Recently, a group of antifascists in Nyköping, Sweden succeeded in completely shutting down fascist activity in their city. This is an interview made by Antifa International with A., one of the Nyköping antifa, about how they did it:
1) Can you tell us a little bit about where you live?
We’re present in the city of Nyköping. It’s your regular city, nothing very special about it!
2) When did you notice that nazis were beginning to be a problem in your town? Was there a certain event or point that made you decide that you had to take action?
We decided to get together and do something ourselves when we started noticing an increase in fascist activities in our city and everywhere else, and to get this city as friendly and as discriminatory free as possible for the refugees that would be arriving.
4) When you decided to take anti-fascist action in your town, what concerns did you have?
Most of our concerns were with safety. Being masked up and dressed in black only gets you so far, and there were certain concerns with security officers and cops. Seeing as these “soldiers of odin” also are masked up, people had a bit of a fright when we started out, until we showed them where we stood whenever we were out.
5) How did you decide what action you should take? Did you research it first, or talk with other people?
We did a lot of research before! We actively follow this tumblr and have made use of a lot of the tips. We started out with first covering small areas with just stickers, but quickly moved on to street art, longer nights out and covering larger parts of the city with stickers in one go.
6) How did you find your fellow anti-fascists that you work with?
Most of those who are involved were interested in it before we got together. We’ve known each other for a while before we started out, so it was easier to quickly organize for us! (Interesting thing; One of those who is with us now approached us on the streets, in fear that we were nazis. They were very relieved when we told them that we were not, and got in contact with us later!)
7) What was your first action like?
Our first action was pretty short. There was a small area in the city that had quite a bit of fascist graffiti. We covered it and replaced it with antifascist slogans instead. This is what I see as our first BIG action at least!
8) Was there any reaction to your first action?
We don’t know the initial reaction of the people in the area, but it was up for a long time before authorities sanitized it.
9) What other actions have you done?
Most of our actions consist of spreading our presence to other parts of the city. We have a lot of stickers and it hasn’t been a problem to quickly cover areas with them. Occasionally we do street art. We are, however, planning a bigger action that will take place in a couple of weeks!
10) What has been the result of your actions?
The result has been amazing. In the beginning alot of our stickers were taken down, but right now? You can walk anywhere in the city and see our presence, which we are quite proud of!
11) How did the nazis react?
Not well. It mostly started when they covered our graffiti and we theirs, and that was pretty much it for several weeks. We ripped down their crap, and they ours, so we started to keep an eye out on when our stuff was taken down. When we eventually narrowed it down, we decided that we would confront them at their regular spots. It quickly escalated from there. What started as shouting in an alley ended in a fight. It lasted only a couple of minutes, but it was intense. We think that they started getting in more of their fascist friends from nearby towns, as their numbers grew for a little while and confrontations became regular for a while. Eventually they just stopped showing up, they stopped taking our stuff down, they stopped covering our graffiti. We haven’t seen them for over a month now. Good riddance, if you ask us!
13) What is it like in your town now?
It feels safer. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s safe. We’re glad to say that racism is often immediately confronted here now, and the local people (and us, of course) are doing a lot to make the refugees feel welcome. We try to organize fun things to do for them and with them, like football games, board games, as well as we try to encourage them and to inspire them. We try to make them feel safe enough that they can ask anyone for help without having to fear that they’re gonna be harassed by fascists.
14) What advice would you give to people in other towns that might want to do something about fascists or racists where they live?
Our advice is; organize! There are a lot of cities without an active antifa and/or antira presence, and the best thing to do to get it there, is to make it yourself. Even if you’re alone, just putting up small stickers or slogans can go a long way. Try to look among your friends to organize with first, as it is a lot easier when you can do this with a good friend, as there’s immediately a sense of trust between you. The most important thing that we think you should do is to show that there’s opposition! One little thing can snowball into something huge. Another important thing is to not take risks that you yourself are not comfortable with, or are prepared for. We always prepare ourselves for the worst, that way we have plans for most situations that we could get in. If you think that putting something up at that moment could get you in serious trouble, don’t do it. Your safety is also important.
This text was posted on the 5th of April, 2016.