Know your enemy!


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Anti Repression Leaflets for Videoactivists and Photographers

  • Dealing With Image Material Of Demos – And How To Act In The Case Of An Arrest english | francais



October 15th 2007, Heiligendamm -- Hokkaido -- Genoa

- G8: Summary of Evaluations

- Balkan Anarchists of Northern Europe: “Sooner or later you will all be in trouble.”

- A letter by one of the prisoners of the current proceedings under section 129a in Germany.

- Solidarity with Andres and Raul

- red pepper: Terror laws hit German left

- Budge: The Environmental Impacts of the G8 Protests

- Istanbul + UK post-g8 Infotour + Italy 2009

- International Preparation against G8 in Japan

- Urgent petition in order to save graffiti dedicated to Carlo Giuliani, located in Milan, Italy

G8: Summary of Evaluations


After the G8, a whole lot of debriefs and reflective summaries were published by the protesters. There were differences in opinions depending on the groups’ characters, nationalities, examining questions, time of debrief, questions in focus and tactical preferences.

Most questions examined were the effects of the protests, the question of militancy in protests and violence and consequences for the future.

During the weekend June 30st and July 1st, activists in Netherlands met in Amsterdam to discuss the G8 activities. The tone of their feedback is light-hearted and humorous, starting off with the statements:
“It is difficult to make deals with clowns” says a represent of the Dutch Clown Army with a serious face. Around him people nod their heads in understanding.
About the effect of the protests, the report of the feedback session claims:
“The roads around the Kempinski Hotel were all effectively blocked and the three self organised camps (with up to 7000 people in each) around Heiligendamm were certainly a logistical tour-de-force, but everybody who had to be in the hotel seems to have been flown in with helicopters or shipped in by boat…”. But otherwise the reflection does not point out anything significantly new or unexpected.

The London debrief meeting notes show a strong similarity to the Dutch ones in that it took place immediately after the protests and focused solely on practicalities. Similarly, it also tried to abstain from making any criticisms towards specific groups policies and practices. But it also revealed the split in protest locations into the civil disobedience, sit-down tactics of the “Block G8” and some of the more militant anti-capitalists. In regards of the internationality of the protests, the subjective feeling was that there were about “70% German, 30% internationals there”. The main conclusion of the feedback session seems to be the same as in the Dutch session: trying to improve the flaws of this year’s protests for the next.

The Japanese reflection “Howling Coalition: the Anti-globalization Movement Sprouts Freedom and Diversity” by Shiro Yabu and translated by Yuzo Sakuramoto was relayed via the email list at the start of August. As the next G8 meeting will take place in Japan in 2008, for many anti-globalisation activists it is important to know the effects of the Western European protests on Asian citizens. To start of his introduction, Shiro Yabu is focusing on the international contingent and the tactical diversity of the anti-G8 protests:
“To oppose this, many social movements and activists from many places in Europe, Africa, the U.S., and Asia mobilized and developed a huge demonstration.”
In his reflection, he criticises ATTAC and shows particular attraction to and curiosity into the behaviour of the Black Block, which he enthusiastically tries to explain to the Japanese protest movement:
“The Black Block has been the focus of attention as being a group that is both troublesome and awe-inspiring at the same time. They were always viewed as outsiders, but at the same time they were trusted by many activists because they were the original group who opposed the tyranny of the IMF/World Bank, and stood up against the injustice of the Davos Conference (World Economic Forum) and developed the international protest movement against the neo-liberal globalization. Their achievement is significant in the history of activism.”
His reflection is immersed with accounts of his personal experiences during the days of protests, and then he finally summarises up the effect of the protest: “We were not able to stop the G8 Summit, but our coalition besieged it.”
He then continues to formalise his wishes for the future:
“The anti-globalization movement has not yet ended. Actually it has just begun. The venue for the next G8 Summit is Japan. Militants from all over the world including Asian countries will mobilize in Lake Toya, Hokkaido. We must accommodate them and make efforts so that they will be able to fight as fully as possible. […] We call for the coalition of movements.”

An autonomous Canadian group was also impressed by the Black Block as they write in their essay “A. Anti. Anti-Capitalista!”: “ Burning cars and fighting the cops in Canada? […] The national mythology of Canadians being moral, kind, and above all peaceful people leaves very little room to articulate rage and anger.”
The writers go then on to glorify the more militant tactic of rioting, albeit in a funny version:
“Similar to love, a riot can sometimes take us by surprise, when we think we are not prepared, but that if one has an open disposition towards love, like riots, it will allow one to seize the opportunities, and the situations.”
They then go on to talk about the failure of Plan B(erlin); for the Black Block to withdraw from the G8 summit location to riot in the capital. “Arguably it would have been a suicide mission to try to start the riot as we were practically on a 1:1 ratio of black blockers to cops. And they do have the guns.”
In the end, they finish with the hope for a new era of a Black Block in Canada, especially to oppose the G8 in Canada in 2010 and the Olympics in British Colombia.

However, the Northamerican Emeritus Professor Jean Grossholtz focused in her analysis “Once Again Into The Fray?” more on the comparison of the “Myth of Seattle” to the G8 protests in Heiligendamm, something completely irrelevant to most of the European activists.
Her experiences about the G8 protests are totally different from the above:
“The G8 opposition was committed to confrontation and to non-violent civil disobedience.”
She also drops in more educational, theoretical background on why to resist the G8 than the previously examined activists’ reflections. “Delegitimizing the G8” was described to be the main goal of the protests by her, but she does not make a comment about if this aim was achieved. She also points out the counter-summit and priorities the church links: “One stream of the march emerged from an ecumenical celebration in a church organized by Jubilee South, the group working to cancel the debts of countries of the global south.” Amazingly, she sees the increasing police repression as a success of the anti-globalisation protests; she also merges her personal experiences to support her analysis and she points out perceived misrepresentations in the mainstream media. Mainly she elaborates on the theoretical subjects of the protests with a specific US focus; such as the US government’s failures in policies such as healthcare, free trade’s devastating effect on the poor, Guantanamo Bay and the War in Iraq.

