Call out from housing projects of Nordkiez in Friedrichshain, Berlin:
Defend Rigaer94! Destroy the Investor’s Paradise!
On the 17th of June, we published the first call out for the 9th July neighbourhood demo “Destroy the Investor’s Paradise, Stop Carré Sama-Riga!” 5 days later the landlord, cops, and Senate cooperated in the storming of the house project Rigaer94. The cops, private security and labourers evicted the autonomous collective space Kadterschmiede, the rest of the ground floor, including a workshop and garden, the attic in the back house and also the squatted attic in the front house.
John Dehwurst, who bought the house at the end of 2014, took the responsibility for this attack through a hypocritical press release from the fictitious building management. It was claimed that the evicted parts of the house would be used as living space for refugees. This would mean that the people moving in would find themselves under constant surveillance by the cops and security. At the moment such people are able to live in Rigaer94 in self determined and supportive structures. We take this propaganda as an attempt to destroy structures of resistance by cynically playing different groups off against each other. The AfD, NPD and Co. are rubbing their hands in glee at the argumentation from the South African apartheid-regime lawyer Dehwurst and the ‘Law and Order’ politics of justice minister Frank Henkel.
The dangerzone, which has operated continuously since the end of October 2015, has permitted the countless underhanded actions of police, and the direct assaults on self-organised projects which pose an unceasing threat for all of the inhabitants of Rigaer street. The partial eviction of Rigaer94 and especially the momentary loss of Kadterschmiede are attempts to displace structures of solidarity and rebellion and to replace them with capitalist city politics. Regardless we will continue to fight for self-determined spaces everywhere and for everyone!
We need places where we can come together, and organise without the need for legitimisation from the state. Rigaer Street is one of the only places in this city where people can meet on the street, discuss, argue, get to know each other and organise in solidarity and resistance. We will not just stand back and watch, as these structures are destroyed and replaced by the shiny glass facades of luxury apartments such as the new Carré Sama-Riga. The future is not yet written – The struggle continues!
The attack on the Nordkiez of Friedrichshain is an example of the inhuman politics of displacement, development and strict compartmentalisation of areas for “rich and poor” people in the cities, small states and provinces. Everywhere people are divided between useless or profitable, valuable or worthless. In the background of a society which is lurching increasingly to the right, it is important to defend the last remaining self-determined spaces, show solidarity and withstand state repression. Therefore, this is not just about our personal struggle to defend our scene spaces, but a united struggle on many fronts against exclusion, displacement and a city for the rich.
On the 9th of August, M99, the “Shop for Revolutionary Materials”, which has survived for 30 years in the heart of Kreuzberg, is due to be evicted. We should do everything in our power to keep and build the pressure leading up to and following this date. The countless actions of the last days and nights give us the strength, sharpen our hope and strengthen us in our resolve to never give up without a fight. Our solidarity against their repression!
We repeat our call for the demo of the 9th of July, now more than ever; we call out to you to struggle together with us against social cleansing, capitalist city politics, repression and the state-terror of the last months. Come to the streets and express our rage!
How we want the demonstration to be: We wish to show a decisive and powerful sign, exactly as in the demo of the 6th of February. In order to be realistic in the general political situation we have decided it was preferable to register the demonstration. Outside of this we would like to create space for different forms of action, and make it possible for people coming from outside of Berlin to take part. For these reasons we have decided to change the time of the demonstration to 9pm.
Nothing is over yet!
Demo: Saturday 9th July First speeches 20:30
Demo starts 21:00 punctually
Wismarplatz (near the train station U-Samariterstrasse), Berlin
It has now been over a week since our doors were first cut off, cops and security intruded into our housing project, installing themselves in our stairways and other previously collective spaces. From then, the speedy and aggressive eviction and destruction of the ground level of our home began. Our social space, the Kadterschmiede, along with our workshop, laundry, attic and garden were stripped of all recognition in clouds of dust and mortar, while rubbish skips were filled with our belongings and collective histories.
Our rebellious, emancipatory project has been overrun by empty headed lackeys in uniform and we are pissed – not the least because we are used to better company than this. Whether these unwelcome wardens wear uniforms issued by the state or private security companies makes little difference to us. They both show their petty allegiance to the logic of domination and control not only via their presence but also through daily acts of physical violence, harassment, degrading comments and leers – not only directed towards us, but our visitors, friends and neighbours including young children. The police have set up a restricted area, closing off the entrance to the building and its surrounds, with anyone wanting to enter their home or visit us having to pass a gauntlet of beefed up aggressive cops and security, often needing to present identification. This process can take hours.
Further it has just been exposed that the police have been recording the details and compiling a database of people that have been identified coming into the house. At least part of this list has been passed on to and published by organised Nazi groups.
The pretext of this eviction is that the owner John Richard Dewhurst, a taxation lawyer, millionaire mega investor with companies implicated in the Panama papers, and previously an attorney for the South African Supreme court during the apartheid era, wishes to house refugees in these spaces. If of course they can pay market rate rent in the newly renovated spaces, an amount too high for most people and above what refugee housing organisations can afford to fund. The irony of this claim doesn’t bypass us.
The clear instrumentalisation of refugees as an excuse to attack a space that has shown political and practical solidarity with refugees and other people in precarious positions does not surprise us. For those in the most precarious positions are frequently pitched against each other under this current system that is set up to exploit us for the benefit of people like Dewhurst. To add salt to the wound, in this violent and invasive process three refugees who had found a home with us in the 94, can now no longer live here for fear of extra repression and police stress. The state and its most wealthy have once again moved to destroy safer solidarity spaces for those in our community whose struggles intensify on a daily basis.
The area around Rigaerstrasse has been heavily gentrified in the past decade and skyrocketing rents have seen many residents pushed out, displaced and evicted in order to make room for new developments. These are unaffordable to most existing long term residents but bring in more profit for investors. As part of a larger neighbourhood coalition of projects and individuals we have struggled against this process of gentrification, fighting to keep our neighbourhood a place for all, not just the rich. Over the past year or so we have seen the relationships of warmth and solidarity between people in our neighbourhood growing and people increasingly sharing daily life. Neighbours from both the projects and private living spaces have met and organised on the streets, in our garden and at the peoples kitchen in Kadterschmiede.
We understand the aggressive, overbloated attack on our collective spaces as part of the wider repressive conditions under capitalism. Conditions that see all elements of collective life and resistance attacked, commodified, co-opted and as a last resort destroyed and replaced by more controllable and consumptable forms of life. We also recognise the power of collective spaces, campaigns, actions and initiatives in the face of the increasing pressure placed on all of us under a rotten and collapsing system that tightens the noose around all of our necks as it slowly drowns under the weight of its own bloated corpse. It is clear to us that the effectiveness and potentiality of these liberatory collective forms, including our own project, poses an increasing threat to this system and all those who benefit from it.
We will continue to fight for all projects, initiatives and spaces that provide space and opportunities to experiment with alternative ways of living under these shitful conditions, across all divisive borders imposed from above.
We invite you to join us in expressing our resistance and rage in three major public displays of rebellion:
5th July – Court case to decide who can occupy these evicted spaces (10:00 Landgericht Berlin, Littenstr. 12-17, Berlin)
9th July – Demo to show our anger and solidarity with all threatened autonomous spaces (20:30 Wismarplatz, Berlin)
And fulfilling our promise of at least ten million euros in damage to the state and its structures – every eviction has its price.
