Blockupy will continue 2013

A very short report

On October 20th and 21st 2012, the Blockupy alliance met in Frankfurt (Main) again and more than 500 people came to the debates. A tent was set up on a large square in the centre of the city.

Frankfurt, 21.10.12

On Saturday, there were several panel discussions on the catastrophic effects of the austerity measures in Europe.

On Sunday, activists discussed future plans of the movement and agreed to continue in 2013 (with action days probably at the end of May / beginning of June, and including actions of civil disobedience) and beyond (the European Central Bank is planning to celebrate the opening of its new building in 2014 in Frankfurt).

Blockupy 2013 will start by joining the European action day on November 14th with decentralised actions in solidarity with strikes in Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, and elsewhere). In March 2013, activists from Germany will either join the protests in Brussels or organise solidarity actions. Blockupy activists will travel to Agora 99 in Madrid, 2 – 4 November 2012 and to Firenze 10 plus 10 from 8 – 11 November in Florence to share proposals and co-ordinate protests with groups and movements from other countries.

In the panel discussions, activists from Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy described the situation in Southern Europe and reported on the recent protests. The events on Saturday were organised because there was a ban on all public tents and protests in May 2012 issued by the city of Frankfurt.

press declaration in German:
http://blockupy-frankfurt.org/de/presse/pm21102012
images: http://www.elo-forum.net/aktionen2/2012102165631.html

http://blockupy-frankfurt.org

May 2012 in Frankfurt:
https://crisisandchange.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/blockupy-frankfurt-successful/

https://twitter.com/Blockupy
http://17to19m.blogsport.eu

Madrid: http://99agora.net
Florence: http://firenze1010.eu

counter-events to the Euro Finance Week 19 – 23 November 2012 in Frankfurt (in German):
http://notroika.linksnavigator.de/artikel/eurofinanceweek-19-bis-23-november-2012-frankfurt

Some press reports in German:

Blockupy-Sonderseite FR: http://www.fr-online.de/blockupy-frankfurt/15402798,15402798.html
Im Herzen der Bestie: http://www.fr-online.de/blockupy-frankfurt/blockupy-im-herzen-der-bestie,15402798,20674958.html

Blockupy plant neue Proteste: http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/nachrichten/indexhessen34938.jsp?rubrik=36082&key=hessen_vtx_meldung_46422375

18.10.12: http://www.fr-online.de/blockupy-frankfurt/blockupy-frankfurt-runde-zwei-fuer-blockupy,15402798,20649282.html

22.10.12: http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/801990.widerstaendiges-steigern.html

19.10.12: http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/801883.zelt-zentrum-frankfurt.html
http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/801989.solidaritaet-beim-generalstreik.html

22.10.12: http://www.jungewelt.de/2012/10-22/048.php

http://notroika.linksnavigator.de/artikel/blockupy-kommt-wieder-aktionstage-im-fruehjahr-2013-frankfurt-demonstration-und-aktionen-des

Infos zum Bussgeldverfahren: http://de.indymedia.org/2012/10/336400.shtml

Video: Panel Occupy Democracy 20.10.12: http://www.european-resistance.org/de/node/465

Image source: http://www.elo-forum.net

Wer profitiert von den griechischen Schulden?

Blockupy und die aktuelle Lage in Griechenland
von Stephan Lindner, in: Soz Nr. 06/2012

Geht es nach der Stadt Frankfurt, ist Demokratie entbehrlich. Lautstarker Protest gegen menschenverachtende Politik wäre einfach verboten. Egal ob ein Konzert von Konstantin Wecker, eine Mahnwache der Ordensleute für den Frieden, eine Diskussion besorgter Menschen über die Krise, eine internationale Großdemonstration oder das Besetzen von Straßen und Plätzen nach dem Vorbild von Occupy Wallstreet – nichts davon dürfte stattfinden.
Zwar ist es wahrscheinlich möglich, diese Rechte vor Gericht zu erstreiten, das sollte aber nicht darüber hinwegtäuschen, dass der Versuch, Demokratie abzubauen derzeit ein weltweites Phänomen ist.

