Archive for julij, 2017

julij 16, 2017

Forming An Antifa Group: A Manual

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Note: Presence Counts is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Anti-fascist groups, often called “antifa,” are popping up all around the United States, and a number of people have asked us for advice on forming a group. Because antifa work is different from other forms of radical organizing, and because the antifa groups themselves are changing, we have written down some of our suggestions, based on years of experience. However, this article has been written in a very fluid political situation (February 2017), and some of these specifics may or may not be relevant in the coming months and years.

This essay covers a number of points, including: the advantages, disadvantages, and obligations of working under the anti-fascist banner; questions involving anonymity and visibility, both in person and online; self-defense and firearms; working with problematic people and dealing with infiltrators; state repression; and actions to take as anti-fascists.

WHY“ANTIFA”?

The first question is: Why are you forming an “antifa” group? The label has advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider this before adopting it. The antifa name gets you a certain level of brand recognition and built-in credibility, but it also includes certain obligations and distinct disadvantages.

If the purpose of your group is to do public organizing where your members are clearly identifiable—organizing anti-Trump rallies or supporting refugees and immigrants—using the antifa label and the traditional antifa symbols will likely lead to blowback that could be avoided by naming your organization differently. “Las Cruces United Against Racism” will not draw the attention that calling yourself “La Cruces Antifa,” and using traditional antifa symbolism, will.

DISADVANTAGES

The primary disadvantage is that fascists will try to identify members of your group and cause you physical harm.Staying as anonymous as possible is the easiest way to minimize this. Members’ pictures may appear on white power websites with any personal information they can find, and many anti-fascists have been injured, even killed, doing this work. If you are exposed, you will also be remembered by fascists for several years. (Keep in mind that anti-fascists who are not white men have been targeted more heavily by fascists: women garner greater online harassment, and people of color have been singled out in fights.)

OBLIGATIONS

If you form a local antifa group, you will be expected to do a few things:

1) Track white nationalist, Far Right, and fascist activity. Your group will be expected to document fascist groups and organizing in your area. This means gathering information on who is doing what, and knowing the makeup and key players of the various groups that are active.Once information is verified, antifa groups periodically release this information in a publicly available format. It is also crucial to alert any intended targets about specific threats you find while doing research.

2) Oppose public Far Right organizing.If the Klan or the National Socialist Movement hold a public rally, if AltRight speakers come to town, or if the Daily Stormer holds a meet up, you will be expected to organize a counter-demonstration. If they hold postering or sticker campaigns, you should not only take down their materials but also put up your own; public outreach campaigns should likewise be countered.

3) Support other anti-fascists who are targeted by fascists or arrested for antifa-related activities. This could include supporting regional groups, or organizing benefits and fundraisers for prisoners and injured comrades.

4) Build a culture of non-cooperation with law enforcement. If you have any intention of working with the police, FBI, or other agencies; or if you publically condemn anti-fascists who break the law: don’t call yourself an anti-fascist. The cops will be Trump supporters; do not collaborate with them.

VISIBILITY

Both the authorities and fascists will be interested in your group’s membership, so you should consider the question of public visibility carefully before you start. We strongly recommend against antifa groups being organized using the open, public model of most contemporary activism because of the risk of infiltration. If an emergency situation—such as responding to fascist public event—calls for public meetings and a traditional mass organizing activist model, this should be kept separate from the long-term group structure.

In fact, we recommend that you stay anonymous both while forming and until your first action. Anonymity is your best defense, and you should keep it intact as long as you can. Develop your group, get on the same page, and decide what you want to focus on. Also, note that once groups are formed, it’s very difficult to change the type of person who is in the group. Whether this is about gender, age, race, or counterculture—it will be hard to alter later on.

Use a “closed collective” model: this is a membership-based policy with no open meetings. Don’t allow new people to walk in off the street. Instead, develop a process for researching and vetting people who want to be involved.

One extreme option is to function as a group but not give yourself a name, and not tell fellow activists what you are doing. Once you have a name, fascists will try to figure out “who is in the group.” Not having a public face makes your actions even more anonymous. If people are being targeted, for example after a conflict with fascists, a publicly known group will draw attention first. If there is no public presence, or no formalized organization with a name, this will complicate the process of identification and retaliation.

