About the title of Rdeče zore festival

Women festival Rdeče zore (Eng. Red Dawns) took its name from a resourceful child of the streets, the penniless heroine of the youth novel Die rote Zora und ihre Bande where children orphaned by the war realise that they can only defy social injustice by sticking together. Die Rote Zora und ihre Bande was written in the years after WWI by German writer (but also carpenter, traveling salesman, book editor, etc.) Kurt Kläber. Die Rote Zora and his other works were published under pseudonym Kurt Held. Kurt was a political immigrant of the Nazi era and being a communist, he had to oblige the rule of creative silence even during his Swiss exile – but was not silenced. After Stalin's deal with Hitler, Kurt abandoned communism as a betrayed ideology but kept his anarchist ideals. Red-haired Zora and her company of misfits personify those very ideals.

Kläber’s novel also inspired the anarcha-feminist urban guerrilla cell Rote Zora which fought for workers’, women’s and children’s rights by attacking their oppressors with carefully selected tools. The first bomb went off in 1974 at the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe the day after the court supported “Par. 218”; the law that allowed abortion only in certain cases. Rote Zora protested against it as they understood the right for every woman to have abortion as a fundamental right to self-determination over women’s own bodies. Rote Zora have collaborated with Revolutionäre Zellen, joined the anti-nuclear movement of the 70s and have continued with their anti-imperialist actions until the mid 80s. Their bombings were directed against Siemens, Nixdorf and other companies that exploit sweatshop workers from poor countries. They also targeted porn-traders, sex shops, international traders of women, doctors who are carrying out forced sterilizations and drug companies.

Rote Zora chose this name because “until today it seems to be a male privilege to build gangs or to act outside the law. Yet particularly because girls and women are strangled by thousands of personal and political chains this should make us masses of “bandits” fighting for our freedom, our dignity, and our humanity. Law and order are fundamentally against us, even if we have hardly achieved any rights and have to fight for them daily. Radical women’s struggles and loyalty to the law – there is no way they go together!

Even though Red Dawns festival refrains itself from political violence, it supports Rote Zora in their belief that the struggle for women’s rights is undone, that it goes hand in hand with struggles for social justice, and that we cannot be contended with reformist politics. “The legal route is not sufficient because the usual repression and structures of violence are legal. It is legal if husbands beat and rape their wives. It is legal if women traders buy our Third World sisters; and sell them to German men. It is legal when women ruin their health and do the monotonous work for subsistence wages. These are violent conditions which we are no longer willing to accept and tolerate and which can’t be changed solely by criticism. It was an important step to create a public consciousness about violence against women, but it didn’t lead to its prevention. It is a phenomenon that the screaming unfairness which women suffer is met with an incredible proportion of ignorance. It is a tolerance which exposes male parasitism. This “typical situation” is connected to the fact that there is not much resistance. Oppression is only recognized through resistance. Therefore we sabotage, boycott, damage, and take revenge for experienced violence and humiliation by attacking those who are responsible.

(Rote Zora quotes are taken from: Dark Star (ed.): Quiet Rumours. AK Press/Dark Star, San Francisco, 2002; p. 101-102.)

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