Tadzio Mueller and Kriss Sol examine the effects and state of the protest movement in their academic article: “A tale of two victories? Or, why winning becomes precarious in times of absent antagonisms”. They research in depth if the protests influenced the public perception of the G8 - culminating in this rather abstract sentence:
“Since the Cologne summit in 1999, and very much in tandem with the emergence of ‘our’ movements, the primary role of the G8 has changed: from adjudicator of competing interests to imperial institution negotiating the difficulties of emerging forms of global authority.”
They also pretty much summarise the main feeling of a victory of the protest movement AND the G8, but are not able to give a satisfactory explanation for it.
“So we take the affect seriously and agree: we won, somehow. But we have to be realistic and admit that ‘they’ did too. So both sides won – which raises the question: how is that possible?”

Rather amusing is also this article: “m&m (masses & militancy): - a contribution to the discussion on demonstrations and mass militancy”. “If we obey to all bullshit, they will ever think of new things“, they write. Somehow, their article is a wish list for how to change future demonstrations rather than an evaluation of the last one. Here some of the best quotes:
“The endless side-banners-only-1-meter-50-anymore-discussion should finally come to an end. And this end can´t be that we tear apart all our beautiful banners with all the important things written on them!”
“And bottles and stones thrown from the 10th or 15th row only hurt our own people! Just move a bit further to the front and try to realistically see what you can do. “

In “one swallow doesn´t make a summer” a Berlin activist describes the collapse of the autonomous movement during the G8 protests. The anonymous “one of us” writes on 17th of june 2007:“The black block simply seemed to no longer exist. In the TV-show of Sabine Christiansen speculation was made as to whether it had been in the forests the whole time…as amusing as it is to read expertise articles about ‘what makes the hooded man tick?’ in the yellow press, in the end we were [..] not visible […] .”
As a reason, the author gives the reason of narrow-mindedly sticking to previously developed plans without taking recent circumstances into account: “ In nearly all working groups a strong tunnel-view with a tendency to autism developed.”

For the Antifaschist Left Berlin their article: “Five fingers are a fist” is a possibility to make excuses about their spokesperson who disassociated their group from the protesters clashing with the police at the main demonstration on Saturday. The actions of this spokesperson contributed to a major split in the movement, which the group is keen to mend. So they solely blame the mainstream media, and also in turn declared the blockades, which they helped to organise, a full victory.
“The media published every lie propaganda had to offer, the last word in all news-reports was given to the spokesperson of the police. […] But even from the spokesperson of the IL, who is a member of our group, there were dissociating statements given in more than one interview. We were overpowered at that time by the effective power of the discourse of violence, we couldn´t cope with the onslaught of the media an the force of the smear campaign, and in some of our statements we fell into the jargon of media and police. ”

The evaluation of the Interventionist Left makes the interesting point that the anti-G8 protest has been the biggest mobilisation of the radical left in Germany for the last years. They also point out that the “demonstration on the 2nd of June took place on the 40th anniversary of Benno Ohnesorg being shot by police- a symbolic date for the start of the progressive and emancipatory Left.” In their essay they also distance themselves from any disassociative statements made by their spokesperson about the protesters involved in the confrontation with the police during the Rostock demonstration.

Disappointingly, the Radical Left Nuernberg actually doesn’t really examine the G8 protests in their end-of-June essay: “1 : 0 for the movement - get the spirit of Rostock”, but starts off a tirade against their local newspaper, Nuernberger Nachrichten (NN).
“The numerous blockades against [Neo-] Nazis and war, demonstrations against social robbery and the meeting of the [German] Ministers of the Interiors here in Nürnberg were experienced by most people in a completely different way than the allegedly “independent” NN reported. Put together with a picture from Berlin, they turned a camp fire into a burning barricade. Quite often then those distortions of facts were in turn used by the police to restrict basic freedoms - like the ban on the local anti-G8-demo to protest in front of the chemical company Novartis.”

With the contradiction of the disappointing local politics battles also Gregor Samsa von NoLager Bremen. He summarises therefore in the latest edition of the newspaper “AK- Analyse und Kritik” the lack of the G8 protests to actually in general influence the new wave of neoliberal policies, even if just in Germany. He also convincingly points out frequent examples during the G8 protest, that in addition every time collective, group and individual wishes of the protesters collided, the personal or group preferences were carried out without concern on the influence on the majority of the protesters.

Johannes Lauterbach’s and Carol Bergin’s summary of experiences was published in “Rundbrief Sozialimpulse”. Their very educational article includes a whole lot of background and historical information, but also focuses on criticising the mainstream media:
“ Around 2000 participants from 40 different countries took part in a 2 day Alternative Summit with 130 Workshops tackling burning questions of the day including global justice, environment, climate change and sustainable energy, the so called “European partnership agreements” (EPAS), education, war + militarisation, migration and racism, labour, social and gender issues. A coalition of 39 different organisations who initiated the summit, spanned the global grassroots movement Via Campesina, Focus on the Global South, Attac Germany, Medico International, through to the more traditional NGO´s such as Greenpeace and Misereor, and thus offered a wide spectrum of speakers and expertise on all these topics. Nonetheless the mainstream media, continuing to speak of an amorphous mass of non-articulate, anti-everything protesters, managed to avoid giving any report on the summit, its concerns, arguments, or suggestions.”
As a further proof, that the media would be out to discriminate against the protesters, they give the most prominent example of the mainstream media misreporting: “The mass media´s hunger to denounce the more radical parts of the protesters as violent became obvious, when a reporter of the dpa (German Press Agency) misquoted one of the speakers [famous intellectual Walden Bello] during the opening rally, reporting he had called to “carry the war into the demonstration, because with peaceful means we achieve nothing”. In reality - confirmed through documented on video-footage, which was available online the same evening - he had spoken about the war in Irak and Afghanistan asking to “to bring the [theme of] war into the meeting, because without peace there can be no justice”.

