January 9th 2008, Hokkaido -- Heiligendamm

- G8 2008: Japanese Call Out and latest planning update
- Japanese Government to Keep ‘Hooligans’ Away from Summit
- Japanese Budget: 31.9 Billion Yen to G8 Summit, including 15.5 Billion Security Costs
- Heiligendamm G8 Summit: a chronology of protest and represssion
- PAULA explains herself
- Turbulence: Move into the light?
- German Court Declares Massive Pre-G8 Police Raids Illegal
- TOP Berlin: Make a foreshortened critique of capitalism history!
- G20: Call out for solidarity and support for Australian anarchists

G8 2008: Japanese Call Out and latest planning update

The G8 Summit will take place between the 7th and 9th of July. Our action days will begin on the 1st of July. There will be a series of themed demos in Sapporo during succeeding four days. July 5th shall be the day of mass rally and demo in Sapporo. We propose to make it the international day of action, calling a simultaneous protest in different cities of the world. During the three days of the Summit we are planning mass direct action at sites near Lake Toya. People are trying to approach the site as close as possible to send their voices.

Our presentation consists of following contents:

(1) Action Plans

(2) About the projects

(3) Facilities for foreign visitors

(4) Japanese police behavior and Immigration situations

(5) call out

(1) Action Plans

The G8 Summit will take place between the 7th and 9th of July. Our action days will begin on the 1st of July. There will be a series of themed demos in Sapporo during succeeding four days. For now the themes are tentatively: (1) Anti-neo-liberalism, namely, anti-poverty, precarity, homelessness; (2) farmers’day, characterizing Hokkaido as the land of farmers; (3) anti-military base/anti-war; and (4) the day of natives and minorities, symbolizing the Ainu people, Hokkaido’s native habitants before Japan’s colonization in the 19th century.

July 5th shall be the day of mass rally and demo in Sapporo. We propose to make it the international day of action, calling a simultaneous protest in different cities of the world. During the three days of the Summit we are planning mass direct action at sites near Lake Toya. People are trying to approach the site as close as possible to send their voices.

Various groups are planning different direct actions. The tactics are varied. You will get the information from the affinity groups in Japan. You are encouraged to make proposals or organize your own actions in consultation with Japanese groups. Your creativity is most welcome and appreciated.

(2) Various Projects

Japanese activists scene needs global connections and exposure, so we ask for different types of participations. What is crucial primarily is a convergence, namely, to meet and talk person to person. Aside from the actions, we are planning following events.

Global Activist Conference: All the activists who have a little extra time are encouraged to meet at workshops and speak about themselves. These will take place in Tokyo, Kyoto/Osaka area, and Sapporo, around the end of June. (As we shall explain in a minute, most of the foreign activists who go to Hokkaido have to travel either via Tokyo or Osaka.) There will be a series of symposia, featuring activist type intellectuals such as Michael Hardt, David Graeber, Marina Sitrin, and Andrej Grubacic, who will come to Japan for solidarity.

Music concerts of Anti-G8 theme are planned in Tokyo, Sapporo, as well as at the camp near Lake Toya, the site of the G8. The participants are punks, Djs, and vanguard musicians who took part in the Sound Demonstrations against Iraq war (we will show you the image of this type demo later). In Sapporo City, we are organizing screenings of films related to Global Justice Movement and the Anti-G8 projects from the past. Various kinds of radical theater groups are going to take part in the anti-G8 protests, some in their own theater space, others on the street or other sites.

Abut the events organized by other groups, there will be Alternative Summit (from July 6th to 8th), involving wider range of groups including NGOs. NO! G8 Action is going to be part of. There will also be a summit of the natives. Meanwhile the state of Japan is planning a international conference of university presidents. Against this a coalition of students’ organizations are calling for protest.

(3) Facilities for foreign visitors

Transportation: We are still researching the safest and cheapest way to get there from different locations. We shall begin to upload the information at our website in the near future. But so far, our tentative conclusion is that airplane might be the cheapest way, rather than boat or train (i.e., trans-Siberia railway as some have suggested). To get to Sapporo, which is the nearest city from Lake Toya and the biggest city in Hokkaido, you will have to fly either via Tokyo or Osaka. Hokkaido is connected to the main land only via airplane or boat, namely, there is no car traffic accessible to it. So all of you might as well stay in either city for a period of time, before the summit and participate in the events.

In Tokyo, we will set up a convergence center where you get information and participate in workshops. We will secure cheapest accommodation (about $15 per night) in a certain area of the city. Also we will organize network of people who are willing to accommodate the visitors for free. In Osaka/Kyoto area, we shall set up similar facilities and situations. But these two urban areas are very different and the activist communities are also different.

In Sapporo, there will be a convergence center. There will be a camp where you can stay with your own tents and sleeping bags. Vegan food is available for free, with sliding scale donations. There will be workshops and events. There will be an independent media center, where foreign media activists can go and set up their station.

From Sapporo Lake Toya can be reached either by train (three hours) or car (two hours). Bus ride will take three hours. There will be a camp and media center as well. This is the place where the main events will take place.

(4) About Japanese Police and Immigration Issues

The most common weapons Japanese police carry are truncheons, plastic shields, and sand-stuffed gloves. They used to use tear gas and water-cannon, but not much recently. Pepper spray has not been used for some time, but some source says that they might start using it.

They don’t do mass-arrests like the European and American police. They tend to do close combat by forming a line and arrest people one by one by drawing them into their side. It is not illegal to hide your face on the street. One does not have to respond to their interrogations; one does not have to let them check their belongings. These are not obligation but only voluntary cooperation.

They rarely start attacking protesters like elsewhere; they are not as aggressive as American and European police forces. If you are Japanese, once you are arrested, you are advised to be completely silent, and likely to be held for twenty three days − the extensions of 3 days, 10 days, and 10 days. The enormity of the custody period has been criticized by the Amnesty International. But there is one thing we would like you to know. In the past, foreign political activists have rarely been arrested. The police prefer to let them go. Probably there is a policy of not making political events internationally known. Japan tends to be very nervous about their international reputation. We are hoping that this will remain the same for the anti-G8 2008.

In any case, a legal team has been formed, while politicians and civic organizations have organized a campaign to watch police behaviors toward the G8 2008.

The bad news is that beginning from the late November, Japan will begin to employ the same immigration rules as the US. It is locally called the “US Visit,” where all foreign visitors are fingerprinted and photo-taken. People are organizing a wide opposition to this.

We cannot tell you how severe the restriction of the immigration will be for the activists coming for the anti-G8 protests. But we can recommend the activists who have many arrest records in the past and are nervous about it, but absolutely want to come − please contact us and we shall try to make special visa application.

All in all, if Japanese immigration restricts foreign visitors too severely on this occasion, this will be made into a international stir. We will prepare a campaign for this.

(5) Come to Lake Toya! Or International Days of Action

Most of all, we would love to have you there. This is a crucial moment for Japanese social and political movements to open themselves to be global and uplift their spirits. For this your creative engagement is indispensable. But of course, everybody cannot come. So please respond to our call for international action day in a way most suitable for you.

Japanese Government to Keep ‘Hooligans’ Away from Summit

TOKYO – The Justice Ministry has begun preparations to put into force a hooligan provision of the immigration law to prevent anti-globalization activists from entering the country to protest the Group of Eight summit meeting to be held in Hokkaido in July.

Relevant ministries and agencies will discuss criteria for defining anti-globalization activists, to whom the provision will be applied for the first time, and seek additional information from other countries.