If you need somewhere to stay you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your solidarity, however expressed, gives us strength and warms our hearts.
Comrades are currently mobilising in the streets to make the eviction as expensive as possible for the cops and the Berlin Senate. Below is today’s announcement by Rigaer94.This morning, June 22nd 2016, at around 7.30am, approximately 300 cops, private security and construction workers came to our house in Rigaerstrasse 94. First, the construction workers cut out our doors and removed them. After securing their place in the house, the cops, construction workers and security, took position in the garden, the yard and on the roof, as well as in the staircases. Construction workers and cops joined together to carry out all movable objects they could find in the yard – bicycles, a bike shed, fridges, trailers etc. Our doors were removed and the frames knocked out, the phone and internet connection was cut. Only after our lawyer got access to the house, we were informed about the reason for the police action.
According to a press release of the caretaker group for the building, Pawel Kapica, the ground floor including the workshop, the garden, the washing room, the entrance and Kadterschmiede bar should be rebuilt as flats for refugees. These should be “rented out with regular rental contracts within the conditions of Berlin’s normal rent capping as living spaces” (Friedrichshain hilft e.V.i.G. and Moabit hilft e.V. have confirmed in a press release that these rents wouldn’t be covered by the responsible agencies like LAGeSo and Jobcenter, which is the norm in Berlin for refugee housing).
The attic in the front house was evicted as well. After discussions with the cops, inhabitants saved all the things they could still save from the ground level. Everything else was removed and trashed by the construction workers. During this, many objects where stolen by the construction workers and the security. Only a few bikes that people could prove ownership of were returned. Inhabitants of the front house were controlled and one person was taken into custody.
The entire ground floor including Kadterschmiede is now evicted. This means we are losing our communal space; a major part in our communal life is being destroyed. Security is supposed to stay in the house until the completion of the construction work, which would certainly mean regular controls for the inhabitants. We perceive the security in our house as an acute threat for us and for Rigaer Street.
At the moment, only inhabitants that are registered at the house can leave it and come back, which means getting controlled by the cops that are still lingering in the staircases and entrances. The street around the house is blocked off with fences. We cannot see an end of the action yet.
House owners using living spaces for refugees as an argument to evict us is more than cynical. The eviction threat of the queer-feminist wagon-place Kanal is also being justified by the building of a refugee camp. The Senate wants to establish controllable spaces dominated by racist attacks together with house owners and/or caretakers like Kapica, that make a self-organized life impossible for refugees. We won’t let them play us; we are in solidarity with all refugees and will fight for self-organized spaces for everyone, everywhere.
This eviction is the most delirious police action we have seen in a long time. The danger zone we’ve been enduring since October 2015 is a constant threat to the self-organized projects in Rigaerstrasse and the whole Northkiez. The constant attack by the cops and the State have now reached their peak for our project with the eviction of Kadterschmiede.
We are fucking angry, it’s time to explode, make everywhere a danger zone, throw Berlin into Chaos!
La Solidaria is an autonomous social centre that opened its doors in 2012. The building was squatted to serve as yet another tool for practicing our own autonomy and developing the social struggle.
In late October 2015, we received an eviction notice urging us to abandon the building. Just as in 2013, it will be difficult for them to beat us…
We have defended and we shall defend this space not just as an edifice, but as a place where we promote codes and values opposed to the relationships set by the State and Capital, in order to strengthen another type of relationships based on solidarity, self-management, horizontality and direct action. We consider ourselves part of the social conflict, part of broader projects for transforming the current reality; for ending this world based on money, and create a world based on solidarity and freedom.
The Press already runs errands for the State and the speculators who’ve bought the house, preparing the ground for the eviction. These are crucial moments for us; during the last week of February, the final decision will be made concerning the eviction. It is for this reason that we call for a week of actions in solidarity with the space, a week of agitation against the eviction of the autonomous social centre La Solidaria.
Every blow reaffirms our way and makes us stronger. In the face of eviction threats: more resistance and more action! Solidarity knows no boundaries. Hands off our social centres!
After the major offensive on Rigaer 94 by 500 cops, SEK, a K-9 unit and a helicopter, the northKiez of Friedrichshain is still under siege. There are constant controls all around Rigaerstraße and the streets are patrolled by massive swathes of cops.
We take the attack on the night of 13.01.2016 on Rigaer 94 and the assault on Liebig34 on the same evening as an attack on all of us! It is an affront to all of us that resist, organise, plan, act and network every day; against all those that cannot pay their rents anymore and get displaced.
To the cops and politicians speculation to be able to force us into capitulation and resignation by repression we respond: Forget it! We will not yield a centimeter! Now more than ever!
We are calling everyone, to go out on the streets with us on February 6th to fight against ‘danger zones’, police terror and displacement.
In Camden, an eight-month squat is evicted by pigs and three are arrested under Section 144, the 2012 ban on residential squatting. A man in a SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SQUAT t-shirt waits for NELSN to forward a text. Two arrive from a council-estate squat further north. Builders begin to secure the building. Against Section 144, against increasing precarity and repression, broken self-identity and fractured organisation, London squatting seems to have begun a coming-to-terms.
Attempts to surround the fragility of the squat scene with nostalgia have come thick and fast: Remember the Squatters’ Union; remember unrestricted residential squatting; remember squatters’ rights. As ever this nostalgia is a thinly disguised dose of forgetfulness: Squatting has always meant struggle; and no mourning for a golden age can deny the permanence of our struggles and the permanent need to politicise them.
In the blur of this permanence, however, squatting has been increasingly forced into the temporary. Court papers are served quicker and quicker, evictions become fortnightly rituals, and the looming ban on commercial squatting places squatters before an ever shortening horizon. The loss caused by the 2012 ban is a collective memory permanently recalled by the imminence of the next.
For those who do not find comfort in a false unity of the past – and whose future seems to have heard its end already – we must come to terms with our present.
The Sacrificial Squatter
Moving when evicted, served when moved, evicted when served. Contemporary squatting is a series of defensive and reactive acts. Ritualistic and cyclical, squatting is determined by forces always separate from squatters themselves.
The promise of “dropping-out” has dropped to the floor of every squat rave. Standing up, it has become the reality of crossed imperatives. The balance between resistance, self-determination and self-preservation is impossible to strike; and, unable to live up to any, collective stress seems organic as organisation.
In larger activist circles too, squatters have offered up liberated spaces only to become the silent facilitator among other rebels and radicals. Seen mainly as preparation for actions and events, squatting features more in the context than the content. In a political and economic situation where content dominates context – where legalistic ideology sees no variance in the same – preparation does not validate whoever prepares.
Abolishing the artificial roles of “facilitator” and “facilitated” ultimately means that everyone must help to facilitate everyone else. Finding themselves repeatedly in the former role, squatters have not demanded the mutual solidarity they need. Even the most politically active squatters now seem to fall into the dominant consensus from anti-capitalists and are absent at the daily eviction resistances.
From this lack of validation and solidarity has grown silence. Most of the political activity squatters do falls under any banner but squatting – and this is one that stretches far: Not only housing, but all struggles have basis in the liberation of space. If there are squats in the struggle, then it is a squatting struggle too.