Consider using a cell model whenever possible, in which one member meets with others when required. For example, you might need a public face to talk to other groups, club owners to convince them to cancel Nazi bands, to meet people to receive information they don’t want to share online, orto table at events. To limit exposure, make sure one person is designated as the semi-public face, even if they never admit they are a group member. This limits how many people can be exposed.

ONLINE PRESENCE

As part of staying anonymous, you should carefully manage your online presence. We recommend only using Twitter; it limits the amount of personal information you expose and makes tracking your connections more difficult. Facebook presents numerous, major risks for the security of your members and supporters.A recent doxxing of “antifa” was the result of information bigots culled from people who had interacted with an antifa facebook page. The targets were not even antifa, just sympathizers, but they were identified via facebook.

Websites imply that your group is more legitimate, and should be used especially if you want to doxx local fascists or put up group statements. Again, if you don’t have a group name, you may choose not to have any online presence.

Individual members, when possible, should get off social media, especially facebook, altogether. Where they don’t, they should maintain strictly separate personal and political accounts.

SELF-DEFENSE

Antifa groups engage in self-defense work. While most antifa work does not involve direct confrontation, and the amount of confrontation varies from group to group, sometimes it is necessary. Your group members and the supporters around you should be prepared.

We recommend regular martial arts training for anti-fascists, as well as for the larger radical community. It’s a good place to meet people who are serious about this.

Find out what the laws are in your city and state about a variety of self-defense weapons and make sure to practice with, and carry, everything that is legal— whether that is pepper spray, retractable clubs, or other devices.In some cases, what is legal to carry for self-defense is considered assault with a weapon if used in an offensive capacity.Laws vary community by community and ideally a lawyer should be consulted regarding this.

GUNS

A word about guns. Ask yourself: Can another weapon suffice instead of a gun? If you do choose to own guns, engage in regular practice. A gun can give you a false sense of security and if you’re not in practice, you’re more likely to be injured than if you don’t have one. Keep in mind that gun shops and range owners themselves are often connected to right-wing political groups.

If you choose to engage in firearms training, make sure everyone understands basic gun safety—as well as local laws—when it comes to owning, transporting, and potentially using firearms.

Above all, don’t front with images of guns unless you own and are ready to use them. Which is better: to pretend that you have guns and then have one pulled on you when you are unarmed, or for fascists to try to roll on you without realizing you are armed?

However, if right-wingers have been threatening people in your area with guns, or have already shot people, we recommend you arming yourselves immediately and getting concealed carry permits, where possible.For more information, see “Know Your (Gun) Rights! A Primer for Radicals.”

MANIPULATORS, BIG MOUTHS, LOOSE CANNONS, AND PROVOCATEURS

A diversity of people are joining the anti-fascist movement today, which both strengthens it and broadens its base. However, people may float into your circles who put your core goals and membership at risk, and so here are some warnings:

1) Some people use the antifa name as a way to promote their specific political views, especially members of some ideologically driven left-wing groups. If someone is more interested in recruiting people to their own group than doing anti-fascist work, get rid of them.Same with someone who seem to be interested in being publicly identified as antifa so they can gain public acclaim. Real antifa strive to remain anonymous—that’s what the masks are for!

2) Insist on mutual respect. Some people will be more interested in identity politics than others, and some people will be new to all of these discussions. This diversity is a healthy development, but establish a minimum level of respect that must be observed for all group members. Disputes over patriarchal behavior tore antifa groups apart in the 1990s. Work to create a culture of mutual respect and support that can also help bring in new people.

3) Avoid those who insist you must “follow their leadership” because of their identity, or who lay out a preset plan based on experiences from a decade or more ago.The Far Right threatens a broad range of identities. Also, this is a new situation, and nobody knows what the correct course of action is.

4) Be wary of people who just want to fight. Physically confronting and defending against fascists is a necessary part of anti-fascist work, but is not the only or even necessarily the most important part. Macho posturing and an overemphasis on picking fights and physical combat can be reckless, un-strategic, and unnecessarily dangerous for your group.