The hooligan provision was added when Japan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law was revised in 2001 and enforced in 2002 to keep hooligans out of the country for the 2002 World Cup soccer finals.

The provision states immigration authorities can refuse entry to people who have injured, assaulted, threatened or killed people or damaged buildings to disrupt international sports events or meetings.

It also disallows entry to people who have been imprisoned in Japan or other countries or have been deported before if immigration officials believe they might be involved in similar actions again.

Under the provision, 19 hooligans were prohibited from entering the country in 2002. The provision has not been applied in other cases.

Unions and environmental protection groups have often been involved in protests against economic globalization, which activists assert has widened the gaps between rich and poor and harmed the environment.

Published on Monday, December 31, 2007 by the Times Argus (Vermont)

Japanese Budget: 31.9 Billion Yen to G8 Summit, including 15.5 Billion Security Costs

December 20, 2007. The original proposal of the fiscal 2008 made by Finance ministry, which was approved by the cabinet meeting on the morning of December 20th, contains 31.9 billion yen in total related to Lake Toya G8 summit. The total 15.5 billion yen budget is allocated to the precaution/security expense related to the National Police Agency and the material facilities for the large scale disaster. While the security measures around Lake Toya will be set up by police units ordered up from all over the country, it will take precautions against demonstrations and riots by anti-globalization activist forces from foreign countries and keep a careful watch over the Tokyo metropolitan area.

13.4 billion yen is allocated to the realm related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including administrative costs for setting up the communication infrastructures such as fiber optics to the conference rooms and the media centers, for renting the venue, and so on. The budget also includes a series of international conferences like G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in advance of Lake Toya summit.

In addition, 940 million yen is assigned to the Defense Ministry for repairing helicopters for VIP transportation and the communication expenses; 400 million yen to the Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation Ministry for bulletproofing patrol boats of Japan Coast Guard which will undertake the maritime security operations. Moreover, 2007 fiscal year supplementary budget gives 3.3 billion yen in relation to G8 summit, including the maintenance of the communication infrastructure and the repair expenses of guard ships and helicopters.


Heiligendamm G8 Summit: a chronology of protest and represssion

Statewatch July 2007 (Vol 17 no 2) 1

From 6 to 8 June this year, the annual G8 summit took place in Heiligendamm, a seaside resort near the northern German city of Rostock. Since the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, meetings of representatives of industrialised states and businesses promoting and coordinating capitalist globalisation have met with mass resistance, which in turn has been met with heavy-handed policing, some argue, at an unprecedented scale for liberal democratic states. Protests shook Washington and Prague in 2000, Gothenburg and Genoa in 2001, Quito in 2002, Thessalonica, Evian and Cancún in 2003, Gleneagles, Mar del Plata and Hong Kong in 2005 and now Heiligendamm in 2007. This latest summit also brought with it an unprecedented arsenal and scale of police violence, criminalisation of protest and many infringements of fundamental civil liberties.
Bild: Daniel Rosenthal

The scenes unfolding over the week were impressive: roughly 80,000 people demonstrated on 2 June in Rostock against G8’s neoliberal policies, 10,000 demonstrated on 4 June for the rights of migrants and refugees, and around 20,000 people remained for a whole week in three self-organised camps around Heiligendamm in order to block the summit at its main entry and exit roads. 10,000 people took part in peaceful blockades between 6 and 8 June. The protests were policed by a total of 17,800 officers from all over Germany and, according to some reports, 2,000 military personnel. The deployment of the latter, which is now being debated in parliament, was in violation of Germany’s constitution. After two years of alter-globalisation activists in Germany and abroad preparing the protests, and the authorities’ parallel attempt to criminalise them, protesters and civil liberties groups are drawing preliminary conclusions and preparing for lengthy court cases. Below is an incomplete chronology of the protests and their repression.

Stage 1: preliminary criminalisation

The first public attempt by the German authorities and police to de-legitimise the protests by way of criminalisation took place on 9 May this year in form of large-scale police raids. On the order of the Federal Public Prosecution (Bundesanwaltschaft), 1,000 police officers searched around 40 private homes and two social centres in Hamburg, Berlin and other cities in northern Germany. The target: politically active people between the age of 25 and 50, some of whom were involved in organising the protests against the summit. The reason given for the raids and confiscation of personal computers and address books, in some cases even cigarette butts and so-called “scent samples”, was the accusation of the “formation of a terrorist organisation” under Article 129a of the German Criminal Code. “Scent sampling” was a technique that many believed had vanished with the Berlin wall, used by the East German Stasi secret police to track down dissidents with dogs. Article 129a is a well-known provision amongst activists as it is regularly applied by police and the public prosecution to legitimise this severe infringement of privacy without the police having any hard evidence that any of the victims took, or were planning to take, part in any criminal act. In this case also, the purpose of its application appeared to be a general information-gathering exercise targeting the political movement: police copied the hard disk of the left-wing server SO36.net, which hosts many mailing lists and websites as well as personal computers of third parties not accused at all. Press releases from the Republican Lawyers Association (Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein – RAV) and groups affected pointed out that the intent of the operation was to disturb the communication structures of G8 critics, which were in the final stages of preparing the logistics for the camps and demonstrations, all of who had, at that time, the relevant permissions of the authorities.

The suspicion that evidence to justify the police raids was lacking was hardened by the fact that the public prosecution claimed that a criminal procedure that was initiated against a group named militante gruppe some years ago in relation to several arson attacks on cars, was somehow related to the G8 protest organisers. There was, however, no indication that those whose homes were raided were under suspicion of being members of this group or in any way connected to arson, or even that the arson attacks had anything to do with the G8 protests.

The RAV press release (10.05.07) concludes: The [judge’s] order for the house searches construes a relationship between an old 129a procedure and alleged plans to disturb of stop the G8 summit. As usual, the wide remits of an Article 129a procedure are being used to openly collect data with a great publicity effect. Article 129a procedures regularly lead to the collection of masses of information with a huge mobilisation of investigative forces. Convictions, however, very rarely take place. But rather than insisting that concrete attacks were to be averted with the raids, the Federal Public Prosecution itself confirmed the indiscriminate nature of the action: Today’s investigations were intended to shed light on the structures and the personal composition of these groups and did not primarily serve the prevention of concrete attacks. There was no evidence for We shot into the bush and now we will see who and what will come out.

With this rather crude justification, the general assessment of the police operation, not only in left-wing but also mainstream press circles, was that it represented an illegitimate and unfounded attempt by the authorities to criminalise the protest movement. This attempt, however, failed spectacularly in that even conservative newspapers did not take the terrorist allegations seriously and instead gave space to the protest press spokespersons, who used the opportunity to advertise the demonstrations, blockades and conferences during the summit.

The liberal daily paper Süddeutsche Zeitung even printed a comprehensive chronology of planned demonstrations and action days next to reporting on the house searches. The lawyer’s association RAV and the Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy (Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie) used the opportunity to reiterate their call for the abolition of provision 129a, as it was in violation with democratic principles in criminal proceedings and historically had been applied to criminalise political movements and not to avert or solve crimes.

Criminalisation is continuing after the protests, too. Using reports of violence during the G8 summit conservative politicians are now demanding a special police database on “Autonomous” activists and raids have again taken place in Berlin. Again no one was arrested, even though the allegation: formation of a terrorist organisation under Article 129a, was applied also here.