This is squat-for-squat-sake politics: where flying the squatting banner comes simultaneous to flying others. To emphasise squatting as the liberation of space and temporary expropriation of property demands that it is seen as legitimate direct action in itself.
Against the unachievable duties of “Resist all Evictions”, new squatting politics must find a place for self-preservation in resistance. The duty to resist in all cases contradicts maximum expropriation in some and the self-preservation of squatters in many. It surrenders self-determination to agitprop painted as unreachable duty. It decreases the times when we can actually resist in keeping them out, not just longing them out.
Our Squats are not Tokens, Our Barricades are not Gestures
A planned eviction resistance at a council estate occupation begins with a collective meeting on the potential roles of newly arrived recruits. The punch-line is that Russia Today live-streamed the whole event – which turned out to be a non-event altogether.
Often as theatre and often seeming farce, the Left is playing eviction resistance to an audience of corporate media and well-meaning professional activists. The show is titled something like Awareness-Raising or Mass Appeal.
Eviction resistance is rarely something for the cameras. The forces of populism rush to condemn or ignore the less watchable aspects of resistance – the messy violence and dull labour required to defend our squats and occupations. Squatters are left with the spectacle of resistance and a trolley of possessions in the street.
The need to defend squats and the political creativity they have is urgent. The political creativity drained from squatting by leftist tokenism and the strategy of passive resistance goes hand-in-hand with a situation drained of politics itself.
Against Apolitical Squatting
In Amsterdam, squatting and gentrification has often had an uncomfortably close relationship. In areas of London too, such as Shoreditch or Camden, in occupying empty, sometimes derelict buildings in poor areas, squatters bring refurbishment, street art, and a look of “alternative authenticity” so appealing to trendy middle-class house-buyers. And so: the process goes from dereliction, to squats and, in turn, to regeneration and invasive economic power. That the squatters themselves were evicted sooner or later to make way for yuppiedom is important to note.
Equally important is the use of squatting as resistance to gentrification. The squatted council estates at the Aylesbury in Elephant and Castle and Guinness in Brixton – additional to the presence of squatters in street-based resistance – continue the legacy of Gospel Oak and 144 Piccadilly before them. Squatters at 10 Otterhaken in Hamburg put up a fierce resistance which continued the escalation of their neighbourhood. Young squatters in the Basque Country continue to make the liberation of space the basis for insurrectionary action.
That these two forms of squatting – to create alternative forms-of-life and larger class-based resistance – have had such different effects should not suggest a natural contradiction between them. The political use of squatting culture to add to larger cultures of resistance should not be denied. Oppositional self-identity, whether on the streets or in squats, continues to make squatting a threat to cultural power.
The cooption of this self-identity in the name of middle-class warfare falls at the feet of squatters also. In splitting squatting culture from squatting politics, they have been left with a culture unable to defend itself.
A squatted space not used for politics soon loses the politics of squatted spaces. Creating spaces intolerant to social hierarchy and state surveillance, for organising and consciousness-raising, is integral to the creation of effective resistance in squats and on the streets.
Further along to apathy, squatters build lists of recommendations from ex-landlords in hope of a longer stay. A reversion to comfortable hierarchy in the present always means uncomfortable coercion in the future. The creation of the “landlord-friendly squatter” strips squatting of its oppositional nature and, with it, its political potential.
In the social realm too, radical forms-of-life created by communal living and unusual shared experience are replaced with family, precedence and guilt. While benefiting from the organic mutual aid within familial relations, being restricted by them restricts the potential for subversive forms-of-life.
All squatting starts from a level of anonymity. The flow of bodies in and between squats, hostels, social centres, streets, council-estates and university occupations causes a contradictory coupling of familiarity and anonymity. Making new, more effective squatting collectives and networks means recognising this interplay between the familial and anti-familial. Groupings must be strategic and personal – recognising one in the other – and must work for both political action and self-preservation.
The withdrawal from risky politics into comfortable normalcy in the street and squat is a core symptom of increasing repression. The 2012 ban on residential squatting, a Left dead-set on passive resistance and a depoliticised squatting movement has left squatters with increasingly fewer lines of defence and political creation.
Organic as this repression seems, resistance is sprouting everywhere. Squatting continues to prove itself as direct action against power. People rip down the fences at the Aylesbury; squatters refuse to stop squatting residential. On the continent, in Naples, Amsterdam, Calais and elsewhere, mass occupations continue in the context of illegality.
In Naples, autonomists occupy empty buildings in solidarity with homeless migrants. ‘Homes for All’ is not a request but a strategy. In Amsterdam, squats were cracked in solidarity with occupations at the University, providing bases for mobilisation and support. The mass squats by migrants and small numbers of anarchist comrades still exist in the cracks of state power and violence in Calais. Occupations stand as clear markers of self-determination and the will to create communities and cultures of resistance wherever people stay.
The forms of squatting able to resist repression will fit the changing needs of larger struggles while emphasising squatting as struggle. In escalated situations, such as Naples or Calais, squatting is generalised by its use in creating temporary autonomous zones and communities of resistance. In Amsterdam, squats broaden the free education struggle beyond the University while providing the mechanisms for its escalation.
In situations where squatting is increasingly deescalated and isolated, the task is to generalise and escalate the squatting resistance. The old networks and forms-of-life are dragging into a state of alienation and disassociation: between squatters and larger struggles, between the varying and sometimes contradictory uses of squatting, between squatting collectives who know nothing of one another, between comrades. In the vacuum of this disassociation, new informal organisation and radical action must continue to grow.
Squatters and Homeless Autonomy is a London squatting collective working to combat gentrification and establish autonomous anti-capitalist spaces. Squatting the RBS building on Charing-Cross Road over Christmas 2014, they were also involved in the Institute of Dissidents – the occupied Institute of Directors building on Pall Mall – and have run temporary anarchist spaces at Neal Street and St James’s Square. In September the collective occupied the Mamelon Tower pub to oppose the eviction of tenants there and plans to turn it into upmarket flats.
Let’s break the law!
Solidarity with the accused of the “Breite Strasse” case in Hamburg!
On the 27.08.2014 a house was squatted in Breite Straße in Hamburg. When the cops came to evict they were heavily attacked by the squatters with fireworks, colour, and a lot of other projectiles.
Later people got arrested outside the house accused of participation in the action. Some of them where in custody for some months but are now out. End of august 2015 the courtcase will start against 6 persons. The accusations are heavy, some of them are accused with attempted homicide because of the attacks on cops.
Let’s show solidarity with the action because it was an attack against this oppressive normality! Solidarity with the accused because there should be no rebel in the hands of the state!
03.-09. August 2015 Week of mobilisation and agitation in solidarity with the accused of the “Breite Straße” case! Show your solidarity with the accused rebels no matter where and how!
On January 26th 2009, Athens Municipality crews on the orders of the then mayor N.Kaklamanis destroyed the park located on Kyprou Street, uprooting its perennial trees with a view to handing over the space to a private parking company.
Its cementing was prevented thanks to the immediate mobilisation and combative resistance of local residents and people in solidarity, who put in collective efforts to regenerate the park, planting 150 new trees and shrubs, and transformed it once again into an open public green space and a focal point of social struggle.
Six years after the park was destroyed, and despite the systematic machinations of the municipal authority and the state, we continue to resist in a collective, self-organised, anti-institutionalised and self-determined manner against its commercialisation, ghettoisation and antisocial use, and we keep defending its open, social character.
