Home » Heiligendamm 2007 » G8 2007 english » G8 2007 Texts  


Watch also...


Anti-G8 2007: Report


This piece, while approaching many topics which might be of interest for any reflections by anarchists, autonomous people and other social rebels, is still very oriented towards the German context. Therefore, you reader, will find a few things which might sound awkward to you, if not being aware on the German situation, but I still hope that this will not necessarily create a divide, intolerance or simply make you bored.

“Between the joy and the frustration of being trapped within a known play of theatre: a few notes following the G8 summit in Germany and its repercussions”.

Bild: HRO

Berlin, 2007, last stop of the “anarchist traveling circus” (sorry Tony Blair for not respecting your copyright!)*: Once again many of us, whether strongly convinced or not, got involved for the umpteenth time within the spectacle of a counter summit. This time was Germany, G8, last time perhaps Gleneagles 2005 or Thessaloniki 2003, Prague 2000 or Amsterdam 1997 for the older of us. Next time Japan? Yet unclear, still waiting to know whether the Korean workers will join in, introducing us to the magic way of fighting armed with 5m long sticks… It is always the same plot: Since a few years there has been a mounting, serious critique on whether we should take part as anarchists within those kind of mobilizations or rather ignore them, or opt for decentralized actions. Already before Genoa 2001, a few comrades from Rovereto (among others) suggested how even us, as anarchists, have been long enough victims of the “illusion of a center”: that we should instead to underline the necessity of a widespread of insurrection and critique at a daily, decentralized level of our uncompromisingly struggle, rather than focus us on these bigger, empty events where we merely take part in a spectacle put up from our enemies and their false critics. The counter summit circus as path leading nowhere but to the reproduction of already seen schemes, lacking mostly of imagination and therefore mostly easy to be taken under control both from agents of repression as by any kind of recuperators. We know this very well. We already developed a certain experience through the years, being almost 10 years since these counter summit mobilizations became one of the main points on the agenda of many people, radicals, anarchists, autonomous and leftists…

We have collected on our shoulders a decent amount of experiences, ranging from nice stories of streetfighting with cops and amazing looting and plundering, passing through never ending meetings fighting each other (and reformists above all), to the traumas and paranoias we tried to overcome after being in these extreme moments made of joy and fear, the endless, frustrating post-riot debates on the diehard dichotomy violence/nonviolence, until the usual question which affects us all: was it all worth it?

Different feelings come always at play afterwards: …the tiredness of confronting with the aforementioned debate about violence, which destabilises our (already instable) mental sanity, us knowing how senseless it is to waste time on that because everybody should have already a clear enough idea how capitalism won’t simply disappear by itself (and fuck no, a clown army or a climate camp won’t help). Clearly it is not yet a crystalline, common-shared truth, otherwise we would have an insurrection ongoing, a point to which we are fairly faraway nowadays (sorry for my cynicism).

…The nastiness at which, within those situations more than ever, bourgeois medias (and often so-called “alternative” as well…) enter the arena giving the best of themselves: in Genoa they pretended we would throw bombs full of HIVinfected blood to the pigs, here in Germany they accused the Clown Army of using syringes full with acid liquid again against the pigs (!). At least, one cannot accuse them of not being creative, and they would offer us always a good laugh, before we realize again for the nth time in which fucked up bad b-movie we do live in.

…The disappointment, how many plans did not work out, how much more could have been possible, how many of “us” still look for having a chat with medias, for seeking an alliance with reformist groups, for taking a definitive break with everything, having being too much involved in the preparation of the counter events and consequently mentally burned out.

…The exhausting struggle against the repression which follows, producing discouragement, sucking our energies away, intimidating some of us, bringing – in a few cases – heavy consequences for those who get caught in the State’s web. And yet, we found ourselves once again involved, taking again a trip to the counter summit maybe as an excuse for meeting old friends and making new ones, visiting an unknown city, country, taking a break from our daily life towards the possibility of a new, liberating adventure, rupture, taking vital energy to be brought back in our daily fight against State and Capital, collecting new experiences, being inspired from new possibilities of radical action against reality, finding already-tested affinities and discovering new ones, being together on the street with thousands of people ready to fight, equipped with stones, Molotov cocktails and a strong will not to merely “dissent”, but towards an uncompromisable assault to the sky, towards something radically new. And therefore empowering ourselves through all these feelings, emotions, living the momentum where you finally feel strong again and every possibility might be open, only if those moments would happen more often…but this is how things work: we light some fires here and there which burn their flames fast, but always hoping that this very time that fire will keep on burning high and that other rebels will put more wood into it…