5) Drop people who have loose lips and openly talk about illegal actions around people they don’t know, or who pressure newer and younger people to engage in illegal activities. Antifa work is intense and potentially dangerous: We face threats from both the state and the fascists. If someone in your group likes to brag and talk about various illegal actions they have done or plan to do, especially when they are in public settings (including meetings or people who aren’t in the core group), quickly remove them.

Be particularly vigilant against anyone who attempts to pressure young or new members to carry out actions that might put them in unnecessary danger. This is a classic provocateur move with the potential to bring a group down.

Make good group dynamics and security culture part of your chapter’s inner dynamics and when people make mistakes, remind them in a good way that they have done so. For those that can’t get with the program, show them the door.

INFILTRATORS

Over the years, we have dealt with a variety of infiltrators. Sometimes they are random contacts. Sometimes they are fence sitters in the punk rock and skinhead scenes who are known to people in both fascist and anti-fascist circles. On one occasion, a black man tried to get involved with antifa groups, but ended up being affiliated with a neo-Nazi party and was feeding them information. AltRight supporters in particular can be from the same social demographic as many left-wing activists, and have infiltrated several meetings and demonstrations, including January 2017 planning meetings in DC before the protests at the inauguration. You will have to screen out and deal with them.

If people contact you and ask to meet, ask yourself: Do you need to meet with them? Vet them first. Consider asking them to show ID or reveal other personal information before any in-person meetings.

STATE REPRESSION

The state sees anti-fascists as an enemy. Activists will be monitored and the state will not hesitate to jail people. Until now, U.S. antifa have been spared the harsh repression that the animal rights and radical environmental direct action groups received, which included terrorism charges, long sentences, and harsh prison conditions. However, because Trump is allied with the AltRight, this has the possibility of changing soon, and antifa may face increased targeting on a federal level.

In the past, police tended to show up in large groups at public demonstrations to prevent clashes between antifa and racists. This may no longer be the case (as happened in Anaheim in February 2016), or police may start openly taking the sides of racists in public conflicts. This happened in Seattle in January 2017 when an AltRight supporter shot an activist at a demonstration; police refused to arrest the shooter.

Prepare legal support ahead of time; make sure you know a lawyer who is willing to represent anyone who is arrested.A trial lawyer, if necessary, can be found later. Get used to doing political prisoner support.Many anti-fascists are in prison around the world, and they would like our support now.Remember: It may be your turn later. Contribute to the International Anti-Fascist Defense Fund, and apply to it if members need financial help with legal, medical, or other expenses.

POLITICAL ORIENTATION

The anti-fascist movement has come from multiple theoretical currents; it is based on an agreement on tactics, not ideological uniformity. In the U.S., most activists are anarchist, although a few are Maoist or anti-state Marxists. (In other countries, the movement is predominately Marxist.)There is a general agreement to live and let live regarding political disagreements that would be divisive in other activist circles.

Other than tracking and countering fascists and white supremacists, it’s your choice what your group wants to focus on. Some antifa groups pay a varying level of attention to other radical right-wing forces, such as the anti-immigrant movement, the Patriot and militia movement, Islamophobes, Men’s Rights Activists, homophobic organizers, etc. Regarding what radical movements you actively support, it’s also your choice who you want to make your ties to.Today, this is commonly to Black Lives Matter and other activism against police oppression of the Black community, immigrant and refugee movements, work with prisoners, and Rojava solidarity work.

Working with other groups can be challenging. It is not uncommon for liberal activists to immediately smear anti-fascists as violent thugs who delegitimize their movement, and others will be willing to inform the authorities if they suspect illegal actions are being taken. However, a few will be sympathetic—and we have run into a number of people who privately have told us they were antifa in the past and understand the need for this approach.

However, in general we have found that, unless there is an existing relationship with a more mainstream organization, they will almost always reject collaboration if you approach them as an antifa group. It’s best to build relationships prior to any request for working together, or if this can’t be done, to approach them under a different name (“Las Cruces United Against Racism”). In general relationships with Black Lives Matter and immigrants rights groups have been positive. However, be sure that any conflicts with fascists are done in a way that does not draw police repression onto these activists: keep a separation in time and space.