To draw conclusions, most of the evaluations did not achieve their aims to influence the future of the movement significantly. The majority of the reflections from the autonomous groups call for more militancy, the liberal wing blames the lack of mass support on the mainstream media, groups and individuals involved in the organisation of protests declared these to be a success, and the intellectuals and academics suggest global links of the protest’s significance to everything and everywhere, therefore declaring it a defeat against changing the neoliberal agenda.

If there is something new, refreshing and surprising, it is the musings of foreign individual activists being dropped in this weird German protest situation; often with severe language problems, who try to make sense of the events in their reporting.
As for example Boris Kagarlitsky reports in the “The Blockade of Heiligendamm” for the Transnational Institute:
“Somewhere in the region of the eastern gates a group of Young Communists from the Siberian city of Barnaul got lost. Not knowing German, and with little understanding of what was going on, the group mounted something like their own guerrilla war. Their main achievement they considered to have been the destroying of a fence, topped with barbed wire, which they considered to be the first line of police fortifications. Next day the evening news showed an elderly farmer asking, with various bitter curses, ‘what idiots smashed the fence around my orchard?’ The farmer’s wife blamed the police for everything. Whatever the case, the victims intended to extract compensation for the damage from the federal authorities.”


Balkan Anarchists of Northern Europe: “Sooner or later you will all be in trouble.”

As it turns out, the words of an undercover cop in Berlin's Kreuzberg district during the street fights of the Walpurgis night some weeks before the G8 summed up the German police's reasoning in repressing our counter-summit. We saw how tactfully they treated Saturday's 2nd June mass demo and the blockades that followed. And yet the violent raids of housing collective projects and old haunts of Berlin and Hamburg outlined that they had decided to attack, and did so successfully, in two levels. First, they targeted those who got in trouble later, comrades known to them from the past: Anarchists, leftists and other activists were given the hint by house raids days before the summit. Then there were those who got in trouble sooner, that is, as they joined the movement. All it took was making the mistake of finding oneself at the front line: Water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets proved the undercover cop of Kreuzberg right.

For those who have been in trouble some time now and for those who confronted the police for the first time the counter-summit of Rostock was surely some key point. You could see this in the eyes and words of people who, even before starting off their journey to Germany, spoke out clearly: If mistakes of recent summits were to be repeated, Heiligendamm could easily, without any sense of exaggeration, mark the end of this movement - what we like to loosely describe as the movement against the globalisation of sovereignty.

So what happened? The next few paragraphs comprise a first attempt of writing down and analysing our experiences from the counter-summit of Heiligendamm. The text might, at some points, seem aggressive; yet this is only because we have an agony and lust to see all of the energy concentrated in Northern Germany in early June finally get channelled through more effective directions. We therefore ask that the stark style of the text is not misunderstood: This is nothing but a cry for thinking more before we act. Yes, mistakes were made; yet the fact that we all found ourselves there, that we are still standing, talking of our experiences, is a statement in itself: Not only are we not finished, but we are arising again and sooner or later we'll be stronger than ever!

The Limits of Activism

Imagine: A young demonstrator arrives at one of the three camps that hosted us, all in the perimeter of the red zone. In which of the three they ended up was probably decided by random yet it largely mediated their experience of the counter-summit. For example, the atmosphere in the camp of Rostock (largely dominated by people of the organised/reformist Left) was entirely different to that of Reddelich (with a mass presence of individuals from the anarchist/anti-authoritarian scene) and that, in turn, must have been entirely different to the Wichmannsdorf camp, for which we have no personal opinion since we did not make it there. All in all, we did not find each other; this was the precise problem in an otherwise perfectly organised plan of actions. True: since our aim was set as being the complete blockade of the red zone our scattering in three camps, one convergence centre and tens of small affinity groups was necessary and largely effective. Yet in the name of a largely symbolic success (the temporary blockading of the red zone) we sacrificed a much more important process of communication and networking. Surgery-like-repression that followed now appears almost like a direct outcome of our very own scattering and self-exile. By denying ourselves the mass element in our protests we break up in small groups and individuals that are highly vulnerable to the attacks of the police. By fetishising activism we act under the handicap of being unable to select the terrain of the clash. Worse even, whatever attempted clash then takes place under near-military terms - at which we are (thankfully!) incompetent.

On Counter-violence, Once Again

So in what 'are' we “competent”? This is a good time to look back to our experiences from previous counter-summits and see where they were successful. A common point of all counter-summits (Rostock included) was that the black block acted largely as a people's defence against the police. This is something recognised by most: During the 2nd of June demonstration in Rostock, the vast majority of the demonstration's participants stayed and mixed with the black block once the clashes started, making any serious attack from the police impossible. This is a fact the police were quick to realise and act upon, hence Rostock did quite likely signal an end to the old distinction between peaceful and violent protesters. From now on, cops attack both.

This change in the attitude of the police contributed to the most important change in this summit compared to the counter-summit of Scotland: The big blocks (e.g. those of the Block G8 coalition) were significantly more diverse than in 2005 - bringing together anyone from NGOs to activist groups dealing with specific issues, giving a less reformist touch to the mobilisation as a whole. Should these blocks have been entirely reformist, they would have avoided clashing with the police - which is not what happened. In this regard the Campinski agreement worked: Each group acted in the manner it chose to, respecting the choices made by other groups, giving a notable diversity to the actions that occurred. It is needless to say that it comes as no surprise that ATTAC "condemned and apologised" for the actions of other groups on their behalf: We could expect no different from an organisation with so strong pro-systemic characteristics and attitude.