Nowadays, when the largest part of society suffers the consequences of an all-out attack by the state and the bosses, we continue to defend every focus of resistance against poverty, fear, exploitation, racism and repression, for a society of equality, solidarity and freedom.
In November 2014, the Distomo steki (an antifascist and antiauthoritarian ‘hangout’) opened its doors in the Athens zone of Aghios Panteleimonas —an area which in recent years has become one of the strongholds of fascists and racists in general, and of the Golden Dawn Nazis in particular, where the scum have often unleashed racist pogroms against the migrant population of the neighbourhood.
On Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, several antifascists paid a visit to the offices of Golden Dawn near Larissis metro station in Athens. Later, in another part of the city and as comrades from the Distomo hangout were exiting the Panepistimio metro station at Propylaea (downtown Athens), they were harassed and detained by cops, accused of attacking the Nazi party’s offices earlier that same evening.
On January 9th and 10th the arrestees (35 adults and one minor) stood before investigators and prosecutors in the Athens courts. They have all been released under restrictive conditions pending trial. On Friday, January 16th, as a gesture of solidarity with the antifascist-antiauthoritarian hangout Distomo in Athens, the anarchist group Baruti (‘Gunpowder’) hung a banner in the centre of the city of Veria (northern Greece): “Against the state and every fascism. Solidarity with the Distomo hangout. Not a step back.”
If I were to choose a different life I would not change it for anything
I vividly remember the intoxicating feeling that came over me when I began to question authority; I remember the many contradictions and questions. In this discovery of ideas I found many people that made their ideas into material practices in their libraries, publications, social centres, etc. … in their everyday life … they lived the ideas in the here and now. It did not take long for me to want to do the same.
I remember the anxiety I felt when I heard there were comrades incarcerated for putting their ideas of freedom into practice; sisters of ideas in all corners of the world in the jaws of the panoptic beast. That distressing feeling never changed, but is accompanied by gestures of solidarity.
We are many, the anarchists that find ourselves on the other side of the big wall, and after Tuesday, December 16th, our numbers have grown.
The tentacles of Power dropped into anarchist spaces, libertarian social centres, squatted houses and residences of several acratists in Catalonia and Madrid. The hunt captured eleven comrades; of these seven have been kept in prison, accused of belonging to an armed gang terrorist in nature. It is no coincidence that the arrestees are part of my immediate circle; indeed, more than half of them frequently visited me in prison. The judicial-policial gavel has punished solidarity.
I cannot keep silent before such misery; the State’s repressive revenge borders delirium. The information media (spokespeople of dominators) talk about chiefs and subordinates; I stress to them and anyone who harbours any doubts: We are anti-authoritarians; no one is above me, nor am I above anyone!
The spaces attacked in Catalonia were not arbitrarily targeted; firstly, the Kasa de la Muntanya is an important symbol of squatting, and having maintained distance from the capitalist logic for 25 years, they have made their contribution to a great many generations of dissidents to this system of terror. The libertarian social centres and anarchist spaces that were struck never hid their ideals, providing a fertile ground for sowing the seeds of freedom.
The costs in this struggle for the reclamation of our lives are very high; nobody said it would be easy, but undoubtedly if I were to choose a different life I would not change it for anything. In this fight against domination no cages or walls can silence our voices, but without you, comrades, our voices are only transformed in echoes.
If any of you, my beloved comrades recently incarcerated, are ever able to read these words, I tell you that I’m certain you will remain incorruptible and rise to the occasion as you always have.
I remember every time I read or heard that solidarity is a necessary weapon for anarchists. Today, I hope that those memories come true … making our ideas into action.
The morning of Tuesday the 16th of December has surprised us with a wave of house raids and arrests. Surprised us? We are not going to lie. Let’s start again. The morning of the 16th of December has NOT surprised us. The autonomous Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, and the Guardia Civil and judiciary powers of the Audiencia Nacional stormed more than ten houses and a few anarchist spaces in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa and Madrid, with house raids, arrests, confiscation of propaganda material and information, to also use the occasion to enter and plunder, with the entire riot police team of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Kasa de la Muntanya, a squatted place that has existed for 25 years.
According to the media, which as usual are proving their role as police spokespersons, the goal of these arrests is to break up “a criminal organisation with terrorist goals and a violent anarchist character”. Although it seems easy to repeat an often used phrase, we will do it anyway: the only criminal organisation that terrorises people with its violent character is the State and its tentacles: the media, the juridical apparatus, its repressive bodies and its politicians, whatever spectre they belong to.
Why did the repressive action not surprise us? Because we were expecting it.
It is not about pretending to be oracles or something, but about being able of reading between the lines, and sometimes literally, the things that happen. As it happened with the arrests of other comrades last year, since a long time they have been busy orchestrating waves like last Tuesday’s against libertarian and anti-authoritarian milieus, and even though the different razzias weren’t that big they do show a prospect of similar situations.
Operation “Italian style”
Since a few decades the anarchist milieu in neighbouring Italy experiences every now and again, and in the past years with more regularity, macro-operations that are similar to the one on Tuesday. Not only because of the format of the spontaneous razzias and house raids in several houses, also because of the use of names that are easy to remember and carry a certain dark humour, as in this operation, called Pandora because this case, as the media repeats after its juridical sources, “was a box that despite the numerous frights it has given us could not be opened”. By “numerous frights” they refer to several actions that took place throughout the entire terrain of the Spanish State in the past years. To come back to the Italian operations, one only has to remember a few names that came up in the past years, such as Operation Thor, referring to the accusation of a series of attacks with hammers on cash machines and other offices; Operation Ixodidae, referring to the technical name of the family of ticks, as the fascists called the communists and anarchists; and others, such as Ardire, Cervantes, Nottetempo, etcetera.
Apart from the procedure and list of names another factor that reminds us of the neighbouring country is the role of the media, which also helped us to see what was coming. Since three years, or perhaps a little longer, the Spanish media have started a campaign to prepare the ground in such a way that operations like these are not only possible but also predictable. Pointing out milieus, and sometimes even spaces or people with their full names, collectives, etcetera, constructing a fairly bizarre caricature of an internal enemy, is indeed nothing new, although in the last years the focus was on a very specific character: the “violent anarchist”, the “insurrectionalist”, the “against-the-system [antisistema] who infiltrates social movements”, etcetera.
The Chilean fiasco
The year 2010 was a glorious year for the Chilean State. Besides Sebastían Piñera, businessman and fourth richest person in the country, being chosen president, it orchestrated a policial, mediatic and juridical operation against the anti-authoritarian milieu resulting in more than a dozen house raids and arrests, known as Operation Salamandra and popularly known as “Caso Bombas”, as it was based on the investigation of a series of attacks with explosives that took place in the preceding years, and through the police imagery the creation of an hierarchical macro-structure of a supposed network that was responsible for all these explosions: a circus that did not only weaken the reputation of the State, besides the fact of rendering it ridiculous, but that also proved the clumsiness of the investigation procedure, like the falsifying of proof, blackmail or pressurizing in order to obtain informants or “repentants”, chance, etcetera. The process ended with the acquittal of all the accused and a desire for revenge of the Chilean State toward the milieu and those under investigation.