Dutch police arrests 100 cyclists

A similarly disproportionate infringement of civil liberties took place in the Netherlands on 5 May, a few days before the house raids in Germany, when the Dutch authorities decided to take action against a rather unthreatening group of around 100 cyclists from the Gr8chaoskaravaan, who were travelling from Belgium via Holland to the protests in Heiligendamm. The whole group was arrested on its way out of the city, allegedly for not following police orders (that is, not to cycle on a cycle path).

The press release (8.5.07) issued by the Caravan organisers describes the incident as follows: The cyclists where surprised when without prior warning a special unit and police on horseback suddenly charged the bicycle ride with batons drawn, one police van even driving right into the cyclists and hitting a bicycle. The police then proceeded to arrest all members on the pretext of not using the bicycle path. Bicycles were confiscated and removed with many being damaged and locks broken. Demonstrators later reported that the police used disproportional violence during the arrests.

Ill-treatment continued during the arrest. For several hours the demonstrators were detained in overcrowded cells – 25 people in a 4×4 m cell – where they suffered from anoxia caused by lack of ventilation and were deprived of food. When the first demonstrators were released during the night a growing number of reports about police intimidation came in. “They told us that what they had done today was tolerant compared to what they would do if we continued to carry out the actions we had planned” says Antje, a caravan participant.

The arrests were as surprising for the international members of the caravan as they were for the Dutch activists. “It was a very unusual police action for Dutch circumstances” said Antje, Dutch activist and caravan member. “I have been doing bicycle actions for years and can’t remember anything like this happening.” Andree Narres from the info office of the bicycle caravans is outraged: “I can’t find any other plausible explanation than politics and police doing what they can to prevent, harass and criminalise all protests even ahead of the G8 summit.” According to him the action may have been planned to make the bicycle caravan’s entry into Germany harder. “The police didn’t charge the cyclists with the mere regulatory offence of not using the bicycle path but of not obeying police orders, an offence that leads to a court hearing.

The bike tour organisers and two victims of the police action have taken legal action on the grounds of indiscriminate use of violence and illegal arrest as well as. As surprising as the police action, however, was the lack of media coverage: the incident received uncritical local media coverage and almost no national media coverage. Only two members of local socialist and green parties criticised the incident and proposed a motion in the Utrecht city council to lodge parliamentary questions, which did not receive sufficient votes. The mayor, who is responsible for the local police force, denied any police wrongdoing before any inquiry into the matter.

“Stasi methods”

The next measure, applied from the prolific German law and order arsenal, was the routine opening of mail in Hamburg and an unorthodox attempt by police to pressurise a university lecturer into denouncing his students.

The investigation into the militante gruppe that served as an excuse for the mass house searches of 9 May continued with a comprehensive “snail mail” action by police, according to the daily newspaper tageszeitung (25.05.07) and later confirmed by the police. Dozens of officers from the regional Hamburg crime police authority (Landeskriminalamt) were opening and confiscating “suspicious looking” mail from specific city districts in the central Hamburg post office. The order was given by the Federal Crime Police Authority (Bundeskriminalamt) with the alleged aim of fishing out possible letters to newspapers or television stations claiming responsibility for attacks. Not even the terrorist provision 129a allows for this indiscriminate violation of privacy and interception of communication; the lawyer Sönke Hilbrans reacted with disbelief:

What more are citizens of whole city districts are to endure? Not only by taking scent samples but now also by controlling the post, the security agencies are increasingly and unashamedly resorting to Stasi methods. It is evident that some ministers and police officers have lost any measure of acting within democratic and proportionate remits. If the judiciary does not stop them, this country is on its way towards a different Republic.

Another police action denounced as a “scandal” by the lawyer’s association RAV was the attempt to get a lecturer at Hamburg University to divulge names of students active in the G8 protest preparations. Two police officers approached the lecturer in the break of his talk entitled, ironically, “Fear as a social-disciplinary instrument”. He refused and asked the police leave the premises and later proclaimed: “I believe the attempt to convince lecturers to denounce students who are politically active is a scandal. This massively infringes on the right to freedom of expression as well as scientific freedom.” Interception, denunciation and political crimes, together with the erection of a 12 km long fence in eastern Germany to protect leaders from public criticism, have conjured up uneasy images in Germany of old Stasi methods that were thought a thing of the past.

Stage 2: fence off, ban, spin and provoke

Similar to earlier summits, the “red” security zone around the Heiligendamm meeting place was surrounded by a fence (in this case a 12 km long razor-wire “technical barrier”) and in the red zone itself, regular civil liberties such as the right to assembly and freedom of expression were restricted. On 10 May, the Kavala police unit, specially set up in 2005 to police the protests, banned the demonstration planned for 7 June outside of the red zone as well: the authorities also issued a general banning order that forbade all assemblies within a second zone 10 km outside of the security fence. The general decree led to much criticism by politicians and civil liberties groups and was contested up to the Federal Constitutional Court. It ruled, one day before the planned demonstration, that the decree generally banning assemblies outside of the security zone was unconstitutional, and even explicitly criticised the police’s “security concept” for being directed “against the creation of assemblies” as the “right to freedom of assembly was given no chance to be realised in an adequate manner”. It nevertheless accepted the police’s claim that the demonstration itself should be banned because of expected violence on part of the demonstrators.

On the general decree, Tobias Pflüger, the MEP for the left faction (GUE/NGL) of the European Parliament said that: It is unacceptable that now even the fundamental right to assembly is being curtailed. I protest strongly against this decision and demand that those responsible return to the rules of democracy. Those who invite the G8, also invite the legitimate protest. The expression of protest has to be comprehensively protected, at the least to bring the message of the critique of the [political content] of G8 [policies] across [to the general public].

The Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy (18.5.07) pointed out that: Such a precipitated banning order has to be based on current and concrete evidence that a direct threat to legally protected interests exists. There is, however, no sign of any evidence supporting this claim.

The fact that the Federal Constitutional Court used the escalation of violence at the end of the demonstration of 2 June to justify banning the 7 June demonstration has to be considered in light of later revelations of the use of agent provocateurs by the police and the claim by demonstration observers that the escalations on 2 June were initiated not only by some ’black block’ demonstrators but also by undercover police in the demonstration. Furthermore, the violence appeared to have been hugely exaggerated: an attempt to corroborate the police claim of 200 severely injured police officers would later reveal that only two police officers were hospitalised for two days, one of whom had fallen down some stairs whilst chasing demonstrators. Also allegations appearing in the mainstream media (such as FAZOnline, Deutsche Welle and the tagesspiegel) quoting an unnamed “high-level security expert” who said that demonstrators attacked police with knives or were throwing potatoes spiked with nails were denied by police spokesman Manfred Lütjann of the Kavala police unit (see the website Unspin the G8, which is dedicated to media spin around the G8 and lists various similar incidents).

“Yesterday was yesterday – and today is today” The ultimate scandal, however, was the discovery on 6 June that the German police had deployed agent provocateurs: it is ironic that on a demonstration that was banned by the police on grounds of expected violence, a group of five undercover police officers inciting stone throwing was identified by peaceful protesters. The five men, dressed as “black block” demonstrators, carried stones towards a group of people blockading the security fence and tried to convince them to start throwing them at the police.

