International Call for Support
10 June 2016, Antiracist Front Without Borders, Slovenia*
At 3:15 a.m. on Monday, 6 June 2016, the security company Valina stormed the Rog Factory in order to secure the place and turn it into a building ground, according to the instructions of the mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković. Despite their violent and brutal approach, the community of Rog Factory managed to defend the place and after a half a day of struggle, which was channeled through a few hundred people, they left. We have built barricades around the area, as we are expecting them or the police to come and try to evict us again. So we are gathered at the abandoned Rog Factory.
Artists, activists, philosophers, as well as members of various collectives and groups that have been active here for more than ten years, are joined in the struggle. Rog Factory is filled with cultural, music, sport, social and other activities. Rog is the first space in Ljubljana which opened its doors for refugees and migrants. Last autumn, supplies were gathered in Rog for aid on the borders; today a variety of activities takes place here: Slovenian, English and Farsi language courses, creative workshops, socializing events with people living in asylum homes in Ljubljana, workshops for repairing bikes… Factory Rog is the only space open for refugees and migrants to use as they want, here they aren’t just passive consumers of formal integration programs, here we are together day by day and together we create an open society for all.
Our work is based on autonomy, solidarity and mutual aid. Despite trying to achieve a compromise, the municipality of Ljubljana is ignoring the activities held in the factory. Their goal is to stop the rich abundance of activities held in Rog which oppose the capitalist ideas of gentrification of the town center and adjusting it to the tourists and the established art scene. In short, their goal is the eviction of the current users and demolition of all the buildings except the main one, which is supposed to be renovated (Factory Rog is a complex of five buildings plus the main building, and all of these are constantly housing activities). There is a constant, around-the-clock presence of one hundred people supporting our cause at the area of the factory these days.
Any and every support is more than welcome. You can show your support by sharing the information, think of possible ways of solving the situation and THE MOST IMPORTANT: COME TO THE FACTORY! TOGETHER WE WILL PROTECT ROG !!!
Public Statement of the Assembly of Autonomous Rog Factory Users
8 June 2016
The question of the Rog Factory is a political question. After Monday morning, it is in our interest, as well as in the interest of the municipality of Ljubljana, to calm the situation down. However, in contrast to the municipality, we are in full control of the situation. The Rog Factory is today a de facto autonomous area and we, the people of Rog, are also controlling the entrance. Before Monday’s aggression by security personnel sent by the municipality, the entry was under the control of the security company Valina. After Monday’s brutality, Valina is not welcome in the Rog Factory anymore. We will be protecting the entrance by ourselves.
The municipality was the one who provoked the tensions by sending paid violent security upon us. The mayor personally chooses the violent means, we are only responding defensively. On Monday we proved that we are successful in doing so. It is of the highest perversion that the mayor, Zoran Janković, is now avoiding taking responsibility for the acts of his own security personnel. No one will carry out violence against us and we hope that Mr. Janković knows that. Every arbitrary step taken by the municipality has made us stronger, and the farce that they performed on Monday forced us into full action. The movement is alive and well organized; it includes new and organized structures and is composed of more than one hundred individuals. We are prepared for new attempted interventions into our community and we are convinced that we will ward them off successfully.
We are insisting on dialogue, which hasn’t yet been present, since the municipality is insisting on their ultimatum, which is demolishing and continuing with the project that is unacceptable to us. We see the possibility of dialogue only when the space for it is opened, and that is when the municipality withdraws from the planned project. If they insist on the project, then everything has already been agreed upon, and according to such an agreement, we cease to exist. The dialogue will begin when the municipality acknowledges its partner in dialogue: the assembly of the autonomous Rog Factory users. This assembly is the only acceptable partner in dialogue, since it de facto controls the autonomous area of Rog Factory and, moreover, has the power to normalize the tense situation.
Our demands are clear. The municipality should withdraw from the demolition plans and the project of the new Rog Center. Without accepting this demand, which is of vital importance to us and from which we will not resign, anything is possible. We do want a cooperative relationship with the municipality. The Rog Factory has enormous potential, and the flourishing of this potential is in the public interest, and most importantly, in the interest of the city. Some of the things that the municipality is planning to implement in the new Rog Center are already being carried out by us, and in the last few years we have been intensively including new users and opening new spaces. We suggest the municipality should rather focus on establishing its things in the ex-squats, such as the Cukrarna factory, which was emptied almost two decades ago yet still remains empty and in a critical condition.
We will continue to defend the principles of our practice, which is making the Rog Factory a unique and indispensable place of non-formal social, cultural and political production, which as such enables the cooperation of a wide range of users as well as experiments on the crossroads of activities which at first glance might seem foreign or incompatible among each other.
We demand for the municipality to come clear on how many bones they are still willing to break in order to appease to the mayor’s ego. How far are they willing to go to please the interest of capital? We are calling for opening a common place for a true dialogue instead of escaping to violence. We hope that the municipality will acknowledge that and avoid further use of force. You can find us in the autonomous Rog Factory. We are willing to talk to anyone—however, they cannot demand for us to agree to our own demise.
—the assembly of autonomous Rog Factory users
11 June 2016
Autonomous Rog Factory was attacked for the second time this week. On Monday we were confronted with the brutal intervention of the security guards from Valina company. Yesterday [10 June] at 11:30 p.m. we were targeted with violent attack by at least thirty masked persons. We are young, we are artists, we are activists…we would like to continue our activities and create in peace.
Featured image source: Protect Factory Rog (Facebook)