A year after the end of the “Caso Bombas” farce the Spanish and Chilean ministries, judges and cops are working together on a new case, this time on this side of the ocean. Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar, both ex-suspects in the “Caso Bombas” case, are arrested in Barcelona, where they are living at that moment, suspected of placing an explosive at the Basílica del Pilar in Zaragoza, planning a similar action and belonging to an alleged terrorist organisation. At this moment these comrades are in preventive detention awaiting a trial of which we do not know when it will take place, and we also do not know whether their proceeding will change due to this new repressive wave.
The situation is more or less known to everyone and if we can be sure of one thing it is that the recent arrests serve to give shape to a case that on its own would not stand.
A few hours before the arrests on Tuesday the Spanish government made known, through its media, that “the ministries of Interior Affairs of Spain and Chile are opening a new phase of enforced collaboration in the struggle against anarchist terrorism”. Last Monday, the 15th of December, the Spanish minister of Interior Affairs Jorge Fernández Díaz was in Chile to meet the vice-president and Chilean minister of Interior Affairs Rodrigo Peñailillo in the La Moneda palace, the government seat in Santiago de Chile. “In the struggle against terrorism, Chile will find a solid ally in Spain”, bragged the Spaniard, whilst being decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Chile, “the greatest distinction of the country in civil merit” according to the media, a trophy that the Chilean State in this case handed out for the police work and as a reward for the arrests of comrades Mónica and Francisco last year.
Besides praise and rewards, businessman Fernández sold a bit of his own: policial and juridical training, different kinds of repressive material, etcetera.
And what will come…
What is the next repressive step? We don’t know. At this moment not much is known about how our comrades are doing, of what exactly they are being accused, what repressive means they are subjected to, whether they are in preventive detention or not, etcetera.
What is certain is that this operation is not a fact standing on its own, but another shackle in a chain. A repressive chain that at times is cruel, and at times subtle, in which since the new laws (one only has to think of the recent Mordaza law) several things are incorporated; the hunt on people without papers through every time bigger racist razzias, the police brutality, until the aspiration to manage the misery and administrate the repression, which, all things considered, is what the State does, with a pseudo-left (with Podemos at the lead) that more and more becomes a clearer parody of itself. Evictions, beatings, fascism, juridical and punitive hardening of every kind, nationalist and social-democratic illusions, is what today will bring us. Something worse does not have to be expected, the worst has never left.
The array of opportunities of the Spanish anti-terrorism is a hotchpotch in which everything can be put. It is there, in sight, to remind us that for the State, struggle equals terrorism. It functions as a scarecrow. Do we let ourselves be frightened?
The State and its servants say to have opened Pandora’s box. In Greek mythology Pandora is the equivalent of the Biblical Eve. With the characteristic misogyny of both mythologies, Pandora opens her box as Eve eats her apple, liberating all the evil that it contains.
We are capable of creating our own story and ridding ourselves of their shit mythology. Our history is different. The “box” that this repressive operation has opened urges us to act, to be careful, to be alert in regards to what their next step will be. It makes us think, again and again, of the world we want, and the distance of that world to this one. It makes us see the urgency of acting, of going forward.
The locked up comrades are part of different projects, spaces, collectives, etcetera, and it is very important that these do not decline, that the ruin (in every sense) to which these kind of situations lead does not create powerlessness and a feeling of paralysis.
We always say that “the best solidarity is continuing the struggle”. Right, but what does that mean in practice? We also repeat in unison that “when you touch one of us you touch all of us”. This has become clear through the reactions and protests that took place in several places, just like the unconditional warmth of the comrades on the outside.
We can be certain of one thing, and that is that the locked up comrades can feel this warmth which goes through the iron bars and isolation, because it is the same warmth that they knew to give at other occasions.
In the evening of Friday the 22nd of August 2014, activists occupied the former St. Albertus Magnus church in Dortmund which was unused for over 7 years. Only minutes after the occupation was made public, nearly 40 supporters came to the area and held a gathering in front of the church in solidarity with the project and the squatters. Of course, it didn’t take long before the cops also arrived at the location, but they didn’t attempt to raid the building, and instead controlled the supporters outside. The next day, a priest in charge of matters of the church building spoke to the squatters and stated he will tolerate the occupation for one week. Immediately activists began to form work groups, trying to renovate the building to establish a social center.
Attack by neo-Nazis
Dortmund has a big neo-Nazi problem, so it was expected that the squat would be faced with fascists sooner or later. Already during the first night of the occupation people saw Nazis driving by in the surrounding streets. This was definitely not a coincidence, because that part of the city is heavily populated by people with a migrant background. On Saturday the 23rd, Nazis held a rally in the city of Dortmund to protest against the ban on their former organization Nationaler Widerstand Dortmund (National Resistance Dortmund), but were soon blocked by hundreds of antifascists. Soon afterwards, around 40 Nazis appeared in front of the new squat in Enscheder Street and shouted “we will get all of you.” At first there was no police presence, and the squatters resisted the attack by throwing a couple of stones from the circa 17-meter-high rooftop of the building. However nobody was injured. Then police arrived and told Nazis to go 30 meters down the street, where they held a protest against the squat. This manifestation had been authorized by police the night before, at 3am, and nobody knew about it (not even the media). This fact raised criticism against the police even in bourgeois parts of the Press and the public, but a few days later all criticism was addressed against the squatters for throwing stones at fascists and the cops. Many of the hundreds of antifascists who had blocked the Nazis earlier in the city came to the squat as soon as they heard it was attacked by Nazis. On the same day the Nazis posted a video on their facebook page with footage showing the moments when stones were thrown at them, and they said they’d pay 1500€ for anyone willing to give them names of the squatters.
Short week of anarchy Despite the Nazi attack and constant intimidation, activists kept working and really started to build up a social center in the squatted church. Every day there was an open assembly, where neighbours were able to participate. A few neighbours became involved in the squatting project or helped by giving water or even electricity supply. There were daily events, like concerts, readings, art exhibitions or jam sessions. Hundreds of interested people visited the squat, participated and helped in organizing new events. Ideas of what could be done in the social center Avanti were almost endless. Catering was also made possible, and of course everything was free. The priest, who had spoken about toleration towards the squatters, was stunned by what the activists had accomplished in such a short time. Even after he had a meeting with other authorities of the church, and they decided that they would not allow activists to stay after the week of toleration, the mood was still good at the squat and many people were confident that the social center Avanti would live on. In the meantime rumors were spread publicly, also in the Press, that the “nice and cooperative activists could be infiltrated by militants, who would take the lead should an eviction take place.” On Thursday the 28th a family festivity was carried out in the squat, when an inflatable castle was built inside, and new visitors were given tours through the building. Nobody knew this would be the last action in the squatted Avanti.
Eviction, repression and resistance In the morning of Friday the 29th the church building was evicted by police, even before the official termination of the toleration period. It seems the cops didn’t want to wait for the squatters to get prepared. The official reason for the eviction was the stone-throwing almost one week before, when neo-Nazis had attacked the squat. Police said they wanted to search for evidence and suspects. Almost 38 people were in the squat during the raid, and all of them are now treated as witnesses. One was even treated as the main suspect of police investigation. The charge: “attempted homicide.” After a few hours of detention, the main suspect was released due to “lack of suspicion.”