Angered by this, as the demonstration organised by the Block G8 network was explicitly peaceful, (reiterated by the network in its numerous call-outs and on its website) activists started to question the motives of the men in black and asked for their identity and political background. The men refused to identify themselves and ran away. One of them, however, was stopped by demonstrators and challenged. From that moment he started addressing the protesters with the formal address “Sie” and refused to reply to questions. After intervention by the legal team as an angry crowd formed around him, with his agreement he was led to the police lines, which welcomed him amidst their ranks.

Immediately after the incident, police spokesman Manfred Lütjann categorically denied the use of agents provocateurs: “As an institution acting in accordance with the rule of law we are not allowed, and do not do, such a thing”. Although German law does in principle allow for the use of agent provocateurs, Lütjann was adamant the discovered police officer was not sent by Kavala and added: “I do not know what other security agencies might be doing; I cannot represent any internal security service officers here” (junge Welt, 8.6.07). The next day, however, the evidence forced Kavala to retract its statement and Ulf Claassen, another Kavala spokesman, admitted to Spiegel- Online (8.6.07) that the police had used an undercover agent in the blockade in question, commenting on the embarrassing retraction with: “Yesterday was yesterday – and today is today”.

Green party MP Christian Ströbele said he would ask a parliamentary question on the incident and found that “if it appears to be true, the evaluation of many incidents of these past days would of course have to be seen in a different light”. The Rostock public prosecution is currently assessing possible criminal proceedings against the undercover officer on grounds of incitement to commit crimes.

Stage 3: arrest and attack

This brings us to stage three in the chronology of policing summit protests: the use of disproportionate police violence and mass arrests. Protest groups and media activists have started collating evidence and eye witness reports on the police repression (www.gipfelsoli.de, http://de.indymedia.org). The balance drawn so far shows that the security operation entailed massive stop and search operations, mass detention in special cages, filming of arrestees in cages, preventative arrests, accelerated court procedures, use of pepper stray and baton charges on peaceful demonstrators, water canon use against peaceful blockades, confiscation of bicycles and personal belongings and a plethora of violent incidents and sexual assault. One demonstrator, for example, reported on Bavarian Special Forces brutality during the arrests on 2 June: As I was pushed into the car, I was told that I should “shut up, otherwise there would be trouble” and that they were “fed up with stone throwers like me”. On the way to the Police base, I was massively pressured to “admit everything” because they were “going to get us all anyway”. I was kicked, beaten, shouted at and threatened: “when we get there we will take you off the list and drive with you into the woods, nobody will notice”. All in all, the whole incident took 4 and a half hours, until I was released without charge.

The escalation from 2 June, exacerbated by police reports of hundreds of “severely injured” officers, was used by police to legitimise repression during the migration action day on 4 June. In the morning, the opening rally at a block of flats in Rostock- Lichtenhagen, commemorating the racist pogroms against asylum seekers in 1991 which saw hundreds of bystanders cheering on a gang of neo-nazis setting fire to a house full of refugees and foreign workers, was attacked by police without reason. The legal team reported that the police encircled peaceful demonstrators and pepper-sprayed them arbitrarily. Two demonstrators suffered serious eye injuries during a water cannon attack on a peaceful blockade at the West Gate of the security fence.

Further reports about police violence include:

* A number of people were arrested because they were carrying a banner with the slogan, “Free All Prisoners!” as they passed by a prison on their way to a demonstration. The police judged this as incitement to actively help people break out of prison.

* Two people were taken into detention at Kühlungsborn beach as they played in the sand near the fence. Police accused demonstrators of trying to dig a tunnel.

* According to the legal teams, there was an overwhelming use of violence during arrests, particularly by the Berlin police. Lawyers were also pushed around and insulted. One lawyer who had subjected a police officer to a stiff cross-examination in a previous court case was threatened during a demonstration. She was told that they knew her name and where she lived.

* During police transportation there were further abuses, as one victim describes: “The police took off the handcuffs cutting into my hands so that they could take off my rucksack, threatening to beat me if I moved. To underline their point, one of the police officers rammed my head against the cell wall. After the police finally left me and other detainees in the cell, we were told not to speak or else he would ensure that we “would never be able to speak again”. “In one case a police unit stormed a tram as it stopped, police beat up everyone dressed in black and then left the tram again immediately”, the legal team said on 4 June.

* During a police check one woman was grabbed in the crotch whilst officers made leery noises. Demonstrators were also sexually harassed near Wichmannsdorf camp. On a parking lot near the camp on 5 June, a group of women had to undress in front of all the police officers present.

* At the fifth police check point on the way to the airport a demonstrator’s car was tampered with by the police. All of a sudden the fuel injection pump was missing and the vehicle would no longer start as the group of demonstrators was encircled by grinning police officers.

* A media bus from Holland was stopped on its way to a permitted demonstration at the airport and all passengers were detained, including a mother with her 3-year-old child, who was also photographed for the ID-check and put in the prison cages. The media bus was later confiscated for around 24 hours along with all of the journalists’ equipment and material in the bus. One journalist and the bus driver were held overnight.

The treatment of prisoners or rather, detainees, during the summit received strong criticism by lawyers and legal teams, culminating in an unusual event on 7 June: the legal team organised a demonstration in front of the Rostock Industriestrasse detention centre to protest against the poor conditions for detainees and the fact that prisoners were denied contact with them. The lawyer’s association RAV had issued a press release a day earlier criticising the police for stopping legal teams from carrying out their tasks during the demonstrations.

Two lawyers were pushed by police onto the street, in several cases lawyers were verbally threatened by police that if they would not “shut up” and stop asking arrestees for their names they would be beaten up. When the Kavala police unit announced the closure of the only lawyer’s room at the detention centre, which was holding hundreds of detainees in cages (implying that lawyers would have to wait outside on the street until the police called them in to see their clients), the lawyers made their decision hold a demonstration. The law in Germany states that anyone detained by police has to be given a chance to speak to a lawyer and within four hours, he or she has to be presented to a judge who decides on the evidence and on which grounds the detainee will be held for longer. On 7 June, around 100 people were held in the Rostock detention centre, some for up to 12 hours, without access to a lawyer or being told what the charges against them were. Not a single one of them was presented to a lawyer or a judge.

The preliminary balance of arrests and convictions (collated by Indymedia Germany) reads as follows: In total, 1,057 persons were detained up to 8 June, in 140 cases, a judge decided on extending detention periods. The interior ministry announced that 850,000 people were checked at Schengen borders, 155 were refused entry and 57 people who had outstanding arrest warrants were arrested. During more intensive checks at the external Schengen borders, 401 people were refused entry into Germany.

Rostock police announced it stopped 67 persons from entering the Rostock area. The justice ministry announced that 8 people were sentenced to between 6 and 10 months in prison in fast track procedures. Charges are: attempted and actual assault and severe breach of the peace. Two of these people have been released on parole, although the convictions are final. Two persons were remanded in custody awaiting trial. In 120 cases judges ordered long-term detention on the basis of people being considered ‘dangerous’. These people were released at the end of the G8 summit. In the period from 2 to 10 June, a total of 103 persons (90 men and 13 women) were imprisoned, of these, 92 people received security and order rulings and 11 arrest warrants.