Following the sum of these reasons, some of us visited again a new territory, some of us were already there. All sharing the same critiques, all looking forward to live again that momentum. Two achieved goals are worth underlining at first: the rise of the mass militancy and radical critique during those days – as many German comrades felt the need to bring this forward – and the amazing number of militant actions that happened within the “militant campaign against G8”. I will begin from this last one. Probably not many people outside Germany are aware about this “militant campaign”. Militant not in the sense of “self-sacrificing” of course, but in terms of radical attacks against capitalist infrastructures. Such attacks involved arsons, property damage, paint bombs, graffiti.

This campaign was launched back in 2005, as some clandestine German groups publicized their need of a long-term attack not merely against G8, but against capitalist symbols as much as against people involved within this exploitation machinery. They talked about the need of widespreading this attack in terms of time and space, rather than confining it within the usual, expected and already-given boundaries of the summit/ counter summit moment. Therefore the idea of 2 years of actions which would contribute to the radicalization of the protests, of daily social relationships and political discourse, and extend the idea that G8 is a mere, empty symbol, just another expression of the dominative–relations we are all trapped in. Our struggle must be continuous, capable of thematizing all the different aspects, living within the totality of capitalism, we must be capable of fighting totally and uncompromisingly against the present conditions. That was the stone thrown up in the water, to see if the water moves.

And it moved. Definitely.
Within those last 2 years we saw a definitive arise of militant actions, which kept on growing more and more as the summit days would come closer. More than thirty (mostly arsons) just in the month of May 2007. Targets ranged from usual big chains such as McDonald’s or Lidl (a big German supermarket chain characterized by extremely precarious working conditions), to private houses and cars of State secretaries or bosses of big exploitative companies, police vans and stations, companies involved within nuclear transports such as Vattenfall (energy company), Siemens or Deutsche Bahn (German railways), passing through expensive cars (mostly of the aforementioned companies or luxurious ones). Since January, in the town of Berlin alone, more than 100 of those cars got torched. And the list of these attacks, as of others, is keeping on growing while I write this piece. The vast choice of targets shows therefore the understanding of the necessity of a global attack, by any means necessary. I shall include at the end an almost complete list of actions, giving you the pleasure of discovering what exactly was (and is) going on… The necessity of a global attack rather than being focused within the given amount of time Dominion wants to confine us, as said, and as well a fight which is continuous. Indeed, the solidity of this campaign is another good point. Many actions, of quality, looking at the chosen targets, and, most important, these did not stop as the summit finished.

Afterwards, cars kept on burning regularly, and other interesting things kept on happening, such as militant anti-fascist resistance or one racist office for the identification of illegal refugees set on fire. And not to forget the solidarity towards the newly imprisoned comrades (more on that you can read on the communiqué issued by ABC Berlin, prisoners have been recently released on caution), which targeted among other things cars which were property of the army or of the federal criminal office, as much as an attempted arson against a justice building. That was the true bet, if this high level achieved before and until the summit could have been kept also afterwards, showing how this fire would not weaken but rather keep on burning, towards a future, massive increasing… And reading the newspapers here or the polizeiticker (the official website of German cops where they publish the “crimes” happening), it seems this fire keeps on burning. I reckon this is a quite empowering and new experience, seeing how many different groups and individuals, many of them probably for the first time, took the decision of fighting on this level. It was already proposed in Genoa 2001, to escalate from the summit days and acting in advance. Back then, very few people made this call theirs. This time, it seems many people showed sympathy to this argument, and paved up the way for future development within this context.

At the same time, the militance on the street was also experienced. Highlight of this was the famous demo in Rostock, on the 2nd of June, where a massive black bloc of at least 5000 people brought their rage on the streets. Confrontations happen from time to time, here in Germany. But, considering the incredible level of repression and well-known ability of German pigs, this takes place mostly after the demos. This time, the first in years, a large bloc walked its way with balaclavas, took direct actions against capitalist symbols, and attacked the police. Many cops got injured, and for many young people it was especially amazing to be part in such a riot because they saw something which here became very rare: ready-for-warequipped robocops, and especially the infamous Berlin units, running away. Attacking pigs is possible, is funny as fuck, and gives you a well-worth kick of adrenaline so that you will like to repeat as soon as you can.

