[ 08. Jan 2013 ]

The nightmare of the leading order. The outsiders already won!

You can't silence us. Refugee Protest Camp Vienna.

"We don't fight for warm beds. We want our future. We want to do something for our live. We request from the government to give us a chance and to hear and answer to our demands."
Article about the Refugee Protests and Austrian policy by Ljubomir Bratic.


People who set their camp in Sigmund-Freud-Park, to demonstrate their need for rights and equality and who sought shelter in Votiv-Church during the weeks before christmas and went into hunger strike, belong to the outsiders in our, the Austrian, society. They don't not belong their because of lack of ownership but because society doesn't want them to be a part of itself.
So as being people who don't belong, per definition they could not be a zoon politicon - an individual betting on equality beyond equals. The fact that people who don't belong here ARE here, for the administration in the first place (because they have to deal with the fact that those nameless people took a public place, the Sigmund-Freud-Park) and the NGOs in the second place (because with the choice of a church as shelter it diminishes their ability to help and organize the help), this situation is incomprehensible so that they wish to turn it back and make it forgotten as fast as possible. Just for their concern, you can say that this nightmare is going to last a little while longer. In the following, the question is asked, how such a thing could happen in Vienna!

The administration

Who are those Do-not-belongs in the eyes of the administration? As known, this administration is left-wing-liberal. It contains the powerful Socialdemocrats (SPÖ) who over the years managed to oust racist positions from their midst (one of them is Johann Hatzl who worked under minister Franz Löschnak and interestingly became head of SPÖ-close aid-organisation “Volkshilfe”) and the green party (die Grünen), whose head once made a public appearance to bring the “voice of migrants” into parliament and who has given up her demand to go pragmatically ways leading to personal success instead. The decision to give up such demands made the green party a suitable partner for coalition.

Together they eliminated the conference of integration in Vienna. They found a middle way in which one side could handle the public brutality of the hardliners and the other side, who claimed more participation of the migrants in society, had to give up that demand. A positive null sum game so to speak. But now in this ongoing story a subject appears which nobody noticed before, in other words, which only was noticed as an object in need, of tolerance or of repression. Now this subject acts and has demands everybody understand. It is those, who appeared in none of the controllsystems (not even those of the police), people who were tolerated as a non-participating part of society, refugees, who have to live in insecurity and who now claim to enlarge the sense of collective in society.

What happens, while reading these words? Those people talk, they express their demands and more: they claim that no one besides them can speak for themselves. This unveils every apparent authority of representation as well as those powerful controllsystems and it appeared so, that the authority has not enough arguments against this weak, sick and hungry human being, which is not participating in structural force. It also appears that this subject speaks the same language of political demand like everybody else in society. But giving in to these demands would lead to relativization of their manorial positions.
The only thing left for administration is a desperate act of selfprotection: the removal of the outsiders from the position of a public effective army of delegitimation. In consequence, all objects of utility must be removed: tents, clothes, tables, benches, … in the middle the night, on 28th of December at 04.00 a.m. Sigmund-Freud-Park has been “cleaned” from the people and their belongings. If this happened in awareness of all people who have found a seat in city government is not important. The tents of the demonstrating people were removed and destroyed. Instead of giving those people a cold and meager possibility to spend the night their things were thrown in some magazine of the city by bulldozers.

While at the same time on that lawn no one is allowed to build up his tent anymore. So the city government did their chores. The tents were never returned and the action took place in a way that's final. To the government's regret it's not like the protest and the voice of the outsiders has silenced just by removing their personal things.

The church

And who are the outsiders in the eyes of the helpers. In the system of the national state racism there are several divisions of labor. One of them: The responsibility for the administration of that tolerated form of being lies with those who dedicated themselves to aid: the aid organizations including Social work and operative entities like for instance “Volkshilfe” or “Caritas”. So what are the outsiders doing while their voice of participation is shouting their demands? They refuse the help of those aid organizations - from the beginning none of those organizations was involved - and more, they challenge them by focusing their protest on them: They own a church. This place is of different nature as the one of the park controlled by the administration. This is a place dedicated to mercifulness and its history is includes a strong history of sanctuary.

Furthermore it includes something that is of immediate relevance in the actual situation of the church: Caritas is a legitimate part of the church. It manages refugeeshelters, has helpdesks for such and helpdesks for people who want do return to their countries. Those organizations get a great deal of the money which is to organize the tolerance of the outsiders. With their act and their positioning on the sorted territory called Vienna, the outsiders have chosen what concerns them the most: the one organization which now is confronted with the question of nature of their help. How can this rationality be questioned at all? That's the very question the administration and her entities (political parties, lobbies, public media, etc.) are asking. What to do when someone who is not part of the political order proving their rationality by suddenly speaking a definite political language and not only speaking that language but also acting in a way that makes this language heard.

Lost fight

In effect for the mentioned parts of administration this is a lost fight. No matter what they do and how they do it, a new rational talking political subject has appeared. We all have to learn to deal with it but they can not make it disappear anymore. That is the greatest achievement of these people in Sigmund-Freud-Park and Votiv-Church. To fulfill the requirements of these people who have organized themselves as a political subject, to make them politically equal conversational partners and to accept them as lonesome speakers for their situation would be good advice for the government. There is nothing else to do. The outsiders have fought for a situation in which they are a political subject. Now the ones are talking for whom others used to speak and they are not only talking in public but also on the territory of an organization which is managing the help on the same spot, where they were degraded to objects.

That is the enormity of these protests. That is what makes it so hard to understand and hardly acceptable for the defenders of the leading order.

P.S.: Weren't those protesting refugees banished from Sigmund-Freud-Park just like Sigmund Freud himself from Vienna in 1938? Is there a more serious adverse event for the collective memory than that - different, but still - repeating of injustice?

Article published first on January 7, 2013 by :: German original from Ljubomir Bratic on January 3, 2012 @ ::