The youngest person was 16, the oldest 41. Amongst these there were 41 foreigners, 40% of the total. Nationalities were: Belgian 2, British 8, Estonian 2, French 2, Irish 4, Italian 1, Canadian 1, Dutch 1, Polish 1, Russian 1, Swedish 14, Swiss 1, Spanish 2, US American 1, and German 62. (Source: http://de.indymedia.org/2007/06/185126.shtml)

A testing ground for security measures: deploying the army internally

Finally, this summit, like other summits before it, served as a platform for ministers and police to test their toolkit of repressive measures. In addition to reinstating Schengen border controls, Interior Minister Schäuble, pushed for the deployment of armed forces inside of Germany to control protesters and other “security risks”. It appears that the army had taken part in policing the protest with over 2,000 personnel, “armoured reconnaissance vehicles” (mobile armoured tanks used for intelligence and communications) and Tornado jets. The latter flew over one of the camp sites above the head of 3,000 activists on 5 June. The web-news service Spiegel-online reported on 16 June that the jet flew lower than the minimum height of 150 metres. The German air force has now started investigations against the two pilots for misconduct, who apparently ignored the warning signals that are automatically generated by undercutting the minimum height.

Interior state secretary Peter Altmaier declared during parliamentary question time (13.6.07) that the use of “Tornado jets took place in the framework of mutual assistance [between authorities] in order to gather intelligence on possible interference on roads or the landscape. This is a common and normal procedure. It has a sound legal basis”. Journalists and activists reported military police patrolling the area on motorcycles and it was impossible to ignore dozens of air force helicopters continuously circling over Heiligendamm and particularly over the camp sites.

Far from being a common procedure with a sound legal basis, the deployment of armed forces internally has been debated in the media and by constitutional experts for more than a year. Green Party MP Christian Ströbele called the action a “precipitated praxis of the deployment of armed forces internally which interior minister Schäuble is obviously planning [to go ahead with].” Furthermore, the constitution regulates the deployment of armed forces over and above procedural regulations such as mutual assistance. Even the scientific service of the Lower House of Parliament finds that the constitution only allows for the army to assist the police and emergency services in cases of catastrophe, and then only with non-armed assistance such as emergency accommodation and medical services.

“Technical Mutual assistance” can only be granted with additional support equipment that the police already has at its disposal in its regular arsenal, that excludes Tornado jets and armoured tanks. In light of the jets flying below 150 metres and the threatening effect that would have on the demonstrators, Dieter Wiefelspütz, home affairs spokesman for the social democratic party SPD, said on 16 June that “From a current perspective, the deployment was not only politically insensitive but also unconstitutional”.

Rather than representing a technical-legal issue, the use of the army against its own population represents an ideological shift away from democratic fundamental principles that should guide law enforcement and intelligence agencies, towards state of emergency principles. This is reflected in the fact that the government and responsible spokespersons adamantly deny the problematic nature of the conflation of army and police tasks. Franz Josef Jung, member of the conservative Party (CDU) and spokesperson for the ministry of defence argued that Heiligendamm served as a training ground for the army for war zones such as Afghanistan. He emphasized that the army thought it was out of the question that “we have to practise our skills, as you can see in Afghanistan” and claimed that police as well as army would benefit from the deployment of armed forces in Heiligendamm: “it is a win-win situation for the police as well as for us”.

RAV press release archive: http://www.rav.de/news//archive.php; Bike Caravan press release (8.5.07): http://wiki.dissentnetwork.org/wiki/Bicycle-Caravan _%22West%22:press:2007-05-08; Press release MEP Tobias Pflüger (10.5.07): http://tobiaspflueger.twoday.net/stories/3712698/; The Media Gets the Massage - the uneven battle over the media (Unspin the G8): http://www.unspintheg8.org/media-gets-massage-uneven-battle-over-media Spiegel-online video report on the successful blockade of 6 June and the discovery of the agent provocateur: http://www.spiegel.de/videoplayer/ 0,6298,18864,00.html; Spiegel-online (8.6.07) on the agent provocateur: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,487554,00.html

Chronicle (English) of police violence and state repression: http://gipfelsoli.org/Multilanguage/English/3033.html; Other chronicles of repression (German): http://de.indymedia.org/2007/06/184905.shtml http://de.indymedia.org/2007/06/183750.shtml

Parliamentary questions and answers (13.6.2007) on the use of army jets and agent provocateurs: http://www.bundestag.de/bic/plenarprotokolle/ plenarprotokolle/16102.html; Süddeutsche Zeitung (13.6.07) on the use of army jets: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/deutschland/artikel/267/118135/; Army jets fly lower than legal minimum height: http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/meldungen/0,1185,OID6965730_REF2,0 0.html: Assessment of police violence in parliament by Green Party MPs, lawyers and the police trade union: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0%2C1518%2C488898%2C00.html

PAULA explains herself

Meanwhile a series of asessment papers have been published about the G8 protests, some of them carry approaches that are worth discussing. a text that quite some people have been waiting for has not been published, it somehow disappeared in between. So here it is, it should reach many and play its part in the evaluation-process.

PAULA explains herself

With this paper we want to publish a part of our evaluations and self-criticism. PAULA, the crossregional plenary for a decentral space of actions and blockades around the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, has been a heterogeneous, temporary alliance of groups and sole persons. For this reason we will only evaluate the decentral blockades and not deliver a collective statement about the G8 protests in general. We take part in this discussion in another place in our everday lives and in our groups.

The idea and the hope

The idea for PAULA emerged from the background of years of experience of protests against the Castor nuclear waste transport inWendland as well as from our experiences during the defensive summitblockades 2006 in Gleneagles. To complement the concept of massblockades of Block G8 and because of our criticisms of its restricted frame of action, we wanted to try to massively hinder the summitmeeting 2007 with a circle of decentral blockades of the crossroads to Heiligendamm. We wanted to use the “specific summit” situation- to be with very many people on the spot – to effectively disturb the course of the summit at various infrastructural points, thereby expressing our clear and unmisunderstandable rejection of the meeting and of neoliberal politics. To create an uncontrollable situation we thought of several material blockades with materials that were already there, deposited for this. Decentrality should enable us to act as uncalculable and flexible as possible.

Part of the PAULA concept was firstly) that further groups and networks would be inspired by PAULA and prepare decentral blockades and secondly) that lots of activists woulld join in and take part during the days of the summit. By this we also tried to get out of the small clandestine circles and open the door for mass militancy. There was work done to establish a structure of information to enable groups to exchange points in time and place of an action expected to happen, and that should guarantee the short term integration of other groups, especially of the internationals.

The conditions and us

Shortly before and especially during the actiondays we realized our weaknesses and limits. The result was desillusioning. We only heard of a few actions that we could count as a decentral blockade (see http://www.gipfelsoli.org/rcms_repos/maps/action.html). Some of the partly well prepared decentral actions could not take place. Partly this was because the cops got infos about planned actions, or because of missing activists, which against our expectations got very close to the fence and therefor far from our material depots. At other places the prepared points for blockades and the material depots collided with other actions, so that these points could not be reached because of the joyful trafficjam caused by them. Besides these outher conditions a certain failure has to be ascribed to our own inability to stay able to act in repressive surroundings. Already in the preparation we put the focus on the concrete preparation of the individual actions and not so much on the effective mobilisation for the actionplan. Connected with half-clandestine action-forms is the difficulty to promote the ideas and have spokespersons for the actions, which became a big problem for us during the days of the summit. In the preparation we could work with known comrades from other alliances who spread the decentral blockade-concept in different places. During the days of the summit we failed totally to get our ideas known in a self-conscious and offensiv manner. Because of fear of repression, we were way too much in the background, so that even people who sympathised with the idea, had hardly a chance to participate.