On the national level, your group can affiliate with the Torch Network if you are in agreement with their points of unity: www.torchantifa.org.

TAKE ACTION!

Now that you have a group, what do you do?

1) Establish an online presence

If you are a public group, establish an online presence. Again, we recommend limiting this to a webpage and/or twitter. If you make a facebook group for an event, make sure you set the invite list to private: many people have been doxxed based on information from invites. For some more ideas on basic online security, see: https://itsgoingdown.org/time-beef-defense-against-far-right-doxxing.

2) Start monitoring

Find out about your local Far Right groups and collect information about them, including organizations, names, pictures, addresses, and work places. These can include AltRight activists, KKK, Nazi skinheads, neo-Nazi parties, suit-and-tie white nationalists, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, anti-immigration activists, Patriot and militia groups, and others. The SPLC’s Hate Map lists groups by state, although itwill be incomplete. You can also look at established national groups such as Identity Evropa and the Traditionalist Worker Partyand see if they have local chapters in your area. Also, reading reports by other anti-fascist groups may give insight into who is recruiting in your area.

3) Stickering and wheatpasting

If racist groups are stickering or flyering in neighborhoods, organizepatrolsto tear them down. Use a scraping tool, as there have been occasional instances of razors being placed behind the stickers. Create anti-fascist stickering, flyering, wheatpasting, and graffiti campaigns of your own.

4) Doxxing

After doing your research, present information about racist organizing in your community. The information you release should present enough information to convince an average reader that the target is clearly a racist. Information should include, if possible: a picture, home address, phone number, social media profiles, and employment information. Be sure to include organizational affiliations and screenshots showing concrete evidence of racist and fascist views. Follow up the doxx with a pressure campaign: call their work and try to get them fired, and inform their neighbors through flyering or door-to-door campaigns.

When you present your intel, you’ll have showed your hand, however, and generally it’s difficult to collect more after that. Also be aware that you will enrage your target by naming them: you might have been ignored as a public group for a year doing antifa stuff, but once you refer to a local racist by name, they will fixate on you.

Make sure your intel is correct. You will lose credibility and create unnecessary enemies if you list a home address or work place that the fascist is no longer associated with. The majority of research can be done online, but some things can only be verified in the real world.

5) Event shutdowns

Pressure venues to cancel racist or fascist events. Make sure you have your dossier on the subject prepared beforehand to present, as the first question will always be “How do you know they are a racist?” Approach venues with a friendly phone call, as often they are not informed about the politics of events at their space. However, if they don’t cancel immediately, they will almost always need to be pressured. Collect phone numbers, emails, and social media contacts and call for a shutdown. (We have found that it is helpful to make easily sharable graphics and short videos.) Threaten a boycott of the venue if they event goes on, and follow through on this. In Montreal, one racist concert was cancelled after antifa physically blocked the entrance.

6) Self-defense trainings

Set up an antifa gym or regular self-defense trainings. Some groups set up two parallel ones: one mixed gender, and one women/trans/gender non-conforming folks. In addition to providing skills, trainings are good ways to increase confidence and meet new people. (An antifa gym network exists in Europe.)

7) Events: benefits and tabling

If your group has a public presence, table at events with anti-fascist literature, stickers, buttons, patches, etc. This is particularly important in cultural scenes where fascists are recruiting, to help organize resistance to them, as well as to reach out to new participants and pressure fence sitters.

If you have a friendly political situation, throw benefits to raise funds. Concerts are a favorite, but be creative! The anti-fascist movement is going to need a lot of money, and it’s better to collect it before rather than after it’s needed. Also get in the habit of having letter writing nights and doing other support work for anti-fascist and related political prisoners. Consider donating to the International Anti-Fascist Defense Fund, which collects funds for prisoners around the world.

8) Demonstrations

If racists are having public rallies, organize mass demonstrations against them with allied groups who are willing to work with you. You can also join other demonstrations, such as Black Lives Matter or for immigrants and refugees, with antifa flags and banners—though he sure to be respectful of the organizers and not get in front of their message. Take photos with antifa banners, blur the faces, and put them on social media.

