Anarchism in Serbia

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Anarchism emerged on territories of Serbia in the second half of the 19th century as part of the wider workers' movement in the Southern Slavic and future Yugoslavian region, and was embraced along with other freedom-centered ideas as part of the struggle for national liberation from Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Among the first people to espouse ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was Živojin Žujović [sr], who was at the time a student of law and economy, later credited as the first Serbian socialist. A sizeable community of South Slavic students and revolutionaries was based in Switzerland, where they kept in touch with Mikhail Bakunin and the Slavic section of Jura Federation.[1]


On 3 September 2009, six members of the anarcho-syndicalist Serbian IWA section (ASI-MUR), including then-IWA General Secretary Ratibor Trivunac, were arrested on suspicion of international terrorism, a charge which was heavily disputed by the international and other anarchist groups.

Shortly after their arrest, an open letter was circulated by Serbian academics criticizing the charges and the attitude of Serbian police. The six were formally indicted on 7 December and after a lengthy trial procedure Trivunac, along with five other anarchists, were freed on 17 February 2010.[2]

The anarchist movement continues in Serbia today against the current President Aleksandar Vučić and his government, with protests being held every week against their authority.[3]


  • 1906: The newspaper Proleter becomes the first publication to advance anarcho-syndicalist ideas in Serbia.[4]
  • 1907: There is Serbian attendance at the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam.[5]
  • 1968: Anarchist ideas spread among some students after student protests across Yugoslavia.[6]
  • 1984: Syndicalist Radomir Radović dies under mysterious circumstances after his advocacy for independent trade unions in Yugoslavia.[7]
  • 1990s: Anarchists across Yugoslavia are involved in anti-conscription campaigns and are critical of the Yugoslav Wars.[6]
  • 2002: Neo-nazis assault 2 anarchists.[8]
  • 2002: The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (ASI) is founded.[9] ASI members claim in 2011 that each year since their founding members are arrested or prosecuted.[10]
  • 2003: After the assassination of the prime minister, ASI members are suspected by police and see their homes raided, phones and computers confiscated and a member is even arrested.[7]
  • 2004: The ASI formally joins the IWA-AIT, becoming the ASI-IWA.[11]
  • 2006: The ASI carries out their first successful union campaign, helping a worker at an Italian restaurant deal with wage theft.[12]
  • 2007: Members of the ASI-IWA assist student protests against budget cuts at the University of Belgrade.[13] When students occupied the Architecture and Philosophy departments, the dean blamed it on anarcho-syndicalist agitators.[14]
  • 2009: In response to an attack with Molotov cocktails on the Greek embassy by anarchists, the Serbian state jails 4 members of the ASI-IWA and 2 unrelated anarchists on terrorism charges despite their lack of involvement in the attack.[15]
  • 2010: The Belgrade Six are acquitted of all charges.[16]
  • 2011: The ASI-IWA organises protests against NATO during a meeting of NATO members in Belgrade. Protest organisers are subject to police surveillance and harassment.[10]
  • 2011: An ASI member is arrested for allegedly breaking into a car. The IWA-AIT considers this a fabricated trial and a case of state repression.[17]
  • 2012: Trials against the Belgrade Six are restarted.[18]
  • 2013: The ASI-IWA holds the first Balkan anarchs-syndicalist conference in Belgrade, with participants from Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo and North Macedonia.[19]
  • 2013: The ASI-IWA launches a solidarity campaign with Serbian migrant workers in Uruguay.[20]
  • 2013: The ASI-IWA aids striking public transport workers in Kragujevac who go on strike and blockade nearby roads and railways to protest not being paid for 9 months.[20]
  • 2015: In response to police harassment of commuters on public transport, the ASI organises protests outside the police headquarters in Belgrade.[21]
  • 2020: Anarchists are active in the Serbian protests from 2020 to 2022.[11]


  1. ^ Indic, Trivo (27 May 1990). "Anarchism in (ex) Yugoslavia" (PDF). Umanità Nova. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Belgrade: Professors Send Open Letter in Defense of Arrested". 2009. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 6 Feb 2023.
  3. ^ "Thousands Protest in Serbia to Demand Free Press and Elections". The New York Times. Reuters. 2019-03-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-24.
  4. ^ The workers' movement in Serbia and ex-Yugoslavia.
  5. ^ Schmidt, Michael (2012). Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism.
  6. ^ a b "Fake Revolutions, Real Struggles". The Anarchist Library. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  7. ^ a b "SK ASI-MUR / СК АСИ-МУР / CS IAS-AIT / UC ASI-IWA : Union Confederation "Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative" press release". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  8. ^ "SK ASI-MUR / СК АСИ-МУР / CS IAS-AIT / UC ASI-IWA : Neo-nazi and fascist attack on IAS members in 2 cities". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  9. ^ "SK ASI-MUR / СК АСИ-МУР / CS IAS-AIT / UC ASI-IWA : Report from the Founding Congress of Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  10. ^ a b "Serbia: State offensive against the libertarian movement |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  11. ^ a b "Ecological Uprising, Antifascism & Anarchist Organizing in Serbia |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  12. ^ "SK ASI-MUR / СК АСИ-МУР / CS IAS-AIT / UC ASI-IWA : Report on the first successful independent union action of ASI". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  13. ^ "Serbia: Students protest and occupy |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  14. ^ "Serbia: Student blockades spread |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  15. ^ "Belgrade: anarchists arrested; state attorney seeks international terrorism charge |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  16. ^ "The Belgrade Six have been acquitted of the charges!". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  17. ^ "Repression against ASI continues!". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  18. ^ "Belgrade Six case (BG6): Appeal of ASI-IWA for International Solidarity Actions – February 6th, 2012". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  19. ^ "First Balkan anarcho-syndicalist conference held in Belgrade". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  20. ^ a b "Activities in which Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (ASI) - Serbia has been involved during several last weeks". Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  21. ^ "Belgrade: Protest against police repression |". Retrieved 2023-02-08.