We became aware that the announcing of the actions needs to be much more and more precisely thought about in the preparation-process. Instead of concentrating on nice sounding calls we probably would have interested more people when we would have given more detailed informations about the concept, how to participate, orientation (accomodation roads, good points of attack) and how many people are needed for the action. During the days of action we would have needed an autonomous meeting or we should have been more visible on the campmeeting, or the last autonomous meeting organised by the internationals in Reddelich, to propogate our ideas and plans offensively. Another not unimportant reason for our being absent, we see in the overloading of activists being too much involved also through our responsibilities in the general protest-infrastructue, which was mainly taken care of by persons of the autonomous spectre. They took care of the wholes and helped in this way for the success in the other concepts, but did not take care enough responsibility for their own concepts. Finally, we have to say, that even when the hope should die at last, to hope that many other groups will be animated to organize own actions, only by calls, is not realistic at this time.

PAULA was an attempt. The result does not only mirror the organisational weaknesses and limits, but also mirrors the lack of willingness of the radical-left-scene to participate in this kind of concept by taking their own initiative. When, because of bad preparation or consuming-behaviour, self-organized and militant forms of protest stay away, then we see this as a bad signal for the dedicatedness of the radical left.

The other way of “friendly fire”

In the discussion about possible action and blockade-forms during the G8-summit we have decided not to participate in the concept of Block G8 (BG8), because in the concept there was this ghost of regulation and the wish to control the action and a stress on civil disobedience; all militance and further going actions were rejected and strongly misliked in this concept.

Principally we liked the idea of mass-blockades. But the way it was put into practice was wrong, in our eyes. Because in its precise and clear description which forms of action are accepted and which not we do not only see the wish to make space for participation of young and unexperienced activists. We also see this way of acting as an implicit taking over of the criminalising view of militant forms of actions. In this way in the BG8 a polarisation between forms of action which are justifiable and those who are not took place, which could not be corrected through the participation of radical left partner associations.

Two days for the blockades representatives of BG8, a person who registered the anti-militaristic actiondays in Rostock-Laage took part in conversations with the cops in order to negotiate their space of action. The background of this decision for BG8 has been their fear of not having enough space to act, because of the riots on Saturday. Through the disclosure of their own plans they hoped for a deescalation strategy of the cops or at least being more able to critisize and delegitimate the cops when they would behave in a hard way. We see these kind of conversations with the cops as a political mistake because the idea of civil disobedience is to break the rules, especially we see this as a problem because BG8 urged the activists in some cases to keep themselves to the rules BG8 has dealt out. Our estimation got affirmed already on Wednesday when the cops managed to neutralize the blockades. In this situation BG8 was not able to create more space of action or to open the fence.

Our relationship with BG8 cannot be described only with the above mentioned critisism. We always tought of both blockade-concepts as a complemention of each other and also coordinated our blockades with parts of the BG8 alliance.We were happy that thousends of people were willing to take part in the blockades and we learnd of BG8 how to promote clearly. In the end also many people of our circles took part in the BG8 blockades because of missing alternatives.

It is clear that propaganda of militant action-concepts is in contradiction with the legitimated system and the majoritarian opinion. Therefore it is one of our biggest challenges to cope with this contradiction in our political practice and to represent publicly. The emanzipative character of actions and political campaigns can surely not be measured to their grade of militance, but to their antigonism towards the established system. Laying behind the discussion of breaking the rules lays the relationship towards the violence of the state.

Solidair criticisms for the development of militant concepts of action ist wished for and necessary. But it should be clear in all statements to other forms of actions not to change sides in the fight for social change. Too fast exclusion, denunciation and thinking over handling out comrades to the cops has nothing to do with solidair behaviour.Very quickly a “ do not hit us” can change in a “do not hit us ” .

The dissolution and the future

We have been PAULA. It showed that the concept of PAULA had its weaknesses and needs changes in the preparation and the putting into practice. But still we believe that the idea of decentral blockades can be useful, either during summits, castortransports or fascist demonstrations.

We keep to our belief that unforeseeable and uncalculable forms of resistance are necessary. A logical consequence of our analysis of the society is a militant practice in the radical left.

We hope that our thuogst can be helpful in the planning of other subversiv actions.

Solidair greetings with the comrades who are accused with the 129a proceedings


(Überregionales Plenum- Antiautoritär-Unversöhnlich-Libertär-Autonom)

Turbulence: Move into the light?

Postscript to a turbulent 2007

It’s night time and a man is crawling around on his hands and knees, looking for his car keys underneath a lamp post. A woman comes along and starts to help him. After they’ve been searching together for a while the woman asks the man: “Are you sure this is where you dropped them?”

The man replies: “No, I think I dropped them somewhere else.”

“Then why are we looking here?” she enquires.

“Because this is where the light is.”

Download booklet at www.turbulence.org.uk

German Court Declares Massive Pre-G8 Police Raids Illegal

A massive police raid against globalization opponents ahead of the Group of Eight Summit in Heiligendamm was unlawful, Germany's highest court decided. The group suspected of planning attacks was deemed legal.

Car bombs do not constitute terrorist activity and are a matter for the states and not the federal prosecutor's office, Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled on Friday, Dec. 4, in Karlsruhe.

On May 9, 2007, one month prior to the G8 summit in Germany, 900 police officers searched 40 apartments, offices and left-wing meeting places in six German states, taking numerous documents into custody.

The raid, which has now been judged illegal, was ordered by the federal prosecutor's office after left-wing activists came under suspicion of planning terrorist attacks surrounding the summit.

Court doubts terrorism intent

A police raid in HamburgBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Protestors clashed with police during the raid

One of the groups was accused by the federal prosecutor's office of having committed 12 acts of violence, mainly using car bombs, over a two-year period, resulting in damage totaling 12.6 million euros ($18.5 million).

In a statement issued on Friday, the Federal Court expressed "strong doubt" that this particular group should be criminally prosecuted, though it said its deeds shouldn't be made light of.

A terrorist act is one that causes significant damage to the state, concluded the court.

Friday's ruling came in response to one complaint from a member of the suspected activist group. The court said other similar complaints have yet to be reviewed.

Left-wing politicians applaud court ruling

The head of the Green Party, Claudia Roth, praised the decision as a "blow to the responsible parties."

"It is increasingly becoming a problem that the federal court has to fix decisions made by the federal prosecutor's office in order to uphold law and justice in Germany," said Dietmar Bartsch of the Left Party.

Both Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Federal Prosecutor General Monika Harms had advocated the May 9 raid.

In the weeks leading up to the summit in the resort town of Heiligendamm, anti-globalization activists held demonstrations, some of which involved skirmishes with police.


TOP Berlin: Make a foreshortened critique of capitalism history!

Without a radical critique every action becomes mere activism- reflections on the anti-G8 mobilisation 2007.

3, 2, 1...action!

Without a doubt, it was the event for the European left this summer: anti-racist groups, queer activists, squatters, debt-relief groups, anti-fascists, trade unionists, environmental organizations...in June, all of them travelled to the small German village of Heiligendamm in order to express disagreement or even disrupt the G8 summit. Months before there was a marathon of meetings, conferences, fundraising concerts, and every leftist place in Europe got swamped with flyers and posters mobilizing against the summit. The focus of it all: action. Demonstrations, riots, blockades, vigils, clandestine actions...there was something in it for everybody.

