History of All for Latvia! (Visu Latvijai!)

Visu Latvijai

Even though All for Latvia! has been reasonably called a new political party because of its active members’ young age, its history reaches as far back as 2000. The history of All for Latvia! consists of several periods, different in quality and quantity,  – since its inception in 2000 it existed as a non-formal Latvian youth group with nationalist disposition which two years later, in 2002, became a social organization, and in January 2006 – already a political party. Now when All for Latvia! is making a political alliance with one of the oldest political parties in Latvia – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK, the fourth All for Latvia! stage of development is shaping.

All for Latvia! as a youth group with nationalist disposition

In spring 2000 Raivis Dzintars, then a student from Riga Secondary School No.77, began to unite young people sharing the same nationalist views to fight for a common goal – Latvia as a Latvian country. As a result a new non-formal youth group is created on 18th August 2000 with the name “All for Latvia!” (Latvian acronym – VL (Visu Latvijai!). The name originates from the slogan “I give myself and all from me to Latvia!”

In 2000 and 2001 All for Latvia! youths with their number rapidly rising take part in many national events, including 11th and 18th November, 16th and 25th March, 17th June; however, a broader resonance was gained in October 2001 when All for Latvia! protests against the Art Academy students’ organized campaign against Kārlis Ulmanis – portraying him in many disrespectful shapes, including cake, rubber duck, hurdy-gurdy and others.

In 2002 All for Latvia! began collaboration with another nationalist youth organization “Club 415” and became one of the most active Latvian nationalist youth groups by organizing several publicly appraised campaigns. It is worth mentioning that in spring 2002 All for Latvia! gets several invitations from less well-known nationalist political parties such as “Our Land”, “Land of Māra”, “Land of Latvia’s Rebirth”, “The Latvian party”, “National Heritage”, “Future party” and others to participate in the 8th Saeima elections on the same list. Unfortunately, the leaders of these parties could not agree on mutual terms and none of these parties get even 1% support in the elections. In November 2002 All for Latvia! manages to make an agreement with the Council of Riga to keep the street name in Purvciems region in honour of a Chechen national hero Johar Dudayev (the change of the street name is requested by the party For Human Rights in United Latvia – PCTVL).

All for Latvia! as a social organization

On 10th December 2002 the official foundation meeting of All for Latvia! as a social organization is held and it unites not only young people but Latvian nationalists of all generations. Visvaldis Lācis becomes the Chairman of Honour of All for Latvia!.

VL_karogu_aleja_16.martaIn three years time when All for Latvia! has a status of a social organization, All for Latvia! manages to develop a strong team of intellectuals of Latvian youth at its core; all-Latvians, as they call themselves, get their material published in the biggest Latvian media on a regular basis and All for Latvia! becomes one of the most powerful national organizations in Latvia. During this time most of the well-known All for Latvia! traditions develop: the flag avenue near the Monument of Freedom which is created after the request of the biggest Latvian legionnaire organizations – The Hawks of Daugava and the Society of National Troops in Latvia; the candle way of 23rd of August near the Monument of Freedom, the 18th November torchlight procession starting near the Monument of Kārlis Ulmanis throughout the Old Town of Riga up to the Monument of Freedom. All for Latvia! also organizes different kind of events on 17th June and 11th November, as well as takes part in the remembrance events on 25th March, 8th May and 14th June.

During this time All for Latvia! rows are increased by such enthusiastic members as Raivis Blumfelds, Jānis Ratkevičs, Ieva Holma, Jānis Iesalnieks, Oskars Līvmanis, Andris Holms, Arnis Neretnieks, Jānis Dombrava, Anta Rudzīte, Gundars Kalve and others.

In November 2003 the official website of All for Latvia! is launched, which gives a huge contribution in promotion and growth of the organization. Other ways and sources of promoting All for Latvia! and its ideas and values on the internet were also used, thus the organization became the most popular political group online.

VL_sadedzina_PSRS_karogu2005 turns out to be a year of serious milestone in the life of All for Latvia! – from an organization that was well-respected in the rather narrow Latvian nationalist environment, it now becomes an organization that is widely known almost everywhere in Latvia. Another well-known campaign of All for Latvia! was the burning of a USSR flag near the Embassy of Russia on 17th June 2005. By the end of the same year, on 18th November roughly a thousand nationalists are united in the ceremonious torchlight procession in Riga.

All for Latvia! as a political party

VL_lapu_gajiensAll for Latvia! since its early beginning has been working with political issues therefore it is only natural that on 14th January 2006 it gets a new status – a political party. However, the role of the young people within the organization has not decreased – they still are the main active core of the party and many educational seminaries, camps, sports events and joint work activities remain an important part of All for Latvia! actions. After All for Latvia! becomes a political party, following the request of the famous Latvian politician Eduards Berklavs – the party asks “For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK” and “New Age” to participate in the 9th Saeima elections on the same list, though their offer is refused and All for Latvia! takes part in the elections with their own list – and later receives 1,48 % support which is the best result among all the national parties in Latvia (apart from For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK).

All for Latvia! active core’s fighting spirit and long-term experience of activity using methods of a social organization provides the party with the ability to not only keep its activity scope at its current measure after elections but even increase it – in comparison to other parties which did not make it into the 9th Saeima.

VL_par_AbreniIn 2007 All for Latvia! gains wider popularity with several of their campaigns in defence of Abrene and protesting against signing the new border treaty between Latvia and Russia. The greatest response was received for the campaign on 8th February 2007 near Saeima building when 15 young men from All for Latvia!, half-naked, spent 40 minutes in freezing temperatures (-17 degrees Celsius) protesting against giving away Abrene territory to Russia. In 2007 All for Latvia! makes several new close allies – the collaboration with “Club 415” is restored, a new collaboration relationship with “Guardians of Fatherland” is established as well as with like-minded nationalist organizations from Lithuania and Estonia.

In 2008 All for Latvia! keeps developing their traditions and broadening their circle of members, as well as taking an active part in campaigning for the nation’s rights to fire Saeima. More popular is the campaign “Guard your language” during which more than 18 thousand people sign for introducing lessons at nationally financed schools from the 1st grade only in Latvian language. In 2008 quintessential alterations to All for Latvia! statutes are made, and in accordance with these the party now has two joint Chairmen – Raivis Dzintars and Imants Parādnieks get elected to hold these positions.

Preparing for the EU Parliament elections on 6th June 2009 and the local government elections, All for Latvia! once again makes a proposition to For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK and the Civil Union to create a single united list for both, the EU Parliament and the Council of Riga elections. Unfortunately All for Latvia! receives yet another rejection and political forces that are unfriendly to Latvia get the majority voices in the Council of Riga elections. All for Latvia! participate with a separate election list and get 2,81% support in the EU Parliament elections, but in the local government elections – 1,87% support. Deputies of All for Latvia! get elected in 7 local government councils – two of them holding the positions of Vice Mayor, in Ogre and in Limbaži.

VL_svecisu_celsRegardless of the fact that at this stage of development All for Latvia! has no representatives in Saeima and cannot directly affect legislation process, All for Latvia! often comes out with legislation initiatives which are related to introducing History of Latvia as a separate school subject, introducing criminal liability for denial of Latvian occupation fact, introducing lessons only in Latvian in nationally funded schools, introducing national president institution elected by the Latvian people and other issues.

More information on the fourth stage of development of All for Latvia! – the National Alliance together with For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK – on National Alliance’s History section (in Latvian).