Communities in resistances need safe spaces to live, meet and organize in. They also need physical testaments of their ideas that can be shared, away from the scrutiny of unwelcoming web servers and platforms, transported safely under a mantle, and transmitted in closed circles. Fanzines are a fantastical tool able to do that just that, while at the same time creating a field for expression, experiments and liberating imaginaries. Girls* to the Front, the polish queer and feminist fanzines perfectly embodies that fonction. We were lucky to meet with Agata Wnuk for an in-depth interview around her zine project, which started as an event series in Warsaw.

We are europe banner We are europe banner

Author: David Bola

Photo Credit: Katarzyna Szenajch

David – Hi Agata, thanks a lot for sitting down with us. Looking back, where do you think that Girls* To The Front started?  

Agata – It started in 2015. Before that, Ola (the other co-founder of G*TTF) and I were already doing stuff together, but we were only deejaying, doing small parties, basically for us and for our friends. And then we felt like we wanted to make something more. Basically to have more people come to our DJ sets (she laughs).

We thought that concerts were cool and wanted to organize some. We chose them to be featuring women artists only because, well, we enjoyed music created by women. 

We didn’t have a precise intention at first, when the idea was created, to have a feminist message there. But then we realized that they’re almost no Polish bands – I mean at least alternative bands – in our scene that were women fronted or only consisted of women.

That’s when we thought, okay, there is a problem and we must do something about it. We knew that there are very active women-only bands abroad, but we couldn’t really book them. We didn’t have the money nor the knowledge on how to organize concerts.

Girls* To The Front Concert © Karolina Jackowska

So we started really small, inviting only two bands we knew from Warsaw. We thought it was going to be a one time thing because, well, there are not a lot of polish women fronted bands. But then after the first gig, friends & friends of friends started telling us things like: “Hey, I have this girlfriend and she’s doing music at home, but maybe it would be nice for you to organize her debut concert…”

And we’re like, okay, so they ARE doing things… but at home. So we started basically begging them to come play at our party. Step by step friends of friends (and also some strangers) started to reach out to us. We also started digging deeper on Bandcamp, SoundCloud or even just random snippets on YouTube… And we found more bands. 

Sometimes our friends who booked bands from other countries – mostly from Germany – were saying things like: “Okay, so we have this bigger name playing and maybe you want to organize a concert as a support or opening act for that artist”. So this was around 2015 when already a few parties had happened and we knew that we were capable of continuing.

It was also hard because we didn’t have much knowledge about event production or anything like that. It’s a bit different when you have a DJ or an artist that is known and people are going to come because they like the music, they have heard it before, they’re waiting for it. 

It was different for us. 

Girls* To The Front Concert © Karolina Jackowska

Sometimes we booked artists that we didn’t even hear perform before. We were just like “Okay, we know you do something, just come and play”. But they didn’t even have anything recorded. We were trusting them to do whatever they wanted. Then it was our job to convince other people to come to our parties and to our concerts. 

The thing is, young people in Poland don’t have that much money to come and pay for something they have never heard of. It was a lot of work to convince them that it’s worth it. At the beginning, we had some parties where we had like five people coming, or no one coming. We were a bit discouraged. Each time we said: “Okay, just one more party. Let’s try again.” 

And slowly the crowd started to gather.

David – If I understand correctly, at first you had the idea to book already established performers, but then you shifted to booking burgeoning artists, some who had even never performed before an audience, to help them in their first steps. 

Agata – Yeah, exactly, because we obviously knew bands, especially from abroad, that we liked, and we would love to book and have their concerts happening in Warsaw. But we didn’t have the money. We didn’t even know how to message someone and say: “Come to this no-name party in Warsaw.”

Everything was happening at the same time. We were looking for a way to find women to play at our parties and we were also understanding that there is a reason why they are not performing, why they are not showing their music to the public.

David – Events like yours need to be hosted in welcoming venues to thrive. Where do the G*TTF parties take place? 

