Free Mario Bango
Mario Bango is a 21-year-old Roma from Slovakia, imprisoned since March 2001 for the “crime” of defending his younger brother when they were brutally attacked by a neo-Nazi skinhead. Now he has been sentenced to 12 years without parole in prison for attempted murder.
Like most Roma in Slovakia, Mario and his brother Edo were used to racist intimidation and violence. Edo had been hospitalised by a neo-Nazi attack and Mario had been attacked only recently.
When the neo-Nazi attacked his brother from behind, Mario fought back. In the ensuing scuffle the neo-Nazi sustained injuries and died, three days later.
Mario called the police and ambulance and he and Edo waited, even though they must have known that racism against Roma in Slovakia goes to the highest levels. Mario has been in prison ever since and now faces 12 years — his entire youth — behind bars.
From the beginning, it was clear that Mario was not going to get a fair trial. The Slovakian Parliament held a minute’s silence for the dead Nazi, and the media was full of accounts of how another Slovakian patriot had been murdered by the Roma.
But what the Slovakian government had not counted on was the fact that anti-racists and human rights activists around the world would get involved in a campaign to free Mario.
To become part of the campaign, pass motions of support in your union or community organisation and then send protest letters to Slovak authorities:
Slovak President Rudolph Schuster
Kancelaria prezidenta SR
814 38 Bratislava
Ministry of Justice
Ministerstvo spravodlivosti SR
Zupne namestie 13
813 11 Bratislava
fax: 00421-7-5443 0467
Urad vlady SR
Namestie Slobody 1
813 70 Bratislava
fax: 00421-7-5249 7595
Write to Mario at:
nar. 8. 6. 1982
Ústavna vy´kon väzby
812 29 Bratislava
And visit the website for postcards, petitions, leaflets and lots more information: www.freemario.org
Carlene is a member of the Socialist Alliance National Executive representing affiliate, Workers’ Power.
Quit SA and form a new representative alliance
There are two items of particular interest in Freedom Socialist Bulletin # 30 which warrant some response.The first is headed “Socialist Alliance needs its own newspaper: Green Left Weekly is not it.” The second, in the Radical Women Supplement, is headed “Radical Women decides not to affiliate to Socialist Alliance.”
There is a fundamental problem with what is euphemistically still called the Socialist Alliance. From all the evidence, Socialist Alliance has been hijacked by the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) and now it is calling the shots on all policy within the “organisation.”
If Green Left Weekly is not to be the newspaper of the Alliance, there would need to be stronger affiliation to the Alliance by the groups which have chosen not to affiliate, such as Socialist Alternative and now, Radical Women.
If there is to be a true and viable socialist alliance, the current Alliance is not it.
Therefore the alternative is to create a more representative organisation which all groups on the Left could affiliate with, from which the DSP would have to be excluded.
So the new organisation could be something like “Socialist Action” or “Socialist Coalition.”
It was fairly obvious from the start that Socialist Alliance would not succeed. There are too many factional disputes between member organisations for it to be a viable group. And then there is also the undisputed fact that the DSP is the dominant partner and intends to remain so. How better to ruin their plans than to disaffiliate and form a more representative group.
Mannie De Saxe
Preston South, Vic
Editor’s response: Mannie has long been a critic of Socialist Alliance. But despite the critics’ predictions of imminent demise and the ongoing challenges inherent in a project like Socialist Alliance, it continues to be amazingly successful with a diverse range of socialists uniting around demands and campaigns where we agree.
Of course differences remain. That is why the Freedom Socialist Party opposes suggestions by some within SA that affiliate organisations should dissolve into one multi-tendency party. There were many failed attempts to form left electoral alliances prior to the successful founding of SA. What has been achieved is too important to squander. This is also why Radical Women, despite its decision not to affiliate as an organisation, actively supports SA and encourages its members to join as individuals. We would be delighted if Mannie would suspend his pessimism about SA and join. If more non-aligned activists like Mannie joined, it would be less likely that his predictions of one tendency dominating at the expense of all others will eventuate.