Als am 3.Mai die Europäische Zentralbank in Barcelona tagte, setzte die spanische Regierung kurzerhand das Schengen-Abkommen außer Kraft. Dutzenden Menschen wurde die Einreise nach Spanien verweigert, und 8000 Polizisten machten aus Barcelona “eine Art Schaufenster für Uniformen, Waffen, Helikopter und Polizeiwagen”, wie El País schrieb. Dabei hatte die spanische Bewegung aufgrund der zeitlichen Nähe zum 12.Mai nicht einmal größere Aktionen geplant.

Telepolis* berichtete vor kurzem, die spanische Regierung wolle die Strafgesetze so verschärfen, dass Aufrufe im Internet oder anderen Medien zu Protesten, die “ernsthaft den öffentlichen Frieden stören”, wie es auch Blockupy vorgeworfen wird, als Bildung einer kriminellen Vereinigung gewertet werden können. “Dann drohen Haftstrafen von mindestens zwei Jahren, um sofort Untersuchungshaft verhängen zu können. Verhindert werden soll auch, dass die Strafen zur Bewährung ausgesetzt werden.”

syntagma

Hetze gegen SYRIZA

Gleichzeitig findet eine massive Verunglimpfungskampagne gegen das linke Parteienbündnis SYRIZA statt, das bei den Wahlen in Griechenland seine Stimmenzahl vervierfacht hat. Obwohl SYRIZA wiederholt erklärt hat, Griechenland in der Eurozone halten zu wollen, wird die Partei in fast allen Artikeln als antieuropäisch bezeichnet.
Keine Kritik hört man hingegen, wenn wirklich antieuropäische Töne zu hören sind, nämlich bei den zahlreichen Drohungen deutscher Politiker wie EZB-Mitglied Jörg Asmussen, Bundesfinanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble oder Außenminister Guido Westerwelle, Griechenland gegen seinen Willen aus dem Euro zu schmeißen, sollte dort auch nur eine Minute ernsthaft daran gedacht werden, gemäß dem Willen der Wählerinnen und Wähler auf einer Neuverhandlung des von der Troika diktierten Memorandums zu bestehen.

Continue reading

Notes from Blockupy Frankfurt

Sandro Mezzadra
May 22, 2012
Originally in Italian: http://uninomade.org/note-da-blockupy-francoforte/

blockupy

1. This is what democracy looks like

The meeting, on Thursday May 17, is in Paulsplatz, a place full of significance in German political history. Here (in the Paulskirche) people met after the March revolution of the 1848 constituent assembly that proposed the first German constitution before being overwhelmed by the reaction. Many of the protestors that approach the plaza in small groups have another Constitution in mind, that of 1949 federal Germany, and they carry signs recalling the articles about fundamental rights. For two days, Frankfurt lives a grotesque state of exception, with the consequent suspension of fundamental rights, principally the rights to demonstrate and freely express dissent, in theory (and for obvious reasons) strongly protected in Germany.

The concentration in Paulsplatz has also been prohibited, called for by a coalition of associations in defense of basic rights. When we meet in the streets in groups of a few hundred, the police shut down all access. Every time that someone speaks through a megaphone, the police loudspeakers repeat that the rally is prohibited, the power of decibels choking the voice of protest.

A few hours later, while groups of protesters are surrounded by police in other parts of the city, many of them detained and driven away from Frankfurt, in the city’s central square (the Römer) three hundred people manage to come together. A tent is erected and suddenly it is made clear that the police won’t tolerate such a thing. Thousands of agents immediately surround the plaza, they intervene forcefully, picking each protester off the ground, carrying them out of the plaza. Many of us continue showing the police the Constitution, the adrenaline of the men and women in uniform, children and old people being dragged out, someone ends up hurt. All of this to dissolve a peaceful sit-in.

These scenes are repeated on Friday but this time the police can’t stop a group of protesters from occupying a small space in front of the fences erected to protect the headquarters of the European Central Bank. The police pressure continues to be suffocating but anyone who has managed to make it here can console themselves with the view of Frankfurt’s financial district apparently paralyzed. A first account begins to circulate that will be used by the historic liberal newspaper “Frankfurter Rundschau,” after Saturday’s protest: the bankers have shut the banks, the police have blocked the city…

Mixed feelings after the first two days in Frankfurt: the press’s reaction is decidedly positive, more than a few will write in the main newspapers that Blockupy Frankfurt has won. Apocalyptic scenes constructed by the police to justify the massive security measures (five million euros, a considerable amount, even in Germany) are superposed with images of old women being grabbed by agents dressed as Robocops. Someone joked about Merkel’s indignation over human rights violations in Ukraine. On the other hand, the sensation is of having participated in a staged event, and, at the same time, in an experiment. There couldn’t be a more effective representation, in the heart of Europe’s financial district, of the gulf between capitalism and democracy, which is one of the themes that underlines the crisis in this part of the world. The crisis of capitalism’s legitimacy in the economic crisis has been made clear in Frankfurt in all of its potential violence, with a kind of experimental anticipation of what could happen if the celebrated “German model” begins to fall apart.