The riot in itself was not the main point (although nice as always) but the fact that through this people rediscover the feeling that certain things are possible, even nowadays with probably the best organised police in Europe which is traveling through Europe to give “workshop and training” to the not yet that well organized units (as for example in Spain or in Greece during the last year). Many of us, both younger and older, felt again motivated and willing to seek possibilities to repeat that, and even some researches done by some German universities showed how the percentage of “normal” youngsters who feel positively about the black bloc rose following those riots….

However, during all the other days, different demos took place, road blockades, arsons, and the try to leave to camps and move towards plan B, say go to a city and bring there our rage. And here we come perhaps to the weakest point of those days. The idea of Plan B had been circulating through autonomous journals and communiqués during the months preceding the summit. Becoming incalculable for our enemies, and move towards another battleground which was neither Rostock nor the fields. A similar idea to the one of the militant campaign, then. Sadly, it did not work as good as this first one. The plan to host rupture in Berlin, chosen as target, faced several problems. At the most, a lack of coordination among the several autonomous/anarchist groups which converged to the three different camps. The high level of security culture possessed by the local comrades proved to be too rigid if we want to act together with people coming from other countries and organise something together. Sometimes we must sacrifice a bit of security culture (but only a bit) in order to make place for the spontaneity we must enjoy during this situations of rupture, where a certain situation of “state of exception” is being created, and we cannot pretend to play with the same rules which always accompany us during other, usual moments.

This, added to the fact that the communication on this level, being divided through different camps, was fairly uneasy, created a lack of determination, coordination and therefore effectivity in adopting this tactic. The Reclaim The Streets, hosted in one of Berlin’s posh districts, failed in causing the problems people were aiming to. Several hundred people moved around, but mostly encircled by cops, and the few occasions presented to the crowd have been not exploited rightly. Of course, this was not the usual idea for a summit, and it was the first time many of us were coming together, with all the problems this involves. Many reformists or self-proclaimed politicians of the movements rode the tiger and declared that the blockades at the fields have been a huge success in comparison to this failure. Fair enough, plan B was not that successful, but at the same time it’s nice that several thousand people refused to follow the dictatorships of their leaders up in the fields (leaders that did not want “their” militants joining the blockades after the Rostock riot) and walked towards the fence, maybe a first step, for some of them, towards more radical thoughts and actions for the future. But then again it is a completely different story to try to coordinate among several hundred people and more, autonomously and within a few days, for direct actions rather than for eating some ready-made recipe, as the concept of blockades was.

Decentralization requires a massive level of responsibility, self- trust and experience which not always is working at its best and needs to be oiled more. And I reckon it is exactly on this “oiling process” that we have to work more in the next future. It was a worth try, at least for learning from the many mistakes done and discuss critically towards future, common developments. Which is something that is very much happening right now here. Not to be forgotten though is the fact that anyway some flames arose that very night: 12 expensive cars burned down, a burning barricade close to the Federal Criminal Office and two banks and one job center got trashed from autonomous nightworkers. So all in all autonomous groups found their way among the chaotic situation and managed to get their targets done, showing again the importance and necessity of such a way of organizing.

Moreover, another achieved goal has been in my view the birth of a deeper discussion within the anarchist/autonomous movement. The creation of bigger autonomous/ anarchist gatherings which aim to coordinate us way better again in order to re-establish a few things such as that streetfighting credibility which characterized the Autonomen during the 80’s making them a threat for the city, in certain situation and particular moments, plenaries to host discussions about strategies and tactics, as well as on perspectives. Autonomous plenaries, as well as a huge number of discussions and self- critical papers, followed those days, developing a common debate on many of the aforementioned topics. People began again to discuss things within autonomous media such as the Interim, a bi-weekly autonomous paper from Berlin which is going on since more than 20 years, where a choral debate about Militance (again, intended as radical questioning and consequent attack against the present society, willing to not bow us to the “legal” means offered by the State and recuperators), which was already going on since 2001 and following years and is flourishing day by day: a discussion among clandestine groups, individuals, affinity group, “legal” groups and so on, which is guaranteed by the anonymity of the discussion papers and the fact that Interim is an underground publication.

