Overview and comment about the demonstrations and actions of the last months in Germany
14th April Berlin: 25k at a demonstration against gentrification and the “insane housing situation”. On 20th October the next one with a similar topic and similar size is scheduled for Frankfurt
10th May Munich: 40k at a demonstration against a new authoritarian police law in Bavaria
21st May Berlin: Occupation of 9 houses in Berlin. During the year as many occupations as not for a long time in other cities, some more successful, some less
Since the beginning of June in Leipzig: Strike against the closure of the steel-foundry “Neue Halberg-Guss” where 1500 jobs could be vanished. Solidarity strike at another facility of this company in Saarbrücken. See below why this is listed here
During July nationwide: tens of thousands at decentral demonstrations, rallies, actions etc. against the criminalization of the sea rescue in the Mediterranean
7th July Düsseldorf: 20k at a demonstration against a new authoritarian police law in North-Rhine-Westphalia. On 8th September the next one is scheduled for Hannover, Lower Saxony. There are also plans for Saxony but without a date yet
11th July Munich: 8k at an antifascist demonstration in Munich at the end of the NSU trial. Several thousand at decentral demonstrations in more than 30 cities
22nd July Munich: 50k at a demonstration against the “politics of hatred and fear” and especially against Bavaria´s ruling party, CSU
If you look at this list, you might get the impression that new social movements are about to start in Germany, but – as always – things aren´t that clear if take a closer look. Almost exactly three years have been passed since shit-lord Schäuble blackmailed the Greek government after the referendum on the austerity measures. One consequence in Germany was that the – indeed not super-powerful but nevertheless existing – anti-austerity movement collapsed from one day to another. A few months later the “summer of migration” emerged, where a huge wave of solidarity and politization of the people could be experienced. Since then the development we had predicted since the beginning of the crisis, became more and more evident: state of exception is the new normality, fascism is on the rise, under the justification of economic competitiveness and security an authoritarian transformation of society can be noticed.
The answer of the anticapitalist scene? None. Or to be put it less drastically: partly successful attempts to tackle specific consequences, but nothing radical. “Radical” in the sense to tackle the causes of this situation in a particular praxis. While daily attacks on refugees are happening, the AfD gained 13% in the last federal elections and all parties are moving to the right including factions in the left party, we (not “we” as a specific group or network, but “we” as a huge majority of anticapitalists) focused on more or less symbolic events with the aim to gain attention and agitate people (big exception G20 summit). But in fact the opposite happened: we weren´t able to repel the attacks of police, state and press. Our mobilizations became always less successful. If something failed, activists left behind exhausted and frustrated because the next big thing was approaching. We were only thinking in our own logic and forgot the necessity to strengthen our structures and in our daily businesses we lost the duty to develop and promote a vision of better and solidairy future, a specific cause why people should get active, what we can offer to them/to us.
Now a situation emerged where several mass demonstrations took place on specific, but more or less leftist topics, where we were not standing there alone anymore. Such big demonstrations in such a frequency haven´t happened for years. Of course this is positive. Of course this raises hope. Of course this could be a new start of social struggles. But: These protests are very diverse, from Christian groups, to different parties, unions, NGOs and whatever. Furthermore we would consider not all of them as our allies and it´s also not that easy to make anticapitalist positions visible in this constellation. We must not do the mistakes of the past and project something in these emerging movements which they most likely cannot fulfill. Our duty should rather be to explain why it´s not about Bavarian hillbillies who accidentally came in power or not about a single law but why it´s worth struggling for something else.
Two examples in this context, one positive and one negative: After the summer of migration many people got active in solidarity structures for refugees. These people still exist and they are still doing important things, but they are almost invisible in the public discourse. After Italy and Malta started to criminalize the sea rescue in the Med, a wave of solidarity actions is taking place under the slogan “Seebrücke” (sea bridge), where it´s not only about the NGOs who are directly affected but also about this antiracist groups and structures which are active in Germany under increasingly harsh conditions. But on the other hand in Leipzig a strike in a steel-foundry is going on for more than six weeks now. They resist against the announced closure of the factory with a temporary unlimited strike, the workers blocked the factory for example, had some minor confrontations with the police, a solidarity strike at another facility of this company in Saarbrücken is going on. In the routine of German labor struggles this is quite militant compared to how unions usually act. This could be a great chance to show concrete solidarity with already struggling people and fight together with them and explain through this why organization is important, but there is literally no response from antiauthoritarian leftists.
Hard times are approaching. There is no hint that the authoritarian formation will end soon. Police laws are getting passed and the AfD is getting more successful. Next year there will be two very critical elections in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. In Brandenburg the AfD could win (last polls: SPD 23%, CDU 23%, left party 17 %, AfD 22%) but will most likely not come into power. In contrast to Saxony (polls: CDU 32%, left party 19%, SPD 9%, AfD 24%). The regional branch of the CDU is far-right compared to other states and it would be not a big surprise if they form a coalition with the AfD, although they are denying such plans officially, but it could be possible that they can´t build a government without them.
So the next time will show if this mass demonstrations and actions are only punctual events or if they could be enhanced to a mode of acting against this societal constellation. Until then, regards from the streets of the heart of the beast.