Noborder camp in Wizajny

12 july 2002

The 3rd anti-border camp in Poland finished on the 10th. It was held near
the Lithuanian/Polish/Russian borders in a small town called Wizajny. In
total, about 200 people took part, including people from places abroad such
as Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Sweden, Finland, France,
Spain, the US and Austria. There was truly an interesting mix of people
especially as there were a lot of new and unexpected faces from Poland, from
many smaller cities.

The first adventure we had at the camp on the first official day was with
the police. The camp was supposed to take place on a public camping ground
and people had stayed there for 2 nights before the camp started but when it
was about to start, the police decided that the place wasn't suitable for
camping anymore. (Of course it is both suitable for playing football and for
having a European Union festival there next week.) In short, they decided to
chase us out of town; I arrived when they were already kicked off that
place, had agreed on renting a private field but the police scared the
owners of the property. The police proceeded to tell everyone we might talk
to that we were criminals, murderers and terrorists; each time we agreed to
stay somewhere, the police showed up and told the owners of land that we
couldn't stay there. Finally an amazing thing happened. We agreed with one
small farmer. Maybe he was one of the poorest people in town -- his place
was in rather shabby condition. The police and border guards showed up,
talked to him and kicked us off but this time I think the resistance was a
little stronger from the radical campers and in the end the farmer told us
to stay despite police orders to vacate. We found this to be an incredible
act of resistance in the small town where, as we found out later, the locals
have some problems with the police and are not used to standing up to them.
So our farmer hosts turned out really to be the hero of the whole camp and
stood by us even when we had continued problems with the police and police
cars patroled his place non-stop.

During the camp there were lots of workshops but few actions. Part of the
reason for this is because we didn't want to bring a lot of trouble on our
host who was already risking a lot to keep us there. Among the important
points for projects brought out from the meetings we had:

*******Polish, German and Russian comrades said they are willing to attend
the anti-NATO mobilization in Prague. Some Polish people concretely
volunteer to help. Another mobilization will take place in Poland.

*******People were encouraged to attend an anti-WEF mobilization in Austria
in September.

******* We talked about no-border network action day on Oct.13. People from
Warsaw and Hanau will make an action and we encouraged people in different
countries and cities to join.

*******We talked about the future of the 2003 anarchist gathering project
and it turns out that there is some interest in it but maybe the dates have
to be changed a little because of the imposition of visas.

*******Several ideas came up for the erection of a new wall, a new iron
curtain and new Fortress Europe border posts in Eastern Poland.

*******Polish Indymedia will probably be up and running soon.

******* There will probably be a project to raise money for an anarchist
center in Belarus.

Probably the highlight of the camp was a festival in the park. It went
fairly well. The contact with the local people was for the most part pretty
good. There were games for children, fire-shows, there was a football game
the day before (again we lost miserably)......At the festival there were
also a few nice speeches from people from all over about why they came,
explaining our politics, some exhibits and literature. The big attraction
was supposed to be open-air theater but the police cut off our electricity
and we were afraid they'd do something to mess up our projector. They
arrested somebody (who wasn't from our group) for drinking beer in the park.
In the end, we showed films back at the farm on the lake.

The police wound up looking like fools again and people were cursing at them
for trying to break up the fesitval. For some people in the town we were
scary but for others it was the most interesting thing they'd ever seen
there. A lot of people told us this and one local guy even got up and
thanked us for coming with the camp. A few shop keepers and bar people had
our posters up in their windows and leaflets there for people to take and
even were telling tourists passing by that they should visit the camp. So
this was really the best aspect of the camp. We also found out that some
people really dislike the police and always get harrassed. And the police
were telling people crazy things like that they should lock up their
chickens because we were chicken thieves. Of course the people in the shops
quickly found out that almost everybody was a vegetarian or vegan and the
bar made up a vegetarian menu and the shops stocked up on soy products. So
they were laughing at the chicken thief stories. Zaczek and I also found out
that they like to fine people for drinking beer. For example, in Poland you
can drink beer in a bar legally, but not in other spaces like outside of
shops or in the park. We were at one shop that had a couple of tables in
front --- it looked no different than the bar that had tables in front and
was a few meters away but at the bar you can drink beer, in front of the
shop no. And when the cops came by all the locals panicked and hid their
beer because they were so afraid that the cops would fine them but Zaczek
just drank and told them to fuck the cops and they were quite impressed by
this little resistance............ The two arrests that happened in town
while we were there were for beer related crimes.............. As we
mentioned, one guy, a tourist was arrested at the park during our festival
for drinking beer. The other time they arrested some guy it was an ugle
scene -- they put the guy down on the ground to arrest him and everything.
The funny thing about that case was the arrested guy turned out to be the
priest from Punsk.

Some propaganda signs were left by the border and propaganda material
distributed at the border with Kaliningrad.

Also somebody left a small piece of anti-fascist advice on the historical
monument site of Hitler's Wolf Lair ------------ but that was after the
camp.

Laure