Communist youth in Austria resist fascist mobilizations

Right-wing groups from the Turkish diaspora in Vienna instigated clashes with the Kurdish and progressive Turks in the city

July 03, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Anti-fascist protest-Austria
Progressive sections in Vienna organized mobilizations against fascist elements in the city.

On July 1, Wednesday, the Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) brought out a statement calling for resistance against the rising fascist and racist manifestations in Vienna and other Austrian cities. The statement by the Vienna committee of the KJO was made in the backdrop of an attack by right-wing Turkish nationalists against a Kurdish gathering in Vienna on June 24, and the clashes that followed it. Last week’s events have also led to some diplomatic hostility between Austria and Turkey.

According to reports, a group called Grey Wolves comprising right-wing sections within the Turkish diaspora in Vienna was responsible for instigating the clashes by attacking Kurds and left-leaning Turks. Grey Wolves are supporters of the right-wing extremist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in Turkey, which is a junior partner in the Turkish government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In their statement, the Vienna Committee of KJO said, “the last week has been characterized by anti-fascist fights against Turkish fascists on Vienna’s streets. The cowardly attacks of the ‘Grey Wolves’ have shown us one thing: regardless of our origin or gender – we stand shoulder to shoulder against every fascism!”

“While the Vienna police have shone through unusual passivity and cluelessness, together with hundreds of anti-fascists, we were able to expel the right-wing extremists. However, as expected, it did not take long for various media and politicians to spread the racist narrative of a ‘gang war between rival foreigners,'” added KJO.

Niklas Böck, chairman of the Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) explained the sequence of events to Peoples Dispatch.  “Last weekend, the fascist aggression against Kurds exploded in the 10th district of Vienna. Erdogan supporters and fascists with strong sympathies for AKP and MHP (the openly fascist coalition partner of Erdogan) in Turkey attacked a feminist demonstration against violence on women and brought the racist Turkish policy to the streets of Vienna. In the very dynamic aftermath of this aggression, several attacks against the Ernst Kirchweger House (EKH) took place. Kurdish-communist organizations that have their headquarters inside the EKH became the target of Turkish fascism and imperialism. Shocked and disgusted, hundreds of antifascists including the Communist Youth of Austria, took to the streets two days in a row to condemn these attacks and to send a strong signal of solidarity to our Kurdish comrades, colleagues, and friends. Again these demonstrations were attacked by fascists and members of the KJÖ were attacked on their way home. Luckily major injuries could be avoided and the fascist attackers were fought off. A Kurdish comrade was attacked and was hospitalized on Friday night when he walked the streets alone”.

“These escalations of anti-Kurdish racism and Turkish fascism are a sad historic peak of reactionary ideology and a symbol of power for the fascist pro-Erdogan movement within the Turkish diaspora in Austria. Right-wing mobilizations this large are new for the antifascist movement of Austria and are clearly a dangerous signal not just to the Kurdish community but for all people and especially for communists and antifascists. Nevertheless, the mobilizations against the Turkish-fascist Attacks proved that the Antifascist movement stands with our Kurdish comrades,” he added.

On June 25, 26, and 27, progressive sections in Vienna including anti-fascist groups, Kurdish solidarity groups, KJO, and others, organized mobilizations against fascism in the city.