Public statement on the 14th Anniversary of the Autonomous Factory Rog.

On the 14th Anniversary: For survival of community, not only individuals!

With its 14 years of existence the Autonomous Factory Rog is a testimony to what we, the residents of this city, need. In recent years, during a period of economic growth, we have regularly and loudly opposed the capitalist devastation of the city, which not only directly threatened the existence of the Autonomous Factory, one of the few remnants of saved community property, but also widely and far more fundamentally corroded the possibility of a decent life in Ljubljana.

The crisis at the outbreak of the new virus has revealed the fallacy of the city government’s development policy. It subjected the city to capitalist depletion, emptied its contents, repainted its facades, and remodeled it with infrastructure primarily intended for tourists and consumers. Now, at a time when life is reduced to mere survival, the residents have little use of it. This crisis made clear what Ljubljana has really turned into. With no tourists around and the frenzy of consumerism interrupted, it has become a ghost town of empty buildings, abandoned storefronts, quiet streets through which the cold wind blows. One can only hear the footsteps and sighs of many, now finally visible, homeless people who have no access to water, toilets or to a hot meal, let alone a bed or social housing. The rare member of the center’s bourgeoisie jogging to the nearby park will now take an even longer detour to avoid the already stigmatized and marginalized population. The word solidarity has been distorted by those in power with the definition of increasing social distance and total individualization.

When we will witness the impending collapse of all of the recently built, wasteful entertainment infrastructure, we may finally ask ourselves what truly serves society, or what truly is the public good and what we need: is it really enormous investment in city tourism? The crisis will leave behind failed hotels, hostels, restaurants, outlets, agencies and event venues, alongside a selection of construction sites with semi-finished luxury buildings. So much for “sustainable development,” “green capital” and “look after your city” - they proved to be deceptive campaigns of a Potemkin Village. We would be much better prepared for a severe loss of incomes if during the period of economic growth we would have invested in housing, health centers, hospitals and public services that really serve people's needs. It became clear that the tidy appearance of walls and streets suitable for photography, came hand in hand with the inability of residents to pay the rent or bills. The development policies of the city should no longer be directed at forging the profits of a few, but at building infrastructure that will allow for social certainty and cohesion, as only this would make us better equipped as a society for a life in times of hazardous conditions. We demand a different foundation for the city, one that is based on the well-being of everyone, regardless of age, health, financial status, tenant status and other circumstances.

For 14 years the Rog community has been operating on the fringes of society, on the principles of solidarity and reciprocity, and resisting the systemic violence of capitalist looting of the city and its inhabitants. And even in these uncertain days we are putting in place support mechanisms for assistance to people with whom their needs would be communally addressed. In this uncertain period we are establishing support mechanisms for mutual community assistance. The Autonomous factory has been closed for the general public for the time of the pandemic. We installed a mailbox at the front door where people in need can leave a message with contact information.If possible, we’ll try to address the needs of our neighbors. In this crisis, we are building a common front for solidarity for survival. It is necessary that we now connect and prepare for the struggles to come immediately after, with new attempts of privatizing theft at the hands of already drooling grand-predators!

So on the 14th anniversary, we call:
Don't increase your social distance! It's time to invent new ways for community care! Let's survive together so we can fight together!