Precarity and Internalised Repression

The vast majority of people who found themselves at Rostock transcended the limits set in previous counter-summits. They were successful in acting in a subversive and a unifying manner - at least avoiding clashing with other elements of our movement. In this sense, the conditions were ideal for Rostock to become a high point in the long journey of counter-summits. This never happened. Why not? We tried to answer this question: Why wasn't the German police not trounced, even if their 'tough' reputation collapsed? During this process the words of Kreuzberg's undercover cop came to mind. People get in trouble sooner. The police's strike is one step before pre-emptive repression. Starting by crushing the Autonomen's movement in the late eighties the German State was careful to secure that whatever new generation of Autonomen would not easily arise. Beyond the typical direct attack against known persons and groups repression was much more effective when targeting basic infrastructure of our movement in Germany. The treacherous and highly effective "legalisation" of squats in the late eighties means that in 2007 many such spaces are under the immanent threat of normalisation. Even when that does not happen individuals and groups might resort to their self-policing in order to avoid outside threats. In this way the excessive defence of our private spaces deprives our public actions from their necessary dynamism. Signatures put on legalised squats' contracts in the eighties were at the same time signing the agreement for the self-policing of our movements two decades later.

Smash the cities, not the crops!

The return to the city creates expectations. For more than half a year, the word on plan B had circulated around anarchist/autonomous circles. Constantly, throughout all “preparations” the voices of this alternative suggestion were heard loudly, sneaking their way into nightly circles and arousing fantasy and creativity! Our targets are not the pre-set meetings of the sovereign, where the entire repressive mechanism awaits us. Our targets can only be the structures challenging and limiting us daily. The bank's local branch, that MacDonalds outlet poisoning young kids, those forces gentrifying the town's historical centre. Those who design the New Berlin, which in order to exist, will have to be sold, bit by bit, to the hungry eyes of clueless global elite tourists. Our targets are many and so are the brilliant ideas (many comrades travelled all the way to Berlin only for these ideas). They returned to Berlin bidding to strengthen the cry for help from locals dreaming of a sudden break of light in-between the increasing darkness of the statist plans to exterminate all subversive action.

The trains from Rostock are heading towards Berlin in full capacity – group tickets instead of carriage occupation, perhaps an indication of low spirits? Departures already start from Thursday afternoon, second day of the blockades, and then there's another split, we are leaving despite tens of comrades still being piled up in the detention units. Back in Berlin, we're finally playing at home, we can finally breathe freely, the kind of air only available in the camp after June 2nd. At night the first fliers calling for a reclaim the streets party at Berlin's Hackescher Markt appear, figuring masked up people running with their fists in the air, the tension rises, how could we sleep, we wonder around Oranienstrasse, meetings with groups of comrades from all corners of the world, what kind of plans are there, what plan are you going for... On Friday the whole of Kreuzberg is full of fliers, everyone's waiting for the party, the affinity groups are reaching the apogee of co-ordination, everyone has decided where they stand, more or less convinced of the validity of their decision. Last meetings before the action and ... void. Local groups pull out of the plan, why, because of insufficient planning? Excessive risk? Overridden capacities? Some void. But we keep going. The rest of us are at guard. The reclaim the streets party breaks out and asks for the city's attention, of the police, the air force... The night passes tortuously slow, you keep looking at your watch, much-promising meetings, we are blockading the centre of town until the promises are fulfilled. Yet one after the other disheartening news arrive. The tune of a violin in Rosentaler Platz, the only musical background to our party! People we did not invite ask to join the feast, they come to support what we left without any support. Why didn't we invite the whole of the city to our party? Our Reclaim the Streets never turned into the demonstration we wanted to see, it never turned into a party, there were too few of us and we were on our own. A social movement's confinement. Plan B had ended before it even started, it died inside us because we never believed in it. Once again, self-policing.

We painlessly return to our homes, our squats, our neighbourhoods. We dive deep into each others' gaze to see if we can feel what we had felt... Some leave the country to report back to others, many remain to organise anti-repression. There is no need. The punishment is instant: wasserwerfer, pepper spray, baton hits, broken noses, arrests, detention units. Passive presence is punished at equal with active resistance. The unprecedented stance of the cops, “there are no peaceful protesters” brought about a new concept in the insofar “peaceful” demonstrators' circles: “There are no peaceful protests!” In the night of June 8th and after the last few delegates had retreated from the zone, our last comrades were also released from the dungeons of democracy, only to face the paranoia of neo-Nazism waiting for them outside the detention centres. Once again our lawyers came to our rescue, the law now standing as the sole escape route from a paranoid reality, holding us by the hand and leading us to the path of legality... And so the week to follow has nothing to ask from us, from the convergence space, the occupations; after the withdrawal of the powerful, it is all over.

Lights out, the spectacle is over but the stage is not yet empty, it stays full of our daily local struggles. The summits of resistance give us the chance to communicate, exchange and organise our next actions. We don´t see them as the milestone of our fight but as an opportunity to enrich the form of our local struggles and maybe as a reminder that we don´t need the spectacle at all in order to unite our resistance globally.

Balkan Anarchists of Northern Europe, balkan[at]


A letter by one of the prisoners of the current proceedings under section 129a in Germany.

Dear comrades and friends,

As a 129a-prisoner in the mg-case I want to send to you greetings of solidarity and fighting spirit from the rotten prison in Berlin-Moabit, that is so ready to get wrecked.

After 5 minutes in my 7 square meter “luxury accommodation” I fully became aware of our good old, but abstract slogan “Tear down the walls of all prisons and coercive institutions”. The best thing to do! As you probably have heard, Axel, Flori and me, as well as four others are accused by the the Chief Federal Prosecutor to be members of the militant group (mg). According to the Chief Federal Prosecutor this group politically claimed responsibility for 25 militant attacks since 2001. Targeted were institutions and vehicles of imperialist war politics, of institutionalized state racism, capitalist exploitation and the preventive security state. Which are “issues relevant to attack” we all know *.

However, the analyst staff of Federal Criminal Police and Federal Chief Prosecutor saved a special sweetie for us: They say, that we would have been around doing militant actions also before 2001, or more concrete since 1995 (!), which must have been in the last century. At that time, the official researchers assume, we would have adorned ourselves with changing group names. What an amazing degree of cleverness display by us. Oh, by the way, through this maneuver 25 attacks are turned into 38, which means that they plan to legally clear 12 years of militant politics in and around Berlin upon us.