Agata – We used different venues and clubs. The first club was kind of like a cafe/restaurant during the daytime which became a small alternative venue by night. The reason we started organizing Girls* To The Front there first was that they were very open. They didn’t really care about profits. 

They were allowing us to make a party with the risk that no one’s going to come, the risk of having not much of a turnout and no profits from the bar. It was already a venue where other concerts, other parties were happening, and our friends were spending all their time there.

After some time when we attracted bigger crowds, we started switching between different venues. Sometimes we were invited to come, in other cases we were reaching out because we knew that the vibe of the place was better for this particular gig. 

It was all in Warsaw at first. And then we started to reach out to other cities, although we are still trying to travel more around Poland because we’ve been to big cities, but it would be amazing to organize something in those smaller towns where they don’t have that much access to such initiatives, such parties.

G*TTF crowd © Noemi Markwas

David – How did you spread the word around your events? Did you plant posters on the city’s streets? Use social media platforms? 

Agata – At the beginning, we were actually printing the posters, and we were very committed to going to places, hang them. We didn’t have our social media yet, we didn’t have a platform to post it. Also, we didn’t think that we were deserving of having a fan page.

So yeah, we were hanging posters who said something like: “tell everyone you know about it”. After some time we created a Facebook Page, then Instagram, but we didn’t have a website until last year. Because, well, it was another thing we had to learn how to do. 

We knew that when everything is so based on social media, our website wouldn’t be our preferred way of informing people about current events. We wanted a place dedicated to people who want to know more about our zines, about our history, about our other activities and stuff. 

We also were a bit tired of social media and we knew that many people don’t want to use them. So we needed that other platform, so that G*TTF stayed inclusive of people who are not on Facebook or Instagram.

David – Speaking of your website, while reading through it, I saw that you mention american punk artist Kathleen Hannah, punk band Bikini Kill and the Riot Grrrl movement as an inspiration for G*TTF. How did you encounter their work? 

Agata – When I was a teenager, I was downloading shitloads of music from different sources, listening to whole albums. I randomly downloaded some Bikini Kill and other bands like Bratmobile. I liked that it was so raw and angry. It just spoke to me. 

That’s how I got to do something with Ola because we bonded over our shared passion for Riot Grrrl. My family is very conservative, I was raised into being very calm… So when I heard this music, I was amazed. I loved it. It was something new. When I heard it, I was really drawn into it. Especially since when you’re a teenager, you can have this teen angst. And I was really channeling that.

However I didn’t know much about their whole activity. I didn’t know they were making zines, that they were more of a movement, not only a music genre. At first, I was only listening to the music and listening to the lyrics. It’s only after I talked more with Ola that I got to know that they were very active and it was not only about music.

David – As you mentioned, Riot Grrrl is not a music-only collective, they a wide variety of activities, including fanzines. Is it how you got inspired to do your publications?

Agata – Yeah, it was how we got inspired. Girls* To The Front was already going on for one or two years, and we heard that Kathleen Hannah was going to be in Poland. We wanted to do an interview with her and once we decided on trying to do it, we figured out that, well, we don’t have anywhere to publish this interview. 

And it’s not like we knew so many people who would publish it. So we said “let’s make a zine“…We didn’t know how to make a zine (laughs).

However, the idea was there. Even though the interview never happened. We dug some more information on Riot Grrrl, on how they were doing zines. Obviously for them it was something different, it was before social media and all that. Their fanzines were helping them to organize themselves, going to protests together, and informing each other about concerts, having group discussions…

It was a project for us, something besides our platform to share our creations, but also an art project, something new to do, something cool, something different. It was after we decided on creating the fanzine that we discovered how important it was in our current times. Because we’re tired of social media and everything being based on the Internet.

Girls* To The Front Fanzines © Katarzyna Szenajch

We noticed that having this object, this physical platform to share art, writings and everything else is so important because it gives you a break. It gives you this intimacy you don’t have on the Internet. 

