The G Blog #Grantees

Reflecting on our Reflexes in 2021

Ivan March, Jan 2022

Somehow 2021 seems like a non-year, with fast-fading memories of endless Zoom calls and rolling lockdown regulations. The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and Ethiopia’s civil war worsened which in Europe was hardly noticed as we spent most of our energy being outraged with one another online or binge-watching Netflix shows.

Lucky for us, South Park provided arguably the best Covid era social commentary, in a four part Pandemic Special serving high satire and solid antidotes to absolute social degradation. 

However, in our little Guerrilla bubble, organisers, mobilisers and shaker-uppers have been unweaving oppressions and taking on existential planetary challenges, and they’ve had motivating victories and hopefully-even-more-motivating failures via our Reflex fund (small grants ranging from €1,000 – 9,000, totalling €100k for 2021).

Intended to provide quick-release money for audacious actions that would have a hard time being resourced from elsewhere, here are some of our lesson-packed 2021 Guerrilla Reflexes:

TransAid (Croatia)

An association for the promotion and protection of the rights of trans, gender variant and intersex (TGI) persons. They strengthen the TGI community by increasing the visibility of TGI issues and the Croatian community, as well as promoting and protecting the rights of TGI persons. The vision of the group is ‘a society that celebrates the diversity of identities, bodies and experiences’ and they’re committed to self-determination as a core value in overcoming gender norms in order to raise the quality of life of TGI people through public actions, community support and campaigning.

XY-Spectrum (Serbia)

XY Spectrum is newly established organisation that works on advancing the life quality of gender and sex variant persons, with main focus on organised support and raising visibility. They are inclusive of various identities in the spectrum of gender and sexuality, and in their work they tackle multiple discriminations such as: age, race, ethnicity, religion, health status, educational background, economic status, sexual orientation, sex variations, gender identity and expression. 

Rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (country is rather obvious)

The Rijeka Group of Bosnia and Herzegovina is primarily established with the aim of underpinning the ecological movement and campaign to protect the rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The key tenets of the group are “ecology is an ideology”, “our vital national interest is nature” (rivers, forests, mountains, lakes), “make Bosnia garbage-free”, “Do everything to promote the eco potential of B&H”. “encourage social activism”, “carry out continuous nature monitoring”, “all work within the group is completely voluntary”.

RadioAfrolis (Portugal)

Made up of a group of black Portuguese, RadioAfrolis raises awareness about racial justice issues through digital storytelling and cultural activism. Their mission is to disseminate the diversity of black communities’ realities, as well as to encourage their participation in the production of media content. RadioAfrolis produce original media content via a Podcast (200 interviews in 5 years), they organise cultural events like film & poetry sessions with black protagonists, directors and narratives (a poetry book featuring 9 new poets was published in 2018); and they co-organize protests and fundraisers. Our activities have a diverse attendance which is one of our goals – to showcase the agency of the black communities inscribing it as part of Portugal’s social, cultural and economic development. The Portuguese speakers can listen to the first Guerrilla-funded episode on RadioAfrolis’ Soundcloud

Deviszont Community Space (Budapest, Hungary) 

Deviszont are a critical pedagogical initiative in the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary. They organise political education and community building activities for working-class young adults still in vocational education sincs 2018. They are in a period of organisational growth and constant instability because of the intertwined crises catalysed by the pandemic.

Festival Y?! (Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania)

A collective, producing a flagship gathering that connects movements for social justice, climate justice, human rights, and critical societies in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Some key collaborators/projects are: tackling energy poverty in Klaipeda, Lithuania, political zine workshops in Vilnius, the Baltic Solidarity Network, and the Tell me Y?! Podcast.

Solomon (Greece)

At the moment, there is an urgent need for the coverage of crucial issues that are related to the violations of the asylum seekers’ rights and of miscarriages of power against them. The Solomon contributors, with their sources on the ground, have the capacity to make these issues known; but they consistently lack the funds needed for their publication, as this work and these stories are undervalued by funding bodies at best, and an irritant to government authorities.

Through an in-depth series of reports, they aim to address these pressing issues, as well as the urgent need for accountability and transparency of those in power, the absence of which challenges democracy and rule of law.

Wilczyce – Wolfens Collective (Muczne, Poland)

The family group of Wolfens, is a grassroot movement for the protection of the Carpathian Forest. They operate as an intersectional collective. They make decisions by consensus. They believe that their team can function as they would like the world to function: without hierarchy, human domination over other beings, patriarchy, queerphobia and fascism. Instead, with radical empathy and care. They do not agree to the devastation of wildlife and the exploitation of valuable forests as wood inventories. Bieszczady forests are an extremely complex, sensitive ecosystem that performs many very important functions. These forests are soil and water-protective, and essential for ecosystemic balance and they must be protected from loggers, prospectors, land-grabbing, mining and all other such threats – welcome to Polish eco-body-political-resistance. 

Rinascimento Green (Velletri, Italy)

A young non-profit, with a mission to engage the public in Italy to zero-out climate emissions while tackling inequality in a visionary and socially inclusive manner. They use public assemblies, teach-ins, crowd surveys and other engaging methodologies to marry public input with expert knowledge to push forward politically durable outcomes to re-vision a green and just society for all. They work in a growing, multi-issue network and prompt interactions that foster real dialogue and depolarisation.

Juntos pelo Rossio (Aveiro, Portugal)

The people’s movement “Juntos pelo Rossio” was created in September 2017, spontaneously by a group of citizens who rebelled against the intention of the Aveiro City Council to destroy the current Jardim do Rossio, in the center of the city, to make way for to an underground car park, with a smokescreen project they called an “urban square”, that would distort the current essence of that space as a beloved public garden. Aside from being a neighbourhood jewel, a place of collective memory, the current garden represents the social, cultural and natural heritage of Aveiro and the residents were not involved in the decision-making process to change this hallmark of their town, which is why, fueled by indignation and desire to protect their garden, they organised.