Zapo: Anarcho-Pacifists in Croatia

On Gogol Boulevard section


Fifth Estate # 343, Fall-Winter, 1993

Three or four years ago we were a small group of punks who, in spite of drinking, smoking grass, listening to loud music and other hedonist activities, got the idea of changing the shifty normal life and existing system, which we thought was going to ruin our world.

First we did Animal Liberation Front (ALF) actions. Our activities were small diversions, like breaking shop windows, gluing locks and writing anti-fur/leather graffiti.

After the Croation elections, it became obvious that war would begin, if someone doesn’t do anything against it. We decided to create an organization (it’s more a movement) which would connect ideas of anarchism and pacifism (we are not pacifists, but there is a lot of violence and destruction around us) because we thought that was the best idea for the time. The other reason, not less important, was to educate people about the real meaning of anarchism.

For that reason, we made a few posters, just to tell people to start thinking with their own heads. By the time war in Slovenia started, we decided to organize a demonstration. We asked for a permit, but didn’t get one. Even though we didn’t get it, we went on. First it was supposed to be a demo against war, the army, politicians, and nationalism, but we also made it an anti-police demo. It was small, only about 30 people showed up, but pretty successful as people seemed curious about our activities. There were a few cops who didn’t cause any problems, although some private security guards did.

A month or two later, the war started in Croatia. It forced us to stop working for a while (there were more than 50 air-alerts in Zagreb alone, with weeks of black-outs). Until August 1992, we didn’t do a single thing (we are ashamed of it) but then we decided it was enough “sleeping.” in August we published the first issue of our “Comunitas” zine, in which we described anarchism (roots, aims, etc.), pacifism (history, etc.), and its opposite, nazism and racism.

That first zine helped us contact antiwar people. They let us work in their office, use their equipment (phone, computer, FAX, and photocopy machine). At first our efforts were devoted to collecting literature, contacting anarchists all over our planet, and of course, further work on “Comunitas” zine. After we had better working conditions, we finished a new issue of “Comunitas,” No. 2/3. Most of the copies we’ve sent by mail to individuals and organizations, or just have given to other people.

At the moment we plan further activities, such as writing a pamphlet about our view of the continuing war in ex-Yugoslavia (relations between the various sides, the New World Order and International capital which uses ex-Yugoslavia as an experiment). We’ll write it in Croatian and English. Our work is pretty slow because we don’t use the parliamentary system, but consensus.

You can contact Zapo c/o Ark, Tkalciceva 38, 41000 Zagreb, Croatia. We are not begging for money, but donations will be very helpful.