In the evening, activists organized a demonstration in solidarity with Avanti and people affected by repression. The fact that over 350 protesters took part in the demonstration shows the big interest in Avanti; normally, the large autonomous demonstrations in Dortmund (against fascists, for example) consist of around 200-250 people. It was a loud demo with lots of slogans chanted against cops.
Over the past few days, repression has escalated. Several of the people who were in the squat during the raid were visited by cops at their homes and asked to tell who threw the stones at the fascists. The police offered everyone a 3000€ reward for snitching, and published photos of squatters who were on the rooftop of the building when the Nazis attacked the squat. It is highly likely that the cops will also try to harass the rest of the people and maybe even search their homes.
Participants in Avanti organized a concert on Friday the 5th of September to show that they are still active. This fight isn’t over yet, as the activists said they will neither be intimidated nor divided by the cops, the Press, or the neo-Nazis. The slogan that keeps getting shouted is: Avanti lives! Avanti fights!
more info, in german, on avantizentrum.noblogs.org
Below is the proclamation which was distributed on March 22nd, 2014, during the squat attempt in the district of Beşiktaş, Istanbul [‘we’ for buildings; ‘you’ for people]:
I came into being of stone and wood in the year 1903. I am a product of human thinking and effort.
I have been through many things.
Workers’ labor, kids’ hustle and bustle and laughter, lectures of teachers… Afterwards came my desertion by people, my damp walls and leaking ceilings…
There came a time when you abandoned me and broke the bonds that you had once formed with me. With time, you broke the bonds among us as well. With each passing day, you built a new wall between us. You have surrounded us with fences.
You have imprisoned us. Why?
Because you have broken apart from each other. You have fallen into doubt and fear. Some of you even fed yourselves by playing games on us; people who were selfish and infected with the disease of always wanting more.
During the 40 years that you are not here, I have been watching the growth of plants in my garden and the lives of mice, spiders, lizards, birds, and cats.
Recently I have noticed that you began to form bonds with each other again. You have overcome your fears. You were right about your doubts.
I overheard Taşkışla telling the story of what happened on the grave of the deceased Topçu Kışlası artillery barracks, where Gezi Park is now located.
You were very loud. Your voice echoed at my rooms, which you may call empty. The voice of your streets. I was able to hear you.
I am aware that you need us in order to develop the bonds you have formed with each other. We also need you in order to keep standing.
Your past and our past have reconnected me and you at this point.
On Saturday noon, March 22nd, 2014, a group of nearly 50 people from the anarchist milieu and different left tendencies gathered at the central Eagle Statue in the district of Beşiktaş (on the European side of Istanbul) to jointly occupy a former Greek school, which is located nearby, and has been standing empty for many decades already. The activists intended to liberate the space and turn it into a non-commercial social centre.
Their attempt was met with negative reaction from conservative residents, as well as immediate aggression by fascists, who carried wooden sticks and harassed the group as soon as they entered the building. The police rushed also to the spot, and of course stood promptly at the side of the fascists, asking the activists to leave. The fascists were driven back eventually. However the group gave up the space, after the homeowner appeared out of nowhere and suddenly seemed to have very big plans for the building…
On Saturday morning, January 25th, in the district of Keratsini in Piraeus (port of Athens), a large assault militia of neo-Nazis desecrated the entire place where Pavlos Fyssas was murdered by Golden Dawn member in September 2013. Shorty after that, nearly 80 Golden Dawn members attacked the Resalto self-organized space. The neo-Nazis were repelled by some 15 comrades, who were inside the Resalto. According to first estimates, the fascists showed up at the neighbourhood in threes, and attacked the outside of the Resalto with stones, bricks and paints under the supervision of police officers. All this lasted a few minutes. The nationalist thugs went away as soon as a cop from DIAS motorcycle team was heard saying to them “you’re done here”… Then the police helped the fascists flee the scene of the attack from Lambraki street. During the fascist attack on the Resalto, windows of the house next door were smashed, and even bricks were thrown into a kid’s bedroom. Some of the fascists were recognized; their force came from the areas of Piraeus, Perama, Nikaia and Athens. The great majority of them were young men, and some had helmets with them. All comrades are in good health, while several fascists were probably hit in the head with various objects. The incident lasted for ten minutes at most, in the presence of DIAS cops who offered protection to the Golden Dawn neo-Nazis the whole time. In the meantime, groups of anarchist comrades and other antifascists from Piraeus and Athens were informed of what happened, and arrived in Keratsini enraged and prepared to chase away the neo-Nazis, but the thugs had already vanished from the area. A half hour after the fascists left, more of DIAS motorcycle units as well as MAT anti-riot squadrons were deployed to the district. The Resalto collective called for a local spontaneous demonstration at Laou square, in response to the attack. The demo, with more than 400 protesters, began after 2pm and moved through the streets of Keratsini, also passing from the place where antifascist Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death.
Below is a text (featured in the following video) about the fascist provocations in Keratsini:
Four months after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in Amfiali by an assault battalion of the Golden Dawn party, approximately 100 bullying fascists made their appearance once again in Keratsini, at the neighbourhoods of Amfiali and Tabouria. Walking down the Tsaldari street, the fascists desecrated the place where Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death—a murder which they themselves committed—erasing painted slogans, poems and dedications of dozens of people in his remembrance, and destroying the banner of the ‘Ploumpidis’ local association of school teachers. This was a clear ‘assumption of responsibility’ for the murder on their part, an assassination they had not confessed publicly before, having their ripper Roupakias ‘disavowed’.
In their wake, they torn down several other banners of the teachers local association, they smeared antifascist graffiti and sprayed walls with vomiting fascist-nationalist slogans, and when they reached the Laou square (‘People’s square’) in Tabouria they moved aggressively toward the Resalto self-organized space of solidarity and rupture (situated 100m from that square). Apparently, in their attempt to reemerge in districts of Piraeus over the past few weeks and rerun their offices in Nikaia, they were deeply annoyed by the forceful resistance they encountered from people in struggle (hence they launched their provocations already since the previous week, by painting a slogan on the wall of the Pasamontaña self-managed social space in Koridallos, showing up their faces again in the areas of Nikaia and Koridallos during one of their usual pathetic parades).
Nearly half of the fascists went up Ermou street and attacked the hangout, simultaneously causing damages to homes, cars and motorbikes of dwellers, while the rest of them had blocked the Konstantinoupoleos road, preventing vehicles from passing, and thus securing their assault group. The 15 comrades, both women and men who were inside the Resalto at the time, defended themselves and the project, and after a five minute clash they managed to repel the fascists. They demonstrated that collective comradely fight, without classifications of one’s ‘capacity’ or sex, is able to cope with the Nazi assault battalions when the forces of repression do not actively lend them a hand. Needless to say that the many DIAS police motorcycles, that escorted the fascists after their attack until their withdrawal from Keratsini, made no detention whatsoever, despite the fact that the first police forces arrived at the spot while the assault-clash was underway, and even though many fascists (those who were at the forefront) retreated with paint on their clothes. It is important to note that the principal fact which confirms the antisocial, thuggish and murderous nature of fascists was the destruction of glass windows and facade of the house next door with stones, although the owner was yelling that this is a home and there’s a small child inside. Most of the dozens of stones that were thrown on this residence fell into the kid’s room, so if the small girl had not been quickly moved by her parents, she would have been seriously or fatally injured.
