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Newsletter (in English)


Between June 6-8, the heads of state of the world’s eight most power states met behind barbed wire and high fences for the latest G8 summit in Heiligendamm near Rostock, Germany. The security costs of the summit topped 130 million euros (£88 million) but all the gigantic fortifications – a 12-kilometer fence, 16,000 police and 1,000 soldiers – could not protect the G8 from mass protests. Tens of thousands of activists participated in demonstrations and blockades against the G8 summit.

The demonstration

Around 80,000 people took part in the demonstration on June 2 in Rostock – the biggest demonstration of the anticapitalist movement in Germany that has ever taken place. In the weeks leading up there was endless agitation against “rioters”: raids on left-wing projects and investigations about supposed “terrorist associations” were meant to alienate the population from the G8 opponents. The end of the demonstration on Saturday appeared to justify this agitation: on TV there were pictures of young people dressed in black throwing stones and burning cars.

The mass demonstration virtually disappeared from the news coverage: “Do you want dead?” screamed the headlines of the reactionary “BILD” newspaper the following day. Immediately, the reformist leaders of Attac and the Left Party distanced themselves from “violence”, proving their respectability before the ruling class. Peter Wahl from Attac compared left-wing youth who defended an anti-G8 demonstration with fascists: “We have to take a similarly firm attitude towards violent criminals as we do towards neo nazis: We don’t want to have you here with us.” (1)

We from the communist youth organization REVOLUTION (affiliated with iRevolution internationally) do not support the tactic of the Black Block which showed little care for other demonstrators – as we were in the front rows during the confrontation with the police, stones flew from the back rows onto the front rows! It was clear however that the violence was started by the state – the police deliberately provoked the demonstration, then attacked it frontally.

Without doubt there were young people in the demonstration who wanted to throw stones at any price, even though this kind of individual militancy doesn’t really help to defend a demonstration against police violence. It played into the hands of the media and government propaganda, and as was shown shortly after, there were police agents in our ranks to create just these images. But such actions are an expression of young people’s lack of perspectives under capitalism. If you don’t have hope for a good life anyway, you want to express your frustration with the system in one way or another.

Many demonstrators (different Turkish organizations with a Stalinist or Maoist organization should be mentioned) defended the demonstration in an exemplary way – not with isolated stone-throwing but with chains of activists, flag poles and closed blocks. For this reason they were a special target for state repression and arrests. In total the police arrested more than 1,000 people and locked them up in so-called “prisoner collection points” in cages.

The police and the press “counted” up to 500 injured police after the demonstration, 30 of them seriously injured. The next day it turned out that the former number included cops who had been injured by their own tear gas, the latter number was a pure invention, since only two cops had to be treated in the hospital. The more than 1,000 injured demonstrators drowned in the press’ whirlpool of numbers.

The blockades

The demonstration was just the starting signal for a week of protests. About 10,000 mostly young activists gathered in three protest camps and organized action during the entire week. On June 4, there was a demonstration for the rights of refugees with 10,000 participants, which despite its totally peaceful character was blocked for hours and finally dissolved by the police. On June 2, there were smaller actions against the arms industry or to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine after the Six-Day-War.

In the camps there were discussions, planning meetings and informative presentations around the clock. In the evening there were concerts, with the Trotskyist rapper “Holger Burner”, the autonomist accordeon-and-violin songwriters “Yok N’ Hell” and the Antifa hip-hop crew “Red Star Soundsystem”, besides countless soundsystems. The police threatened the camps continuously with helicopters in the air and water cannons at the gates, but fortunately the camps weren’t stormed.

The high point of the protests came on June 6 with the blockades of the access roads to Heiligendamm. To prevent the arrival of the roughly 3,000 summit participants and disrupt the G8 summit as much as possible, all streets between the airport and the luxury hotel “Kempinski” on the Baltic Sea were blocked.

