The Anarchist Post Office

In April 2024, during the Youmeoui festival in Bern / Switzerland, we set up an international solidarity tool that we’re sharing with you here. The concept can easily be exported. We call it “The Anarchist Post Office”.

The idea is quite simple. We set up a small letter-writing stand and invited festival visitors to take 10 minutes to write a letter, note, postcard or drawing to 5 collectives involved in various struggles in Turkey. In this way, around thirty letters, drawings, postcards and collages were collected. People shared experiences on the context of social struggles in Switzerland, on the dynamics and work of their own collectives and political projects, or simply sent pretty notes filled with strength and courage. Once the day was over, we collected the letters and mailed them to the 5 collectives.

Our intention with this initiative was to :

  • Build bridges between different and geographically distant contexts of struggle.
  • Inspire people in Switzerland by learning about the existence and activities of these collectives.
  • Motivate and support people in Turkey, through the arrival of a number of paper letters specially created for them.

Just as sending emojis can’t be compared to the intensity of communicating emotions live, the impact of a like on Instagram can’t be compared to receiving a paper letter. For us, it was important to transpose this surge of solidarity onto concrete material, to make it tangible. That when the letters arrive, people understand that on the other side of the world, other people have taken the time, care and energy to express their support and solidarity.

Our choice of collectives was based on friendly anti-authoritarian initiatives, but also on groups that have only little support in the context in which they operate.

the collected letters

Here are the 5 chosen for this first edition:

  • Orospuya övgü – Collective of/for sexworkers with the aim of empowering sexworkers.
  • İyileşme Çizimleri – Queer-vegan drawing project on healing from violence in kurdish-turkish-english.
  • Istanbul Trans Pride Week – trans, queers and sex workers committee that meets with an open call to organize that year’s Trans Pride Week and March against hierarchical organizational models.
  • Kara Pembe Anarşi (Schwarz-Rosa Anarchie) – queer anarchist autonomous group from İzmir who organises solidarity events and resists against patriarchy and state
  • Esra Arıkan Solidarity Network – autonomous initiative that engages with trans prisoners -especially Esra Arıkan-, migrants and refugees in Turkey.

How To :

The concept is easily exportable and reusable for your own events.

  1. Set up a small letter-writing stand at a local event (festival, tattoo circus, book fair, parties, retreats, etc.).
  2. Choose collectives to express your solidarity with. There may be several collectives in the same place, or spread across the globe. Find a mailing address for each collective. Find out more about the collectives in question, so you can answer any questions visitors may have.
  3. Provide sheets of paper, pens, goodies, stamps, colored markers and envelopes to stimulate the creativity of the submissions.
  4. Create a clear explanation for visitors. It’s not always easy to take the plunge and write a letter to people you don’t know. You don’t know what to write or how to address them. During our first experience, we clearly noticed the need to take people by the hand, explain the concept, answer their questions, encourage them, be warm, offer tea… Sitting passively behind the stand doesn’t work… at best people look at the table with curiosity and then move on, at worst they’re intimidated and don’t approach. Remember to set up a few chairs so that people can write quietly.
  5. Don’t forget to recommend adding a contact to the letter if the sender wishes to keep in touch with the recipients.
  6. Collect all the letters for each collective and take them to the post office.

And start again at the next event.