With regrets we enunciate that in the result of the difficult illness Jakub Polák, our friend, died on Tuesday, September 25th. Jakub will stay forever essentially connected with the Czech anarchist movement. He had a great deal upon its rebirth. We remind him by the necrolog from the redaction of A-Kontra by the interview, which he made for this magazíne in 2006 and where he turns back to his positions and activities.
On Tuesday, September 25th Jakub Polák died after the difficult illness. Redaction of A-Kontra
cooperated with him till the last while, but sadly his text about the situation in Přednádraží in Ostrava will not be finished anymore. Přednádraží was Jakub’s swan-song; for us, it is a challenge that the struggle for equitable world should not be surrended.
Jakub was borned on September 1st, 1952 in Karlovy Vary. He joined the public life in 1968, the entrance to university has been banned for him because of his activities. In next years, he moved both in the underground environment and in disent. In the year 1989 he was the co-founder of the strike comittee and he actively participated on affairs of the “Velvet Revolution”. But from its beginning, he hold different positions than the mainstream. These led him to the group Left Alternative (Levá alternativa; LA), where he acted as the executive secretary. He became there the member of the anarchist wing of LA (Left Alternative), which in the shape of the group ČAS (Československé anarchistické sdružení – Czech Anarchist Association) separated later from LA. In 1990, Jakub Polák was a co-founder of the first Prague squat in the street Pplk. Sochora. In 1991, together with people from ČAS he started to publish the magazine A-Kontra
, which became in the first half of 90’s the main print of the rising anarchist movement. In these times, Jakub Polák figured as the non-official speaker of the Czech anarchism.
From 1995, he acted as the mandatory of damaged victims by attacks of neonazists in Czech republic and he tried by the judicial action to compel State authorities to the responsible solving of problematics of hate crimes or rather to unmask its passivity in the face of the public or even more hidden sympathies with neonazists. Jakub Polák dealed with such cases as the murder of Tibor Danihel in Písek 1993, the murder of Zdeněk Čepela in Tanvald from 1994, the murder of Milan Lacko in Orlová from 1998, pogromistic action of skinheads in the restaurant Modrá Absolona from 2001, where Polák questioned the conviction of Vlastimil Pechanec (the local neonazist activist). In the case of Tibor Danihel from Písek, where both the getting of the case to the High Court and requalifying of the case in the disadvantage of culprint attackers was succeeded. For such activities Polák has been awarded with the Prize of František Kiegel, which is awarded by the Charter 77 Foundation (Nadace Charty 77). He got it for the struggel against the passivity of police and justice in cases of discriminational violence. Later, in 2010, he acted as the mandatory of damaged ones in front of the court in Benešov, who were attacked by the group of 12 neonazists.
By his whole life, he concidered himself as the anarchist and squatter. Also the collective of squatters was the circle of friends, who took care of him in his last whiles. Till last days of his life, he dealed with the case of the eviction of Roma people from the ghetto in Přednádraží street in Ostrava.
The Life Against the Stream: The Interview with Jakub Polák
Most of the people with your generational experiance didn't find the way to the anarchism. What was the cause, which led you to it?
Even if on the first glance I could appear as the absolute exception within my generation, I have to say that it is not true. Actually, it means to do not identify myself with the position of some “ultra-ortodox” ones, according to whom it doesn’t have anything to do with anarchism, if you are not the member of the right organization. People with the deeply absorbed distrust to official authorities, who didn’t become slaves of the consumption society, are able in a way to resist both the manipulation and the power pressure and they have inside them the desire for freedom and more equitable order of society. We can find them in every generation. Especially in my generation, affected by 60’s phenomena, we may find maybe more of such people, who don't identify themselves with the present regime and who would be at least potentional anarchists, than in later generations, affected by both illusions of the capitalist West and the populistic primitive anti-communism.
