of the world, unarticulated and diffusive street movements that are fueled through total distrust in political representation and state institutions to progressive revolutionary moments such as those of ongoing revolt in Iran or social revolutionary process in Kurdistan. The anarchist movement is trying to intervene not only in above-mentioned popular reactions to capitalist crises but also in social reality generally. Our own analysis and articulations are the foundations of our political mobilisations and activity in spaces where we are exploited and oppressed – in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. We participate in social movements where we try to implement our anti-authoritarian principles and revolutionary perspectives but we are also building new movements, fighting and solidarity structures as well as communal and autonomous spaces where we are developing alternative practices of organizing and living. But are we doing enough and are we succesfull in building counter-power needed for real change? We believe that anarchism as a political expression of the interests of the exploited and oppressed can offer many answers to the questions of our time but we can also see that the movement is lacking fundamental influence on the mechanisms of history. We would like to use BAB gathering for reflection on this and other topics, to develop strategies that can bring our agendas forward and give us new energy for our future organizing and mobilisations.
With all this in mind we are inviting all parts of the international anarchist and anti-authoritarian movement from the geographies of the Balkans, Europe and other continents to join us in the process of organizing this event on all levels and to start planning its participation. Since there will be another big international anarchist gathering in St. Immier in July 2023 we want to create an organic connection between the two. We would especially like to invite comrades from other continents that are planning to join the meeting in St. Immier to consider our invitation and also take part at the BAB gathering in Ljubljana.
We will continue to inform you about the process and give details on the programme framework of the event in the future months. We ask you to translate this call in your languages, publish it in you media and share it through your communication channels.
For further information, questions and proposals you can contact us via e-mail bab2023(at)riseup(dot)net or visit website bab2023.avtonomija.org.
Over the walls of nationalism and war!*
Building solidarity and resistance!
In Ljubljana, 27th of November 2022
*slogan of the anarchist movement of former Yugoslavia that was used in anti-war and anti-nationalist mobilisations against the wars of the 1990’s and which was also the name of the anarchist paper that was published at the time by comrades from different countries of former Yugoslavia.
Balkan Anarchist Bookfair