Those calling into question this mode of ‘action for action's sake’ are often accused of trying to break or slow down the movement, of being a threat to the radical left's unity, of intellectualizing. But protest in itself is not emancipatory – how often have we seen racist mobs in the streets protesting the building of a refugee home or mosque, or large-scale fascist demonstrations that also aim at ‘the system’. Even ‘anti-capitalism’, the leitmotif of the more radical part of the anti-G8 movement, can be a deeply reactionary ideology, as can be seen not only when looking into the ideology of the Third Reich, but also when looking at contemporary campaigns by fascist groups who are decidedly ‘anti-capitalist’.

Keeping all of this in mind, it would be naive for a radical left to simply want to take part in whatever social movement comes along. Those who do not want to mix up Islamists, neo-Nazis, landless peasants, welfare recipients and fare dodgers in one subversive mass, to group them together as ‘the people’ standing up against ‘the system’, will come to a lowly result. An intervention without a critical definition of one's own standpoint is less than a sad 'being part of' - it turns itself into a tool for the wrong purpose. Therefore, theory becomes necessary - not because of a ‘more-radical-than-thou’ battle, but in order to truly understand just how capitalist society functions so that it can adequately be overcome.

G8: légitime!

Against the popular opinion among the anti-globalization movement that the summit was illegitimate in the sense of ‘undemocratic’, we need to take note of the realities of bourgeois society: Not just a gang of robber-knights but in fact representatives of constitutional states with basic laws and acknowledged proceedings of legitimisation came together at the summit. As juristic persons states can "freely" and "equally" arrange informal meetings and close contracts. Instead of forging alternative models of democracy and law, an emancipatory movement should recognize that domination and exploitation in capitalism are performed not primarily against law and democracy but within and through these forms.

This insight should have had large-scale consequences for the mobilization against the G8 summit. It implies an explicit refusal of economistic and personalized (state-) conceptions. Whereas the first wants to directly debunk the state as a mere tool of the economically dominant class - to demand its ‘right’ use for the common good in circular reasoning-, the second primarily conceives the condition of the world as a result of individual misconduct of single capitalists and politicians acting out of greed, venality or an absent sense of responsibility.

One of the inherent dangers of this logic is to fall into anti-Semitic stereotypes: the anti-Semitic ideology is usually embedded into a worldview, which ‘explains’ the evils of modern capitalist society. Capitalism in this worldview is not seen as a process, which arises following its own structural logic without a particular leadership, but rather as an exploitative project consciously put into effect by evil people. Historically, this way of thinking emerged in the 19th century in Europe in a time of to the rapid spread of capitalist society and the social upheavals this triggered. The anti-Semitic worldview thus consists of personification for non-understood economic and social procedures and draws upon the picture of the ‘Jewish capitalist’ that is deeply embedded in Western culture, which for centuries associated Jews with money. It can be displayed in talk of ‘the capitalists’ who ‘pull the strings’ from ‘the US East Coast’, ‘dominate the world’ and just can't get enough with their ‘greed’.

Less reactionary but similarly problematic is the moral conviction of certain companies and multinational corporations, whose practices are - often rightly - stigmatized as especially abhorrent. What falls out of this perspective is a critique on the plain ‘vanilla’ exploitation - that lies in every wage dependant, commodity-producing labour. Furthermore, the notion misconceives that in capitalism the economic actors are following a rationality that is forced upon them by the economic relations themselves. Even the capitalist is dammed by the band of competition to make profit or to perish. The process of concentration and centralization of capital is insofar a structurally caused moment of the dynamic of capital accumulation. That's why it would be ludicrous to demand for instance ‘fair competition’ against the ‘power of corporations’ or to classify capital under the motto small = good and large = evil with sympathy points.

To conceive ‘rule of law’ as a specific form of capitalist domination does certainly not mean that within capitalism legal norm and legal practice, ideal and reality are always in accord with each other. That would mean to ignore the ideological character that the law form has in a capitalist society. That on an empirical level not only several capitalists but also institutions of constitutional states are using illegal practices - disposing toxic waste in Africa, killing trade unionists, practising torture, etc. - has been widely scandalized. However, a political movement that primarily criticizes what is generally defined as ‘criminal’, acts on the level of critique of an attorney. The fallacy of such a position admittedly is: The world would be all right if just everybody would respect the law.

Theory in action

While the contradictions of capitalism can be experienced in daily life, as a complex social relationship of domination capitalism withdraws itself from every-day-life’s consciousness. To introduce a radical approach into the struggles against the G8 does target on more than a ritualized gesture. But building a foundation of theory does not mean to withdraw into the ivory tower and never take to the streets. On the contrary, such a conclusion would be fatal: if one does not want to capitulate in face of capitalist reality, a call to action is more than necessary.

The G8 summit can be conceived as one of the forms in which capitalist society reflects itself on the political level. An irreconcilable act of negation towards these should not aim at the ‘One Family’ of the defrauded and the disappointed, but at the possibility of bringing the scandal of capitalism in its totality into the focus of critique: to criticize its structures in institutions and in our heads and to develop a perspective beyond domination, violence, repression and exploitation. At this year's summit, this only happened to a certain extent – more visible were the ‘analyses’ that conceived the Group of Eight as the ‘spider in the web’ or the ‘distributing centre’ of ‘predatory capitalism’ and the personalisation’s that imply some of the dangers and shortcomings mentioned above. More important than protesting against the summit seemed for us to critically intervene into one of the biggest leftist movements at present tense and challenge some of its dominant assumptions.

While talking about revolution seems to be pretty naive today, it appears to be even more stupid to waste all of one’s abilities to arrange oneself with the status quo. The G8 summit can be seen as a cause to go the whole hog with the critique of capitalism – not because the G8 is the personified evil but rather because domination in capitalism basically has neither name nor address. The ‘right place’ for anti-capitalist resistance is never immediately given. It is defined exclusively by the experience of social contradictions, leading to the insight that there is a necessity to (to speak with Karl Marx) “overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence.”

TOP (Theory. Organisation. Praxis) is a Berlin-based antifascist, anti-capitalist group. They are part of the “…ums Ganze!” alliance (http://umsganze.blogsport.de) which consists of more than ten groups from all over Germany. Parts of this text are based on a paper written prior to the G8 summit which can be found in English at www.top-berlin.net. To get in touch with them write to mail@top-berlin.net.

i Most information on recent developments of a „right-wing anti-capitalism“ in Europe are available in German, such as the reader „Nationaler Sozialismus - “Antikapitalismus” von völkischen Freaks“ brought out by TOP.

ii TOP tried to realize this for example through organizing a block at the central demonstration in Rostock with the „....ums Ganze!“ (“...to the Whole!”) alliance which tried to bring across some of the points mentioned in this article, by organizing debates at the various camps on different critiques of capitalism, and by distributing various flyers and reading material.

G20: Call out for solidarity and support for Australian anarchists

In a time of International repression against activists all over the globe, we are calling out for letters of support and solidarity for anarchists arrested and facing severe repression after the G20 economic forum protests of November 2006 in Melbourne, Australia.

On the weekend of November 18 and 19, 2006, the G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The G20 meeting happens annually and is attended by finance ministers from 20 nations, including the USA, the European Union and China amongst others.

The G20 of 2006 was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, former World Bank leader and well known mastermind of the 'War on Terror', and the Energy and Minerals Business Council (comprised of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other powerful mining and oil companies) which lobbied G20 delegates over a business lunch.

It was a meeting of neo-liberals pushing its economic/societal philosophy on the rest of the world, enriching its member nations at the expense of the rest of the world, and effecting global politics for the benefit of powerful corporations. Unsurprisingly, anarchists and anti-capitalists set out to disrupt the smooth-running of this meeting.