Of course, we can find in my generation many people, whom their disillusionment from frustrated hopes of 1968 and the experiance with the repression led to both the feeling of forlornness and the resignation to the active resistance. In case that it was different with me, rather than some political consciousness it was some of my character traits – from my surroundings, I was always perceived as some black sheep in the herd, the eternal doubter and the rebel. Maybe I could count myself between the Czech underground, if we consider its defining character as the intuitive need of freedom and independance and the intensive aspiration to conquer at least some space for them. But rather than what sometimes is considered as usual looks of people from the underground environment – some kind of pub, beer community – I prefered the certain kind of the “intellectual” solitariness – as Mirek Vodrážka and Čaroděj, a.k.a. Petr Blumfeld, a.k.a. Homelles and Hungry, Luboš Drozd by his proper name, grew. Together with Mirek Vodrážka they belong to the most expressive intellectuals of the underground, essential authors of Vokno
. After its abolishment, he participated on the publishing of magazines Živel
. Readers of older annual volumes of the magazine A-Kontra
will surelly remind that I gave them a significant space there. Also different, mainly cultural activities brought us together. Of course, Egon Bondy and then Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Roger Garaudy, Ernst Fischer and others influenced me decisively. A special mention should be given to the circle of leftist (at that time) intellectuals around the Literary Newspapers (Literárky
), especially Karel Kosík.
Even so, my passion for the architecture and housing would maybe win after 1989 and I would start to run a business in this field. In that time, I had up to thirty realizations – reconstructions of flats, attics, recreational facilities and family houses – I made the unreported business even in times, when it was ilegal. By the fateful coincidence, with the crisis of society my health crisis fully exploded at the same time. Just in overthrow, November days in 1989, I had to go for the cancer surgery. A few days after the operation, I left the hospital Na Františku having signed the document and went to make a revolution into the neighboring, unionist hotel Budovatel (Prezident today), where I already worked as a fireman a few years. I laid the foundation for the strike committee and the independent trade union. In support of the struggle against old structures, I started to establish all sorts of contacts. Quite a number of protest actions was successfully organized and not bad results for them were achieved – the suspension of the hotel director, opening of the public discussion in medias about both the situation and the position of unions etc. Great was the nationwide Association of Strike Committees (Sdružení stávkových výborů), which was influenced by the original polish Solidarity – independent and self-governing unions. In first overthrow weeks, it had more than fully comparable importance as Havel's Civic Forum (Občanské fórum). Soon, it earned the brand of anarchosyndicalists and later, by common efforts of old and new structures, it was eliminated.
In the very next moment, I got fired from my job – literally and by the real physical violence, so I could fully deal with the next, to my heart dear work “for salus patrie”: with the Left Alternative – the movement for the self-governing democratic socialism, which foundations were laid by Petr Uhl and Egon Bondy. Because I got later the disability pension, such a one, which is given for five years saying that either the one will die in such a time of cancer, or they will take it then again away from you, I could intensively deal with both the organizational and the publishing activity. I got started the publishing of the informative bulletin, first, just on the cyclostyle, and then the semimonthly publication Polarita
(Polarity) – already properly printed. The issue from May 1st, 1990 was already published in the edition size of twelve thousands copies – and it was sold among others as well to Václav Havel, who came to our May Day on Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov). The real chance to form the strong alternative left was on the horizon – not communistic and not social-democratic. On activities of the Left Alternative participated, and sympathized with it, a number of interesting and quality personages. At random – already deceased Ivan Sviták, Zdeněk Mlynáš, professor Říha, from others e.g. Martin Hekrdla or Jan Jařab – who started in LA already as the student of medicine – economists Jiří Vraný, Pavel Mertlík and others.
From the beginning, on the activity of the Left Alternative participated people from the underground environment and anarchists. Jirka Beneš, the worker from Žižkov and the underground veteran, in whose flat in the street Vlková 7 ČAS – Czechoslovakian Anarchist Association (Československé anarchistické sdružení) – was established, Láďa “Apač” Novák, Kuba Línek and others became regular participants of meetings of the Left Alternative and I consider it an honor that they became my friends. Among other things, I asserted publishing of ČASopis
(Magazine) – the anarchist attachment of Polarita
– and already in March 1990, I helped to squat the first flat in later the wholly squated house in the street Pplk. Sochora 28 – the first anarchist squat with the longest duration (till autumn 1997) in this country. So when I got later into the straight conflict with some colleagues from LA, who decided to throw away chances of the Left Alternative to become the hegemony of the authenticate alternative left for the submission to the Trotskyist United Secretariat of the Fourth International, which promised them several paid jobs of redactors of Inprecor
, I fluently and continually continued in the work for the anarchist movement.