It’s a different level of emotional engagement. 

David – Like a Diary? 

Agata – Yeah, exactly. Like a diary. It stays with you or you can borrow it or just let it go. However you know that it’s there it gives you the sense that it’s kind of forever. When we made our first zine, we saw that people needed this kind of medium, and it’s not only something we thought in our head.

David – Were you able to give an example of one of your zines to Kathleen Hannah when she came back to Poland? I think she came back with her latest project The Julie Ruin.

Agata – Not yet, but she’s coming this year as Bikini Kill (they are reactivated), and we’re going to have a panel discussion with them. I’m so excited because we’re finally going to give a zine to her. A few years ago, Ola was at one of her concerts and she was able to tell her about us and now we have her blessing. 

The inspiration came from Riot Grrrl, but zines were also something new to us. At the time, – I think it was like 2016 or something – there weren’t many zines in Poland, it was something that was kind of nonexistent. 

I knew people who were more into art itself, who were doing photography albums in the form of a zine, illustrators were publishing their comic books this way, but there wasn’t a DIY magazine in this form. The zine scene was quiet at that time. Now it’s bubbling and there are a lot of things happening. 

Something that we really value about it is that it’s nothing serious in a sense that… we never knew how to do it properly (if there is a way to do it properly), we made so many mistakes and people from our community who wanted to publish something made so many mistakes and we just didn’t care, because this is why it’s there: to explore, to experiment. 

Girls* To The Front Fanzines (same series) © Katarzyna Szenajch

When we first started, I think the slogan “Girl Power” from the nineties was more popular than Riot Grrrl. It was more pop and more success based, (in a capitalist kind of way). 

There was a lot of encouragement for women to be active, but in a different way. In a way that says that you have to be great from the very beginning, and that’s the way you’ll be supported and rooted for. Us, we wanted to say that failure is a part of the process. It’s cool to just do whatever because if you don’t try, you wont grow. 

It’s like for us: we had to try. We had to make those parties where no one came to actually learn and try something else another time. 

With our parties we booked people who are experienced, and also people who are just beginning. It’s the same with our zine.

We publish written works and graphics from people who have already published something or are known in some way, but also people who just send us their first writings, their first scribbles, and we see that they really appreciate that it’s very welcoming, that It’s a safe space to send whatever and to ask us questions.

David – Each issue of your publication deals with a different topic, and as a specific name attached to it. There is for example “Conflict”, “Sex”, “Future”, “The Body”, “Stay Strong”… How do come up with the topics you’d like to explore? 

Agata – Each one has a theme. And we always come up with the theme based on some experience or some inspiration. But in the end it turns out to be something completely else. It’s great because it just shows that we have some ideas about a certain problem or a certain word, some connections in our mind. However when you give the topic to a bigger crowd, they just have so many ways to interpret it. 

It shows that you really need to be very democratic when giving the voice to people, it really shows a different perspective, different ways of seeing things. 

For example, our last zine was conflict. I forgot what the original idea was, but it was something connected to a war somewhere in another country. And we felt that we should make a topic on “war”. We chose to call it “conflict” because it’s wider. From that we got so many works about inner conflicts. 

Also when we were working on this issue, we had so many protests in Poland*. So the zine ended up talking a lot about our own country when we didn’t even think it would at first.

Making a fanzine © Agata Wnuk

We also have two zines that are a bit different. The are called “Queer Erotica”. The idea came from the first wave of pandemic when we were stuck at home and everything was so depressing. We were tired and thought that, okay, we want to make a fanzine that’s going to be focused only on pleasure and on nice things. In this one we only published stories and poetry and of course graphic works. No essays or interviews or something more critical. 

It was only meant to be a point of resting and focusing on nice things because we really like that, especially with so much going on outside of the pandemic. Right now we’re going to have a second issue of “Queer Erotica” because people went crazy. I think it was our most sold issue yet.(laughs) 

We also produce zines during workshops. We did one during Unsound festival in 2019.