An antifascist concentration was immediately called in Laou square, and more than 400 antifascists held a spontaneous demonstration in Tabouria and Amfiali (taking to the streets where the fascists had made their appearance earlier), wiping out also the fascist slogans from the walls. Many people from the area participated in the march, which was also supported by people in solidarity and struggle from the surrounding districts of Piraeus and various neighbourhoods of Athens.
The fascists are the loyal dogs of the State and Capital—no matter if they continue to play the ‘antisystemic’—who fell into disfavor with their bosses (which is likely a temporary phase) due to standalone tendencies and a series of uncontrollable moves-choices of their own, such as the murder attempt on trade unionists of PAME [Stalinist syndicalist organ] in Perama and the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini. We’ll say it once again: in the hoods of refugee population, of resistance, dignity and solidarity, the fascists, their assault battalions and their supporters are not just undesirable but enemies. Fascist murderers, there’s no place for you in our hoods. And we will confirm this every moment, in every way.
Saturday 25.1.2014 Resalto self-organized space of solidarity and rupture
Keratsini autonomous antifascist assembly
Keratsini-Drapetsona square assembly
Below is footage from a neighbour (the neo-Nazis are shouting “blood-honour-golden dawn” and “anarchists, sons of a whore”), footage from inside the Resalto, and moments of the spontaneous demonstration in Keratsini:
Video link: dai.ly/x1abj6v. More photos, showing demonstrators from the anarchist/antiauthoritarian milieu but also from the left-wing spectrum, alongside several neighbours: Social-Revolution
UPCOMING ACTION: Antifascist march in Keratsini — Friday, January 31st, 2014, at 6pm Gathering in Nikis square, on Tsaldari street, Amfiali
On January 21st, 2014, comrades arrested during the eviction of Delta squat in Thessaloniki underwent a second trial on charges of disturbing domestic peace and causing aggravated damages of 3.5 million euros. All of the six comrades were acquitted of charges.
SOLIDARITY TO THE SQUATS. THE WAR WITH THE STATE AND CAPITALISM CONTINUES.
Thousands of people came to Hamburg on the 21st of December to participate in the protest against the eviction of the Rote Flora squat, for a right to stay for refugees, and to show solidarity to the evicted residents of the Esso houses. Everybody knew that it would be a chaotic day, with thousands of autonomous activists and thousands of riotcops standing against each other in Hamburg. Still, everything went differently than we first thought it would go.
The pre-gathering in front of the Rote Flora squat was scheduled to begin at 2pm, and the big international demonstration was due for 3pm. Thousands of people gathered there already at noon. The atmosphere was great; people were full of enthusiasm and wanted to take the protest to the street. So, finally shortly after 3pm, the march started. Not only was it one of the biggest demonstrations of the year but also the shortest. The police stopped the march under a bridge after 20 meters. Cops immediately used pepper spray and batons to force the activists to stop. A few seconds later, two water cannons also came to push back the demo to where it started.
Then activists responded with stones, bottles and fireworks against the police. People were being pushed back, because more and more cops stormed against the crowd, hitting almost everyone in their way. In the end it seemed like, even though there were hundreds of protesters fighting the cops, they had no chance because there were hundreds if not thousands of cops in full body armor attacking them again and again. Another problem was that there was very little material to throw at the police. Many people had prepared themselves for street fights with the cops that day, but were initially paralyzed because of how fast the police escalated violence. Activists built barricades out of trashcans, benches and tables from restaurants nearby. After 30 minutes of clashes, the police managed to gain control of most of the place in front of the Rote Flora. By then everybody had accepted the fact that there would not be a large demonstration in Hamburg that day. So people just used a different strategy to take the protest to the streets.
Shortly after the police attacked the demo, some activists already tried to get away; people realized that the demonstration would not go on, so they wanted to leave the location and start their own actions in the city. Even though almost every street was blocked by hundreds of riotcops, many activists managed to leave the scenery. Then they formed spontaneous demonstrations in the entire city. Sometimes demos with only 50 people and sometimes demos with over 1,000 people walking through the streets, attacking cops, banks, shops (big corporations like McDonalds and Vodafone) while building barricades. Long into the night you could hear fireworks and people shouting slogans in all of Hamburg. People didn’t wait for someone to start the action; they started it themselves again and again. The police mostly just tried to chase us away and stop direct actions, because as it seems they didn’t have enough capacities to make a lot more than twenty arrests with charges that day.
It is hard to say whether this was a ‘victory’ or a ‘loss’ for the protest. We did not manage to demonstrate like we first wanted. The police clearly wanted to stop the process of combining three main struggles in Hamburg: Rote Flora squat, refugee struggle and Esso houses. On the other hand, Hamburg has seen the biggest riots in recent years, and after decentralizing the protest the police lost control of the situation.
I personally think it was a good day. Activists showed that an eviction of the Rote Flora squat would not be tolerated and it would end in absolute chaos for the Hamburg’s government, the police and the Capital. It is always nice to experience situations where the cops have to turn around and just run…
On Saturday, nearly 6,000 protesters marched in the city centre of Berlin during the annual demo in remembrance of comrade Silvio Meier, who was killed by neo-Nazis in 1992. However, on the same day, approximately 150 thugs from the neo-Nazi scene held a rally in one of their strongholds, Schöneweide, against asylum seekers and a recent attack on a prominent Nazi (Björn Wild, who was beaten up by antifas on the street). The fascists waved Greek and Golden Dawn flags next to other nationalist emblems. The antifascist counter-demo on location was rather small in numbers.
In Berlin, the refugee camp at Oranienplatz has been in imminent danger of eviction already since late November 2013. Refugees and people in solidarity are determined to keep the square as the basis of their struggle against the German asylum policy. However, Kreuzberg mayor Monika Herrmann of the Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) asked the cops to prepare a raid on the entire camp. She also stated that leftist radicals try to take advantage of the situation… Following these developments, heavy police violence was unleashed at Orienplatz, however activists counterattacked on many occasions.
The refugee camp at Oranienplatz exists for over a year now, and is a point of exchange between residents of Kreuzberg and refugees. There were several political attempts to end this square occupation, with subsequent police attacks. In summer of 2013, there was even a racist knife attack on a participant in the protest camp. The camp began after people in isolation camps, trapped by the restrictive German residency laws, broke out in order to march to Berlin. Refugees have made the camp both a living space and a site of struggle, and have also occupied a nearby school building (that was previously unused), in order to have an inside space during the winter. Both the camp and the occupied school building had been given official “tolerance” by the supposedly pro-refugee Green Party government of the district, in the face of large-scale support. After a disused building in Wedding was offered as winter housing to the refugees by a charity group, the Greens took the opportunity to claim that both the camp and the school should be evicted. The eviction threat comes despite the fact that the building offered only has space for 80 people from the camp, not everyone, and that the residents of the camp made it clear that they have no desire to leave the central and visible location in Oranienplatz to be put away in a house located on the northern edges of the city. However the State is using the rhetoric of democracy and charity to make it seem as if they are helping the protesting refugees, even as they call the police to evict them.
