Call for Solidarity from Bulgaria: No Nazis on Our Streets, No to Fortress Europe

Note from the LeftEast editors: In January 2018 Bulgaria has taken the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first six months of 2018. Meanwhile Neonazis will still be marching the on the streets of Sofia in February to commemorate General Hristo Lukov: the head of the interwar Legion and Minister of War in the late 1930s. Known as a stark nationalist and anti-semite, he was killed by a partisan woman. The march that commemorates him combines nationalist, chauvinist, anti-communist and racist rhetorics. It is a feast of the international right extreme, whose members come to Bulgaria in big numbers to join the march. Annually right extreme groups including such as the internationally banned Blood and Honour march on the streets of the Bulgarian capital. Over the last decade, anti-fa groups in Bulgaria have tried to block the march and the surrounding events, but the Bulgarian authorities have remained complicit with the right-extreme parties and groups. This year, the organisers are hoping that the Presidency of Bulgaria will be an occasion to make this hateful march an international concern. They are also calling for international support and presence. In support of the march we publish a link to an interview which Slovenian Radio Student carried out with one anti-fa activist from Sofia. We also reprint the call for solidarity. Please share and reprint the call for solidarity, and come to Sofia to join the countermarch.

Dear friends and comrades,

February 2018 marks the 15th year anniversary of the annual Nazi march Lukovmarsh in Sofia, as well as the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first six months of 2018. We would like to invite you to the Anti-Fascist demonstration, which will be our response to these disgraceful events, both marking the further fortification of the horrorlike death-machine we call ‘Fortress Europe’ on whose shores and borders so many people have died in the past few years.

Who is general Lukov and what is Lukovmarsh exactly?

General Lukov (1887-1943)

Lukovmarsh is a Nazi torch-lit march that happens annually in February, honoring the memory of the general,  politician and minister of war Hristo Lukov (1887-1943), a supporter of Nazi Germany during the Second World War killed by Violeta Yakova, a female member of the underground anti-fascist resistance in Sofia. Between years 1942 and 1943 he was also the leader of the ultra-nationalistic organization Union of the National Bulgarian Legions, who was pressuring the government to send the Bulgarian Jews to the German death camps.

15 years ago, in 2003, the figure of Hristo Lukov was pulled out of the trash bin of history to be commemorated for the first time and the march in his honor has been happening ever since, regardless of the formal bans in 2014 and 2015 and the “lack of coordination” with the municipality in 2016  and 2017, which was appealed to in Administrative court and won by the organizers of Lukovmarsh.  The organizers and participants belong to numerous fascist Bulgarian groups, among which are the Bulgarian National Union, the nationalistic party VMRO (currently an important part of the Bulgarian government), Nazi ultras groups and the Bulgarian branch of the internationally banned Neo-Nazi organization Blood and honor. Lately, Lukov’s commemorators try not to show openly Nazi symbolism like swastikas so the march would not be banned but still – the easily recognisable symbols held dear by the International Neo-Nazi movement (celtic crosses, flags of the German empire, the sun of the Third Reich, etc) who are used to mask their allegiance to the most hateful and anti-humane ideology the world knows of today, can be spotted on the frontline of the march. Angel Djambazki, a Bulgarian far-right politician from VMRO, who is a member of the EU parliament openly supports the march and the organizations behind it.

A video impression of Lukovmarsh in 2017

Why is transnational solidarity important?

“brown internationalists” at the Lukov March 2017

The anti-immigration rhetoric and the fear of migrant “waves” occupying Europe are turning mainstream politics into a shelter for racism, nationalism and xenophobia. Ultra-Nationalists are already in the government in countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Poland. In others like Germany they have higher than ever ratings. Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary Nazi organizations, all over Europe are uniting against migrants, meeting up, marching together, holding conferences and showing “white international solidarity” more than ever to “protect Europe”as they claim. This was evident in the numbers of foreign supporters of Lukovmarsh lately, among which are:

At the start of Bulgaria’s European presidency, we protest both European bureaucrats and their policies, as well as their tools – nazis and fascists. We believe that politicians, bureaucrats and media have made the main contribution to the alarming new rise of the militant Neo-Nazi, ultra-nationalistic, xenophobic etc. movements in Europe. We should never forget that it is not Neo-Nazi attacks that killed over 15, 000 people in the Mediterranean and it was not Neo-Nazis who dehumanised a large group of people to an extent that their lost lives are counted in numbers, dreams locked in detention centres indefinitely and children tear-gassed because they have no place to be, different to a plastic-shack squatted camp. It is in the soil of hate, fertilized by the excrements of the media, politicians and soulless bureaucrats counting dead bodies and kilometers of border-fences, where Neo-Nazis, fascists, ultra-nationalists, homophobes and misogynists thrive. The fate of Lukovmarsh is a good example – for years the march has been protested against and each year the mayor of the city is only formally “banning” it only to later allow the nazis to march with their torches, escorting them with a large number of police. In the meanwhile political parties in close ties with some of the organisations in the march are in local, national and European power structures, holding a number top positions. Their (and not only) constant hate-speech is promoted and widely welcome in the media, which has continuously used it to raise its audience’s moneymaking fears and racist stereotypes. For this reason we want to send a clear message – No nazis on our streets, no to fortress Europe!

When and how can you support us?

The preliminary date for our march is Feb 17 (same day as Lukovmarsh) and we would also like to organize a day of informative events the previous day in which different collectives can do and participate in talks, presentations and discussions, sell books, t-shirts etc. The context in Bulgaria is extremely different to the one in other countries in Europe, we have no large squatted spaces or much money. However, we will do our best to provide as many places of accommodation for people coming to the march as we can. You can get in touch with us to let us know if your group or you and your friends are planning to come so we can try to arrange sleeping places. You are also invited to propose presentations, talks or events you would like to contribute with on the day before the march. We believe the latter is extremely important in order to involve a wider public into informative and motivating events related to Anti-Fascist (and similar autonomous) struggles. If you have books, zines, t-shirt or whatever that might be of interest that you want to bring to sell or share, feel more than invited to do it!

In case you would like to support us organizing a benefit gig or whatever kind of fundraising, get in touch with us. In reality we have very scarce resources and often money are one of the obstacles we face when organizing the demonstration. Any contribution will be appreciated and will help us print propaganda and prepare the demo.

The few of us here have been trying to stop Lukovmarsh for the past 15 years but have had neither the institutional nor the physical power to do so. In this context, we are deeply grateful to each and every one of our comrades who have joined us on the streets in the past years and to those who will make their way to Sofia for Feb 17!

Lukovmarsh is one of the crystal-clear examples of how fascists and nazis collaborate internationally to spread their ideology of hate and death.  Let’s turn Sofia  into a symbol of transnationalist solidarity!

NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS, NO TO FORTRESS EUROPE!

If you want to get in touch with us, email sofia@antifa-bulgaria.org, all communication regarding the march and cooperation goes through this email.

 

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