If they manage to get through with applying section 129a to our case, and they will invest a lot for that, all this might easily add up to a 10 years sentence. Which also means, that a long time of political process in court waits for us. We will all need lots of power, doggedness and perseverance.

We regard this act of repression against us, an attempt to break our revolutionary solidarity doomed to fail, in connection with the latest offensive of the preventive security state. The criminalization before and after the G8 summit is continued with our case. Solidarity is indivisible! Therefore we also have to widen our horizons. All over Europe the Left of different spectres is put on the hit list.

Examples are the mass arrests of the 12th of February in Italy against alleged members of the Communist Party political-military (PLP-m), the mass criminalization against more than 100 grassroots activists in Bologna, the state terrorism against the comrades of PCE/Grapo and the Basque movement for independence in the spanish state, or the persecution of militant anarchist circles in Greece.

In many parts of Europe state repression is acute for us. International solidarity, even if ideological differences exist sometimes only to a certain point, will help us to step off lethargy and get moving! Finally I want to thank all the many friends, comrades and people I don´t know personally for their solidarity. Especially our relatives, who are confronted with the situation and the harassments of the Federal Criminal Police, that steals a lot of power from them but also confirms their will to support us. Many thanks to the Berlin Solidarity Alliance, that managed to organize broad support. Special thanks is certainly given to the anti repression structures, to the Red Help, the network Freedom For All Political Prisoners, to the comrades of anarchist black cross (ABC), to Red Help International of Switzerland and Belgium.

For a fervent and untearable bond between inside and outside. We will keep our minds clear and our hearts on fire, hopefully you do the same. Thanks for all! Olli, section 129a prisoner in the mg-case, October 2007

* the german authorities created the term “anschlagsrelevante Themen” about 20 years ago to criminalize legal political activities, and to introduce political opinion as aggravating factor into court cases. This brings back direct political jurisdiction officially claimed to be banned from german criminal law after fascism.

Solidarity with Andres and Raul

The last June 2nd a large demonstration took place in the German town of Rostock where the G8 summit was being held. Some 80.000 people from different places and ideologies showed their rejection against they way the most powerful politicians are ruling our world.

During the demonstration there were no serious incidents except for the provocative attitude of the police. The protest ended with some riots between the demonstrators and the police, after which about 500 people were detained. Four of them (according to the newspapers) were taken to court and sentenced after remain in prison for five days. Quick trials very much put into question by independent organizations and even the media because the detainees did not have the chance of a fair trial.

Among the people sentenced there are two spaniards from Zaragoza whose penalties are as high as 9 months for Andrés (accused of taking part in the riots) and 10 months to Raúl (accused of causing injuries to a policeman). In both cases the sentence is to be served in German prisons with the only evidence of the word of a policeman who claims to have seen them in the riots.

Therefore, we would like to make certain facts very clear:

* The basis of the accusation of our mates seems clearly insufficient. Since the demonstration was recorded by hundreds of police cameras, why not show a video with the evidence?

* We cannot trust the word of a member of the police who attacked demonstrators to the point of injuring docens of them.

* Those who were detained suffered a humiliating treatment not only for the 32 hours following the demonstration but also for the three days of imprisonment before the trial in the German prison of JVA Waldeck where they were kept incommunicado without even being able to telephone their families.

So we ask for your support concerning Raúl and Andrés as well as the other prosecuted for the protests against the G8 summit.


red pepper: Terror laws hit German left

The past few months have seen a wave of repression unleashed in Germany. Houses, offices, social centres and bookshops have been raided by police and several people accused of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ – sometimes for as little as having written academic texts about ‘gentrification’. Frank Meyer reports from Hamburg

The mobilisation around the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm, on Germany’s Baltic coast, marked a highpoint for the left and radical-left in Germany. Some have described the event as the return of the counter-globalisation movement as a social force in Europe.

The protests around the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland saw the institution develop an almost unprecedented level of legitimacy in the world’s eyes. By asking it to ‘make poverty history’, an unlikely coalition of pop stars, politicians and parts of global civil society managed to obscure the fact that the G8 – and the system for which it stands – are in fact the root cause of poverty, not its eliminators.

This year’s summit was different. On 2 June, over 80,000 people demonstrated in Rostock against the G8, rejecting its claims to democratic and political legitimacy. A few days later, 15,000 people succeeded in blockading all the roads to the conference centre, cutting the G8 off from its vital infrastructure of translators, service providers, diplomatic advisors and journalists.

Delegitimation of protest

Despite Chancellor Merkel’s attempt to cast the summit (and herself in particular) as an effort to get serious on the issue of climate change, there was a relative failure to produce the kind of legitimacy that the Gleneagles summit had enjoyed. And this is where the other side of the same coin came into play: the delegitimation of the protests against the summit. Stories were fed to the press about Rebel Clowns using water pistols to spray the police with acid. Stones were reported as being thrown where nothing of the kind had taken place. References to the potential ‘return of left-wing terrorism’ were constant.

These efforts at delegitimation were not isolated events, taking place in a state of exception around the world leaders’ meeting. Over the past few months, there has been a steady attempt to intimidate and criminalise parts of the left and radical-left in Germany. The primary means by which this has been being done is through the construction of a ‘terror’ discourse. The notion of terror has – discursively, if not (yet!) legally – now been expanded so far as to even include the daubing of buildings with paint! Fear has constantly been stoked by a series of high profile and sensationalised raids and arrests.

Police raids

On 9 May, more than 40 properties, including social centres, offices, bookshops and private homes in Berlin, Hamburg and elsewhere were raided by police. This was part of an investigation into the ‘forming of a terrorist association to disrupt the G8 summit’ and, under paragraph 129a of Germany’s anti-terrorist law, the supposed ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’, namely the ‘militante gruppe’ (Militant Group or mg) said to have carried out a number of acts since 2001.

The raids backfired and had the perhaps surprising effect of galvanising the mobilisation against the summit. The same evening, more than 10,000 demonstrated against the wave of repression in different cities across Germany, and over the coming weeks many accused the federal prosecutors of having scored an own goal – consolidating rather than dividing the left.