On the night of the eviction attempt the camp at Oranienplatz released the following statement:
“Today 24/11 in the early evening the refugee camp was almost evacuated by the police. The district mayor – Monika Herrmann of the Greens – has ended the official tolerance of the protest camp and has asked the police for help with the eviction. Through a massive mobilization and a large crowd in solidarity at Oranienplatz, an eviction was able to be prevented for the moment. The district government and the police say that the eviction will take place neither tonight, nor tomorrow 25/11 in the early morning. But we cannot rely on that! It is clear that the camp is not protected anymore by the district and that the mayor is ready to destroy it. It is also clear that the camp is a disturbance to the government of Berlin. Even if the district government will not evict it, the mayor of Berlin might do it instead. Mrs. Herrmann was at the camp this afternoon and talked to refugees and supporters. She received the following information: The house that has been offered to some people of the camp as a replacement is only large enough for 80 people. At least 30 refugees returned to the camp because there was no room for them in that shelter. Additionally, some refugees have made clear since the beginning of the negotiations for a ‘replacement object’ that a replacement is not an option for them. Rather, they want to stay and protest at Oranienplatz until their demands (abolish restricted residency requirements, shut down isolation camps, and stop all deportations) are met. Even though the mayor already knew that a larger number of people want to, or have to, continue living at Oranienplatz, she called for a police action. The Green Party, which claims to act for the rights of refugees, has trampled on them in this case. Since the beginning of the negotiations, we have viewed the limited access to a replacement house as an attempt to separate us. Those who are responsible have been informed that it is not an option for some people to leave Oranienplatz. Mrs. Herrmann reacted with the accusation that the struggle of refugees in Berlin has been taken over by left-wing radicals and is being instrumentalized by them. Therefore she has denied the refugees the ability to act politically and in a self-determined manner, even though they have directed their criticism and their demands directly to her. She has also launched a media campaign to de-legitimize the protest. It is an often used procedure: divide and conquer – integrate those who are satisfiable with an emergency shelter for the winter, and deny and suppress those who attempt to change the system; those who fight for equal rights for everyone; those who have demonstrated for more than one year at Oranienplatz. (…) Mrs. Herrmann and all politicians should understand that it is the strength of the protest that refugees and supporters can come together. The protest camp breaks isolation. The demands for open borders and the right to asylum are not those of a small minority. They are unevictable, solidary, and international! (…) Viva la revolución! Viva el Orienplatz! Freedom of Movement for Everybody!”
When the word of the eviction spread, hundreds of supporters spontaneously mobilized to defend the camp and began arriving at Oranienplatz. The police backed down from the eviction, but those who had showed up to defend the camp launched a spontaneous demonstration through Kreuzberg. Between 500 and 600 people marched through the area and broke through police lines several times when the police attempted to stop the demonstration. As during the last several spontaneous demonstrations in Berlin, barricades were constructed as the demo passed through the neighbourhood. Eventually the cops, overwhelmed and facing kicks and punches from the crowd, used pepper spray heavily and at least 5 comrades were arrested and many injured. That night the nearby office of the Green Party was attacked with paint.
The same day, a solidarity demonstration took place in Frankfurt am Main with 80 participants, and in Leipzig a solidarity demo of more than 150 people took place.
Another, more pacified, demonstration of several hundred people took place in Berlin after the refugees gave a press conference declaring their intent to stay at Oranienplatz until their demands have been met: closing all isolation camps, stopping all deportations, the right to work in Germoney, and the abolition of restrictive residency laws. (Related announcement, from 29/11, here.)
Further solidarity actions took place in Frankfurt, where a demonstration of 100 marched to the local offices of the Green Party and the SPD (Social Democratic Party).
Over 250 people participated in an antiracist demonstration in Bochum. The march went through the inner city, where lots of people who were shopping on the Christmas market received flyers and listened to the speeches. In one speech, a refugee from Africa talked about the current situation in the camp in Heiligenhaus where she has to live. She thanked everybody for their support and invited people to come to the camp, take a look at her situation and to talk about how to organize the struggle in the future.
Red banner reads: “Borderless solidarity instead of narrowed nationalism”; white banner reads: “Our welfare is based on exploitation – Economic refugees welcome” (in response to a racist ‘argument’ claiming that most of the migrants are only seeking state welfare benefits, and naming them ‘economic refugees’). More pictures here.
Villa is here. It still stands at the full height of those who gave rise to the squat for 22 consecutive years, the thousands of individuals who visited the building and created within it.
Its full height feels insuperable.
All those who will sell properties on high prices in the area after its eviction—
All those who direct and play political games in its name—
All those who talk about the makeup of downtown Athens, and devalue human existence day after day—
All those who are subordinates or supporters of Nazi and nationalist formations, and under their skin and in their mind cannot withstand the “thorn” that causes them to bleed, the obstacle that stands against their racist campaign in the district—
All those who bleed us dry day after day under the umbrella of national unity and the land’s rescue—
All these people will never reach the peak of Villa, or of any other squat and self-organized space. Simply because they do not see the peak.
And how could they ever see it when they are only looking at their pockets, the ballot box, the camera, their peace of mind.
You must keep your head up high to see the sky.
From the rooftop, the walls, the yard, the shadows, the breaths, the street… SQUAT FOREVER VILLA AMALIAS
Squats belong to the people of struggle.
“Our dreams will become your nightmares”
… minions and bosses, shove the €3,500,000 budget for the reconstruction of Villa Amalias up your arse.
This demonstration was called as a sign that the autonomous spectrum will never accept an eviction of the 24-year-long Rote Flora squat. However, the mobilization has had two other main reasons, too.
Gentrification in Hamburg, and other cities, is moving rapidly every day. In Hamburg’s district St. Pauli, the Senate wants to demolish the two Esso houses (named after the gas station on the main floor), home of over 100 people. Resistance within an initiative against the demolition of Esso houses has been diverse and strong.
The refugee struggle in Hamburg has been going on for many weeks (notes on the struggle here). Over 300 self-organized refugees keep fighting against the racial profiling and deportation threat. Numerous solidarity actions and demonstrations with thousands of participants, in solidarity with the Lampedusa refugee group, have taken place in Hamburg and beyond.
Now these struggles are coming together on the street for a large demonstration on the 21st of December 2013, to show that resistance against the Hamburg Senate politics can only intensify…
Shut down Fortress Europe! Right to stay for everyone!
No Border – No Nation!
Flyer in German here; call & flyer in English here: i, ii
If you’re planning to join the protest in Hamburg, and you need more info, please contact the Rote Flora squat at: flora-bleibt (at) nadir.org. If you’ll also need a place to sleep, please send an email to: schlafplatz2112 (at) riseup.net.
In the night between Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of November 2013, Nazis sabotaged the Infoshop Iskra (“Spark”) in Zadar. Oppressors smashed the glass windows and mottled the walls with fascist graffiti (“Vukovar”, “Škabrnja”) as well as Ustaša symbols, same as swastikas.
This attack is not a big surprise considering it is the third sabotage on this space in the last two years, and that actually few hours separate us from the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, when the mind of Croatian nationalists/fascists is at the peak of aggressive irrationality. The first two attacks occurred in August and November 2011, the third one this night, and we hope that a fourth will never happen!
Infoshop Iskra is an initiative for a reading room and library of anarchist and libertarian literature, located in the book club “Knjigozemska” at the address R.K. Jeretova 5 in Zadar. A “Take or Leave” corner and a bicycles repair workshop have also found their place in the same space. The collective itself actively agitates and acts in the field of radical social change built on libertarian grounds.