Well, I see these discussions as a very big goal, especially under today’s situation, where in western countries one would find pretty rarely any trace of a common debate about those arguments, discussions kept on a regular basis, always critical but respectful of the dissonances, which in general give one the feeling not to be a lonely, isolated individual (or a small affinity group) who is breaking his or her head against the wall but is looking for new acquaintances and accomplices in the greyness of today’s reality. A critical debate is always necessary for the health and the radicalism of any anarchist or autonomous movement (or however you may call all this circus…), helps in developing new perspectives, in restoring your consumed toolbox, but also in keeping the things which are worth to keep. As for example rediscovering a general, continuous need for such a critical confrontation among us, towards the destruction of the actual capitalist relationships.

Too often we all undervalue the importance of holding a common, critical debate about many things (G8, strategy and tactics or resistance being a minor portion of the many), also because among us we often do not speak the same language: not in terms of English or German, but in the sense that the words with which we express ourselves do not carry any more a common, recognized value, which is victim of the general impoverishment created by post-industrial capitalism (and its running-train driven by postmodernist wankers…) and each time we meet we must agree again on the meaning we give to certain words.

Moreover, the usual conflicts we do have among us, and especially in certain regions of Europe, do not allow some of us anymore even to give a try to discuss again. Under these conditions, the difference of “language” became sometimes an unsurmountable barrier. Considering all this, I feel still glad that this occasion called G8 brought up some refreshing wind in the sail of the local autonomous/anarchist pirate boats, in the many forms i have tried to described (partially) above. Things are still going pretty rough here, and the situation might present some interesting developments within the close future.

By now (December 07) the autonomous/anarchist monthly plenary is still taking place, seeing between 100 to 150 people discussing together, a demonstration against social control and a new surveillance law in September brought together an over-2000 strong black bloc (where hundreds opposed again, successfully, the misery of pre-controls before the demo and stood strong against cop’s attacks, until their better tools made the difference…), on 8th December a demo against capitalism and dominion and for autonomous space saw 1500 people who took for themselves the posh district of Mitte, where affinity groups took action against estate agency, posh fashion shops, and widened the struggle during the night towards other districts, with the result of 10 posh cars torched down, several banks and a McDonald’s smashed, and cops got also attacked. On the 15th of December, an national wide anti-repression demonstration saw the participation of over 4000 people, lead by a 3000 strong black bloc chanting “Haß, Haß, Haß wie noch nie* – All cops are bastards – ACAB” (*hate, hate, hate like never before) and spreading afterwards into the city center creating disturbances while the Christmas shopping was taking place.

Meanwhile Berlin’s cold winter nights (and Hamburg as well) are warmed by autonomous groups who keep on attacking symbols of power of companies directly responsible for gentrification, prison labour, social control and social misery. The process of re-organization towards the attack of the autonomous/ anarchist scene, whether one likes it or not, has been strongly determined by the taking place of the G8. However, i guess i have contrasting feeling about how such counter summit mobilizations could/would work through the next couple of years. It is clear to me that we, as an international bunch of troublemakers, need somehow to meet for discussing, acting, subverting and loving rather more often than seldomly. One might of course say that each of us can do this on her/his own, as it happens normally, without the necessity of such larger occasions. But still this is not enough for me, and for many others it seems to be the same, as the high participation to such large mobilizations still shows, because I believe we need to recreate us in larger moments where we come together from different experiences and put ourselves at play and see how do we work together. Decentralizing is a necessary thing, for counter summit as for other things, on which we definitely need to keep on organizing to improve our communication and results, as Plan B (badly) showed.

However the necessity of larger gatherings, boiling pot of possible moments of rupture, stays strong. And also through the constant and fast disappearing of social spaces all over Europe (yes, the always beloved but also harshly criticized social spaces…), produces a situation in which we will have to potentially discover new forms and places for meeting and conspiring together. Moments such as the eviction the Ungdomushet social center in Copenhagen or the popular resistance to the TAV in Italy come here to my mind, showing still the vitality and the importance of coming together for a common – even as temporaneous and limited – resistance.
Resistance that we must transform into attack, indeed. Again, the bet remains to decide for ourselves our common dates where we act together, and try to avoid the ones given to us by our enemies. The same old discourse on the end, one might say, for which I probably wouldn’t have needed to write such a long piece.
Right, but it is a fact that until such answers, or better tries, will not seriously pop up, we will have to witness in the future again such a counter summit circus where we keep on risking to be doomed more and more to watch – and be part of – an already seen theater play. “Waiting for Godot” by S. Beckett comes here to mind, indeed.

*Tony Blair used this term in Gothenburg 2001, after a number of anarchists were shot.

Source: http://325collective.com/325_5.pdf