How and why A-Kontra started? Why didn’t you feel the need to define your position in face of veterans of the underground around Vokno?
The point wasn’t some aimed need, rather we felt the close affinity and the continuity of the alternative culture. Anarchist activists – Kuba Línek and others – periodically contributed to Voknoviny
, to the informative bulletin Vokno
, which continued after November 1989 in publishing as the periodical semimonthly publication with the new title Kontra
– News of the Alternative Culture. People around Vokno
perceived the younger punk and anarchist generation as the continuance of the underground as well. I hanged around in the underground environment as well a little in the past, and we understood quite well each other with such people as Mirek Vodrážka, Čaroděj, Luděk Marks, Šimon Formánek and others. As the old underground gradually decayed after November, most of journalistic contributions then was by anarchists. When Štěpán Kot, who edited Kontra
, decided that he won't deal with it anymore, it was absolutely logic and natural that anarchists will take up the next publishing into their own hands and will publish still in the cooperation with the redaction of Vokno
However, the deal, which already got the entirely clear shape, came to grief because of Čuňas, otherwise František Stárek, the fresh major of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy (Úřad pro ochranu ústavy a demokracie), later the Security Information Service (Bezpečnostní informační služba), who came up with the official paper that actually the whole Vokno
is his, that everything is registered to him and that everything will get brought up to him for the authorization. Even people from Vokno
were surprised by that, they perceived Vokno
as the collective affair. They didn’t almost remember that the registration was set to Čuňas, if so, than just as a kind of formality. The anarchist magazine censored even by its publisher is such an absurdity that we couldn't do anything else than to cut adrift, concerning the editorial space, the typesetting, the printery and the distribution. But the cooperation on the individual level endured – so e.g. till it wasn’t possible to deal with the typesetting by ourselves, Šimon Formánek set texts for us and actually he printted it in Vokno
illegaly, to do not let Čuňas know about it, into bars, which we cutted then and glued from it each pages. Next people from the underground circle contributed then to A-Kontra
with the authorship – mainly Mirek Vodrážka and Čaroděj.
Who stayed at the birth of A-Kontra? What was its “target group”?
Mainly it was people, who got to the anarchism through punk and hard core. So foundations of A-Kontra
were laid mainly by people connected with this musical scene. Accordingly looked then first issues, which was to the large extent the punk fanzin, where the large part was taken by notes about already passed and prepared gigs and by interviews with bands. Even if the most active initiator of the inception and the “main ideologist” was at least in the beginning phases already mentioned Jan Jakub Línek, he left the final word first to Karolina Zarzycka, who aspired to become the professional journalist. By her endeavour, the picture of Sid Vicious, while he’s taking drugs, got on the cover and recipes for meals with marihuana to the content. Without any doubts, this contributed to the popularity of A-Kontra
between punks and the cover both with Sid and with the A-Kontra
logo decorated dwellings of many of them. To other founders, especially to people around Kuba Línek, this appeared as slightly misleading, with their ideas, they were quite farther. The Karolina’s era ended after two first issues – the punk star, as we ironically called her later. The third issue is practically whole, by both its content and graphic, the work of Línek and his girlfriend in that time and feminist activist Šárka Halaštová. When after beginnings of the squat in Sochorka and the previous time in Lidový dům (Folk House; because of friends from Left Alternative) the redaction found its residence in Valdštejnská (because of Karel Srp from Jazz Section for this time – the post-October Artforum), the redaction circle got wider. A number of people changed in it. Among those the most unremitting and influencing belonged, except already mentioned Kuba Línek, also Andrej Funk, Petr Wohlmuth and Petr Hanák. Among periodic contributors a number of others belonged – Petr Bergmann, Petr Benke (alias Josef Šumfrle) and others – I'm sorry to all of those, who I can’t remind now.