We from REVOLUTION went as part of the campaign “Block G8” through fields to force our way into the 6-kilometer “forbidden zone” around the summit and occupy the important streets. The organizers had called for “nonviolent mass blockades”, but nonetheless the 10,000 activists had to break through multiple police chains and stand up to water cannons and tear gas. As with other G8 protests the protesters had to organise to fight for their right to protest against police and state obstructions.

After four hours of a “mass stroll” through the North German agricultural landscape, we made it to one of the access roads in the town Börgerende, one kilometer from the Baltic Sea and the fence and held a sit down protest. Despite the media’s agitation against us we encountered heart-felt solidarity of the town’s residents, who discussed with us, brought us water when the police turned off our water supply, and on the second day even brought us fresh bread and coffee.

The police did not clear the blockade which grew from 400 to 2,000 participants, but they did surround it. So during the first night we had to smuggle loaves of bread and pots of pudding over the wet fields, since the truck with the “people’s kitchen” was not allowed to pass. The blockade was held for 44 hours, almost till the end of the G8 summit. Other blockades were attacked more heavily and evicted time and again, but they also made it impossible for the summit participants to arrive via land. In the end, the heads of state were transported by helicopter, while their servants and the press were transported with boats from the German navy.

The concept of nonviolent mass blockades was a complete success. The “Five Fingers”, with five blocks with different colours, shows the importance of planning and organization at protests. Here it was not a question of non-violence as a principle, rather as a tactic for this concrete action. Non-violence is not a cure-all, and neither is violence. The trick is to assess the balance of forces in any situation and apply the necessary measures to accomplish political goals and defend ourselves against the violence of the police. To shift the balance of forces in our favour, for future protests of this kind we must continue to build up the revolutionary left to have a larger political base for an offensive course against the summits.

The trade unions could be seen at the demonstration and the blockades, but they had only mobilized half-heartedly. Mobilization within the trade unions can put pressure on the leadership so that they call on their millions of members to take part in actions against these meetings of the ruling class. One should positively mention the youth of the public sector trade union Verdi, who in the run-up to the summit opposed the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ demonstrators and said: “We oppose the shameless attacks with an increased mobilization. We call on everyone to participate actively and take protest out onto the street in and around Rostock!” (2)

The summit and the movement

The eight puppets who rule the world in the interest of capital were mostly cheered in the press as the saviours of the planet: after all they decided to “consider talks” about binding cuts in emissions to reduce global warming. Having failed to deliver on last years G8 promises for small handouts for Africa they re-issued the same promises!

Despite all attempts of the media corporations, of Bono and Geldorf to present these empty promises as hope, more and more people are realizing that global capitalism is destroying the world and all the people on it. The heads of state of the eight most powerful countries can’t do anything against this – even if they wanted to – because their job is to increase the profits of the capitalists at any cost.

A new generation of activists is pushing out onto the streets, again and again, without a clear perspective but full of passion. They know that they must fight if they want a better world. The protests showed that this anti-capitalist movement is still moving – even in Germany. The state attacks us, the media denounce us, the self-proclaimed leaders of our movement disorganize us at every step – at Rostock, Attac and its hangers on deliberately organized an “alternative summit” meeting at the same time as the blockades. A 1000 people went to their boring meeting while 10,000 activists chose to block the streets leading to the G8!

The movement continues, because the capitalist system kills tens of thousands every day. But to move forward, we can’t remain a loose movement – we need an organization at a worldwide level, to resist the coordinated force of the capitalist states. For this reason, our project of an independent revolutionary youth organization met with a lot of interest at the anti-G8 protests. Young activists should organize themselves, rather than being the foot soldiers for bureaucrats of every colour and flavour.

One thing is clear: if we don’t want our movement to remain under the control of Attac or other reformist organizations and parties, the anti capitalist youth who always go out onto the street need to get steadily organized!

by Wladek, Revo Berlin, and Susen, Revo Plauen, June 13, 2007


Foot notes:
(1) Tagesspiegel from June 4, 2007
(2) page of the Verdi youth

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