Our Answer to Repression of Demonstrations Against Fascism and Racism Is Solidarity

IUSY wants to express its solidarity with our 23-year old comrade Josef from Germany who has been kept in prison since January because he demonstrated against the annual ball of the neo-Nazis, racists and fascists in Vienna.

On January 24, 8000 anti-fascists demonstrated against the “Wiener Akademikerball” (the Vienna Academics Ball). Every year, the extreme-right from all over Europe gathers to have a waltz in Vienna, from Austrian FPÖ, French Front National, German „Pro Deutschland“ or even representatives from openly fascist and neo-Nazi political groups. The peak on the iceberg of this terrible event: it happens not by coincidence around the Holocaust Memorial Day.

As this ball happens every year, it also gathers anti-fascists protesters from all over Europe who don’t put up with an open gathering of extreme-right that is threatening the core fundament of our societies – democracy and equality. This protest involves a broad political coalition, from holocaust survivors to political parties, initiatives and NGOs.

The evidence against Josef is poor, as was shown during the trial. Josef’s case shows that it is often not relevant at this kind of demonstrations if you are actually involved in peaceful or violent actions. Everyone who is attending this kind of happening is put in the same box. Josef is being used to set an example: since January, he has been kept in custody by the police during the investigation against him. The trial has started and he is still imprisoned.

As the far right is on the rise in all parts of Europe, we stand together firmly as socialists and anti-fascists and protest against EU states’ increasing repression against our struggle for democracy and freedom, and a society without racism, fascism and anti-Semitism. This trial aims to isolate the uprise for our values and sets the political target not on the actual problem – the openly spread racism, fascism and anti-Semitism of the extreme-right – but on those who show the courage to stand up against it.