In general, antifa work should be a certain set of practices within the broader radical movement against white supremacy in particular, but hierarchy and oppression in general. Antifascism is not a stand-alone ideology; it is a piece of a whole, just as prisoner support is. Fascists, after all, don’t just threaten people of color—they also are against Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people, immigrants and refugees, feminists, leftists, etc. Make sure that antifascism is a part of the other movements in our society towards liberation.

SECURITY CULTURE & INTERNET SAFETY

Especially if you are new to the kinds of activism where police and others may be targeting you, be sure to familiarize yourself and your comrades with security culture protocols, and to implement online security measures, from the start. It’s common for groups to be more open early on and closed in later; try to avoid this dynamic by starting out with your cards close to your chest, and keep playing them that way throughout the game.

It is best that individual members leave social media. This is a double-edged sword, but it will provide more protection if antifa avoid facebook and similar platforms.

Also keep in mind that some security measures are primarily aimed at keeping you anonymous from the fascists, but might not do much to shield you from the deeper resources of the state. The FBI has much greater surveillance resources than the local police, who in turn have more resources than your local white power crew.

Some applications that can help you with security include Signal (text and calls), KeePassX (password manager), TOR (internet browser), Pad.riseup.net (“real time collaboration of text documents”), Jitsi.org (web conferences), PGP (email & document encryption), Mailvelope (encryption for webmail),OwnCloud (alternative to dropbox and googledocs),and PowerBase (database solution). In addition, spend some time removing yourself from search directories.

An extended discussion of security culture and digital security is beyond the scope of this primer, but starting points have been included in the reading list below.

FURTHER READINGS

GENERAL SECURITY CULTURE

Security Culture: A Handbook for Activists

What is Security Culture?

Security Culture for Activists

DIGITAL SECURITY

How to Trump-Proof Your Electronic Communications

Digital Security Tips for Protesters

Security in a Box: Digital security tools and tactics

YOUR PHONE IS A COP: An OpSec/InfoSec Primer for the Dystopian Present

YOUR PHONE IS A COP 2: Getting Arrested with Your Phone

Time to Beef up Defense Against Far-Right Doxxing

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment

How to Remove Yourself From People Search Directories

ANTIFACIST NEWS AND ANALYSIS

It’s Going Down

Anti-Fascist News

Three Way Fight

Idavox / One People’s Project

ANTIFA PRISONERS

International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund

Global Antifa Prisoner List

ORGANIZING RESOURCES

TORCH Antifascist Network

Affinity Groups: Essential Building Block of Anarchist Organization

https://itsgoingdown.org/form-affinity-group-essential-building-block-anarchist-organization

#TrumpTheRegime: Resources and Ongoing Resistance to Trump and the Far-Right

Bloc Party: How to Join the Resistance Interview & Zine

Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook

How to set up an anti-fascist group

Resources for anti-fascist action

 

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julij 14, 2017

Reportback #NoG20: A week in #Hamburg

After being under siege for weeks, the army of cops and the delegations of the G20 member states finally left Hamburg. Apart from necessary and legitimate resistance against social injustice and capitalism, its important to know that the German state did everything they could to escalate the NoG20 protests. One could say the state used the G20 summit to see how far they can go. Its to early to say how things will develope in the coming months but fact is that politicians are trying to use the clashes in Hamburg to go after everything what they consider as the left. For this article we used a lot of information from our NoG20 live blogs, an article by Lower Class Magazin and other reliable sources. Last but not least; the results of the summit shows that the global elite are devided, for the first time they did not manage to agree on a final statement with all subjects in it.

NoG20enough

Image: Clashes in the Schanze district at July 7 (Image: Lower Class Magazin)

You will find all No G20 stories here.

Note: Presence Counts is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Many people were surprised that the German government decided to host this years G20 summit in Hamburg . There are many active autonomous and other leftwing groups in the harbour city. So protests were expected from the very beginning. In the months before the summit politicians stated that there would be no ban zones for protests, Mayor Olaf Scholz even said that the G20 summit would be “a festival of democracy”. From the beginning disinformation was part of the strategy of Germany’s ruling class, who seem to live in a parallel society that is drifting further and further away from real life.

