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Appeal To To Halt Violence Against SOP

An International Appeal To The Left And Workers Movement To Halt Violence Against SOP To All Anarchists, Syndicalists, Socialists, Communists And Anti-Capitalists

It is with real regret that we have to report another case of unprovoked violence against members of the SOP (Czech section of the LRCI) in Prague.

A group of about 12 anarchists, among them members of Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) attacked 2 SOP comrades, as a result of which one received a broken nose and was hospitalised for 2 days.

The incident occurred on the night of 3 August. The two SOP members were in a pub in which there was also a group of anarchists. In the pub itself there was no signs of hostility— yet when the SOP comrades left the anarchists followed them into the street, and provoked them with taunts about Kronstadt and shouting "you will be hanged!" Then they physically attacked them. This cowardly attack comes on top of two previous attacks on individual SOP members by groups of FSA members in 1999 and 1998. Then denunciations of these attacks seemed to bring a halt to them.

For this reason we call on the widest number individuals and organisations to condemn this action and to ensure that the perpetrators of such actions are ostracised in the workers and progressive movement.

It is true that in terms of political principles Trotskyists have major differences with anarchists, as they have with Stalinist and Social Democrats. These differences —in the context of actual revolutions and civil war have led to fighting. But it is totally ridiculous to present this as the norm for relations between the various currents within the working class movement. Trotskyists have also —as in Spain in the 1930s—found themselves in a united front with the anarchists against Stalinist and Social democratic repression (Barcelona 1937). Likewise against fascism we find ourselves in a united front with anarchists, Stalinists and the social democrats too, if they are prepared to actually fight the fascists. We do not believe that political differences today can or should be settled by violence. Historical events in revolutions and civil wars in the first half of the twentieth century —whatever their importance — are no pretext for violence against other working class or left militants— with whom we should be engaged in a common struggle against fascists and racists, against the IMF etc. All people and individuals who are confident in their own ideas will submit them to the proof of their effectiveness in this common struggle.

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This is not just an abstract moral issue. The existing workers movement, the developing movement against global capitalism needs to combine the widest unity in action against our common enemies with free and comradely discussion of political differences. Only those who fear such discussions will resort to violence. To bring such violence into the workers movement is a reactionary provocation which gives an opportunity for intervention by the forces of the bourgeois state. If such actions were repeated in September it could have very serious consequences for the movement as a whole—especially when the "forces of order" will be looking for any excuse to turn it into a police riot.

We do not seek to blame all anarchists for these attacks. We have worked and are working alongside anarchist comrades in a thoroughly comradely fashion.. We stigmatise solely and exclusively those who carry out such attacks or who justify them after the event. That is why we seek a clear condemnation of these attacks from all those involved in the anti-capitalist mobilisation in Prague in September.

International secretariat of the LRCI

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