“This is their democracy,” chanted the protesters on the streets of Frankfurt. A slogan with a double meaning: “their” democracy is the police’s state of siege, “our” democracy is the real one, that of the encampments and the Occupy movement, and it is what feeds resistance and struggle in and against the crisis. There weren’t many of us in Frankfurt on Thursday and Friday: many buses were stopped at the city’s entrance and sent back, the climate of fear created in the previous weeks has certainly had its “effectiveness,” and every time you moved you physically felt the limit imposed by the police presence. But the determination and even the joy of those that were there was a great expression of their consciousness of being part of a much larger movement, materially building a horizon of a radical alternative to the crisis.

2. A-anti-anticapitalista

The day started early on Saturday, with meetings and preparation for the demonstration, the only authorized demonstration among all the initiatives planned by the Blockupy Frankfurt coalition. Once we arrived to the concentration, it was clear it would be a large protest. Buses and trains arrived from the Frankfurt region, from all of Germany, from across Europe. There are the banners of Attac and Linke, some trade unions (especially of services, verd.di), anti-nuclear ecologists, but above all young people. The atmosphere is serene, joyful, but there is also much concern: they are saying that the police will do anything to provoke, to obtain “images” that justify the state of emergency, that would somehow erase the images from Thursday in Römer….

That’s what is repeated during the demonstration. When the “anti-capitalist bloc” joins, the police surround it, attempting to break the protest in two. But this time they can’t: Attac and Linke, who find themselves in the back and at the head of the “anti-capitalist bloc,” reject every attempt by the police to separate the “peaceful” protesters from the “violent” ones. For hours the demonstration travels the streets of Frankfurt and arrives intact to the square where it’s scheduled to end. More than 25,000 protesters (German, therefore accurate, numbers) give a different meaning to the actions of the previous days, and above all, represent an optimal base for a political gamble over the future of the Blockupy movement in Germany.

“A-anti-anticapitalista” is the chant that’s repeated throughout the demonstration, first from the anti-capitalist bloc (the most numerous) and then by everyone. A slogan that’s maybe too “basic” but acquires a precise meaning in light of what’s happened in Frankfurt during the previous weeks and in general during the European crisis: the “real democracy” of the encampments and the Occupy movement can only qualify itself inside the anti-capitalist struggle. Today if we are witnessing a tendency toward a divergence between capitalism and democracy, the reinvention of democracy – far from being located in the sphere of “pure politics” – has to pass through a radical critique of capitalism.

3. Solidaritaet

As soon as the Blockupy Frankfurt proposal began to circulate, I began thinking about what was important in that proposal: the reason that it would be worthwhile to go, was precisely because the mobilization was in Frankfurt. The reopening of the initiative of the movement in Germany seemed to me essential from the point of view of struggles in Europe. The rupture of the consensus that the “German model” enjoyed, the development of conflicts and political initiatives around the cracks, like the “reform” of the welfare state put in march by the red-green government (the so-called Hartz IV), the politicization of the precarity that is so widespread today, above all for the youth… all of these are essential steps for the construction and consolidation of a European space of struggles. Obviously, this is not to deny that the impact of the crisis in Germany is different from in the rest of Europe. On the contrary, I think that one of the most urgent tasks is to reconstruct the crisis’s geography, the heterogeneity of its modes of manifestation and its different effects in different contexts (in Europe and at the global level). But this “cartography of heterogeneity” of the crisis’s effects has to be combined with an understanding of its systemic dynamics, of the interdependence based on which it unfolds. Above all in Europe.