In the weeks before the G20 summit, an army of cops occupied Hamburg. People were randomly checked by cops on a daily basis and there were helicopters in the air. The athmosphere in the city changed, there was growing anger, even many conservative CDU voters wanted the cops to leave. At the end of June first activsts from outside Hamburg started to arrive and beside the “no protest zones”, it became clear that the state’s strategy was to demobilize and obstruct the NoG20 protests by attacking its infrastructure. Police authorities stated again and again that they won’t allow protest camps were people can sleep, eat, debate and regenerate, knowing that such camps are a key element for protests that will last for multiple days.

On July 1 a convoy from Wendland (Germany) was stopped and searched by cops in Hamburg-Harburg. After more than 3 hours the cops announced that they wont allow the convoy to drive to the Schanze district (First Tweet below). Although the red and blue ban zones were not in effect yet, the cops were already starting to restrict the freedom of movement. This was one of the first repressive actions against NoG20 activists where cops caried out an operation which is in breah of law. Not really surprising but the way the cops again and again openly breached laws before the protests even started was the preface of things to come.

hh0107

Image: On July 1 a convoy from Wendland (Germany) was stopped and searched by cops

In the night of July 1 on July 2 the administrative court of Hamburg decided that police authorities have to allow tents to sleep in the protest camp at Elbpark Entenwerder after the verdict by the constitutional court earlier this week. The court stated that activists can start building the camp on July 2 at 12:00pm. But the cops decided to ignore the court verdict and blocked the road to Elbpark Entenwerder at 11:45am.

At 12:28pm lawyer Klingner spoke to activists in front of Elbpark Entenwerder which was still blocked by cops, he said “this is a coup against the judiciary.” Shortly after that activists started to build a camp at the street in front of the blockade by cops. During the standoff between cops and activists in front of the entrance of Elbpark Entenwerder, cops in full riot gear violently stole a shield with the text “Dudde you old toilet brush”. A little bit later they repeated this action after activists brought a new shield with the same text. At 02:47pm representatives of local authorities came to the standoff to negotiate with the organisers of the camp. At 03:00pm the negotiations were over because local authorities ignored the court verdict by refusing to allow tents to sleep and only half of the space for the camp. Camp organisers had to refuse this unlawful “offer.” Instead the activists decided to stay on the street.

On the same day there was also a reformist demo in the city center of Hamburg. After the demo people started to build a protest camp at the square in front of city hall. At 08:00pm cops started to evict that camp. Shortly after that cops suddenly gave up their blockade at the entrance of Elbpark Entenwerder. Immediately people entered the park and started to build up the protest camp.

But the cops continued to ignore the court verdict. Although they finally allowed people to build up the protest camp, police authorities stated that they would not allow tents to sleep at Elbpark Entenwerder. Again and again police spokespersons stated that they will never ever allow a protest camp where “militant rioters” can retreat, eat, sleep and regenerate. They kept giving statements like this although they knew this was nothing else than a coup against the judiciary. We dont want to celebrate the court verdict here, but its important to know that politicians and the director of the G20 police operation, Dudde, openly breached the rule of law which they claim to protect. About one hour after the cops gave up their blockade, they threatened to evict the camp again. Around 11:00pm hundreds of riot cops in full gear stormed the camp to confiscate 11 tents. Journalist Marteimer reports that several people including journalists were injured during the police operation in Entenwerder. Her press card was slapped and she was beaten in her belly. She also got pepper sprayed. A cameraman was told by a cops: “Film me and you will collect”. When Marteimer asked a police spokesman why she and other journalists were attacked, he said “Yes, and? I can’t do anything about that.” Police authorities asked the court for a new verdict and stated they would CONSIDER to respect a new verdict. This was unprecedented in Germany.

Several people were detained during the violent action by cops and one of the injured people was badly injured and brought to the intesive care unit of a hospital in Hamburg. This person is still in an artificial coma. This all happened days befor the first stone was thrown. The actions and statements by state authorities and its representatives made clear that they would escalate things. They did everything to supress any kind of protests, including peaceful protests. Public opinion was now turning against the violent and illegal actions of the police and Hamburg’s state interior ministery. Although the authorities did not change their position, activists didn’t gave up and published a statement with an ultimatum demanding to allow activist to build up camps until July 4, 10:00am or live with the fact that activists would start building wild camps across Hamburg.

