Action Days for Autonomous Space
May 27 to June 1
“If we do not wish to find ourselves in a world where no one really lives, where no one really knows anyone else, where everyone has become a mere cog in a machine meshing with other cogs but
remaining truly alone, then we must have the strength to attack alienation in every way we can.”
“We believe for a space to be truly autonomous it must first be liberated. Liberated in our sense doesn't just mean taking something out of the hands of capitalists (the mere re-appropriation of a building) but rather taking space and finding ways to use it as a weapon against the State and Capital.”
Last week, anarchists set their own dates for a confrontation with the State and Capital. Not prepared to be crushed by increasing repression against the spaces in which we live, plot and fight
from, the Action Days for Autonomous Spaces put Berlin in chaos.
Following the three-day 'Interspace' meeting in Kesselberg (a previously squatted land project outside Berlin) from May 24-27, many people headed into Berlin to put theory into practise and to
join forces on the streets with those already preparing for the Action Days. An info-point was set up at the Kopi, radical left projects provided voku (people's kitchen) for the week as well as
hosting theoretical and practical workshops.
But, most importantly, hundreds of people from Berlin and from elsewhere went on the offensive and instigated 6 charged days of diverse and often militant action. In a city which has one of the
harshest anti-squatting policies in Europe - the Berlin Line - where squats can be evicted immediately and brutally, people showed they were undaunted and defiant.
The focus of these action days in many ways remains the defence of certain threatened physical structures. However, as the diversity of actions that took place demonstrates, what was being fought for is not confined to or by the walls of such buildings. By expanding the definition of what we understand by 'free space' we are able to broaden our attack beyond these physical spaces to an attack against social control as a cornerstone of capitalist logic – from autonomous space to liberated space.
Highlights of the week taken from the info-ticker:
4 cars burnt and caltrops (bent-nail devices used to puncture tyres) left on the surrounding streets to deter cops and the fire brigade from getting there in order to put the fires out.
Construction crane burnt.
A truck and four more cars burn.
Squatting of building on Michael-Kirch Platz.
8 cars burnt as a response to eviction of Michael-Kirch Platz and in solidarity with those arrested.
Anti-Gentrification Rally at Bethanien.
Parts of Rigaer 84 squatted and opened to public.
Luxury apartment attacked with paint bombs and stones.
Bike Tour of Media Spree buildings, the company responsible for much redevelopment in Berlin.
A Mercedes, a rental car and 2 cars from a telecommunications/security company burnt out.
Windows of bank Sparkasse smashed.
8 luxury cars, 2 bins and billboards burnt or destroyed.
Offices of estate agent Oliver Rohr who works for Rigaer94/Liebig14 landlord Beulker attacked with graffiti, paint bombs and glue in the locks.
O2 advertising screen at Warschauer Strasse attacked with paint bombs.
McDonalds in Kreutzberg- trashed.
2 unfinished lofthouses have their windows smashed- one attack takes place in broad daylight.
Cop car windows smashed by Mauer Park.
18 windows of SAP, a software company connected to arms trade, smashed.
Windows of Verdi Hotel by Kopi smashed.
Cops attacked with stones and bottles outside Kopi.
Banner drop in support of Rigaer94 from the roof of the cathedral Berliner Dom.
Barricades built in Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Wedding.
There was also a pirate radio (originally set up for the April Days of Action in Defence of Free Spaces) and a web-based real time info-ticker which provided up-to-the-minute information on everything from demos, actions, arrests, police locations and detailed descriptions of undercover cops and their vehicles.
The constant prowling of undercover cop cars and a rumoured 250 civil police (as well the politically motivated crime unit) deployed in Kreuzberg did not deter people from taking action, and
nor did brutal attacks on crowds of demonstrators or the imposition of “Platzverweise” or “banning orders” from particular areas on anyone who looked 'autonomous' – the use of these was ruled
illegal by a judge later in the week. Despite beatings and arrests, the cops were finally unable to contain, control and crush the spirit, energy and daring of the week-long revolt.
After years of simply responding to dates set by institutions, governments and trade fairs etc, those acting to resist the repression of free space – which extends to the totality of what we conceive as freedom – are left with a revived feeling of strength and energy. Discussions and analyses have been sparked; creative, autonomous participation has been inspired and face to face affinities built on. Above all, what has emerged from and what underpins these elements is the offensive action that people have taken which has let loose the reins of our imaginations and our resistance.
We hope it does not stop here, and that the quality and diversity of attacks, as well as a deepening understanding of what it means to liberate space in lives held hard in the velvet claw of
capitalism, continues everywhere.
Put Berlin in Chaos! Put Everywhere in Chaos! ...
One note of sadness and anger from last week is the state-murder of an 18 year old boy in custody on May 29. Not known to be connected to the autonomous scene, he was arrested with two friends after attacking traffic lights and a car and was found hanged in his cell at 1.20am, only 3 hours after the time of his arrest. It is unlikely that it was suicide – as the cops have stated - because of the
design of the cells in Templehof nick and the short amount of time that would have been available to him while being driven to the police station and processed.
For more information on the free spaces campaign in Berlin, go to wba.blogsport.de
To look at the Ticker, go to ticker.so36.net