On 13 and 19 June, shortly after the summit, however, another series of raids took place. Again they were justified as part of an investigation into the ‘formation of a terrorist organisation’ – this time said to have committed arson attacks in the German cities of Glinde, Bad Oldesloe and Berlin against military vehicles and a company said to be involved with the arms industry.

Further arrests

A further wave of arrests took place on 31 July and 1 August. During the night, three people, Axel, Florian and Oliver, were arrested for supposedly attempting to set fire to four German military vehicles on land owned by the company MAN in Brandenburg, near Berlin. They too were accused of membership of the mg.

Shortly after their arrests, the private flats and in some cases the places of work of a further four people were searched. One of those whose homes were raided, Andrej Holm, a sociologist based at Berlin’s Humboldt University, was also arrested under paragraph 129a. The reason given for the four’s suspected involvement with the mg was that during their time as students, or while working on their PhDs, they had developed the ‘intellectual capabilities’ to be able to write the group’s ‘relatively demanding’ texts. Free access to libraries was supposed to have allowed them to carry out the necessary research, and the use of phrases such as ‘gentrification’, ‘inequality’ and ‘precarity’ were said to have appeared in both the mg’s texts as well as the academic work of at least some of those accused.

The only material connection between Axel, Florian and Oliver and the other four were two allegedly ‘conspiratorial’ meetings between Florian and Andrej. The fact that Andrej is said not to have taken his mobile phone with him to the meetings is cited as indicating its suspicious nature.

Media frenzy

Upon arrest, Axel, Florian and Oliver were flown by helicopter, amidst a media frenzy, to the supreme court in Karlsruhe before being remanded in custody at Moabit prison, Berlin, where they currently remain awaiting trial. The police have since been accused of using excessive force while placing the three under arrest. Andrej Holm was also initially remanded in custody.

The prisoners have been held in solitary confinement in cells of six to eight square metres in size. At least one of them has had extremely restricted access to showers, on the basis that his isolation can not be guaranteed in the washroom. The accused have only been able to communicate with their lawyers through glass partitions. Severe restrictions have been placed on the number and frequency of visitors that they are allowed to receive.

Having received worldwide support from both social movements as well as hundreds of critical social scientists who have demanded his release, Andrej Holm was eventually freed from prison on 22 August. He continues to face serious restrictions on his movement and the prosecution is appealing against his release. The appeal will most likely be heard in October.

’German Autumn’

This year sees the 30th anniversary of the so-called ‘German Autumn’, the climax of the cycle of violence and counter-violence between the German state and the leftwing urban guerrilla group, the Red Army Faction (RAF). It makes the climate rife for instilling a fear of the ‘resurgence of terror’ – with a widely expanded definition.

Fortunately, the collective memory of the left and liberal-left from this period is (mostly) strong enough to keep in mind the means by which the terror discourse can serve a ‘divide and rule’ function – encouraging splits between the movement’s ‘moderate’ and ‘extreme’ ends. The result of such splits, of course, always lead to a redefinition of what constitutes ‘legitimate’ dissent and what does not. More and more forms of resistance to the status quo begin falling within the single term: ‘terror’.

The broad and growing movement against the wave of repression has three principal demands: freedom for the three remaining prisoners, solidarity with all of those facing charges and the abolition of paragraph 129a.

[red pepper, Frank Meyer, 24.09.2007]

Budge: The Environmental Impacts of the G8 Protests

Anti-G8 protesters march to the barricades.

This year saw the Group of Eight (G8) summit taking place in Heiligendamm, Germany, adjacent to the Baltic Sea. Like the site of previous G8 summits, this area is fairly remote, requiring a large amount of organizing and travel for those attending the week of protests surrounding the summit. Since the street battles of Seattle, meetings of institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the G8 continually locate to less and less urbanized areas, making travel for activists longer and less efficient.

After helping to organize a G8 information tour stop in Los Angeles in April, I decided to attend the G8—given my desire to meet with No Borders activists in the UK and Germany. I also wanted to take part in the migration-based protests and organizing planned for the Sunday and Monday of the anti-G8 protests.

Throughout my week at the G8, I was faced with many concerns over methods and successes of action, solidarity with those arrested and imprisoned, remembering to eat and staying out of police reach. I was also continually nagged by a growing realization of the environmental impacts that we were directly creating through protest. While several documents were produced and distributed in various languages informing activists from outside Germany what to expect regarding their rights and police repression, I do not recall seeing anything relating to the literal environment that protestors would be entering. I do not posit that I am the first to come to the realization that mass protests are inadvertently (and often not-so inadvertently) detrimental to the environment. This is, however, something that requires more discourse within activist circles, particularly concerning global convergences.

Arriving at the G8

Discussions surrounding the guilt faced by many activists traveling to distant parts of the globe to protest are nothing new and do not need to be rehashed here. Nor does the increased risk to the environment due to ever cheapening flights—particularly within Europe, where flights are offered starting at less than two dollars (see EF!J July-August 2007). Though many of us opt to travel by bicycle on a daily basis, we are also aware that our carbon footprint is easily blown out by just one flight a year, let alone several more for those of us privileged enough to be global travelers.

On the opening day of protests surrounding the G8, I traveled by bus alongside a number of people from Australia, Germany and the US to the site of the protests. We had managed to acquire tickets on a bus chartered by a union in Berlin, taking a relatively short three-hour journey north to the seaside town of Rostock in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. During our travel, we passed countless police vans, along with the intimidating sight of military tanks and trucks guarding strategic sites. On arrival, we were struck with the sight of approximately 80 large charter buses lined up along the autobahn. Earlier in the week, we had heard a rumor that there were no buses left for hire within Berlin as they had all been reserved for the G8, and this was becoming increasingly evident.

Reports also stated that there would be approximately 16,000 German police in attendance, coming from across the nation. This meant that not only were those protesting using excessive levels of transportation, but that the police-state that had been deployed to the region would bring its own high levels of motorized transit, accommodation and food requirements. At times, it was possible to count triple figures of large green and white police vans and cars on the road. This continued across the region for the next week.