Through Valdštejnská went and participated there people, who separated later in next years, sometimes even confrontationally against A-Kontra
. Roman Laube, also the member of Left Alternative, was the first cashier of the magazine, Arnošt Novák and others, who later in 92 laid foundation of the Anarchist Federation, but also David Macháček and Klára Mžyková, furred anarchists and squatters in that time, later protagonists of Patriotic Front (Vlastenecká fronta).
We tried to do not let the magazine to become just a fanzine of the one subculture, but rather to address it to the wider circle of people. To some extent, we were successful. We started with roughly 600 followings of the original Kontra
. Of course, a half of them apostatized, but concerned persons from older generation appeared. Expenses for the first issue were, I guess, roughly 2500 crowns and soon it increased almost to 5000 crowns. From the beginning, the magazine went on webpages, into book-stores, various clubs and the like. The net of distributors through out the whole Czech republic was created, who spread out the magazine between their knowns, on gigs etc. The rundown of the hardcore scene and the downfall of the post-revolutionary euphoria connected with the expectation of significant changes and the disappointment and the resignation, when they didn't come, the decay of Czechoslovakia and finally the differentiation of the anarchist movement caused that the expense decreased and before the end of the first phase of A-Kontra
publishing, it was around 2 000 copies.
In the secondary title of the magazine was and still is “news of alternative activities”. Which activities, on which the redaction participated at that time, you consider as the most important and the most interesting today?
The change of the secondary title of the original (Vokno-)Kontra
from “news of the alternative culture” onto “news of alternativ activities” in any case did not mean the resignation on the support for the authenticate cultural creation. Besides the mapping of the punk and hardcore scene – the most interesting were probably interviews with “political” bands, mainly those from aborad (Agnostic Front, No Means No, Oi Polloi and so on) – it was the literary creation. Besides the overprinting of the less known things from prestigious authors as Ursulla Le guin, John Shirley, Egon Bondy and others, relating to topics closed for anarchists, it was mainly the own creation of the cooperants of the redaction (JJL, Andrej Funk, Petr Hanák) and many others from the autonomous scene. A-Kontra
published periodically involved lyrics of songs, poetry and tales. We supported young authors as well by the publishing of separate collections. But at music and literature it did not half remain.
The redaction, which later found its place in the space of Artforum of Karel Srp, in Pallfy Palace in Valdštejnská street in Prague in the Lesser Side district (Malá strana), became the center of anarchist events. A-Kontra
appeared during its first years almost periodically as the semi-monthly publication and the events calendar was its important part – gigs, exhibitions, demonstrations, meetings of the various kind etc. We published various practical informations as well – from the Little Gardener (Malý zahrádkář; the knowhow for the grass growing) to the overview of possibilities for the undeclared work abroad. All sorts of people. who activelly indorsed to anarchism or, who was related to it specifically somehow, came there. So we had a possibility to discuss for example with the anti-drugs expert Ivan Douda, major Plechatý, the first chief of the anti-extremist department, the contemporary police chief executive Zelenický, with Radim Valenčík, the adviser of the post-November chairman of the communist party Jiří Svoboda, with journalists, who sympathized, as well as with those, who didn’t, and with many others... On the courtyard, gigs happened. Besides bands connected directly with the movement, as Red Silas, known bands for wider audience played there, as Zeměžluč etc. The very special note should be mentioned about Rusko (Russia) from Filip Venclík, who was murdered on September 1993 by neonazists. Exhibitions and next cultural actions were organized there. Several undoubted talents expressed themselves – for example from high-school students from PRAK (The Prague Radical Anarchist Circle; Pražský radikální anarchistický kroužek).