Prior to the anti-G20 protests, the following call out was sent out to form an 'Arterial Bloc':

"This is what we want: lives worth living, lives of dignity and autonomy and we want to work together against capitalism and the state to achieve this. And we want to do it now. The only power we have is each other, and this is more than enough. To this end we want to work together in a bloc. To come together and form an active, living community of struggle based on autonomy, solidarity and democracy. We want a community that confronts and overcomes all forms of social oppression. We want to develop collective power and collective communication. Not to follow, not to lead, but to work out how we can organise ourselves.

This is what we want: To confront the G20 more directly as it meets - maybe taking our protest right to their meeting; or maybe confronting capital another way. We want our disobedience and our creation of other ways of living to be effective as we can make it. We know that capitalism will deploy numerous forms of repression and discipline to contain us, and we have no wish to be, or see others, beaten and imprisoned. We have no time for violent macho fantasy or delusions about Ghandi. Our bodies, our lives, our desires are too precious to fuck with. We want to be smart, joyful and defiant, not martyrs.

We believe that an effective bloc is made up of many people who have many different skills and capacities. Sometimes the most crucial skills (such as the ability to care) can get forgotten when the focus is on more "exciting" things. But we all have something to offer, and we are equals. None of us are heroes; together we can help each other to be brave, happy and rebellious."

A counter summit was held the week before at a recently squatted social centre 'A Space Outside', in which activists met for workshops and discussion on many different topics as well as to plan for the coming anti-capitalist protests and 'Arterial Bloc' logistics. Within the two days prior to the G20 protests, both the 'A Space Outside' squat and another squatted Anarchist social centre 'The Wake' were evicted by a special G20 police task force 'Salver', and footage taken by the police was later used to arrest activists involved in the protests.

Despite this setback, on the Friday, small autonomous groups of activists invaded several offices around Melbourne, including those of arms companies, energy corporations and army recruiting centres. All branches of the ANZ bank in the Melbourne CBD were closed due to attacks by protesters against the ANZ investment in military industries.

The main anti-globalisation protest was organised by a coalition planning a 'carnival against capitalism' and also other reformist 'Make Poverty History' concerts were held. While the carnival protest was just warming up, the 'Arterial Bloc' of anarchists in white chemical suits and masks broke through security barriors and destoyed road-blocks. In confrontations with both plain uniform and riot police, the bloc collected industrial bins and dumpsters and used tram tracks to slide them against barricades and into police.

Various projectiles were thrown resulting in minor injuries to the police, the most serious being a broken wrist. The bloc moved around the streets in an attempt to gain entrance to the blocked off hotel, at one stage a police arrestation truck was attacked, being pelted with bottles and having its windows completely smashed. By 15:00 that day the city centre had gone into lock down.

Later that night, clashes occurred outside the parliament building between police and protesters who were having a festive celebration around a car 'dragon' in which some activists were locked-on to. The police were especially vicious and protesters were beaten, including one who had his arm broken.

The following morning a small group of anti-g20 protesters were brutally attacked outside the Melbourne Museum, where delegates were meeting, hospitalising one woman.

During the weekend a small number of people were arrested, all of which were later released. One young tourist, mistakenly identified as a G20 protester, was bailed into a van by un-uniformed police, interrogated, assaulted and abused, before later being released from custody.

The state's police chief declared she never wanted another such economic forum held in Melbourne again.

Of course, it wasn't until after this that the real repression started against activists. Commercial media fabricated lies about the actions of protesters, claiming that the 'arterial bloc' was a contingent of black bloc anarchists from Europe who traveled the world in search of anti-capitalist summits to start trouble.

The protesters were called violent thugs, and tabloid newspapers filled up their pages with photographs of rioter's faces with a phone number to call if you knew someone to dob into the police. Included in the newspapers were stories of injured police and their families, how the poor police were in plain uniform and not riot gear, and were just doing their job when they were attacked.

A special police task force 'Salver' (the meaning of which is quite ironic...) was set up to arrest those involved in the protest, and with their own footage, and that which they forced people to give them, they made a list of 28 'persons of interest' whose photographs were published in a mainstream newspaper, despite this breaking numerous codes of conduct.

Unfortunately the general public dobbed in the majority of these 'persons of interest' to the police, and a number gave themselves in under the pressure on themselves and their communities. The remaining few mostly went into hiding and have disappeared from the activist scene, as with many arterial bloc members who were lucky enough to escape being a 'person of interest'.

In march this year, a special anti-terrorism unit performed dawn raids on houses throughout Sydney, arresting activists as they slept in their beds. On top of all this, as to be expected, there has been a major backlash from leftist 'non violent' groups, mainly from privileged white backgrounds, publicly speaking out against the 'violent protesters' and how they ruined the 'peaceful demonstration'. One major socialist figure threatened to inform the police of arterial bloc members he knew personally. It doesn't need to be said, of course, that the same people were supporting the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, in their uprising the week before. (far, far away...)

Over 40 people have been arrested for their involvement in the protests, with charges of riot & affray, assault of a police officer, property damage, and theft. Those arrested have their lives effectively run by the state, with most having to report into a police station every 2 weeks and not being able to travel outside of their state.

Task force 'Salver' publicly announced that it would end in May 2007, and it was initially thought that the tough measures of repression were being used to keep anarchists away from the APEC summit in Sydney in June 2007, where George W Bush was attending and the city turned into a veritable police state. However, since then the arrests have continued. Exactly one year after the G20, one New Zealand anarchist was arrested at Sydney airport while transferring to a flight to Spain. Another Brisbane man was arrested just last week.

The court cases are being dragged out for as long as possible, with the arrestees in a constant state of surveillance, anxiety and uncertainty.

As for the anarchist scene in Melbourne and around Australia, there has been a drastic drop in any dissent against the government. The scene is full of paranoia, fear, and even regret.

The police, government and media joined forces in this repression against dissent to silence voices of opposition against capitalism and the status quo, and to frighten activists into never contemplating attacking its power ever again. And it has succeeded.

With the recent sentencing of Genoa G8 activists in Italy to 110 years of prison collectively, the article 129a in Germany used to repress organised dissent and label activists as terrorists, the recent 'anti-terror' raids against Maori, environmentalist and anarchist activists in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and many, many other examples of repression happening currently all around the world, this is a call out for letters and emails of solidarity and support for anarchists of Australia who have been arrested for opposing the exploitation of people of third world countries, the destruction of our natural world and the status quo which keeps powerful corporations and CEOs rich while keeping the rest of us poor.

In a country as isolated as Australia, and without any real history of resistance, it is important for people to know that this is not an isolated case of repression. That these tactics of silencing dissent are occurring the world over, and have been used for centuries against anarchists everywhere. That the actions of the 'arterial bloc' are not those of 'violent thugs' but rather valid forms of protest that are used commonly around the world...

If you have a spare 5 minutes, please take the time to write a small email or letter to the arrestees awaiting trail to show your solidarity and support in our global struggle against capitalism to: afterg20@gmail.com

Or post a general solidarity message on Sydney Indymedia: http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/ (melbourne indymedia fell apart after post g20 backlash...)

Love and International Solidarity!

For more information, see:


See also:
A first communiqué from two uncitizens of Arterial Bloc
Another Reflections on the Arterial Bloc at the Counter-G20 Convergence in Melbourne Australia
Support for G20 arrestees

[original article]

the ankle bone, connected to the thigh bone ;)