Speech at a Forest Walk on Sept. 30th, 2018

UPDATE: Meanwhile, this year’s deforesting season has been banned by the Oberverwaltungsgericht (Higher Administrative Court) in Münster, a couple of days after this speech. Suddenly, the presence of police “for security reasons” does not seem to be necessary anymore. Of course, that has nothing to do with each other.

Sept. 30th, 2018 – During today’s forest walk, among other things, this speech was held by an activist from the forest. How nice to finally see many non-uniformed people on the “Secu-Road” (aka L276)! Many thanks also to all other speakers for the colorful variety of contributions. (And also thanks to some other Hambi activists, of whose spontaneous contributions we unfortunately have no video footage.)

You can see the speech here (German) and/or read it here:

 

For 16 days the police has been clearing the occupations in Hambach Forest.

For 16 days this forest has been besieged constantly by dozens of hundertschaft units, eviction tanks, elevators and special task units. For 16 days, the state has been running on all its superiority in order to hammer the message into the heads of a few hundred anarchists that a resisting, wild and free life is not to be tolerated.

Sixteen days of eviction could not break the occupation yet. In the last few days, a new tree house village has sprung up in Ghosttown near the meadow camp. And around the last old tree house, paragraph 11, the barricades are growing.

This eviction has brought attention that would have seemed impossible just two years ago. The world is watching the German state. And they see which skeleton the alleged model students in terms of environmental protection, and the alleged “climate chancellor” Merkel have in their closet. That alone is a huge success.

But the eviction is not over yet. And if it should end these days, then the fight really starts all the more. In the coming clearing season, RWE wants to make short work of the forest. The eviction was just a preparation for that. Of course, when they start clearing, it’s much more difficult for us Hambis to intervene because we would not longer live in the forest but have to pass the police to see the clearing area.

Therefore, in order to save the forest, we will need any imaginable effort from the whole movement. Many of you may have been in the forest for the first time these days and have seen for the first time what it means when the rule of law shows its teeth.

I hope you still have enough breath left, because the real fight for survival that we have to struggle for this forest, is actually going to start in the middle of October.

This forest has become a symbol of resistance. Our protest is a statement: We won’t longer allow the power elites in politics and business to impose on us an economic system that is destroying our planet! This forest, and the resistance for its salvation, is the exclamation mark behind this statement. I hope you still have time and power to come back in October – even during the week! – and to put yourselves in front of the exclamation mark. We need the forest, and now the forest needs us!

At mass demonstrations like today, I easily get into party mood, into an emotional flight of fancy, thinking: We are so many, we almost won, they can not ignore that. If you’re thinking alike, I’m sorry to bother you: yes, they can ignore us. Unfortunately, Armin Laschet and Herbert Reul do not give a shit about how many people take to the streets to save the forest. As always, they will ignore us until we force them to stop.

I’m sorry if I have to bother anyone’s party mood. But as I said, the fight is just beginning and we should honestly talk about what to expect.

I do not want to spread more panic than necessary – even in the coming deforesting season you will usually have a certain influence on how much repression you encounter. But some people are also unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and meet the wrong cop who enjoys having fun.

We need the forest, and the forest needs us now – but we also have to be awake, take care of ourselves, and take care of each others.

I’m reluctant to disturb a party, but honestly, I personally do not really feel like partying right now. The eviction is still going on and it probably will not be friendly in its last part. And this eviction and the way the police did it, made me incredibly angry.

They led exhaust fumes into occupied tunnels. They threatened to cut ropes on which human lives were hanging. They carried tripods around with occupiers on them. They pushed entire groups of activists against barricades; against barricades, to which in some cases people were chained with their necks. They were repeatedly warned that their reckless behavior endangered human lives. They ignored all warnings. And this list is far from being complete.

But we are still in the forest!

They thrashed people, issued banishments from the place, crushed spectacles, thrashed people, kept the press away, did not let prisoners go to the toilet or make calls, thrashed people, broke their arms, locked them up, and started from scratch.

But for the other side – OUR violence is still the main problem.

Many expressions of solidarity and kind-hearted press articles speak of the “nonviolent protest” in Hambach Forest. As I said, I hate to bother – but that’s a bit nonsense. What’s right: The violence of the police was never in any proportion to the sometimes militant resistance, which was in the forest again and again.

The point is that if the occupations had been consistently peaceful from the start, they would not have survived the first three years. You’ve seen what the police and RWE security services are capable of – and it was like that right from the beginning.

The occupations in the Hambach Forest deliberately never had a non-violent action consensus. The last few weeks hopefully clarified the reason for everyone here:

We do not live in a non-violent state.

We do not live in a functioning state under the rule of law, if there can be such a thing.

We do not live in a state that even tries to earn its claim to its “monopoly on violence” worthy.

At this time, four of our friends and comrades are in custody, and another one (legally sentenced to nine months) for “rhythmic support” of firecrackers throwing people (with a tambourine). (Meanwhile, UP III is free)

Their notch aims against all of us! So let’s never forget our prisoners. Please visit the blog of abc-rhineland, find out there their jail addresses and write write write letters!

WE ARE NOT ALL HERE – THE PRISONERS MISS!

What happened in the Hambach Forest in recent weeks is not an accidental slip-up. Many of you have experienced the massive violence on your own; the limitations of press freedom; the laughter about reminding of human rights; the mendacity and profound cynicism of their statements; the fabricated and exaggerated accusations with which they put freedom fighters in jail; the complete blindness for perceptiveness and de-escalation;

All this we are used to in the occupations for six years. That’s the standard of this state for those who not just ask, but demand. Who do not just protest, but effectively put themselves in the way.

By the way, all of this has always been the standard of this state for refugees, altogether for non-white people, sex workers, people who are labeled as mentally ill, for homeless and others with very little money, punks, and many other discriminated groups.

This state does not know consideration. Not even after the fatal crash of our friend Steffen, the state power has not given even one day rest. They pretended that the eviction action was stopped – but even in Beechtown, where the accident happened, ran the same night the generators and floodlights.

Imagine the cops are about to throw you out of your home. In this situation, a friend dies, from whatever – and then they put floodlights at each of your windows and let them shining all night.

That’s just a small, telling snippet of the psychological terror that they’ve been trying to use for weeks to wear the people in the forest down.

If there should be a good thing about the brutality of this still ongoing police campaign, then it is this: The everyday brutality of the police has become much more visible. Confidence of many people in the state has been shaken.

And perhaps many also are seething with the stubborn insight: We will not be able to make this state change their ideas just with humble appeals, when they are holding with such violence onto their course into the abyss.

This state allows relatively many demonstrations only because they do not bother them too much. But they will only change course if we force them with determination, long breath, and all reasonable means.

See you in the deforesting season!

[slogan:] WIR SIND HIER, UND WIR SIND LAUT, WEIL MAN UNS DEN HAMBI KLAUT!
WE ARE HERE, AND WE ARE LOUD, BECAUSE THEY TAKE OUR HAMBI AWAY!

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