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Iskra – The Left-Wing Extremist Group Which Trained For The Violent Overthrow Of The Democratic System

Since the question of who in our country actually poses a security risk to the country is always topical, we decided to once again highlight the revelations of the media outlet PortalPlus, where a few years ago, they decided that instead of waiting for the Slovene Intelligence and Security Agency (Slovenska obveščevalno-varnostna agencija – SOVA) to do it, they themselves will follow the trail of extremists, whose aim was to undermine or overthrow the constitutional order of our country. After obtaining additional documents, they then came to the realisation that we were witnessing the formation of an endogenous extremist group which was planning to change our country from a democratic one to a socialist republic by taking power from the streets.

The web portal PortalPlus researched the student organisation Iskra (Spark), which describes itself on its official website as a “progressive youth organisation focused on tackling the systemic problems that youth and young people face under capitalism.” As they state, the feminist fight is their starting point for other areas. Students organising to fight neoliberalism came into the spotlight after news broke of their sports and motivation camp held in the summer of 2013. Namely, at the camp, they did not organise roundtables or hold discussions – they instead brought six airsoft guns with them and turned the lecture hall where they were staying into a so-called workshop where they worked on the aforementioned guns, and they also played shooting games against each other.

What is the academic value of airsoft guns and gas pistols?

As they later explained in their response to the aforementioned media outlet’s article, the camp included several airsoft battles, martial arts training, climbing and an orienteering hike during the day and night. This raises the question of why the students felt the need to turn a lecture room into a military warehouse for five days, and ultimately what is the academic value of gas gun training, martial arts training, and other such activities? “[… ] because if this is co-financed by the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana and its extensions, and carried out by a student association (which is exactly what Iskra is), then it would make sense for the students who participated in this to explain what the value of all this is for them,” the portal critically pointed out, adding that if, say, photographs of uniformed individuals of the Blood & Honour movement were to find its way into the hands of the left-wing Mladina magazine, that would cause an uproar in our country, but instead, this is a different story, because these are the participants of Iskra’s camp.

“Let’s be honest, if there is no proof that Iskra has an agenda to overthrow the constitutional order of the Republic of Slovenia, then we are dealing with children playing war, not extremists carrying out mobilisations and military drills,” the portal also pointed out, adding that in this case, it makes sense to focus on exposing Iskra’s goals. To this end, they reminded the readers of the resignation statement of Klemen Knez, former President of the Iskra organisation, where, in their words, their ultimate goal is clear for everyone to see: “We need to establish a political entity – which will be revolutionary – which means only that it will draw its strength from the street and not from arguments within the set frames – because arguments are and always will be a matter of politicking and ideological turning things upside down. Our fight is a fight for power, and we can never and must never forget that – the power of the whole working people…” The portal also highlighted the observation that, in their opinion, it is clear in this regard that the policy and goal of Iskra is “the domination of the street over arguments, the opposite of what is codified in our constitution, where parliamentary argumentation is the only mechanism for the formation, functioning and establishment of institutions.” The dominance of the street over argument (whatever the dominant mechanism of argumentation may be) is a euphemism for violent revolution. And as Knez said, their struggle is a struggle for power.

They went on to point out that in this context, the summer camp was not recreational, but was intended to “exercise the power of force over the power of argument,” and to “team-build existing forces and mobilise new ones.” They also recalled the following statement by Knez: “The road to get there is a tortuous one – for we are not fighting for the Ljubljana student union, nor for the Slovenian working class – but for a world upheaval of existing social relations – a social revolution – and thus a socialist world republic.” In light of this, the portal concluded that the students of Iskra were not motivating each other, enjoying some recreation or playing war. In fact, their objectives are very clear in their view – their activities are directed towards the “social” revolution and the establishment of a world socialist republic.

If the country were to change into a socialist republic, it would, of course, be necessary to amend the Constitution. Since the question of how this is to be achieved naturally arises, the portal pointed out that Knez has already explained this – “by a seizure of power which takes place at the level of the domination of the street over arguments.” They also pointed out that, in their view, “a group that rejects parliamentary democracy, calls to the streets and plays military training cannot, by definition, be anything other than an extremist group.”

In relation to Iskra, they also singled out the then-President of Iskra, Jaša Lategan, formerly known as Jaša Štrukelj. He is the son of the well-known trade unionist Branimir Štukelj, the former son-in-law of Milan Kučan. “Firstly, it is perfectly legitimate for his father’s trade union to use the argument of the street, i.e. the strike, as its main bargaining chip. On the other hand, it is clear that for his son’s organisation, the argument of the street is the key mechanism for overthrowing the government, carrying out the revolution and introducing socialism in Slovenia. So? Will every trade union’s strike be a security risk for the whole country?”

Despite the “military training, declarations of revolution and the street fight for power,” we could not read anything about Iskra in the mainstream media, which is so keen on exposing extremist groups. It is difficult to give a clear answer as to why this was so, but many would have thought at the time that the reason might also have been that the trade unionist Štrukelj was sitting on the supervisory board of Mladina magazine. The portal also revealed an interesting piece of information, namely that until March 2013, Miha Kordiš, a member of the radical coalition party the Left (Levica), was active in Iskra. “Again, it must be a mere coincidence that a man who actively formed an organisation that seeks social upheaval and the domination of the street over arguments, or the ‘betrayal’ of parliamentary democracy and the introduction of socialism, sits in parliament,” they pointed out.

“It is probably just excess paranoia to think that an extreme security risk has just been revealed. But it is good to learn from the above-mentioned Iskra website that Miha Kordiš still supports them,” they stressed, adding that this is undoubtedly in favour of the socialist street revolution. If there were ever such links between extremists and the largest opposition party, the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), which is a particular thorn in the side of the left, we can be sure that such a disclosure would then be much more damaging.

Sara Kovač

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