In Valdštejnská, a number of initiatives was borned, actions of various kind were prepared there – from big gigs on Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov), through various demonstrations, as e.g. that known one against the act of the General Jubilee Exhibition (Všeobecná jubilejní výstava), where the first mass clash of anarchists and fascist skinheads happened. To various affairs, ad hoc organizations arose there. Also the first organized antifascist group arose there. When fascist skinheads in autumn 1991 called for their first huge demonstration to Prague on Letná Plain (Letenská pláň), we succeeded during the one week to organize the counter-action and attack skinheads with almost the whole thousand people. About some direct actions, which redactors of A-Kontra
together with their friends planned and done, it is rather better in all modesty with carefulness to do not talk even today. Non-negligible was the spreading of anarcho-syndcalism thoughts, particularly due to Andrej Funk, the founder of the Anarcho-syndicalist Initiative (Anarchosyndikalistická iniciativa), later the federation. The significant was also the topic of ecology, including the participation on actions of Children of Earth (Děti Země; Sadská, Plzeň), The Rainbow Movement (Hnutí duha; Temelín blockades) and Greenpeace (Libkovice).
We of course can’t leave out of consideration the contact acquisition abroad. The most intensive contacts were with German anarchists. People from the Czech punk community in Berlin helped us very much. The community arose from already pre-October emigrants, who found the asylum in that time just in the West Berlin autonomous scene. The main credit ofr the expansion of intensive relations, concerning the material support, has Honza Franta. From Berlin’s friends we e.g. gained the offset printing equipment. Besides A-Kontra
, we printed on it then a number of other magazines, as e.g. was Fronta
and Svobodná mysl
, of fanzins, flyers and leaflets. Though, Ondra Slačálek remembers, how we fought with the old, all the time broken mashine and mainly with our amateurism. The press quality had far away from perfection, but prints had the original, unmistakeable hallmark of the underground ilegal printer...
The specific chapter of redaction activities was the cooperation with Roma associations, namely with the Association of Roma Authors (Sdružení romských autorů) headed by the Roma writter Margita Reiznerová and recently, tragically perished dr. Milena Hübschmannová. We helped them with the start of their own magazine (Romano Gendalos
) in 1991, as well with the typesetting, graphical layout and with the print of editorial series of their own Roma literary creation. We allowed them to use our editorial spaces in Valdštejnská street as well. We cooperated with Roma people as well during organizing of next actions, mainly those anti-racist and anti-fascist.
What from such a wide spectrum of activities – I of course forgot some – would be the most important and interesting today? It’s hard to say, choose for yourself. At that time, it was a bit a different time after all. To speak about the real movement was possible. If we would underline, what I consider as the essential, it would be probably this: The focus of our activity was in the action, the magazine played there rather a supplemental role with the main aim to connect people into the action. Less theory, analyzes, more actual news and invitations for actions. And the effort for the wider scope – both for topics and for the circle of readers. That was obviously allowed by the higher periodicity. Today, A-Kontra
is the quality politologist revue, in that time, it stayed at the center stage and it was to the large extent also its mover. The reasion is clear at first glance – the condition of the movement. According to it, the preservation of the magazine and its quality is the great success and the result of the big effort. But, what if it is a bit vice versa? Isn't the devitalization of the movement also the result of the absence of any actual newsletter, which would by the periodic and frequent periodicity and the more varied content mobilized the wider circle of people and not just a handful of intellectuals and followers of one direction? What confined to publishers of Autonomie
, Svobodná práce
and others to replace A-Kontra
in such a sence, when they had the need to identify their own positions towards me?
Sometimes, you were mentioned as the “editor in chief” or the responsible editor, isn’t that a bit paradox at the anarchist magazine? About your “leadership” in the anarchist movement, it was also spoken and written a lot – how is it from your perspective?
Primarily, it is the work of journalists: from the beginning, the understandable need to find out the “speaker” – the particular person, who stands up for his opinion, not just the anonym, who is afraid to stand up for his opinions and acts, then, already the familiar cliche, used from the indolence or from the unawareness.
In the anarchist movement, I started to act just with the one ambition: to become a kind of “technical staff”. The one, who cares about things to work, about usual operational issues. I had a lot of time for it (the disability pension) and certain experiences with organizational matters – I worked in the past as the dispatcher and the head of the transportation center...