David – You mean people can come freely and participate? How are these workshops organized? 

Agata – We first talk about our history, about our experiences, why we like zines. We really try to highlight that it’s a place to fuck up and start over. 

Then we give time for people to make collages, maybe write something. And after that, we collect everything and put it into one zine. Which is then printed and copies are given to the participants. 

It’s important that during these workshops we bring a lot of materials to make collages because it also gives new opportunities to people who fear that they cannot draw or that they cannot paint, that they are not talented enough. 

Sometimes we don’t do one big zine, we instead teach our participants how to make a small zine from one A4 piece of paper. You stick things together, you cut it one way and then you will have an easy, small zine. That way each participant leaves the workshop with their own object about their own topic.

It gives them the message that they are able to make this. It really gives you the sense of being able to create something in such little time. It’s only your first time and you already have your own fanzine.

Reading “Queer Erotica” © Katarzyna Szenajch

David – There’s something I found funny on your website is that the cursor is a small scissor. My instinct would have been to put a pen because you could think it’s a tool you use to write… 

Agata – It’s a funny story (she laughs). It’s because when you make zines, you cut some things for the collages. It’s also a symbol of the deconstruction of things before you create something new.

And we thought it’s a funny way to address lesbian culture because of scissoring. We just wanted a funny cursor. 

David – We mentioned Riot Grrrl as an inspiration, however the diary aspect of the zine makes me think of another media: Rookie an online media intended for American teenagers and created by journalist Tavi Gevinson. Is it a publication you’re also interested in?

Agata Ola and I were very passionate about Rookie magazine. For our first zine, most of the works were collected during this event with the girls from Rookie in Warsaw. We love the American teen aesthetic of Rookie Mag. We didn’t have such a thing in Poland, so we were obsessively reading Rookie.

Rookie Mag was already inspired by Riot Grrrl in some way.

However, they were an online platform, which I think was important for teenage girls in America. We were amazed that they have this platform made for them and that we don’t have the same for teenage girls in Poland.

As teenage girls, we had more detrimental than valuable sources of knowledge, and they were usually written by older people. Rookie, on the opposite, was a platform made by young girls, for young girls. We wanted to see how the same thing would look in Poland.

Obviously we love their aesthetic, but it was rooted in American culture. You had proms, balls and everything. We don’t have such things in Poland. So obviously, a Rookie magazine made in our environment would look like something else. 

David – I see, so in a way, when you were reading Rookie, you also wanted to be able to read something made by polish teenage girls, for polish teenage girls. Do you have younger people contributing to your fanzine?

Agata – Actually now we have younger and younger girls contributing to our zine and we love that because I remember being that age and I knew nothing about experiences of other young girls. I was just focused on being older than I was. I wanted to be older and never really valued the time I had as a teenager. Now I love that we can share that experience with the girls that are there and they can already be on the right path before focusing on growing up, which is a terrible idea.

Girls* To The Front Issue number 9 “Future” © Karolina Jackowski

David – What type of contribution do you receive? I saw short stories of fictions, photos, interviews, we mentioned collages earlier, am I missing anything? 

Agata – There’s also poetry, comics….  We even received short clips, movie clips, and we were like, “We cannot print movie clips?”. So we just did like screenshots from it. We’re very open about what people create and what they want to send and also especially about the aesthetic. 

Obviously, we have to make a selection of works which is based on our own artistic alignment, but we still try to include different styles, different aesthetics, so that it stays open and doesn’t feel like we are superior, that we know everything about art and written words…because we don’t. We don’t have an education in that, in art direction or anything. 

We have to do a selection because we just get a lot of submissions during our open calls. So we have to do some cuts, while trying to include different ways, different styles, in an effort to reflect how diverse the art and the writings of so many people are. Every time we are surprised by a way of painting, by some technique we don’t know about. 

