[EMRAWI:] Ljubljana, Slovenia: Rogoversery Rogolution: They took our Rog, we will take the city!

In the last year the pan­de­mic has shown us exact­ly how dama­ging and anti­so­cial the poli­tics of neo­li­be­ra­lism imple­men­ted both at the sta­te and local level are, as they con­tri­bu­te to the ever incre­a­sing dis­tress of the majo­ri­ty of the peop­le. To a hand­ful of decisi­on-makers and their net­works howe­ver, the cri­sis pro­ved to be a gre­at oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­mo­te their pri­va­te inte­rests. After a full year of the coro­na pan­de­mic it has thus beco­me clear that des­pi­te the eco­no­mic cri­sis the poli­ti­cal and finan­cial estab­lish­ment have pro­spe­red, gai­ned even more power and sup­port of the repres­si­ve appa­ra­tus in order to stif­le pro­tests and popu­lar rebel­li­on.

Moreo­ver, the muni­ci­pa­li­ty of Ljub­l­ja­na asses­sed that in cahoots with the right-wing government and its sub­or­di­na­ted poli­ce for­ce it could final­ly exe­cu­te the era­su­re of the Rog Auto­no­mous Fac­to­ry des­pi­sed by both the sta­te and muni­ci­pal governments due to its cri­ti­cal views and non-con­for­mism. A cri­sis, be it the coro­na pan­de­mic or any other, always pro­vi­des an oppor­tu­ni­ty to the powers-that-be to car­ry out sne­aky mano­eu­vres which they hope will pass unde­tec­ted in the shadow of the gene­ral social dis­tress. But des­pi­te that or rather pre­cise­ly due to that we intend to keep poin­ting out the dest­ruc­ti­ve capi­ta­list gover­nan­ce of the mayor Zor­an Jan­ko­vić and the muni­ci­pa­li­ty which has pro­ven to be ris­ky and aim­less.

Let us recall what the Ljub­l­ja­na city cen­ter loo­ked like during the first coro­na­vi­rus wave – an area with no peop­le as the­re were no tou­rists nor employees to ser­ve them. This ghost town expe­ri­ence high­ligh­ted the usel­ess­ness of buil­ding up tou­rist infra­st­ruc­tu­re that is not aimed at local citi­zens even though it was built by public fun­ding. It beca­me clear that Ljubljana’s depen­dence on tou­rism was a mis­gui­ded stra­te­gy, sin­ce such an ori­en­ta­ti­on leads to inse­cu­ri­ty, lin­ge­ring on from one cri­sis to the next, incre­a­sing under­pay­ment and unem­ploy­ment, and explo­ita­ti­on of pre­ca­rious labour.

Des­pi­te all of that the city government con­ti­nues to fol­low its visi­on of eli­tiz­a­ti­on and ‘puri­fi­ca­ti­on’ of the city. Any sur­face, regard­less how small, is used for con­struc­ting eli­te blocks of luxu­rious apart­ments, while the majo­ri­ty of citi­zens can hard­ly make ends meet due to sky­ro­cke­ting rents, under­paid jobs and unem­ploy­ment. Many peop­le even had to move back in with their par­ents who, in ano­t­her era, had bet­ter oppor­tu­nities to achie­ve a decent stan­dard of living. Huge amounts of public fun­ding go into ‘clea­ning’ the city and erasing any expres­si­on of dis­agree­ment with such poli­ci­es, which inclu­ded also the Rog AF. But the muni­ci­pa­li­ty is only preoc­cu­p­ied with the appearan­ce of pro­spe­ri­ty – it is impe­ra­ti­ve to build. But for whom? To make busi­ness with ‘loy­al’ com­pa­nies and con­struc­tion spe­cu­la­tors and to enrich inves­tors, all of which leads to incre­a­sing gen­tri­fi­ca­ti­on of city are­as from which regu­lar citi­zens are being aggres­si­ve­ly pushed out. They tre­at us like dumps­ters: remo­ving us and posi­tio­ning us out of sight of rich visi­tors – be it under­ground or in the sub­urbs.

It is also beco­m­ing incre­a­singly clear that during this year living in Ljub­l­ja­na has trans­for­med into a per­ma­nent cri­sis made even worse by the grip of the repres­si­ve appa­ra­tus and its ten­ta­cles. Never befo­re were the­re so many poli­ce­men, agents, inspec­tors, secu­ri­ty and boun­cers in the streets who sanc­tion and nor­ma­li­ze insti­tu­tio­nal vio­lence and take care of any oppo­si­ti­on to eit­her muni­ci­pal or sta­te government. Never befo­re was the con­trol of our lives and beha­viour so widespread and deep. It has beco­me impos­si­ble to avoid it, as the regu­la­ti­ons of ‘appro­pria­te’ or ‘respon­si­ble’ con­duct chan­ge on a dai­ly basis. For many citi­zens Ljub­l­ja­na has beco­me unbe­ara­ble. This limi­t­ing of free­dom and incre­a­sing the juris­dic­tion of government, eco­no­mic and housing cri­sis, demo­li­ti­on of public space, con­trol and punish­ment in the streets, disci­pli­ning and repres­si­on need to stop.

Free­dom and jus­ti­ce are not sim­ply a gift to be recei­ved, the­re­fo­re we must find cou­ra­ge and invent new crea­ti­ve ways to win them back. Access to the city and joy­ful dwel­ling in it is our shared strugg­le. The Rog mem­bers remain in the front­li­ne, des­pi­te the government’s vio­lence unleas­hed upon us during the last two mon­ths. We deci­ded again to put the judi­cia­ry to the test as well, while stay­ing on the streets of Ljub­l­ja­na and other towns with all of tho­se who feel the need to resist the see­min­gly nor­ma­li­zed ever­y­day tyran­ny of the powers-that-be. We won’t let them take away the joy of living in a city of diver­si­ty, rain­bows and dif­fer­ent­ly dif­fe­rent peop­le. Only united we can fight this batt­le for equa­li­ty of all, for a com­mu­ni­ty without repres­si­ve rela­ti­ons­hips and for limit­less crea­ti­vi­ty of working and dwel­ling.

United in resis­tance!


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