The ultimatum passed without any reaction of local authorities. A few churches allowed people to build camps on their property. The “Schauspielhaus” theater offered places to sleep after it was occupied and football (soccer) club St. Pauli allowed people to sleep in their stadium. Although riot cops violently evicted a wild protest camp near Wohlers park (video below), it was a major defeat for the state and its lackeys in uniform.

In the evening of July 5, tweets were going round that local authorities didn’t impose any stipulations to the organisers of the anti-capitalistic Welcome to Hell demo. The director of the G20 police operations, Dudde, was also responsible for the police attack against the Rote Flora demo in 2013. More and more people realised that Dudde would not let the Welcome to Hell demo march. In the evening cops again and again attacked peaceful people who were mainly partying in Hamburg during and after the “Rave against G20” demo. Considering the amount of people and the ongoing police attacks things were astonishing peaceful on the side of the protesters.

At July 6 the Welcome to Hell demo wanted to march in downtown Hamburg. At 04:00pm several thousand people started gathering at Fischmarkt. The crowd was growing fast, around 20.000 people came to the demo. After several speeches and live music, the front bloc with a Welcome to Hell banner started to line up at 07:00pm. The front of the demo was formed by a 2000 people strong black bloc. Many people with masks but peaceful, not even firecrackers went off. Somebody who had drunken way to much alcohol and threw a bottle, was even excluded from the black bloc. Behind the front bloc thousands were waiting to start the long weekend of protests against the G20. People started to march but didn’t came far, the cops stopped the demo after about 50 meters. 4 water canons and many many riot squats in front and at the side of the demo intimidated and threatened the protesters. At the beginning the cops were willing to negotiate: “Put off your masks and you can march.” A big part of the black bloc actually did put off their masks but instead of allowing the demo to continue,  the cops suddenly attacked the demo with water canons and many riot squats without any warning. They kicked, beaten and peppersprayed and pulled people from a wall. The masked riot cops in full gear started an orgy of violence in a way that, and thats not an overstatement, it wouldn’t have surprised anybody who was at the scene, when people would have been killed. After the cops had violently dispersed the crowds, they started to hunt people around Fischmarkt. During this hunting scenes, people started to defend themseves for the first time after days full of police violence. Bottles and stones were thrown to the unleashed goon squads in uniform. Hundreds of people were injured during this police attack, a few of them badly. It was a legitimate and necessary act of selfdefense.

It was interesting to see that the cops didn’t seem to have a plan how to handle the outflow of people after the attack. Thousands of people moved to other parts of the city center, where others were on the streets as well. The cops started to lose control. During the night hours there were first clashes, the first windows were smashed and the first cars were set on fire. Considering the scale and the brutality of the police attack against the demo, these first clashes were not really big.

In the morning of July 7 a group of about 100 people attacked several police vans, shops and banks in the Altona district. Several cars were set on fire. An eyewitness told NDR that the cops ambled behind the fully masked group and that he had the impression that the cops did not want to interfere.

At the same time people tried to block the harbour and the socalled “red zone”. From different points of Hamburg people started to march towards the locations where they wanted to block the G20 summit. Although theses marches and blockades were all peaceful, again the cops didn’t allow any kind of protests. Even outside the “red zone” the cops stopped and ruthlessly beaten up every protester they could get. Protesters from the camp in Hamburg Altona had to deal with at least 15 people who were badly injured after a brutal attack by thugs in uniform.  Riot cops were hunting people and several people tried to escape and climbed over a scaffold. The goons in uniform pushed the rest of the protesters against the scaffold  which then collapsed. At least 15 people were badly injured; broken arms, legs and ankles. In the morning hours German finance minister Wolfgang Schäubele had to cancel a G20 meeting because of the blockades. Melania Trump could not take part at the partner program of the G20 and a Japanese delegation was blocked and had to return to their hotel.