From this point of view, the events of Frankfurt represent, without a doubt, as the comrades from Interventionistische Linke (http://www.dazwischengehen.org) write, “a beginning.” There was important European participation, despite the emergency situation in which we had to move, and there were important moments of discussion between activists from different countries. However, we cannot deny that in the weeks prior to the days of action, communication was difficult; there were continuous problems of “translation,” in the literal sense (banally, the majority of the documents that circulated before and during the days of Blockupy Frankfurt were only in German) but also in the broader sense, in the difficulty to translate not only different languages, struggles, cultures and practices but also profoundly heterogeneous experiences of the crisis. In a way, we can say that in respect to the most recent cycle of struggle of of the global movement of the beginning of the century (being more “rooted” in specific situations), there has been a recession in Frankfurt in terms of working in network and of activism at a “transnational” level. This seems to me where we need to begin to work immediately, as much in the practical construction of transnational encounters for discussion and organization as in the more general problem of a “space” for political action.

From this point of view, the rhetoric of “solidarity” (with the Greek people, the Spanish people, the Italians…), dominant in both the planning and during the days of action in Frankfurt, is decidedly problematic. On the one hand, it proposes a language (that of proletarian internationalism) today that – far from being able to be reactived in its classical terms – indicates the terrain where it is necessary to put to work the movements’ power of invention and theoretical production and, on the other hand, it suffers, limiting itself to a mechanical reversal in terms of “solidarity,” the representation of power relations within the European Union. The idea of the dislocation that is needed today, the invention of a new common area of struggles and movements, ends up being overshadowed.

4. Blockupy Europe

The days in Frankfurt highlight the problem of Europe, of a new European dimension of the movements’ struggles and actions. Within this dimension, as we have said many times before, we can (and we should) experiment with a combination of rooting the struggles in specific metropolitan areas and the construction of a space in which these same struggles can multiply their force and begin to construct an alternative political program. I’m well aware that this is only stating the terms of the problem, not a solution. But it’s a statement that should first assert its political realism: it’s only through the struggles’ capacity for dislocation within a European dimension that we can oppose the growth of the old and new right-wings in their attempts to “occupy” the spaces and rhetoric of national sovereignty; it is only within the European dimension that we can aim to build a new favorable relation of force with financial capital. In Frankfurt, also from this point of view, we have participated in a new “beginning,” we have seen the potential and difficulties. Already in the coming weeks, before falling to the times of crisis around the Greek question, we will not lack opportunities to test ourselves.

This is what democracy looks like

Prospects for the rising European movement
“There is talk of Europe’s future, and the need to harmonize banks, insurance companies, markets, businesses, police: consensus, consensus and more consensus. But in becoming a people, doesn’t  Europe prepare us for a new future in construction, perhaps a  new ’68?” (G. Deleuze)

Frankfurt 18 May 2012

The victory of Blockupy Frankfurt

The phase of the crisis we are experiencing is characterized, in Europe, by a total redefinition of the forms of capitalist command. By now many, not only in the movements, have realized that what we are looking at is the final divorce between capitalism and democracy, the inability of capital to govern this stage without affecting social and political rights.

In recent years many movements have highlighted this situation, from the Spanish acampadas to the Occupy movement, from the Arab spring to the tragic outcome of the crisis in Greece, whose citizens where first denied the possibility to vote a referendum on austerity measures, to then move on to Merkel’s and other European leaders direct threat during the pre-electoral talks.

More: http://acampadabcninternacional.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/this-is-what-democracy-looks-like-prospects-for-the-rising-european-movement/#more-6039

source: Unicommon Network
http://www.unicommon.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3689:editoriale-3005-this-is-what-democracy-looks-like-prospettive-per-il-nascente-movimento-europeo-ita-eng-esp-gre&catid=87:editoriali

Blockupy Frankfurt successful

About 30.000 people participated in the demonstration on Saturday, 19th May in Frankfurt (Main), Germany, the largest demonstration in the town of banks for decades!

There was a heavy police presence at the demonstration, up to six rows of police alongside some of the protesters, but protesters remained surprisingly calm despite the continuous provocations from the police. The demonstration ended at its planned destination, a stone’s throw away (nobody threw one) from the European Central Bank headquarters and the skyscrapers of many other large banks.

Activists from many different countries, including Greece, Italy and Spain, joined the demonstration and enjoyed the festive atmosphere in Frankfurt.