David It’s also a place to feature stories that cannot be really talked about in the mainstream media. I saw, for example, I think in the sex issue you have a feature on, asexuality it’s not something that is really discussed.

Agata – Yeah, it was a very interesting issue because it was released during a time where there was a lot of sex topics in the media, but it was still focused on everything that was very pretty. It was about publishing beautiful graphics with vaginas, saying that we are finally sex positive.

We felt that this sex positivity was still very normative and still respected certain boundaries. You could not talk about something that’s not so normatively pretty. I felt that there was a certain feeling that now we have to talk about sex all the time, some people where even saying that we have to talk about sex because we all have sex… but we don’t. Some people are asexual, or they cannot have sex for many reasons. 

We try to be in dialogue with people that are differently opinionated, but also with people that are trying to be progressive and open minded, but maybe they don’t see that there’s still something more.

Girls* To The Front event © Filip Preis

David – You sell these issues physically, and you chose to also ship them with Etsy. So there was this desire to make it available internationally ?  

Agata – For a long time, a few years, we were selling everything without any platform. We were telling people to send a message to us and then we went to the post office and sent it.

Then we started to get so many requests that we couldn’t follow anymore and sometimes those messages got lost and everything. We wanted to be able to sell it in the country but also abroad. Etsy is basically for our audience abroad. 

We don’t have our own shop as such because you usually have to be a legal institution to do such transactions. On Etsy and Allegra you can just sell your own stuff. Everything we do is independent, we are not an institution or anything.

David – How do you fund the production of the fanzines? 

Agata – It is really hard, especially because our zines have become really thick. Since three issues ago, we have published it bilingual, in Polish and in English. We do Polish translations of English writings and then the other way around. 

We also print them in color, so it’s becoming more expensive. If you are not producing thousands of copies, the cost per one is really huge. Let’s say we order like 200 copies (it’s a lot of money especially since we don’t have any funding) to do that we put our own money in it and then, when we sell it, we hope it will break even.

We sell our zines for the cost of printing them. We don’t earn any money from it. I mean, sometimes we do, when we get invited somewhere to do something else, like a workshop, then we actually get some money. But usually at our parties and with our zine, the money goes to the artists.

We sell the zine for the cost of printing it because we also want it to be available to everyone.

One zine costs 20-25 zlotys (4,50-5.50€), and we sell it for this price because it’s already a lot for people and we want everyone who wants to read it to be able to read it. If they still can’t, we just give them the PDF version. We don’t want money to be a barrier to anyone, if they want to be involved and to have access to what’s inside.

Fanzine Creation Workshop © Agata Wnuk

We’re still thinking about ways of having funds. We won’t have public funding in Poland for sure because I don’t think our government is going to fund something that’s queer and feminist. Also it takes a lot of time to write requests for funding, for grants. Everything we do at G*TTF is in our free time. It’s not our daily job, so we just lack the energy and time to do it. But we’re thinking about it. 

David – From an outsider’s perspective, it feels like there’s a lot of pressure on the LGBT community in the country. Does this pressure transform into action? Is it something that manifests itself in your activity of publishing a queer and feminist magazine?

Agata – Our government is very anti LGBT, anti women and discriminated groups in general. They just discriminate against them more. 

It’s not like we are in conflict with any government owned institutions, however we know that there is pressure. We see the reflection of that pressure in the stories we receive from people from our community who want to share their experiences through our zines, or in our events.

We see that they really need a place to vent. To just let it out. Because they often can’t vent publicly or in their daily lives, because it’s not safe. This is also why we decided that G*TTF is about giving a safer place for people to share their experiences. A place to give them more strength and power. Our mission is not to confront people who are not convinced. We focus inward and not outward. 

I think discriminated groups are part of that dialogue every day anyway. They still have to face all these challenges daily. And I, we, don’t have enough energy to be in conflict with people from the other wing.