In the afternoon thousands started to gather at Millerntor for the second wave of blockades. People wanted to march towards the Elbphilharmonie, where the G20 heads of state wanted to enjoy Beethoven and drink champaign. Again cops attacked peaceful protesters to prevent any kind of protests. People were beaten up with batons, pepper sprayed and kicked. The cops were going crazy again in a way even European hooligans would shock. From this moment people started to defend themselves again, in order to keep the cops on a distance. This all happened befor the massive clashes on friday night. Before shops were looted and before the deployment of SEK squads with machine guns. The video below shows the parallel society the heads of states are living in.

On friday night cops were confronted with the first massive and militant response  at Pferdemarkt and the Schanze district. Again riot cops were hunting people at Pferdemarkt, masked activists started to build barricades and attacked the cops and water cannons. People fought back: determined, organized and again and again. First they forced cops to leave the Schanze district and later the cops were forced to retreat to the uttermost part of Pferdemarkt. Immediately people secured the streets with barricades after they had driven out the cops. The determined resistance was also able to keep water canons on a distance. Again and again the cops tried to take these streets back, but without success. The riot squads that were send in had to retreat multiple times after being attacked with stones and bottles by masked militants. A little bit later the first shop was looted. The first shops that were looted were clear targets; REWE (supermarket chain in Germany), Budnikowsky, a boutique, a Carhart-store and an 02 shop. None of them long-established shops in the Schanze district, but all part of the ongoing gentrification in the district. But from that moment on things started to go wrong. Instead of destroying the bottles with alcohol in the shops that were looted (a must in situations like these), people took them and started to drink. With free alcohol available other people came to the district. More and more organised militant groups retreated and instead there were more and more onlookers, machos and drunken people on the streets. After the organised groups had left the area. even a few fascists appeared in the Schanze district, normally a nogo area for them. The attacks against the cops became uncoordinated, daring and useless. The language became raw and a few journalists were attacked. From that moment on the cops could have easily retaken the Schanze district without any special squads with machine guns. There were no organised groups anymore to defend the district against the cops. There were many people in the area around Rote Flora, but most of them were partying, others were sitting together to have a chat. Many people were dancing on music that came out of open windows from neighbours. The cops were observing the situation from a distance and from the air and decided not to interfere. In other words; The cops were watching when people started looting small shops and people who were drunk started to attack neighbours. Finally, after hours, the cops started to clear the Schanze district. The deployment of German SEK squads and Austrian Cobra squads with machine guns wasn’t necessary, which was probably the reason why police authorities “asked” journalists not to film the police operation. They also “asked” journalists not to takes pictures. There are reports that SEK and Cobra cops pointed their guns on neighbours (Facebook link) and journalists in a few cases. The police operation didn’t take very long and there was no serious resistance anymore.

The escalation by police authorities and the massive clashes on the night before, did not scare of 75.000 people (some reports even estimated more than 100.000 people attended) to come to the final NoG20 demo. The cops attacked a huge kurdish block because of a giant YPG flag (which is banned in Germany), but had to retreat again and people could continue the mostly peaceful march with the YPG flag.

The G20 summit itself had no spectacular results. With China, France, Germany, the UK and USA the worlds biggest arms exporters are part of the G20. In the final document of the G20 summit in Hamburg is written about what the G20 call “forced migration”: “We seek to address the root causes of displacement.” But ofcourse that doesn’t mean the G20 member states will stop exporting arms in war regions like for instance the middle east. Capitalism has many victims. The neo-liberal policies of the G20 causes poverty in many parts of the world, which are not only forcing people in the south to migrate, but also creates a growing number of people being marginalized in the north. If we take the G20 by its word, sentences in the G20 summit final document like the sentence above sound like a request to abolish the causes of “forced migration” which can only mean that we have to abolish capitalism. We should continue to work on that.

Today, Wednesday July 12, there are still 51 people imprisoned. On Saturday July 15 there will be demonstrations against repression to demand the release of all prisoners. One of the demonstrations will start at 02:00pm (14:00) at train station (Bahnhof) Bern, Switzerland. A second demonstration (Facebook link) will take place in front of the JVA prison in Hamburg-Billwerder, 04:00pm (16:00) at the Dweerlandweg.

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