I remember very well my first public speech. In the very beginning of the summer 1991 in Prague on Charles Bridge, the meeting of punks from the whole of Europe happened. Police attacked them very brutally, its intervention had similar character as that one on October 17th 1989 in Národní třída street (the National Street in Prague). Police surrounded, beat up and arrested members of the assembly, foreigners were escorted abroad. The illegal action happened in the personal presence of the interior secretary in that time Tomáš Sokol, the favourite advocate of the biggest tunnelers and gangsters today, as Krejčíř etc. By media, the public was massaged by disinformation and gossips of the worst character. The hate campaign against everything alternative found its listeners among the frightened petite bourgeoisie. We all felt the need to react, the most active was Kuba Línek – we published immediately the statement protesting against the unreasonable and illegal action of State organs and we convened the press conference for the next day. Though, the problem appeared then. Nobody from organizers of the protest wanted to reveal the identity to journalists, they even wanted to come masked in black balaclavas to the press conference. If they are revolutionaries, presenting their legitimate aims of their otherwise absolutely illegal acts, then it would have a sence. But in this case, the point was the speech for the defense of people, who didn’t do anything illegal and anyway became targets of the brutal police intervention. To act on the press conference as anonymous masked men would just support those spreaded gossips about nefarious rapists. To do not let the opportunity to unmask regime, which just pretend that it is democratic, to remain idle, it means to stand up for your claims. That means even with the risk that I’ll become the public enemy of the State. Or should we shoot to policemen or make the bomb attack to give the proper weight to our true?
Something else is the state of war and something else is to act in frame of democratic rulls. It was extremely embarassing, when the public assembly or the press conference were organized and nobody was willing to openly talk about his views, to answer questions and do not be afraid that his parents will recognize him or knowns in school or at work etc.
So accidentally, I became a sort of spokesman of the movement. My collegaues left me all cases, where it was necessary to provide the identity – reporting of public events, the magazine registration, negotiations with printers, distributors and with other institutions.
In such circumstances, the suspicion, supported by general stereotype, necessarily arose – the suspicion that nothing can work without someone, who leads, and others, who follows.
Honestly, if I have leader’s ambitions, I would behave differently. In every group of people, even if it defines itself outward as anti-authoritarian, many people could be find out, who “in the corner of their mind” yearn to cleave to somebody or something enough big and strong. And they are willing to obey to that one, who offer them what they yearn for in their uncertainity and fear. Many people, who tried to find in me something like the substitute “paternal” authority, hanged around. If I want, to surround myself by the sect of “loyal and faithful ones” would not be a problem.
How A-Kontra evolved? Did some more important change take a place, compared to original goals?
Goal did not change, I guess. Means and methods are of course evolving. If you take the trouble and find the original statement in the first issue A-Kontra
from March 1991, you’ll be able to see: “Who we are, where we come from and where we go”, I suppose that you’ll be able to identify yourselve with it.
How do you evaluate the developement of the magazine from its emergence untill present time? In what was A-Kontra between years 1991 – 1995 different from its folower after its renewal in 1999? What are positive and negative sides of the present form of the magazine?
To some extent, I expressed my opinion about that in answers to previous questions. Some complex evaluation, expressions of ultimate judgments are not beyond my cognizance – for such things, I’m still too much connected with A-Kontra
. I spent a large chunk of my life with it after all, lived fully.
What would you advice to people, who want to start to do a similar magazine and don’t know how?
Times are changing and experiences are getting older. I have doubts, if I even have a right to advise. Maybe just to warn that to make such an independent magazine means a great pleasure, but a great toil at the same time. If it has some value and the sence, then it should be make fully. And you can’t make it alone. If the team cooperation doesn’t work, you can make it alone for some time. But it ceases to be the medium of the movement and become your subjective, exhibionistic platform. It could have the value as the literature – if you have the corresponding talent, but it ceases to be the living, actual medium, the intermediary between people. It is actually kind of a test. If you are not able to get together at least a few of same enthusiasts as you, you will hardly reach then a larger group.