We know that we have the power of the community to support each other and to gain strength as a group and then proceed with daily life. At the beginning we thought that we were going to fight with all those people that say LGBT people cannot exist. But now we know that we really need to give the focus first to the people who suffer from this pressure, because they’re still going to face that daily. 

At least we can give them some boost of energy, or some support, or spread the message that if anything happens, you can always come back to us and we’ll find a solution, or at least just a place to be safe. We don’t have all the solutions, but at least a place to feel it out and we’ll hear you.

David – It’s (already) a lot of energy to help people that need help. So adding more to that would be difficult to do.

Agata – I think there are many great organizations that are already fighting, we can just fill another space that needs to be filled. We’re here if someone wants to express and let out all their emotions via music, like playing during a concert or a party or in writing or in art, or just come to our parties as a visitor. 

With time, we started to see more and more familiar faces. It’s always a chance and an opportunity for people to talk, even if they don’t feel like going on stage or publishing anything. But they still know that this is a place. If we have Girls* To The Front party, you’re probably going to find like minded people and it’s a place to speak about anything. 

“Queer Erotica” © Ola Kamińska

David – A few years into this project, you added an asterisk to the word “Girl”, in the name of the collective. Why is that?  

Agata – G*TTF is for girls and queers and nonbinary people, and actually anyone from a wide range of identities. G*TTF came from Riot Grrrl, it was a quote from Kathleen Hannah*, and that’s how we chose our name. When we started, we had feminism in mind, and when we were thinking about women, we also thought about queer women. The queer part was kind of obvious, at least obvious for us. 

We meant for them to be included. In our first open calls and in the description of our parties, we’re always like saying by girl, we mean anyone who wants to identify as one. And that our parties and our zine is open to anyone who wants to publish under our name. 

Over time, we received submissions and we had a crowd of people that were queer, that were non binary, or anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum that were participating. However we felt that we needed to do more. Even if it’s obvious for us, it’s not obvious for everyone because the narrative in mainstream media is different and girls often means cis-hetero girls. 

We did a zine that was called “All Queers To The Front” to give the message that we also want to hear the voices of queer people. Even if it was always clear in our mind, we wanted to put it straight out there. Since then we felt that, okay, maybe this name is a bit misleading for people if they don’t know us and they don’t know our opinions and our beliefs. So we decided to add that little star there for people to check what the star is for and then find out that it’s also about queer people, nonbinary people. 

I think that at the beginning, seven years ago, we (Ola and I) didn’t know that much about the binary issue. During these years, we also learned that it’s not only women, trans women, but also non binary people and people who don’t want to identify with any gender. 

We learn from our audience really, they propose these stories that just are really eye opening. When I started Girls* To The Front, I didn’t know much about feminism. I felt that I didn’t read enough, I didn’t feel valid enough to speak about those things. Now that I have worked with people, that I have heard their stories, I understand better than I would have with any lecture. Really.

David – It may be a weird question, but something that struck me when I visited Poland and met with feminist organizations, is a shared “witch-like” aesthetic, it’s something also present in G*TTF. Is there a reason for that?

Agata – Polish culture originally was extremely feminine, even in Polish mythology. There were so many demons and gods that were women, powerful creatures. Since Catholicism was introduced in Poland, all of this was erased. No more strong female creatures, nothing like that. I think that many organizations and artists are trying to reclaim that, to rediscover that because even if we heard about it, it was not considered cool. I guess it was just forgotten. 

In Poland, we never really had witch hunts or anything like that. We know the stories about witch hunts in other countries and the current climate really resembles that. During protests, you can see signs and banners saying “we are the daughters of witches you couldn’t burn”. Because it’s just such a similar situation. If you are having a different opinion, different lifestyle, then you are being hunted for it. 

Especially when you read about witches, it’s not always about magic. Through the years it was remembered as magic, but sometimes it was just about a woman who decided on a different way of living and she was considered to be a witch. The witch aesthetic is about reclaiming that. 