The police stopped several protesters from reaching Frankfurt in the previous days (they set up checkpoints on the motorways into town). The police issued a ban for the city centre for a large number of protesters, including three busses from Berlin. Some of them were detained, some dropped on the outskirts of the city. More than 400 participants of the demonstration on March 31st received a letter announcing that they were prohibited from entering the city centre and threatening them with high fines. This ban was lifted according to court ruling but the police still continued to issue such bans.

The demonstration on May 19th was the only legal event during the Blockupy action days from May 16th to 19th. The right to free assembly was suspended by the city of Frankfurt and by several court rulings. Thousands signed a statement protesting against this ban.

Even concerts were banned, including a performance by singer Konstantin Wecker. Despite the ban, many assembled on Thursday, 17th May on Paulsplatz in Frankfurt, next to the Paulskirche.
Mass media and shop owners criticised the police for practically shutting down the centre of town. All cash machines in the city centre did not work.

At the blockade action on Friday, normal business in the banking area practically came to a standstill. All access routes to the city centre were blocked by the police, regular business in the banking area was made impossible, the streets were nearly empty… At one of the blockade actions, a 17-year-old woman was hit and kicked by the police and had to go to hospital. During the action days, 1430 people were detained (according to the legal team (EA Frankfurt)).

Banks in Frankfurt advised their staff to either stay at home on Friday (Thursday was a bank holiday) or come to work in ordinary clothes rather than suits and ties. A scheduled meeting at the ECB was cancelled. The university buildings were closed (even those outside the city centre).

Before the blockades, the Occupy camp, located directly in front of the European Central Bank, was temporarily evicted. The Occupy activists were able to return and celebrate on Sunday right after the demonstration.

More information:
http://www.blockupy-frankfurt.org
http://17to19m.blogsport.eu

Some more reports:
Saturday, May 19, 2012 by Common Dreams: 25,000 Rally Against Austerity in Germany. ‘Blockupy Frankfurt’ protesters: “When unfairness becomes the rule, resistance becomes a duty”: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/19-0

Connessioni Precarie (Precarious Connections, Italy): http://www.connessioniprecarie.org/2012/05/21/blockard-from-frankfurt-it-was-worth-it-being-here/

http://www.criticallegalthinking.com/2012/05/20/blockupy-and-the-politics-of-crisis/
http://www.criticallegalthinking.com/2012/05/18/blockupy-day-3-18-may/
http://www.criticallegalthinking.com/2012/05/19/blockupy-day-4-19-may/

http://takethesquare.net/2012/05/17/blockupy-court-of-appeal-decides-even-more-protests-banned/

A collection of press reports in German:

http://www.echte-demokratie-jetzt.de/blockupy-frankfurt/

John Holloway:
Blockupy Frankfurt is a glimmer of hope in times of austerity:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/14/blockupy-frankfurt-austerity-protest

see also: Notes on Blockupy Frankfurt by Sandro Mezzadra: https://crisisandchange.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/notes-from-blockupy-frankfurt/

Videos (no women interviewed):
Hagen, No One Is Illegal, Hanau / No Border Network: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6PisPkwqI4
Christos, Dikaioma collective, Athens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zliGFYEGvs4
Marcus, Fels, Berlin / Interventionistische Linke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S71vom7odEI

images source: http://www.criticallegalthinking.com
source of videos: http://www.connessioniprecarie.org/2012/05/22/blockard-from-frankfurt-4-la-vittoria-e-lo-spiazzamento/

Blockupy Frankfurt update

Several thousand people have signed a protest letter against the complete ban on protests in Frankfurt (Main), Germany from May 16th to 19th 2012.

Update June 2012: 30000 people came to Frankfurt in May 2012 to defend the constitutional right of free assembly!

see: Blockupy was successful!

see also: https://crisisandchange.wordpress.com/tag/blockupy/

More information:

http://17to19m.blogsport.eu

http://blockupy-frankfurt.org

 

 

Italy: Rise up for a social Europe

On the way to Frankfurt

From 16th to 19th May, German movements launched a transnational mobilization in Frankfurt with the aim to block activities and flows of the financial capital of Europe. In Italy, we have decided to join and take part to the organization of these days. In fact, we believe it is a necessary step in order to build up a European movement that, starting from territorial struggles, specific and singular instances, is able to organize collective mobilizations against the international financial governance.

http://riseupglobalmay.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/rising-italy-for-social-europe-on-the-way-to-frankfurt