According to your opinion, how would the ideal A-Kontra look like?
The ideal A-Kontra
? The weekly periodical in the scale of, let us suppose, Respekt
, but of course, with correspondingly different ideological and political purpose. In addition: the strong coupling with the movement, the support of activities and the opennes to everybody, who has something to say. Thus, the enough space for articles, which perhaps don’t have the proffesional journalistic quality, but it helps to convince the movement that it is really “our magazine”. Kind of the analogy with regional news, but more on the activist basis.
Among anarchist activities you are known for the engagement in cases of racist murders. Which experience did you take by that? Marx supposedly said long time ago that man is what he does. Did the role of mandatory of damaged ones in court changed somehow your view of the world and opinions about the appropriate form of activities?
I find it as the absolutely integral element of my anarchist activities.
First: The term of racist murder is too much constrictive. It forms only the smaller part of cases of discriminationally motivated violent crimes made by organized far-right political groups. It’s not my fault that more publicity is given to the murder of Roma than to the white guy mayhem.
Second: It is the continuation of the egagement, which started as the publishing of information, the organizing of demonstrations and other protest actions, conserning direct actions, when after the exhaustion of current means we searched for next possibilities not only how to help to damaged ones and indentify contraveners, but to demask the right face of police and justice, to test the system, to which extent is it willing to follow stated principles.
Third: Without people from the movement and their help during collecting of proofs and other forms of the support, such activity wouldn’t be possible. Therefore, more significant results could be achieved than human-rights organizations were able to do, even if they dispose with incomparable financial means and could hire proffesional advocates etc.
And anyway, what kind of “among”? The most terse and pregnant definition of the anarchist I heard from the mother of murdered Tibor Danihel. When knows asked her: “Who are those anarchists?” She answered: “They want the righteousness.”
You was active in Roma movement, also as the general editor of the magazine Amaro Gendalos. Would the comparison of these two magazines, where you were active, and the environment of the anarchist movement and Roma non-governmental organizations be possible?
With Roma non-governmental organizations it is similar as with the most of non-governmental organizations. They suffer by the same abuses, just about those Roma’s, it is written more. The dependency on grants, mostly those from the State, deforms people and their activities, even if their original motives were clearly enthusiastic. The position of Romas as the discriminated minority, but also some of their ancestral tradition, makes them more perceptive for thoughts close to anarchism. Amaro Gendalos
is the follower of Romano Gendalos
, we stayed at its formation, as I already mentioned, with the redaction and me and my friends have with its publishers, let’s say, above standard relations. I also edited and printed on our offset the quarterly publication Romani Duma
in the past, from the same publisher. The possibility to “inflitrate” anarchist positions into Roma movement culminated then by the monthly publication Amaro Gendalos
. On its publishing, other authors from the redactional circle of A-Kontra
participated. We succeeded to profile it into the strongly activist medium. That was, of course, uncomfortable for corresponding State organs and so after less than a year, they took from us State grants and the magazine perished. Even so, I can still see in Romas the stron potential for the realisation of some basic anarchist principles. Many of them realise that the self-administration is for them as a group the only one efficient and dignified form of existence.
From which reasons you left A-Kontra? How do you consider your activities in this magazine in return? Would you change something from what you made?
To be honest, it exhausted me a lot and when in Ondřej Slačálek appeared more than the capable successor, I said that it is a time to free up the space for the young generation. Of course, many things I would make better in retrospect. If I regret something, then primarily that I didn’t lavish more sensitive souls of my younger colleagues and that I wasn’t successful to bring over to anarchism more supporters.
Which meaning has anarchism for you today?
For me, it is something, what coud be called the worldview – the political orientation and the life style.
And the question for the conclusion: How was Jakub Polák during establishing of the magazine A-Kontra and how is he today?
I have a feeling that I’m still the same, I didn’t change too much, I have just more grey hair. It is, as if that time brings me back again to the youth and it still keeps me.
Linda Sokačová and Tomáš Netolický asked.