A CD released in 2012 compiled 23 songs by bands from across former Yugoslavia to promote anti-fascism and anti-fascist activism.

The songs are available on the ZajednickaBorba.com website and as a YouTube playlist. The project also had a Facebook page.

Zajednicka Borba - Cover

About the Compilation

From the cached version of the website, via the Wayback Machine; translated by yours truly with the help of Google Translate.

At the beginning of November 2012 we completed work on a then-unusual music release: the music compilation “Common Fight”, containing songs by 23 bands and artists from the former Yugoslavia. The compilation came about as a joint venture of anti-fascist groups from the countries of former SFR Yugoslavia, and for the first time gathered artists with a clear anti-fascist worldview from the same. By the same token, it represents much more than music itself.

This is the first joint project of free-thinking individuals and groups from all the countries that emerged in the area of ​​the former SFR Yugoslavia, which have existed for nearly 30 years in an almost permanent hostile state, a state of deterioration that has escalated into open hatred, manifested in the near past through the bloody wars between our nations. In such a social atmosphere, where voices that oppose the dominant ideologies of nationalism and fascism are almost silent or overwhelmed by right-wing noise, stronger association and organization of anti-fascists is a necessity. The interconnectedness of people in this area with the same or similar language, historical heritage and difficult present, necessarily points to looking beyond the walls of the tribal consciousness of local ruling classes. The need to counteract and overcome the dark reality of our societies, which has been dominated by the ideology of nationalism and fascism for over two decades, with varying intensity, has become of existential character.

This music compilation is a small, but potentially extremely significant, step towards a better interconnection of all active anti-fascist groups and individuals from these areas that operate in rather difficult conditions, independently and in opposition to the structures of governments which are the most influential promoters of retrograde nationalist politics. The struggle in local communities is the basis of anti-fascist action, but it is itself insufficient on our countries, where right-wing madness in one of the states automatically provokes a reaction in almost every other country. That is why it is necessary to have a common, synchronized action of anti-fascists in every part of the Balkans, as this is the only way to effectively fight the fascist evil that continues to dominate this region.

The concept of this compilation is naturally derived from the fact that an alternative (sub)culture here, and globally, is the basis of anti-fascist activism of the younger population. The idea of ​​freedom and the question of traditional authority, as a principle of alternative (mostly punk-rock) music and subcultures, also logically encompasses anti-fascism as a political and, above all human disposition. That is why the compilation’s music content is so dominant. But staying within these frameworks, which are too narrow for the size of the anti-fascist idea, would be inadequate for the task that puts this idea forward. For this reason, we attempted to encompass the broader and different musical spectrum of performers who in their previous work have been openly promoting the principles and values ​​with which this project was conducted. Consequently, this CD contains the widest spectrum of alternative music scene in the world, from those completely underground, to the general public of little-known punk bands to established names of alternative music such as Fakofbolan, Active Propaganda, Red Union to bands that can be said to belong to a regional “mainstream”, such as Darko Rundek, KUD Idijota, Kultur Shock, Atheist Rap.

The booklet contains the fundamental worldview and socio-political position on which the local anti-fascist groups stand. Apart from the lyrics, the booklet also contains the famous essay by Umberto Eco “Ur-fascism”, in which he writes that the danger of fascist ideology did not disappear with its military defeat in 1945 but is, often in new, perfidious forms, constantly present in the existing capitalist socio-economic system.

On the cover is the photograph of Mate Parlov, the greatest Yugoslav boxer of all time, the European, world, and Olympic champion in his category, who in his daily life espoused noble principles summarized in his legendary statement during the 1990’s wars: “How can I be a nationalist if I am a world champion? Many do not understand it. The world admired my accomplishments, and everywhere they accepted me as theirs. I’ve been around the world and can not see myself as anything but cosmopolitan. That’s how I view both sport and life.”

In Parlov, today’s modern anti-fascism has the most symbolic expression that blends all his proclaimed principles, e.g. the universal, humanistic attitude towards the people and the world or a readiness to physically defend the principles of equality and fraternity among people from aggressive and violence-oriented fascist and nationalist ideologies. Because of the characteristics of fascism, to which mass organized violence is the basic means of achieving its political goals, anti-fascism must always be ready for physical confrontation with it.

Last but not least, the booklet contains the photograph of a Partisan woman, a member of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia from the Second World War, which also expresses a clear attitude of the author toward the growing tendency of historical revisionism, which takes the most radical forms in the countries of the former Yugoslavia where current regimes rehabilitate local fascist, Quisling armies from WWII and relativize the historical magnitude of the local anti-fascist heritage. With this symbol, the authors of this compilation have shown another very important component of contemporary anti-fascism, which inherits and preserves the historical heritage of Partisan anti-fascism.

Great effort will be required to reach a wider circle of people and encourage them to actively engage in the anti-fascist struggle and to strengthen their mutual cooperation. The promotion of this compilation will take place throughout this year, through a series of concerts and other activities in several cities in almost all of the former Yugoslav states. We invite all free people from these countries to share their support of the idea behind the compilation.

Media Coverage

“Ex-Yougoslavie : compilation antifasciste à prix libre,” La Horde, 6/5/2013

The project is at least as much political as musical. Firstly because the compilation is free. Secondly, because it includes Umberto Eco’s essay “Ur-Fascism.” And finally, because the release was followed by concerts titled “Zajednička Borba” organized throughout the former Yugoslavia.

“Antifascisme en Free Download,” Yougosonic, 6/2/2013

The compilation pursues an educational goal and responds to the mainstream [nationalist / fascist discourse], reaffirming the values of Yugoslav personalities and founding myths: the back of the cover reveals a famous photo of a young Partisan as a way to revive Yugoslavian Partisans who have been almost obliterated from the media or presented as “the bad guys.”

It is interesting to note that no contemporary biography of the boxer, especially on the Croatian Wikipedia, mentions [the cosmopolitanism quote].

The underlying idea is to reclaim the world of sport, its values ​​of courage and respect of the adversary, and to take away from the extreme right the monopoly over it.

Modest and realistic, the bearers of this project are aware their approach is a drop in the ocean. Personally, my only fear is that it preaches mainly to the choir. But if the compilation manages to re-mobilize the radical left and anti-fascists weakened by the wars, pressures and, repression, it will be already a good start. “Zajednička Borba” is a bit like a soundtrack of a movements reoccupying the long-vacated field of the struggle against nationalism and its many avatars.

Even those who do not understand Serbo-Croatian (there are some songs in English) will understand the rage, intensity, and energy that emanates from these songs, different in their current national affiliations and their artistic identities, but grouped together by the necessity of the cause, as much as by a community of destinies and experiences.