For the duration of the week, three camps had been constructed to house activists. These were located in Rostock, Reddelich and Wichmannsdorf, spanning approximately 22 miles in distance. Somewhat thankfully, organizers had managed to convince the regional train operators to run a train between the camps and into the center of Rostock on an hourly basis, 24 hours a day, for the entire week. Though this led undeniably to a decreased reliance on personal transportation (and an increased ability to actively travel between different actions), the use of mass transit also led to unprecedented travel in the region.

The feeling within the camps was mixed, something between radical gathering and rock concert (there was a nightly concert on a stage in a nearby field). The campsites were divided into barrios; my group decided to set up in the Queer Barrio at Reddelich. Within the Reddelich camp—the supposedly more “radical” base—were the Queer, Zapatista, Anarchist Teapot, Interventionist Left, Black Bloc and several other barrios. Most barrios contained their own kitchen, providing amazing food, coffee, tea and water every day. Alongside these were a “concierge,” a media tent, bars, cafes and more. An around-the-clock watch was instituted, partly due to the constant police presence surrounding the camp. In addition, spaces were set up for decompressing after actions, discussing sexism within the “activist left,” and other important conversations. Low-flying jets, military helicopters, continued threats of neo-Nazi and police attacks, and false alarms in the middle of the night made for low-intensity psychological warfare, leaving campers sleepless and on edge.

Marching in the Streets and Fields

As many have witnessed through various media outlets, the first day of protests saw many thousands taking to the streets of Rostock. A commonly seen spectacle of the protest actions was that of the Black Bloc setting fire to and overturning cars in between back and forth battles with heavily armed police on that day. Less shown were the burned-out and melted trash cans, piles of rubbish in the streets and broken glass from 32-ounce beer bottles being thrown at police or discarded.

The day of action for migration took place on June 4 after a day of organizing at the Rostock convergence center (a five-story squatted school on the outskirts of town). Throughout the day, those seeking asylum could be heard leading the chants, “We are here because you have ruined our countries!” and, “Freedom of movement is everybody’s right!” The Rostock reporting center for those seeking asylum was closed down for the day—a large success for the demonstration. The final migrant rights march was stopped by police claiming that the march contained “violent elements within the crowd,” and that there were 10,000 activists. (We possessed a permit for only 2,000.) With the police clearly nervous from the clashes earlier in the week, we came face-to-face with water cannons, riot police and dogs, which created a heavily militarized zone between the march and the town of Rostock.

As the week progressed and the focus of protests moved from urban areas toward the area of Heiligendamm where the summit had begun, new challenges arose. Though organizers had agreed with local farmers to ensure that protesters would keep out of the surrounding fields and forests, thousands found themselves with no option but to cross these areas to avoid road blocks and police oppression. Though it was impressive to witness massive lines of protesters moving knee-deep through rapeseed fields, an air of frustration and dismay hung low over the actions. Rivers were crossed, habitats were disturbed, waste was discarded and sections of undergrowth were trampled. (Many local farmers later called for reparations for damage to their crops.)

During the days on which we attempted to blockade the summit, the landscape was filled with the constant sight of police roadblocks, armored vehicles, water cannon trucks and military helicopters ferrying people back and forth into the meetings. Many of us cheered, danced and sang when we learned that the nearby airport and many important roads leading to Heiligendamm had been blocked. This meant that delegates, media and staff would have a much harder time getting into the summit.

Autonomous and larger-organized roadblocks went up across the region, many from the forests bisected by roads near the towns of Bad Doberan, Rostock and Heiligendamm. Though largely successful, the construction and defense of roadblocks resulted in an increased use of sea and air transportation to ensure that the G8 gathering could continue. Traffic jams resulting from the blockades frustrated many locals, who ultimately left their cars idling—sometimes for hours at a time.

A Need to Reflect

Though many conversations could be overheard regarding the impacts that the mass protest actions had imposed on the local environment and population, there appeared to be no specific space for a critical assessment of such impacts. Perhaps a global protest consisting of a convergence of thousands of activists is not the place or time to do so, but when is? Where are the follow-up discussions (or pre-planning discussions) regarding the detrimental impact of mass protests that draw activists, media, police, politicians and many others from across the globe? How do we weigh the benefits of mass protests against the environmental and social impacts brought about by our actions? What alternatives are open to us?

Active reflection is a necessary component of any form of protest. Days of action were planned to protest climate change, but consideration of the surrounding environment was missing. I do not suggest that we as protestors should take the full blame for the increased pressure on the environment in regions where we congregate. The very existence of the G8 and the inability of government leaders and corporations to actively address issues of environmental degradation and global warming must ultimately be held responsible. However, this does not absolve us of all responsibility.

There has been a good deal of discussion surrounding the need for solidarity actions conducted from activists’ home cities, towns and regions. Many opt to do this—whether due to environmental, economic, social or mobility-related constraints. But many more continue to travel thousands of miles to attend mass protests. One approach that deserves more attention and participation is the bicycle caravans that approached the G8 after traveling for several weeks, spreading information and inviting others to attend the protests. Though not all of us are in the position to cycle to events such as the G8—due to geographic distance, physical ability and time constraints—bicycle caravans provide a sustainable alternative and a chance for social interaction.

In any case, the need for discourse on how we can and will mitigate the impacts that we, as protestors, bring about is critical.

Budge is an activist geographer from Melbourne, Australia, and can be seen cycling around Los Angeles, calling for the removal of borders and for freedom of movement for all (visit

Istanbul + UK post-g8 Infotour + Italy 2009



3. ITALY 2009 G8


Last week there was a presentation in Istanbul, Turkey, done by one from the Infotour group.

About 60 people came to the Asian side of Istanbul to see the 2.5 hour presentation, which was hosted by local activists, a good number of which had been to Germany for G8, and which had hosted the last infotour event here in spring 2007.

The presentation discussed how the protests were organised, including discussion of how various groups worked together across the political spectrum, and talked about where groups were easily able to work together and where conflicts arose.