Crash © Katarzyna Szenajch

There was a huge cult for astrology back then, like astrology in a sense that was more even astronomical not only spiritual. Women were observing the moon how it influences them, they were closer to their nature and surroundings in general… then it was demonized, turned into something evil.

I often connect with the theme of fairies and like fantasy, but it’s more also connected with how I grew up. I read so many fantasy books as a teenager, at the time I thought it was not cool, that I as young woman I should be into something else, and that I should just forget about it. But since everyone is reclaiming their old self, we also try to channel that. 

David – Is there something that you’re looking forward to with G*TTF?

Agata – There are two ways of answering this question. One way we love to answer it is that we are looking forward to the times where initiatives like that won’t be necessary. We would love for equality and acknowledgement to be there with no actions needed. 

However, I think right now we’re looking forward to publishing more of other people’s stuff. Not only during our collective zines. For example, in December last year, we published two poetry zines fully made by other people. At that time, two different people who were writing poetry reached out to us saying that they would love to publish a poetry fanzine, and that they would love to do it through us.

They knew that through us they would have control over the whole process. That’s why they didn’t want to go to a bigger publishing company out of fear of censorship or control over their vision. It was the first time we were doing this. 

It was not a fanzine created during our open calls, we gave our publishing knowledge to someone who wanted to make their own piece of art, a poetry book. We started fantasizing about having our own publishing company that would still be independent, still giving the voices to the people. I think that’s our biggest new plan, to not only make zines,  to also be publishers.

David – Is there something that can be said with a fanzine that cannot be said otherwise? 

Agata – We had for example stories that were memories of rape survivors. It’s a sensitive topic that cannot be published anywhere. If you publish it on the Internet, you are exposed to all the comments there.

A lot of our works are published anonymously or under some nickname. The more controversial the topic is, the more anonymous works we get. I know you can be anonymous on the Internet, but you are still influenced by what’s going on there.         

Some people want to talk about these topics, but they don’t feel safe enough or comfortable enough. So the zine is a perfect medium to share your story without being attacked with aggressive victim blaming seconds after you post it. 

Polish Fanzines © Agata Wnuk

David – When you started there weren’t a lot of fanzines published in Poland. Do you feel like it’s different now?

Agata – It’s definitely different. There are lots of fanzines right now. Before there were zines of course, but they were mostly art focused, and with just a few copies. Now zines about activism are more popular. Like zines about ecology, feminism, sex work, racism, fascism, etc.

Last year there was a zine published about abortion and birth control, made by an anonymous collective. Poland is actually one of the two countries in Europe in which you need a prescription in order to buy emergency contraception. It’s also expensive. Abortion is basically illegal. So a zine like that is a great source of knowledge about what to do if you are in need.

There’s a strong need for activism like that. There are also organizations who say that if you need an abortion, message us, we’re going to organize it for you. But it’s also important to have an information source where they tell you what you shouldn’t do because it can be extremely dangerous. That’s actually the whole topic, that abortion is still going to be there, but they’re going to be more dangerous if you don’t make them legal.

So there’s a lot of informative zines. We’re happy because some of those people reach out to us and ask how to do it and we can give them a little bit of knowledge. I actually enjoy seeing the message that anyone can and should make a zine and the people are actually going for it.

For more stories from We are Europe, sign up to our newsletter down below. Head here to listen to “Voicenotes from Warsaw”, our podcast episode focusing on political club music in Poland.


Kathleen Hanna Quote – The name of the collective G*TTF comes from a Kathleen Hanna quote. The punk singer yelled out “All Girls To The Front” at a Bikini Kill show, at the same time telling the boys in the crowd to go to the back.

Polish Protests – Starting in late 2020 and continuing in 2021, the Women Strike was a movement protesting an extremely restrictive new abortion law.

About the Author

David Bola is We are Europe Media‘s content editor. Formerly working at Radio Nova as a freelance journalist and hosts a monthly residency on Piñata Radio, with Ludotek, a show focused on video game music.

Share this content
All posts in Nightivism