During the last weeks, at two different locations in Europe, trees have been squatted that would fall prey to the construction of motorways. On December 22nd, activists in Bexhill, England occupied trees against the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road and have erected an entire camp now. In Berlin, free-spaces-activists, together with environmental-activists occupied trees against the A100 that is to be built through the middle of Berlin. We, the squatters from the Hambach Forest stand in solidarity with these struggles and call for a practical support and for the creation of a network of these emerging spaces of resistance with each other and the creation of many new spaces like these.
The anti-road movement in the UK in the 90s, which followed in response to the neoliberal infrastructure policies of Margaret Thatcher („there is no alternative“), was one of the strongest social and environmental movements of recent decades in Europe. Out of it many new forms of action developed: The tree house villages, with specialized blockading techniques at the sites where the roads should be built, the „critical masses“ and „reclaim the streets“ parties as reclaiming the cities against the car craze, and a general political understanding of „direct action“ as a self-empowering, dynamic form of politics from below. Even the radical environmental movement in Britain, that spread after the turn of the millennium and inspired climate movements all over Europe, had its roots in the anti-road movement.
Now, over 20 years later, the government in the UK is planning a new comprehensive road-building program (while massive social cuts were pushed through). 1,244 km of new roads are planned. Through the constructions, as well as improved infrastructure, they hope to push the economy out of the crisis. At the same time new roads also bring more and more traffic with it and so it’s projects like these which also push the global climate closer to the „tipping points“. For this reason, on December 22nd, activists hung platforms in trees to be felled for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. Bexhill is located between Dover and Brighton. There is even a „fully operational“ blockade tunnel!
Two weeks later activists occupied trees in Berlin, Neukölln, in order to resist the construction of the A100. We think the interesting thing about this action is that it was carried out by free-spaces-activists together with environmental-activists. Far too rarely the resistance against the various antagonisms of capitalism – social and environmental – combines in joint operations. Exactly where it would be needed urgently: The dominant discourse wants us to believe that climate or environmental protection is only to achieve with renunciation and personal consumer choices. The opposite is the case: By overcoming the capitalist system, much of the senseless consumption of resources would disappear, while a self-determined life and a free development would become possible. Let’s take Fordism as a triumph of the cars in the cities: Not a demand for automobiles was the beginning of mass consumption of the like, but a car favouring urban planning, that according to the concepts of the Hitlerfriend Ford, consciously put the different areas of work, housing and consumption so far apart that a life without a car has been more and more difficult . So the time that the people had to use for changing locations wasn‘t getting shorter, but at once the cities were filled with this stinking metal boxes which affected the lives in the city fundamentally – a deterioration of life with higher energy consumption was the result. An opposite trend should be the goal of emancipatory environmental struggles, the same as that of social struggles, that don‘t close their eyes in front of the acute climate problem we are facing.
We urgently need a radical and powerful climate movement all over the world. We see some positive signs. For example, the conflicts of the last months in La ZAD/France against a ‚green‘ airport to be built. In mobilizations temporarily 40 000 activists participated. We need such cristallization places where we can experience what’s possible – and then we have to spread this resistance and hundreds of other crystallization places must sprout from the ground, which in turn inspire others.
We appeal to support these new occupations in Bexhill and Berlin with practical help, just as we call to support our occupation at the edge of the Hambach forest with practical assistance. But we also call out to you, to create many new such places yourself, that it takes as focal sites of resistance. Places where people can come together, are able to plan things, but also to guess what kind of world would be possible in the new way of life and organization, beyond capitalism and domination systems.
And we call out to link those places of resistance – because the straw fires that currently flare up here and there have to connect to a wildfire – a wildfire of the unenforceability of all these destructive projects, whether roads, pipelines or open cast mines.
act – before it’s too late!