There were a number of photographs and videos shown of protests, starting from EU meeting in Hamburg, through 2 June and to the end of the summit. Police repression and tactics were also presented and discussed. In discussion people talked about the effectiveness of protests on June 2, as well as the blockades, with particular attention given to the role of Block G8 vs. the concept of decentralised actions.

Turkish people were very, very interested, but it must be noted that Turkey has a completely different political environment. The weekend before there was a public human rights outdoor concert, which consisted of two pop bands, and no political speeches or controversial leaflets or information of any type.

Despite this, 5 riot buses of Turkish police armed with semi-automatic weapons were stationed nearby, and were very intimidating. It was mentioned that one editor of a small radical newletter was recently arrested at his house, taken by police and beaten to the point of needing serious hospital care, then he was released with no charges.

In Turkey another struggle for radicals is to deal with avoiding mandatory military service. Penalty for this can be time in prison equal to the time of mandatory service, and it was pointed out that Turkish prisons are not very nice.

Another person during this week mentioned that the police checked his ID and wanted to detain him, possible because he "looked a little bit gay." Police are notorious for beating up gays, and there are continuing problems with banning a gay pride parade/CSD in Istanbul.

Overall the visit was excellent, and there are a good number of comrades doing very inspiring work in Istanbul.

This tour went through 5 cities between Manchester and Notts in late June and early July, 2007. The goal was not only to discuss the German mobilisation, but to also discuss and analyse differences between the '05 UK mobilisation and the '07 one.

There were many comments that largely the German mobilisation was much better, quite possibly because the German radical left/autonomous scene is so much bigger, and also because it is more centrally located in Europe.

There was much discussion of Block G8. Many people mentioned that more decentralised actions had been anticipated, but due to the fact that Block G8 was so well organised and effective, many people spontaneously decided to join in. This was especially true with internationals that might have been uncertain of actions in a place where they were not familiar with local language and laws and police.

This should be noted for future mobilisations. People found it very easy to "plug-in" with Block G8, and appreciated their trainings. That said, others did speak of very effective small actions, many of which were never mentioned in the press or on indymedia.

There was further discussion of black block actions on 2 July. (mandatory disclaimer to follow): Of course, no one in attendence of the discussions was present with the black block or would ever do anything illegal.

Many people questioned the aims of such actions, which did not seem to be well targetted. Similar critique was made of the black block which left the Reddelich camp on the early morning of 7 June, and which resulted in poor relations with locals after people took garden furniture of local residents to build barricades.

3. ITALY 2009 G8

It is interesting that the 2009 G8 will be on the island of Sardinia, on a former US nuclear submarine base. Also very interesting is the fact that most of the locals absolutely fucking hate the USA because of the fact that they had a "little" accident with one of their subs that spilled nuclear radiation around the area and the Americans tried to keep it secret until some Italian scientists detected radiation in the waters and the US military had to admit to a submarine crash that spilled radiation into the sea.

Also, rumours (can more people help with local research here?) say that the USA tested phosphouros and other military weapons on the island just before the Iraq war in 2003, and that animals on the island have been born with deformities, leading all islanders to despise the US military.

All of this leads to widespread dislike and distrust of the USA near the location of the G8 2009. What would happen if anti-G8 activists made an organised attempt to speak to them all soon and organise a local opposition to G8 2009?

ok, please forward to your friends and contacts, and lets put the final nail in the G8 coffin!

International Preparation against G8 in Japan

[Infotour Working Group | Gipfelsoli Infogroup]

Press Release Saturday 6th October 2007

* Infotour in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong

This week, activists from the “Infotour Working Group” embarked on their trip to Asia. A number of meetings and events are planned to foster closer contact between the Anti-G8 protest movements in Asia and Europe. At the beginning of July 2008 the G8 summit will take place in Hokkaido. In Japan, a coalition of counter-globalisation, anarchist and ecological groups are preparing protests and actions. Also in Europe there are calls for resistance to the summit.

The “Infotour Working Group” of the radical left “Dissent network” organised hundreds of information events in Europe in preparation for the 2007 G8 summit. These mobilisations contributed to the broad protest movement in Heiligendamm.

“We are delighted that people in Japan and its neighbouring countries are interested in the experiences of previous summit protests”, one participant of the Infotour said. “When we return, we, together with Japanese activists, will be reporting back on the preparations against the G8 summit in Japan”.

The Japanese G8 critics are particularly interested in making contact with groups in Italy, which is where the G8 summit will take place in 2009. Following large protests in the last years, the G8 meeting will be forced to convene on a military base on a small island near Sardinia.

Both in Japan and in Italy antimilitarism will play a large role in the preparations for the protests. In both countries there have been massive protests against both US and NATO military establishments in recent months.


* Infotour Working Group,



Urgent petition in order to save graffiti dedicated to Carlo Giuliani, located in Milan, Italy

In memory of Carlo Giuliani, murdered on July, 21th of 2001 during the repression of the protests against the G8 summit in Genova, has been realized in Milan a “No Justice, No Peace” graffiti. On September, 29th of 2007 the deputy mayor of Milan, Riccardo De Corato, has declared that this graffiti must be soon erased. In the last days the municipality already erased numerous others graffiti, also two historical graffiti dedicates to Dax-Davide Cesare and Mumia Abu Jamal.

We think it is unacceptable that someone can simply decide to eliminate this piece of historical memory. It is also shameful that the municipality of Milan thru its antigraffiti campaign try to attack and delete what it has been and ever will be a precious artistic and historical patrimony for the entire city and for so many persons all over the world. We invite all to sign this petition and to spread it. We also invite to sign this petition to everyone think that art is a free and unerasable form of expression and life and to everybody also think that the war against graffiti and the young writers is an unacceptable expression of intolerance in Milan as in New York, in every large metropolis as in every small cities. We invite to act and to make a stand against this scheduled cancellation to all the people all over the world who do not want Carlo Giuliani’s memory to be obliterated.

Web page: Petition: To see the photo: